Saturday was my original due date, and Hazel just turned 4 weeks old yesterday, so I figured it’s a good time to share the story of the day Hazel was born. I’m sorry if it’s a little too much info…having a baby isn’t so glamorous!
Photos by Idalia Photography
January 11th marked my 36 week mark for my pregnancy. My husband and I decided to go down to out shore condo about 2.5 hours away from Friday into Saturday in order to get some work done before the baby came. I knew going down I probably wouldn’t go again until after the baby was born, because I didn’t want to risk getting stuck there.
I belong to a Facebook group of moms-to-be that are due February (we all met on weddingbee.com) and wouldn’t you know, a woman who had a due date a few days after mine, went into labor that night we went down the shore! I went to bed freaked out a little bit. I began to be very afraid I could go into labor hours away from home. We got home Saturday night around 9:30pm. I felt pretty awful by the time I went to bed.. Just really uncomfortable, tired, and I remember vaguely some very very mild cramps.
On January 12th, 2014 at around 5:15am, I woke up for my usual morning bathroom break. I remember waking and feeling as if I slightly wet myself, but didn’t think too much of it. I want to the bathroom and discovered blood. I had an, “Oh, CRAP.” sort of reaction. I knew my water broke. I tried calling for my husband, but with the bathroom door shut, and our bedroom door shut, I got no response as I wailed, “LOUUUUUU”
I finally forced myself to go get him, and found our two cats staring at me when I opened the bathroom door. I continue to yell his name and he jumped out of bed. I told him I thought my water broke, and I showed him the mess I was making everywhere in the bathroom as it just kept coming. He sprang into action and called the doctor’s answering service. The doctor called back and told me to go to the hospital and he would meet us there.
Of course I was only half packed for the hospital. I had a pile of Baby’s things, and my fresh Pajamas and robe ready to go. Luckily I hadn’t unpacked from our trip down the shore the night before, so I had some items partially ready in that bag as well. I grabbed all I could think as quickly as possible. I had planned to pack everything the week before. I went on Maternity leave a week early, but I was sick with a cold that went from a sore throat to a cough that kept me up at night. Needless to say, nothing got done that week as I had originally planned.
We ran around trying to stay calm, and I grabbed a stack of towels for the car and put on some loose sweatpants. We made it to the hospital in 20 minutes once we got out of the house. I think we were there by 6:30am.
I was checked in right away, and hooked up various monitors. They asked me a bunch of medical history questions, and did an ultrasound. The baby looked good and her heartbeat was fine. However, the nurses were very concerned that my urine sample looked more like a blood sample and didn’t even bother to send it to the lab.
I stayed calm since this was all new to me, I had no real expectations for delivery. I had a bunch of what if’s and worries about WHEN, but thankfully it was early on Sunday before we went to Mass. (could you imagine having your water break in church?! How embarrassing…)
We weren’t stuck far away from home, and my husband wasn’t stuck in NYC for work. I was feeling pretty blessed about the timing, and knew she was already 5 lbs 3oz two weeks prior, so she wouldn’t be terribly small for 36 weeks.
I was having mild irregular contractions at this point, and they weren’t too uncomfortable. It really felt like I had a nasty period between the blood and cramps.
They did a cervical check and I was 1cm Dilated.
We killed time waiting for the doctor by calling our parents, receiving Holy Communion from the chaplain, and just watching the monitors with each contraction.
Eventually the doctor came and told me my Placenta was partially detached, and while the baby was fine, he was concerned about blood clots and how it could affect me. He felt a c-section was the safest route. He said they would be ready to go within twenty minutes.
I had a lovely conversation with the anesthesiologist in which he told me everything that could go wrong. I did get a little teary eyed when the doctor told me all of this. I was feeling a little overwhelmed. But he reassured me it would all be fine.
The hospital asked me if we had a pediatrician picked out (we didn’t) They also asked about cord blood banking, which we didn’t 100% decide on, so my husband told them to go ahead while I was getting numbed up.
Being in the operating room was a bit unnerving. I remember getting my spinal and feeling pretty vulnerable as I stared at my husband who was in the hall talking to the doctor. He was allowed in once I was on the table, and he sat right by my head.
Being numbed was an odd sensation. I couldn’t feel pain, but I could feel tugging. The pressure I felt under my ribs was gone when they pulled Baby out. I instantly heard wailing, and my husband jumped in for a picture and to watch her get cleaned up. Hazel Marie Branco was Born at 10:22am.
I was so happy she had a nice scream and heard my husband exclaim, “she has a LOT of hair!”
A few moments later the anesthesiologist was telling me they had to give my husband smelling salts because he almost passed out. I told them my husband gets light headed just standing up the wrong way so I wasn’t really surprised. My husband later told me that Hazel had blood in her stomach that had to be pumped out, including blood that all came from me (scary!) and that was what made him feel sick. My husband showed me her photos, and in just a few minutes she was all swaddled and put by my head. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that she was here!
They wound up not being able to bank her cord blood, since they had to work quickly to get the blood out of her stomach, they missed their opportunity to collect the cord blood.
The doctor is pretty certain the Placenta detached because of the cough I had been fighting the last few days. My pregnancy was totally uneventful besides that. I think I surprised him by going early and needing a c-section. He said I should have no problems delivering normally with another baby.
Hazel latched pretty quickly for breast feeding the first time, and I instantly fell in love. She did have low blood sugar and had to be given 1 oz of formula to bring her sugar up. She had her sugar monitored for the first 24 hours. Luckily it kept going up.
My family came to peak at Hazel and see how I was doing. They didn’t stay terribly long. I was pretty lightheaded from the pain killers and felt incredibly groggy most of the day. It was a struggle to keep my eyes open. A friend of ours popped in during the afternoon, and my in-laws came later in the day and brought flowers and a doll for Hazel. I wasn’t much company, but I appreciated the visits all the same.
I wasn’t allowed solid food until I passed gas. My body trapped air from being cut open, and I developed a nasty shoulder and neck pain because of air pockets. Finally after almost 48 hours from the night before we went into the hospital I was off my liquid diet! I felt so much better once I had a solid meal in me.
I had these wacky cuffs on my legs that were similar to blood pressure cuffs. I think it was to help with circulation since my legs were numb for the better part of the day. The hospital bed was horrible. It had air in the mattress (I assume to prevent bed sores) and the mattress would fill with air when I repositioned myself and make me feel slightly nauseous in the process, since I didn’t expect the movement. The bed also felt too short for me.
Because Hazel was 4 weeks early, she was having some trouble feeding. Her latch wasn’t great, and she would fall asleep quickly in the middle of feedings. I had to feed her every 2-3 hours, but that first night she woke up every hour and a half. My husband and I didn’t sleep very well then. We also felt she just wanted comfort and not to always feed, and realized she could probably benefit from a pacifier. (We do have one for her now, which calms her down when she gets fussy but isn’t hungry, or needs to be changed)
He was worried sick she wasn’t getting enough milk in her, and even proclaimed in panic that we would have to buy formula. I told him to relax and that she was only a day old. The lactation consultant gave me a Nipple Shield which would up making it much much easier for Hazel to latch. My husband had gone home for a few hours when this happened, and I was sure to ease his worries and text him the good news.
He told me a few days later that when I was asked my stress level and I said a 1, my husband was in total disbelief since his was 10! (my poor hubby) he was afraid to tell me his worries because he didn’t want to stress me out. I could tell he was out of sorts and didn’t quite know how to relax. I was feeling it too, but I perhaps expected it more.
Hazel lost some weight (which is normal) but then she lost more. Thankfully after lots of diligent feedings, and pumping into a bottle, to be sure she got a little more, she gained what she lost back. She had to go for a Pediatrician appointment the day after we returned home, but she got a clean bill of health. 10 days later, she was back to her full birth weight, and now another 10 days later, she feels much more solid, and her newborn clothes aren’t baggy.
Some days I still can’t believe that I carried this baby for 36 weeks. This beautiful little meld of my husband and I.