Monday, April 26, 2010

Anyah's Birth Story

One thing that always fascinates me is that people who have C-sections never really write down a birth story. But, there is always a story to any birth and this is Anyah's.

I had early preeclampsia and I went from having problems with just blurred vision to also having flashes of light so the Dr decided that I should start being monitored more closely and by 34 weeks gestation we were seeing her at least once a week. There were NST (stress tests) OB-NST (stress tests at the hospital complete with blood labs) and a few other tests that are were randomly poked through the experience.

On the day before Anyah was born I was sent to EMC (the local hospital) for an OB check and labs. They arranged for me to come back the next day so they could repeat the test and compare results and prescheduled an appointment with my OBGYN for the next day so I could go in and get checked before the weekend. It was a precaution we thought. We were buying ourselves another week so that we could get from 37 weeks to 38 weeks...closer to full term but still before May 6th (39 weeks) when I had originally been scheduled for a C-section.

The first test went well and the second test was also going well but given my history with Layla (Anyah's big sister) being born after Preeclampsia due to my liver trying to fail and her spending time in NICU with her own complications the OBGYN decided that since we knew Anyah was fully developed (we'd already tested for that) we should just go ahead and deliver her early.

So we're sitting in an OB check room at the hospital totally prepared to go home and get up the next day and go see the Dr who we assume will schedule a c-section some time the next week and we're talking about what to pick up on the way home for dinner and about how at least we'll be home in time to put Layla to bed. Mainly, Jon and I were pretty sure the day was a non-event because the nurses seemed so "you'll be out of here as soon as we can get you home".

The door opened after the end of our test and the nurse said "the Dr wants to know when the last time you ate was" and I told her. When she walked out to tell the Dr, I looked at Jon and we both said "so we're having a baby tonight". Sure enough the nurse came back and announced we would be having a baby tonight because the Dr felt that it would be better to have Anyah a little earlier instead of risking either of our health getting worse.

My heart skipped a beat. I got a little shaky with excitement. Jon and I went about the task of notifying our families, sending out prayer requests and waiting for the nurse to come prep me for surgery. We had about an hour wait. During that time we talked to my mom who was watching Layla and we talked about how nervous I was about having an IV or a catheter.

Strange as it sounds the procedures before surgery scare me worse than surgery. So when the nurses came into give me my actual IV and catheter I was a little bit of a mess. Jon held my hand and kept me breathing calmly while the nurses were totally sweet about talking me through the totally lame process of getting an IV and getting a cath.

Then we waited. Waited. Waited some more. Waited until 9:30 p.m. when it was time for surgery.

Suddenly, it was time and I walked to the operation room with a nurse while Jon got into that special protective jumpsuit they make Daddy's wear in the operating room. I got a spinal tap. The process was calm. The staff talked to me the whole time. I laid down and went numb. They strapped me to things. Eventually the Dr came in and talked to me while she prepped me for surgery. Then they sent for Jon.

Within minutes of Jon's arrival they got started and at 10:01 p.m. Anyah was born. Anyah cried the minute they pulled her out. I may have cried a little at the sound. I know in my head I said a small prayer and thanked the Lord. The experience is totally different when your child comes out screaming and pink.

Anyah was taken aside and checked while Jon talked to me and the nurses. The Dr started putting me back together. I kept asking silly worried Mom questions. I wanted a finger and toe count. I wanted to know how big she was. I wanted to see her. It seemed like it took forever for Jon to be able to get up and take her picture which he immediately brought over to show me on the camera and once she was nice and clean they brought her over to show me.

I talked to her. I welcomed her home. I told her I loved her. I cried a little. Then off she went with Jon and the nurses to the Nursery. The nursery is much less scary to send your child to than the NICU had been. I chatted with the nurses and once I was done being cleaned up they took me to recovery.

I had asked to breast feed as soon as I could so in recovery I chatted with the Dr and the nurse until they told me my husband and child were coming back. I couldn't sit up but the nurse was nice enough to help me breast feed right there in recovery. I stayed in recovery for awhile and I talked to Jon and held my beautiful daughter then once I was cleared to head back to Mom/Baby unit we all went like a little parade.

The nurse wheeled my bed. Jon wheeled the baby in her basinet and we went to my room. It was peaceful.

It wasn't pool in the living room natural or no pain medication empowering natural labor but it was beautiful. I think that's the thing that made me want to write this story the most. I think there are a lot of women out there facing a c-section that are thinking that might make them less of a woman or make them feel like they are forced into some clinical experience that can cheat them out of feeling like they can have a beautiful & peaceful birthing experience.

The beautiful things about childbirth are different in every case. I got a beautiful daughter. I got to laugh with my Dr. I got to be excited with my husband and giddy with hope. I had wonderful people there, complete strangers- a nurse who prayed when she thought I wasn't looking in the ER and staff that was wonderful and kind. In my case, childbirth took a village... but how beautiful is it that I didn't have to pick it, the perfect people were there at the perfect time to give me a peaceful and beautiful childbirth of an amazing and wonderful new daughter. Healthy and perfect in EVERY way.

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