S' birth story

S is almost a year and 4 months already, so I figure I better write this down before I forget. Because according to my mom - you do forget - that is how we keep the species going apparently.

At about 35 weeks, I went in for my scheduled prenatal check up. Everything seemed fine, but when Dra. A took measurements, she noticed that S' {although I didn't know he was S at the time :)} stomach didn't grow in proportion to how his head and femur were growing. Hmm. So she decided to monitor it and scheduled me for another visit the following week.

at 39 weeks
The next ultrasound showed the same thing, stomach wasn't growing and in addition, my amniotic fluid was lower than it had been the last time. Again, she decided to monitor, considering that his heartbeat was normal and there was no cause for concern. Come back next week.

So 37 weeks in, Dra. A sends me to one of those super duper 4D ultrasounds to double check everything. The good news: S is perfectly healthy, his organs are all functioning, and although he is small (weight wise) for 37 weeks, he is developed. The bad news: he is still sitting upright, my amniotic fluid is borderline low, the umbilical cord is looks tight, and the placenta small.

Again, we monitor. All this back and forth to the hospital was driving me crazy, not knowing if S was OK in there or not. At this point, Dra. A orders me to relax - no walking anywhere, no exercise, just stay home and watch T.V. Oh, and come see her every 4 days.

Each ultrasound until the end showed the same thing, low liquid, small placenta, sitting upright, and stomach not growing. Finally at 39 weeks, Dra. A said she didn't feel comfortable waiting anymore and it was time S came out into the world. It is going to be a C-Section. My. Worst. Nightmare.

Wait! What?! Why?! How?! This was not part of my birthing plan!!! I was supposed to have a natural birth like I prepared for like THIS!

Well as we know, life never goes according to plan. And when it comes to your baby, you would not do anything to risk their health.

So after my last ultrasound at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, November 22, 2010, Dra. A told me to go home, get my bags, and meet her at the hospital in 2 hours. At some point during my pregnancy, gordo and I decided to give birth at Santa Teresa - it is a small maternity hospital - and we liked that all the services and attention are focused towards giving birth and not illness. They are totally pro-natural birth, have options for you to give birth in your room, options for water birth, and they allow the baby to be in your room and not in the nursery alone. They are also pro-lactation and will not insist on giving your baby formula if you tell them not to. And obviously they have operating rooms in case of C-Sections.

We arrived at the hospital, registered, drop our things in our room, and I undressed and put on my hospital gown. I was a nervous wreck. In the prep room, the nurse came in to put an I.V. - never before had I ever had one - and the anesthesiologist came to check my back for the epidural.

being prepped for surgery
It all happened so fast. And thankfully gordo didn't leave my side - well, he had to, once to change into his scrubs and the second time while they gave me the epidural (apparently they don't let the husbands watch, it's too traumatizing).

Then it all began...I was awake, but couldn't see anything, and although you don't feel the pain, you do feel the tugging. Gordo was supposed to film the whole thing, but he had to sit down a couple of times, it's not an easy operation to watch. He says..."you spend 9 months taking care of your wife's stomach, making sure the nephew doesn't run into her, or the dog doesn't jump up on her, and then there are these people who look more like mechanics working on a car rather than doctors helping her give birth". I guess that gives you a pretty good visual.

he is here!
And then you hear him. That first sound and everything up to that moment becomes a blur. Dra. A said..."¡es un varĂ³n!" {it's a boy!} and I just remember sobbing and hearing gordo crying as well. It was incredible. He {a he!} was finally here!

hello, i've been waiting for you!
The pediatrician took over and brought S to examine him. Before the surgery, I had told gordo not to leave his side, no matter what. So even though I didn't get to hold S right away, gordo was able to, and S heard his daddy's voice the whole time.

proud papa!
While they went up to the nursery, Dra. A worked on closing me up, which took about 45 minutes. I was then rolled into the recovery room, and although I was exhausted and drowsy from the anesthesia, it took everything I had not to fall asleep. My fear was I was going to drift off for hours and not be able to see S. So I focused all my attention on a clock on the wall and every 15 minutes would ask the nurse if I could go down to my room. Finally after about 40 minutes in recovery {and after asking me what my name was, what day it was - to make sure I was lucid} they wheeled me downstairs.

I can't explain what it's like to hold your baby for the first time, and if you are a mother, you already know. But what I can say is that all the nerves, anxiety, denial, frustration that I went through before that moment was erased in a blink of an eye. He is here. And he is perfect.

The 2 nights we stayed in the hospital were OK. S stayed with us in our room and we started the long process of adapting as new parents - meconium and all. A lactation consultant came to see me and assist with breastfeeding - but that's a whole other story you can read about here.

Then it was time to go home and the rest is history. He is the most amazing person who makes everyday worth living.

My sister-in-law told me while I was pregnant that one of the most difficult things to learn as a mom is that these children are their own people and they won't always do what you want them to do. You have to learn to let go and accept that they make their own decisions too - and they may or may not be the same as your own, whether you like it or not.

Well this was S' first lesson for me, from inside the womb. He decided how he wanted to come into this world, and to be honest, I am still coming to terms with it. When I hear about all these wonderful birth stories that went according to plan, I wistfully think back at the fact that I didn't even get to feel a real contraction.

Just because I didn't go through the pain of labor doesn't make me any less of a mother...I know this. And the pain of recovering from a C-Section is pain enough, trust me! But I do hope that the next baby will let me bring him/her into this world naturally...labor is something I really want to experience - believe it or not.

So there you have it. It's not the story I had planned on telling, but I wouldn't change a thing about it.