Little Elsie, my rainbow baby, it has been a crazy 9 month, but you have changed our lives forever in the most amazing ways possible. You’ve made our days brighter, our hearts bigger and our laughs fuller since you rushed into our lives 9 months ago. Elsie, we love you!
I’ve never shared Elsie’s birth story, so I thought in honour of her 9 month birthday (minus a few weeks!) I would give you the details of her rather hectic entrance into the world!
Not quite ready
I was having a busy Thursday getting the kids ready for their first day of school, which was the following week. I woke up feeling good, and Bill went off to work – he was on lock down and not allowed to travel in case babe was ready early, and thankfully he was here!
As the day went on I started having some minor contractions, which wasn’t new because I had them off and on since around 28 weeks – so I wasn’t worried. I was scheduled for my very first NST (non stress test) for the nugget later that day at the local Community Hospital at 5. I was feeling a few more contractions, so I took a Tylenol and figured oh it will go away. As I headed over, I hung around in the waiting room, and got all hooked up to the monitors and sat there fully expecting to go home about 30 minutes later. Suddenly the nurse walked in to check my read out, and looked at me with big eyes and said – oh huni you’re in labour! I’m not gonna lie, I swore a bit, but I brushed it off, and even as they were calling my doctor to come in to see me, I texted Bill saying everything was fine!
When sh*t got real
So because I was only 35 weeks and 4 days pregnant I had to go to another hospital – the community hospital doesn’t do high risk, and because I had gestational diabetes, placenta previa AND a pre term baby on the way – they decided to ship me off to the big city, in an ambulance! By the time the ambulance got to the hospital to pick me up my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart. 45 minutes later, after a bumpy as hell ambulance ride and Bill on the way, we made it to the emerg in one piece, and headed up to L&D. They wouldn’t check me because of the placenta previa, so instead they gave me some pretty great morphine and after about 3 more hours of slowing contractions I was able to take a nap.
Maddy visiting me in hospital
We met with the doctor in the morning, and found out that going home was off the table, and so I was left to stay in the hospital’s antenatal ward, which consisted of 4 beds. Bill went home to the 3 kiddos, and I stayed in the hospital. I really tried to stay positive but it was tough. Being sad, sore and sitting in a hospital bed is no fun, and every other day going into labour and having to take morphine to slow them down and give the baby 1 more day, was so tough. I was not even allowed to waddle further then the water station - because the 1st day I was there I went to the bathroom down the hall and started contracting again – whoops!
A couple days passed, doing non-stress tests twice a day, and every other day going into labour and then being given morphine to stop the contractions, the medical team overseeing me decided that since I made it past 36 weeks they could schedule the c section for the 1st available spot – so Tuesday morning was the big day!
the last NST!
Baby on the way
Big surprise - I had started contracting the Monday night and ended up in labour and delivery overnight waiting for the c section, they were afraid my water would break or something funky would happen so I got another shot of morphine to keep things at bay and so that I could actually get some sleep before the chaos of the morning. Not that sleep was possible for me at that point – but I tried, even though the hospital bed was like sleeping on a cot from summer camp!
The morning of the delivery
I got a nice big port put into my arm so that if they needed to give me blood products due to the placenta previa and also because it was my 4th c section, all the precautions were being taken. The nicu team was ready for babe as she was only 36 weeks and 2 days.
The big morning
C section day came and I was super nervous! Nervous to meet her, nervous that I wouldn’t be able to hold her, nervous that something would happen to me. My doctor was fantastic and definitely took great care of me. When she pulled Elsie out I heard the magical cry and it just made my heart burst. I struggled a lot with how I was going to feel when she was born. Feelings of guilt over being happy she was going to be here, worried that I wouldn’t have a connection with her, worried that I would become depressed at the fact that she was here and Mabel wasn’t. When I heard that cry all of those fears washed away and I felt pure joy. She is pure joy. All the tears, the sleepless worry filled nights, the self doubt, lifted. Our anesthetist was so cool and basically demanded that the doctor show me the baby so I could get a picture, but after that they immediately whisked her into the warmer and started to work on her – her lungs were not working as they should so they did have to put the little breathing machine on her and get her right to the nicu – Bill was with her from then on. I ended up in surgery for over 2 hours, my previous incision in my utuerus wouldn’t stop bleeding so they ended up having to cut it out and place a balloon against the new incision, which meant I was not allowed to move for 24 hours. This might be TMI but a normal C section lasts a lot less than that, so by the 1:45 mark I was starting to feel things again – and when I let my anesthetist know she shot me full of meds and that was over pretty quick! All I can say is the drugs were good!
Because of the balloon and all the bleeding, it meant I could not see Elsie in the nicu. To say I was devastated would be an understatement. I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing and a constant message train was happening back and forth from Bill and I, pictures, updates, and me constantly asking if she was OK. I cried off and on in between sleeping the entire day, made Bill send copious photos to me and tried to not be jealous of the special time he was having with her. Even now the two have a very sweet bond, which is great, but it just makes me feel like I missed out on my last babies first moments. Funny story though when the nurse came in for colostrum, I got a full vial of it – her jaw dropped when I handed it to her – this will do, she said!
FINALLY I got to see Elsie at 9pm that night. When we were reunited she curled up on me as if she knew that she was home. The NICU nurses were concerned she may need to come back to the unit for more help with her breathing, but as soon as she came to me – her wheezing subsided, the nurse squeezed my hand and said that she must have just needed her mommy, and then I cried some more!
I ended up spending another 4 days in the hospital, my doctor put me on lock down and said I was staying until I could walk around the whole unit… so I took it easy and got lots of snuggles in and lots of skin to skin. She was just ready to be in my arms and I was so thankful and grateful for her safe. I am so thankful Bill was able to spend those days with me in the hospital, in the awful sofa bed next to me - waking up and cuddling baby Elsie in the wee hours of a fresh September morning, we got to make memories together with our sweet Elsie, our last baby, on our last trip to the L&D ward, and it was so wonderful.
What most don't know
photo: Michelle Jackson photography