The week leading up to the birth I was very sore, very tired, due to being up most nights for a few hours at a time because I could hardly breathe through my nose, it was so blocked up, and I was in constant pain.
We went for our check up on Tuesday 20 December, I was 37 weeks and 3 days, and Ariana had FINALLY turned so we put our plans for a C-section on hold and thought we’d wait it out. She was still measuring 2.7kgs but the Dr wasn’t too concerned, as she was laying breech before, she was difficult to measure and he could have been a little inaccurate the week before. She was moving and had a healthy heartbeat and all seemed well. My blood pressure was a little high but they tested 3x and by the time I left it had gone back to normal.
So Christmas day comes and we go have lunch at my brother and sister in law with all the family, we eat, get done and go home, my parents then pop round, around 10 they left and I had started feeling cramps but thought it was the same I had been experiencing during the past week and didn’t think too much of it, but within half hour it was coming every 3 minutes and the bath I took didn’t make it go away so we called my inlaws and got them to come stay by Joaquin. It absolutely broke my heart to leave him because he was crying and I was just about to burst into tears myself.
So we get to the hospital and because it’s Christmas, there is skeleton staff and we take a stroll up to the Maternity ward and wait for the midwife which was busy in the emergency room at the time. They got my file ready in the meantime and I was walking up and down because the contractions were getting REALLY hectic and painful and felt closer together.
After about 20 min they hook me up to the machine and they see straight away that every time I had a contraction Ariana’s heart rate dipped so they told me it looked like I would need a Caesar. They did a check and I hadn’t even dilated yet and the contractions were excruciating!
Half hour later the gynae comes (my dr was out of town so another had to deliver Ariana) and he checks and I was 2cm dilated but he also said we needed a Caesar because baby was in distress and we needed to get her out quickly. The Dr & Nurse kept asking how far along I was because baby felt small, I was 38wks exactly on Christmas day so I couldn’t understand why she seemed so small.
Anyway, so off we go to the theatre, I get my spinal, at this point the contractions are about 90 seconds apart and SUPER sore, the Dr cuts and takes Ariana out and she is so so tiny, hubby goes to check on her and she is a little pudding of only 1.9kgs (which they rounded up) and 46cm in length at 00:45 on the 26th. She was screaming from the instant she was born, I was so relieved to know she was ok, then they showed her too me and she was so tiny, I just got tears in my eyes. The Dr examined her and she seemed ok but had to be monitored.
Gynae checked me, my placenta had detached, and had become toxic so the last 3 days or so before she arrived she had been struggling to get anything from my placenta and she actually lost weight. The Drs are uncertain as to why my placenta had started detaching but they think her turning could have been part of the reason and she may have also twisted her cord when she turned which also affected her food supply. With all this happening both she and I were given antibiotics for infection because my placenta was pretty much poisoning us.
I was wheeled to recovery and then into the ward, they took Ariana straight to the maternity ward and hooked her up to Oxygen and a drip, she was a high care but not special needs baby and the NICU was full at that time so they put her in the nursery and had a nurse watch her round the clock instead of transfer her to another hospital where there was room in the NICU, the following afternoon she was transferred to the NICU.
I couldn’t sleep and was so upset because I couldn’t see my baby, I still had the drip in and because she was on the machines they couldn’t bring her to me, 1st thing in the morning I had the drip and catheter removed and had a bath and went and sat by my little angel. She was so small that when I saw her I just burst into tears, I was feeling a sense of guilt because how could I not know my little girl was in danger, but after speaking to the neonatologist he assured me there was nothing that anyone could have done and it was almost like a freak accident, thankfully the doctorrs reacted fast and got her out, she would have never been strong enough for a natural delivery.
The Dr moved Ariana to the NICU on the 26th around 12 and I was only allowed to see her from 12 – 6 and again from 8 – 10. I only got to hold my precious little girl for the 1st time on the 27th, it was so difficult because I just wanted to cuddle her and help her be strong, when I did hold her she could smell my milk and started crying, I rather gave her to my hubby because I felt as though I was torturing her because she was not allowed to drink off me yet because she wasn’t strong enough. I was expressing milk and they were giving it to her through a feeding tube.
I was up and down to the NICU every day, it was horrible to be in the ward and hear the other mommies with their babies and I didn’t have mine with me. The doctors assured us that she was making progress and doing well, but it could be up to 2weeks she would have to stay there, our little fighter proved them wrong though.
On the Friday morning I was discharged and got to go home, it was tough because I knew Ariana had to be in the hospital to get stronger but it wasn’t nice going home without her. Then we did a lot of up and down to the hospital and I still had to express and drop off the milk. On the Friday we went to the hospital that night and all her oxygen tubes had been removed, I started crying because it meant she would be home sooner and she was doing so well. The Saturday when we got to the hospital her feeding tube was removed and when she cried when I held her I got to try and breast feed her, she latched straight away and drank like a super star, it was the biggest relief I ever felt. We were told that as from the next day I must come every 3 hours to feed her and see how she coped, that night I fed her again and she did so well. The Sunday before I was about to go in to feed her the doctors called and said I must pack a bag and room in with her for the night, feed her every 3 hours and see how she copes.
So off we go, bags packed, I cried leaving Joaquin again, but he was ok this time because we told him that I am going to see if his sister is ok to come home. She fed so well every time and didn’t lose any weight that the following morning we were finally able to bring our little butterfly home. She was a tiny 2.050g when we left the hospital but is doing super well now and is a bundle of joy, always full of smiles!
When Nicholas came to fetch us, he had Joaquin with him, he got to meet his sister for the first time, his whole face lit up and he’s such a proud big brother.
Lucille De Oliveira
How was your birth experience?
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