A friend posted a note on FB where she gave her child's birth story. I loved reading it, so here we go with mine. She posted a short and sweet note...mine will be verbose and tiring. But if you're still reading my blog, you know I'm not a short and sweet kind of girl.
I got pregnant with Bailey when I was 23, not quite 1 1/2 yrs into our "5 year plan." I was taking 2 grad classes and working as a social worker. That morning, I freaked out...as in, I took a pregnancy test, got into the shower and peeked out at a couple of flaming lines (I think it was laughing at me too) and promptly fell. As I was sitting on the shower floor, I immediately felt guilty, what if I hurt the baby already.
Mommy guilt is a pervasive, nasty thing...but more on that another time.
Kevin and I went to LabCorp for a blood test, and by that evening I was praying it would be positive for sure. The nurse called to tell me, she said, "Hi Mommy" and I started weeping (no surprises there I'm sure). I was so happy...I had always wanted to be a mom, so what if it happened faster than we thought.
I had assumed that because I had always wanted to be a mom, for some reason I would have a great pregnancy. I have NO idea why I thought that, and at around 7 weeks I started getting sick...and it didn't stop. I was sick almost daily - sometimes several times daily - throughout the whole thing I threw up in a hairdresser's sink, I threw up all over my MIL's books she had stacked on the floor, I threw up in the car...many, many times. I was so sensitive to smell, and it could make me sick before I even knew it. Brushing my teeth meant getting sick, every time. It was not the worst thing in the world by any means...I knew how blessed I was to be growing a baby with no problems except for getting sick. But it was difficult, and I counted down the days until I could have the baby.
We found out we were having a girl, and I was over the moon. I had thought it would be a boy because of the tons of boys on Kevin's side, but here it was a girl. I was so glad we found out so I could plan, and I rubbed my huge stretch mark striped tummy and talked to my baby.
We took 12 weeks of Bradley classes, where they try to prepare you for a natural childbirth. I didn't want to bury the placenta or anything, but I really wanted to be "present" for her arrival, and in the off-chance the drugs would do anything to her, I didn't want to take them. That is $250 I wish I had back...but actually, the classes were really nice because for 1/2 hr of the 2 1/2 hr class, Kevin had to do a "relaxation exercise" with me which I LOVED. Massage and slow, quiet talking. But not only did I take drugs, I ended up with a C-section...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
I was being monitored by a specialist because of a blood clotting history in my family, so at an ultrasound a few weeks before my due date they realized my amniotic fluid level was low. I had to come back the next day, and it was a lot lower. But I didn't feel like I was leaking any, I still don't know what happened. Anyway, they had me check in, and induced me. The baby's head hadn't even dropped, I knew from my reading ('cause that's what you do when you have time to kill before a baby...it's probably the last book I read) that if you're induced, you have a much higher chance of drugs or a C-section. Fast forward 36 hours of hell, and at 10:53 pm Bailey Caelyn came into the world by C-section. They had to take her out, and I'm glad they did. Thank God for medical intervention. However, because of all that vomiting I was telling you about...literally ON the operating table I got the dry heaves, and I couldn't stop. So they actually knocked me out, and to this day I am still devastated by that. I didn't get to see her come out, and I was out for over an hour afterwards.
Kevin knew I'd want to be the first one to hold the baby, and he didn't let anyone except him hold her until I could. When I woke up, all I could think to say was, "my baby, my baby..." and I still remember how desperately I tried to appear awake, so the nurses would let me hold her. Kevin gave her to me, and I just told myself, hold her strong, don't drop her...I was so weak. I looked at her in my groggy state, and started crying and couldn't stop. She was SO beautiful, so perfect!!! I couldn't believe she was mine! She had a dimple on her chin, I remember noticing that.
I don't remember who took her away, but after some nurse shoved my boob into the baby's mouth, Bailey got passed around the visitors and I slept. I'm also sad I missed seeing their reactions to seeing Bailey for the first time. But over the next few days at the hospital I really enjoyed seeing family and friends love on her, I was so proud. Kevin was so gentle with her and with me, I was very happy.
Bailey did have jaundice, so after we got home, the next day we had to go back and she had to spend 2 more days. I had delivered her at Kennedy, but she was admitted to Virtua with her jaundice - what a difference!! The nurses at Kennedy were not kind, I really didn't enjoy the environment of that hospital. Virtua bent over backwards for us, so that made it easier to be there. Bailey was in a light bed, with little goggles on her eyes. I was so hormonal, and I just couldn't stop crying that Bailey was not being snuggled by me, she was in an incubator. I remember reminding myself though, that if this was the worst of it, I was so much more fortunate than many, many families. There was no reasoning with my hormones though and I was SO happy when we were cleared to go home.
A few days after that, I got a phone call that Bailey's heel prick test when she was born showed she may have Cystic Fibrosis. I was laying on the floor with her, and I remember sitting up, and asking what that was. She didn't explain it, she said before we jumped to any conclusions Bailey had to be tested. I looked it up on the internet (the beginning with my love-hate relationship with Google - although at that time was it Yahoo or something?) and freaked out. The next few days I licked Bailey's arms continuously (that used to be an old way to test for CF, if you could taste the salt on the skin) and waited for the first test results for the sweat test we did - they had taken a band and put it around her arm, which had painless electrodes or something, and then they measure the salt content in the sweat. It came back borderline, as did the next THREE tests. Finally they did a genetic blood test and she did have CF. They didn't do the blood test right away because there's over 1000 mutations and it takes longer. I remember the nurse from CHOP telling me that if her child had to have CF, Bailey had the most mild mutation and she'd want that. I remember yelling into the phone, "who would want their baby to have a disease that could kill her?!" She was such a nice nurse, I just took it out on her. I wouldn't put Bailey down for days, I cried many tears onto her pretty little head.
Hmmm this has turned into much more than a birth story...but it all flows together in my head to me. What I learned from Bailey's birth and then her diagnosis, is that life does not turn out the way we plan all the time!! Sometimes it's worth grieving over, sometimes you have to move on quickly. I wish I had moved on quicker, during Bailey's first year of life. What a precious time that was, just me and this chubby, pink, HEALTHY baby...and so often I thought of the birth that wasn't what I wanted, her diagnosis that scared me to death, and whether or not we should even have more children. I wish I could go back and hold that sweetheart of a baby and just ENJOY her more. She was such a dollbaby. Every day she'd take her afternoon nap on me, I loved it. I'd nurse her and she'd fall asleep, the 2 of us in my Lazyboy. She'd wake up hot, with her sweaty head on me, and look at me with her huge brown eyes and smile. How many of those naps did I pray to God and beg Him for her health, instead of thanking Him for how healthy she was. I was so scared. I DID take much joy in her, but some of my joy was taken away by fear.
That season of fear in my life passed, and I am thankful for that. I am thankful for the health Bailey has...and of course, I am INCREDIBLY thankful for her...a gift from God. We say our babies are the best gifts we never asked for. Both of them came to us as a surprise, and I can't imagine having any other 2 children but Bailey and Taylor. They are daily reminders of how God knows what we need SO much better than we do.
Tatie Tot's story next week...I know you're on pins and needles waiting. :)