Today’s blog is our story of Liam’s arrival. It is filled with a rollercoaster of emotions and a glimpse of how I processed the realization of being a NICU family. On the outside, I tried to be strong, but on the inside, I was falling apart. I hope my blog can bring some comfort and encouragement to families who are in a similar situation. If this is you, you are not alone and you will get through this hard time.
“Ready or not, here I come!” is what Liam said on December 2nd when my water broke. I was 34 weeks along when Liam made his debut. His early arrival caught me off guard. I was 36 weeks with Everitt when my water broke, so I was at a higher risk of having a pre-mature baby.
Around 10:30am on December 2nd, I was sitting on the floor at home, playing with Everitt and it happened. When my water broke with Everitt, it was more like a trickle and I wasn’t too sure what was happening. [Check out “Living in Denial My Water Broke” to read my birth story with Everitt.] This time, there was no guessing. I gathered myself, cleaned up for the moment and then told Everitt…”We need to go tell Dad.” Dad was obviously speechless but ready to head to the hospital in no time. Once my mom arrived to watch Everitt, Michael and I headed out. My contractions were coming faster and harder than with Everitt. I was 3-4cm dilated by 1:00pm when I was admitted. My labor seemed less painful, but more exhausting this time. Assuming I had a long way to go, I decided to lie down between contractions and try to rest since I was feeling so tired. When laboring with Everitt, I could feel the contractions moving down as Everitt was moving closer and closer to delivery. I used gravity and different positions when laboring with Everitt to try to help labor faster and naturally. Contractions with Liam were not moving at all. The pain was just staying localized. Around 6:45pm, the doctor came to see how far along I was. She spent longer checking me than I had thought was normal. Then she said, “You are 9cm dilated and I feel a butt.” I never felt him turn so who knows if he was breach at admission and the doctor missed it or if he turned sometime during labor. The quick progression of labor had to be why I was so tired. His breach position must have been why I was not feeling the similar progression since I labored naturally with both boys. The doctor then proceeded to say, “Whatever you do, don’t push because we are doing an emergency C-section.” At that point, I felt no urge to push and did not feel like I was already 9cm. After having Everitt, I no longer feared that he would just fly out. Delivering Liam, would have taken some purposeful pushing. I was not super thrilled about the C-section because I wanted to have him naturally and vaginally, but obviously I was willing to do whatever was best for Liam. By 7:14pm we got to meet Liam. He was 6 pounds 7 ounces and was 18.5 inches long. At first glance, he was a healthy pre-mature baby boy. Michael and I were overjoyed and thought we had beaten the odds again! Everitt was early, but passed all the tests with flying colors so we got to have him in our hospital room.
As the doctors were putting me back together, I heard the medical staff talking and saw them put oxygen on Liam. That’s when I knew something was wrong. Our journey of joining our family together was going to be a long road. This day was not going to end as happily as it did with Everitt. We weren’t going to be able to have Liam in our hospital room and cuddle him any time we wanted. I couldn’t sit gazing at him and loving every moment of having a newborn again. He was being taken away from me and I hated that. My heart was crushed because I missed out on the golden hour since he was taken to the NICU immediately. I was frustrated that I couldn’t have the same experience as with Everitt. While it was painful to deliver naturally, I loved it because I was completely in tune with everything that was going on. The concoction they gave me for the epidural and surgery were like nothing I have ever had before and never want again. Not only did I feel yucky from the drugs, I felt like a failure as a mom (which I know is irrational but that is truly how I felt in the moment). Gazing at my sweet baby boy’s face and hearing him coo in my hospital room was not going happen. The what if’s starting pouring into my mind and the reality that we weren’t going home with our baby in a few days sunk in. There was no discharge date for Liam. We were going to have to leave our son in the hospital and be discharged without him. Was he even going to make it? I just kept thinking about how I wanted to bring Liam home and complete our family. I had no idea what was wrong with him or why he was in the NICU. I wanted Everitt to meet his brother. I wanted to know my baby better than the hospital staff. I wanted to love on Liam all the time, nurse him as he needed and be there for every moment. I felt like a failure and the stress, sadness, frustration and uncertainty all hit me hard.
The end of this blog sounds terribly devastating, but it is a small glimpse into my heart and how I was feeling. I hope you continue reading my next blog, “Our NICU Journey” which is all about going home and has a happy ending!