10 June 2011
Our birth story
I was diagnosed with a low-lying placenta early in my pregnancy, and we knew there was no way we were going to have natural birth. And I can't say I was entirely devastated about this. In my heart I think I always knew I was a ceasar-kinda-girl, even if I didn't say so in so many words. I guess that's not something many women are willing to admit. But hey, if I can't be honest in my own blog then where can I be? It's not that I had or have anything against natural birth. On the contrary, I have a world of respect for the women who bravely put all their faith into mother nature's hands, go forth and 'puuuush'. I just never thought I had it in me to do it. But, as fate (and maybe a little luck?) would have it, that decision was taken out of my hands. According to our gynecologist, Dr C, attempting to have a natural birth would have been extremely dangerous for both mom and baby (especially as I had already experienced a bad bleed and ended up in hospital for two nights at about 34 weeks).
Our ceasarean section was scheduled for 37 weeks, on 4 January 2011. Dr C didn't want to take a chance and push it to the usual 38 weeks, as he was afraid my placenta would abrupt and I would have an even more serious bleed next time.
Christmas Day came and went in a blur. You had only been gone three months and it was our first Christmas without you. It was a hard one. There were no special 'mommy touches' and to me it felt strained and sad. Add to this the fact that I was 36 weeks pregnant and feeling like a beached whale in the middle of a Southern Hemisphere summer and . . . let's just say it wasn't the most festive Christmas I've ever had!
On the night of 29 December, at about 9pm, I sat down on our bed and felt what can only be described as a large gush. My first thought was "oh, this is that pregnancy incontinence thing I've heard about!" But when I stood up and saw what looked like litres of blood pouring down my legs, I realised it was time to go. I stood calmly at the top of the stairs and shouted down to my Dear Husband (DH), "Babe . . . we need to go to the hospital. Now."
Time flew after that and we were at the hospital in what felt like minutes. I was wheeled straight up to the labour ward. They hooked me up to the fetal monitor and the minute I hear N's heartbeat I relaxed a little. Dr C arrived not long after that, wearing shorts and a t-shirt (it was around 10pm by now) and came in and told me it was ceasar time! He hooked up my IV, the nurse was struggling to do it, gave me a huge smile and told me everything was going to be okay. But despite his best efforts to calm me, I got nervous again. This time DH was the calm one. He kept reassuring me and telling me that it was going to be fine. He also told me that dad was waiting in the coffee shop downstairs . . . and for some reason it really helped knowing that my daddy was right there too.
Most of the birth (which was super quick once they had me numbed) was a bit of blur. But when they hauled our little N out and I heard him scream, well, I have never heard a sweeter sound in my life. He was ok. He was here. All 3kg's and 51cm's of him.
They wheeled me into recovery and then into the ward. And it was over. By now it was around 1.30am. My little boy was in the NICU and DH went home to get some sleep. And that's when the tears came flooding. I was alone in the dark ward (everyone else fast asleep) and my baby was gone. He was taken out of my womb, where I had been working so hard to keep him safe for the past 36 weeks . . . and I couldn't see him. I was devastated. I wanted to see him and hold him and know he was okay. I wanted to feed him. There was a woman lying in the bed next to me who was still pregnant (she was obviously booked in for pregnancy-related complications). She was hooked up to a fetal monitor and all I could hear in the darkened, silent ward was her baby's heartbeat. I remember feeling so jealous. She still had her little one tucked safely inside her belly. I felt so alone.
By about 2pm the following day they still wouldn't let me see my baby. I was a wreck. He was not allowed to leave the NICU and I wasn't allowed to go in until they had taken out my catheter and IV. Dad and DH had been in to see me and baby N and had taken photographs and videos of him on their cell phones for me . . .
Needless to say by the time Dr C came around to check on me he was appalled to find that I hadn't see my baby yet. He instructed the nurses to remove the catheter and drips and bring me a wheelchair.
And then finally, we met. Lying on the bassinet in the NICU he looked so tiny and so perfect. I have never felt such a strong desire to protect anyone in my life . . . and I doubt I ever will again.