Updated: May 8, 2019
***Before I begin, I do want to give a trigger warning. Some of the images and story can be sensitive to my readers because I am not going to filter much of this.***
I can't believe that 5 months ago my daughter dramatically made her entrance into this world and here I am holding her in my left arm and typing with just my right hand. I thought now that everything has settled down and I kind of have this mom thing down. I would share my labor and delivery story. I will try to keep it short.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018: The Appointment
I was going in for my usual check up with Nathan by my side. I was 36 weeks along at this point. My usual check up consisted of getting my weight checked, baby's heart beat, blood pressure. Just a routine check. Nothing out the norm. However, when I got to my appointment, I felt something in me was "off". I was zoning out a ton, I felt light headed and just stuff that was out of the norm for me. The receptionist even asked me if I was okay because I wasn't my usual, happy self. The nurse called me back to check everything and everything was perfectly normal. I had this feeling inside me that I just could not contain. I blurted out "Check my blood pressure again!". She checked it. She read the number, Her eyes pop out and let's out a "woah!" and sends me back to the waiting room while they helped other patients (they wanted me to wait things out a little bit so they can check my blood pressure again).
While I was waiting to be seen again, I felt worse. As I blinked at the TV, I began to see these black and white spots. The only way I can describe them to look like is when you blink really fast but in the form of tiny circles. The Doctor called me back and sure enough, my blood pressure was sky high. I told her of the tiny black dots I saw and the doctor decided to put me on the baby monitor. This is not a good sign. Baby was looking fine but the monitor was picking up uterine contractions.
The doctor took a moment to take a deep breath, give me a friendly yet concerned look and said, "We are sending you to the hospital. You have developed symptoms of severe pre-eclampsia and I don't want to risk anything at this stage." I had no idea what it even meant to be pre-eclamptic so I was really confused. She handed me a bunch of consent forms and paperwork to sign as she began to explain the severity of this random thing I had no control over developing. She says that my body was beginning to reject the pregnancy. When it starts to take over, organs in your body start to shut down one by one and can ultimately lead to heart failure which would cause major harm to me and baby and well, death. Off to the hospital we go.
February 13-15, 2018: The Labor
02/13/18 6:30pm - The nurses were already expecting us in Labor and Delivery at the hospital so we needed to go right away. We hop in the car, call both of our parents to let them know that baby is coming and she's coming fast. We didn't give our parents all the details because we didn't want to worry them while they lived several, miles away from us. Nathan and I said a prayer and we had this little voice tell us both that this was going to end with a c-section so we prepared for it even though it wasn't my ideal way to bring Emma into the world.
7:00pm - Nathan and I drive up the little hill, no bags packed, no extra clothes, nothin'. In fact, I was planning on going home that night to pack my hospital bag. I guess that didn't work out. I go in to get admitted. They ask me to change into my gown and get comfy because it was going to be a rough ride. Nathan drove home to get some essentials for our stay in the hospital while the nurses began to get me all hooked up to the machines, get the epidural in, break my water and all that jazz. What made it all 'real" was the fact that the nurses had to put these special pads on the rails of my bed just in case I had any seizures while in labor. Don't want to bang my head against those rails ya know.
(P.s. I had purple hair and yes, I miss it everyday.)
10:00pm - Everything seemed to be going super well. I dialated from 1cm to 4cm REAL quick like so they told us that if everything continued the way it did, that we would definitely have a Valentine's Day baby. It all seemed too good to be true. However, having the knowledge that I could have seizures and potentially die, really shook me up. I had Nathan call up a friend to come over to help him give me a priesthood blessing and Nathan said the most meaningful and comforting prayer I had ever heard and felt in my heart. I felt so much peace after that prayer. The nurses checked my cervix every couple hours to see if we progressed.
02/14/18 9:00am - We slowed down. I only opened up to 5cm after 12 hours. They wanted to see if I would progress any at all so we let my body run its course throughout the day. I am starting to feel a bit nervous that everything was slowing down. It's a good thing we had a monitor for Emma because I was paranoid that something might have happened to her. Her charts were fine. She was fine.
9:00pm - It was the end of the day and still no baby. I was eager for the doctor to check how far I had opened up after waiting all. day. long. Surely, I would be at 8cm or 9cm by now. . . . . . . They checked. . . . . . 5cm. I was still at 5cm people. The doctor finally told me that my cervix was opening up and closing between 4cm and 6cm due to having Pitocin AND Magnesium in my system. Pitocin was meant to get things going and rev up my labor engines while Magnesium relaxes my uterus and stabilizes my blood pressure so I don't get those seizures that could be fatal to me and Emma. They were two powerful drugs fighting against each other. At the end of the night, the doctor decided to drain the drugs out of my system so I could get some food in my stomach and we were just going to start all over. Frustrating. Oh and we needed to get ready for a c-section the following morning. That little voice was right.
February 15, 2018: The Delivery
6:30am - The nurses start preparing us for the c-section with even more paperwork and they gave Nathan some special gear to wear while he is with me in the operating room. We are just waiting for them to finish up on another c-section and we were next. (1 hour later) I am totally relaxed at this point. I have accepted everything that has and will happen. I am just so done and will do anything to get my baby girl out of my body as safely as possible. We update our parents and then it happened. The machines began to beep. Both of Emma's squiggles on the screen began to drop. Heart rate. Down. Oxygen level. Down. The squiggles on the screen were becoming smaller and smaller. The doctor comes in to announce that an emergency c-section needs to be done NOW.
8:00am - I am in the operating room. Nathan is not in there with me because they need to put me out completely in this emergency situation. I begin to panic as I realize I am alone in this operating room. My husband is waiting for me outside and Emma. She's losing. Her health is all going down. We are losing her. Is she going to make out alive? I need my husband. I try to focus and think positive. But how could I if I could feel the intensity in the room and the hurry that they are in. They cut into me and by some odd reason, decide to keep me awake. NATHAN COULD HAVE BEEN IN HERE WITH ME AND NOW I'M PISSED Y'ALL. Now. I have time to think during the procedure. "Get her out. Please. Is she out yet? What is taking so long? Will I hear her cry? Is she going to make it?" A tear streams down my face as I close my eyes. Panic mode on and then..... silence.
February 15, 2018 The Birth | 6lbs 9oz | 19.75in
8:23am - "8:23am" says the doctor. Emma cries three times and silence falls shortly after. She's not in the room with me anymore. They didn't show her to me. Why didn't they show her to me? Is something wrong? The doctors get me all cleaned up, sewn back up, and wheeled off to recover. Nathan wasn't waiting in the room for me. He texted me saying he was with Emma and they are getting her all checked out and everything. Then I get this picture:
She looks so limp, lifeless and sad. I remember thinking to myself, "This is not my daughter. That is someone else's kid. Right?". So many wires. This is not at all how I imagined my labor and delivery to go. I wanted to hold my daughter right after birth and have immediate skin to skin. But I didn't. Due to my epidural taking forever to wear off, I did not get to see or hold Emma for 24 hours.
February 16, 2018: The NICU
Today was the day I finally got to meet my little fighter. I can't imagine how exhausted she might be. She sure looked like it from the picture Nathan sent me. It still hadn't hit me that she was mine but I was eager to see her and walked over to the NICU as fast as I possibly could but could only hit sloth speed because of the pain I was I in. We arrive and approach a room sectioned off by a curtain. In this intimidating machine filled with wires. sounds of beeps, and many colorful lights, lies my sweet baby girl. We pull up a chair and we meet. We made it. We are together. We are alive.
I learned all of the aftermath of the c-section. The reason Emma's monitors were going off, was because she had her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. She was struggling to breathe.
Soon after I heard those first cries in the operating room. she stopped breathing. She was blue. They resuscitated her. I couldn't believe it. If we would have waited any longer, she would be dead.
If I would have had her naturally and pushed her out, I would have strangled her even more. This was all a blessing in disguise. I needed to develop pre-eclampsia to get her out just in time.
Well that was my story. I look back at these pictures so much because it reminds me of what we went through together. It just amazes me how tiny she was at that point and how strong she was during this time! I am so proud of her when I look at these pictures. I will cherish these photos for the rest of my life and will be able to show Emma these pictures and share this dramatic story with her.
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(Some photos taken by my mom, Teresa Garza and edited by myself.)