Warning: Super long post.
In my 29 years of life, I have experienced two heartbreaks thus far. One at 21 years young by a boy, and second, the day after Emma was born – hands down the biggest heartbreak, and the toughest time of my life… This is Emma’s birth story.
On Tuesday, September 29, 2015, I went for my routine 39 weeks prenatal appointment. I explained to the doctor that I am having painful false contractions, and we discussed induction options should Emma decide to stay in the womb longer than 40 weeks. When the doctor checked my cervix, I was at 3cm dilated, 50% effaced and at station -2. The doctor was optimistic that I will not go past my due date, and the baby is getting ready to come out. Due to having painful false contractions, the doctor stripped my membrane to help kick start my labor. The following morning, I lost my mucus plug, and I continued to lose more and more throughout the day. I also started feeling those annoying mild cramps all day as well. However, it wasn’t until around 11:30 PM on September 30, 2015, I started to feel the real, regular contractions. They would start with a period like cramps then wrap around to my lower back, and it started to get a bit more painful each time. When I started timing them at 11:30 PM, they were about 20 minutes apart. Steve and I decided to wait a bit more to see if the contractions continue to progress because we didn’t want to go to the hospital and get sent back home again. By 1/1:30 AM, they were about 5 minutes apart and becoming even more painful. I knew it was go time!
We rushed to the hospital, and we were admitted to a triage room around 2 AM, shortly after, the on call doctor came to check my cervix. She told me I was 4cm dilated, and she could feel Emma’s head and asked me to walk the halls of the hospital for about 2 hours to further dilate. So from 2:30 AM to 5 AM, Steve and I walked around the labor and delivery unit of the hospital. I would like to think that I have pretty high pain tolerance, but man, the labor contractions are NO JOKE. My contractions were getting closer and much more painful while walking the halls. I could feel when the contractions were about to come, and when they did, I’d have to stop my walk, grip the rail on the wall and breathe through the contractions. By the time it was 5 AM, my contractions were about 3 minutes apart, and I was in so much pain. I’ve been going back and forth about epidural, but who am I kidding? I needed the drugs, pronto. Finally, I was dilated enough to be moved to the labor and delivery room where I could request the epidural. By that time, I was about 5cm dilated and in tremendous pain. I have all the respect for mamas out there opting for natural birth without drugs!!
After getting the epidural, I was golden. I could not feel the painful contractions anymore! The nurses told me to get some rest and sleep, but I was way too excited to sleep! I couldn’t wait to meet my little girl!! Sometime in the morning of October 1, 2015 (I lost track of time), my doctor came in to check my cervix, I was 6cm dilated, and so she decided to break my water since it didn’t break on its own. Then the waiting game started. My doctor would come by my room periodically to check my cervix to see if I have dilated more. I want to say it was either in the late afternoon or early evening when the doctor wanted me to try changing my position since I had been stuck at 7cm and was not progressing. The nurses grabbed a medicine ball shaped like a peanut and helped me move to my side and put the medicine ball in between my legs. As soon as they did that, the monitors I was hooked up to got super angry with annoying beeping sounds and the next thing I know, there were tons of nurses and doctors in my room and one of the nurses was putting an oxygen mask on my face. The angry beeping monitor was monitoring Emma’s heart rate. When they repositioned me to my side, her’s heart rate rapidly decreased and to be honest, I have no idea what was going on with the nurses and doctors moving me around to get Emma’s heart rate stabilized. It was the scariest moment of my life! And in the midst of everything, my doctor was asking me to sign forms for an emergency c-section in case we needed to move to the OR immediately. Shortly after I signed the forms, Emma’s heart rate stabilized. After the scary storm passed, my doctor then talked about the option of a c-section delivery. By this time, I was in labor for about 20 hours or so. The doctor didn’t think I was going to progress more than 7cm, and it may be the safest option. After discussing with Steve, we decided to do the surgery. It wasn’t in my birth plan, but I wanted to do whatever necessary to keep Emma safe and healthy. While waiting for an OR to open up, I spiked a fever which I was told was common when in labor for so long. The negative thing about having a fever while in labor is that there’s a chance that it could pass on to the baby, so they have to start the baby on antibiotics as soon as they are born. Sorry baby 😦 In addition to the fever, my epidural started wearing off, and I was feeling the contractions all over again. It was definitely not fun! Again, so much respect for the mamas who deliver without any medication! It wasn’t until an hour or two later since I could feel the contractions again that the anesthesiologist came to administer my drug for the c-section. Once that happened, I was golden again until all sorts of scary thoughts ran through my brain about the surgery. Having a c-section didn’t cross my mind while I was pregnant. Emma was in a head down position, and the doctor and I didn’t talk about needing a c-section. Naturally, I was scared and unaware of what would happen in the OR.
After waiting about five hours for the OR to open up, we were finally going to meet our little girl! I got wheeled to the OR first, and the nurses reassured me that Steve will join me shortly. As soon as I got to the OR, I was shaking uncontrollably which I was told was normal due to the anesthesia. But it was frightening, and I hated the fact that I couldn’t relax! On top of that, they didn’t bring in Steve fast enough! Once they prepped me and made sure I was numbed from waist down, the doctor went to work. I felt tremendous amount of pressure, and felt lots of tugging and pulling. Finally, Steve came in and sat by my head and literally not even a minute after he sat down, the nurse said, “look here dad”, and that’s when I heard the ear piercing cry of Emma. And just like that, Emma Olivia was born on Friday, October 2, 2015 at 12:21 AM. She weighed 6 lbs and 14 oz and 19 inches long. After they cleaned her up, they brought her over to me and the waterworks began. I honestly cannot explain in words all the emotions I felt when I saw her face. My heart was literally going to burst out of my chest with so much love for this tiny human! Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do skin to skin right away which was in my birth plan, but it didn’t matter when I saw her face. She was the most beautiful thing in the world. I waited 10 months for this moment. And though the delivery didn’t go according to my plan, the moment I met her for the first time truly was a moment to remember forever. She was perfect in every way. Sadly, due to my fever, they had to take her away from us for about 2 hrs or so to give her antibiotics. When she returned to us, we were able to do skin to skin and soak in the moment of her birth. She was finally here.
In the beginning of this post I mentioned my biggest heartbreak and toughest time of my life. I don’t think anyone who isn’t a parent can experience the pain I felt feeling hopeless for your child and not being able to do anything to help ease their pain. And that was the most heartbreaking thing for me. The day after Emma was born, she was diagnosed with volvulus. That day, she didn’t seem like her normal self from the day she was born. She was fussy, crying, and wouldn’t nurse. Then she threw up three times, and the last two times she threw up, her vomit was bright green. As soon as I saw that, I just knew something wasn’t right. We alerted our nurse who then got the pediatrician on call. The pediatrician ordered an x-ray of her tummy and saw that her stomach was larger than normal. She then ordered Upper GI Test and that’s when the radiologist informed us that her intestines are twisted and it is a serious matter. Everything moved so quick from there. They told me she had to get an emergency surgery to untwist her intestines. She was born with intestinal malrotation and when her intestines are twisted, it will cut off blood supply in her intestines causing it to die. Fortunately, we were able to get her into surgery right away, and no parts of her intestines were dead or damaged. The surgeon just had to untwist her intestines. The week she stayed in NICU after the surgery was the toughest week of my life. Being discharged from the hospital and going home with an empty car seat and coming home to an empty nest was definitely not what I had imagined. I had this huge void in my heart, but the toughest was leaving our little girl in the hospital and not being able to hold her and be there for her when she probably needed me the most. Seeing her helpless with breathing tube down her throat and feeding tube in her nose was heartbreaking. I’ve never prayed so much in my life. We went to go see her at the hospital as often as we could. After a grueling week, our little girl pulled through and we were cleared to go home. Finally, we were able to bring home our love bug.
Everything that happened since I started labor was unexpected, from having an emergency c-section to Emma’s emergency surgery. But I still truly believe everything happens for a reason. I feel like we are stronger as parents to have experienced such difficult time so early on in our parenthood, it toughened our skin a bit. Despite the hardship, we are just so lucky and blessed to have her in our arms now, and she recovered well and is just absolutely perfect!
Get ready for baby posts/pictures overload. I’m forewarning you now! 😉 In the meantime, here are pictures from the hospital and Emma’s DIY newborn pictures.