Alright.. so I have gone back and forth about sharing my birth story. It is very special to me and putting stuff like this out there into the public/online is scary because of how close it is to my heart. I do however feel that I read so so so many birth stories that went exactly as planned. Even though they are still completely wonderful and beautiful, I feel like it is important to have ones like this out there so us moms do not feel alone. Still extremely wonderful and beautiful, but also very scary and not expected.
This pregnancy was so much more painful and uncomfortable than my first. In the beginning, I had some major bleeding with all signs of my body miscarrying. No real explanation, but a very gut wrenching experience. I also had Braxton hicks like no ones business! Other than that, it was pretty routine. I was healthy and baby was healthy. Each check up, everything was on track. Even though I was measuring smaller near the end, her heart rate was perfect and c-section number two was scheduled.
We checked in at 9am, my nerves were all over the place, got to our room and waited. We were told they were running behind, so my 11am scheduled c-section was off the radar. 4 hours of waiting, anticipation and missing my son like crazy, it was time to have this baby. I walked with the nurse to the OR, leaving my husband behind. This was the scariest walk off all time. I was already very nervous to have another c-section because my first was..well, intense. But when my husband rejoined me in the OR right before they started, I felt at peace.
Not much later, a few tugs and pulls, and London was born. 1:41pm on February 22, 2019. They brought her around the curtain and I just kept thanking God for her. My husband got to cut the umbilical cord and when she was all cleaned up a nurse gave London to my husband while doctors were almost finished stitching me up. Her birth was picture perfect! However, little did we know we were soon in for some unexpected events.
We noticed she was making a unusual noise, something like a squeaky door. As we were in the recovery room, nurses kept putting a stethoscope to her chest. We just thought that they were doing their routine checks. With Parker, we both were so exhausted and excited, we could not remember if this was normal or not. One nurse seemed extremely worried and took her to the nursery for a better evaluation. I don’t even know how long she was gone, but all I could think about was how I only got to hold her for what seemed like a minute, nursed her only briefly and was now extremely worried. She came back as I was about ready to go to my room for the remainder of my stay. Off we went, the three of us.
My mom and brother were the first to visit. Then my husbands parents, my in-laws. Since my dad was with Parker while my mom and brother visited, and my husband had left when his parents did to go get him, my mom came back with my dad. At this point, the nurses had gave me a brief run down that they wanted to take her back to the nursery to evaluate her again. As they finished telling me this, my parents came in, saw London for just a second and off she went again. I brushed it off to my parents that this was all routine, when it simply was not. Something was wrong.
Then it all became real, the nursery doctor along with the two nurses who were taking care of me came back, without London and said the scariest words I have ever heard. London was being admitted to the NICU nursery because she had fluid in her lungs from the c-section and was having difficulty breathing. They also found an irregular heart beat that they needed to monitor. She needed x-rays to confirm there was fluid and then a course of antibiotics to fight any infection that the fluid may cause. They told me I would not be able to nurse her or hold her until the morning. My heart raced and as I held back my tears I asked my parents to leave and then I balled and balled. I needed her in my arms so bad it physically hurt. I didn’t even get to tell her that I loved her and that I was so thankful for her. I was alone. I was afraid. I was in so much pain.
A few hours later, one of the nurses said I could go see her. She also told me about all the monitors and machines she was hooked up too in preparation. As I scooted my sore body onto a wheel chair, ignoring all the pain and acting strong, off to the NICU we went.
Seeing her tiny little self in that bed all hooked up to oxygen and feeding tubes and all kinds of monitors and IVs was overwhelming. But I kept strong, this was good. She was in good hands. I wasn’t able to reach up and touch her, but I kept telling her I loved her a thousand times over.
The nurse wheeled me back to my room to try and get some rest. I would fall asleep for a minute and wake up in a panic. I just could not relax without her by me, without my husband here with me.
The next day, my husband came and we went to visit her. They set me up in a rocking chair and put portable divider screens all the way around us and her bed. They took her out of her NICU bed and handed her to me. Tubes, IVs, and all. I finally felt at peace. I was able to breath calm and relax.
The whole NICU experience is not something I can really put into words. Something I thought would absolutely destroy me ended up being one of the most cherished moments of my life. Every nurse and doctor was incredible. They explained every single little detail to me and made sure I understood. They made sure I knew none of this was my fault or something I could have prevented. The whole experience was so emotional but also so safe and beautiful.
She ended up having to be at the NICU for only the time while I was there for recovery. 3 days. Everyday she would come off a machine or IV. Everyday she was making great progress. By the time Monday afternoon hit, all the machines, monitors and IVs were off and we were going to go home, together!
I am so grateful that things turned out ok and that she is healthy, happy, and wonderful. I am forever grateful to the wonderful NICU nurses and doctors who were so kind and good to me and my sweet baby girl. I had no idea that being a NICU mom all of the sudden put you in this club of the strongest, most supportive and encouraging mamas I have ever come across.
I wouldn’t wish a NICU experience on anyone in the whole world, but I know I am a different person because of it. I couldn’t possibly imagine having to be there a second longer, but I know so many parents who have to. The strength those parents have is so incredibly inspirational.