I lay there as my world stops, everything seems to be happening in slow motion and my vision blurs, my body goes numb and still, even my shakes stop as well as my heart it feels like.
“Now here we are”, I have time to think; “the worst has really happened”, “she is not going to make it” echoes in my brain.
For a couple of seconds I try to prepare, but how do you prepare for this? I try to think that this is better than if she was hurt or in pain or seriously ill…
After all these weeks, after a complicated pregnancy and a long and painful labor, this is the end result.
We won’t get to have our baby girl after all?
The doctor tells me that I have to push her out, looking determined.
I manage to muster up my last ounce of strength and with it a glimmer of hope. I have beaten the odds before and I will again and so will my baby girl.
The doctor does not look devastated; she must think that this baby has a chance after all!!
And so I push, I push one last time as her tiny body glides out of me and I feel it; the whole sensation (not at all like last time when I was numb down below; even if that time the epi stopped working by the time they had to repair my awful tear).
All I want is a cry, a cry from my newborn, I lock eyes with my husband and pray for a miracle in my mind, and after a horrifying second where the whole room seems to hold a collective breathe and the nurse gasps again “she is not breathing”, there is something…
Not quite a cry but a sound, not at all a cry actually, more like a whimper, the sweetest sound…
She is truly a miracle, what a complete and total blessing and as far as I can see, she looks absolutely perfect!
Not wanting to quite believe that she is here and she is alive and whole and ours, I just want to hold her and stare at her.
Everybody seems to sigh in relief and looking at the doctor and nurses they seem satisfied. I sink back into my pillows but not before I grab my husband by the collar to ask him to make sure she has hands and feet.
He sure surprises the medical team that takes care of her when he comes running, looking for hands and feet…but she sure has them…and a headful of dark hair, big wide open eyes and a mouth like a little rosebud.
She is just so beautiful, but scary tiny. That is not the opinion of the NICU doctors and nurses though, at 5 lbs., she is big for being only 34 weeks, they even ask me if I somehow miscalculated her due date. Nop, she was very planned!
They tell me that she looks great and I couldn’t be happier.
I quickly thank God as my husband gives me a kiss and says “good job” (I’ll say). I finally get to hold her for a sweet minute and we pose for our very first picture together (photo opt!).
My doctor is working feverishly in between my legs and as the NICU doctor tells me that all seems well with our baby and asks my husband to come with them down to the NICU, I finally pay attention to what is happening to me.
The core blood team is on standby but apparently the placenta has decided to rupture inside me…
Dr. Jenny is fishing around for all the pieces of the placenta only to discover as my husband cuts the umbilical cord (finding it difficult and scary) that it is broken as well, in several places. She has to go “back in” multiple times and ask for a second opinion before she is satisfied that she got it all.
I have read about this happening and the doctors have also told me that the worst scenarios that can happen are the placenta rupturing, the umbilical cord breaking and that the newborn in distress poops its very first poop in the water.
They also told me that they are aware of these dangers and that they know how to take care of them.
That is reassuring somewhat, especially since I later find out that our baby girl also was in so much distress coming out that she DID poop in the water which could lead to sepsis, is extremely dangerous and what women and newborns died from years ago.
They tell me that they are able to clean me up however and retrieve all the pieces that are not to be left behind inside me…
The core blood people are disappointed as they can’t use the blood with the destroyed placenta looking “horrible and useless” (whatever that means).
And after all I did with the signature and willpower to give it to them.
Dr. Jenny is starting to sound cheerful again talking about “only a couple of stitches” (which ended up being 5 or 6) and she is counting bloody towels, double checking with the nurses.
The motherly nurse (I decide to forgive her outbursts in a moment of euphoria) comes to clean me up (she is anything but gentle…and she is starting to upset me again…hello a 5 pounder just came through there, she might be small but big enough to hurt; trust me).
She is telling me that she wants me to recover in this bed for a couple hours before she takes the catheter out and can send me down to recovery.
I ask when I can see my brand new daughter. She is telling me that they can’t move me yet but that food is on its way.
Mmm, food, I had forgotten about you! Before I can concentrate on my yet again rumbling stomach though, I wait for my husband to hear that our baby girl is okay.
I send the obligatory texts “we just had a daughter” to close family and attach her very first picture and say another little prayer that she is healthy and that everything will be okay.