When I found out I was pregnant, I was terrified. But it wasn’t because I was scared to be a mom, it was because I was scared that I was going to come so close and it would be taken from me.
But, how do you tell your partner that every day the first thing you do is input your age, due date, and medical history into a miscarriage calculator to see what the odds are? You don’t, or at least I didn’t. Instead, I put on a smile and just kept hoping and praying that somehow, some way, we were going to be the lucky ones.
Once she was moving inside me, it got better. Each time I started to get anxious that something was wrong, I swear she could feel it and she would give me a little kick as if to say, “It’s okay, Mom, I’m okay.” Each doctor’s appointment was preceded with terrible anxiety and then followed with relief once everything was okay. The relief would last a few days before the anxiety would come back and the cycle would repeat.
When my due date passed, my anxiety doubled. After our first ultrasound, my original due date was pushed five days out. I remember going to my doctors and sharing with them a recent study about first-time moms carrying past their due date and how it could be dangerous and could even lead to a higher risk of a C-section. They said there was nothing they could do because it was hospital policy to not induce until one week post due date. I begged them to take my original due date into consideration but was told no.
Finally, a few days after my “due date” I went into labor. When we got to the hospital, they confirmed I was having contractions, but only one centimeter dilated. The only reason they admitted me was because my blood pressure was reading too high so they wanted to get labor going.
When they broke my water, they discovered another issue. There was meconium in the uterus—my baby had released her bowels which can cause aspiration. Because of this, they really wanted me to have a natural birth. This way, when she was pushed through my cavity, the compression would help force any meconium out.
After three hours of pushing as hard as I could, there was no progression. I knew something was seriously wrong when I saw a different doctor come in. The only thing the midwife couldn’t do was perform surgeries. He came in and examined me and told me it was time to move forward with a C-section. I was so ashamed. I thought to myself, why can’t I do this? Why can’t I protect my baby by giving her a natural birth?
It wasn’t until I felt my body being tugged extremely hard during the C-section and we heard the doctor yell, “Someone get on gloves!” that we knew something was wrong. It turns out it wasn’t that I failed at pushing, it was that her head was at an angle and couldn’t fit through my pelvis. I had pushed so hard, that her head was wedged and the doctor couldn’t pull her out.
A nurse put gloves on and pushed through while the doctor pulled, and finally, my baby came loose. I held my breath as I waited for the cry. I didn’t even get to see her before the team of doctors moved her over to another section of the room. All I remember is asking my husband, “Why isn’t she crying, what’s wrong?” with tears streaming down my face. He told me everything was going to be okay and they just needed to do some extra testing. I knew he was lying, but I was more thankful for him in that moment than ever before.
Finally, we heard the softest cough, followed by a tiny cry. My baby made it. I turned to my husband, and all I could get out through sobs was “Does she have all of her fingers and toes?”
Later, we found out that she only scored a 1 on her first Apgar test. But our baby was a fighter, and she didn’t even have to stay in the NICU. Holding her in my arms, I couldn’t even begin to process how she was so perfect after all of that trauma. We were bringing home a perfect baby girl.
Thirteen months later, she is the brightest light in this world and makes everything okay. But, the scariest thing is I still feel like we’re too lucky. I keep thinking, there’s no way this gets to be my life forever. It’s a different kind of worry once a piece of you is living outside of you. Once you get to know their personality, their smile, and you get to watch them grow. It’s a different kind of worry because it’s a different kind of love. But all I can do is my best to believe and pray that somehow, we’re the lucky ones.