I don’t know about you, but when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, the first thing I did was read. I read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, tons of mommy blogs, and even Pinterest tips. Isn’t that how we do things in this age? I ate decent (it’s hard to say I ate well when I craved fruit loops like a mad person), I walked a little every day for exercise, and I saw my OBGYN religiously throughout the whole pregnancy. My bags were packed and in the car along with the car seat. I even had the nursery done about a month before I was due. I had no complications until the last few weeks and it was just my blood pressure. Simply put? I. was. prepared.
Made it to the 40 week appointment and discussed my options with the doctor. They expected him to be over 9 lbs (per the sonograms) at this point and opted to induce me as I was starting to struggle with high blood pressure at the end of my pregnancy. We arrived at the hospital, got comfortable in our room and prepared for a long night. Five hours later, we were heading in for a C-Section as our son’s heart rate was dropping every time I had a contraction.
They tell you the birth of your child is the most joyous moment of your life. I was so prepared for that moment that I never expected anything else, who would? Instead, we heard the doctors announce that the baby was out…. But we didn’t hear him crying. Talk about instant fear. They got him to choke out a cry once, twice, a good wail, and then nothing. I kept asking what was happening, what was wrong. No one was talking to us, they were clearly focused. My husband could see the doctors working on him over in the corner but we hadn’t been told anything. Suddenly a nurse appeared and grabbed a red phone and called for NICU… She finally came over and mentioned that my son was struggling a bit to breath and that they were taking him up to the NICU. This is of course where I panicked and they had to put me under to finish putting me together. I don’t ever remember seeing my son. I woke up still being worked on without my husband in the room and no baby to be spoken of.
When I got to recovery I couldn’t stop asking one question. Where is my son? My husband didn’t have a clue, and the nurses were solely focused on helping me get fluids down and giving me pain meds. It was heart wrenching telling my parents that the baby wasn’t in here with me, that something was wrong but we didn’t know what. After a couple hours (and some juice) they were ready to wheel me to the room I would spend a couple days healing in. They told us that we would be stopping by the NICU where I would finally get to see my son.
They tell you to make it to the 40 weeks and practice your breathing, you’ll be fine. No one tells you to prepare to be wheeled through the NICU with all of the tiny preemie and sick babies to see your son with leads connecting him to monitors, an IV running from his hand, and laying under an oxygen hood. No one prepares you for the heart breaking conversation with the nurse that you can’t hold your newborn son because he has to stay under the hood to breathe. Even worse? No one prepares you to go home without him because he’s still not healthy enough.
Simply put, I was prepared, or so I thought. I had my birth plan. I had my car seat. I made it to term. So why am I still visiting my son in the NICU? This ward is for the ladies who had serious complications or went unexpectedly and prematurely into labor. I didn’t fit these requirements, so why am i here? This is where my husband and I had to start surviving the unexpected. Something I don’t excel well at, but I don’t have the choice but to move forward.