birth story, part 4: reunited

This is part 4 of the birth story of our daughter. Part 1, part 2 and part 3.

Our daughter was in the NICU being evaluated for a variety of minor things while I recovered from delivery in L&D. I ordered some lunch and drank a lot of water. They removed my IV fluids, leaving just the port “just in case.” We packed up our things. I rested my eyes. I twiddled my thumbs. I waited and waited until they would wheel me right down to the NICU so I could see what was going on with my baby. With Leopold, I didn’t get to see him right away because he was a c-section and they took him off to the nursery as I was stitched up. I hated not being able to hold my baby right away. Then, when they brought him to me he tried to nurse and stopped breathing and they took him away again for overnight observation. It was really difficult to be away from him for so long, to not be able to bond with him, and unable to know what was happening with him during that time.

I was trying to be strong and know that our baby girl would be ok, but it was sad and frustrating that once again I had to wait to see her. Once again something went wrong and my baby was taken from me. As much as I tried not to, I was thinking of ways I could have prevented her being taken. Did I really have undiagnosed GD as they suggested? Should I have eaten less? Should I have walked more? Gained less weight? How could I have prevented this? I let these thoughts enter my mind, then quickly pushed them away. My OB, who I trusted very much, told me that he believed my baby was healthy, I was healthy, and nothing was missed. I believed him and my gut told me my baby would be just fine and after this short time away she would be back in my arms for good. I had to be strong for her and I could do this.

My sweet girl in the NCIU.

My sweet girl in the NICU.

I told myself it was for the best she was in the NICU, better her be evaluated and checked out by someone over cautious than something be missed. But I was growing impatient. It was probably around 2 pm when I finally was wheeled out of L&D and we went straight down to the NICU to see how lady baby was doing.

It was quite a process to get in to the NICU (as it should be!). You need a badge to get on the elevator, get into the room, then wash your hands for 3 minutes.We finally found our little girl and I had to keep myself from hopping out of the wheelchair and running towards her. She was hooked up to all these monitors, crying a big hearty cry, but the nurses let me hold her right away and encouraged me to breastfeed her. The nurse said I’d be amazed she had a great latch and strong suckle. Well, I tried to feed her but they already gave her a bottle of formula so she wanted nothing to do with me. I was a bit frustrated, then I just let it go and cuddled skin to skin with my beautiful daughter. I would worry about breastfeeding later, but just assumed she wasn’t hungry now.

a little blue and completely perfect

a little blue and completely perfect

At this point, the doctor on staff told me that she looked fantastic. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. They were waiting for some bloodwork to come back (I think it was the meconium bloodwork?), but her breathing normalized very quickly, her blood sugar levels had come back just fine. She was “a little blue” due to a fast and “traumatic” delivery, she had  hemorrhages in both eyes (scary way of saying a blood vessel popped in each eye and the whites of her eyes were red). Both of these were cosmetic things – “bruising” that didn’t cause any issues and would fade in the next week or two. My OB had explained the “bruising” they were referring to was blood that pooled in her head on the way out and didn’t have a way to circulate back. They wanted her to have one more blood sugar check, drink one more bottle of formula (groan from me – but if this was the thing they wanted to happen for her to be released quickly, I went with it). I could pump to stimulate milk production. Then she would be able to room in with us in Mother & baby! So relieved.

Our still unnamed baby girl, proud Dad, tired but elated yours truly

Our still unnamed baby girl, proud Dad, tired but elated yours truly

We cuddled our little girl for a bit longer, then our L&D nurse wheeled me up to Mother & Baby to get settled there and said our nurse there would get us all set with our own badge so we could come down to the NICU as much as we wanted until she was released to room in with us. This is what I needed to hear – a plan to when I got to see my daughter again upon leaving. It was so hard to walk away from her, but we did it. I cried of course. We got checked in, then came right back down to see her again as soon as we could. I think it was around 3:30 at this point. I tried to nurse her again without luck – again. I gave up more quickly this time and just let it be, hoping we would be able to get the hang of things soon. Carlos held her and my FIL got to hold her at this point too. The nurse in the NICU let us know that the blood test they were waiting on would be back soon, they’d feed her one last bottle, then send her on up to us. We got a text from my MIL that her and Leopold were on their way in. We left our daughter for the last time in the NICU and Carlos wheeled me back up to Mother and baby. On our way in, we ran into my MIL and Leopold. Leopold was very confused with his surroundings, seeing me in the hospital gown and in a wheelchair. I coaxed him to climb onto my lap and take a ride to our room. He did, quietly, and didn’t say much to me. I think he was very overwhelmed.

Leopold's first time meeting his little sister

Leopold’s first time meeting his little sister

We got back into the room and we waited and waited for our daughter to be released into the room with us. We gave Leopold his “big bro” gifts, a semi-truck with an excavator, a puzzle, and a couple of disney movies. He was really excited to get these and started to warm up to all of us and forget about the strangeness of the situation. Around 5:30, our sweet girl was wheeled into our room to stay 🙂 Leopold couldn’t stop looking at her and asking to hold her. I was so relieved she was only down in the NICU for a short time, was out, and able to join us.

our first family of four photo

our first family of four photo

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11 thoughts on “birth story, part 4: reunited

  1. What a rough start, but so glad it was very short. Bryson had a similar start, but they brought a NICU team to our room to stay with him and monitor. It’s so hard being separated from our babies, but makes the reuniting even sweeter!

  2. Oh man, I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to be separated from her like that!! I’m so glad that she was released quickly and you were able to connect as a family of four without too much heartache. When did she finally start to show an interest in nursing?

  3. You are an amazing woman. You set your mind to VBAC and you did. I’m so grateful you found a good OB and had the birth you wanted. I know how much it sucks to have your baby taken away. I’m usually the one taking the baby away. I’m so happy to hear they treated you well when you did get to go see lady baby in the NICU. I can’t imagine it as a mom and I think you handled it beautifully And yay for a short visit to the NICU and a quick return to your MB room! This whole story made my heart leap with joy. You are my hero as far as birthing experiences go. Your experience helped me through mine as I was expecting my baby to be bigger than yours 😀 Congrats on a wonderful experience even if it had a few bumps. I’m struggling with my bumps now!

  4. You’re amazing! Nice work, Mama. I’m so proud of you! 45 minutes of pushing? That’s amazing. I think I pushed for two hours and man, it was exhausting and Mac was 3 pounds smaller! Man!

    I’m so happy for your little family. xo

  5. Dramatic, emotional, healthy baby at the end. A great story. And epic! I am so impressed with you for sticking to your plan through those days (!) of contractions. I had a pretty fast labor but definitely went for the epidural when it got too intense. But you did it!!! I’m glad the little girl is safe and out of the NICU. Frustrating that they immediately went to formula instead of giving you the chance to nurse, especially when she was only there out of an abundance of caution. I’d bring it up with my docs and the hospital once you’ve settled and relaxed a little.

    And cute little Leopold looks so confused! I’m sure his world was just upended and it will take some time to adjust. Please update on how you handle anything that comes along, since I am eagerly awaiting advice for Smudgie!

  6. I am so happy for you and can I say, how awesome you are?! You did it! A VBAC! And without any medication. Go you!
    And Little Lady…could she be any cuter? Congratulations again to you and your family. Well deserved.

  7. You are so amazing and such an inspiration, seriously! I am so glad that things went how you hoped, and besides a short NICU stay, everything sounds perfect. What a doll baby! Congrats on your new family of four!

  8. This whole story makes me so very happy and sooo proud of you!!! You are amazing! I am so glad you got your VBAC and were able to write this. It must have been so hard to be separated from your sweet girl at first but so glad she was back in your arms soon. So sweet that L was already asking to hold her right away. Such a wonderful big bro! 🙂 Yay for your amazing family of 4!!

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