I cannot begin to thank each and every one of you who has inquired about our delivery, the health of the baby, and my subsequent recovery. It was a whirlwind of excitement and varied emotions for the past few days which created a beautiful birth story for us and for adoptive parents, A and J. Below is recap of what transpired over the past few days.
Wednesday Morning 4:30 a.m. - I was hit with a few painful contractions in bed, but ultimately fell back to sleep. They arrived again about 5:45 a.m. and I told my husband I thought we may be heading to the hospital that morning. I proceeded to take a nice shower, wash my hair, get dressed and ponder if I really needed to remove my toenail polish (although I haven't actually touched my toes in several weeks). (I was previously informed that if I was having a C-section, all polish and make up would have to be removed.) Between contractions, I thought that that labor was just beginning and we would have plenty of time. Besides they seemed far enough apart . . . (famous last thoughts. . .)
My husband A. called the hospital staff who told us to come in. We got into the car and drove a quarter mile down the road and I was hit with a very strong contraction which broke my water in the car. A. proceeded to take a different route. He was driving 75 mph and I told him to slow down. We were fortunate that it was about 6:30 in the morning. Any later and we could have been stuck in heavy morning rush hour traffic rendering A.’s dad’s prediction of a car delivery a reality. (A few days earlier, he had jokingly (maybe not) given A. instructions on how to deliver a breech birth in the car).
We arrived at the main hospital entrance and proceeded to find an attendant and a wheelchair. Unfortunately, A. was told that laboring patients needed to go to the emergency entrance of the hospital (did I fail to tell him this before?) so back in the car he went and we drove around the corner to the emergency entrance. I was placed in a wheelchair and taken up to the 5th floor for Labor and Delivery. I was then asked to change into a gown and moved into an examination room where I was told it was shift change (at 7 a.m.) and there were two patients ahead me in queue for examination. Then a very strong contraction came and I told A. I wanted to push and I told him to find a nurse and tell her the baby is breech and was coming now. (Should’ve told them that at registration!) Anyway, those are the apparent ‘magical words’ to get attention in an L&D ward. Suddenly there were 5 attendants poking me and prodding me and doing examinations. It was determined the baby was partial breech meaning her legs had straightened out and her feet had already descended into birth canal. I was amazed to hear this as she had been in the full breech position for 13 weeks. I was quickly rolled into the operating room –never mind my pink toenail polish, make up or a cap for my head. I looked at the end of the operating table only to find literally 14-15 staff (some doctors, a few anesthesiologists, and I would guess lots of med students) awaiting an unusual experience- a vaginal breech delivery. The anesthesiologist said she hadn't seen one in the 2 years she had been there. I was moved into position and it was simply push time. No time for an epidural or other drugs. So I pushed 7 times and even pushed when there was no contraction at the request of the doctors. Then towards the end the doctors inserted the forceps to guide out the baby’s head. That was the most painful part. Once out, baby didn’t cry but was whisked away for her Apgar scores. A score of 4 at 1 minute and 9 at 5 minutes. Great scores! Slowly the extra doctors, nurses and students departed and I was left with 1-2 anesthesiologists, 1 nurse and 1-2 doctors. There was some trouble inserting the epidural while on my side, but after about 10 minutes or so, I was fully numb and the doctors proceeded to make repairs to a grade 2 cervical tear likely caused by the forceps during delivery. The procedure took about an hour and then I was wheeled into recovery for several hours. My super-duper epidural lasted 2 times as long as normal and my legs were still numb when I was moved into my room at about 1 p.m. Baby girl was doing so well she was placed into a tray an able to room in with me. That day I tried to breast feed baby girl, but she was extremely sleepy and lethargic. Traits common in all newborns after birth but especially pronounced in Ds babies. The girls and Nana visited and we took lots of pictures that evening. Baby girl really didn’t eat all day and I became worried. I spoke with the nurse and she recommended supplementing with bottled formula. Immediately we saw Baby Girl’s super suck reflex as she drank down her first bottle. Adoptive mom’s brother stopped by to meet A. and me and brought us beautiful flowers (a combination of daisies, batchelor buttons, and carnations). He held Baby Girl (his niece) for quite a while and she loved it. By midnight Thursday morning, she had her first poop and we celebrated! I fed her bottles every 3 hours and with the revolving door of nurses, doctors checking on me and tests for the baby there was not much time for sleep that night.
Thursday 3/5/15: The adoptive parents arrived about 6 p.m. and held Baby Girl and I took lots of pictures of the momentous occasion. I can only imagine how they must have felt to finally hold the child they had wished for so long. J. let me know that my name would also be Baby Girl’s middle name. I was so honored. I filled out the last remaining part of her birth certificate and turned it in to the nurse. A. and J. then opened a few presents we had brought-a homemade baby blanket, and two clothing outfits.
J.’s brother and his daughter visited until about 11 that night. We clearly violated the hospital visitation policy of only 2 visitors after 9 p.m. but the nurses were lenient. A. and J. gave Baby Girl her bottle at 9 and I was supposed to give the 12 a.m. bottle but I slept through until about 1:20 a.m. The nurse came in while I was feeding and said that her next bottle wouldn’t be due until 5 a.m. which gave me a few more hours to rest. At 5:00 a.m. the nurse came in, changed the baby’s diaper, prepared her bottle and brought her to me where I fed her in bed while she reclined on a pillow. After the feeding, she and I laid in the dark hours of Friday morning. I knew what was ahead of me that day and I cried and cried while I held her sleeping in my arms.
Friday morning 3/6/15: 5:30 a.m. After her feeding, Baby Girl was snuggled next to my chest and proceeded to regurgitate some of her formula on the pillow and on my pajamas. Just enough to snap me back to reality that I didn’t need to feel sorry for myself. I got up, showered, and began packing my things. The nurse said that her temperature was low and advised me to Kangaroo cuddle her which was the best experience ever. And it worked, her temperature rose. My husband arrived about 9:45 and we had a few hours to spend with Baby Girl by ourselves. We revisited our reasons for choosing adoption for her. Lots of If . . . . Thens . . . . and lots of tears (o.k. mostly just me). I cried off and on while the doctors, nurses, social workers, and the chaplain stopped by. A professional photographer stopped by and took pictures. Baby Girl was sans vetements (without clothes) for some of the pictures and squirmed a lot in the cold air, flailing her arms as she wished. My husband then fed her and placed her in her new pink jumper and she took a few more photos (while asleep after her feeding). Afterword, A. and I ordered and shared a lunch plate and had a private lunch in the room. The Chaplain arrived and spoke with A. and me. The adoptive parents arrived and the four of us spent some time praying together with the Chaplain. I said what was on my heart and felt so much better-I felt strong enough, with a clear head and open heart, to sign the adoption paperwork. Our adoption social worker arrived about 3pm and we began the paperwork. I was at peace knowing that even though I loved Baby Girl and had bonded with her over the past 48 hours, she is truly the child of the adoptive parents. It had been my greatest glory, honor, and privilege to carry her to term and was an experience I would cherish for the rest of my life. The Chaplain handed A. and me a little decorative green cross and that’s when I lost it. I cried and cried.
With the paperwork completed and Baby Girl passing all her health tests with flying colors, it was simply time to leave the hospital. The adoptive parents gave me quite a few gifts: a minky baby blanket matching Baby Girl’s miniature one, an adorable baby lamb stuffed animal, a gift card to Red Robin, a donation to NDSAN (the agency through which we met), stuffed animals for our daughters, some chocolate truffles from their home state, and a heartfelt letter written by the adoptive mom that I will cherish forever.
There was discussion about which Mom would take the wheelchair ride downstairs with Baby Girl to the car-first it was going to be the adoptive mom, but then the plan was changed and I was chosen. I have to say that I was grateful because my feet were starting to swell and I appreciated the ride and being able to focus my last few minutes on Baby Girl’s beautiful face as we rode down through the corridors. We both got into our cars and headed our separate ways. My husband and I stopped by and picked up a pizza for dinner and we got home about 7. The girls were so happy I was home and we invited them to our bed to watch a movie. I fell asleep immediately slept through the night knowing that Baby Girl was in the best of hands with her new parents.
I know the next few weeks will not be easy, especially after Baby Girl and her parents leave to go back home, but our family will get through with help from our friends and family who have helped us get through the last 10 months. Many Blessings for all our lives together.