This is the story of our miracle boy’s birth. He’s now 2 years old and I’m finally writing this out just weeks before we get ready to deliver our second miracle baby. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long, but here it is…
Monday, December 15th was a normal day and not a normal day at the same time. Arun was off and I didn’t have any project work so on a normal day off we would have slept in and probably relaxed in the morning and then ran some errands and maybe did some chores in the afternoon. This is what a typical day off looked like before Archer was born.
However, that Monday was not normal, not because my water would break that evening and we would soon be welcoming our miracle boy, but because one of our kitties had to be dropped off at the vet for 8:00 AM that day to get a few teeth extracted due to a rare gum disease. I also had a prenatal check up at 10:30 AM. I was exactly 37 weeks that day and had started seeing the doctor every week. We didn’t know it at the time, but it would have been really great to sleep in that day, because it was our last day to do so in a long while. Instead we were up early and it would turn out to be a very long day.
Arun dropped off Bugsy at the vet while I got ready for our prenatal appointment.
The appointment went well. The only thing that was a bit concerning was that my BP was a elevated. It was 135/78. They rechecked it at the end of the appt and it was a bit better but still kind of high. This was worrisome because of my history of HELLP Syndrome with Holdon. So even though Archer looked good and everything else looked good with me, Dr. S scheduled us to go for a nonstress test the next day, just to be extra cautious. At that point, we were 2 weeks away from our scheduled c-section date at 39 weeks and 3 weeks away from our due date and I was considered full term. So we weren’t overly concerned if I went into early labor, but high blood pressure, even elevated blood pressure was a concern for me.
So that was our last morning as just the two of us. We then went out for lunch and talked to the vet about picking up Bugsy on our way home and I didn’t worry too much about the BP the rest of the day. We figured we’d find out more the next day after the NST and I just refused to let myself get stressed. Being stressed would not help my BP. However, I did make note of and commented to Arun that I felt “funny” after lunch. I have no real explanation for what “funny” felt like, but I just felt off. My energy level was low and I felt a bit lightheaded and just… off. I should have listened to my body and taken a nap when I got home, but instead I decided to work on my pregnancy/baby scrap book. I hoped to finish it before Archer came and time was starting to run out.
Around 8:30 PM, I got up to make myself a cup of tea. I planned to work on the book for other hour or so and then go to bed. That was the plan, but as I stepped into the kitchen, I felt a flow of liquid kind of like I peed but it just gushed out. It wasn’t a lot but enough to soak my underwear. It also didn’t stop but continued to flow in a slow trickle. Meanwhile, Arun was in the living room watching the end of whatever Monday night football game was on (he would still remember but I don’t).
I jokingly said, “either my water just broke or I peed myself. One or the other”. I expected him to laugh but it wasn’t really funny. It was confusing. I honestly wasn’t convinced my water had broken because it was not like what I imagined it would be, but I also wasn’t convinced I peed myself. It just felt different than going pee and it was continuing to trickle even when I tried to hold it. The look on my face must have been worrisome because Arun jumped off the couch and immediately called labor and delivery. While he was on the phone with the L&D nurse at our hospital, I went to the bathroom and sat on the toilet and liquid just kept slowly flowing out. I was still really confused. The problem was, it was not like peeing at all but also not like what I imagined your water breaking feeling like. You see it in the movies all the time. The pregnant lady stands up and whoosh there’s a huge gush of water that soaks through her clothes and leaves a big puddle on the floor. This is not what happened to me. My clothes did get wet, but it did not flood the floor or anything and it also didn’t stop. It was a continuous and endless slow flow of liquid. I did not realize it did this.
The nurse had me get on the phone and describe what happened, and because I was still confused, she almost had me convinced I had just lost control of my bladder because as she said, it happens when you’re pregnant sometimes. But I told her that it just didn’t feel like pee and that it hadn’t stopped either. If I had lost control of my bladder, it would have stopped by then because my bladder just wasn’t that big. The nurse agreed, but told me to put on a pad and if I soaked through it in less than an hour to come in because it was probably my waters, and if it stopped, then it was likely my bladder.
So I did as she suggested and in less than 10 minutes, the pad was soaked and it continued on, so this was apparently it. You’d think this would cue instant panic since Dr S specifically said I should not go into labor. It was too dangerous for me with the classical incision from my first c-section, but I was strangely really calm. I didn’t feel any contractions or anything else so I decided it wasn’t super urgent and I decided to take a shower before heading into the hospital. I knew I’d have to have a c-section and I didn’t know when I’d feel up to showering next, plus I’d been leaking fluid for half an hour by that point and I just felt I needed a shower.
I took my time and shaved everything while I was at it. Side note, shaving your bikini area when your 37 weeks pregnant is not easy, but I had become kind of a pro at the blind shave, and I know this really shouldn’t have been a priority before heading to the hospital to have our baby, but again I knew I wouldn’t be shaving again any time soon and I really didn’t want the nurse to have to shave me so I took the extra time to do this.
Meanwhile, Arun was trying to stay calm, but kept saying “are you sure we shouldn’t just get in the car a go?” And I kept telling him I was sure. I think he was amazed and a little exasperated by my calmness. After I got out of the shower, I collected my hospital go bag which I had just finished packing a couple days before and the proceeded to heat up some left over pizza from our lazy dinner earlier and I finally made myself that cup of tea. Again, Arun pressed me, “are you sure we shouldn’t just get going?” I still felt fine other than the constant trickle of my waters and I wasn’t sure when I’d be allowed to eat or drink anything once I had surgery, so I took advantage of those few extra minutes for a bite to eat and to enjoy my last few moments of just me down time.
Finally at 10:20 PM, we were in the car and on our way to the hospital. We arrived at L&D at our hospital at 10:45 PM. The nurse had me get dressed into a gown and we were put in a L&D triage room to be examined and to determine if I was right and if my waters did break and if I was in fact in labor. This part didn’t take long. A nurse took my vitals and history. She went over my chart and we pointed out that Dr S had mentioned to us that if we went into labor early, she was to be called in. The nurse ignored us and said, no we don’t do that, Dr. S is not here and Dr. So and So is on call tonight and she will do your c-section. We were extremely disappointed but didn’t know if we should press the issue. So we held off saying more about it until we knew for sure what was going on and if we were in fact delivering that day. A short time later the doctor on call whose name I cannot recall came in and examined me. She took one look and said “yep, your waters are broken. You will be delivering soon”. She then went over my chart and my history and confirmed that I was to have a c-section and asked me when I had last eaten and drank anything. Oops. Apparently this was important. I told her I had a cup of tea and a slice of pizza at around 9:30 PM. Apparently this was a mistake and because of it, we were told we had to wait 8 hours until 5:30 AM to do the c-section. This was it, D -day, but since I wasn’t experiencing contractions or any other labor symptom yet I wasn’t considered urgent and they wanted to wait the appropriate time for my meal to be digested before giving me anesthesia. Fair enough. This was important to us though for so many reasons, because instead of having our c-section right away and delivering our miracle boy on December 15th, we had to wait until the next morning on December 16th and that was mine and the hubby’s 7 year wedding anniversary. From that day on, it would become our son’s birthday first and our anniversary second. We were okay with that, but the timing was pretty hilarious to us.
So we had to wait until the next day to deliver, and that was fine with us, but the nurses just kind of forgot about us after that. We were told we couldn’t be moved to a labor room because the labor rooms were for laboring parents and they only had one pre c-section suite and there was someone in it at the time. So they left us in the triage room and told us to get some rest, and they would move me to the c-section suite as soon as it opened up.
We tried our best to rest, but the triage room was not very comfortable. I was okay because I was on an exam bed, but Arun was stuck in a little chair at bedside. Sleeping was completely impossible for both of us. For one, the lights were all on and we we could hear everyone who came in over the next 4 hours, and in that time, we couldn’t see all the action happening around us because of the curtains around our “room” were closed, but we could hear a lot. Apparently there were a lot of babies coming early that night. We felt kind of like we were in that Friends episode where Rachel goes into labor, but 8 families go on to deliver their babies before her. Couples came in, determined they were in labor, and they got to go to their delivery suite and have their babies while we still waited in our little triage room. Finally, around 2:30 AM, I got a bit frustrated because no one had come in to check on us even though we were told the c-section suite would become available around midnight, and also, I was not supposed to have any contractions because it was dangerous for me so you’d think someone would have come and check to make sure I didn’t suddenly go into labor, but no one did. They were short staffed and other parents were in more urgent need at the time I suppose. At any rate, I was tired of waiting and had to pee really bad and was told to not get up, so I pressed the call button and made my presence known. In all honesty, I knew that even in the c-section suite, I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep because I was just too anxious, but at least we’d be in private, with the lights off and Arun could lie down and get more comfortable and maybe he’d at least be able to sleep. After pressing the button 3 times, a nurse finally came to see me. To give her credit, she sincerely looked like she felt bad for us. It was a different nurse from before. They had apparently had a shift change and so she was planning to come in and check on us and figure out why were were still there, but had just been going over my chart when I pressed the call button. She asked us how long we were waiting there and we explained we were going on 4 hours. She genuinely looked appalled to learn this. After helping me use the restroom via bedpan, she checked on the c-section suite and of course it was free, so finally at around 3:00 AM, we were moved over to our private room.
What a difference this location change made. The room was very large and comfortable. There was a couch-bed thing for Arun to lie down on and it was blissfully quiet. The lovely nurse who I’m calling our savior for the night, turned the lights down low, and after inserting a catheter so I wouldn’t have to worry about having to pee again and checking my vitals again one last time, she left us peacefully alone to finally try to sleep. Arun fell asleep instantly, but as I suspected, even with the more comfortable bed and room, I was too anxious to sleep. My mind just kept racing about the coming surgery and of finally getting to meet our miracle boy. I think I must have started to dose off around 4:00 AM, but was woken up suddenly by the new doctor on call. This was a different doctor than the one who examined me when we first came in. This was Dr. C. I remember her name because she was the doctor who had actually taken the time to read my chart thoroughly and saw that my doctor, Dr. S, had left specific instructions to be called in at any time if I should go into labor early. So she called Dr. S, and joy of all joys, Dr. S was coming in to deliver our son. I couldn’t contain the emotion and happiness I felt. The hubby and I love Dr. S so much. She had been with us through it all on the very long journey we had been on to become parents and it just meant so much to us that she would be the one to deliver our miracle boy. The other reason I remember Dr. C is she was the doctor who assisted Dr. S with the delivery and we were very thankful to have her there too. She was clearly a doctor who checked and double checked things. I finally felt the reassurance I needed that the delivery would go well and I was able to finally sleep for an hour or so until Dr. S arrived. We were told she would be later than the 5:30 AM time we were given before, but that was just fine with us. We would wait as long as it took. Dr. S arrived around 6:00 AM.
Once she arrived, we immediately felt calm and ready to meet our boy, but had to wait a bit longer for the anesthesiologist to come in. I guess another shift change was about to happen and we needed to wait until the new anesthesiologist had arrived. So we waited some more, but there was no more time for rest. Nurses came in and prepped me for surgery. I had a small awkward moment when one nurse came to shave me and discovered that I was already cleanly shaved. She seemed really surprised. I imagine most women don’t bother to do this in their 37th week of pregnancy. I blushed a little and told her I didn’t want her to have to do it.
When the anesthesiologist arrived, he came in and introduced himself and we went over the options for pain medication. I explained to him that I thought I was allergic to morphine because I was so itchy and sick after my last c-section and asked for something else. He explained that morphine was the best option if I planned to breastfeed because it doesn’t stay in your system for long, but that he would do the lowest dose and hopefully it would be enough to manage my pain. I agreed with this plan. This was my biggest mistake. More on this later.
Once I was prepped and ready to go, they moved me to the surgical room and things began to happen. Arun had to leave me so the anesthesiologist could administer my spinal. Apparently spouses are not allowed in for this part, but once I was fully numbed from the waist down, they brought him in and he sat by my side. Then Dr. S and Dr. C came in and it was go time. I did not feel the cut or even as they stretched my uterus to get to my son, but I did feel the tugging and pulling as they took him out. I was surprised. I don’t remember feeling this last time with Holdon. Maybe I was just in too much shock with Holdon or maybe it’s because he was so small, I don’t know, but this time I could feel things. What I didn’t know at the time, but do know now is that an increase in pain medication would have helped. It was pretty uncomfortable, but still didn’t hurt exactly, so I still didn’t ask for and increase in my morphine dose. Big mistake.
A few moments later at 7:31 AM on December 16th, 2014, Archer had arrived! Our miracle boy was finally here.
They quickly showed him to us and I immediately burst into tears. This was the moment I had been waiting for for 4 1/2 years since we lost our first son Holdon. I was so overwhelmed with joy, I can’t even describe it. Arun was sitting there crying beside me. We were both lost in our emotions.
Then, they took him to the side station to clean him up and check him out and Arun went over with him. Meanwhile, Dr. S continued to work on me to remove the placenta. This is when the pain started to really kick in. The pulling and pressure of the removal of the placenta was overwhelming. I was breathless and began to panic. The anesthesiologist was right there and asked me if I was okay and I could barely get out the words that I needed more pain relief. He immediately upped my dose of morphine, but by that point we weren’t on top of the pain anymore and those next few moments were torturous. Arun came back holding Archer and put him next to me and I couldn’t even look at him I was in so much pain. My eyes were watering and I was in complete agony. Realizing that I was in trouble, Arun gave Archer back to the nurse and came back to me. He held my hand and it was his presence that finally calmed me down enough to start breathing normally again and then the the placenta was out and I finally began to feel better. It’s amazing how calm my husband was given that he had just held our son for the first time and then returned to find his wife in agony and also, the bag that was supposed to catch all the blood and tissue that came out of me, had shifted and apparently my blood was all over the floor and he saw. It’s amazing he didn’t completely freak out, but he didn’t. He just held my hand and kept me calm. I had apparently lost a lot of blood so weakness set in and I began to feel really tired. I think I even might have dosed for a few minutes. The next thing I knew, they were closing me up and it was over. I survived the ordeal and our son had arrived safe and healthy into this world.
Immediately following the surgery, I was moved to a post-op area for observation and to make sure the spinal wore off properly, and Archer was finally placed in my arms. I cannot describe how I felt in that moment. I had to wait 2 months after Holdon was born to hold him and even then it was with several tubes and wires all around him and there was a support pad underneath him, preventing us from having complete contact. We never got to have skin to skin because he was too sick and his breathing tube prevented it, so being able to really hold Archer was the most amazing thing ever. A few moments later we tried breastfeeding and he was a champ at it. I would later discover that my milk supply was very low and insufficient for his feeding needs, but it was of no fault of his. He was a great eater and in that moment, everything was absolutely perfect.
We were moved to a private room soon after and spent only 2 days in the hospital. Archer stayed with us the entire time. There was no way I was letting him go to a nursery and actually my hospital has a policy that the baby stays with the parents the whole time. I really appreciated this. I wanted him with me always. I was determined to recover quickly so I could finally take my baby home. I was up and walking around my room by that night and I was discharged 48 hours after the delivery. The nurses were amazed by my determination and even Arun kept asking me if I was pushing myself too much. I think I might have a bit as I had a couple rough nights after I got home, but I just didn’t want to be in the hospital a moment longer. I didn’t want Archer to be there a moment longer either. With Holdon, I was in the hospital for 5 days due to the recovery from the HELLP Syndrome and my BP refusing to normalize. Holdon never came home with us. So there was no way I was staying in the hospital with Archer any more days than necessary. So on the morning of December 18th, we were discharged and we finally brought our take home baby home.
Here we are 7 weeks away from delivering our second miracle baby, our baby girl, and I know it will be a similar experience, but I will not be so stubborn this time. I will take the recommended dosage of morphine and risk the side effects afterwards, which in hindsight, I believe had more to do with the HELLP Syndrome and the magnesium drip they had me on afterward, then the morphine. And even if I do feel itchy and sick afterward, I’ll take it because that was better than the pain I felt during my c-section with Archer. I will also allow myself the extra recovery time in the hospital if I need it or at least stay an extra day if need be. That one, I’ll play by ear, but I have a feeling I’ll need it this time. We’ll see.
Stay tuned for baby girl’s birth story.