I’m sorry it has taken me so long to share news of Brave New World baby’s arrival. Since our little one lost over a pound in the first five days of her life, we had a traumatic start, and have been on a strict feeding regimen of breast-feeding, supplementing with a tube feed at my breast, and pumping. This takes an hour and a half every three hours, leaving me with scraps of time to sleep, eat and shower.
But now that she has gained her weight back, I’m squeezing in a few minutes to finally share the story of her arrival.
It all started on Monday night, January 2nd. I was four days past my due date and didn’t feel any signs that baby would be coming along soon. That night, like many, I was lying in bed not being able to sleep, worrying about this final stretch to get baby safely here. Without warning, I felt a small gush that seemed to be more than what I might blame on my pregnancy compromised bladder. I got up to go to the bathroom, leaking more along the way.
With a thrill, I realize that this was it. I woke up Mr. T who jumped out of bed in a daze.
In a fluster of excitement and nerves, he grabbed my stack of pregnancy books and began to rifle through them to see what we should do since contractions hadn’t begun, calling the wrong hospital in the process, confused and concerned when they didn’t have a record for us.
They told us to come in right away, so we grabbed a few more things for our over-night bag, pausing at the door to take one last picture. Then we set out for the hospital, just three blocks away. I had imagined this walk so many times, and now here we were, on our way to meet baby.
Immediately after checking in, they hooked me dup to the monitor and an IV to administer fluids and antibiotics as I had tested positive for GBS, a bacteria that could be very dangerous for baby if untreated. This IV tower would be my constant companion for the next two days.
Because of the risk of infection once the water breaks, and because of I was a higher risk being GBS positive, I knew I was now on the clock to get baby out safely. They gave me an induction drug to get things going, and told me to try and get some sleep in the meantime.
As if I could sleep!
But later on, I wished I had. For by Tuesday afternoon, I still wasn’t dilated and still wasn’t having contractions. After trying a painful and unsuccessful procedure in which a balloon was inserted and inflated against my cervix to get things going, they dialed up the Pitocin, and finally the contractions began around 9pm on Tuesday.
I like to think I’m pretty tough (after all, I’ve endured multiple IVF attempts), so I had hoped I could cope with labor without needing an epidural. The idea of a wire in my back seemed more terrifying than the pain of contractions. But after several hours of intense contractions, at 1am, 24 hours after first checking into the hospital, I knew I couldn’t last much longer. I got in the tub to see if that helped the pain, but when they told me I had only dilated to 2, I demanded the epidural.
Almost before they had finished administering it, I had fallen asleep exhausted. I woke up early in the morning on Wednesday, without pain but worried that we weren’t any closer to getting baby out after all this time.
Much to my relief, when they checked on Wednesday morning I had dilated to 7.
“You’ll have this baby by noon,” they promised.
But baby had other plans. After 39 hours of labor, I realized how tightly I had been holding on to baby during this hard-won pregnancy. Now that it was time for baby to come out, it felt like we were both reluctant to let go.
Finally, around 1pm, we were good to push. Somehow in our childbirth class, the instructor had glossed over the pushing part. She made it sound as though the hard part was getting to the pushing. Not the case. It was hard, and especially after two days of labor, exhausting.
After pushing for two hours, my temperature had risen and baby’s heartbeat was faltering. I felt their alarm and doubled my efforts. At each push, I thought of how much I had put into this journey to baby, and I thought of you all- my strong IF friends- and how much we have all endured for the chance to hold our babies. I needed to get this baby out soon- and safely.
With these thoughts, I summoned all my strength and pushed with everything I had. I felt baby’s head coming through, and then all at once baby was out.
“It’s a girl!” I heard Mr. T say, overwhelmed with emotion.
They placed her on my chest, her little legs, arms and head so tiny but so solid, kicking and screaming. I was crying as loud as she was, though my tears telling her again and again how much I loved her, how long her daddy and I had been waiting for her, how we would do everything we could to be the best parents we could be.
Every day I look at her and marvel. After three rounds of IVF, two miscarriages, 25 eggs, 14 embryos, only two slow day 6 embryos surviving for transfer in April 2011, we have this sweet baby, worth everything and more. Our wish upon a thousand stars, our little Estella, is finally here.
Making that wish a thousand times more for all of you still waiting for your babies.
I am so grateful for all of you who have read my blog and offered comments and support since I began sharing my story a year ago. This was never intended to be a baby blog, so now that I’ve reached my own happy ending, I’m planning to use this blog to share other stories of hope and continue support and encourage those of you still waiting for your own miracles. Thank you again for supporting me, encouraging me, and keeping me sane through some of the toughest times of my life.