As many who follow me on social media know, I am officially a mom! Halfway through the pregnancy, we discovered Elliott had a tumor in his lung called a CPAM. He will have to have surgery in a few months to remove half of his lung along with the tumor. That being said, I wanted to share our birth story here 🙂
On Friday the 9th of August, I was working at the Mint Museum to finish up a project. I remember noting that my baby was pretty still all morning long, but didn’t worry too much about it since sitting normally got him awake. After an hour of moving around and sitting while finishing photos up, I had this sudden realization hit that he still had not moved very much, which was very unusual. We had a doctor’s appointment with the high risk specialists that afternoon, so I was trying hard to keep it together rather than worry until then. When the time came, my mom and Chad accompanied me for the BPP ultrasound. I knew the moment the ultrasound started he would probably be crazy since he hated them, and moved SO much at every single one prior to that. However, when the ultrasound started, he was extremely still. He had some movements, but the tech kept pushing down and wiggling the wand to try to get him to move, and nothing was working. She went ahead and took his heart rate, and it was at 108. His usual was around 140, and it was then that I knew something was wrong. I immediately started crying, and they got the doctor to come in. She said he still passed his BPP, but was concerned since the fluid level was low, and the change in movement was worrisome. We immediately went to labor and delivery to be monitored. Of course the moment we got there, he was back to his normal self with moving around and heart rate being back up, but still. That was the scariest moment I have ever had in my life. The doctor came in after a few hours, informed us we were going to have a baby on the 10th, and had me admitted for the night for observation until it was time for the cesarean (which was completely my desire given everything that had gone on).
When we got to our room, we made ourselves comfortable and settled in. I reached out to all the family to inform them that it was time, and everyone made arrangements to come in the next day to greet our little boy. That evening, I had started having Braxton Hicks again, which isn’t unusual. I was watching the monitor to be sure it was just BH contractions, and it was. I had been so nervous all day that I hadn’t had anything to eat, so once Chad was back from getting our things, we ordered Panera. A few hours later, the doctor and nurse came in, and asked if I’d been feeling any contractions. I said not really, just the typical feeling I get with Braxton Hicks. That’s when they informed me I’d actually been having REAL contractions for awhile at that point, and they were getting closer together. I was STUNNED. What I had been feeling was just a tightness in my chest where it gets hard to breathe, followed by some slight cramping, but that was it. At that point, I had been having them pretty consistently, so regardless of having scheduled the c-section, Elliott made it clear he was coming either way. His heart rate had been dropping some during each contraction, and it just reminded me of everything that had previously happened, and I just wanted everything planned with all the doctors right there and ready.
We were scheduled for 9:30am start time, but another patient had to have an emergency cesarean, so we got pushed to later. I was totally ready, but nervous. Angelique arrived along with our families, and started to get some photos prior to having the doctors ready for us. At 2pm, the surgical team arrived, and the reality that my baby was about to be in my arms HIT, and it hit HARD. I felt like vomiting from the amount of nervousness I had, and then they brought in the wheelchair to take me back. Everyone gathered around, prayed over us, and it was that moment that I started shaking from nerves. I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen, so that tells you just how high my anxiety was! They took me back to the OR, Chad was placed in a holding area until they got the curtain up, and I was fighting back tears at that point. All I wanted in that moment was to hold Chad’s hand and know he was there with me. When they finally got the epidural placed, I felt this instant relief I have never felt, and I joked that was the first time in YEARS I’ve not had back pain. Seriously, I really enjoyed that feeling even though it was weird to not feel anything.
The moment Chad arrived, it hit me again that our baby was about to come into this world, and it would be that moment that we would know if he would be okay or not. We wanted to have a screaming baby since that meant his lungs were developed enough, but also because one type of tumor he could have had would cause his lungs to fill with air, and he wouldn’t be able to let it out, which would result in immediate surgery. They began cutting, and Chad grabbed my hand. I could tell I had a death grip on it, but I could not relax enough to release it. The nurse behind me kept rubbing my shoulder when she would provide little updates on what to expect, but her personality reminded me of Frieda on Orange is the New Black. Very dry humor – and I loved it! When she told me I’d begin to feel pressure as they pulled him out, I held my breath just waiting to see him… I felt them pushing on my stomach, I watched Chad’s face, and then I heard the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. This little sweet cry filled the air, and tears instantly streamed down our faces. “He’s crying!” – that’s the first thing I could finally say since that let us know instantly he would be okay, and that his lungs were developed enough. They had Chad take a few pics of Elliott as he emerged from my abdomen, and we were total messes. I couldn’t get a glimpse just yet of him since things started moving very quickly at that point since Peds was there to evaluate him and ensure he WAS 100% okay. Chad showed me the photos, and more crying happened as we could hear his tiny little cries from the corner. Then I heard them call out the weight, and I was so relieved to hear it… “6 pounds and 10.8 ounces!” The last check we’d been given an estimate of 6 pounds 1 ounce, so to hear he was closer to the 7 pound mark was amazing! I thought at that point I had felt the best feeling in the world, but that got upstaged when the pediatric surgeon came over and said he had passed all their tests with flying colors, and would NOT need any NICU time. It was then that he was wrapped up and handed off to Chad, and my heart felt like it could explode at any minute. The amount of happiness to hear those words and to see his beautiful face… Nothing can describe that.