This is the story of my labor and delivery of my son Austin. I am sharing this because several events occurred that I was not prepared for. My type A personality does not adjust well to spontaneity. Looking back, I realize that I really thought labor and delivery would be just as described in childbirth classes - textbook. Women have been delivering babies for years - it was a natural process for the female body. The child birth educator did not go on to discuss all of the possibilities that "could" happen. So, let me share my experience and the events that "could" happen, that actually did.
I was blessed to begin labor on a Friday evening - just perfect - I would have the baby on the weekend and our family would be able to be there once the baby arrived. This was truly special because we opted to not find out the gender of our first child. So I anxiously spend my Friday evening contracting and preparing our home for the baby, since the long wait was finally coming to an end.
I was too excited to sleep so I just stayed up - waiting. Finally I woke Adam to tell him that we needed to head to the hospital - at 2am - no traffic! Once there the nurses hooked my belly up to monitors and we quickly learned that our baby's heart rate was dropping during the contractions - first sign of trouble. I was told to get some rest. Not the best advice to tell a woman in labor after she learns her baby is in danger.
In the morning the doctor came in to break my water to get the show on the road. For reasons still unknown I had no amniotic fluid - none. Seriously where did that water go? This term is called dry birth - which can be extremely dangerous and painful for mother and baby. Luckily medicine has come very far from the pioneer days and they have methods to counteract this problem.
As our family arrived at the hospital room I began to run a fever. At this point, the whole process really went downhill. My hormones were raging, not understanding why everything was not going according to plan. Why was my fever so high? Why could they not get the fever down? Why was the baby's heart rate still dropping? Would the baby be okay after not having enough amniotic fluid? And, why was the epidural not working? And most important - when would this be over? I just really want to have my baby to see if it is a boy or a girl.
Later Saturday afternoon the doctor decided that this whole process was not going well and they needed to get the baby out - c-section. Once in the operating room, Adam and I were greeted by the NICU staff. They explained that I had an infection (high fever) and that the baby had contracted the infection as well and would need to be transported to the NICU. I was so overwhelmed with emotions, drugs and high fever that I could not truly comprehend what was happening.
At 5:38pm Austin Joseph was born...7lbs 14oz and 22 inches long.
Soon after delivery they took him away to the NICU. I send Adam to be with him.
Adam and I had experience with the NICU from our twin nieces who were born premature and spend months in the unit. But they were premature - my Austin was full term. I was unaware that complications like infection can occur, sending a full term baby into the NICU. Once in recovery I wanted to see my baby and hold my baby. We had been together for 40 weeks - now we were ripped apart. I had these great visions of nursing my newborn immediately after delivery. Those dreams - gone. As a new mother, I had raging hormones and "needed" to be with my child. My child needed me.
I did not get to see Austin in the NICU until he was over 5 hours old. Those might have been the hardest hours of my life. I was determined to breastfeed and knew from reading how vital it was to nurse within the first hours of birth. Little did I know that our breastfeeding issues were just beginning (this is another post entirely).
The first 48 hours of Austin's life he spent in the NICU. This time was a blessing in disguise. I was forced to rest - which I needed to speed my recovery. I also was forced to get up out of bed to go see him - every couple hours, which was great for my recovery. We also received great lessons on infant care thanks to the wonderful nurses. When Austin was finally released into my room, Adam and I were well rested and blessed to have our family all together.