From a Christmas to a Halloween Baby
I remember standing by my window in my bedroom, thinking “I’m ready for a change.”
It turns out, that change was having a baby. For my husband and I, getting pregnant happened quickly, and I was one of those strange women who actually loved being pregnant. I never experienced food aversions, pain, or nausea. Little did I know that my struggles would come later. My baby boy was due on December 22nd and I was thrilled to have a baby home for Christmas that year.
On Saturday October 30th, I remember walking into Sam’s Club with my husband. He asked why I was walking funny and I remember laughing because it was the definition of “waddling”. I really hadn’t gained that much weight, but I just felt like baby’s head was in between my legs. I didn’t think anything of it at the time.
Later that night I had my very first anxiety attack. I just had this sense that something was wrong, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I had no other symptoms, just this panicky feeling. My husband helped me calm down and we went to bed.
About halfway through the night I started getting sick. I thought it was just something I ate, and I really didn’t suspect anything else at this point. At 5:30 the next morning, my water broke while I was asleep. Then it all started to make sense! I was in premature labor, which was just shocking to me. It’s something that you hear about all the time (especially since I work with premature babies), but you never expect it will happen to you.
A few minutes later as I was packing a bag, my contractions started. By the time I got in the car, my contractions were a minute apart, and getting stronger each time. I just remember warning my husband, “Now when he comes out, he’s going to be REALLY little….” It took 12 minutes to get to the hospital, and by then I was barely able to speak, the contractions were so strong and painful.
I was admitted quickly, and the nurse immediately tried to find baby’s heartbeat. I was in so much pain at this point and was not able to do anything but nod my head. I just remember her rolling me back and forth trying to find my baby’s heartbeat.
Next thing I know, more nurses are in the room trying to hook me up to an IV. Since I had been sick that night, I was so dehydrated and the nurses were unsuccessful at getting an IV in. Then all I remember is a bit of chaos with more doctors and nurses trying to decide what to do because they still could not find a heartbeat.
They quickly decided to prep me for an emergency C-section. Right before I received an epidural, I was also given a shot to calm my contractions down. A few minutes later and it was like everything just stopped. The nurse found baby’s heartbeat and baby seemed stable. Everybody let out an exhale, and I wasn’t in anymore pain.
I was moved up to a labor and delivery room, and the plan was to stay on bedrest in the hospital as long as possible (hopefully another week) to give baby boy more time to develop. But my baby didn’t like that plan, and a few hours later I was fully dilated and contracting hard again. There were 5 nurses alongside my OB to help deliver and receive my baby. After only 30 minutes of pushing, my sweet baby boy was delivered on October 31st (my Halloween baby!) at 3:30pm weighing 3 pounds 9 ounces.
The NICU nurses took him immediately for an assessment at my bedside. I could see them working on him, assessing his breathing needs. I knew he was going to need some type of support – I was just hoping it wasn’t a ventilator. They brought him to me and told me I could look at him but then they needed to take him straightaway to the NICU.
I remember it was such an awkward moment because I didn’t want to look at him or hold him. I wanted him to be safe and breathing so I told them just to go.
Unfortunately, I really don’t remember much after that. I ended up suffering from severe postpartum depression, anxiety, and PTSD and I just don’t have clear memories for a few months after delivery.
In fact, I have no recollection of this picture, yet I'm told that this was the first time I was actually able to see my baby.
The chain of events following my son's birth are long and complicated, and is something that I have been working to process this past year and half. But I'm ready now. I'm ready to talk about it, write about it, and share my story with others. Partly because it will help me process it in a healthy way, but also because it may help others.
Stay tuned to hear more of my story.
Gina Mydlo, PT, DPT