Today marks six weeks since James changed our lives. Dustin and I have always made plans. In the Marine Corps you have to be ready for anything, but that doesn't mean you can't have a Plan H for whatever comes up. (And yes, we have plan trees out to letter M. You never know what might happen and we like to be somewhat prepared or at least have mapped our options. You do this too, no?)
My first lesson as a new mom is one in humility. I thought I had everything mapped out. I had a plan. And if things did not go according to plan. I had a backup plan. James changed that.
My plan was to labor naturally. My birth plan was concise and I was going to approach labor like I do every other problem. With a plan. Labor naturally. Spend some time in the pool. Listen to some soothing piano music. Practice my breathing. Walk around for a bit. And when the time came my baby would be born to the soft melody of "Zanarkand" or "Eyes on Me" by Nobuo Uematsu. Our baby would stay with us. No sugar water or formula. We would do skin to skin and breastfeeding was going to come, as they say, naturally.
Instead I was admitted to the hospital six weeks early and only because Dustin and I decided to swing by my midwife on the way back to Nashville from Chattanooga.
My birth story:
Dustin and I flew to the US at the beginning of September. We immediately traveled to Nashville to meet with our realtor and find a midwife. We spent two weeks bouncing back and forth between Chattanooga and Nashville. We spent our time in Chattanooga taking Zero for walks, shopping for books, and keeping my feet up.
Dustin was scheduled to start work on Wednesday so we made plans to drive up to Nashville and stay in an extended stay for three weeks until we closed on the house. It was during this time I was going to purchase baby items. We also were going to map out the route to the hospital. We had everything planned.
For a few days I had been leaking. Any pregnant woman will tell you that leaking happens. All that relaxing and all of a sudden every laugh or sneeze... leaking. But something felt off. I was leaking a lot. And I would leak fluid all the time not just after a good chuckle.
On Tuesday we packed up the car to the brim and started driving to Nashville for the fourth time in two weeks. On the way I called my midwife and we decided to stop in and see her before checking into the hotel. After a quick examination she advised us to go over to Vanderbilt Hospital immediately. My membranes had ruptured and I had been leaking amniotic fluid for days.
I was admitted and then we waited. Our midwife brought in the on call doctor and they determined that the risk of infection outweighed the risk of delivering a baby at 34 weeks. Dustin and I looked at each other and realized that in 24 hours we were going to have a baby.
Forget my plan. Labor had to be induced so no walking. No movement of any kind. I was required to lay on my left side with constant monitoring. Fifteen hours later I had had enough. My left side was numb. I couldn't utilize any pain management for contractions. I hadn't eaten in a day. I hadn't slept since Sunday night. I was exhausted.
So I received an epidural.
I was able to relax and rest for about an hour. Then came pushing. Forty-five minutes later James was born. He was burrito-wrapped and I was able to hold him for one minute before the NICU team whisked him off to the incubator. No skin to skin. Not even the nursery where I could see him any time. And breastfeeding? He used too much energy sucking so we had to use sugar water and formula for a few days.
A wise woman once told me that having children is the most selfless thing a person can do. While my story did not go as planned it taught me something. Lesson one is humility. A clear perspective.