This time last year, I was in exactly the same place I am today for Thanksgiving. Except I was about 4 1/2 months pregnant.
I was entering a holiday season where I was dreaming about having a new family member a year from then one moment and being the most gripey, miserable pregnant person ever placed on the planet the next.
To expect one pregnancy to be just like the one before, I’ve now learned, is nonsense.
With Asher, I felt pretty good. I wasn’t particularly moody. And things went exactly according to plan.
He came at the exact moment our doctor had planned after a relatively short labor in which our favorite music was lovingly playing in the background thanks to hubs’ “Welcome to the World” mix.
In fact, he was born as one of our all-time favorite songs (Mexico by Jump Little Children) was playing, just like it was preordained, and every single time I hear that song, I think of that wonderful experience.
The second one had other ideas.
We’d just wrapped up the holidays, had barely put the tree away, and something weird started leaking out of me.
Gabe and Asher were off at a park somewhere at least 30 minutes from our house and after realizing that I wasn’t just peeing myself (unless you’ve been pregnant, you will not understand this statement), I realized I would need someone professional to see what was happening down below.
It was a Sunday so my doctor’s office was closed. The ER it would be.
I was only 27 weeks pregnant and alone. In lieu of panicking, I went into shock. I calmly turned off the soup bubbling on the stove, grabbed my purse and jacket and drove to the hospital.
Gabe dropped Ash with a friend and met me there.
One little test strip later, a doctor I’d never seen before gave me the news: your water has broken and you live in the hospital now.
I won’t go into those 2 1/2 weeks because they’re a story unto themselves. I was kind of an ornery patient.
To find out how ornery, read The Top 10 Things Not To Say To A Person On Hospital Bedrest, Groundhog Day, and The Unaired Episode (in which I tell off my well-wishers).
We’ll move on.
2 weeks and 2 days after I checked in, a 29 weeker fell out of my vagina.
In my antepartum room.
It was kind of an emergency situation, to say the least.
I’d been telling the nurses and the doctors that I was in labor all day and they’d hooked me up to the machine and then told me I was not.
Eventually I started to believe them since they’re the trained medical professionals.
But, umm, yeah, they were wrong.
His little butt fell out. I pushed the emergency button. My nurse came into the room, said “what’s wrong?”, took one look and then all hell broke loose.
Within seconds, there were at least 12 people in my antepartum room.
Some were yelling, “PUSH, PUSH, PUSH!”
Others were preparing emergency measures for the baby as soon as he was free.
There was a chaplain holding my hand and asking me questions about anything other than what was happening.
But the main sound in the room was me SCREAMING expletives.
It does not feel good to push a baby out of your vagina without any kind of drugs at all in your system. Not even a 3 pound, 3 ounce one.
And when it wasn’t going so well, someone took a pair of scissors and cut me. Also with no anesthetic or pain meds.
After they mercifully pulled him from me and the Neonatologist went to work on the baby, the doctor came in from the cafeteria with a “What the hell happened here?” look on his face.
Hope your pot roast was good, doc. Nice of you to join us.
As someone handed me my cell phone so I could notify my husband he was a father again, the doc proceeded to push on my stomach to try and dislodge the placenta while I just stared at the tiny, tiny baby blinking next to me, using every breath I had to ask if he was okay.
Oh, and to cuss some more, because it actually hurt worse than the delivery.
Poor hubs showed up about an hour after he’d left my room to find a bloody disarray of shit and a wife in complete shock.
Our first trip to the NICU a couple of hours later made me glad for the shock. Our tiny baby was intubated and strapped down. Wires were everywhere.
The journey that followed — the preemie roller coaster — was easily the most stressful of my life.
Preemies are so delicate. They often seem to be doing well one day and the next day you walk into the NICU and things aren’t looking so good.
Meyer spent 2 1/2 months in the NICU and had tons of ups and downs. He was sick, he was better, he was sick, he was better, he was sick, he had surgery, he couldn’t eat, he was aspirating, he had bradycardias and apneas…
But the thing that kept me going was this. When you’re spending every day at a Children’s Hospital, you see and overhear a lot of things that make you realize so many people have it worse than you. It made me count my blessings.
On his due date, we brought him home with an apnea monitor and a feeding tube.
I carried that apnea monitor around on my shoulder to up to 7 doctor appointments a week for 4 1/2 months and then finally, we got to send it back. It was a big day.
The feeding tube (and the aspiration) are still with us.
But he’s otherwise healthy and happy. And improving.
In fact, he’s such a good baby, I often feel like he’s trying to make up for all the trouble by being such a perfect little specimen.
His birth was like an episode out of some horrible redneck reality show. I’ve never shared the story until now.
But I wanted to take part in a link-up for World Prematurity Awareness Day hosted by Jessica at Four Plus an Angel and Natalie at Mommy of a Monster and Twins to raise awareness and money for the March of Dimes.
And it seemed like the time was right.
Happy Thanksgiving. Hug yo babies.
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