Sorry for being M.I.A. but life has been a wee bit busy over here!
As some of you may know, baby Theo graced us with his presence (after a brief 28 hours of labor) on May 18th at 15:50 p.m – a 3920 g bundle of dark-haired cuteness. Words cannot express my complete and undivided love for him. I know every parent says this, but he’s absolutely perfect!
Since his birth, I’ve been working on being a kick-butt mom and adjusting to our new life as a family. Four weeks in and I think I’m finally starting to get my mojo working. (By mojo I mean I’m now eating breakfast and showering on a daily basis … MAJOR improvement!). It’s been tough, especially the no-sleeping part, but it’s also a new, exciting adventure, and you know how I feel about adventures.
Due to a tough delivery and the health problems Theo had when he was born, this experience has been more challenging than I could have imagined or prepared for. And to be completely honest — I’m still recovering.
This is my birth story.
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THE BIG DAY – THEO’S BIRTH
It was 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 17th. I woke with a start. I felt a stabbing pain at the bottom of my abdomen just like cramps, so I switched my pregnant belly to the opposite side hoping that would make me feel better.
In fact I felt much worse.
I’d been having Braxton Hicks contractions for the past 5 weeks, but something told me this was different. Call it a woman’s intuition, but I knew that I’d go into labor that day. I figured I’d need the energy so I went back to sleep without waking up Thomas.
At noon the contractions got more intense. By 5pm we went to the hospital only to be sent home. And 10 hours later in the darkness of the early morning, we rushed to the hospital again, this time I was in active birth. Upon arrival, I was instantly hooked up to the monitors in labor and delivery. When my midwife arrived, she simply looked at me and said with excitement in her voice, “You’re going to have a baby today!” At this point, my contractions were two minutes apart and I was six cm dilated.
Very deep breaths and an epidural later, I felt about 70 percent (okay … 86 percent) better. Dare I say, it even became tolerable? I mean, it was painful, but the adrenaline was flowing. I walked around, I napped and had fun with my midwifery student. I even remember telling Thomas this was the best birth ever!
Looking back, it was pretty clear I was high on meds, but at least they worked (those anesthesiologists are angels straight from heaven).
For the next few hours, I could still function during the breaks. I felt I could handle what was happening to my body.
But then… things escalated.
At 8 cm, the meds stopped working and I was smacked back to reality. Goodbye, bearable cramps; Hello, contractions resembling my internal organs tightening and squeezing as if my insides were a towel being wrung out. The contractions rushed over me with hardly any breaks between, yet they weren’t effective enough to help me dilate. So, I got the dreaded IV induction to augment contractions, which only made them more frequent and intense.
As labor progressed, I suddenly felt the unwelcoming urge to push – I say ‘unwelcoming’ because they came way too early. I looked at my midwife with tears in my eyes as she said the phrase that no woman in labor ever wants to hear: ‘Hold back. Don’t push yet!’.
I just wanted to crawl out of my body for relief.
Four very long hours later, the baby started showing signs of distress and I (finally) received the go-ahead to push with the help of a suction cup. In a matter of minutes, the room was cramped with 15 doctors and nurses ready to take care of him. Our little fighter came out 3 minutes later with a perfect Apgar score, healthy as a horse.
‘Congratulations, you have a son. A healthy little boy,’ said the nice pediatric doctor to the tunes of the 97-decibel screams coming from my newborn. Theo was in my arms and time stood still for a moment. But only for a moment because I was losing blood and the bleeding wouldn’t stop.
Very soon after the pediatrics team had left, the room was filled with doctors again, this time to attend to me. My uterus failed to contract after the delivery of the baby (a condition known as uterine atony) and they had to move fast.
Minutes after Theo was born, I was being wheeled from the delivery room to surgery.
I woke up after surgery and felt like I’d been run over by a Mack truck. All I could think about was Thomas and Theo.
I worried for Thomas that day. I felt terrible leaving him all alone with our new baby. And I was heart-broken that I didn’t get to spend those precious first hours bonding with Theo just after the delivery.
Hands down, the hardest 28 hours of my life. Or so I thought….
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THE BIRTH OF A MOM: WHEN THEO GOT SICK
I’d lost a lot of blood and recovery was brutal – I was bed-ridden for the first few days because just sitting up in bed made me light-headed. But then on day three we were ready to go home with our little Superboy. We were halfway out the door when his nurse, whom I knew from my parents’ church, looked concerned at Theo and said:
‘I’d really like our doctor to take a look at him. Your baby might have a skin infection.‘
Divine intervention is putting it mildly, because if she hadn’t noticed the slight rash on his cheeks, we may have never known about Theo’s condition, since no one else (other nurses and us included) had noticed it. I couldn’t see it at the time because I was so scared and confused, but someone was definitely watching over my family and me.
Very soon after the finding, Thomas and I met with a pediatric doctor who explained to us that Theo had gotten an infection in his skin called Group B Strep Infection (GBS), and that we needed to be isolated asap. If left untreated, GBS could develop into sepsis, pneumonia, meningitis, or even death. I couldn’t even think about my little one going through any of this.
As a new mom, this news was beyond devastating. I wanted nothing more (and I truly mean nothing more) than for my baby boy to be safe. I just prayed and prayed and prayed.
Quickly after, we were placed in a hospital isolation room and endured the hideous task of handing our precious boy over to a nurse who put an IV in his little hand, unfortunately missed the vein, and had to do it all over again.
(For the record — my brave little boy didn’t shed a tear — he just sucked his thumb as she put in the IV and drew blood. Mommy is a different story.)
This development was a game-changer for me. I suddenly found it very difficult to be excited by being a new mom as I was terrified that it wouldn’t have a happy ending. We were three days into Theo’s life and I cried all the time, worrying if my baby would be okay.
I was so afraid to lose him.
After a few days on antibiotics, Theo slowly got better.
Nothing serious came from the infection because they caught it in time (thank goodness. And thank you, God!!). So now we’re out of the woods … but I guess as parents we are never really out of the woods. I will always worry about my little boy, but now I can finally check this super-sized worry off of my list.
FINALLY HOME WITH BABY THEO
Five days later we got home from the hospital.
I will never forget the feeling of arriving home with this new little person that wholeheartedly trusts you and assumes you know what the heck you are doing! I’m still adjusting to the exhaustion that being a new parent brings. The good news is, it’s so incredibly fulfilling that I just go with the flow and take it one day at the time. It gets easier every day.
Everything is better now and Theo is thriving, which means, so am I.
His little details, like his super long eyelashes, his intense look or his charming long neck hair makes me smile on a daily basis. It reminds me of Thomas’ Mohawk haircut when I started dating him more than 8 years ago. He looks so much like Thomas.
Being a mom is just as amazing as I’d hoped it would be and despite everything we just went through, I’m ready to have another baby. Two even! Life suddenly has a new meaning, and now there’s nothing more wonderful than when he cuddles his little head in my neck and falls asleep on my shoulder. Absolute heaven!
I am so lucky to be his mother.
Thank you for letting me share my mommy journey with you! As usual, I would love to hear from you so leave a comment below.