It was 7 AM on Saturday, April 8, 2006 and I was feeding Baby Jack breakfast. My husband was getting ready to go to work. It was a normal day, or so I thought. I’d been experiencing hard contractions which I attributed to the normal Braxton-Hicks contractions. I had one more month left to go in my pregnancy and didn’t think anything was odd. Boy, was I wrong.
I’d gone to the bathroom and noticed that I’d started bleeding ... a lot. It wasn’t normal and I knew it. My contractions were getting harder and harder, too. I’d called my sister, who is an ER nurse. I’d also called my mother, telling her I thought I was going into labor at that very moment. My sister told me, after my telling her about the fantastic amount of blood I’d seen, to call my doctor and go to the hospital right away. I’d called my doctor and told him what had been happening. He told me to go straight to labor and delivery. He would see me there.
Oh. My. Goodness. I didn’t expect this. I didn’t wake up thinking I’d give birth that day. And I didn’t even have my hospital bag packed yet. I’d been procrastinating. I wasn’t on maternity leave yet, either. It was the first day of my spring break from work. I’m a teacher, so I had the next week off. Having a baby that day wasn’t going to be an issue with work, but I didn’t expect to go on maternity leave until the beginning of May. So much was racing through my mind. Meanwhile, my contractions progressed to the point where I couldn’t get up from the ground. I was doubled over in pain. I had no idea what normal labor was because I’d unsuccessfully induced my son’s birth the previous year. I’d been in labor with him for 48 grueling hours before I’d undergone a cesarean due to complications. I never knew how a normal labor would begin. I just knew that the bleeding wasn’t normal.
My mother rushed over so she could watch my son while my husband and I got ready for the hospital. I packed a bag for the hospital and a bag for my son, just in case. I barely made it to the car, too. I fell down in pain at the garage door and needed my husband’s help to get into the car. I never expected it all to move so quickly.
I went straight to labor and delivery. The attending doctor checked me out. He was a funny guy, too, and tried to set me at ease with humor. They’d placed a fetal monitor on me and given me an ultrasound right there. My internal exam showed that there were no cervical changes. I was experiencing contractions that weren’t productive. Something was wrong. Apparently, I’d suffered a placental abruption and there was the beginning of some separation at the site of my last Cesarean. My placenta had torn from the uterine wall and that’s why I’d had so much blood. They needed to get the baby out that moment. I was lucky I didn’t wait any longer at home. The results could’ve been fatal. When the doctor told me I’d be having a baby that day, I wept ... hard. I wasn’t ready. I desperately wanted a VBAC, but that wasn’t going to happen. My baby and I were in danger, so I went into surgery immediately. I received a spinal block because they needed a fast-working anesthesia for surgery. I cried the entire time because I never really got to say “goodbye” to my pregnancy. I’d had a wonderful experience carrying her, just like it was with Jack. However, I needed closure and an emergency Cesarean didn’t give that to me. I wept for our well-beings and I also wept out of fear of the unexpected.
My mother came to the hospital while my father watched Jack at our house. My father would also continue to watch our son while my husband spent time with me and the new baby at the hospital during our stay. It was a relief for both of us to not have to worry about our son at that time. He was with his pal, his grandfather. My brother also showed up at the hospital and took pictures and videos of our new baby’s first moments. He knew I’d be in recovery and would want to see what I’d missed.
At 10:35 AM on April 8, 2006, I brought a little girl into this world. She was five pounds, five ounces, and eighteen inches long. She was small, but she proved to be quite a fighter. She took to breastfeeding within an hour of her birth and didn’t behave like a preemie at all. They even let her room-in with me during our hospital stay because she fed so well. It was a couple days before we decided on a name for her. That was our biggest dilemma prior to the morning of her birth. We could never agree on a name before she arrived. It became crystal clear, however, once she did. My husband picked out her name, which proved to be better than any other name we knew. She would be called Liv and her middle name would be Addison.
Baby Liv came early due to complications, but she was perfect from the very start. We are very fortunate. And her 14-month-old big brother, Jack, will never remember life without her. He would have his very own live-in playmate and best friend to share and grow with for all the days.