I always knew in my heart my baby would come early. Maybe it was all those warnings the fetal maternal doctor gave me about hypertensive mothers, or in my heart I just knew. Our little baby swayed back and forth in utero from the 10th-25 Percentile over my last trimester. My blood pressure slowly started climbing again, and the doctors would give me that side squinty eye look when they reviewed my bp levels I was recording. To add insult to injury, I developed gestational diabetes, and even with my paleo diet, my morning fasting numbers were super high.
On November 11th, I remember feeling really crampy all day in the top of my stomach. I thought maybe I had been on my feet too long, and after dinner I had resolved myself to lay low. As I was loading the dishwasher, at 33 weeks and 6 days pregnant, something happened. Something inside me felt horrible. I was in some of the worst pain, pain that would not subside. I crawled to the couch and lay there screaming. I remember gripping the couch with my fists and clenching the fabric waiting for it to pass. My husband felt helpless and kept asking what he should do, but I couldn't speak. I got to the tub, hoping the warm water would relax me or something. I called the OB office after hour call line and they told me someone would call me back. An hour went by, still motionless in pain in my bathtub. Finally my husband calls again and they tell us to come in. We wake up poor Mimi, and we go to labor and delivery at 11pm.
An ultrasound confirms that I tore a 3 cm piece of my placenta, but the baby was stable. They admitted me and began steroid shots to strengthen the babies lungs. The doctor told me that the baby was stable, but the amount of pain I was in was concerning. She felt that after 3 rounds of steroids they wanted to deliver the baby. I sat for two days in the hospital under constant monitors. After the first 24 hours, I was in so much pain it hurt to breath, the tear was near the top of my belly and the expanding of my lungs was excruciating. I finally accepted some pain medication. The next 24 hours my husband and I felt like we were on a plane stuck on the runway waiting to take off with the flight attendants and captain giving us different information. It didn't help that the doctor who admitted us, now went off call and the new doctor had a different idea of what we should do. New doctor decides that since the babies heart is stable, we should wait as long as possible (even weeks) and just be on constant standby for an emergency c section. When she said this to me I broke into tears. I was in this unimaginable pain, like flesh tearing apart inside me. Every move of my body was becoming excruciating. I was not allowed any food or even water by mouth over the last 36 hours. I looked at my husband eyes searching for him to make a decision so I didn't spend the rest of my life feeling guilty that I had my baby early because I couldn't' take this pain any longer. The doctor left it up to us, have a csection now and the baby will surely go to the NICU for an indeterminate amount of time, or wait it out in this constant state of pain dampened by pain medication. I hated the doctor for making me feel like I had to chose between me stopping the pain and the baby going to the NICU. My husband could read my face, he saw my pain. I think we both knew in our hearts something was wrong and it was time to have the baby.
We signed all the paperwork, they began to prep me for my surgery, and then the doctor knocks again. She tells me the NICU is full and that as soon as I have my baby, it will be transferred to another hospital and I will have to stay. My husband was furious, I of course began to cry again. Not only would my baby be in a NICU, but one across town. How can this be happening?
I put my hands on my husband shoulders to calm him down and looked him straight in the face and for some reason at that moment, I was the strong one. I told him that the important this is that the baby will be ok. We can get through this, I told him. He was so angry, I had never seen him that upset. The charge nurse must have overheard our conversation. She told us in this whisper that we don't have to sign the release forms for the baby to be transfered and that they will find a place for the baby. She called the NICU and found out that private quarantine rooms were available which could technical house our infant.
Two amazing things happened next. As I was prepped for surgery in the OR, the doctor came in and told us they found a place for our baby in the NICU, then minutes later, this amazing little girl came out screaming, which is music to a mothers ears....
5 lbs, 3 oz of love, 17 inches long at 34 weeks.
What I didn't realize was the hardest part was still ahead of me...