Initially I was going to wait until I wrote a bit more about Everly’s birth story but I don’t like this part quite as well so I thought I would just get it out of the way right now.
About thirty minutes after Everly was born I suffered from a postpartum hemorrhage. I lost about a quart of blood and my blood pressure dropped to a very dangerous place. The attending nurse got the bleeding under control with a shot of Pitocin and I was stabilized with oxygen, fluids, and maybe something else. I don’t remember all the details because I was unconscious for most of this time.
Immediately after Ev’s entrance into the world, she was placed on my chest for about half an hour. I felt so amazing and so proud of myself for achieving my goal of a natural delivery and so excited to finally meet the relatively anonymous Baby H. John rushed out to show a picture to his mom and sister who were camped out in the waiting room. It was just so perfect and just what I had hoped for. I was excited for him to come back so that we could take a shot of the three of us, our new little family.
Then it starts to get fuzzy – my brain, time, the order of things. The last thing I distinctly remember was my midwife calmly explaining to me that I was losing too much blood and that I needed a shot of Pitocin to help stop the hemorrhaging. My mind was a blur – Didn’t I just give birth? Why did I need Pitocin? Was the baby still inside of me? Was I just dreaming?
I told the nurse I couldn’t hear anything and then at some point, what felt like years later, I felt myself floating up to the bright white surgical lights someone had switched on. I remember asking if I was dying.
Or was I?
It’s all so…not there.
I was all so…not there.
But John was there.
John was right by my side the whole time, holding our less-than-an-hour-old baby girl kangaroo-care style and providing her with the skin-to-skin contact that I was unable to give her. I can’t imagine how John must have felt, watching me go into shock while the nurses whipped into a calm frenzy of medical activity. Holding our baby that didn’t even have a proper name yet. It makes me tear up when I think about how scared he must have been, how alone he must have felt. I didn’t realize until much later how bad things looked for a brief while.
And he stayed right by my side until I came back around. Eventually I was propped up a bit and Everly was placed in my arms so I could feed her. I was so weak that I couldn’t even hold her up and a nurse had to help me, had to hold her to my chest because I had no control of my arms. At first they thought it was because I had such a physically demanding labor but later, after I passed out again, they ordered some blood work and decided that a blood transfusion was in my best interest.
Within 12 hours of giving birth and losing a quart of blood I was receiving 2 units intravenously. We still hadn’t updated long distance family and friends. We still hadn’t gotten to take our first family photo. John was sleeping by my side in a fold-out bed and Everly was staying in the nursery and was brought to me every few hours so I could feed her. The nurse still had to hold her for me.
I remember thinking there was no way we could go home. No way I could care for a baby. A baby that I couldn’t even hold without assistance.
But by late Friday evening we did go home. I held my sweet baby and walked very slowly from the labor wing down to the front entrance where John was waiting with our car. He strapped our little Baby H into her car seat, as she protested quite loudly. We made the quick drive home and by the time we pulled up to our house Ev was fast asleep.
The first week at home was the hardest and John took charge of everything, leaving me to rest and feed the baby. Last week he went back to work and some days it took everything I had to make it until 4:00pm when he would return. This week, as the doctors predicted, I have felt more energetic and things are kind of falling into place over here. And three weeks from now I should be feeling mostly back to normal, just in time for my two sisters to visit.
The good news is that we made it.
We made it through a relatively typical pregnancy.
We made it through 11 days of waiting past my due date.
We made it through a natural labor and delivery (!!!).
We made it through a post partum hemorrhage and a blood transfusion.
And today we made it three whole weeks.
Three weeks of diapers and feedings and nappings (or not).
Three weeks of bonding as a family and learning about our new girl.
Three weeks of slow recovery and physical limitations and frustration and exhaustion.
Three weeks of Everly Frances.
Our little girl (!!!).
We made it.
And we always will.