Chuck and I had wanted a baby for quite some time. We started trying in 2006. It took us 8 long months before I got pregnant. I know that in the scheme of things, that really wasn't a long time, but to see a negative pregnancy test for the first month, then the second month, the third month, the fourth month...and so on - it WAS a long time for us.
Then the day came when that test...it had 2 pink lines. It was such a great moment. I was alone at home, except for our dog Mattie, so she was getting an earful. Chuck finally got home from work and it was all I could do not to trample him when he walked through the door. I told him the good news and it slowly started to sink in that we would soon be a family of 3, rather than 2.
Fast forward to December of 2007. My due date was December 3rd. I had a doctor's appointment that day and I was planning to tell my doctor (Dr. Collins from Holly's birth story!) that I was ready to wait it out another week if necessary. I had not progressed AT ALL so I just figured that Alex wasn't ready to come out yet. Well, Dr. Collins had a different plan. She let me tell her my plan (see above) and then proceeded to tell me that she wanted to induce me. That. Very. Evening. Talk about a total shock! I had no idea that she was planning to do this. She said that she wanted to go this route because Alex had been measuring just a little bit small. (She had already sent me to the high risk doctors to have a look at him via ultrasound.) She had also already called the high risk doctors to ask about her decision to induce and they seemed to think it was a good one. I guess I was the only one who didn't think so, but who was I to argue with my doctor? I mean, Chuck and I had planned to go to dinner and a movie after this appointment, so saying that we weren't prepared for this was just a little bit of an understatement.
Next, total chaos ensues. Phone call after phone call to family and friends, letting everyone know what was going on. Heading home to finish packing our bags for the hospital. Making sure the house and the dog are OK before we leave. Making sure the car seat is installed.
We did go eat afterwards, but I was too nervous and emotional for this last meal. We also ate Mexican food, which I am pretty sure is not a great idea if you are about to give birth.
We got to the hospital around 6:00 that evening. Chuck and I were taken to a room and I put on the gown, ready to get down to business. I knew that my experience would depend a lot on the nurse that I got. "If you have a great nurse, you will have a great experience." This kept running through my mind. I would bet anyone that MY nurse that night had just walked out of the doors of nursing school. She had a hard time with my IV, which was worse for me than her as I was the one she was stabbing with a needle. She also made me cry when she placed the Cervidil, as she obviously had NO IDEA what she was doing. (If you know what that is, then you will understand the pain I felt. If you don't know, look it up. Seriously.)
By the next morning, I had not progressed very much. Dr. Collins wanted to break my water, but it was just too painful for me as I had not dilated. She went ahead and let me get an epidural, and then broke my water. I don't remember much of this day. I slept quite a bit off and on. I do remember waking up late in the evening and not feeling well at all. I was having contractions and starting to feel them, so I was able to get another epidural. I still had only progressed to maybe 5 centimeters and it had been almost 24 hours since everything started. I was feeling pretty sick and I had a fever. Right about the time that the nurse discovered I had a fever, Alex's heart rate started to go up. 170s. 180s. 190s. The nurse called Dr. Collins and it seemed like she was there in my room in minutes. The nurses had been tossing and turning me to try to get Alex's heart rate down and it wasn't working. It was just making him angrier and the heart rate was up, up, up. (He still has this trait as of this day.) I remember Dr. Collins telling me that they were going to do a C-section and I felt relieved. I was exhausted and sick. Then, she explained to me that it would be "urgent." It was at that point that probably 10 nurses crowded around my hospital bed, along with Dr. Collins, and whisked me out of the room. I didn't get to tell Chuck good-bye. I remember that he had just called his mom to tell her I was having an emergency c-section. I didn't get to put on my glasses so I could only see blurs. My brother and mother were outside when I was wheeled by. They told me everything would be OK. I wanted to believe them. I knew they were only saying it for my benefit. I was crying and crying and praying to God to please let my baby be OK. I prayed for us both to be OK. I didn't want to die without ever meeting my son.
On the way to the operating room, I asked Dr. Collins of Chuck would get to come in the room. She told me that he might, as long as she didn't have to put me under. We got into the operating room and Dr. Collins was ready to get started. She asked the anesthesiologist if she could start cutting and he said he needed to get some more medication into my epidural line first. I told her I could feel my feet. I was scared to death she was going to cut me open and I would feel all of it. I never felt a thing. It was at this point that I started to feel like I could not breathe. There was an oxygen mask on my face - it had been on there in the hospital room - but now there was no oxygen coming into it. I felt sick and claustrophobic. I told the anesthesiologist that I couldn't breathe and pulled off the mask, but he put it back on and told me it was to help the baby. I don't think he realized that the oxygen was not hooked to it at the time. Then, as if things weren't bad enough already, I threw up. All over myself. Oh, but I felt so much better. Then, the sweet anesthesiologist cut off my gown and cleaned me up - as much as he could from my shoulders up. I turned my head to see someone sit down next to me and I saw eyes that I would know anywhere. Chuck had finally gotten to come in. We were ready to see our baby come into the world. It was right after this, at 11:49 p.m. on December 4th, that Dr. Collins pulled Alex out of my belly. He cried a quick cry right away. I remember the anesthesiologist telling me that was a really good sign. The nurses took him over to clean him up and make sure that he was OK. Chuck told me later on that they had to suction blood out of his belly. My blood. Thank God, after all of this, he was OK.
Chuck was able to go over to where the nurses were getting Alex cleaned up and see him and hold him. He held him up for me to see, but, since I did not have my glasses on, I could only see a blur. I finally got to hold my son about 30 minutes later. What a surreal moment. I had a baby. He was ours. He was in my arms and no longer inside of my stomach. Wow. Chuck and I spent some quiet time with him until we were able to go back to our room. It was full of family and friends. They were so proud of me and so happy to see Alex. What a wonderful moment. I will never forget the way I felt at that time. It was cold outside, but that room was so warm.
Now here we are, almost 5 years later. Alex will be 5 this December the 4th. How has all this time passed already? How do I stop it? I felt, for a time, that I didn't really get to bond with Alex like other mothers who have better birth experiences do. I didn't get to hold him or nurse him right away, and all the books and journals tell you that is the key to a mother bonding with her baby. What I have finally realized - and it took me awhile - is that he and I share a different kind of bond. We went through a lot together. Just me and him. And what we went through was the beginning of a long, and strong, bond that can never be broken. For that much, I will always be thankful.