We were so happy to finally welcome our baby boy on March 30th. He weighed in at 8 pounds 6 ounces and was 21 inches long.
Now that he’s a few weeks old, I’m finally ready to share his birth story. I know all mom’s say it, but time is already flying by. He’s so relaxed and the most chill baby. He’s sleeping and eating wonderfully and I really couldn’t imagine our life without him.
I knew I would share his birth story before he was even born. But I never knew how emotional it would turn out to be. I had such an easy delivery with Little A that I thought it would be the same with EJ. Boy was I wrong. Oh, and I wasn’t sure what I would call him in this space. Should I call him Baby E, Little E? But EJ seemed better so EJ it is. 🙂
I guess I should back up a bit to when I was 37 weeks pregnant. I went in for my weekly OB appointment and an ultrasound to check on baby and see how big he was. It was at this appointment that they told me he was measuring around 7 lbs 13 oz. Not kidding. Little A was 6 lbs 11 oz when she was born just 5 days early, how the hell do I have an almost 8 pound baby inside me at 37 weeks! I was stressing majorly, anxiety kicked in and I started doing all of the things to get baby out. Now, when someone gives you advice on what worked for them and you are in desperate times you do it. So I did it all. I mean everything (except Castor oil, I wouldn’t do that). I was drinking and eating everything, sex, nipple stimulation all the time, walking, bouncing, using my oils. And it worked to get contractions going, but then they wouldn’t last. By my 38 week appointment my OB said baby was very low so when I did go into labor it would be fast. So the hubs started working from home since his office is an hour and a half away. By 39 weeks when baby hadn’t come yet I was at my wits end. We were in a holding pattern, not wanting to go far from the house for fear that I’d go into labor and we wouldn’t make it to the hospital in time. I felt depressed, scared and just overly emotional.
And then I hit 40 weeks. Never, ever did I think I would make my due date, let alone go over. Never. I was ready for this baby at 37 weeks and when we hit that 40 week mark I was desperate to go into labor. We had another ultrasound where the tech told me he was measuring 9 pounds. I started crying. 9 pounds?! What the hell! How am I going to push a 9 pound baby out?! I saw my doc on a Monday who confirmed I was dilated to 2 1/2 so they scheduled my induction for 2 days later.
I went into labor that night, but I never dilated beyond a 3. By Wednesday I was exhausted from laboring for a day and a half, the contractions were pretty painful and I just wanted him out. We got to the hospital around 10:00 in the morning for my semi-induction. I got my epidural right away so I could rest while the pitocin started working. I’m so glad they let me get the epidural first because I know pitocin can be a bitch.
We monitored my contractions for a few hours, then around 5:00 the resident working with my OB came in to break my water. That got the contractions really moving and I was dilated to about a 6. But the contractions were irregular and baby’s heart rate would start to drop every so often. Around 7:00 I started to feel nauseous. They were monitoring my temp and by this point it had spiked to over 101 degrees. I had gotten a cervical infection (I’m assuming from breaking my water). They quickly put me on antibiotics and I started getting the shakes. Like I’ve had the shakes before, but never like this. It was uncontrollable and as much as I tried to relax, they wouldn’t stop. I started to feel nauseous again and ended up vomiting. But the shakes continued for 2 hours and my whole body ached so bad.
EJ’s heart rate continued to fluctuate and at one point 5 nurses rushed into my room, got the oxygen mask on me and started rolling me from side to side to try to get his heart rate back up. I knew something was wrong but was trying to stay as positive as I could because I knew it would take all of me to push him out. But I was scared. So freaking scared. This happened another time or two and it was at this point that I was starting to worry about him. They then informed me that baby had pooped in utero. I didn’t know what to think, but the doc and nurses didn’t seem too concerned so we continued to adjust my position to keep baby’s heart rate up. Oh, did I mention that my entire left leg was numb from the epidural? Completely numb. So I could barely move myself at all.
I continued to shake and use the oxygen for a few more hours until my OB finally came to check me. I was at a 10 with a lip (no idea what that means) but they said I could push through that. I also knew from the look on my OB’s face that I needed to get EJ out as fast as I could. It was then that the NICU team came into the room as a precaution in case baby needed a little extra help after being born. Little did we know at this point that he would need a lot more than a little help.
He was facing sideways when I started pushing so I heard both the docs talking about how to best get him out. That definitely had me a bit worried and I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to push him out at all.
I started pushing at 10:40 and after 7 minutes, 4 contractions, EJ was born at 10:47 PM. They put him on my stomach and he was completely covered in poop. And he wasn’t breathing. I just rubbed him while the docs cut his cord then they took him from me. The NICU team worked on him in the delivery room for a while. They had the bagged oxygen on him trying to get him to breathe and were pumping his heart. All I could say was “He’s not crying” and started crying myself. I could barely see what they were doing because my docs were working on me but I could have cared less because I couldn’t see my baby. Finally after what seemed like an eternity they said he was breathing and took him to the NICU. They asked if K wanted to go and I told him to go with them. I didn’t want our boy to be by himself.
At this point my docs were still working on me and the nurses were getting everything cleaned up in the room. They told me he was in the best hands possible and I just thought “No he’s not, he’s not in my hands.” I tried my best to keep it together but I was laying there without my baby. Once the doctors were done and the room was cleaned up, my nurse went to grab me some crackers, and I was by myself. I was all alone. I had just delivered my baby after a long, hard pregnancy and labor and I was all by myself. I’ve never felt more despair and utter sadness in my entire life. I just started crying and praying to God that he was okay. Yep, I prayed like I’ve never prayed before. Just thinking about it now is bringing back all those emotions and emptiness I felt at that moment. My hands were empty and my heart was aching.
K started sending my photos of him and keeping me up to date about what was going on. Once I got the feeling back in my legs and went to the bathroom I could go see him. And it was taking for freaking ever for my left leg to gain feeling back. K came back to the room to show me some other photos and we both just sat there while I just sobbed. After about an hour my nurse said screw it, I needed to see my baby, and she and K helped me into the wheelchair and wheeled me to the NICU so I could see EJ.
Seeing your baby hooked up to a bunch of machines, a tube down his throat…..I can’t even explain the pain and agony my heart was going through. He’d wake up every now and then crying, fighting the tube, but you couldn’t hear him because of it. That has to be one of the worst sights a mother can see.
Because I was still a patient I couldn’t stay in his room with him; plus he was in a pod with 2 other babies at the time. So I had to go back to my room to sleep. But I woke up every few hours to pump and visit him. I couldn’t just leave him there.
The next morning I went to see him around 8:00 and he was off the ventilator! They said he was fighting it so much they thought they’d try and take him off it, and he was doing great! They’d never seen a baby come off the vent so easily. We knew he was a fighter. I also got to hold him for the first time, which was the best feeling I’ve ever experienced. When you’re forced apart from your baby, that first moment of togetherness is amazing. Later that day they transferred him to his own room. Once I was discharged (the following day) I was able to move my things to his room, which is where I stayed for the next 5 days.
**side note: I got a lot of questions about his arm. What that is is a splint to keep his arm straight and protect this IV so he wouldn’t pull at it. He was being fed the first 4 days via an IV (I was pumping and we worked on his nursing) and this kept it from getting pulled out. It was so hard to see on him though. He could barely bend his elbow and the tape smooshed his skin so bad. Plus it bled out one day so they had to move it to his other hand. Getting it off was so painful for him; I couldn’t be there when they took it off.
They weren’t sure how long he would be in the NICU. At first they said a week, which made my heart sink. Even though he was breathing on his own, he was still having secretions that he’d choke on, had inflammation in his throat from the ventilator and had some pretty bad strider.
I stayed with him the entire time he was in the NICU; only leaving the hospital a few times to get food. The NICU can be a sad place. All these tiny babies; some of them not even 30 weeks gestation. And some who’s parents I never saw. I think that broke my heart the most. I could barely stand to leave for 30 minutes to get lunch or dinner, let alone leave him all day and night. I felt so terrible for those little ones. But the NICU nurses were so amazing. They care so much about the babies and were so great to me and K. I felt so lucky that EJ had such fantastic care.
He’d lost almost a pound by Monday, so I was concerned they weren’t going to let us go home until he started to put on weight (I was nursing and he was off the IV at this point). But the docs were optimistic about how he’d do at home and Monday afternoon he was discharged and we got to go home.
Even though EJ’s birth wasn’t what we’d expected, he’s a healthy, content little baby. He fits into our family perfectly and we are enjoying every moment loving on him.
I just have to say a HUGE thank you to my parents and in-laws for helping out with Little A during this time. I know it wasn’t ideal or easy but we appreciate everything. And to everyone who was thinking about us and praying for us, thank you. It means so much to have such a great support system of friends and family, and this community.
But the biggest thank you goes to my husband. He was a freaking rock star throughout our stay at the hospital. He traveled back and forth from home so many times to spend time with Little A, get me clean clothes, bring me food. He was my rock and I could not have done this without him.
Look at that sweet face. How lucky am I?