A Valentine’s Day and birth story all in one.
Warning: If you are pregnant with your first, DO NOT READ THIS. Wait until after you give birth.
Today my daughter is 3, and in this last year she has grown up so much into a smart, beautiful little girl. She can tell me when she is happy, sad, scared, and mad. She uses her manners saying “please” and “thank you.” She is officially potty trained. And her own personality is really developing.
Three years ago, I was a week past my due date and had a doctor’s appointment. I had been on bedrest for the last 2 months due to being diagnosed with preeclampsia. My doctor told me that my blood pressure was a little high and I was past my due date so it was time to get induced. My husband and I had one last child-less dinner together at Panda Express, and then we headed to the hospital.
I did not have much of a birth plan. I knew I wanted an epidural, and I had made a mixed cd for the laboring process. I changed into a hospital gown, they hooked me up to a machine that tracks contractions, another one for blood pressure and pulse, and stuck with me an IV full of Pitocin. My nurse was awesome, and I talked with her about fearing pain (I do have a high pain tolerance, but I wanted that epidural) and she assured me that the epidural would happen. And that was the end of the birth plan.
I fell asleep, and my husband rested also. I woke up early the next morning to some horrible stomach cramps. I thought, “I just need to use the bathroom”. The nurse came in to assist me, and suddenly I realized this was the pain of a contraction. There was no gentle easing into it, it was painful, and the pain was increasing at an exponential rate. I wanted to tough it out though, so I stayed calm and acted like it was okay. Five minutes later I was calling the nurse back in for the epidural. This process took forever. They called in the anesthesiologist, who is somewhere in the hospital doing his pain reduction thing with other patients. He eventually arrives, and it’s a big set up. He has to figure out the right place in your back, explain the risks, have you sign paperwork, amongst other stuff. It was at least an hour before I actually got the epidural from the time I stated, “I think I need it now.” I remember it being the absolute worst pain I’ve ever felt, and as the nurse was helping me breathe through them, my entire body was shaking. The rests between contractions were short, a little over a minute. But once that epidural kicked in, the pain stopped, and the contractions decreased.
Four hours later, we were still waiting. There was a shift change, and my new nurse, well, she was just as awesome. Finally the time came when I was to start pushing. The nurse was helping me through and showing my husband how to help me. They kept telling me they could see hair which motivated me to keep going. Well, at least an hour went by of just pushing. It wasn’t happening. I had developed a fever, my blood pressure was high, and I was exhausted. My husband offered the birth cd and I thought he was crazy for suggesting it. I couldn’t feel the contractions, so I didn’t know when to push. They upped the Pitocin, decreased the epidural and worked to bring my fever down. After almost of an hour of resting, it was time to push again. And now, I could feel the pain despite not noticing the contractions. The nurse told me when to push, and as we got closer, she called the doctor in. I pushed, and each time it was just as painful. The doctor instructed me to push through the pain that she described as a seething fire. I did it, and it was the worst pain I have experienced.
At 3:06pm, on 2/12/11, Eva entered the world at 6 lb. and 13 oz. But it wasn’t over.
My baby girl was put on my chest, but she stopped breathing. An emergency crew came in, and they were all yelling at each other stating the NICU doctor was busy. My heart dropped, and the pediatric nurses were freaking out in front of us. Luckily, the doctor that delivered my baby was able to remain calm and directed them. They took my baby girl immediately to the NICU and intubated her. I still get teary-eyed today thinking about how quickly she went from full of life to turning purple.
Within 20 minutes of being in the NICU, she began breathing on her own. She completely flourished from that point forward, but she remained in the NICU for observation. We went to visit her often, trying to stick to a feed schedule, but it was hard because it took a long time to get from my room to the NICU, especially because I had to be pushed in a wheel chair.
Two days later, the doctor on the unit approved my daughter to come home. She came to my hospital room for the first time, and we dressed her and wrapped her up. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It was finally time to take her home. It was time to officially start our family. The new love I had been introduced to was the greatest experience ever. Best Valentine’s Day ever!