Start of the year

Before anything else, I will greet whoever is reading this Merry Christmas and Happy New year! This post is about the birth of Max on the 10th of December 2022 via a Cesarian section.

In the beginning, I thought that once you get pregnant, that is it. Everything will proceed smoothly like everyone else we see around- carry the baby for nine months then labor in pain and love. 

The truth, however, is it is not the case for everybody. What happens, in reality, is the moment you get pregnant, it’s actually the beginning of constant worries and anxiety. That statement is a bit negative, I apologize. Considering what I have been through, I just haven’t fully accepted everything yet. 

The journey

The moment I knew I was pregnant with Max, I thought my pregnancy will be as boring as others. That I will bring him until full term without no complications whatsoever. You know, the usual pregnancy and birthing experience. Then, again, not for me.

Let me just be clear though, despite this different and a bit challenging journey, I wouldn’t change anything for it because it got me my baby, Max. 

So in continuation with my previous post when we were told about the possible outcomes of my pregnancy, we were hopeful of course that our baby will survive. From that 24th-week ultrasound, we were able to extend it until the 26th week. Even until the 28th week when we had to do an emergency CS.

I remember those weeks were one of the hardest days of my life. There were moments I got so depressed about the thought of losing my baby that I just cried and prayed. I couldn’t sleep at night as I thought of all the things that could happen to me and the baby. Most of the time I think about the negative outcomes.

The plan

Then came my scan appointment when the Doctor saw that the flow through the umbilical cord to the fetus had worsened. We had a meeting after that where everybody agreed on a new plan. This plan came about after a discussion with the fetal medicine doctor, midwife, and neonatologist.

The plan is to transition to active management which means that I will have the delivery via CS in two days. The baby once out will be seen and taken care of by the NICU staff and most likely be transferred immediately to NICU for better support and care.

With that said though, they would still need to see me the day before, especially to check my blood pressure for risk of pre-eclampsia and do a routine scan and CTG to check the fetus’s heart rate. And if there are any unusualities found, it could mean having the CS performed on that day. We agreed and attended all the pre-theater procedures such as having blood taken and speaking to a midwife.

They injected me with the first dose of steroids to help mature the baby’s lungs. Therefore, giving him a boost when he’s out of the womb. The second dose would be given the next day which should be 24 hours after the first dose.

The day

So the next day, we went back to the hospital for the second steroid injection, scan, and CTG as planned. However, when they scanned, the flow in the cord changed for the worst. Even when he checked the baby’s heart rate, it was only showing 80 bpm which is very low until it normalized to 140 bpm. Clearly, something is not right. In addition to those findings, I also did not feel the baby moved as much. All of this I believe added to the doctor’s decision to do an emergency CS that day.

Right after that, everything happened very quickly. They transferred me to the delivery ward and hooked me up to a machine to check the fetal heart rate. The second dose of steroids was given to me intramuscularly thereafter. The midwife inserted a cannula into my arm with this huge needle (G16) to start Magnesium Sulfate IV, which made me feel so hot. The medicine protects the baby’s brain.

I met a lot of people that single day I couldn’t keep up with their names and roles. Finally, I was transferred to the theater room. The anesthetist started to give me spinal anesthesia then I was told to lie down. A few minutes later, I couldn’t feel my legs but I started shivering.

The husband was sitting next to me during the entire procedure holding my hands. I can see that he was very worried but was trying to be brave for me. I on the other hand was not so worried about myself but rather about the baby. Before the operation, I said my prayer to God and lifted everything to Him.

Welcome to the world, Max!

There are probably more than ten people in that room including our neonatologist, Dr. Walston, and her team. I will never forget her because even from our 24th-week scan when we were told about the risks of the baby being born early, she was very kind and compassionate explaining the options we have. She kept reassuring us they will do their best for the baby. We trusted her and her team.

A few minutes later after they started, I heard the surgeon say that the baby was out. That was a very intense moment for me and the hubby. Although we know that the baby would still be contained inside the placenta once out of the uterus to try to extend the supply of blood and nutrients, the absence of a cry was actually deafening. It was so quiet except for the normal conversation between staff in the theater. No baby cry.

The first thing I asked the husband was, ‘Is he okay?’. I even tried looking at my right side to get a glimpse of him. Just any sign of life really. But nothing as he was surrounded by the many staff helping him. Many thoughts came to my mind. I couldn’t exactly explain how I felt at that time but it was an overwhelming feeling. So I just cried and the husband cried as well. We were just waiting for any updates about the baby. Was he alive or not?

First cuddle

Then the moment finally came. Baby Max, on CPAP with two eyes, opened wide was placed in my chest for a quick cuddle before sending him to the NICU. That was a perfect moment for my small family. Although I couldn’t really see his whole face and body there he is breathing, alive. My strong baby boy staring back at me as if saying ‘hello mom’. 

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Later on, I learned that when Max came out, he was breathing on his own. They attempted to intubate him three times but failed because he was just active and very tiny. I guess the steroid injections were truly working wonders on Max’s lungs. He stayed on CPAP for two days then he was intubated. That will be for another story though.

Thank you for reading!

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