I will never forget the few weeks leading up to his birth. I had turned to my Bible throughout the entire pregnancy, but it felt like I was constantly looking for guidance and reassurance from it as I was not getting it anywhere else.
B was to be born via C-Section no matter what. When I was born, I was a preemie and my hip joint did not form fully in the womb; it filled in while in a brace later. My mom was warned that child bearing might be affected as it may affect the birth canal, elasticity, etc. And sure enough, as soon as my hips started to move and I gained weight, I could no longer walk without pain. And by pain I mean knock-you-down excruciating. So I attended physical therapy and met with Orthos to alleviate. When I was pregnant, I was given our options: deliver vaginally and everything may be finer deliver vaginally and the baby could get stuck or deliver vaginally and I may never walk again. We made our decision.
I laid there one night unable to sleep. His movements were so fast and erratic. It was not the typical 9 p.m. party in my belly, but rather felt like a stomp routine. I got up and rocked him for hours but nothing soothed him in there. I asked my doctor a day or two later, and she just said he was preparing for life out of the womb. While I found that a little generic, I was a new at this and she could be right, athough I really doubted her.
A few days later, the same thing happened, but this time he hit something. And when I say he hit something, I mean I felt a hard thump on the inside and movement of what is best described as watching a fish flopping out of water. We were on weekly visits, so sure enough I was being seen shortly. Braxton Hicks, or so I thought, were in full force and I just was not feeling well. And I was scared. Not just scared of the unknown of child birth, but that something was wrong with my son.
I went to my Bible that morning since I was scared and my gut said that we were losing him. I opened it. I don’t know many verses by heart; all I know is the gist of what I read. The gist was: We are preparing room up here. I sat next to my bed for the next few minutes and just bawled. In that moment, I took it as a hint and harsh word that my son was going to heaven. And I stood up looked up and said NO the top floor of the hospital He is not going if I can help it.
We headed to the doctor’s office and I told her what happened with the flopping and little movement since. She was not concerned. She checked me. Still dilated the same as last time. So she reminded us she would be at the hospital all weekend. And we are pretty sure she stripped my membranes, since I was still not feeling well , nd she said she would see us over the weekend with a smile.
We left, went to have our carseat checked by a friend who worked at a PD, and the contractions, lack of movement, and all around not feeling well made us think we would be delivering that weekend. I went home and took a warm bath and bam! Everything stopped. Yep, stopped. No one had mentioned that if you relax in a warm bath, you can relax your body out of labor.
Almost a week went by with contractions and tears! Lots of tears and very little movement from baby B. And all that kept ringing in my head was: They are preparing our room, they are preparing our room. He gave me one night of a little more movement, but still I worried and knew something was not right. And by this point I was thinking I was off too.
Finally, back at the doctor for pre-op papers and how it would all work the following Monday morning. It was Friday. They took my blood pressure and it was in the 40s. Mind you, this did not concern them because mine had always run low. I asked the doctor to check me, that I felt something was wrong but she didn’t, she said it was nerves and everything B was doing was preparing for birth. And I just let it be and nodded.
We were now sitting in the hospital waiting room and I had the biggest contraction I had to date. And I felt “off.” Saying I didn’t feel good would be an understatement! I felt like I was going through the motions, but I was not present. I just knew something was wrong.
So as we sat there getting my vitals, I mentioned I thought I was in back labor and that I was having contractions and I felt funny. That phrase came out of my mouth at least 20 more times “I feel funny.” In a whisper. I did not get loud, I did not get pushy, I just kept saying I feel funny. Go figure, we got a nurse who usually does discharge so all she was doing was writing down anything I was telling her. Then she decided to get another nurse to check me.
I will forever be grateful for that angel because no way was she a nurse! She walked in, sat in front of me, and stared directly into my eyes. Did not say a word, just stared. I said nothing. She took my papers and looked at me and my husband and told us to get up to triage immediately and tell them pre op sent me. In that moment, I knew something was wrong but someone had finally heard me.
We went up there. I was still having a few contractions, but more back labor than anything. We were surrounded by a teen mom who was pissed that she had to get a shot and the stereotypical woman you think of in labor having major contractions doing her breathing. The nurse looked at me and truly doubted me needing to be there. But sure enough, after a phone call to my mom and knowing she was on her way, we were on the monitors.
Contractions were four minutes apart. And regular. They let us know that, because of everything that had gone on, they would make sure this was labor and monitor us for a bit as there was still no change in dilation etc. So the nurse said to relax, they would have me change positions and just monitor me for a bit.
After 15 min or so, she told me to switch sides and she left the room. All of a sudden beeps started blaring and the door flew open. “Roll back over,” she was harping. Basically, when we laid like that, the baby’s pulse–and mine–plummeted. So they did one more check and, sure enough, it happened again.
We went in for what they told us was just an ultrasound to check the baby, but that it would last 30 minutes. And if I moved , the 30 minutes would have to start over. We now know it was a Bio Physical Profile. The ultrasound tech said nothing during it, NOTHING. Although technically they can’t if they are not a licensed doctor of some type, but there weren’t even facial expressions.
Todd needed to use the restroom, so as I walked back into our room and before I even made it through the door one of the doctors from our practice stopped me and let me know that I was being transferred upstairs and would be delivering immediately because if I didn’t we would not survive the weekend. And she was off, leaving me standing there to tell Todd. We found out later that our score was so low that we were moving to a save-the-mom-forget-the-baby situation.
I rode in the wheelchair to what I believe was the fourth floor. The floor had emergency signs all over. I looked up to transport and said that this was the wrong floor. I was not an emergency. Apparently this is when they suspected that I was in shock. They were nice enough to humor me and say they would check. They did not, they just wheeled me to my entire team standing there waiting. Think a scene in a movie. They got me changed, asked me if I was safe at home, etc., and started the epidural.
One of the nurses mentioned that I was pretty calm for being in such an emergency; they were impressed. Todd had yet to say one word as he too was in shock. I looked at her and said, “I am usually very talkative and loud.” And she told me to repeat myself. In that moment, they checked something and just as I was about to go out of it, they got meds in that revived me–literally! I felt better. And they took Todd to get him ready. I loved my nurse. She said, “You know that med you just had?” And I said, “Yes.” She said, “If you feel weird again, you need to tell me. I have to get it in you. ok?” I agreed.
We laid there listening to the techs and assistants getting everything ready and I was even able to giggle when they told me to enjoy the country music because the doctor would surely change it when she came in. I just thought “Wow! It really is like Grey’s Anatomy on TV. Todd came in and they let us know when the procedure started. And in that moment I said, “I fee…l” and the nurse said it was already in, “I promised you that you would make it through this!” And sure enough, I felt a tug and a pull and baby B was born!!!
As with any baby, he was whisked over to be checked and cleaned off and then showed to me and dad as they whisked him away again to get me sewn up, etc. I was cleaned up and felt much better after he was out, which was another emotional struggle in itself.
I went to recovery and there were my boys. B did not have to go to NICU, he just had to have a baby nurse stay with him for the next six hours. And I kid you not, when I say she watched and checked every movement, breath, twitch he made, I mean it. She was wonderful. She only talked to me twice, but she was the most attentive person I had ever seen and I knew she knew every crease, mark, and detail of my son’s first hours and his body.
We were rolled up to our room as a pair late that night, and we were finally able to see family.
Everyone who walked in wanted to see B and asked how he was. My mom walked right past the baby and wrapped her arms around me and just cried, and then she left for the night. I questioned her behavior at first until I looked over at my son. I knew then that the feelings I had had over the last few weeks about losing my baby were like my mothers: she had almost lost her baby, me.
It was in that moment I knew what being a mom was all about.
(We never got confirmation what may have caused everything, but they say he may have hit his head that day and just took a turn for the worse and my body was trying to get out said foreign body. Or my body may just not be able to handle pregnancy well. We will never know, but we pray it is not the same with our next baby!)