Baby Talk: Theo's Early Arrival

If you look back at April 3rd in my one-line-a-day journal, you will find that I did not write about the birth of our son but instead an emotional reminder of what I felt that morning waking up. We had no idea that our baby would be making his debut that day. There was no sign of it -- no labor, no water breaking, no contractions... April 18th was actually his due date.

I had my weekly doctor's appointment and drove myself over. Kevin was so busy at work getting ready to go on leave, we decided that he didn't have to come on the visits since they were so frequent now. I waited for the doctor and was feeling completely fine. She came in and told me that my cervix was starting to soften, a good sign as I was dreading the pain of labor. 

We moved on to listen to the baby's heartbeat as usual and on every other visit, Theo's heartbeat was strong and easy to find. That day was different. That day I heard a lot of white noise and no steady beat. The doctor felt around and after a few uneasy minutes suggested that I go to the hospital for monitoring. 

I asked what the potential outcomes or treatments could be. The worst case would be an emergency caesarean and alternately I could be there a few hours while they monitor. I didn't bring a hospital bag or anything with me but the doctor said I should go straight to the hospital. She would let them know I was on my way. We understood that the baby could come any day now, but I wasn't feeling anything to make me think he was coming that day.

Perhaps in my attempt not to panic, I took my time walking to the car and even waited a few moments thinking of how to tell Kevin. I messaged him calmly but he didn't reply right away so I knew he wasn't at his desk. I called him -- no answer. I started to wish that I kept his work phone numbers saved on my phone. He called back, thankfully. We made a plan to meet at the hospital and if we needed anything, the car would be there for him to run home.

On the way to the hospital, I couldn't help but wonder, why now? What if something was wrong? How could I not have known? What should we do? Was Theo okay? I parked and walked myself up to triage. It took a little while to get me settled in with someone. I was feeling positive somehow so I checked in with Kevin to see where he was. Almost there, I reassured myself that we would be just fine.

I remember the triage nurse being really nice and talking me through the monitoring. She was very calm and showed no sign of worry. I still couldn't really hear a heartbeat although she said she could. She went to get a doctor to check on me since baby's heartbeat seemed low. Within a minute, a handful of doctors and nurses flooded the triage section I was in. Everyone was asking me all different questions and all eyes were focused on the monitors.

I could tell by the concerned looks on their faces that this was it. I was being prepped for surgery. After just another minute, I was being rolled into the operating room. I didn't even have a chance to ask if they could wait for Kevin to arrive. The sole thing that kept me from a full on panic attack was seeing the OB that I had really liked from our practice. I had always feared hospitals and surgery so I was surprised that I so willingly let them do whatever they needed to. Perhaps knowing that my child was at risk, gave me the confidence to trust them to get him out safely.

After a couple breaths of general anesthesia, I was under and the next thing I knew, I was in recovery, groggy and shaky. My husband was by my side and I couldn't think of anything. He told me that our son was doing fine. Apparently I had gone into surgery at 12:23 PM and Theo was born on 12:28 PM. Kevin had arrived at the hospital and by the time they had prepped him to come in, they already got the baby out. I was amazed yet heartbroken but it was what was best for our baby.

If you take any birthing classes, one of the main lessons they will teach you is that even if you have a plan, things may happen in a totally different way. They prepare you for interventions and deviations from your original plans. Basically, you should expect the unexpected because often times new parents have disappointing experiences when things don't go the way they had hoped. It is out of our hands and will depend heavily on baby. In the bigger picture, as long as baby is safe and healthy, you should be happy.

We were hoping for a natural birth. After all, I had such a healthy pregnancy and by that time baby's head was down. There was no reason for me to think I couldn't do it. I had accepted that I would still be happy even if I ended up opting for an epidural, etc. But what I was not prepared for was missing the birth of our first child.

It was a surreal feeling after waiting five long hours. I had been moved out of recovery and into my own room where a nurse was finally able to bring baby in. There he was, a tiny little bundled nugget. Could he really be our baby? Kevin reassured me that he was... and then began the endless gaze upon the precious little life we had created. He was perfect.