Thursday, June 6, 2013

Baby Weeks: Our Birth Story

I promised this a long time ago and finally have it all written down. Sometimes I didn't want to share it, and then sometimes I felt like I should. This was the hardest thing I have ever written, but at the same time very therapeutic as well. Just a warning, this is not your typical birth story {if there is such a thing} so it may not be something everyone wants to read. Before we get to the story, here's a little background info on the few weeks leading up to March 7, our baby's birth date.

I am very fortunate to have a very flexible job schedule, and I had been coming home early each afternoon, usually by about 3:30-4:00 each day. This was nice. I came home, called my Mom, relaxed on the sofa and we usually chatted until Stephen got home from work. It was a nice little relaxing routine to put my feet up at the end of the day and take a break before dinner time.


I had started going for weekly appointments at week 37, just as most standard pregnancies go. The day before I hit 38 weeks, I returned and had my first cervix check, which proved to show that I was only 1 cm dilated and there was no mention of any effacement at all, so I'm assuming I was probably not effaced very much, if any at all. We left the doctors office feeling good about a nice healthy checkup and told ourselves that we had a little more time to go waiting on our sweet baby. Of course, just like any other parents-to-be, we were hoping that it could be sooner than later that our boy would arrive. Little did we know that would be the very next day.

That same Wednesday night we had an appointment with a potential pediatrician. We had two in mind and it just so happened that when I called {our now} pediatrician, I got the appointment made with ease- no waiting on the phone, no call backs, just an easy appointment scheduled. When I called the other pediatrician, I got disconnected from them and took it as a sign to try out the other pediatrician first. We met with our pediatrician for a consultation that Wednesday and loved him. Decision made.

Also, on that busy Wednesday, we had our last childbirth class where we were able to ask questions with another pediatrician in the area and also tour the hospital. Lots of things got finalized this day- pediatrician- check. Hospital tour- check.


Thursday morning came around and it started out just like any old normal day. For a little while that morning I had some light back pain and a little stomach cramping. As far as I knew, these were all normal signs that things were starting to "progress" and move along, preparing my body for labor. I took a long lunch break that day and lounged on the couch for a little longer than usual. The cramping had stopped and I returned to work for the afternoon. That day, I followed my normal afternoon routine- get off work, call Mom and head for the sofa. Mom and I were busy in our usual conversation as I relaxed. We were just about to get off the phone- she had some things to work on and I had to go to the bathroom. In the last minutes of our conversation I felt a little pressure on my bladder- nothing abnormal, babies press down especially later on in pregnancy. The next few moments went by quicker than lightning but at the same time felt like an eternity.

I was about to hang up the phone- we were saying our goodbyes as I got up off of the couch to head for the bathroom quickly. Much to my surprise and terror, as I walked toward the bathroom I felt this urge {what I briefly thought could be my water breaking} and as I looked down I saw blood dripping through my black yoga pants. I couldn't get to the bathroom fast enough as I told my Mom "oh my gosh Mom, I'm gushing blood." This was no slight bleeding, this was full on terrifying blood leaving my body that I had absolutely no control over. My Mom shrieked "What do you mean your gushing blood, from where?!" That is how quickly it happened- it just was so shocking it was hard to believe what I had just told her over the phone. She quickly told me to call my doctor and she would call Stephen.

Hands shaking uncontrollably, I was able to scroll through my phone and call my doctors office. After about 10 seconds of a phone message telling me to press 1 for this, press 2 for that, I hung up. I couldn't even comprehend what was on that message line- I needed to talk to someone. I dialed 911 for the very first time in my life and told the operator what was going on. I was 38 weeks pregnant and had just started bleeding uncontrollably. She told me that a crew was dispatched and headed my way, they would be there in just a few minutes. As she asked a few questions, Stephen was trying to call me non-stop. FYI, you can't switch back and forth between 911 and another phone call. I didn't know where he was but I assumed my Mom had gotten in touch with him since he was persistently calling. After just a few minutes, Stephen got home and came to our hall bath room where I was bawling, shaking and terrified. Coincidentally, he had left work a little early and was really close to home on his way to run an errand. He reassured me that everything would be ok and for me to calm down. We would make it through this, whatever it was.

Within another minute, the EMS crew arrived and hurried to check me out. They looked for my vital signs which proved to be okay and surveyed the situation. All I remember is telling them to check my baby, check my baby. Was my baby ok? He had just moved minutes ago on the couch when I was chatting away on the phone. The EMS leader had his stethoscope and was trying to listen for our baby's heartbeat but was not able to tell me if he could hear a heartbeat or not. A stethoscope is not necessarily strong enough to pick up a baby's heartbeat. I begged and pleaded him to keep trying, which he did. He calmed me as best he could. I remember seeing the pained look on everyones faces looking down at me, everyone seemed so helpless in that moment. Next thing I knew, they had the stretcher pulled down our hallway and they helped me onto it. The very end of our hallway leads to Weeks' nursery and I remember looking in there thinking I would never be able to step foot in that room again if the worst was happening, which is what I feared. Stephen asked what I wanted him to bring to the hospital and I just replied, "My purse." I couldn't bear the thought of bringing our packed hospital bags along for the trip if we wouldn't need them.

Once in the ambulance, I was hooked up and continued to be monitored. Another EMS worker tried as well to listen for a heartbeat. I studied their faces so hard trying to tell if they really knew something or not. One EMS worker that was feeling my belly and told me he could feel movement, which was reassuring. Our house is only a mile away from the hospital, a quick 3-4 minute ride. The longest ride of my life. They probably thought I was crazy because I was incessantly asking them to drive faster and listen for my baby at the same time.

The best part about being picked up in the ambulance? They were in contact with labor and delivery on the way to the hospital and I was able to be taken directly in there instead of a pit stop in the ER. After we made our way down many hallways to get to labor and delivery {again, I was asking them to go faster, faster, faster} we finally arrived to where we could check our baby out. They immediately put the fetal monitor on...and thank GOD, our baby had a strong heartbeat.

Our baby was okay. He was perfectly fine. He had just as strong of a heartbeat as he ever did. The biggest relief of my entire life.

Once we knew the baby was ok, the doctors quickly tried to determine the cause of bleeding. After briefly mentioning a clot and asking how much blood was passed {I wasn't bleeding anymore at this point} my doctor {the same one that I had seen the day before, happened to be on call} checked my cervix. Upon doing this, more blood was coming out. They decided it was a placental abruption and told me I would be having a c-section immediately.

A placental abruption? I barely remembered hearing about that in childbirth classes. It is when the placenta tears away from the wall of the uterus, causing pain and bleeding. It can happen before labor or during, and is an emergency situation. Sometimes the babies are okay, sometimes they are not. Never thought it would happen to me though. I probably worried about every other scenario imaginable besides that one.

What happened next is kind of vague to my memory. There was a rush of different nurses attaching IV's, someone taking my blood, a million people asking me questions. After that was all taken care of, I was wheeled down to the OR and prepped for surgery. Luckily, since Weeks was not in danger and had oxygen, we had time to have a spinal epidural. If his oxygen supply had been compromised and his heart rate was low, I would have been taken into surgery with a general anesthesia. I was happy to be awake, even if I was more scared than ever in my life.

Stephen got dressed in scrubs and I got fixed up with my spinal, and as soon as I was numb the doctors were ready to move. The anticipation of those few moments was absolutely awful. However, the team of doctors was so amazing. I will never forget how wonderful the anesthesiologist was. He calmed me and was giving me words of encouragement the entire time. Specifically, he mentioned how cool it was that I would be meeting my baby in a matter of minutes, where some women wait hours and days to meet theirs. A nice thing to hear in a moment like that! He also took Stephen's phone and snapped pictures throughout the entire process- if he wouldn't have done that neither Stephen or I would have thought to taken pictures in such a crazy time.

Knowing I was being operated on was a little uncomfortable for me, but in that moment you suck it up and be strong for what has to be done. I remember in childbirth classes our teacher saying that you never know exactly how a delivery will go. Things come up unexpectedly and you do whatever it takes to get your baby in this world. I remember thinking that during the surgery- whatever it took to get him here, in whatever way our story would unfold- it would be all be ok as long as he was in my arms.


Stephen was by my side talking to me while the doctors worked to get Weeks into the world. Our pediatrician that we had just met with the night before happened to be on call as well. Within moments, I heard the sweetest most amazing sound in the entire world- my baby cry. It was the most surreal moment of my life I am sure! He was quickly checked over and our pediatrician told us he looked great and healthy. The anesthesiologist made sure that I got to see my baby, kiss him and get some photos before Weeks was taken to the nursery and I was taken into recovery.











Weeks was born at 5:47 pm, weighing 6 pounds, 10.5 ounces and 19 inches long. Since I was talking on the phone with my Mom when the abruption occurred, we were able to determine what time it happened. From the moment of the abruption to the time he was born was 62 minutes. Record breaking delivery time!








While Weeks was in the nursery with Stephen, I went into recovery and finally into my room where I waited just a little while until Stephen came in with our baby. Our family was now a family of three and all were safe and sound. It was the biggest relief to sit in that room knowing that. At that point, I got my phone back from Stephen and called my poor Mom. I had not talked to her since that terrifying moment when I told her I was bleeding. Stephen kept her and the rest of my family in touch the entire time, but she said she never felt ok until she heard my voice on the other end of the line. My parents were almost in town and would be at the hospital shortly.






For the rest of our hospital stay, things went really well. I made an amazing recovery from my surgery, not even needing most of the pain meds the doctors prescribed me. The nurses couldn't believe how well I was getting along, especially in spite of such an emergency situation. Weeks was perfectly healthy other than some slight jaundice which he got treated for our second night. Stephen really stepped up to the plate as a new Daddy- having to take care of all the diaper changes, and swaddling since I was in bed from surgery. He learned quick! On the third day, both Weeks and I got the OK to head on home. We couldn't have been happier.




I feel like a part of me always wondered if I would do the right thing in an emergency situation and have that urge to react. Turns out, Mommy instincts are there before your baby is even born. I am so thankful that I had that instinct and courage to dial 911 and get help immediately. If I wouldn't have, there is no telling what the outcome of that day would have been. I talked to different doctors and nurses, and they told me that I reacted the best way possible and not necessarily everyone does the same. My one piece of advice...trust your instincts, and when your baby is on the line you cannot act quick enough.

I have replayed that day over in my head about 10,000 times already. I've questioned so many times why Weeks had to be born this way. It was the scariest day of my life, a true test of my entire being. Why couldn't he have been a baby bouncing in this world a day or two early, or even late? Why I had the abruption, we do not know. There are a few risk factors but I didn't have those. I asked several doctors in the hospital and they explained this can be just a random thing. All I know is that this is our story, and at the end of the day, my baby is here and healthy.

To say I am thankful for my baby's healthy delivery would be an understatement of a lifetime. I have thanked God over and over, and over and over again that we have our baby with us. Not everyone that has an abruption has the happy ending that we do and we are forever grateful. We are certainly lucky in love with this little guy.

If you made it this far- thank you for reading!

30 comments:

Gramspearls said...

Dear dear Katie,
Nothing like a good cry in the morning! Thank you for sharing your experience....your guardian angel had a workout that day! As I said before, dignity and grace.

Warmly, Kathleen

Nicole {Appalachian Charm} said...

Wow what an amazing story, you are a brave woman that's for sure!. So glad that everything turned out ok!

Southern Charm said...

Oh my goodness, your story is truly incredible. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. I'm so happy for your family that all turned out the best it possibly could.

Nat said...

I cannot even imagine what you went through- the fear and anxiety must have been so overwhelming and thank god that the outcome was a happy one. 62 minutes is record time! Thank you so much sharing- I know it couldn't have been easy and I don't think any of us dream to have a birth story like that. Weeks is so lucky to have you as a mama!

Mrs. Type A said...

oh my gosh! So scary! I'm so glad that both you and Weeks ended up safe and healthy. Even though it was a dramatic way to come into the world, you get to have an extra few weeks with your little man!

Dana Frieling said...

I'm glad you decided to share your story, Katie. You never know, you may have just saved someone else who finds themselves in a similar situation someday. You're so fortunate and blessed. Happy to hear all is going well!

Carolina Charm said...

Wow. Katie, your birth story is kind of a miracle - your instincts, the amazing doctors, the successful surgery, Stephen being only MINUTES away from the house when the emergency happened. You would have never thought that would all be part of the plan. And now Weeks is here, and he is perfect. Congratulations again, momma. You were so brave! xo

goheels83 said...

What an amazing story; thank you for sharing. I have tears streaming down my face at my desk. I love reading your blog but rarely comment; your family is absolutely beautiful and precious Weeks just makes everything complete. Best of luck. xx

Natasha said...

this is one of those stories where you know the ending has a good outcome and you're SO thankful for that!! i am so glad you decided to share this extremely personal journey katie...means a lot. so glad everything turned out OK and God was definitely watching over all of you...OXOX

Laura | Our Life in the Queen City said...

This is truly amazing! I'm reading at work on my lunch break, and had to stop myself from crying twice! I'm so thankful that momma and baby are both happy and healthy! Thank you for sharing your story - you were so incredibly brave! xoxox

Amanda said...

What an emotional story with a terrific ending! You definitely had an angel watching over you that day, and I'm so glad that everything turned out perfect. Weeks is so precious!

Lindsay @ LindsayInNYC said...

Wow, what a story!! You had me in tears at work! Thank you for sharing :)

CALLIE said...

O my goodness, Katie. I am in tears and am so, so happy that you reacted the way you did and you two are safe. Such a beautiful, brave story. I am so glad you shared :)

Jessica Ladd said...

Katie,
Thank you for sharing, there was no way I was getting through that story with a dry eye. Congratulations on your new family of 3! Treasure all the memories!

Kate said...

I randomly came across your blog from "Tickled Pink" and that post really made me cry! I am so glad that you are both ok.

Tracy Lyons said...

What a sweet, sweet story. Thank you for sharing with us. I am so thankful that momma and baby are both doing so well - and so blessed! Enjoy your sweet family of 3!!

Veronika said...

thank you for sharing your story. I am so glad Weeks is doing well.

My baby also spent unexpected time in the NICU and it's so scary to be alone in the L&D room wondering if everything will be okay and wondering---why your baby? But our babies are happy and healthy and that's all that matters.

Many blessings to you and your family.

Courtney said...

That's an amazing birth story! It sounds like your mama bear instincts kicked right in -- so glad that all is well after such a scare:) What a blessing-- he's a doll and you're such a chic mama!

A Wedding Story said...

WOW!! I cannot imagine how scary it must have been for you and your husband. It turned out so happy though. And cannot get over the 62 minutes...that is amazing!

Rorie said...

Gah, I can empathize. We also had a very nerve wracking birth story. I am so sorry you had to deal with that and so glad everything turned out okay!! :)

Val said...

What an amazing story!! I'm so happy momma and baby are well and healthy.

Emily said...

WOW, what a birth story! Your little one is absolutely precious. Thanks for sharing your story.

April of A. Liz Adventures said...

Absolute tears! What an amazing story, and thank goodness for a mother's intuition (combined with the intelligence of doctors and nurses). Weeks is incredibly precious and I'm sure that the stress you felt during the delivery is just a blip on the radar now when you see his big, sweet smile :)

pam {simple details} said...

Katie ~ I have tears streaming down my face knowing exactly how you felt, I had an emergency C-Section at 35 weeks. It is amazing how the mommy instinct surfaces and you'll do whatever it takes! Thank God, again :) for the healthy outcome for both of you! You know I think your sweet family is beyond adorable!

Sundresses and Smiles said...

Oh my goodness! What a whirlwind, SCARY few hours! I am so happy that baby Weeks came out safe and sound and that you were okay, too!

I also loved the detail about the anesthesiologist. He sounds so kind!

Allie Kaul said...

Oh my goodness!! What an experience! What a brave and strong mama you are! I'm sure this is not the way you had envisioned your day, but so glad it all worked out just as beautifully. Weeks is a cutie!!

Laura {happily ever} Parker said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing. How very scary that all must have been, happy to hear that Weeks and mama were both safe!

KatiePerk said...

What an entrance Weeks made! 62 minutes? That is amazing!

Kate @ Daffodils said...

Wow, what a story. 62 minutes! I am sure you are grateful to all the EMS people and Drs who acted so quickly for you. I can't imagine how scary it must have been and am so glad it all turned out just fine! Thank you for sharing.

Libby said...

Thanks for sharing your birth story! That is truly a miracle.. every part of it! I always wonder as well, if I were ever in need of calling 9-1-1 if there were an emergency, and I think that you're words are very reassuring.