Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Journey to Motherhood

My journey to motherhood has been one of ups and downs. It started many years ago, when, as a young woman, I dreamed of getting married and having a family of my own. For as far back as I can remember, I have wanted to be a mom. In high school, I even dreamed of what I would name my children. Through my 20s, I held the dream of motherhood in my heart. I knew, with a certainty born of faith, that one day I would be a wife and a mom. I knew, without a doubt, God had a special man picked out just for me. A man who would care about me, love me, and have a family with me.


When I reached my 30s, I had all but given up on having a family. I was still single, and had no prospects. I dated a few guys, but none of them seemed like the kind of man I wanted to marry and father my children. I was engaged, briefly, to a man whom I thought was the man of my dreams. But he was most definitely NOT. He cheated on my and broke my heart. I never wanted to go through that pain again, so I gave up on love. I gave up on ever being a wife. But I still desperately wanted to be a mom. I was determined to figure out a way to be a mom, without having to risk my heart on a man.


Enter my husband, Robin. We met on Yes, that's right, we met online. It started out as just someone to talk to, someone who was willing to listen to what I had to say, and was truly interested. We shared our hopes and dreams with each other. After a while, we decided to meet in person, and that was all it took. He will say it was love at first sight, but I believe I was half in love with him before we ever met. Anyway, we just knew we were "made for each other." He asked me to marry him, I said yes. Life was going well. Finally I had met the man who would be my husband and the father of my children.


When we first found out we were pregnant, we were ecstatic. So many plans were made. We had so much fun looking at baby stuff and planning for our child's future. Then came the devastating news. The doctor couldn't find a heartbeat. Our baby had dies in utero at 9 weeks gestational, though I was at my 12 week mark. We were heartbroken. I had to have a DNC. My body, mind and heart were in so much pain, I thought I would never recover. I railed at God for taking my much awaited child. Both my husband and I had waited so long to have a child. I went through so many emotions. I blamed myself. Asking what I had done wrong. Trying desperately to figure out what I had done to cause the death of my child. It didn't matter the doctor had told me I had done nothing wrong. That it was something developmentally with the fetus. I just knew it was my fault. No matter what anyone said, I wrestled with this for months. My husband was ready to try again long before I was, but he was very supportive and understanding with me.


It took me a while, and I had to get to the point where I felt okay with the knowledge that I may not be able to have children at all. Once I got to that point, I was able to relax and enjoy being married to a wonderful man. And, before we knew it, we were pregnant again. As soon as the pregnancy test came up positive, I made an appointment with my doctor. He checked to make sure everything was going as it should, and it was, then he put me on an aspirin regimen (to keep the blood flowing into all those tiny blood vessels) and on a progesterone pill (to make sure the pregnancy "stuck").


On October 31, 2013, I was driving to work to teach a fitness class, it was raining really hard, I hydroplaned and totaled my car. I was so scared, as I was only six weeks pregnant. All I could do was sit there and think, I can't lose another baby. It'll kill me. I dialed 911, telling the operator I was six weeks pregnant and in a car accident. The ambulance came and took me to the emergency room. It was not a good experience. My husband, who had injured his knee at work 3 ½ months early and was still on crutches, met me there. They put me in the hallway next to the nurse's station. I was just lying in a hospital bed, in the hall, where anyone walking down the hall could see me. Not only that, I could hear everything they said at the nurse's station. Including conversations about other patients in the ER. I was miserable and embarrassing. Especially when they did my sonogram right there in the hall! Oh, they put up a partition, but it really didn't conceal anything. I was so ready to leave. I just wanted to go home. Luckily the sonogram picked up the heartbeat. My baby was fine. Nice, strong heartbeat. I was so happy and relieved, I cried. After about six hours of lying in the hall, they finally released me to go home. I was so ready to get out of there.


That was the scariest part of my pregnancy. I stayed on the progesterone through my first trimester. After 13 weeks, my doctor gave me the okay to come off the progesterone. I was more than happy to do that. The influx of hormones caused all sorts of emotional upheaval. I would be perfectly fine and happy one minute, and then crying for no reason the next. My poor husband was a real trooper. He weathered the emotional rollercoaster beautifully. It took a couple weeks after coming off the progesterone for my emotions to level out, at least as much as they possibly could for a pregnant woman. Haha! I had to stay on the aspirin for most of my pregnancy, but it was a lose dose (81 mg).



My doctor is awesome. He did anything and everything he could to make sure I had a healthy pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby. And, on June 16, 2014, I did just that. I delivered a beautiful, wonderful, healthy little girl. But not without some drama…
On Friday, June 13, 2014, my husband came home from work (he works nights as a security guard and it was shortly after 1am when he got home) with a horrible cough. He said he didn't feel well, so I told him to shower and sent him to bed. He slept for most of the day Friday. He woke up at about 10am to call into work and let them know he was sick and wouldn't be in that night to work his six hour shift. The supervisor on duty told him he had to come in anyway, they had no one else to work his post. Needless to say, at 3:30 that afternoon, Robin woke up throwing up. I put my foot down, we were going to the doctor. I called into his work and spoke with the president of the company (that was just luck that he was the one who answered the phone). I informed him that Robin was throwing up sick, I was taking him to the doctor, and he would NOT be in to work that night. Mr. Bowman told me he would let the supervisor know. I took Robin to the clinic where they diagnosed him with strep throat! Needless to say, I call his work and told them what was going on and he wouldn't be returning to work until Monday (which is one of his days off so he really wouldn't have to go back to work til Wednesday). The supervisor on duty that weekend had the nerve to call back and ask if Robin was going to be in Saturday night. Umm… No, he had strep throat. The doctor wouldn't allow him to return to work until Monday.
On Sunday, Robin was feeling better. We had just finished eating dinner, and had decided to play a few board games. I was feeling a little restless and needed something to occupy my mind. As we were playing, I started having contractions. They weren't bad, and were spaced fairly far apart. At 11pm, Robin got concerned and called my doctor. The nurse on call told him to run me a bath as hot as I could stand it and have me sit in it for at least an hour. This helped to ease the discomfort of the contractions, but I was still having them. They weren't coming in regular intervals, nor were they increasing in intensity. At 1am on Monday, June 16, Robin decided we needed to go to the hospital. I was sure they would examine me and send me home saying it was Braxton-Hicks. Boy was I wrong. As soon as they hooked the monitor up to me, the nurse said "Well aren't we in full labor contractions." I still wasn't feeling them very intensely or all the time. In fact, they offered to give me something to help me sleep, but I didn't feel I needed it. I slept until my doctor came in about 6am to check on me. He was surprised I had slept through my contractions.
My doctor examined me and discovered I was still only dilated 1 cm. At this point, the decision to break my water was made. Usually, once they break your water you dilate and then give birth. However, this did not occur in my case. I was still only 1 cm. We then made the decision to start Pitocin. The hope was this would make me dilate and I'd give birth. And it worked, sort of… I dilated to 7 cm and my contractions got more intense. I asked for something to take the edge off, which they gave me. It worked, the first time, but not the second. After the second shot didn't work, I asked for an epidural. I stayed at 7 cm for a while, they wanted me to reach 8 cm. They kept giving me Pitocin, which kept intensifying my contractions, none of which I felt at this point. Then the alarms went off. My baby was in distress. The Pitocin was causing my blood pressure to drop, which was causing her heart rate to drop. This was not good. They decided to stop the Pitocin and see if I'd go ahead and dilate. Nope. They gave me some more Pitocin, and, again, my blood pressure dropped and Bumblebee's heart rate dropped. This happened a total of three times before the call was made. I was to have a C-section.
They prepped me for surgery and took my husband to get scrubbed in. The doctor arrived and said, "Let's get this baby here." It really didn't take very long. After she was delivered, Robin got to go around the curtain and get her. He brought her out to me, and I was able to see and touch her. She cried until I touched her cheek. She immediately stopped crying and settled down. I remember looking at her face and thanking God for bringing this beautiful, perfect little miracle into my life.
Robin went with Bumblebee to the nursery to get all her tests done while the doctor finished with me. I was then taken back to the labor and delivery room while they prepared my maternity room for me. Less than an hour after her birth, Bumblebee was brought in to me, and I nursed her for the first time. They brought her in all bundled up, but unwrapped her, and put her on my chest, skin-to-skin. It was the most amazing moment of my life. I felt completely at peace, and complete.
We decided to keep Bumblebee in my room the whole time. I think this was the best decision. It allowed me to nurse her when she was hungry. I remember holding her a lot. I just couldn't put her down! I never wanted to let her go. I fell asleep with her on my chest numerous times. It was a wonderfully beautiful bonding time for us. The hospital, St. Dominic, was wonderful. They were very supportive of how we wanted to do things. I was able to talk with two lactation consultants and get some amazing advice on breastfeeding. My experience at St. Dominic was so much different than my experience at University. I felt very cared for, but was ready to go home. My doctor said I needed to stay until Wednesday, just to make sure everything was healing properly. On Wednesday, we brought Bumblebee home.


Later, I found out the reason I was having so much trouble delivering was because Bumblebee's head was wedged in my right hip, just at the opening to the birth canal. Her head was keeping me from dilating. I also found out the reason her heart rate kept dropping was because the cord was wrapped around her three times! Once around her chest, once around her neck, and once around her head at her eyes. Knowing all this makes me so thankful I have the doctor I have, and had the labor and delivery crew I had. They were all wonderful. They did everything they needed to do in order to make sure I delivered a healthy baby. Though I had to deliver via C-section, I delivered a healthy, beautiful little girl.


Our little miracle has brought so much joy and wonder to our lives over the past 16 weeks. I can't imagine my life without her in it. She has changed my life, and my husband's life, in so many ways, I can't even begin to describe them all. I thank God every single day for her. And I thank God for my doctor, who was instrumental in getting her here.


Looking back on all I've gone through to have my little girl, I know I'd do it all over again to have her in my life.