Welcome to the 3rd post in a series of birth stories that will run from August through September, Birth Story Celebration. Keep checking back on Tuesdays and Fridays for new, awesome stories of the miracle that makes us parents! Today our featured story is from Jeannette.
Jeannette is a married mother of two girls and works full time outside the home. She coaches girls youth softball, is active in her church and enjoys spending time with her family. In her free time, Jeannette blogs about her adventures in motherhood and her wonderfully hilarious crafting attempts (and fails) at Mommy Needs A Martini.
Motherhood seemed so foreign to me as a young adult. I was completely content being an Aunt and Godmother and I couldn’t imagine ever being responsible enough to raise a little human of my own.
Until one day I did. It just sort of hit me.
My husband and I were married in 2006 and never even discussed having kids until after the first year. Even then it was only in passing. It wasn’t until two years into our marriage that we really started thinking about it. So in 2008, we decided it was time. As it turned out, time is all we’d have for a while.
We tried to get pregnant, nonchalantly, for about eight months. Then I started getting spastic with calendars and temperatures and ovulation kits. But still, nothing. We finally saw a doctor who told us to try a little longer before moving towards fertility treatments. So we kind of gave up. Well, what I mean is, we stopped measuring and counting and worrying and agreed if it is to be, it will be.
And then it was. Just like that. The instant we stopped carrying on, it happened.
Six weeks before we were to start fertility treatments in 2009, we finally saw two pink lines! It took two years and two miscarriages to get there, but we got there! And I got really big really fast. They immediately thought gestational diabetes but I was barely borderline. So they ordered an ultrasound and discovered a second bag of water, a second sac, but no second baby. I was carrying a vanishing twin.
Overall, it was an okay pregnancy. I didn’t have morning sickness beyond random nausea but GAWD was I moody. I mean like certifiably, stay out of my way, you better not blink WICKED. I didn’t know it then, but you know what they say about hindsight! I should probably apologize to a lot of people, now that I think about it. Anyway, the worst part about my pregnancy wasn’t the typical symptoms. It was the jokes about how big I was getting and the strangers touching my swollen belly and people asking how many babies I was lugging around. The. WORST.
I was due on April 19th but went in for my weekly exam on the 15th. The Dr. said everything was fine and I didn’t seem to be quite ready. So I went home, like any other day, and went straight to the bathroom because my poor bladder had no room to fill up anymore. Only this time it wasn’t just pee. IT WAS BABY TIME!! We got to the hospital around dinner time, I got hooked up to the monitors and they confirmed I was definitely staying for the long haul.
And a long haul it was. I bounced on a balance ball, I walked, I slept, I puked, I screamed and I cried through sixteen hours of labor and two failed epidurals. For sixteen hours I was not allowed to ingest anything but ice and Alka Seltzer. Ultimately, I stopped progressing at 7cm and the baby started freaking out inside, so, at hour seventeen, I was rushed into an emergency C-section.
Since the epidurals failed, they had to give me a spinal. If you’ve never had one, I assure you, you don’t want one. I shook from head to toe for hours after the surgery, I was numb from the neck down and I couldn’t tell if I was breathing or not. I felt as if I was trapped in an avalanche and no one seemed to care. My mind was racing and I started to panic. They finally allowed my husband to come in and I stopped trying to climb out of my skin. Then, as we were desperately waiting to hear our baby girl cry for the first time, I heard the surgeon say, “Oops! Did you see that?”
No one would explain to me what that meant, but within minutes of the Dr.’s outburst, my baby was here and nothing else mattered. They cleaned her up and did their normal work up before bringing her over to me. I kissed her sweet head and cried like, well, a baby. They whisked her away and it was almost six hours before I saw her again.
That’s when I found out what the “oops” meant. That, you see, was the sound of my bladder being torn during the surgery. So for the next six hours, instead of bonding with my new baby, learning how to nurse and how to change a diaper, they were trying to get me to stop bleeding. It took hours for me to stop shaking, hours for them to explain anything, hours to breathe without hyperventilating. Who knew hours could feel like years?
When they were finally comfortable with my status and had me sufficiently medicated, they brought this teeny tiny little person into my room. She was perfect and tiny and everything I thought she would be. I was smitten! But I was also so unbelievably tired and sick and I couldn’t comprehend the level of pain I was in. I don’t remember much else about the hospital stay. I can’t tell you about that first diaper or how much she drank or what she wore. I can show you pictures, but I don’t recall any of it.
After four days of feeling like I was alone an awful lot, I was released and sent home with my new baby girl. I also brought with me an incision closed with 27 staples and surgi-glue, an engorged chest that my baby wanted nothing to do with, track marks and bruises on both of my arms as if I was coming off a bender and a Foley catheter that remained until ten days post-partum.