If these past 10 days had gone as I’d expected, you would be reading a different blog post. After not posting for over a year, I had already started my “return to the blogosphere” post and update on what I have been doing for the past 13 months. Because I know everybody on the interwebs was sitting on the edge of their seat, waiting for it.
One of those things I have been doing is… growing a second little peanut! My first peanut, Brayden, is no longer really a peanut but is rather a full-blown toddler!
I can’t believe it – he will be two at the end of next month. It’s like I blinked my eyes and the time had passed. But anyhow… here was peanut #2, just one week ago:
That is me, at 33 weeks pregnant. That is the one and only pic I took documenting this second pregnancy. Remember how during the first pregnancy I took a photo every single week? Yeah…. that didn’t happen this time around. When I was pregnant with Brayden, I remember talking to people who were pregnant with their second child and hearing them say how things were different the second time around – photographs slipped and were forgotten, baby books fell by the wayside, they didn’t always eat pasteurized cheese during the pregnancy or they had sushi… etc. I thought, “Oh, that won’t be me! I will be just as diligent during my second pregnancy as I was during my first.” Ha. My due date was July 3rd.
So anyways, back to last Tuesday. I woke up at the usual time, 6:30, and started getting Brayden ready for daycare and myself ready for the day. At about 7am, I realized that I hadn’t felt the baby kick or move since I had woken up. This was slightly unusual, as she had been very active throughout the pregnancy, but I didn’t worry too much and instead just paid attention and waited to feel movement as we continued to get ready. By 7:30am, I still hadn’t felt anything and was slowly getting more concerned. I made myself a cup of coffee – regular, not decaf. I drank regular coffee just a few times during this pregnancy and each time the baby went bonkers afterward so I figured that would get her moving. Nope – nothing. At 8am we left the house to take Brayden to daycare and I called my ob gyn office as soon as they opened. They told me to come to the office for some testing/monitoring so they could verify everything was ok. We headed straight there after dropping off Brayden and arrived around 8:40am.
Once we got to the doctor’s office I was surprised that we had to wait for about a half an hour to be seen. I understood that they had just fit me in since it was an unplanned visit, but I thought it was urgent enough to warrant being bumped up in the schedule/lineup. In a way, though, it made me feel like maybe I shouldn’t have called the doctor or that maybe I was making a big deal out of nothing. After all, if the doctor didn’t seem to think it was urgent, it must not be… right?
Eventually they called me back and hooked me up to the monitoring machine. They monitored the baby’s heartbeat for 20 minutes and gave me a little clicker, asking me to click any time I felt the baby move. The heartbeat sounded strong, regular and normal, so that gave me reassurance. However, I didn’t feel any movement during the 20 minute monitoring period. The doctor said that perhaps the baby was just having a lazy day. I hadn’t yet had breakfast, since we had come straight to the doctor’s office, so he told me to go out and have a big breakfast, then come back around 11am to have a second monitoring session.
So S and I headed to IHOP We enjoyed a nice leisurely breakfast of pancakes, sausage, bacon and eggs (the doctor said to have a BIG breakfast!!) and it was nice.
Although I was still worried, hearing the healthy heartbeat had calmed my immediate fears. Plus, I love IHOP! We even made a quick stop at a local bakery where I picked up a cupcake, cookie and cinnamon bun for later.
At 11am, we headed back to the doctor’s office. After another, shorter, wait, we went back for a second 20-minute monitoring session. Same thing happened – solid, regular heartbeat but no movement. After a couple jokes about how I’d probably now put the baby into a pancake coma, the doctor said he wanted me to have an ultrasound. The ultrasound was 30 min and, during that time, the baby didn’t move an inch. The ultrasound tech tried rubbing, poking, etc – even trying to get her to move something as small as a finger… nothing. At this point I started to get pretty scared. It was one thing to not feel any movement myself, but it was another to see the baby up on the big screen during the ultrasound and not be able to see her move even a tiny hand or foot. The doctor and tech could not see or hear anything wrong, but clearly something was wrong. The doctor said I should head directly to the hospital for some additional tests and monitoring.
Again, this all seemed to be going in slow motion. I was scared, but no one was acting like it was an emergency. I asked the doctor if it was, and he said no – it wasn’t an emergency, but something did appear to be wrong and we wanted to do the proper tests to figure out what it was and how to handle it. He told me that while we were driving to the hospital, which was about 15 minutes away, he would call a neonatal specialist and get their opinion of what should be done. He said that if a c-section was necessary, they would try to first have me take steroids to help the baby’s lungs grow quickly.
We arrived at the hospital at about 1pm. I was quickly admitted into the maternity ward and they hooked me up and began monitoring the baby’s heartbeat. Within a few minutes, the heartbeat dropped twice, which had not happened before. At the same time, the ob gyn (another doctor at the same practice I go to) came into the room and said my doctor had talked to the fetal specialist and that we needed to get the baby out right away. The baby would have much better odds at 33 weeks outside of the womb than inside in the situation she was in. And with that, I was being prepped for surgery. Don’t pass Go, don’t collect $200. And no time for the steroids for her lungs – those require 48 hours to have an effect.
Just one hour later, at 2:40pm, my beautiful baby girl was born at a little over 33 weeks gestation. Corinne Rachel, weighing in at 5 lbs 1 oz and 17 inches long.
As the doctor pulled her out, she announced that it was a girl. I have been saying “she” in this post, as we now of course know her sex, but it was a surprise to us until she was born. Although we did find out the gender of Brayden during my first pregnancy, I really wanted this one to be a surprise and S finally agreed. I am so, so glad that we did that because it added a wonderful, happy element to an overwhelming and stressful time. When the doctor announced it was a girl, I just started to cry. It was a combination of happiness, fear, but also relief. I didn’t feel surprised – it was like I knew all along that the baby was destined to be a girl and it just felt immediately right that we now had a baby girl in our family. It was just meant to be.
Due to the fact that she had been in distress, she had made a bowel movement in the womb. It was inside the umbilical cord (causing it to be a green color) and she had swallowed and inhaled a lot of meconium. So they needed to get it out of her stomach and give her assistance until she was stable. I heard her cry as they cleared out her stomach and throat, and it was such an amazing sound. They put her up to my face for just a minute, but then had to take her quickly to the NICU.
After that, the doctor sewed me up and took me back to my room. I didn’t get to see Corinne for a couple of hours, as my anesthesia had to wear off before I could go to the NICU, but Stephen got to go see her more quickly. She of course has to stay in the NICU so was unable to stay in our room with us like the regular term babies do. Her progress has been amazing, but I will update more on that in a later post.
Overall, it has been a week of ups and downs. I have felt happy, sad, and pretty much every emotion in between. But what I have felt the most is overwhelming gratitude.
Gratitude for my life, my family and my new baby girl. Grateful for my intuition and attention to my body that I was able to recognize the lack of fetal movement in less than a half hour and know that something was wrong. Because the doctor said that had Corinne not been born when she had been, she had somewhere between a half hour to two hours before we would have lost her. I thought about waiting, about not calling the doctor that morning. I didn’t want to be “that girl” who was running to the doctor for the littlest, paranoid things. But something told me that things were not right, and so I called.
Listen to your intuition, listen to your body. You might save your baby’s life.
Oh, and by the way, I didn’t get a single day of work off to relax or prepare before Corinne was born. When I was pregnant with Brayden, I chose to take two weeks off of work before my due date to have some time for myself before he arrived. Of course, he was born 2.5 weeks before his due date so I didn’t end up having any time off before his birth. So this time around, I thought I was going to play it safe and take FOUR weeks off before my due date. But baby Corinne laughed and came 7 weeks early. *sigh*
Though she be but little, she is fierce!
– William Shakespeare
Welcome to the world, Corinne. We love you, baby girl.