I am an extremely planned out person. Nothing is official until I have it written in my planner. Almost every aspect of my life is tracked and documented. I guess my planning obsession relates directly to my need for control.
I really can’t complain about my pregnancy at all. Other than swollen ankles at the last part, I didn’t have morning sickness or complications. But I’ll be honest, pregnancy was hard on me mentally. The main reason I wasn’t crazy about being pregnant is that you lose complete control over your body.
When I got pregnant, I started with the planning. We would start baby classes 2 months before she was born. The baby shower would be exactly a month before the baby was born. During that month, I would have the nursery ready. I had each weekend planned specifically. I would have the hospital bag packed a week before she was due and I would work all the way up to my due date so I didn’t waste any time. I wanted to spend as much time as I could with my new bundle of joy.
I had the most romantic and beautiful birth experience planned out in my mind. I knew it was going to be painful but nothing I couldn’t handle. After all, I had run 3 marathons, suffered a broken nose, and multiple sprained ankles. I have a high pain tolerance. I’m tough.
So, of course, I would have a natural birth and it would happen on or after my due date, March 14. A C-section was completely out of the question. The baby and myself were completely healthy, so why would I even consider or need anything else. She would be born in the most perfect way possible and we would get to bring our precious baby girl home and start our life as a family of 3. Then I would be the perfect mother and breastfeed. Providing her everything she needed in the first months of her life.
The Universe had a very different birth experience planned for me. Not only did everything opposite that I had planned happen, I am pretty sure the Universe was teaching me a very important lesson from the get go when it comes to being a parent. I am no longer in control, I am not tough, and having any type of “Plan” no longer matters when having a child.
The morning of February 6th, I woke up like every morning around 6am. I had to pee for the 8th time that night so I got up to do my business. When I was done, I noticed that although I wasn’t peeing, there was still something coming out a little bit. (Sorry to be so graphic, but that’s the only way I can explain what happened.) In my mind, I thought maybe it was just another weird pregnancy thing. But, of course, my mind started coming up with different scenarios and I started freaking myself out. So I did what any other millennial would do and hopped on Google to check my symptoms.
I found all sorts of random information but one thing stuck out. Maybe my water had broken? What happened fit almost every description I found. But I was still 5 weeks out! On one of the sites, they had a test you could do. It said to lay down for about 30 minutes. If you get up after the 30 minutes and there is still uncontrollable leaking, there’s a chance your water had broken. I laid down and cuddled with the puppies on the couch and after 30 minutes I got up.
It happened just like in the movies. There was a gush of liquid that ran down my leg and I freaked out. My first thought was “Oh, shit! Something is not right.” I was scared. So many thoughts were going through my mind. Was she was okay? Was I okay? Am I in labor? It’s 5 weeks too early! Why is this happening?
I hurried to the bedroom and woke Daniel up. Luckily, he decided to go into work a little late that day so he was still home. He jumped out of bed completely freaked out. We set off for the hospital and by the time we arrived, I was okay. I knew in my head that it wasn’t labor and I thought maybe I was just leaking some fluids (pee). No big deal. I mean I wasn’t having any contractions. Everything was and felt normal outside of the incident.
We got checked into our room and they ran some tests to see what the liquid was. It felt like forever for the nurse to come back in. I was surprisingly still calm through all of this.
Finally, the nurse came back into the room and gave us the news. My water had broken and they had spoken to my doctor. They were going to go ahead and induce!
WTF!? FREAK OUT MOMENT!
I cannot even tell you how I felt in those few moments. The tears welled up immediately. I was in shock and I was upset because this was not supposed to happen yet. This was not supposed to be for another 5 weeks. We had just had our first baby class the day before and we had nothing for the nursery. We didn’t have a car seat. I didn’t have a hospital bag packed. This was not part of “The Plan!”I was not ready for this!
After calling all of our parents and letting them know the news, we were wheeled to the labor and delivery unit where the waiting began. I had calmed down again for the most part after talking to my mom and dad. I mean, there was nothing I could do but accept what was about to happen. So, I started to get a little excited. I was about to meet our baby girl!
They gave me the drug to start the inducement around 10am. Slowly the labor pains started up. I was handling them just fine for awhile. But around 4pm, I couldn’t do it any more. The contractions were just too much! Because of the drug, the contractions kept coming with only about 30 seconds to a minute between each one and I was only dilated to a 3. I still had 7 more centimeters to go! There was no way I was going to make it. I went ahead and asked for the epidural.
The next hour went by in a painful, crazy time warp. I had asked for the epidural a little after 4pm and the anesthesiologist was in my room at about 4:30pm to get things going. The epidural was just as bad as the contractions themselves. Trying to sit up, perfectly still, on the bed in a really uncomfortable position while having contractions at the same time was horrible! Finally, the drug was in and I knew that relief was on it’s way. It felt like forever for my legs to start going numb.
Since the pain was starting to subside, Daniel decided to go out to the lobby to let everyone know that I had been given the epidural and that everything was still going okay. He had been gone for about 5 minutes when the nurse came back into the room and said the baby was showing signs of major distress. The doctor had ordered that they needed to take the baby now. This was probably at around 4:45pm.
I texted Daniel and said I needed him back into the room now! They had already started to prep me for a C-section. I didn’t even know how to react because everything happened so fast. I had been dead set against a C-section, but I wasn’t given the option in this case.
Daniel brought my mom with him. She had arrived just in time to see me wheeled into the operating room. She gave me a kiss and told me that everything was going to be okay. I was trying my best to stay calm. I just closed my eyes and kept breathing, trying not to completely lose it. It was the scariest event in my entire life. I had no idea what was wrong with the baby or me and I had no idea if we were going to be okay. No one told me anything.
Daniel finally joined me in the OR. He was the most amazing partner through all of this. I am forever grateful he is my husband. He held my hand through every one of the contractions I had felt and looked into my eyes and told me everything was going to be okay as the doctor’s started the C-section.
A couple minutes later, I heard her cry for the first time. I couldn’t believe it was her. The tiny human I had been carrying in my tummy for 8 months. It was surreal. At 5:07pm, Atley Erin was born. She weighed 5lbs and was 18 perfect inches long.
They brought her immediately over to the warming table. Even though I could see where the table was, she was surrounded by doctors and nurses so I couldn’t see her. Daniel was able to go over to the table to take a picture before they wheeled her off to the NICU. She was having issues breathing from the umbilical cord being wrapped around her neck twice and being underdeveloped. He showed me the picture while they were stitching me up.
I had to go back to the Labor and Delivery room to recover. It took about an hour for the epidural to wear off. While we were waiting, our families got to come back to the room with us. One by one, Daniel took them each to see our baby girl in the NICU. It was so hard to be the last one to see her. Finally on the way to our regular recovery room, the nurses wheeled me into the nursery so I could finally see my baby girl.
It was such a scary sight to see and something I was not prepared for. She had a huge breathing machine attached to her tiny perfect face and all these wires coming out of her body. It was not the first meeting I had imagined but she was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on.
The next couple days were spent recovering in the room from my surgery, working on my milk supply, and spending hours in the NICU nursery waiting for our little girl to get stronger.
Three days after the surgery, I was discharged. We had to leave her at the hospital. It was such a horrible feeling. I felt like we were abandoning her. But the doctors and nurses were great. They kept us informed of her progress and called us if anything happened if we weren’t already at the hospital. For the next 17 days, our lives revolved around our time at the NICU.
Daniel would get up at 4am so he could spend some time with her before heading to work. My mom would drive me to see her in the morning and we would stay until late afternoon and then in the evenings, Daniel and I would go back so we could say good night and read her a bedtime story.
Seeing her in an incubator box, making a huge leap of progress and then a day where she didn’t do so well, and the traveling between home and the hospital was extremely hard on us emotionally. I was also dealing with the fact that my milk supply was not increasing and they were going to have to start supplementing her with formula. I felt as though I was failing as a mom. Not only did my body fail to protect her during those last five weeks, my body was failing to feed her too. It was the hardest 17 days of my life.
Finally, baby girl decided she was ready to come home. She had finally gained her weight back. Her weight had dropped to only 4.5 lbs after she was born and was back over 5 lbs. She was taken off of oxygen about 10 days in the NICU and then she decided she was ready to eat without her feeding tube, which she pulled out herself. The last 7 days was working on her eating skills. She needed to coordinate her sucking and breathing at the same time but she finally got it down without any choking episodes. She was also able to breastfeed and eat out of the bottle. We were finally ready to take her home.
The last night in the NICU, we had our rooming in. We stayed in a family room with her unattached from all of her wifi cables (that’s what we called all of her monitor cables, etc.) and had a nurse check in with us every 3 hours. The night went great and the following day we headed home with our tiny healthy baby.
Now we have a 2 month old little girl who weighs over 8 lbs. We are so in love and although we had a rough start, we have adjusted to parenting life just fine. I know that birth plans rarely ever really work out but when the Universe decided to wreck my birth plan, it did so in a BIG way! It taught me that my plans no longer matter. Atley is in control now and her plan rules our lives from here on out.