When I had gotten pregnant, I spent most of my first trimester worried something was going to happen. That there would be complications. I knew the miscarriage rate for PCOS women was higher than most women and I was just waiting for something to go wrong. Once the blood work came back and my appointments showed everything as it should be through my first trimester, I started to relax and let myself get excited.
Monday evening, April 18th, 2011, I experienced some really light bleeding (sorry for the details). I had heard some women experience this, but this was something that hadn't happened to me. I was a little worried so I called my sister. I told her it was really light, barely there, and she said to keep a close eye on it. I am in no means blaming her for not screaming at me to go to the emergency room :) I was experiencing no other symptoms and felt fine. Plus my husband was at work, he works 24-hour shifts and would not be getting off until 7 am the following morning and did not want to make the half hour trip to the emergency room by myself late at night if I felt fine. So I went to bed.
Tuesday morning I woke up in pain. The lower pelvic pressure (any woman who has been in labor knows what I am talking about) and a significant amount of bleeding. I called my doctor's office and told them what I was experiencing, they then told me they had to have another nurse call me back. It was 45 minutes before I received a call, in which time I spent pacing my house and texting my boss. (In hindsight I should have gone straight to the hospital, but we'll get to the guilt later...) The doctor finally called me back and told me to come in for an exam. Thank goodness my husband had gotten off work and was able to drive me. The exam was pretty quick. He immediately told me he saw membranes (at the time I didn't know what that meant, this was my first pregnancy) and was sending me over to the birthing floor of the hospital and that they would be expecting me. At this point I still had no idea what was wrong or what the situation was, had no idea I would be delivering my baby that day. On the way to the hospital I sent a quick text to my sister and best friend to update them. Mostly to keep myself occupied to keep from freaking out.
Before this experience, I had never been to the hospital before. I'm a fairly healthy person and have never had any emergencies that needed medical care. I'm also terrified of needles. This labor experience was quite the doozie for my first stay in a hospital. They had me change, took my vitals, put in an IV (which they had to do twice) did a catheter, all before they explained what was happening. They finally did an ultrasound and it all made sense. It was like a light bulb came on. I was in labor. My water had not broke yet, but I was dialated and starting contractions. They brought a specialist in to see if they could do an emergency cerclage, but once he saw the ultrasound image, he just shook his head and said, "nope, sorry". I was dialated to a 5.
At this point the delivery doctor came in and we talked about what would happen next. I was 23 weeks and 2 days along. He informed me if my baby were to have a fighting chance, I needed to make it to at least 25 weeks. Which meant keeping my water from breaking for 2 weeks, while dialated to a 5. My chances were slim. Deep down I knew I was going to lose her. Part of me felt like, What's the point? Let's just deliver her now and get it over with. But we were ready to do everything possible and fight for her to have a chance. So they pumped me full of magnesium to relax my muscles, trying to get me contractions to stop. They also tipped me back so all the pressure was off my pelvis. The magnesium made me sick, so I threw up twice, and made me feel light headed. It also makes your pupils wig out so I couldn't focus on anything or anyone in the room. By this time, my mother, sister, husband, and grandmother were in the room. I guess we were all just waiting to see what happened next...
During the ultrasound we discovered Emily was breech. The doctor informed us the chances of a 23 week old baby surviving a breech birth was 1 in 100. He gave us the option of a C-section, but her chances of survival were not any better, so we nixed that idea. Over the next few hours my contractions kept getting worse, the magnesium was not helping. I had not asked for any pain meds yet, since all our focus was on trying to stop the labor. It hurt. I was definitely not planning on having an all natural birth.
Around 2 pm my contractions were too frequent and intense that my water broke. It was time to deliver. My sweet husband was by my side the whole time. They offered me a mirror, which I thought was strange given the circumstances. I declined. My husband was crying during delivery, I felt no emotion, only physical pain. They had brought in the NICU team just as a precaution, but once she was born, the doctor quietly told them they could leave. They would not be needed.
Emily was born at 2:29 pm. She weight 1 lb. 3.4 oz and was 12 inches long. She was perfect. They let us hold her for awhile, then Justin went with them to help clean her up. They brought her back smelling like a new baby, wrapped in a light purple blanket and a beenie on her head. The beenie completely swallowed her head. It was surreal. To be honest I wasn't feeling much. I was physically exhausted, still in shock, and still drugged up so I was a little out of it. They asked us if we wanted pictures and we said sure. I'll tell you more about that another time. We had to pick a funeral home before we were allowed to leave the hospital. Thank goodness for my mother and sister who took care of all that for me.
After 4 hours of holding Emily and making sure I was physically fit to go home, they released us. Being wheeled out of that delivery room, not being able to take Emily with me was the hardest thing I have ever done, and something I will never forget. I felt so empty. I felt numb. I kept my head down as I was wheeled through the hospital so I didn't have to look at anybody. I felt like I had a big sign on my forehead that read "lost my baby" and I felt....ashamed. As we were driving away from the hospital, Justin and I looked at each other and said, "this isn't supposed to happen, we are not supposed to leave this hospital without our baby". I cried yes, I felt sad, but the full force of what happened didn't really hit me til weeks later.
So that is the story of Emily's birth. I could go on and on about feelings and emotions and experiences, but that will come later... Thanks for reading.