04-16-2014 08:24 PM - edited 04-17-2014 09:14 AM
Sugar Coating? That is for those who live in a beautiful ignorant - yet blissful world of their own.
I gave birth to my first child (husband's first child also) this February. What we didn't expect was that we would be doing it 101 days early. To reiterate - it was 101 days, 3 months and 13 days early, or simply put I gave birth at 25 weeks and 4 days gestation to a micro-preemie.
My beautiful (I'm bias) son was born at night - but not last night. Ba dun tiss... He was, in all actuality, born on a pretty miserable wet, rainy, night in February. But, I'm skipping quite a few parts here. I need to put everything into context.
My pregnancy was pretty normal, easy, boring, and plain. I'd like to think that I had it fairly easy compared to what some women endure. I did happen to have the normal hallmarks though - I even had terrible morning sickness from week 6 until I delivered at week 25. Beyond that, I was considered normal and healthy. I was a pretty normal neurotic paranoid first time mommy-to-be. I felt a little more concerned than some because we had a spontaneous miscarriage prior to conception with our son. It was a pretty heartbreaking experience. It made me all the more paranoid but protective of my growing baby. Week after week - I was thrilled at all the new things. I finally felt solid kicks, jabs, and punches at week 20! My anterior placenta got in the way of movements prior. We rubbed "the bump," we talked to "the bump," and naturally after we found out the sex at the anatomy screening at week 18 we started naming "the bump."
We made plans for the future - especially since we had to move to a new state as my husband is a service member. We were going to move at roughly 26 weeks gestation, husband would go to training at 28 to 34, and he would come home in time to nest and have our youngster. Nope! Not in the plans!!
My husband finished signing out of the base we're currently stationed at, the movers were coming the next day, and we took a nap on the couch. We took a sweet, relaxing, two hour nap on the couch - not that I had done much of anything all day. I won't lie - I utilized pregnancy privileges. We woke up and I decided to separate my jewelry and move it in my personal vehicle as most would. I sat on the bed and began having some pretty strong contractions. Having Braxton Hicks since week 19, I didn't think much of them. They became repetitive and stronger. I went to the bathroom - hell, maybe I ate something just awful. It didn't fix the BACK LABOR I now know I was having... I called my mother-in-law and asked her what to do about "bad" contractions. She questioned back and suggested I call my OB. I chickened out on the emergency line... until I felt an abnormal pushing in my - you know... ahem… lady area. My doctor told me to come to triage and get checked out - and here is where the magic happened.
I emerged from the bathroom in tears and told my husband we had to go to the emergency room. He moved in slow motion. He drove in slow motion. We arrived - thank goodness! And he asks if I can walk in so he can park. Mmm, sweet sweet back labor. I begin to walk in holding my stomach scared of what is happening. A security guard sees me and gets me in a wheelchair and begins pushing me past everyone and everything. I get past the first set of ID protocol and they wheel me up to Labor & Delivery while I'm having now 5 minute contractions from the previous 10 minute. My husband finds me! yay! Oh, ow... and they hand me a dress, tell me to change, and to pee in a cup. I can't pee in the cup. I'm in the oh-so-Zen labor room. This is the room where women are waiting their turn with music and family around to go into labor. I come out of the bathroom in tears ‘cause I can't pee in a stupid cup, I'm having back labor, and I'm shaking uncontrollably. They lay me on the table and the nurse "checks me out." She looks me in the face and says, "Oh darling, you're having the baby tonight." Talk about shock. She begins yelling words like: fully dilated, bloody show, a head and some bits. So, they wheel me into the delivery room and there are so many nurses around. Did I mention I'm in shock? My OB comes in and he puts the ultrasound probe on my stomach and turns from the monitor to face me. His game face is on. That's a good sign... right?
Then, there is a sweet voice. One of the women who works in the NICU she tells me my son is early. He'll be in the NICU. I don't understand what she's saying, but she's calm. I'm hyperventilating, scared, crying, breathing, shock, everything. They begin wheeling me to surgery where exclaim to my husband, "CALL MY DAD!" My husband kisses me on the forehead and says he loves me and that everything will be ok. What does he know? We get to surgery and I can't move my arms... they're strapped to the gurney I'm on. I'm pretty sure I'm naked, but I can't really tell. There are only like 8-12 people in here and they're all staring at my nude body. At least I shaved my legs today... win? It's so loud. The doctor is screaming that he's not waiting for anyone. There is an oxygen mask on my face when I whimper out, "I'm not under yet!" I go out.
When I wake up, I'm in a dark room with my husband and my stomach is flat. A girl is asking me questions about if I'm ever sad. Then, the NICU neonatologist is somehow magically there and starts talking about my son. I got the privilege to meet him approximately four hours or more later. He was small. He was very red. He had a ventilator tube down his throat. His legs were terribly bruised as well as his back as he was breech. Within three hours of waking up from a nap, I gave birth to my son.
I write this now, just one month from his original due date. He is now 35 weeks gestation and a little over 2 months actual age. He's still in the NICU growing and trying to come home to be with us. I share in his triumphs and I cry when the days are bad. 71 days in the NICU and counting... and I've visited him everyday except two so far (illness). I've watched him go from the Vent, to the Nava, to CPAP, to hopefully nothing ever again. I've watched lines go in and out of his fragile body. I listened to him cry for the first time about four days after he was born and the vent tube was removed. I've watched his body go from tissue to skin. I've seen a preemie outfit go from swallowing him whole to being too tight. All I want is for him to stay healthy and to grow as he has. I've never been so proud. 71 days ago I'd never felt such a heart wrenching paralyzing fear immediately followed by deep, genuine, sincere, unconditional love for another. I am a stronger person because of my son and he doesn't even know it.
At my postpartum checkup 6 weeks later, I was in tears from all the big bumps women were walking around with – and I was empty and alone on the visit. My doctor told me that he cannot tell me what happened as I arrived fully dilated and having contractions. I had no signs: no blood, water breaking, mucus plug, nadda. His best guess he said was that I have an incompetent cervix. He said that if I choose to have another child, that I should get a cerclage at 13 weeks. He said that I’m likely to have another preemie and that I’d be a high risk pregnancy next go around.
I miss not getting to experience any of my third trimester that women complain about and shouldn’t. I’ll miss not having the opportunity to take maternity photos. I’ll bite my tongue when women complain about having to be induced. I will cry when I realize I should still be pregnant. I cry because I did everything right my whole pregnancy and didn't get to live the fairytale.I’ll still be angry because of my Post Traumatic Stress. Most of all - I’ll still cry because I know my son shouldn’t have to fight to survive.
But even though
The unexpected emergency c-section (classical style) I had was not glamorous or beautiful, but I would do it again because it gave me my son and that's all I really wanted. And now all I want is for him to stay healthy, grow, and come home to be with me (and daddy too).
04-17-2014 08:33 AM
You are so amazing to sit and write about this!!
I do have one question for you, did you ever have a LEEP procedure prior to this pregnacy? I know that raises a risk for preterm labor and incompetent cervix.. I had a LEEp done in december 2013, and we are considering possibly ttc again after my next pap (providing its normal). Just wondering if that was your case as well.
04-17-2014 08:51 AM
I've never had a LEEP procedure. I've only just had regular annual papsmears that have been returned as normal. All my OB appointments while pregnant also were very normal and healthy. I always felt a little looked over because of my miscarriage, but doctors don't seem to take much notice in it until you have three in one year is how they do it here. My mother had me one month early, but that doesn't really provide me much information as to why I'd have a baby three months early. Que sera sera, I guess...
Good luck on trying to conceive! We're probably going to wait until our son gets to age two before we attempt to have another child - Doctors say around then he should meet his milestones and even out to his peers in maturity. It's a long way away from now though - we gotta master feedings, keeping him healthy, and taking him home.