We’re celebrating all kinds of births this week, so we’ve dubbed it BIRTH WEEK. Today we’ll be focusing on the magic of hospital deliveries.
I knew I was pregnant with Toga before I should have known I was pregnant. I hadn’t missed a period — in fact it had only been a week since conception. Life with a military man had its perks when it came to knowing the exact date of conception — but I KNEW. I dreamed about her, my beautiful blonde haired baby.
The faint almost nonexistent blue line on the pregnancy test confirmed everything. The pregnancy was relatively normal. I dreamed of a non-medicated natural labor and delivery, waiting for my love to come on her own time. I prepared for it, I read all of the materials I could get my hands on about hypnobirthing and natural labor techniques. I was going to be the crunchiest mama of them all.
At least until I was admitted to the hospital at 34 weeks due to pre-eclampsia and IUGR. After a routine ultrasound my OB came in and told me the one thing I never expected to hear, “We’re having this baby, now. Either I’m inducing you, or I’m preforming a C-section. But she’s coming out.” This was not how I wanted things to happen; this wasn’t how it was supposed to happen.
Everything was a blur: her father had just left after coming in to visit at the hospital with a friend of ours. After a frantic phone call he was back in under 10 minutes. I was moved to a larger room where they began the pitocin. The contractions never picked up speed, and more threats of Cesarean sections came. I refused. It was the one area I felt I still had control over as far as my daughter’s birth. They were not cutting me open.
I slept and woke in the morning to the power being out in the entire hospital. After three hours of sitting in the dark the doctor told me I could stay there and give birth and have my daughter transferred to a hospital three hours away or I could transfer to the hospital before the birth. I chose the latter. The pitocin stopped, the transportation team came and took me away. For three hours I layed on a stretcher in an ambulance making small talk with the pleasant EMTs. They asked about my plans for the baby, making me feel a little bit more in control of my situation. It was pleasant…almost.
We arrived at the hospital where I was to have my daughter. The pitocin was started again, and my blood pressure was out of control. The new doctor, the one I didn’t know, the one I didn’t trust, told me if I didn’t progress fast enough I would be having a Cesarean section. Everything was falling apart. It was day two and no sign of the baby coming into the world, so I slept.
In a last ditch attempt to keep something resembling the way I wanted the birth to go I asked for an epidural the next morning. Within an hour my blood pressure was dropping, my labor was progressing, and I was calm. I felt at peace with my decision to try and deliver my daughter the way I had wanted. My family began placing bets. Whoever guessed the closest time to when my daughter was born would win. 12pm, 4pm, 9pm, and my guess, right before 11pm. The stress faded away — melted actually.
In the few fleeting moments I was able to hold her I fell completely in love with her.
I realized everything was going to be ok, my daughter would be fine, and I would be fine. At 10:15 pm I could feel her moving lower and lower, preparing for her entry into the world. It was surreal. At 10:45 my doctor and his nurses prepared me for delivery. At 10:57 I was ready to go. In one two minute-long push, my daughter was born, face up and screaming, born at 10:59pm, July 12, 2011. She was born right before 11 — I won the pool. She was tiny, only 3lbs and 15oz. She was placed on my breast and stared at me, taking in my face like she knew she was going to be carried away and placed in the NICU.
In the few fleeting moments I was able to hold her I fell completely in love with her. She was determined, and strong. As quickly as she was placed on me she was gone. I spent the next hour stuffing my face full of Steak and Shake that her daddy brought me while sitting spread eagle so the doctor could clean me up, check for tears and all that good shit.
I was finally ready to go visit my beautiful Saratoga in her incubator. I had been prepared for the worst. The ventilator, the possibility that I wouldn’t be able to hold her, that she could be blind. But as soon as I saw her, with nothing more than the standard IV and the monitors my heart flew. My tiny little Toga was perfect. Pink and rosey like the full term babies on TV, and staring at me, smiling at me. Two and a half weeks later, after only needing to learn to eat, she came home on her dad’s birthday.
Her birth wasn’t how I planned and more than a little traumatizing, but none the less, it was beautiful in its own way — perfect even. Today I have a 25lb nine-month-old, who continues to prove her doctors wrong. No one expected her to catch up, but unless you know the story you wouldn’t be able to tell she was born six weeks early.