That was supposed to be day my child was born. My due date was December 7th, “Pearl Harbor Day” as every man over the age of 35 reminded me of. So when I headed to a pretty routine doctor’s appointment for a nonstress test due to some high blood pressure issues while I was pregnant, I had nothing to worry (or stress) about. It was a gorgeous, crisp October day, and I had nothing going on at work except my baby shower and my end of the year review. My boss was out of the office, my husband was out of town, it was Friday and I had a weekend of baby themed things to do. I dressed super comfy because my feet were starting to swell and I was 34 weeks and 3 days pregnant, and being as cheap (and practical?) as possible, I was wearing as few maternity clothes as possible, but we were about to hit another season and I still had six weeks to go, so I knew I would have to make some pointless investments soon. For the time being, I settled on some leggings, a long sweater and some wide gold flats.
Unfortunately, my appointment was at the furthest of the two locations of my OB, and I had made the appointment early, so I couldn’t sleep in and had to drive 20 minutes (as opposed to 5) in traffic. So I drove there slightly annoyed at yet another inconvenience in my squished bladder, indigestion filled, swollen foot life. I got there as on time as I usually was, and didn’t have to wait all that long for the nurse to call me back, get my belly set for the non stress test and leave me with my copy of Happiest Baby on the Block and nothing but time. The first time she came back, she looked a little concerned, the second time, she brought the doctor with her. He explained to me that when I indicated that the baby was moving (by pressing a button), the baby’s heart rate should go up 10 or 15 beats above the baseline and stay there for 10 to 15 seconds. Instead it would go up 5 to 10 beats and stay there for a second. They told me that they were going to send me next door to the hospital to do a contraction stress to see if that would get his heart rate moving. Then things happened pretty quickly.
I called my mom and told her they were sending me to the hospital. I called work and told them that I might be late for my own shower. I got a text from one of my best friends telling me that she was going to be induced (she was 2 days past her due date). The doctor told me that they were going to get an ultrasound to make sure everything was still okay in there. I had the ultrasound done in 2 minutes (it usually takes 30 to find everything). The tech gave me a dozen new 4D shots of my baby, but I couldn’t focus enough to really take them in. My doctor sent me to get another meal and told me to be back in an hour in case I just hadn’t eaten enough. My mom arrived at the office and she and I drove around and around trying to think of something that sounded remotely appetizing to me. It was 10:30 in the morning, I had already had breakfast and my stomach was in knots.
An hour (and two cinnamon raisin biscuits and a large orange juice later), we arrived back at the doctor’s office, I was plugged in again and waited. My mom was so sweet, trying to be as optimistic as possible, but I saw the writing on the wall, they were going to send me to the hospital. And that’s exactly what they did. We walked over there which was a long haul. We hadn’t gone on our tour yet, so I had no idea where I was going, I was just walking. When they got me all strapped in there and things started sounding better, I wondered if maybe it was a fluke and there was older, less technically advanced equipment at the doctor’s office because things were already sounding better. Again, I waited.
An hour and a half later, still no pitocin (to start contractions), just me in the bed, Mom trying not to pace and the two of us talking. Apparently they were down a person, which is why it was taking so long for the pitocin, so when my nurse returned, I asked if I could please use the bathroom. Got up, did my business, back to the bed, got plugged up again and that is when it got scary. The nurse yelled at me to lay down on my left side, put oxygen over my nose and mouth and paged the doctor to come to the room immediately. Apparently my baby’s heartrate had been in the 70s for several seconds (it should have been close to double that). Apparently my placenta was tired of supporting a baby. Apparently, I was going to have this baby sooner than any of us thought. Maybe, I should call my husband and let him know what was going on.
Six hours later, Brad was at the hospital (a miracle considering modern air travel and he was coming from Louisville), my sister had turned around 30 miles from home after taking 90 minutes to get there with no end in sight, Brad parents were at the hospital, my dad had gone and picked up our dog and brought him to their house, he was sitting in the parking lot because he had a hunch that something wasn’t right, dozens of phone calls had been made and received, there weren’t any more scary moments or seconds, they had recanted about the whole “you may not be pregnant much longer” and then they came in at 8:35pm, exactly 12 hours after my appointment that morning and said, “We’ve decided he is healthier outside of your womb rather than in,” and informed me that anesthesia would be in to administer my spinal block in 30-45 minutes.
I peppered her with as many questions as I could think of. Am I going to puke? Maybe. Is he going to the NICU? Yes. It could be a “drive by” (a week or so) but probably until he was full term (three weeks) or even up until his due date. Would I hear him cry? Maybe. Could I hold him after he was born? No. Well, that was that. There was nothing I could do to change what was happening, so I stayed calm and so did everyone else.
Five minutes later, anesthesia showed up. My first question to them? Am I going to puke?
The c-section is a bit of a blur. When they wheeled me in I was taken by how bright white it was in there. I felt like I was in a movie studio rather than an operating room. I had no problems with my spinal block. And after I asked the third (or was it tenth?) person if I was going to get sick, I decided that I would not. I was so tired of seeing all of those women on TV/reality shows complaining about how they felt, or wimping out and freaking out about c-sections when they need to be the strongest that they have ever been. So I made up my mind that I was going to be the strongest chick that they had ever seen. No tears, no puke, no whining. And that’s what I did.
It seemed like forever, but at 9:11pm (36 minutes after they told me they were going to get him), little Chase William Sorgen, weighing 5 pounds, 2 ounces and measuring 18 inches long arrived. A new chapter of my life unfolded. My life would never be the same. I was a mom and the happiest woman on earth.
Happy Birthday to my love, my heart, my life. You make my life worth living and I can’t imagine a day without you. You saved me when I needed saving and gave me a reason to wake up and get out of bed on the days I didn’t know if I could. I love you more than you will ever know.