Baby Nikola’s birth story. He was born on the morning of August 15th, 7 lbs. 1 oz, 21.5 inches long, a mop of thick hair on top of his head. Nikola made his world debut on his own terms, two weeks earlier than the agreed upon date.
The night before, I wasn’t yet a mother, not in the technical terms. I was a pre-mom, content to fall asleep inside the pages of a Stephanie Plum novel with my bun in the oven, baking to perfection.
It’s nearly impossible to sleep like a baby when you’re about to give birth to one and this night was no different. I sought comfort in the couch cushions and the gentle breeze of the air conditioning. When I was pregnant, the room could never get cold enough and my utility bill, never high enough.
I’d started cramping, repetitive stabs and jolts, their arrival annoyingly dependable. I brushed the bursts aside, telling myself to go to sleep: I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning and a full work schedule in the afternoon.
Over the next two hours, the cramps intensified and I found myself going to the restroom every few minutes, throwing up multiple times. In between, I scoured the internet for information on Braxton-Hicks contractions. I considered calling my doctor but the early morning hours, coupled with the fact my water hadn’t broken, deterred me.
Until a particularly painful spasm – at 3:30am I reached for the phone…….
The office insisted that I go to the hospital – I woke up my husband. I was still in a work mode and was planning to make my hospital bag a week later. So the only thing I packed was my contact lenses. The 25-minute drive through the Chicago suburbs was almost intolerable, an un-joy ride filled with terrible contractions and visions of Vicodin. Upon my arrival, I expected the doctors to hand me some pills and send me on my way – I had more than 200 patients on my schedule till the end of that week.
But a change in plans: I found out I was 7.5 mm dilated – never mind moldings, my baby was about to make the greatest impression of all. I begged and pleaded for an epidural and the nurses said the time had passed.
Thankfully, they changed their minds a few minutes later and, at 9 mm dilated, someone inserted a needle into my spine. The sun shined, the birds chirped, the flowers bloomed – life was good again!
My husband and I discussed baby names from the hospital room, with Emma as the front-runner. We didn’t know the gender, though we suspected it was a girl.
Our reprieve proved short-lived – ten minutes later, a doctor and a group of nurses came rushing in. Everything was a blur……… Hurried voices. The baby’s pulse. An emergency C-section. Sign this. Sign that. Hope.
When I got to the ER, the doctor stimulated the baby’s heart and the dangerous birth story delivery reverted to regular labor (if there’s ever such a thing). My husband reappeared at my side and the eviction began. After three or four hard pushes, “Emma” came out at 6:38 AM. We then discovered it was a boy after all.
But the day had just begun………
A few minutes after the baby boy had arrived, my husband headed back home to deal with the dog walker, the groceries, the delivery and assembly of the baby furniture, the cleaning lady, the installation of solar panels in our master bedroom, and the Xfinity technicians…..all of which were scheduled that day. Perhaps it was only fitting that I threw in “have baby” as a task on the to-do list.
Our beagle Max greeted my husband when he arrived with an unpleasant and odorous surprise. For the 4 hours we were gone, Max’d pooped in several spots in the living room and even in our bed! It was out of character for him, yet dogs sense when something’s up. And change was unquestionably in the air.
Back at the hospital, I laid in my ER bed, unaware of how much pain I’d be in when the drugs subsided (spoiler alert: a lot!). I talked to the doctors and nurses about my afternoon plans – work! The anesthesia hadn’t yet worn off as I spoke of overbites and bonding and making sure none of my patients needed to reschedule.
Instead, I traded in braces for boobs and spent the day learning how to breastfeed my baby boy. In the end, I wouldn’t have had baby Nikola’s birth story any other way.
What is your birth story? How did your baby make their world debut? Comment Below!