This is my birth story of the most amazing, tiny, miraculous, totally unexpected little boy.
Where does one even start when telling the wonderful book of life that is life itself? Days prior to the start of a brand new life, I had just visited the doctors for a checkup. I remember dreading her last words to me, “Tanya, stop worrying about having a preemie. You are going to go past your due date.”
At the time, I got a little upset. I wanted my baby boy to keep cooking, but I couldn’t bare the thought of what it was going to feel like to gain more weight, and spend the rest of the summer pregnant. The world says that premature babies are not genetic, but in all my experiences, it seems that if you were a preemie yourself, you have a preemie as well. If some of you did not know, I spent most of my pregnancy worrying about having my little guy early ((hence I packed my bags at 32 weeks–the exact time I was born)). All over social media, friends of friends, it seemed like everyone was having their babies early. I think it is only natural to fear the same for yourself.
So anyways, back to my story. Sunday evening ((June 26th)) Chris said let’s go to bed. I couldn’t without unpacking and repacking the hospital bags per the checklist I found. He laughed at me and told me to stop worrying. BUT, call it intuition, or just a super OCD individual, I had to do it again. It would’ve kept me up all night if I hadn’t. Flash-forward to midnight. I woke up to do my usual hourly pee, and when I went, I couldn’t believe the amount that came out. I had a quick paranoid reaction that my water broke, because that is how it tends to happen to most women, on the toilet, and they don’t even know it. BUT then I said to myself, “Darn, that’s the last time I chug a glass of water before bed.”
As I stood up though, more liquid came out, and I instantly thought my water broke again, or that I was getting that incontinence people talk about getting in the third trimester. I was so embarrassed and terrified about how I was going to hide that for another month. The more I walked around, the more stuff came out. I texted my mom and asked her if she thinks my water broke. I wasn’t having any pain whatsoever though, so I got back in bed. Two seconds later, MORE stuff came out. I finally decided, okay, yes, this is it. My water broke. By this time, Chris was already up, because I was pacing and screaming, “MORE!” over and over again, while running back to the toilet.
We decided it was best to call the doctor, who said the only way to check was to go to the hospital, and so we did. I didn’t really have any emotions, other than get me to MORRISTOWN, before this baby makes an appearance. Morristown is the closest hospital with the B E S T NICU around. They work some serious miracles there and I knew that is where I needed to be. At 35 weeks pregnant, babies can be fully developed and only need to pack on the fat, but still 5 weeks early is five weeks early.
BUT my doctor delivers at Hackettstown, so that is where we had to go first. We got to Hackettstown hospital, right down the road from us, and they confirmed my water broke, hooked me up to machines, and gave me the most painful shot I have ever experienced in my life. Because I was 5 weeks early, they gave me a steroid shot (one of two) to help boost little man’s lungs. You have to get the second shot 24 hours later. If you’ve ever had a shot in your butt, you know my pain. It burned like none other, and then it felt like someone just pummeled the heck out of your butt cheek, punching it over and over. OUCH! After an hour wait, I was off in an ambulance to Morristown. The longest ride of my life. It was bouncy, they went way out of their way to get there, I wanted to sleep, but couldn’t close my eyes. I kept checking that Chris was still behind us every minute. I tried to make small talk with the EMT, she wasn’t amused. So I prayed and prayed that I made it and we both remained safe.
When I arrived, they didn’t even know I was coming ((poor communication among the hospitals)), so I got all worried, as usual. BUT they found me a room, they just needed to find me a nurse. The first plan was to go ahead and induce me right then, for fear of infection with the baby. BUT then they decided to let me get the second shot of steroids 24 hours later, to improve the function of his lungs. SO yes, I had to get that painful shot AGAIN, on the other butt cheek. From that point on, it was literally a waiting game. Research shows that the steroid shots need 24 hours after each one to really take affect and reach the baby. So, Tuesday morning around 8am, they induced me with pitocin. Because I wasn’t dilated at all, they said we could be in labor for hours and days. Lack of sleep, plus anxiety about the near future made it impossible to think, sleep, or really absorb anything that was happening.
And then the dreaded contractions started. They weren’t so bad at first, and I could breath through them. My nurse kept saying, “You don’t have to be a hero, the girl next door just got her epidural, and she is at the same point as you.” I remember saying they weren’t bad and as long as I got a break in between to catch my breath, I was okay. That lasted like 30-40 minutes, and then I was desperate. The contractions became minutes apart and the pain was so bad I couldn’t control my breathing, and it made me cry like a big baby.
Then my hero came; the anesthesiologist. As much as I wanted the epidural, I was traumatized by the thought of getting it. Too many movies, and too many stories read about incidences that occurred. BUT the contractions are no joke. KUDDOS TO THE MAMAS WHO DELIVER NATURAL! Like for real. I would bow at your feet if we ever met. I couldn’t hang haha. The epidural wasn’t that bad, just weird. && once the meds hit, I was like a jello blob. I couldn’t move my legs on their own, or sit up without help. It was fab. And then the epidural came out, well was only shooting down my right side of the body, and the contractions came back, as well as one seriously numb right thigh. Like when you go to the dentist and your lip feels fat. That was my poor thigh. The nurse thought it might’ve been because I had to pee. So she cathed me. Another first experience, but I couldn’t feel anything anyways, so who knows. But even after I filled an entire bag, the contractions were still miserable. SO in came my hero anesthesiologist again, and he re-did my epidural. That second one was a gem. MORE about that later.
Shortly after, the doctor came in maybe 6 hours into labor and said I was 5 cm dilated. He went on with is presumptions and said it was going to be awhile yet. I couldn’t imagine going 72 hours without sleep, and then trying to push a baby out. I was beginning to get super nervous. Luckily, about 15 minutes later, I told the nurse I thought I had to poop, but that I was afraid to try, because it could be the baby. I really couldn’t make out the difference. So she left to find the doctor. In that short 5 minutes, I kept telling Chris I was afraid to fart, push or anything, because I really think it’s the baby. When the doctor came in, he said there’s no way I went from 5cm to 10cm in 20 minutes, but then sarcastically said, “Oh, you’re having a baby.” At first I was thought he was joking, because that’s how he was the entire time we engaged with him, and so I said something about pooping, and he responded, “Oh, I’m not kidding. You’re having a baby!” IT WAS GO TIME! I didn’t take classes, I didn’t watch movies. I wanted to go into this without expectations of fears.
That didn’t matter. When he said you’re having a baby, I became so excited && completely terrified. “Was he going to be all right”, that was my biggest concern. BUT I’ve prayed with little man everyday since finding out he was a part of our lives, and knew God would take care of us. That didn’t stop me from asking if he was okay after every push. After about 4-5 pushes, his head was already crowning, and my hubby had started to cry. Because my epidural was so good the second time around, I couldn’t feel a thing. The nurses and doctor would have to tell me when to push. About 8 pushes later (17 minutes)), little man made his appearance. AND MY WATERWORKS BEGAN! ❤
Because he was a preemie, they put him on my chest quickly enough for a kiss, and then took him to his own little room, where they did all their magical things. My hubby went with them. It was kind of nerve wrecking seeing them work on your baby from afar, but not knowing what was going on. I just kept watching my husbands face and the tears streaming down his cheeks. He was happy, so I knew everything was all right. They brought him back to me for a little to hold him and love him, before taking him to the nursery.
My boys were gone, and I was left to give birth to my placenta and get stitched up. It seemed like forever before Chris came back to see me. BUT when he did, I was so happy to hear Clayton was doing just fine, minus some glucose levels.
My boys in the nursery. They wanted to bring him to me for some skin-to-skin, but I wasn’t in my recovery room yet. But I did make a pit stop on the way to see him.
When I finally got settled into my room, they brought Clayton to me. And let me tell you, that boy knows his mama. He just stared up at me with his beautiful little eyes, and I was in love. Deep, unconditional, indescribable love. My heart became his, and he became mine. ❤
I didn’t get to spend very long with him, as they wanted to observe him in the Nursery for the night, to continue to monitor his glucose levels. Around 3am, the doctor came in and told me they had moved Clayton to the NICU because his levels dropped. I just remember crying. Not fully understanding the severity of anything, just the words NICU was enough. BUT he reassured us that he was doing great, they just needed nurses more skilled in this area to watch over him. He wasn’t going to be hooked up to machines, other than the heart rate and blood pressure screen. He just needed to eat, and eat a lot. It was tough not being with my baby, but I knew I could go see him anytime I wanted.
The next morning, I couldn’t wait to go see my baby. I felt like I hadn’t really truly seen him, or loved him since his birth. I just cuddled him until it was feeding time, and learned the ropes of taking his temperature, watching them prick his tiny little foot, adapting to changing a diaper on something so teeny with wires in the way, to feeding and burping him. I knew how to do all of these things prior to his arrival, but he size and in my mind fragile state, I was so cautious and afraid to do anything. BUT LET ME TELL YOU, those nurses kind of throw them around like nothing ((not aggressively, they’ve just been doing it forever and know)). Most of our nurses for Clayton were fabulous. SO nice, encouraging, understanding, and super supportive. Every three hours, for about three days, I would go back up and spend an hour with my baby boy.
Daddy would come after work and feed him too. And my heart would melt all over again! ❤
Because of my postpartum hypertension issues, I had to stay an extra day in the hospital too. It was kind of secretly nice, because I was still in the same building as my baby, and didn’t have to leave him behind, when we went home. I am still struggling with this hypertension stuff. They said it happens to women sometimes, when their bodies haven’t realized they are no longer pregnant, and their hormones are all out of whack. Apparently, it can take the full 6 weeks to settle itself out.
We only had to go home one day without baby Clayton. It was rough, but knowing we got to bring him home the next day made it a lot easier. In order for our boy to come home with us, he had to pass the car seat test. I was worried he wouldn’t pass because of his size, and how tiny he sits in it. But he stayed sound asleep for the entire hour he was in there, and passed! 🙂 YAY!! For as much as I was so excited to take him home, and that he was actually healthy enough to go home, I was still so afraid. For three days, I stared at a monitor that told me he was okay, and everything was fine. AND NOW, he was going to come home without the help of a machine telling us he is just fine. BUT who was I kidding, we are so blessed to be able to bring him home only four days old, at 35 weeks gestation.
That car ride home was one of the most agonizing experiences of my life. I didn’t take my eyes off of him for one second, and kept sticking my finger under his nose, to make sure he was breathing just fine. When we finally got home, the real fun began.
Clayton is almost two weeks old already, and my love for him just grows and grows by the minute. His quirky little personality already makes me laugh. His smirks, and little routines he has are entertaining. I count my blessings everyday for this little boy. God is so good, and being a mommy is the best feeling in the world.
Even through the rough nights, exhausting days, sleepless feedings, and troubles with breastfeeding, I could not be anymore thankful to be this boy’s mama. I feel so honored and loved.
HE IS EVERYTHING! ❤
My heart is full, my world is complete, && I cannot wait to see how this amazingly sweet, and precious boy changes my life daily.
Tanya && baby Clayton 🙂