The past week has been the most emotionally draining week of my life. There has been so much happiness but also much sadness.
We arrived a little over a week ago so that we would be sure to be here when A went into labor. We set up plans to meet her for dinner last Tuesday. I have never been so scared in my life to meet someone. What if she didn’t like us? Sure we had gotten along well on the phone, but in person was a whole new situation. I had no need to worry. We all got along great and she admitted that she was just as nervous to meet us!
The induction was scheduled for 6:30 am on August 30th. Our case worker told us after the dinner that even though she loved us, she didn’t quite feel comfortable having us in the room during the delivery. We did not take this personally at all. A called us late the night before the induction, she was nervous, scared and sad. She told me she wouldn’t sleep at all that night and that she would most likely cry all evening. This broke my heart for her but I know that it was just part of the grieving process. She did do something unexpected though, she asked me to be in the delivery room with her when baby girl was born. I was taken by surprise but so touched by this.
The morning of the induction we were a nervous wreck. They told us although A was going in at 6:30 we would not arrive at the hospital till she had gotten her epidural and was dilated to a 6. The morning dragged. I was a bundle of nerves and just wanted to be at the hospital. Finally at 11:30 we were given clearance to leave. By the time we arrived she was just barely at a 6 and feeling very exhausted, just like she said she hadn’t slept at all the night before.
We sat in her room and talked (both her case manager and our case manager were present) while she tried to get a little sleep.We placed bets on when the baby would be born, how much she would weigh, and how long she’d be. A’s blood pressure was low so she was on oxygen and the baby’s heart rate was not as high as they would have liked so she was being monitored closely. A was handling everything well. She said she had done her mourning that night and she was feeling good about everything. At long last the doctor came in to check her. J and I stepped behind the curtain to give her some privacy, but we could still hear what was going on. He told her she was at a stretchy 7 but he thought if she pushed the rest of the cervix would melt away. She did a few pushes and all of a sudden a delivery was happening!
A’s case manager told the nurse to grab me and I took my place on A’s right side to help hold her leg. J stayed behind the curtain but there was a poster with glass over it so he could still kinda see what was going on. The machines were having a hard time picking up the contractions so there was quite a lot of adjusting going on. Finally they gave up on the machine and had the nurse keep her hand on A’s belly so we would know when she could push. After 2-3 pushes the doctor asked A if he could use the suction on the babies head because she was getting tired and they wanted to get her out fast. At this point I was really freaked out, I had been watching the monitors and knew that during some parts the baby’s heart rate had dipped into the 60’s. The doctor was great and kept his cool, but I knew he was concerned. After being assured that the suction was safe he placed it on the baby’s head and told A to start pushing again. She was a rock star. After 3 more pushed we saw her head, 1 more and baby girl came out into the world.
I was a mess when I saw her. At first I was scared because she was so pale, and then I was just in shock that she was here, I couldn’t hold back the tears as she started to cry and the doctor cleaned out her nose and mouth. He asked if I would like to cut the cord, but I shook my head and told him to do it because I was worried about A. At the sound of the first cry she burst into tears and was clearly distraught. She asked if the baby was okay and when she was reassured that she was she was able to calm down a bit.
J and I were both hovering around the area where they were weighing and cleaning off the baby. I have never been more in love with my husband as I was that day. He had tears streaming down his face as he looked over our daughter. It was one of those moments I will never forget. They handed us 2 papers with the baby’s foot prints on them, one for us and one for A. At this point J and I wanted to go talk to A but she was once again struggling. There was nothing we could have said in that moment to help her in her grief.
The baby was finally cleaned and wrapped up all tight. The doctor took her from the nurse and headed over to A. I can’t begin to fathom how hard this was for her. She pulled the blankets over her head and was unable to do anything but cry. When asked if she wanted to hold the baby she shook her head no, so the baby was placed in my arms instead. It’s such a hard thing to know how much happiness J and I felt in that moment as we finally became a family, while A was going through so much pain.
Our case manager told us that we should leave and take the baby to the nursery in order to give A some space. We were so lucky that we were able to spend so much time with our daughter after her birth. We sat and fed her for the first time, we cuddle and cooed over her perfect little features, watched as she was given her first immunizations (my poor baby girl!), and then given a bath. We were in love already and in awe of this amazing little creature.
But the hospital stay had only just begun. We were required to stay 48 hours after the birth and still had to wait 24 hours for the papers to be signed.
To be continued…