I am 26 years old - today - and I still cannot get over the birth of my daughter.
She turns 1 in May - almost an entire year since the day I met her - and yet every time I read a birth story or see a video or pictures, I bawl.
I wasn't there.
I wasn't there for her first breath, her first scream. I wasn't there to cuddle her or comfort her, or tell her that it was okay, the world wasn't as scary as it seemed. I wasn't the first one to hold her.
Instead she had a doctor with rubber gloves and a face mask. Nurses who did not love her, did not care about her as I do. She had cold hard plastic and sterile beds, not the comfort of her mother's skin.
I wasn't there, and even writing this now makes me bawl again.
I found out I was pregnant in September of 2010. It was unexpected and my relationship with the father was <i>very</i> new. To put it simply he was not ready, so I was alone. Alone I decided to keep my little miracle baby - conceived while on birth control. I made the decision to carry her to term, to keep her, to raise her to the best of my ability. I always wanted a baby, I just didn't know it would so soon!
My pregnancy was normal, though it came with every symptom in the book. From nausea to heartburn to backpain, I had it all. However this I was okay with - it was worth every moan and groan, every bit of discomfort. Every day I fell more in love with the little being inside of me.
And then labor.
Three and a half days of labor.
It started on Wednesday.
Friday night contractions were a minute apart and a minute long - we went in to the hospital. I wasn't dialated at all, so they gave me drugs and sent me home. Contractions nearly stopped.
Finally on Saturday my doctor wanted me to come in for a stress test, to make sure baby was handling all this labor well. Contractions were slowly picking up speed again, and when I went in they were a couple of minutes apart and about 45seconds long. The nurse examined me and hooked me up to a monitor. Baby was fine and dadny, I was still not dialated - "a fingertip" they said. On the verge of heading for home I felt a little 'pop' and told the nurse that my water broke. She laughed until I stood up from the hospital bed only to SOAK my pants. Yep. My water broke. They still wanted to send me home because I was not dialated, but there was meconium in the water. So I was admitted.
Labor kicked in to overdrive then. This was at 4pm. At 11pm, Seven hour of hard labor later, I had an epidural.The first dose did not work - it only numbed my right side. The doctor returned to give mea second dose, which eased the left side but not to the extent of the right.
Fastforward another 3 hours. Babys heartrate elevted and would not come back down. It hovered at 180, then to 190. At this point I also spiked a major fever.
They called the on-duty pediatrician who informed me that the best route to take would be a c-section. I was still only 4 centimeters dialated. Even if they tried to induce stage 3 labor, it could take hours and baby was in clear distress.
Against everything I wanted I consented - I wanted her to be healthy and well. I wanted her to be alive.
They took me down to the OR, and baby's heartrate was up to 190-200 now. My mom was scrubbed in - she would be there for me. Having gone through an emergency c-section herself, she understood better than most how I felt.
The doctors gave me a local anesthetic. They used my already in place epidural rather than giving me a spinal, to save time. However the epidural did not work. When he poked me with the scalpel it hurt. They waited and tried again. It still hurt. With baby's heartrate at 200 they made the decision to put me under.
I was not there.
When I woke up it was 6am - my daughter was born at 4:02. By the time I left recovery it was 7am.
For 3 hours she did not have me. For 3 hours she did not know her mother was there and loved her, and would love her for every minute of every day for the rest of her life.
When they finally brought her to me I was so doped up it was all surreal. I don't remember those first moments. My mom tells me that the first thing I said to her was "I know you," but I don't remember. I don't know if I kissed her, I only know that I held her. I was out of it.
I was not there.
It is a regret I will have for the rest of my life.
I have a beautiful amazing daughter who makes up for it in every way possible, but I will always know that I wasn't there for those precious first moments.
Edited by Shanon Mellan - 3/29/12 at 8:28pm