It’s been over two weeks since my emergency C-section, and I’ve struggled with whether or not to even attempt to write about it. But, I think it’s healthy for women to write about their birth stories, and I promised myself that I would, long before I ever found out I was pregnant.
On Feb 28th, 2017, during a routine doctor’s appt, I was told that my blood pressure was too high to leave the hospital. Doctors said I’d have to basically stay at the hospital on bedrest until the baby was born, whether either be weeks or months. 2 days into my hospital stay, I contracted the flu. That led to a combination of horrible events, including but not limited to a horrible bloody nose that would go down in history, blood pressure checks every 4 hours, blood work most mornings at 5am, and constantly measuring my pee. And they wonder why my blood pressure was high??!!
Almost a week into our stay, my blood work came back showing low platelets early one morning and the on call doctor was called in. It was at that point where I had to come to terms with the fact that my baby was coming much earlier than anticipated. We managed to get my platelets up some, but everything else happening (protein levels, blood pressure, etc) meant it was time to proceed. I was pumped full of magnesium and taken in for emergency C-section on March 6th, 2017 at 7:10am. Teagan Dawn Neavez was born at 31 weeks 5 days, 7:39am and weighed roughly 3 lbs 5 oz. All I remember is her sweet cry. She sounded like a lamb.
Mario went with the baby to NICU, while my sister stepped in to be with me. I don’t remember a lot right after that. There are gaps, but I do remember being back in my hospital room with my mother and grandmother. I remember Mario returning after seeing that Teagan was in good hands, and telling me that she was beautiful. He was crying and all I could do was kiss him through my medicated haze.
The next 36 hours were not easy. Magnesium, combined with blood pressure meds, combined with pain medication, made for a very ugly cocktail. One that sent me into a fog of not knowing whether I was asleep or awake. I began to think this was all part of some nightmare. I slept and woke, but never knew which was which. People came into my room – a lactation nurse who tried to explain the importance of beginning to pump milk ASAP, a rep from our chosen pediatrician’s office, a chaplain from the hospital. I’m sure there were others, but I can’t remember what was said or what I said. I woke up the night of March 7th, while Mario was visiting Teagan. I was alone in my room, and suddenly felt that I had to escape. I didn’t feel myself. I felt out of body. It felt as if I were watching myself held prisoner in this dark, hospital room with no way out.
That night, Mario took me to see our baby for the first time. I was told by nurses that I shouldn’t be gone for more than 10-15 min, since my blood pressure was still an issue.
When we arrived in the NICU, Mario showed me how to get in, where to wash our hands and which door led to Teagan’s room. I have trouble finding the words to describe seeing my 3 lb daughter for the first time. She looked so fragile and so helpless in her little blue lit incubator. And all I could think was, “I did this to her.” My body couldn’t handle the last 2 months of pregnancy and it basically turned against me and the baby. I watched her little chest rise and fall and wondered how something so small and so frail would make it. I touched her tiny hands through the portals and then Mario wheeled me back to that depressing hospital room. And I cried and cried and cried.
When we were discharged from the hospital, it felt wrong. I left my baby there. I went home to a house with a crib, changing table, and closet full of tiny clothes, but no baby.
5 days after she was born, I got to hold her for the first time in the NICU. I felt like I was going to break her. Everything about her was tiny and delicate.
The first few days home without her, I had panic attacks in the middle of the night.
We are 16 days since her birth today and we’ve had our ups and downs, but Teagan is progressing. I think the hardest part of all of this is leaving her every day. Every night I come back home to the house with the crib, changing table & clothes, but no baby. And I know that the nurses and doctors are doing everything they can to get her strong enough to come home, but none of this feels right. I want nothing more than to have my little girl here with me. I want her home where I can cuddle with her, change the horrible diapers, lose the sleep, feed her, and watch her grow. I’m sick of holding her hand through portals. I’m tired of all the wires she’s hooked up to. I’m done with learning the names of nurses and trying to remember where we parked. I want my daughter.
16 days in and I’m feeling like I’m at my breaking point emotionally. Every emotion in me has been tested. And yet, we have many more weeks to go, I’ve been told. THAT is hard to hear. I’ve had people tell me that it seems long, but it will just be a short time in comparison to the rest of our life with her. Well, I’m here to tell you that it IS long. And, even in 20 years when she and I are sitting around chatting about life, etc. I will tell her this story and tell her that this period was excruciatingly long. It was not short and it never will be short. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my life and I will never forget that. She will progress and she will grow to a point where you’d never know she was a preemie. But I’ll know and I won’t forget it. Wanting to hold your daughter in the middle of the night and not being able to is heartbreaking. Being strong as you go about your day, attempting to function because you don’t have a baby to be at home with on maternity leave, feels like going into battle.
Yes, I am strong. But strong people have weaknesses. She is mine. And when she comes home, I will never let her go.