It seems fitting to write my latest entry on Father’s Day, considering my last one was written on Mother’s Day. I didn’t mean to go this long without a post, but as you’ll soon understand … my hands have been quite busy. This is another “for posterity” post, not only for me to record the details of the event, but also a way to share thoughts/feelings about life since then. So … without further ado …
I had a baby.
So, let’s recap: on Mother’s Day (May 10th) I was 37 weeks and 6 days pregnant (which is determined by that first dating ultrasound you get). It was an emotional day and I was definitely feeling the affects of it as I went to bed that night. Sleep had been plaguing me for awhile, so it was another night of not sleeping that great and general exhaustion from being pregnant. Monday is 38 weeks pregnant and it’s definitely the home stretch. I’m scheduled to see my midwife that Thursday. At that appointment we’ll discuss all the details of the birth plan, which includes scheduling an induction date if I don’t go into labour sooner. I’m mentally preparing myself for the last week of BF and I being a two-some. My last week of being able to do whatever I want (within reason) without having to worry about a baby. I intended to make the most of it.
Best laid plans, and all.
Early that afternoon BF and I have a pretty terrible fight. The details I can’t entirely remember, but it’s definitely a result of exhaustion, emotions, nerves … everything we’re feeling and trying to manage just explodes. Afterwards we decide on an easy couch day. I’m going to curl up on the couch in the comfiest clothes. I’m going to watch CSI reruns because it makes me happy. I’m going to just completely disengage with the world and not over think because I’m tired of it all.
The phone rings.
I vaguely recognize the number but I can’t quite place it just yet. As the call goes to voicemail I google the number – it’s my OBGYN’s office. I had just done an ultrasound, ordered by her, that previous Friday. I’m thinking a phone call is not good news. I steal away upstairs to listen to it, just asking me to call in. When I do I’m told that there is a concern based on my last ultrasound and I need to make my way to the hospital. The voice on the phone assures me that nothing is wrong … I’m only going to the hospital because my OB is the doctor on call at the moment, otherwise I would come to the office. No, I don’t need to pack a bag or bring BF … take my time, but come soon.
I am feeling quite panicky, but make my way back to BF to relay the information and try to quickly put together a game plan. We have nothing packed, nothing ready. We had no idea what we were going to need … all that info was supposed to come at the next midwife appointment! We also have no idea what this hospital trip will mean. Is this it, or do we get more time? Hope for the best, prepare for the worst – BF would stay home and wait for my call on what is happening. In the meantime he will do his best to pack a bag of everything we might need, and hope we are right. I will take a cab to the hospital so I get the most time possible with my OB (one of the only doctors I trust), but won’t make a decision without him. Without saying it, we know that if my health or the baby’s is in any jeopardy we’ll make the right call … so to the hospital I went.
Of course, the hospital is in COVID procedures. This is the hospital where any local patients have gone if they needed hospital care. When I last saw my OB she told me there were no cases in the prenatal unit … but I still have to get there. I’m led to OB-triage and I’m barely holding myself together. I’m in a hospital (I dislike them), I’m here without my one support person (the only person who is allowed with me), and something is wrong (wrong enough that I need to come in, so I’m scared). I’m wearing a mask. The nurse helping me can only comfort me with words … which isn’t enough, and not who I want to hear from right now. After getting undressed and strapped to monitors for me and baby my OB comes in.
She tells me that she’s thankful she caught it when she did. She just happened to be going through a bunch of ultrasound results and saw mine, where otherwise it might have sat in her office until she was back in on Wednesday. The amniotic fluid is low. There isn’t necessarily a huge concern today, but in a couple of days it could have been dire. She wants to do another ultrasound – if my fluid level is unchanged or has gone up then I can go home. If it’s gone down she wants to talk about the possibility of induction. She’ll call my midwife for me while I’m getting that done. She assures me that I am in charge of my decision. She checks and tells me I’m already a few centimetres dilated. She says she doesn’t want to scare me, but that I’m likely on borrowed time for this pregnancy.
The results from the ultrasound come back … the fluid level is lower. Baby is not in any distress but waiting could have serious consequences for us both. OB and midwife recommend induction. I call BF and he’s already prepared to leave. We have no real plan for the cats at the moment … we just loaded them on food and water and hoped we’d be home quickly.
Once BF has arrived the plans are being put into motion. A room is being readied for me, and a private room at that. BF is allowed to stay with me the entire time. Midwife talks through the steps and at what point to call her again. BF has thought of everything and brought both iPads so we have access to Netflix. I begin to binge-watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine for laughing, distraction, and calming purposes. I’m grateful I had a large lunch before getting to the hospital but struggling through the thought of not eating until this is over … and it scares me. We get settled in the room and decide to tell only a small handful of people – namely, our parents – because we’re already stressed out and nervous and don’t want to be bombarded with “did she have the baby yet?” messages if labour goes for awhile. And so it begins.
None of this is like I had planned. I never really got a chance to plan. COVID changed the last trimester of my pregnancy, and every month was just watching to see how things would be affected and how best to adapt. It’s hard to adapt when you have no idea what you’re doing or what to expect. It’s hard to make plans when appointments are cancelled. It’s hard to make plans when only one person can go to an appointment and decisions need to be made. It’s hard to do any of this alone. But induction was not in my plan, it was never on my radar until the last few weeks. It was something I knew was possible but I never considered it a true possibility … my own fault, really. Nothing about my time in the hospital giving birth was something I planned for.
There are no harrowing or grisly details to share about the rest of it. The next doctor on call came in to break my water and start oxytocin at 8:15 pm. I alternated between watching B99 and napping until the contractions were keeping me up, which is when I elected to get an epidural. I wasn’t sure if I was going to want one or not, but it was 2 am and I was no where close to dilated enough and wanted/needed the sleep and relief it would provide. I think I got my first top-off of it around 10 am? That one is a bit fuzzy. A second top-off came at 2 pm. The only food I was allowed to have were popcicles … and water. At about 5 pm I knew I was getting close, and after about 40 minutes of pushing Aurora Hazel (henceforth known as Aura on the blog) was born on May 12th at 6:10 pm. She weighed 7 lbs and was 20.5 inches long. Adorable, wonderful, oh-so tiny. That moment she was put into my arms, and I kissed her forehead … and suddenly everything was right in the world. I forgot about COVID, I forgot about work stresses, money stresses. I forgot about feeling worried or nervous as a new parent. All I could see was her … and BF, and how this partnership became a family in a single wonderful moment.
Aura is almost 6 weeks old now, and it’s been surreal. She’s actually a fairly chill baby – she doesn’t fuss a terrible amount (but when she does you are going to hear about it). She sleeps relatively good, all things considered. I am not sleeping that great but I am doing massively better than the first few days she was here and I struggled to sleep because I was worried about her. We have some great people in our lives who have helped so much – my sister who picked up and dropped off more things for us, friends who reach out to check in on me and/or drop things off for us, or BF’s local family who help us get hard-to-order grocery things … because COVID is still very real here, and everywhere. We’re still staying home more often than not. We still keep our distance from everyone when we’re outside. We’re still the only people to have really held Aura and gotten to meet her. We’re slowly branching out for our own sanity (namely, a weekly trek downtown to the farmer’s market) but it’s not easy to navigate any of this. It’s hard to be home every single day. It’s hard to not have helping hands coming by to give us a break, even just for a moment. On the other hand … BF is getting more time with Aura than we originally thought would happen. Because of that someone is sharing the care of her with me during the day, and our division of labour has been working really well so far. Because of this I’m learning more about her and her personality because there are no other people to distract me or her from interacting. We’re learning how to manage just the two of us taking care of her and I imagine that will serve us very well in the future.
And so we move on to life’s next stage: Parenting. I am (hopefully, gosh willing) off on maternity leave for a year, with a likely (hopeful) return date of June next year to work. For now my only job is Mom … and I think I’m crushing it.
Baby Photo Tax: