Payton's Birth Story
** TRIGGER WARNING** Miscarriage mentioned in blog post.
If you were to ask me one word to describe my entire pregnancy/birth story......
My positive came when my now husband & I were living in California, nannying for a family, and finishing out my school year as a teacher in preparation to move home.
9 months. Chris & I had only known each other for 9 months. More than half of which we were in a long distance relationship from Ohio to California.... We were about to board a cruise to celebrate spring break and headed to walgreens to grab some dramamine and snacks for the trip to the cruise port. I knew I was a week late but my cycles have never been really consistent so I didn't think much of it. But for some reason as we walked through the isles something in the back of my head told me to get a test to be safe. We even checked out with all our items and went back to the car. I made Chris go back into the store and grab one "just in case".
When two little lines showed up on the stick we were absolutely TERRIFIED. Looking back I wish I had enjoyed that moment as we got really caught up in what other people were going to think..... We both knew god had his reasons, and we weren’t going to question him -so ready or not, baby girl was a brewing!!
We were thankful our friends and families’ reactions were 1,000x better than expected. Everyone was thrilled, excited, and nervous for us! Chris headed back home to Ohio to get our house ready for the big move home & to build up his savings for this new blessing and somehow through the everyday morning sickness of trimester 1, our excitement grew.
Until one day in the school bathroom at work I bled..... Not just a spot in the underwear, but toilet bowl full of blood. I cried to a coworker as she led me out to my car so I could call my doctor... I started to mentally prepare myself for the thought that I was losing the baby, and throughout the entire drive i tried to figure how the hell I was supposed to tell Chris, after all of this, I was having a miscarriage.
I got to the doctors and he did an ultrasound right away, we heard baby girl's heartbeat almost immediately & it was super strong. I sobbed in so much relief, and the doctor actually had to hold my hands to calm be down.
I was diagnosed with a 9 cm subchorionic hematoma (aka a huge blood clot where my placenta
and uterus met) that would continue to either “bleed itself out” or create a really bad situation for myself & our girl. Obviously, I was considered high risk for rest of pregnancy.
Talk about anxiety.
I bled at 12 weeks, again at 19, another huge bleed at 21 and spotted everyday in between. I hated going to the bathroom and held my breath each time hoping and praying I would stop bleeding. I had an ultrasound every other week & FINALLY at 24 weeks, the high risk doctors assured my that the hematoma was gone, as it was no longer visible on an ultrasound. I was so relieved that our prayers had been answered & thought my dream of a “normal” pregnancy could somewhat come true.
I made it to 33 weeks & one day. It was a Wednesday morning at school, something didn’t feel right. I began having what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions due to how hot my school building was. I was reading the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” to my fourth graders and had to stop every few minutes as the tightening took my breath away. I decided to call my OB who told me to “go home, drink water, put my feet up and call back if it gets worse”, I did just that but headed to my mother in law's house as she is a certified doula and wanted to keep an eye on me!
In my mind I was only 33 weeks, there was no way In hell these could be real contractions. The hematoma was gone! So I thought gas, dehydration anything BUT labor. We ordered take out & little did I know I was contracting at the dinner table trying to scarf down some chicken tortilla soup (haven't been able to eat it since) ....
Unknowingly to me, my mother in law started timing each time I “tightened”. The contractions started to have a pattern, every 25 mins, to every 15, to every 10. She texted my husband that he needed to get here soon, as she suspected something was up & I might actually be in labor (a mother's intuition is never wrong!) ..
She advised me to call the doc at the hospital I planned to deliver at, St. John's. The doctor on call told me if I felt like I was really in labor I needed to go to the hospital downtown (Rainbow Babies & Children) as they had a NICU to accommodate at 33 week old baby.
"There is no way I'm in labor, i'm only 33 weeks!" I thought to myself. So To St. John’s we went just to get “checked out”, like I had many times throughout the pregnancy when things felt a little off. I packed up my laptop & typed sub plans for the next day on my way (teacher's you know the struggle!) little did I know I wouldn't be back to work for awhile after that.....
The labor and delivery nurse met us downstairs and forced me into a wheelchair as she saw me holding onto the registration counter between each contraction which were at this time coming 5 minutes apart...We got upstairs and settled into a room where our incredible doctor met us, she checked my cervix and her eyes grew big.....”you are 9 cm we are having this baby right here, right now”.
I have never felt fear like I did in that moment in my entire life.... I felt like I made a huge mistake by not going to the other hospital & if anything happened to Payton it was going to be my fault. My parents hadn’t even made it there yet!!
At that time a team of people swarmed in the room & the doctor worked fast, I was prepped for an epidural to slow down labor & given a shot in my leg to help develop Payton’s lungs. My heart rate was skyrocketing mainly due to a anxiety & I was put on oxygen. The doctor was amazing in explaining to us her plan. She called down to Rainbows & put an ambulance transport on standby. By the grace of god one of the nurses on duty that night had worked in the NICU for 20 years previous to coming to St. John's.
The next few hours are a bit of a blur as the contractions came quicker & quicker. It was such a surreal feeling as only a few hours earlier I was sitting at the dinner table eating soup and now I was laying there knowing my world was about to change forever.
We finally got the ok to start pushing and within 4 pushes our tiny peanut Payton was in this world! At 3 lbs 14 oz, we all held our breath as the doctor warned us previous to pushing
that she might need intervention. To all of our surprise this little Peanut came out WAILING! The size of our doctors smile showed her relief as well. We weren’t able to hold her right away as they put her in her incubator and gave her an IV for fluids. They wheeled us to see her in the nursery about an hour later, and soon after some EMT princes took her on her first chariot ride down to Rainbow Babies & Children where she'd spent the next 11 days.
My husband was able to follow to ambulance, but I wouldn’t be discharged from St. John’s until later that afternoon. I bawled in my hospital bed as I wanted to be there with her SO bad!! A few hours later they transported me down to the other hospital.
The nurse had me sleep until she’d take me to see her. I woke up and BEGGED her to let me down to the NICU & Chris finally came to get me. “She so beautiful, but be prepared for how small she is” I didn’t care. It wasn’t until looking back at pictures did I really realize how small she was. All I wanted to do was hold her, smell her, and tell her how strong she was.
Our tiny warrior spent 11 days in the NICU, crushing every milestone. She was the baby all the nurses wanted & I truly believe I learned how to be a preemie mom from those amazing ladies and doctors at Rainbow Babies & Children. They taught me how to pump, how much to feed, how to swaddle, how to give a proper bath, and overall how to care for our preemie sweet girl. I will always have a special place in my heart for NICU nurses & doctors! (as well as all individuals in the medical field, ya'll are heros!)
In life I am a firm believer in "everything happens for a reason" even though we might not know the reason at the time we are going through something. Looking back, I truly believe this happened to help me be a stronger person. A better mom. From start to finish Chris held my hand through it all even when it was extremely scary and hard for the both of
us. We still may not have this parenting thing down pat & make mistakes along the way but as long as we have one another, and our support system - we'll always make it through.
Thank you SO much for reading!! I love reading other mom's birth stories so feel free to comment yours below. XOXO