You know how you plan your birth? You want everything to go just as planned, you vision it, dream about it, and write down everything you’re going to bring. But guess what? We’re not the ones who are in control. I learned that one the hard way. I talked with my midwives about the date I wanted, I talked to my nurse friend about when she should schedule herself so she could be there, I scheduled my maternity leave off work and just like that we were thrown a fast ball.
I knew this pregnancy was different from all my others. I wasn’t achey (besides the sciatica), I didn’t get charley horses, I didn’t have to get up and pee in the nights, everything caused heartburn, I was more sick throughout my pregnancy, I wasn’t being kicked in the ribs, I wasn’t dilating as much as the others (only 4 cm at my 37 week appointment instead of the usual 8cm)…the list goes on. But I still thought my delivery would be like my other three since they were all exactly alike.
However, at 36 weeks we went in for an end-of-term ultrasound…or should I say “I” went in. My husband wasn’t allowed in the ultrasound room due to Covid restrictions, that set my pregnancy hormones off. Immediately I couldn’t stop the tears! I don’t know why! I couldn’t even answer when the ultrasound tech asked how I was doing without bursting in tears….not just a few but like big gasps and tears streaming down my face (thank goodness I had a mask on so no one else could see me crying). I quickly told myself to settle down so we could see our sweet baby. She spent a long time looking at the heart in every angle so I asked if everything looked ok and she said she was going to have the radiologist take a look…shoot! More tears! I knew something was wrong when she left multiple times to consult with him and also got a second set of eyes.
We were sent up north for an abnormality on his heart. The radiology specialist up north, who travels all around the US (and possibly more) teaching about radiology had no clue what she was looking at and also consulted with colleagues from Yale and across the state and US to figure out that my baby had an extra atrium. It’s called Cor Triatriatrum. It’s only common in .1% of the population!
They wanted me to deliver in an OR with the NICU present in case we needed to perform surgery right away to correct it so we set a date that day to have my baby the following week since I was already 4cm dilated. So I got set up with a nice team of midwives and talked to them about a natural delivery. They asked how I wanted to get started and I chose breaking my water over pitocin.
This is where it get’s tricky.
My midwife told me I had a lot of fluid but I didn’t think that would cause any problems….well when they broke my water, the pressure caused the cord to prolapse (come out before the head) and also his little hand. She quickly made a call and told me we were going to have an emergency C-section. I feel like I zoned out here. I NEVER wanted a C-Section! What happened to going natural?!! Doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, anesthesiologists all came in and swarmed me introducing themselves and doing their duties. I had someone ripping my socks off and wrapping things around my legs, the doctor checked to make sure it was a cords prolapse, they were prepping my husband for the OR while he’s trying to update our family, friends, and midwives back home….then we were rushed out of the room while my nurse pushed on my baby’s head to keep him from coming down as they wheeled us out of the room Grey’s Anatomy style!!! No joke!
Just around the corner was the OR that we stole from a doctor standing next to the door all gowned up as he told them he was all set up in there someone else said “Well it’s ours now!” Wow! Now I KNEW this was an emergency! It was cold, they were trying to fit my hair in a net, strapping my hands down, pouring that orange liquid on my belly, hanging sheets…I mean, it was CRAZY! I kept asking for my husband, a familiar face. Was this really happening? I could have sworn the doctor was going to cut me before I was numb so I begged them to put me out already. “We are waiting for the last minute so baby doesn’t get too much anesthesia” and then I smelled something different and then…
I woke up back in my quiet room so tired and groggy. My nurse was trying to talk to me and I don’t remember any of it. Then I heard my husband walk in and the nurse tell him I was awake and to come talk to me. He asked if I wanted to see a picture of our baby and I didn’t feel like a picture was enough reason to open my eyes until he said “he has hair.” I immediately open my eyes and ask for the picture! None of my babies had hair! Are they sure this was my baby?!
It all happened so fast! From the time they broke my water and found the prolapsed cord until the time he was out was a little over 1o minutes!!! They were amazing! They knew exactly what to do and how to handle it! I truly feel like finding my son’s heart condition was a blessing that saved his life…saved BOTH our lives! I hemorrhaged pretty bad and he would have died if I tried to deliver him and pinched his cord coming out that was his main source of blood and oxygen. Oh and get this, his heart is just fine! The membrane dividing the second and third atrium is so small they think it will work itself out-however we ARE going to follow up with a specialist to make sure of that but he is living and functioning perfectly!!
All I see if God’s hand in every step of our delivery! NOTHING went as planned, it wasn’t the delivery of my dreams but we were so lucky to have been in the safest place we could have been in.
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