9 June 2014. Today would have been my due date.
We didn’t ever expect to meet our second born today as we were told in my second trimester that a VBAC was not a possibility due to previous complications so we expected to book our c-section a little earlier. 27 May 2014 to be exact. But our little tot had other plans…
Let’s start at the VERY beginning…
On Monday, 5 May I was 35 weeks pregnant and MC left on a business trip to the DRC. On Tuesday, 6 May I went for my 35 week scan check up and all was good and normal – baby was bouncing around, my BP was high but stable and my cervix was closed. Nothing happening. So we booked my c-section for Tuesday 27 May and one final check up for Monday 19 May. I called MC to let him know that all was fine and healthy and we would be meeting our new addition in three weeks time.
I went for dinner with a friend and went home to bed. At 11pm, I woke up with a spasm pain in my stomach – a sore pain but one that I could breath through and went back to sleep. The pain didn’t ease and each trip to the loo was uncomfortable but without a contracting feeling, there was no need to be alarmed.
I woke up on Wednesday morning, 7 May with this same pain. The best way to describe the pain would be one intense contraction that had pulled in but never released. A pain that allowed me to walk, breath and move but did not ease so a constant pain. I visited my in laws and watching me struggle to walk and sit and lift SJ, they suggested I call my doctor. But being a national holiday for our annual election voting, I didn’t want to bother him. I promised to go home and nap with SJ. On my drive home, I struggled to move much in the car and the speed bumps in our road were a killer to drive over. Once home, MC called to say he was leaving the DRC and he was not happy with my pain (but still no alarm bells as there were no contractions!) He urged me to call the doctor and put his mind at ease. So I did… My gynae wash;t sure about this pain and agreed to take a look, just to be sure.
I got my MIL to drive me to the hospital as my previous driving experience was too painful. At the doctors rooms, my gynae did a full check up – baby bouncing around my tummy and cervix still closed but my uterus was very tight and contracted. I was admitted for a cortisone injection (to help ease the pain as well as help baby’s lungs if any labour should start) and I had to have another 12 hours later. After a while, the pain had not eased so I was given a methadone injection for pain. Unfortunately this didn’t help either. I was hooked up to the foetal monitor only for this to show that ‘under’ my intense pain, I was contracting, and in labour. With more prodding and poking and feeling of my uterus, my gynae discovered that my uterus had started thinning and in time, would rupture and not be safe for me or the baby.
So he made the call, a c-section within the hour.
With my husband in the air, still flying home (he had now landed in Johannesburg which is a 50 minute flight and 15 minute drive from the hospital but he was able to chat to us on the phone and know what was going on). And my FIL standing at my bedside wiping away my tears but promising to stay by my side.
Yes, you read right. My FIL scrubbed up and came into theatre with me – to be my hand to hold, my pillar of strength and support, my videographer and the man at my side. An incredible replacement for my MC. And a a truly amazing experience for a grandpa.
The medical team was called, gynae and FIL scrubbed up and into theatre we went. There were four attempts at getting my spinal block in – my body struggling to accept it and go numb. But eventually my lower half went numb, my body wiped down and the incision made – all with Dad videoing so MC wouldn’t miss the birth, his stomach turning as he is usually very squeamish but the tears flowing as soon as his second grandchild entered the world. And after some serious cutting and slicing and tugging, our second precious princess was born – Ellie Nicole Rosenberg arrived at 20h48 weighing 2,8kgs (a very good weight for premature baby born at 35 weeks!)
While I was being stitched up and lay in recovery, little Ellie was wheeled out to the nursery and to see her daddy for the first time. Unfortunately, her breathing started to increase too quickly, and she was placed on oxygen in the Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) for a few hours. With me in recovery and her being premature, a feeding tube was placed in her nose and she was fed formula. As a c-section patient, I was unable to walk until the next morning so I spent the first night as a very sad and lonely mom without my baby girl. Although there was no better feeling than being wheeled out of recovery to the sight of my gorgeous but very emotional baby daddy. I won’t lie, I missed having him by my side but we have a great story to share and God had a plan for us all that evening, we have to have faith in believing it.
We spent the next week in the NICU with our little treasure as she slowly built up her digestive system and started feeding really well. She spent four days on the feeding tube and then we slowly introduced and encouraged the breast feeding. Once she had latched and had fed on me for a full 24 hours, we were allowed to bundle her up (in the biggest, tiny baby outfit) and bring her home.
As per my last surgery and c-section, I have recovered really well again. I have had no pain or discomfort and haven’t had to be on any pain medication. Little Ellie has carried on feeding really well and has established a good feeding schedule and sleep routine. She gained weight so well each week and reached her birth weight within ten days of being home. Our little premmie is a true blessing, so eager to come out to meet the world and living proof that dynamite comes in small, teeny, tiny packages.
Our little fighter.
Have you written a birth story? Did you have the birth you wanted? Anyone else go into early labour and have a premature baby? Please share your stories.
Read SJ’s birth story here.