Our 3 Pound Baby
I finally looked through the photos from when I had Van and this one really got me. It brought me back to intense emotions that not only come with having a baby in general, but with not knowing if your baby is going to be okay.
We knew something was up at 26 weeks. They told us our baby was small. They didn’t know if was because we were small babies ourselves or if there was a problem. “Problem” is certainly not a word you want to hear when you are pregnant, but they didn’t seem overly concerned, so we weren’t too worried. The doctor did, however, tell me that I had to go in for stress tests and ultrasounds every week up until I gave birth.
Sometimes Dan came with me to these appointments and sometimes he was at work. Luckily, though, for my 36 week ultrasound, he was with me. The ultrasounds were routine at this point and I looked forward to them because I got to see our baby. We were waiting for the doctor to come in afterwards and I was looking at the clock because I had a photoshoot to get to. The doctor finally opened the door and this is how it went:
Doctor: So, Van hasn’t grown much over the last week and we are going to need to admit you.
Me: Admit me to what?
Doctor: The hospital. We need to admit you now.
Me: Like, right now, right now? Because I have a photoshoot after this.
Doctor: Right, so we need to admit you because you are having your baby today. Or maybe tomorrow.
Me (in shock at this point): Huh. Because I have a wedding to photograph this weekend.
Doctor stares at me.
Me (voice elevating): Wait, hang on minute. So, what are you saying? Is something wrong??
Doctor: The baby’s vitals are good, but he hasn’t grown and we saw a bit of a drop in your amniotic fluid. So, as a precaution, we want you to deliver him.
At this point, I look at Dan again for answers. Now, keep in mind that I’m the “reactor” in our relationship and he is the cool, calm, and collected one. I’m the one who displays all of my emotion and freaks out and can’t keep any sort of emotion to myself and I often have to pull a reaction out of him. When I looked at him, his eyes were wide. Like, the kind of wide eyed, blood drained from his face look that made me think he was going to pass out. I said to him that we were NOT going to freak out.
We decided right then and there that we were going to bring this baby into this world with love and excitement, not with fear and anxiety, because he deserved that.
Once I was admitted, the doctor said she still wanted to give vaginal delivery a chance. At that point, I didn’t care how we got him here. What mattered to me was that it was the safest option. It was decided that I should have a steroid shot just in case his lungs weren’t fully developed. When you have a steroid shot for this reason, the recommended wait time before delivering is 24 hours.
During the next 24 hours, I called my back up photographer for the wedding I was supposed to photograph that weekend, I emailed my clients to let them know we had to reschedule, and finished up other loose ends for work. My original plan was to have my last photoshoot two weeks before my due date so that we would have time to relax a bit and also get the nursery finished. Ha!
The rest of that 24 hours was spent getting into a great mental space. I listened to music I loved, practiced deep breathing and visualization (this is not something I regularly do, but I knew I needed to at that moment) and I enjoyed ordering whatever I wanted whenever I wanted off of the food menu. Don’t get me wrong, internally, I had some serious freak out moments. But, I did not want Van to feel all of that so I would acknowledge it and then release it and get back to a positive energy.
The following day, every time I had a contraction, Van’s heart rate dropped. The doctor came in and said it was getting too risky and we needed to do a c-section soon. Like six minutes later, in rushed the team. No one was really talking much to us, except to give me instructions or to tell Dan to put on the scrubs they handed to him. They were in full on doctor and nurse in action mode.
While they were wheeling me back I closed my eyes and got a vision of Dan teaching a 5 or 6 year old Van how to surf on a beautiful beach while I watched on the sand holding a baby girl with blonde curly hair (not sure where she came from haha). Every time I started to feel scared, I went back to that beach. Dan later on told me that he was in a shear panic and could not figure out how I was staying so calm.
When they finally pulled Van out and they said he looked great, I completely lost it, sobbing with relief.
I think it was right after this moment that I started to yell at the doctor:
“Bring me my baby!!!”
No joke, I was yelling that. I’m sure I was very dramatic, but man, I needed him in my arms! The doctor said they just had to cut the cord quickly and then they brought him to me. He was so scrawny and weighed in at 3 pounds, 11 ounces. They said he was otherwise healthy as could be, but because of his weight, he had to be in the NICU. That was the longest four weeks of our lives and that is for a different blog post.
Turns out that my placenta was small and that it wasn’t able to provide enough nutrients to Van, which was why he wasn’t growing as much as he should have been.
It’s so crazy to think about all of this now as Van is the most physically active and healthy two year old!
p.s. If you ever need advice or want to vent or cry about having a baby in the NICU, I’m your girl 😉