10 June 2011

Our birth story

In a perfect world I would've started this blog right after our little N was born. But, between the chaotic madness that is life with a newborn, and I suppose the fact that I was still so raw and in such a deep state of mourning after your passing, I never got around to it. So we're getting going a little late. Five months late to be exact. Wow. Five months. I can't believe that five months have already flown since the night he came into our world.
The night he was born was both the scariest and most amazing night of my life. Everyone's 'birth story' is important to them (and pretty much only them) I guess. But I need to write our down so that I am sure I will never forget it - and this is as good a place as any to do that. I remember thinking the entire time how much I wished you were there, mom. I know in my heart you were with me...but there were points were I wanted nothing more than to have you holding my hand, telling me it was going to be okay.

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."

Things got a bit chaotic then. Poor DH went into 'crazy' mode and was rushing around, throwing suitcases into the car and then yelling that he couldn't find the car keys! Eventually we jumped into the other car (the one without the bags in) and headed off. I was scared. Dr C had told me that this kind of bleed could be extremely dangerous and, if I was to start bleeding, the urgency of getting to the hospital quickly (which was 20 minutes away) could not be emphasized enough. As fate would have it, about 3 minutes into the drive we had a problem. There wasn't enough petrol in the car to get us to the hospital and we were going to have to stop. I'm not a hugely religious person. But I started praying. I was lying in the back seat with my legs in the air and towels, drenched with blood by now, wrapped around me. Needless to say the poor petrol attendant got the fright of his life when we pulled up with my DH yelling at the top of his voice and throwing cash at him!

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.

Once I was all prepped - catheter and all (yuk!) - we were off to theatre. Like most women, the thing I was most nervous about was the epidural. But, in hindsight, it was probably one of the the least stressful parts. I was made to lay on my side and, with my DH seated directly infront of me and looking me in the eye the whole time, they numbed the area and inserted the needle. It wasn't fun, but it wasn't too bad. What was bad though was the almost instant nausea that hit me like a ton of bricks. As soon as I started going numb (which feels like your body heating up from the feet up) I started telling them I felt sick. Very sick. They gave me something to stop the nausea - and that's about the time the vomiting started! I basically vomitted throughout the entire birth. And about that . . . vomiting whilst lying on your back, numb from the boobs down? Not. So. Cool.

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.

Although there was nothing technically wrong with him at that stage, they weren't particularly happy with his colour and wanted to get him on oxygen as soon as possible. So it was literally a minute or two that they had him in the theatre, quickly holding him up for me to see and then rushing him off to NICU, with my DH trailing behind them.

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.

I have never loved anyone more.

No comments:

Post a Comment