Check out My Surprise Pregnancy Journey if you missed the first part of this series!
By the time my 39th week doctor’s appointment rolled around I was dilated to 3 centimeters and 60%-80% effaced. During my scheduled ultrasound the tech told me that our gift measured 9 lbs 3 oz. and when I met with the doctor afterwards she told me that his head and stomach measured the size of a 44 week baby! I was quite taken aback and all I could think about was how in the world I was going to be able to birth this ginormous child.
I also learned that my blood count was low the last few times they had drawn it, which meant that there was a chance that I might not be able to have the epidural I had been planning my entire pregnancy. I would have to go the entire weekend before learning the results of the blood work I had drawn that day.
On top of that, I knew that my doctor was going on vacation a few days after my due date. I so wanted her to be there for my delivery. Needless to say, I was a bit overwhelmed with everything.
Two days later I felt labor pains. I knew that they could last for a few days and had to get longer, stronger and closer together before we would be able to head to the hospital. The contractions started in the middle of the night so I went to bed and tried sleep as best as I could.
Shortly after I sent Trent off to work I started timing my contractions. They were consistently 4-8 minutes apart and lasted roughly 1 minute. Within the hour I called and asked him to head home. After calling the doctor we headed to her office so she could see if I was, in fact, in true labor.
My 3 centimeters had turned into 5 centimeters and I was hooked up to a monitor. There was no turning back…today was the day. I eagerly awaited to hear if I was going to be able to have my epidural. And then the news arrived – it was close but my blood count was within 20 of where it needed to be. Praise the Lord, I would be able to have my epidural! I can’t tell you how relieved I was!
To The Hospital I Go
When I arrived in the labor and delivery room, I had no idea how overwhelmed I would be. Even though they were kind, multiple nurses were asking me all kinds of different questions all at the same time. Once they left the room, it was all I could handle and couldn’t help but shed a few tears. I was overwhelmed by everything!
After getting my epidural, I rested most of the day in preparation for what was to come. (I consider myself to be a pretty strong person but I’m confident that I wouldn’t have been able to mentally handle labor if I hadn’t gotten the epidural.)
Around 7 p.m. that evening I was dilated to 10 centimeters. The plan was to let me labor down (let the baby move into better position before I started pushing) in hopes that I wouldn’t be pushing forever! I had previously been told that most first time moms generally push for a few hours. So when the nurse came in and told me that she didn’t think I would have to push very long, I was a bit relieved. After 36 minutes of pushing, our gift arrived.
A Trip To The NICU
My doctor placed our gift on my chest after he arrived, but he didn’t stay there very long because the nurses whisked him away to the side of the room to check on him. I had lost quite a bit of blood and was a bit out of it, but knew that something was wrong. As my doctor tended to me, she also kept me posted on what the nurses were doing with our gift. Within a few minutes the nurses needed to take him out of the room. (Before they took him out, the doctor told them that I hadn’t seen him and asked them to hold him up for me to take a peek. This is just one of the many reasons why my doctor is so wonderful!)
We later learned that our gift had respiratory issues and also had a possible infection that they were going to monitor. The first time I saw him he was hooked up to all kinds of monitors and on a CPAP. It was such a pitiful site – what a way to enter the world!
After two days, I was discharged from the hospital. As you can imagine, it was difficult for us to leave without him. In order to get as many feedings in as possible, we would arrive at the hospital at 8 a.m. and stay until the 8 p.m. feeding. We were exhausted, not only physically but mentally too!
His time in the NICU was a bit of a roller coaster ride. They would tell us that we’d be able to take him home only to have his breathing stats drop overnight and prolong his stay.
The day finally arrived to remove his monitors and it was all I could do to contain my tears. It was a long, hard nine days but we were so grateful to the Lord that it was time to take him home!
Turning A Negative Into A Positive
Our time in the NICU was difficult but I purposed to find a positive. I can’t tell you how much I learned about breastfeeding from the nurses and lactation consultant. They made a daunting task seem a bit easier and were there to answer questions every step of the way! How would I have survived this transition without them?
The neonatologist and nurse practitioner commented on how calm we were and rolled with all the punches. We told them that we knew the situation was in the Lord’s hands and were able to share the love of Jesus with them. The Lord even gave me a few opportunities to have some in-depth conversations with a few of the nurses.
Answering the Big Question
If you’ve been following along since the beginning of my surprise pregnancy journey, I have no doubt that you’re wondering how I’m doing emotionally since our gift has arrived. You may also be asking if it was love at first sight when I saw him.
I’ll be totally honest and let you know that I’m still in shock. It feels like our gift is a child that I’m taking care of. And although it may not have been love at first sight, I’m confident that a love and bond will eventually grow! (Learn how that love grew in this Tales Of An Inexperienced Mom post!)
The Lord’s been with me every step of this journey. He’s helped me walk through some dark days and I know that He’s not going to leave my side. As I have all along, when I’m afraid or don’t know what to do, I can cling to Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.“