Baby Story Part II

Part I

I specifically didn't write a birth plan in the event that things didn't go as I imagined. I felt like writing out a plan for something as unpredictable as child birth would only cause extra stress if things got complicated. Despite this precaution, I still had a strong mental image of how I wanted things to go. 

18 days til due date 
I wanted to be doing something completely typical of daily life - watching a movie or making dinner - when I felt the first contraction. I wanted to tell Spencer I thought I might be going into labor, and he should pack the bags as I called the doctor. I pictured getting to the hospital and pushing and grabbing Spencer's hand for dear life. I liked to think I would be one of those women who toughed it out without an epidural, though in reality I knew I wouldn't get too far. I wanted that spiritual moment of pure joy when I first heard my baby cry and I held him against my chest. I wanted a picture of my little family sitting on the hospital bed, me looking like I had been through a war, but it wouldn't matter because I had just given birth to a beautiful baby boy. I imagined I would leave the hospital a breast feeding professional. My mental birth plan was the most typical of hollywood scenes, and though I didn't want to admit it, my heart was set on it. 

The nursery coming together. So many hours were spent on that couch imagining the little boy who would occupy that room
Things started to go awry a few days before my due date when I went in for an appointment only to be told that I was nowhere near going into labor. Not only that, but my doctor was going out of town for a week and a half and another doctor would be inducing me on the 27th (a week after my due date) if I hadn't gone into labor before then. I was so disappointed that a different doctor would be delivering my baby, and I was pretty discouraged that I was showing no signs of going into labor. My one ray of hope was knowing that my baby would be here at least by the 27th, it was the thing keeping me going. 

That was soon to change. When I came in to meet with the new doctor, he informed me that he wanted to wait until my doctor got back on the 30th to induce me. I was so discouraged. Three days may not seem like a big deal, but when you're 10 days past your due date it's just about the biggest deal in the world. I sat there in the doctor's office and cried. I was so frustrated. I was sick of being pregnant, I was sick of telling people the baby still hadn't come, I was mad that I wasn't going into labor on my own, and I just wanted to meet my baby!

As I sat there trying to get my emotions under control, I asked if I could be induced. Based on family history and the way things were going, there was no way I was going to go into labor on my own, and I figured as long as I was going to be induced in a week I might as well be induced now. The doctor was very clear in his answer: a resounding "no." With my body being so far from going into labor on its own, he told me an induction would be a sentence to a c-section. Not only that, but it was against their policy. 

I was amazed at how emotionally draining it was to go so far past my due date. Every time someone asked about my pregnancy I had to fight back tears. To add to my stress, my sisters had come to town to help with the baby, and they were scheduled to leave in a few days. I had been so dependent on the thought of having them here to help once the baby had come, the thought of trying to figure out life with a new born without help from someone who had been there before was so overwhelming.

I went in for my next appointment expecting to set up an induction date on the 30th. Instead I was told to come back and meet with my doctor on the 31st. I freaked out. I was so beyond frustrated at this point. Despite my feelings, I sat there patiently until the doctor was done speaking, and then asked if I might be able to be induced on the 31st instead. I would, after all, be 11 days overdue. Having been turned down once before, I was beyond nervous that I would be turned down again. However, after a short pause, he simply said, "sure."

On my way to have a baby!
So the night of the 30th came and we set our alarms, not fully realizing that in the morning we would be on our way to meet out little boy. 

Once we were settled into the hospital, the nurse asked about a birth plan. I told her we didn't have one, only that Spencer wanted to cut the cord and that I wanted to hold my baby as soon as I could, those were the only things I had allowed myself to count on. 

And so it began. They gave me a pill to kick-start labor. They broke my water. They gave me an epidural. They started pitocin. And that's when the complications began. Every time I had a contraction, baby's heart rate would drop significantly. It became clear that there was meconium in my water. I had developed an infection, and I was freezing cold and shaking despite running a fever. They backed off the pitocin to help with baby's heart rate, they switched to internal monitors to get better readings, they started antibiotics, they made sure there would be a NICU nurse present for the delivery, they tried adding fluid back in, they put me on oxygen, they did an ultrasound, they turned me from side to side. They tried everything they could, but baby's heart rate was still going down. 

Twenty hours later I was dilated to a 10, and my doctor was able to tell that baby's head was in the wrong position. He wasn't posterior, he was in something called Brow Presentation, the least common infant position. He had his neck craned too far back and he was set to come out forehead first, which simply wasn't going to work. She tried physically moving his head, but it was no use. After 22 hours of labor, she told me she thought it was time for a c-section. 

As the nurses explained the procedure to me, they said that a c-section typically takes 10 minutes, and then another 30 to sew mom back up. I went into a panic. 10 minutes? I wasn't ready to have a baby in 10 minutes. I don't know what I had been expecting, seeing as I was in labor, but 10 minutes seemed shockingly short and I wanted more time to prepare. I was so tired, I at least wanted to be able to sleep for a few more hours before becoming a mother. 

But it turns out things like emergency c-sections don't wait for mothers to get in one last nap. They prepped me for surgery, made sure Spencer had his scrubs, and wheeled me into the OR. 

I don't fully know how to explain how I felt. I was so tired. I was exhausted. I couldn't open my eyes for more than a few seconds, and when I did everything was so blurry. I couldn't focus on anything. I kept trying to open my eyes for a solid three seconds, or at least to bring something into focus, because I wanted to be able to focus on my baby when I saw him. 

I was also freezing. I was shaking so violently that I ached. I tried putting my tongue between my teeth to stop them from chattering and my jaw from aching, but they were going too hard I was afraid I would bite through. I was afraid that if I didn't stop shaking they wouldn't let me hold my baby, someone shaking as much as me wouldn't be able to hold onto anything. Eventually I heard the anesthesiologist state that I was "shaking like a maniac," and something needed to be done about it. They ended up putting some sort of blanket that circulated heat over the top half of my body. I tried to look to see what exactly it was, but I was too tired to concentrate on it. 

The next thing I remember is hearing the doctor say that the cord was wrapped around his neck three times. The nurses repeated this information to each other in tones of shock, and so I knew it was bad. I also knew that I couldn't hear my baby making any noise. I was so tired I wasn't even sure if he had been born yet, but I very aware of the lack of crying. 

I heard the word NICU, I heard someone speaking to Spencer, and I was vaguely aware of the fact that he was leaving. Then I sat there, being stitched up on the operating table, not fully aware of the fact that my baby had just been born and I hadn't been able to see him. 

What happened next is Spencer's story to tell. He had to watch as our pale, silent, immobile baby was rushed from the room, as he had tubes attached and cuts made, as the NICU staff worked to make him breath, to make him live. He had to come back to the OR well after the alloted 30 minutes only to find out his wife was still in surgery, that there had been complications. He had to tell the family what had happened, and then repeat it to me after I had been returned to the room. He had to wait to find out if his wife and child were going to be okay without anyone there to help him through. 


Once I had come out of surgery and was a little more lucid, they wheeled me into the NICU to see my baby boy. When Spencer pointed to him as we entered, I just started to cry. I was so overcome with emotion at seeing my son for the first time. Also, I cried because it was harder on me than I ever thought it could be. 

Before anything else, I have say how lucky we are, and that I know how lucky we are. A five day stay in the NICU is almost nothing compared to some. Our baby was not premature. We were able to hold him the same day he was born. We were so blessed in so many ways to have such a quickly-recovering baby. 

But it was still hard. It still broke my heart to see my baby for the first time from a distance, to simply hold his little foot, tell him that I loved him, and then have to leave. It was impossibly hard to be a floor away recovering from surgery, not able to go see him, and have visitors come and tell me how much they enjoyed seeing him. It was impossible to feel like his mother when the nurses knew him better than I did. It was so frustrating to finally make it out of bed, into a wheelchair, and all the way upstairs only to be too exhausted to stand up and look at him because of all the blood I had lost in surgery. It was so sad to me not to be able to breast feed. 

It was so hard. 

Meeting my baby boy for the first time
Dad holding Carter for the first time
Mom holding Carter for the first time
And it continued to be hard. Breast feeding was a challenge that brought me to tears each time I tried. Feeling connected to my baby was hard. Coming to terms with having a hard time connecting was hard. All around I had a hard time, and I felt guilty because of it.

Things went slowly. Feeding is still hard and we are still working it out. But feeling connected to my little Carter? I couldn't love him more. It took a while for it to stop feeling like I was watching someone else's baby, like I was actually the mother. But when it came, it came fast and hard, and since that moment I have known without a doubt that this is my little boy, and that I would do anything for him.




My perfect little family. I love them with all of my heart. 

9 comments:

  1. Beautiful story, Sadie! I love you and am so happy for you! Your baby boy is simply perfect. And you are the perfect mother for him.

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  2. Oh, Sadie. I feel ya! I identify with so many parts of this story. The induced labor that makes baby's heart rate drop, c-section, things going badly for both mother and baby after birth, emergencies and NICUs, not being able to breast-feed for days, being separate from the baby...

    The most heartbreaking part was not feeling like Greta's mother. Reading your experience made me ache because I know exactly how that feels. Everyone knew more about her and had seen her more than I did. And that guilt and disconnect is tormenting to a new mom.

    I don't have too much to say, other than I'm so sorry you had to experience that, too. I honestly feel like I still have a little post-traumatic stress, as I'm sure you do!

    But he's truly a beautiful boy. And I'm so relieved to hear how much better everything is going. Carter's lucky to have such great parents. Hooray for miracles, and hooray for everyone in your family who made it through such a tough start!

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  3. Sadie, although I don't know you very well, I am thankful that you have written your feelings about your experiences. I felt much the same with my last child, whose birth story is similar. The whole story resonated with me. Thank you!

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  4. You are a beautiful writer and an amazing mother!

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  5. I loved this so much. :) I actually totally understand the lack of connectivity at first - that's how I am (although I may appear to seem way more excited/connected :)). It's funny how that works, but I think it's way more normal than people let on. I can't wait to fall more and more in love with him!!! <3<3<3 And I'm just so glad you're both okay!!! Oh baby Carter. :) :) :) :) :) HE'S HERE!!! <3 <3 <3 #ahhhhhhhhhhhh #isthisreallife #nope #darthmaulhalloween

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  6. This was so incredibly beautiful! Sadie, you are such an inspiration to me and I am just so happy for you and Spencer! Thanks for sharing this story, now I feel all caught up and I still haven't even seen him. I love you!

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