I had 39 solid weeks of pregnancy. Measurements were right where they needed to be, baby boy’s heart rate was great and I was feeling good. I hired a doula and was ready to rock out a natural water birth with her by my side. This was so special to me because my first birth experience although “problem free”, hosted its own set of personal issues for me after. I was determined to write our story, the one where the mom is in a tub, husband by her side, medication free, welcoming the baby earthside in her own right, no question. Being transverse most of my pregnancy, boy had other plans, but I remained hopeful.
Saturday afternoon, I woke up feeling “off”. I couldn’t put my finger on it, and I spent much of the day talking myself off the ledge. I dismissed my inner nervousness as just that, nervous energy that was due to the anticipation of my soon to be birth of my baby. But, physically I felt off, and again, tried to chalk it up as simply nerves.
Sunday morning, baby boy didn’t wake me up at exactly 7 AM with kicks. 10:30 AM, after drinking cold water, eating eggs and laying on both my left and right side for extensive periods of time, I still didn’t hear from the little boy inside my belly. Finally, around 12:30 PM, he had hiccups and I remember feeling so relieved. I remember thinking, “ok, he’s still alive”. But, in my gut, I knew something was wrong. I began to feel scared, and then angry because I didn’t know where to go on a Sunday afternoon for help. What was I supposed to do and who was I supposed to call?
Sunday night, I did not sleep. Like, really, truly did not close my eyes. And, if I’m being honest, I was violently afraid that if I fell asleep, I would miss something and that my baby would be dead. For some reason in my rational/irrational mind, I thought that by being awake, I was riding out the storm with him, like when you are on a long road trip and there is no way in hell you, as the passenger are falling asleep, only to let the driver down. Because the driver is EXHAUSTED, the driver doesn’t know how they’re going to make it to their exit. But, with you as the passenger, the driver will get there, no matter what. So that’s what we did on Sunday night. We drove and drove and drove, only hoping to get to where we needed to go the next day.
Monday morning, I called my OB’s office and they said a nurse would call me back. Let me ask y’all something: ever tell a mama bear to wait to take care of their potentially ill child?! Yeah. No. Just no. So, I did what any of y’all would have done- I drove to the office and demanded someone run some tests and find that baby boy of mine, and tell me that he was alive, vibrant, OK.
An hour later, baby boy failed the movement test. His heart rate was escalated. I immediately knew that something was wrong. I immediately knew that I was about to enter into a time/space where I had zero control, and that I had zero insight into what was going on, and no say in how my son was going to birthed. But, mama’s, we never really have control, we never really know. But, in that moment and as I am writing this, I am convinced that this, all of this, WE ARE MADE FOR THIS. We are made to practice calm amidst chaos, we are made to take care of our babies the minute our pregnancy test is positive, we are made to protect our children, and we do all of this without a single thought because it’s truly innate in us.
Fast forward to our baby boys birth via c-section. At this point, we had no idea anything was wrong, we just knew that the doctors were acting fast. In that moment, I felt super thankful for my OB, my doula and my husband. I needed a team that brought calm, and they each in their own way did just that. What felt like a long time was only twenty minutes and suddenly our boy was born, crying, dangling in the air. I noticed that he looked extremely pale and was just waiting to hear what was wrong.
A few minutes later, I was told that he’d need a blood transfusion, and he would also need to ride in a seperate ambulance to Greenville Memorial. Again, all I could think about was that I wanted him to be ok, and all I could do was trust that he would be. Riding in the ambulance by myself was the absolute worst feeling. Where was my baby? Why wasn’t he with me, skin to skin, nursing? Were we going to be ok, and when would I see him again? I arrive to Greenville Memorial and was checked into a room. The nurses were overly nice, and I began to realize that I was tagged as someone who experienced trauma, that my son, was a baby who would always have a traumatic birth story. I cried.
For two days our baby, Julian, was in the NICU. He was healing after his blood transfusion and being monitored. I can’t begin to tell you how it feels to see your baby in an incubator, with a bunch of wires attached to their body. The worst part is the unknown- when we will be better, and will I get to take him home when I am discharged? Both nights, I would hold him, stare at him and just pray.
As far as what happened to me and Julian- it was a series of unexplained medical phenomenons. My placenta grew threw my uterine wall and into my stomach. This caused our baby to be malnourished. Our sons blood was also going into my blood stream, causing him to be extremely anemic. His chord was lacerated and no one could explain how this happened and why he was still alive. If I would have waited a few more hours, both he and I would not be here. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but throughout this entire process, I’ve maintained a very thankful and humble attitude. Bottom line: I’ve continued to remain at peace because WE ARE HERE.
Mama’s, trust your guts. I repeat trust your guts. If something feels off with you or your unborn baby, it is. I believe with all of my heart that moms are super humans and our intuition is undeniable. I debated sharing my story, but something in my heart told me that I had to. If I can help one of you to trust yourselves and possibly save you and/or your baby, sharing a piece of my experience is worth it.