Note: I’m definitely doing this out of order. I just want you to know that I know that. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Paper Magician books lately, so I wrote the post about them, but I also mentioned my reading slump. So I wrote the post about my reading slump, but so much of that story had to do with the baby. So now I’m here to tell you what happened there.
Once upon a time, I went into labor at 4:30 on a Monday morning not too long ago. I had been to the hospital a few times already for false labor, so Scott wasn’t convinced that this was the real deal, but I informed him that it was. (The strength with which I gripped his hand during my contractions helped make my case, too.)
Off we went to the hospital. On the way I texted my doctor, who, as it so happened, was headed to the airport. This particular Monday, you see, was the one day that my doctor had told me I wasn’t allowed to have a baby. Because he was going out of town. To which I had jokingly replied, “The baby comes when the baby comes, Chris!” (Yeah, we’re on a first name basis; he’s Scott’s uncle.) So already off to a good start, there.
The day went on, and I progressed pretty well. I got the epidural once I was admitted, and my water broke a few hours into labor. The baby’s heart rate dropped a couple times, which was a little tense, but my awesome nurses were able to get it back up.
(At this point, I should explain that I was trying to have a VBAC, which is a Vaginal Birth After a Cesarian. Meaning, Special K was a c-section, but I wanted to avoid a c-section in this case. Every single person there was completely supportive of my goal, which made the baby’s dropping heart rate extra tense. If they couldn’t get it back up, I’d have to go into surgery.)
By 5:45, I was almost ready to push. In fact, my nurse had me push a little through one of my contractions, just to get that tiny bit of dilation I still needed. I’d been sending a couple emails and texts during the day, and I let Chris know it was almost time.
So there I was, finally ready to push, just like I’d been hoping for during all 9 months of my pregnancy. But I was starting to feel nauseated. In fact, I told my nurse I was definitely going to throw up. Being an awesome nurse, she wasn’t even fazed. In fact, she told me it was a good thing, because throwing up uses most of the same muscles that pushing does. So during the next contraction, I tried to give a good push (difficult while you have an epidural, in case you were wondering), and I also threw up.
And that was when it happened.
I suddenly felt the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. It was worse than the contractions had been that morning, before I’d gotten medication. It felt exactly the same, actually, but a million times stronger. I told my nurse, “It hurts, it hurts so bad” over and over. But when I looked at the contraction monitor, I saw that I wasn’t having a contraction. And that the baby’s heart rate was dropping steeply. And when you’re in labor, you really don’t want to see the baby’s heart rate do that.
Here’s what any doctor will tell you about attempting a VBAC. There are a lot of things that can prevent it, but the worst thing that can happen is a uterine rupture, which is when your uterus breaks open along the scar you already have from your first c-section. Your chances of a rupture are really small, though. In fact, they’re about 1%.
Well, when I looked at that monitor, it didn’t take me long to realize I had ruptured. And after that, things started moving fast.
Within ten minutes, I was in an operating room.
Thirty seconds after that, the baby had been born.
He wasn’t doing awesome though, and they took him away to get ready to go in a helicopter to another hospital with a NICU.
(As he was being worked on, one of the pediatric nurses told Scott and me that he was “going to be just fine.” I wonder now if she should have said that, because no other single person has been that cheerful about him since. But in that moment, it was definitely what I needed to hear.)
By the time he was ready to go, I was out of surgery and back in my room. They brought him in to see me for a few minutes before he left. Scott got to fly with him in the helicopter.
He spent two weeks in the NICU, which were among the more stressful weeks of my life. He did great, though. He responded well to every treatment they thought to give him, and his doctors are all “cautiously optimistic,” which I take as permission to relax.
Even though my experience wasn’t ideal, it worked out well, overall. Despite the fact that we pretty much had the worst possible circumstances, everything since then has gone perfectly. Trey is constantly referred to as the Miracle Baby, which I feel he is. So many other things could have gone wrong– I could have had a nurse who was asleep on her feet, I could have ruptured when she was out of the room, the doctor might not have been able to make it to the O.R. in time– that I feel incredibly lucky to have had the great outcome that we did.