February 26 was the first day of my maternity leave. I was so excited to have a whole month off of work before my March 26 due date. Nesting had not yet set in so I had big plans of cleaning, organizing, finding a newborn photographer and making last minute preparations for our little guy we would soon name Ryan Alexander.
I woke up that morning and decided to lay in bed since I had a month of relaxation ahead of me. Ryan was a very active so it was strange to me that he wasn’t moving around. I told myself he was probably just sleeping and turned to my side. This is when I started to get nervous because Ryan ALWAYS bunched up on the other side when I did that. I felt nothing. I decided to go make myself a pregnant lady breakfast of pancakes with lots of sugary syrup and juice to get him moving.
After my feast, I returned to my bed to harass Ryan into moving around. Still no movement. I got out my home doppler that I hadn’t used since the first tri and immediately found his heartbeat. This made me feel better but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. I tried not to freak out but I am a worry wart and it consumed my thoughts. I decided the only way to calm my nerves was to call my OB. I was put through to the midwife immediately and she told me to come right over to get monitored.
I got dressed and went to my appointment. The midwife found the heartbeat right away and gave me a reassuring look. It helped but not much. She hooked me up to some monitors and left the room. I played around on my phone a bit then eavesdropped on the people in the room next to me. I could hear the doppler then laughter. Maybe it’s their first appointment, I thought. It seemed like yesterday that I had my first appointment. The midwife returned, interrupting my daydream and told me that they wanted to send me to the hospital for a Non-Stress Test to check on the baby. As I was walking out of the office, I heard my favorite OB yell out of her office to the midwife “tell them to call me if they need me because I am on call today.” I debated turning around and asking if I should call my husband who was 2 hours away for work but I didn’t. He was busy and I was being paranoid. I should have turned around.
A non stress test is an ultrasound and monitoring test to measure how the baby is doing. A nurse set me up and gave me a button to push every time I felt Ryan move. She left and told me to get comfy. I sat and closed my eyes thinking about what I would get to eat after this appointment. I gripped the button that I still had yet to press. My thoughts of a Chipotle burrito were abruptly interrupted as the door burst open and my nurse ran past me to an oxygen tank in the far corner of the room. I don’t think I was prepared or expected my life to change in about 5 seconds.
A doctor approached me and said the words I will never forget “The baby is in extreme distress. We are taking you up for a c-section right now.” I don’t even think I responded because I was so in shock and as I am writing this almost 3 years later, my hands are trembling at the keyboard and I have tears in my eyes. The nurse was in the corner fumbling with an oxygen tank mask for me as the doctor barked at her “Not now. Leave it. We don’t have time”. She seemed so flustered as they helped me in the wheelchair that I really started to get freaked out.
The doctor himself ran me to the main part of the hospital while barking questions at me. After the third “When was the last time you ate?” I realized that HE was panicking and I started to panic. I called my husband and burst into tears as I said “I am at the hospital. Something is wrong with the baby. They are bringing me up to do a c-section right now,” Knowing that not only was my baby not doing well but I would have to go through whatever was about to happen alone was terrifying.
Once we arrived to Labor & Delivery, I was met by 15 people standing around until one announced “She’s here!” and all hell broke loose. Next thing I knew, I was having various nurses undress me, put an IV in, put an oxygen mask over my face, ask me questions, have me sign forms, etc. It was so chaotic. I started to cry and shake bc I was so scared. A c-section had honestly never entered my mind as how I would give birth and I most certainly envisioned my husband being there. I think this frantic text to my best friend sums up how I was feeling.
My OB arrived and they rushed me in for the c-section. It was surreal laying there and thinking that 6 hours ago, I thought I had a month to go before I became a mom. I couldn’t believe that all this was happening and as I closed my eyes tight through the pressure of the procedure, I just prayed that my little boy would be ok.
Ryan was out in record time and I remember asking if he was ok and what was going on. They kept telling me casually “oh, they’re working on him.” I read later in the NICU report that he was unresponsive for the first 7 minutes and “them working on him” was actually them resuscitating my poor baby born blue and limp. Thankfully, he pinked up and began to cry the tiniest cry I had ever heard. I was a mom! As they rushed him off to the NICU, they brought him by me to see and give a kiss. He was tiny, just 4lb 11oz, but perfect!
We learned after Ryan was born that the cord was wrapped very tightly twice around his neck, around his leg and entire body. He was essentially being strangled inside and was not moving so he could conserve energy. I am so incredibly thankful that I decided to not feel dumb calling my doctor and went in. She said to me in the recovery room that I saved his life and if I had waited until the next day “the outcome would have been much different.”
Here is our first picture together and the only picture taken the day Ryan was born. We both look a bit of a mess but I treasure it because it captures the first time I laid eyes on one of the loves of my life!
So, there it is. The story of the day my Ryan Alexander came into this world.
I am the luckiest mom in the world to have my energetic, loving Ryan here today!