Quite a long one, but a much-needed-update ⤵
Recently, I haven’t been able to update my blog nor my social accounts. It sure isn’t for the lack of updates to share. It just so happens that a lot of things transpired in such a short time. Truth of the matter here, it’s been overwhelming AND I honestly don’t know how to handle nor juggle it all properly.
If you’re in my personal Facebook account, you’d have a bit of an idea that this is related with my pregnancy. The 30th of December is my husband’s Birthday AND our Wedding Anniversary. That was also the day that I had to be transported to the hospital by an ambulance because I couldn’t bear the contraction pain which was 10-15 minutes apart. But since I was only 36 weeks, they didn’t want to admit or induce. I was 3cm and only progressed to 4cm after a few hours so they discharged us to go home. That unless my contractions is 5 minutes apart or my water breaks, that I can stay home. It was a surprise, but that’s their standard.
Well … the following day I was back again —because the pain is much stronger. I personally counted my contractions to be 8-10 minutes apart. I was worried. With my pregnancy with Josiah King, I had weird pains too and ended up giving birth 10 days early. I was being very cautious too. Especially we live half hour away from the military hospital. This time around I was definitely 4cm (-2) and 60%+ effaced. But still got sent home. Definitely NOT how I pictured ending the year or welcoming the new year.
By January 5th I’ve been to L&D again since I am hyper vigilant with my pain. I know for a fact my contractions are about 6-8 minutes apart. They monitored it in the machine and said “well the machine isn’t picking up all of your contractions” despite seeing how rock hard my belly gets. They didn’t check for anything else since I was scheduled for an OB appointment the following day. To cut the story short, I got discharged once again and this time with a belly band support. Great. At 37 weeks mark. So January 6th I am there once more and I informed the docs with all of my concerns and my previous delivery complications. I even mentioned Group B Strep, Gestational Diabetes, etc. Not much had changed. My follow up OB appointment was supposed to be a week after, but there was no availability at the military hospital so they scheduled me for the 16th. I wasn’t thrilled about it but it is what it is. They weren’t worried about anything else they said. Unless I go over 40 weeks then they’ll consider stripping my membranes and possibly inducing.
Fast forward to January 12th and I was feeling extremely exhausted already. I called it in and was told to come in ONCE I am sure it is 5 minutes apart or my water has broken. By night time it started getting close to that mark. But I also didn’t want to wake up our toddler, have him be restless and risk getting sent home again. I weathered it out through the night. I could barely sleep. By 5am I am sure. Yet, I was like, I can hold off another hour to let our son get a little more rest. They kept sending me home anyway, and I managed to stay strong. What’s another hour of pain? I’d sacrifice that for our son.
Things are about to change in our household, so I want to keep things as normal as possible —things we do as parents right? That was that. Everything really did change afterwards. In a way that would never cross my mind. On the way to the hospital my contractions were 4 minutes apart. By 9:15 am we made it to the hospital. They verified that my contraction count was correct and checked how much I progressed. I was already 5-6cm (-1), 90% effaced and quickly dropped my contractions to 3 minutes apart. They had the anesthesiologists on standby for an epidural. The only thing is that they had to wait for my labs to come back first. By then, true labor had already set in. Contractions were a minute apart. The pain was unbearable. My midwife worked hard to coach and assist us through it all. We almost didn’t make it to getting an epidural. A few minutes after getting it, my water broke —on its own. No assistance needed. By 12 noon we started pushing. About an hour later we welcomed our champion into this world. Daddy was ready to cut his umbilical cord … but the doctors had to quickly intervene. No cord cutting. No placement in our arms, nor in my chest. I didn’t get a chance to hold him. Not even a touch. I didn’t get a chance to see him. Not even a glimpse. I was mortified. I kept asking how he is … all I could mutter to my husband is to check on our son. I asked “Why is He not crying???” … “They’re working on him” —I was frantic. I kept telling my husband to go and stay with our son, he insisted he wanted to stay by my side. While they were working on me, all I want was to find out how he is. My midwife was like “Let’s focus on you, I am here to make sure you are okay. We have a pediatrician and a whole team for your son.” —I couldn’t process what was happening. I couldn’t help but cry at this point. I started shivering. I spiked a fever of 102. Pain all of a sudden took over. It took a bit to get me back to feeling normal and coherent. One thing is for sure, nothing can prepare you to that feeling of not having your baby around you or beside you after giving birth. What made matters worst is having to say to your husband “it’s okay, you have to go … I’ll be fine.” so he can pick up our toddler because our emergency contact ended up being sick. If he had a choice, I can tell he would rather stay. Especially I had to keep pushing him to leave my side just so he can follow up with the other team of doctors working with our son.
Later on, my husband left to pick up our toddler. I was just waiting for the time that I can finally see our newborn. I kept asking to be wheeled into the nursery. Not minding anything else. I didn’t realize that my blood pressure was quite low and that I am already anemic. My fever was coming back up. My bladder was so full I had to get a second straight catheter. The situation obviously delayed things further. Hours had passed. About quarter after 5 pm when I finally had the opportunity. I can tell you it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t ideal. It was definitely painful to see your little one hooked up to a bunch of cords, wires, and big machines. If I could take it all away and exchange places with him —I would. But I can also share that it was also pure delight to finally get that chance to touch him. Glide my fingers in his skin.
That moment that he gripped one of my fingers with his small hands, it was priceless and heavenly. Except those moments of joy didn’t last for very long. The doctor who was working on him did not feel comfortable leaving for the rest of the night knowing that they aren’t fully equipped handling certain emergency cases for newborns. Thus, having the need to transfer him to a Sunrise Children’s Hospital for having a Level III, Neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU). The thought that I’d be cradling our little boy very soon quickly diminished and were replaced with more uncertainty and fear. By 8pm the transport team arrived. My husband got back just in time with our toddler so he can take a “peek” of his little brother. From a distance.
Before you know it, hubby had to leave to arrange a sleep over care for our son, then head to the other hospital. No words can describe how it felt being all alone that night. I fell asleep for 3 and half hours. That was it. Despite not having sleep the prior night for having contractions at home. I suppose no mother can really sleep soundly despite just giving birth when your child has been taken away from you. My heart just couldn’t take it. My mind couldn’t process any of it. As soon as the early morning doctors have taken their rounds I have requested to be discharged. They all pointed out that not even 24-hours had passed. That I was supposed to stay at least 48-hours and that they wanted to make sure my fever doesn’t come back, and so on. I was determined. That was my only goal. To be discharged so I can go to the other hospital and be there for our newborn. Discharge paperwork were finalized around noon. Shortly after, I made it to the NICU with my husband.
So far they have mentioned that our little one will be staying for at least 14 days in the NICU. We also had to give consent for a spinal tap and we’re just waiting for the result before the doctors can give an actual diagnosis. At this point it’s now a matter of waiting and taking everything day by day.
For the prayer warriors … please include our son Hezekiah Champ Bethea and our family in your prayers. We would truly appreciate it! Thank you in advance.
PS: I will continuously update this blog post whenever we receive any news from the doctors to keep everyone up to date how our little Champ is doing.