Sunday, December 15, 2013

My birth story: Part 3

This is the third part in a series of 3 posts. To read part 1, go here. To read part 2, go here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013. I was exactly 37 weeks pregnant. I woke up feeling great. I had just had my baby shower on Saturday and was excited about washing all of the baby's new things and organizing his room. I had my usual testing today at 10:30am that would probably last about an hour and then I would get to work. I lay cozy in bed contemplating my day, not really wanting to get up.

10 am. I finally get out of bed. I don't have enough time for a shower. It's ok. I'll just take one when I get back. I don't even have time to make the bed (which, by the way, was the beginning of the end of that habit...). My dad would be by to take me to my appointment any minute. You see, we only had (and still have) one car that my husband used to drive to work about one hour away, so my dad and aunt would usually take me to my appointments. I hurriedly get ready, grab a piece of toast and oj, and rush out the door.

10:30 am. My dad drops me at the hospital and I tell him to stay close, since my appointment would end in about 45 minutes. I make it to my appointment. The usual nurse that conducts my tests is not there that day. Her replacement is a nurse from triage that I recognize. She hooks me up to the ultrasound machine to check my AFI. I'm at a 12! The highest I've been since we began testing. I am beyond thrilled. She then hooks me up to the monitors for the NST. Baby's heart rate is doing great, averaging at a steady 135-145 beats per minute. What usually takes 45 minutes, we were able to complete in 30. Everything looks great.

The nurse is about to take me off the machines, when she realizes I am having slight contractions. No big deal. This has happened before (refer to part 2). Just like last time, I am barely feeling a thing. Except, this time is different. This time, I'm not just having slight contractions. She notices that every time the monitor registers a contraction, the baby's heart rate drops ever so slightly. She decides to keep me on the monitors just a little longer to see if it happens again.

11:30 am. I am still hooked up to the monitors. The dip in my baby's heart rate continues with any slight contraction I have. Every 15-20 minutes or so, I have a tiny "contraction" (they were so faint, I don't even feel like they are worthy of that word) that causes his bpm to drop to about 120. The nurse feels like it is enough of a concern to notify my doctor.

12:00 pm. The nurse is finally able to get word from my doctor. She wants me to go to the maternity ward for further monitoring. My poor dad keeps calling. What was supposed to last less than an hour has now turned in to almost 2. I tell him the situation and tell him I don't know how much longer this will last. I go to the maternity ward with the nurse. As she updates the nurses there, I pretty much assume this is going to be a waste of time. My doctor is just being paranoid. This is probably being blown out of proportion

When I'm all hooked up to the monitors, I call my husband and give him a quick update. He asks if he should leave work, and I tell him definitely not -- I would probably be done in a bit. I was also supposed to have coffee with a friend at 1, so I call her and ask if we can meet up a bit later. On top of that, I was texting a photographer about getting maternity pictures taken the coming weekend.

After being hooked up to the monitors for half an hour, the same thing keeps happening. The nurse at the triage notices, but assures me it is probably not that big of a deal. We would just monitor a bit longer to make sure that they baby is not under any further stress, but that I would probably get to go home in about an hour.

1:30 pm. Still at the hospital. Still being monitored. The nurse has updated my doctor, who wants to come and check on me herself. Lucky for me, it is her busiest day, as she has a number of c-sections lined up. So, I have to wait. And wait. And wait. My dad finished up his work and came to wait with me. Thank God he brought some snacks, because I was starving. We call my mom, who is at work, and update her also. She asks if she should leave work, and I tell her not to; however, this time, I'm not so sure if I will definitely be going home. I don't say anything, though, as I'm still hoping I will.

2:30 pm. My doctor made a quick appearance around 2 then disappeared again. She now finally shows up with that same look she had when she was doing the ultrasound that started this whole mess (refer to part 1). As soon as I see her, I know I will not be going home today. She begins to explain the situation. Her concerns that my placenta is not providing enough nutrients and oxygen to my baby seem to be the cause of the dip in bpm. Every contraction, as small as it may be, is probably restricting further blood flow to him, which puts him under stress. She suggests that it is best for me to be induced today, because if he is experiencing stress at the smallest cramp, she doesn't know how he will handle full-blown labor. By being at the hospital, they can monitor him and intervene at the slightest hint of danger.

Now, remember my birth plan. This is something that I would normally not be open to. This was not part of the plan. The plan was to naturally go into labor whenever it happened, labor at home for as long as possible, and go to the hospital towards the end. No medication and no interventions. However, when my baby's life began to be in danger, the "plan" got thrown right out the window. If I went into labor at home, by the time I got to the hospital, who knows the condition my baby would be in? What if he was in crazy distress the whole time and I didn't even know it? What if the lack of oxygen caused brain damage? What if he died? To hell with my plan! Do what you gotta do doc.

I call my husband and tell him the situation. He also agrees it is best to induce. I tell him to start leaving work, but not to hurry, as I know the induction process takes forever. First, they have to insert a hormone called cervidil into the vagina in order to soften and thin out the cervix. This needs to stay inside for 12 hours. Once that is removed, they begin administering pitocin, which will cause the cervix to dilate. Once dilated to 10cm, then there's the pushing. So we were looking at about a 15-20 hour-long process. I call my mom and mother-in-law and tell them the same thing. The baby will most likely be here tomorrow, so no rush.

3:00 pm. I'm all checked in and situated in my room. I have told the nurse my new plan. Just because I was going to be induced, didn't mean that I had to throw the whole book out the window. I was still planning on going through the rest of the delivery process with little to no interventions. I didn't want an epidural or any other pain management to be offered. At 3:15, the nurse inserts the cervidil. Meanwhile, my mom arrives at the hospital and my dad leaves. My husband calls and says he is going to stop at home really quickly to pick up some things, as I still had not packed a hospital bag (procrastinators unite!). I am feeling excited and nervous. I can't wait to meet my baby and finally hold him in my arms. I can't wait to start our new life together. Everything seems to be going well.

3:30 pm. I feel a little cramping. I know this is normal, so I look to the monitor to see if it is registering them as contractions. When I look, I see that my baby's heart rate has dropped to 90 and it is still dropping. I freak out. I hit the button to call the nurse, but before I say a word, my room is flooded with 5-7 nurses. They are talking to each other in code with a great sense of urgency. I look at the monitor. His heart rate is at 80 now. Still dropping.

One nurse puts an oxygen mask over my face and tells me to turn to my left side. I begin to panic and she tells me to calm down and just breathe. Ummmmm.... I don't know about you, but if I fear that my baby's life is in danger, I CAN'T FREAKIN' STAY CALM!! Then she tells me to turn to my right. Back to my left. Nothing is working to get his heart rate to elevate. It is now at 75. They decide they need to take out the cervidil and call my doctor. At this point, I tell my mom to call my husband right away and tell him to get his butt here STAT.

The next few minutes are all a blur. I here things like, "Prep the OR" and "Have a NICU nurse on stand-by." My dr. shows up and tells me we need to get the baby out now. Through tears and heavy sobs, I tell her to do whatever she needs to do to get him out safely. They wheel me to the operating room. At this point, I close my eyes because I do not want to see the tools they would be using to cut me open. Since c-section was not even on my radar, I had done nothing to prepare for it mentally or emotionally. I can't stop shivering. Maybe it was the cold. Maybe it was the fear. They pile blankets on me.

The nurse tells me that my baby's heart rate had stabilized. Thank you Jesus. She holds my hand as the anesthesiologist gives me the spinal block. I pray that my husband would make it. As they were putting up the screen, I hear one of the nurses say, "The dad is here." Thank you Jesus. My husband walks in all suited up in scrubs, strong and smiling. He holds my hand, kisses me, and tells me everything is going to be ok. I'm still scared and crying, but his strength makes me feel much better.

My doctor comes in with another OB and they begin to work. The other doctor freaks us out a little when he exclaims that he doesn't have suction. We have no idea what that means, but then realize he is talking about one of the tools. I'm feeling some pressure as they cut me open. Thank God for that screen, because if I saw what they were doing to me, I probably would have fainted. I hear my doctor say, "She's so small," and the other doctor agree. Then I feel massive pressure. I feel like they are pulling out my ribs. I feel like they are going to break my bones. This can't be normal. Something must be wrong.

4:06 pm. I hear it. The most wonderful and glorious sound in the world. The sound I was scared I would never hear. I hear my baby crying. He's out. He's safe. He's breathing. Thank you Jesus. I begin to sob. The anesthesiologist rushes over to me and asks if I am in pain, to which I respond, "No... I'm just so happy!" My husband and I just look at each other with huge smiles -- smiles of joy, smiles of relief, and smiles of complete love for one another. He is here and our lives will never be the same.

My husband goes to look at him as the nurses clean him up. Then they bring him over to me. The most precious and perfect little baby. I am in awe that this human being was inside of me. I am in love. My heart is now out in the open in the form of a little baby boy.

After I held him and tried to soak in everything, my husband and son go into recovery, while I stay behind and get put back together. I just wonder if everything would be ok with him, how much he weighs, and if he would need to stay in the NICU. I didn't think I would be able to handle it if he did.

When I get into the recovery room about 20 minutes later, the nurses are still performing their tests on the baby. He is just so perfect! I ask my husband how much he weighs and what his condition is. He tells me he weighs a teeny weeny 4 lb and 11 oz.

That is so tiny! I knew that it was very likely that a baby that small would have to stay in the NICU for a bit. I am so scared. I ask the nurse how long she thinks he would have to stay in there, and she tells me that it doesn't look like he has to. Whaaa?!! Did I just hear that right? She explains that although he is really small, he is maintaining his body temperature and blood sugar all on his own! I can't believe it! He is being so strong. He knows that his mommy cannot handle it if he goes to the NICU, so he is being strong for me. Even all the nurses in postpartum were shocked and amazed at how strong he was. They all referred to him as the little fighter.

They finally wrap him up and give him to me. My precious baby boy, my gift. My husband and I decide to name him James Justice Kassabian, after James the Just. My precious, boy. 4.11 lb, 17 3/4 in, born February 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm by emergency c-section. I love you more than words.



  1. Oh my goodness! What a story!! Thankfully you ended up with your beautiful, healthy little bub! xxxx Lucy from Bake Play Smile

  2. I had an emergency c-section too and I wanted an all natural birth. They discovered my baby was frank breech after I had already been in labour for 3 hrs. I was shaking really badly too, they told me it was from the pethidine, but I think it was also because of the shock of it all happening so quickly.

  3. I recently was diagnosed with IUGR {I'm almost 32 weeks right now}, and I've been so worried that she won't be ready when they induce me, which is the current plan. Although it's scary to see you had an emergency c-section, it's reassuring to think that my baby could be perfectly healthy despite being small/early. Thank you for sharing your experience with nervous mommies like myself!