There have been so many changes in life. A new baby, a new home (tbd) in a new country and I’m in the beginning stages of starting a new business. It’s on!
But let’s start with the baby, because that’s where we left off.
Oh pregnancy. Never have I been so equally happy and miserable. I was constantly queasy and exhausted for 14 weeks. Then I just felt rough and in pain. Except for a brief period.
It was during this brief period of energy that I went to the UK for a “baby moon” for 3 weeks with my son. On the final week my belly doubled, I was exhausted and my son became a homesick demon! It was not the best time. I returned back to the USA and spent the rest of my pregnancy feeling like I was trying not to give birth. I stopped work on summer solstice. It was indeed the longest day.
This is where it gets crazy. I wanted to take my son to his dibling reunion – in spite of being almost 36 weeks pregnant. I checked with the doctors and all said I should be fine and gave me permission to go. My worst symptom at that point was hemorrhoids (ouch those hurt!)
14 hours on a train later I arrived in Virginia. 3 hours into the train ride I began spotting. Midwife said not to worry too much but keep an eye on it. 3 days later I began having contractions during a thunderstorm. (What a cliche!) and shortly after went to hospital where I was told to get home ASAP.
My knight in shining armor drove 600 miles to my rescue. He had enough time to go for a swim and load up the car then he turned around and drove us home. We drove for 2 days and arrived back on 4th July. Time enough to eat a big meal and pass out. I was so glad to be home.
11 hours later (after my 6th pee of the night, maybe less, maybe more.) I felt the sensation of peeing again. This time different from the others.
You’ve never seen a pregnant woman move quicker! I got out of bed just in time for my waters to rupture all over the floor. I sat on the toilet for a full 40 minutes while it drained out of me. I would never have believed that it could take that long if it hadn’t happened to me.
Wearing a male adult diaper I packed my hospital bag and 2 hours later arrived at the ER which was locked (because that’s what always seems to happen in these stories.)
Once I got in, it became clear that something was off. I was only 36+1 pregnant but there was meconium in the water along with old blood. Nobody understood why.
I was told I was still a good candidate for a VBAC if I wanted to try. Unfortunately my contractions were far apart, I was only a fingertip dilated and they wanted to give me pitocin.
It was then that my inner voice started screaming at me to get the baby out. No matter how much I’d wanted to experience a vaginal birth I felt that something was wrong. I felt inexplicable fear. I asked for a c section, put away my disappointment and focused on the end goal – a healthy baby and Mama.
30 mins later my daughter entered the world. The c section was rough. Much tougher than the first. To the point of being traumatizing for both my mother and I. I had to get treated for pain in my shoulders weeks later from the violence of it.
I noticed, when they handed me my daughter that she smelled weird. The surgeon said that this was because I had an infection in my uterus. She said this was why my water had ruptured. I later discovered that this could have been very dangerous for the baby and my gut instinct to get her out had probably saved her from becoming very very sick. Even the midwives congratulated me on the decision I’d made!
In spite of my fears, thankfully baby seemed pretty much ok. She did have low glucose though and that was touch and go for a while. They had to give her a couple of packets of the sugary gel to get that up to par. NICU was threatened a lot. It didn’t happen. She was dosed with a LOT of antibiotics which was 100% necessary to insure her safety from the infection. I too was given them to help kill it.
Lastly she spent 24 hours under the blue light. Jaundice. It was the least of the bad things that could have happened so I accepted it and took the time she was in there to rest.
Her levels dropped so rapidly that they were amazed.
I never realized how many hurdles a slightly premature baby would have to jump through. How much more attention they get. How many more fears are instilled in us.
Next time I’ll talk about nursing and my experience second time around. About advocating for yourself and trusting your gut!
For now I just want to end by saying how grateful I am that I got to take home my tiny baby who was 5lb 6oz when she left the hospital. She was small but mighty and by some miracle – healthy!
My perfect little family has been completed.