For anyone that didn’t read part one of my story, just click HERE.
It was Thursday morning and I had been up for two days in a row. Basically, I hadn’t slept since Monday night! I was in labor since Tuesday night, and was done mentally and physically with the pain. They finally offered me an epidural and I took it, very happily. I actually thought it was so much easier to get then I had envisioned. Maybe I was just overtired, or over 48 hours of contractions, but the epidural to me was nothing. I take that back, it was HEAVEN. I finally felt, well, amazing. In fact, I was able to take a little nap to get some energy for labor. I never imagined labor to be so long, or to have time for a nap?! I know everyone’s story is different, but the movies are really far fetched…..
The epidural was given to me around 1pm Thursday 3/10/16, and I had Parker, my son, at 9:25pm. I felt pretty “high” on the epidural, enjoyed my nap, and slowly started to dilate over the course of the afternoon. It’s kind of a blur, but I know they had to break my water, and after that, things moved pretty quickly. The only unfortunate thing, was that I had to be put back on magnesium, which freaked me out. Here I was on no sleep for two days, I had no idea how to have a baby, and now I felt like I had the flu on the magnesium, and weaker then anything. I had no idea how I would physically and mentally give birth…..
I told my gynecologist about my fears. I didn’t know how to have a baby, nor did I think I’d have the energy to do so. She gave me the 101 version of “How to have a baby”, and basically told me herself, and the other doctors/nurses would coach me through it, and that’s exactly what they did. I was signed up for a childbirth class on 3/13/16, but Parker came 3/10/16. I hadn’t had health class in many decades, so literally, I learned on the spot how to deliver a baby, and that is exactly what I did.
The NICU team was set up in a corner of the delivery room. They informed me that if anything was wrong, they would rush the baby right up to the NICU, and I wouldn’t see him. I had that in the back of my mind through the delivery, not knowing if the end would bring me the dream I had envisioned since I was a little girl, holding my baby on my chest for the first time.
Without getting into too many details, when it was time to deliver the baby and I was completely dilated, a nice nurse had loaned me her iPod charger, because I obviously HAD to have music on. I didn’t get to make a birth playlist like I had wanted to, but luckily for me, I had my wedding playlist on the iPod. We put the music on shuffle as per my music obsession and a half hour later of pushing, Parker was born. I remember my doctor putting him on my stomach, and him screaming his head off. He was then rushed over to the NICU team, and then back to me with Mike!!!! In fact, Mike’s phone wouldn’t let him take a photo, so the NICU nurse did so of the three of us with her phone. I got part of my dream, my first family photo.
It seemed like a dream. To be honest, since he was 4 pounds 7oz and 18 inches, I thought that the delivery was not so bad, it was the pre labor that SUCKED, hard. After he was born, for a second, I felt on top of the world! Mike had to go to the NICU with the team where he texted me that Parker scored 9’s on his Apgar ratings. I knew we had a journey ahead of us, but I still didn’t truly get it.
I was finally allowed to see our baby boy, and I was wheeled up to a room of loud monitors and many beeps. Parker was there, in a nest like surrounding, getting probed and poked, and everything else that was necessary. I lost it. What just happened??!!!! I reached for my baby, but I couldn’t truly touch him. He held onto my finger with his teeny tiny hands and I didn’t want to let him go. When it was time to go to my room, I cried some more.
When we got to the room I learned in about five minutes how to use a breast pump to bring Parker my milk. Lucky for me, this came naturally, and I had a good amount from day one (thank god). Mike finally slept on the cot, and I tried, but mostly just wept for my son, and wept for me. Friends/family texted me and I was in total shock, I couldn’t stop crying all night, and all morning.
Friends/family visited the next day, and I was overjoyed but also overwhelmed and sad. I had just visited my sister and my new baby nephew two weeks prior. Family filled her room and everyone got to see her baby who was in the room with her. I didn’t have that, and I DID feel empty and sad about it. Friends were in my room, but my baby was upstairs. It was truly surreal and emotional in every way possible. Hormones after birth are something in itself, for a NICU mom, it’s just another level. You grow this person inside of you for a long time, then all of the sudden he was gone, and I was truly alone. I wanted him back inside of me until his due date. I didn’t get what happened yet, and I didn’t want to. My friends/family helped me feel a little normal that day/night, and we all took turns going up to the NICU.
The first time I went up to the NICU that day though, was probably the most heart wrenching moment in time for me. My sister and mother and I call it the “squishy” feeling. Even now when I think about that day, I want to vomit. I was so upset, and so overwhelmed, and my baby was attached to a million wires and in a cage that felt like 100 walls between us. I remember when my parents visited I bawled. I wanted my mommy, and she was there for me, but now I was a mom. I was able to hold my baby, but he had a C Pap on for breathing, along with many other wires. I just didn’t get what happened to me quite yet, and it wasn’t anything that I ever, ever, envisioned. It was the hardest day of my life…well, one of them. I can’t even type about it, without tears falling down my face. As I type, my baby boy is next to me snoring away in his cute newborn way, but I still weep for my story, and our journey, and the bond we created.
Today, is 4/7/16, the day Mike and Parker and I became first time home owners, also two years since Mike and I got engaged on 4/7/14. There is so much GOOD ahead of us, and the storm is starting to settle. Sure, we have to move which is never easy, but we are out of being in limbo. Parker spent almost four weeks in the NICU, I spent every single day there loving him, looking at him, holding him, showing him I was his mama, and my husband did the same. It was difficult on us as a couple, as new parents, and people trying to buy a home, but we made it.
When I think about the past month, I have more emotions then I ever knew I could have. I was in robot mom pilot mode, it was ground hog day for me, for us. I would wake up and go to the hospital and sometimes stay for 12 hours at a time. I will post more about the experience when life settles down, but I am forever changed. For anyone going through something like this, please know there is light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes, MANY times, it’s grueling on the heart. Your brain and your heart are played with a million times over, because it’s truly up to your child to grow and get bigger and healthier to bring home. The nurses become your family, your earth angels……. Just know, it will happen, and YOU will grow and get stronger too.
You can get through it, because you have no other choice but to do so. So, be with your baby at the NICU, follow your heart and don’t listen to what anyone has to say, do what YOU need to do to survive until your baby comes home, because they will.
“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t.”
I’m now a premie mom, what’s your super power?
Namaste, and Rock On!