My Date With Destiny and A Special Delivery
You know the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Belair? I probably sang that song over 100 times in the hospital. It was basically the theme song to my life then. There we were in Labor and Delivery (L&D), I was bed-bound and 26 weeks and 6 days pregnant. I was in the midst of dealing with what the doctors suspected to be severe Pre-eclampsia. To confirm this, I had a foley catheter placed and we began a 24-hour urine test.
The doctors confirmed their suspicion. I was in the midst of dealing with severe Pre-eclampsia. As gross as this may seem, moms reading this, you know how important urine is to determine the health of your pregnancy. A protein count of 300mg in your urine over a 24 hour period is extremely dangerous. Over 24 hours, my protein count was over 3000mg. Pre-eclampsia was in full swing and I was not leaving until Mark was born.
Have you ever had the flu? Would you ever volunteer to get the flu? Did a doctor ever tell you that you had to get something that felt like 50 different strains of the flu all at once in order to protect your child? No? My doctors did and so I was hooked up to Mag, also known as Magnesium Sulfate, better known as the roughest, toughest flu I have ever had to deal with. Mag brought on a fever, a raging headache, chills, nausea, and exhaustion but it protected Mark’s brain from the effects of my high blood pressure. No food. No water. Not even broth or ice chips (but I still managed to have ice chips because my nurse was the best. Sorry Doc) were allowed.
Do you understand that there was a Chickfila downstairs in the lobby and I was not allowed to have a single bite of it? The things you do for the love of your child, huh?
On Day 2 in the hospital (27 weeks pregnant), I received my first shot of Surfactant. Surfactant is a steroid to help prepare a baby’s underdeveloped lungs for their first breath. Mothers that are pregnant with one child can only have this shot given twice. You get the shot on your bum and let me tell you… it stings. I still get made fun of because I thanked the nurse after she administered it.
On Day 3 in the hospital (27 weeks +1 day) it became apparent I was not in immediate danger of delivering. I had my catheter removed. I finally got to shower. I had Chickfila breakfast and was moved from Labor and Delivery to Post-partum/ Ante-partum where I was under observation and still on bed rest. The room was huge and had its own little breakfast nook area. It was homey and I had to get comfortable because this was my home for the foreseeable future.
Days 4 and 5 ran together. It seemed like such a blur. It’s rather fitting though because, on Day 5 (27 weeks+ 3 days), my headache was getting more intense, my vision became very blurry, and I was seeing spots more frequently. It was September 11th, 2018- a day of remembrance and somber across the nation. It was not a day to celebrate the birth of my son, not if I could help it anyway.
On the morning of September 12th, 2018, at 8:00am, the doctor came in and asked how I was feeling. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I had to be honest. I was in excruciating pain. My head was throbbing. My vision was blurred, and there were spots everywhere. She stood up and said, “I am 99% sure you will having this baby today.” She walked out of the room and at 8:10am, she said “You are going to have a baby today. Let’s get you down to Labor and Delivery and prepped. Let’s have a baby.”
I was back in the L&D room I spent my first two nights in. Only this time I was surrounded by my family and getting ready to welcome my baby boy into the world. Labs were drawn once more, another surfactant shot was given, and a bolus of Mag added to my drip. It was time. It was happening. I started to tear up and said goodbye to my family one last time, hugs and all before I was wheeled down to the OR.
In the OR, I was sitting on the side of the table, my back exposed. I put my head between my knees, or as close to them as I could get and inhaled. I felt intense pain, a click, a cold sensation rushed through my body, and then nothing. The doctors lowered me onto the table and it was time to begin. A nurse rushed into the room and told the doctor that my labs came back and I was suffering from HELLP Syndrome. The doctor said they needed to move quickly to get Mark out. Travis came into the room around 10:30am and shortly after his arrival, they began my emergency c-section.
I heard a lot of counting. Counting the towels, the tools, the gloves. They were making sure everything that went into my body was sure to come out. The lights were brighter than a thousand suns. I felt dizzy. I felt sick. The noise became muffled, the lights dimmed. I started to close my eyes, and the anesthesiologist kept tapping my shoulder to keep me awake. I didn’t feel okay. I didn’t feel right. I kept apologizing. I apologized to Travis for not being strong enough. I apologized to the anesthesiologist for closing my eyes. I apologized to the doctors and nurses who had a delivery thrown onto their schedule that morning. I’m not sure anyone ever heard me. I’m not sure if I even said it out loud. I just felt so incredibly sorry. A few tears rolled down my cheek and I closed my eyes again.
Then I heard it. I heard the doctor say “11:40am Mark is here.” I asked if he was okay. I asked if he was breathing. No one answered me. The nurse told Travis to get his camera ready. I was going to see Mark with my own eyes for the very first time.
“1… 2… 3… Here he is!” He was perfect. So small, fragile, and purple. Then he was whisked away in a moments notice. He wasn’t crying. Were his lungs open? What was happening? Where is my baby? Where did he go? Why wasn’t he crying? I knew the reasons. I knew why he wasn’t there, or why he wasn’t crying. I knew where he went and I knew what was happening. We were prepared for it. We knew what to expect, yet it was still so fast and unexpected.
As they began to close, Travis left to go notify our family about how I was doing and what was happening with Mark. He soon met me in recovery where about an hour later the NICU doctor came in to speak with us. Mark weighed 1 pound, 7 ounces, and was 12 and a half inches long. He was on an oscillator and they were working to get him stabilized and Travis would be able to visit him within the hour. As for me? I had to go back to my room and get put back on Mag. I was bed-bound for another 24 hours and I was not able to see Mark for the first 36 hours of his life (with the exception of looking at him for a moment in the OR).
Travis took so many photos and a video or two (shhhhh, that is a secret) but nothing could ever compare to the moment I saw him in the NICU with my own eyes.