I thought it would be fun to share my birth story, because, well, it’s quite the story! And there really are no pictures to share, because, well, read on, you’ll see!!
On the morning of December 8th, I felt funny. There really isn’t another way to describe it. And, since up until this point I had never felt anything other than exactly as I thought I should, I decided to call my doc and let them know how I was feeling. Though they felt it was probably nothing they agreed to see me at 2pm that afternoon. When I got to the doctor’s office they did an ultrasound. Baby girl was looking good. She was about 4lbs, in a good position and generally everything looked great. My amniotic fluid levels, also good. The ultrasound technician comforted me, everything was normal, looked good and she was sure I’d be sent on my merry way. Phew, huge sigh of relief.
I then went in to actually talk with the doc. For safety sake, she decided to do an exam and a test to ensure that my water didn’t break. Apparently this is a simple test. The swab turns color x for broken water and color y for not broken water. My swab turned color z. Strange. And so, perplexed, they decided to put me on a monitor to see if I was having contractions. 30 minutes later we found there were no contractions. Good sign!! Since the test results were inconclusive and strange (every doc in the joint was in on the action), they were torn of what to do. Do they just check me in to the hospital and monitor me? Do they send me home and give me some advice of when to call back? In the meantime, they decided to do the test one more time to see if they could get a better result. As I stood up to prepare for the exam, my water broke. As in rush of water, straight up movie style.
I was in shock, scared and by myself. What did this mean? I was only 32 weeks along. How could this be? The docs (who were so great) made me feel at ease. They explained that I would be hospitalized. They would give antibiotics to ensure that me & baby did not get an infection. They would give steroids to help the baby’s lungs develop more quickly. And basically, the would “keep me pregnant” for the next 2 weeks. They indicated that since I wasn’t having contractions it was very unlikely that I would go into labor, however, since we were at 32 weeks (not earlier) and the baby looked to be a good weight, if it did happen, they wouldn’t stop it. They explained that at 32 weeks the baby would likely be in good shape and that I shouldn’t be worried about that part of things. And that most likely they would be able to get me up to 34 weeks. They essentially indicated that the my biggest concern should be getting my hands on my own toothbrush, hospital ones are quite rough they said.
So, I relaxed a bit (relatively speaking) and called my husband. My husband was out on Long Island at work. He was planning to stop at home and get me some essentials (pjs, toothpaste, slippers, lip gloss, a book, etc.) and meet me at the hospital in a few hours. It was 4:30 when I left the doctor’s office.
I put my soaking wet pants (the thought actually crossed my mind to swing by someplace in SoHo and pick up fresh pants, thank goodness I didn’t do that!) back on and headed out to grab a cab. Off to the hospital. I still don’t think I was able to process all that was going on. I calmly called my Mother & Mother In Law and gave them the scoop. Letting them know not to worry and that I would call with more details once I was all checked in at the hospital. In the 15 minute ride to the hospital I started to have some cramping, which they had warned me might happen.
I got all checked in by 5:00PM. The rooms designated for “keeping you pregnant” were all full. So I got put into a strange room, it didn’t even have a bathroom? This also perplexed me, they kept telling me that this would be my room for the next two weeks. I was rather stuck on the fact that for the next two weeks I’d need to go in and out of my room where the public could see me to use another bathroom. I met my nurse & a resident. They started the antibiotics & something else that was going to eliminate the cramps & slow the labor process. I began to have some serious pain and explained this to the nurse & resident. They kept telling me that it was normal & I could have this “mild cramping” for a while but hopefully the medication would help that. I was not yet hooked up to any monitors. As the pain kept getting stronger and stronger & the resident kept telling me that they were not contractions (since I was just monitored at the doctor’s office & didn’t have any then), I began to get a little hysterical. If I could barely handle these “mild cramps” these past 15 minutes how would I ever handle them for the next 2 weeks? And if what I was feeling were only “mild cramps” how in the world would I ever deliver this baby?
The pain intensified & I soon became convinced I needed to go to the bathroom. Which of course, they couldn’t let me do. I was begging & crying and finally asked to hurry my doctor in to see me. When my doctor arrived they finally hooked me up to the monitors. She was in awe. She had just seen me an hour prior - what had happened in that short time. After a few crazy waves of pain & answering some questions she did an exam. It was 5:45 and I was 9cm. It was go time!! No time to think or consider anything at all.
They wheeled me into a regular labor and delivery room and the pushing began immediately. Since they had already been aware of my arrival and my situation, I had a room full of doctors, nurses & residents. It was such an amazing, supportive and helpful team of women in that room. I kept hoping my husband would magically appear (though, he of course, had no idea that THIS might actually happen so quickly since our last conversation assured him I would need magazines and possibly bon bons for my extended hospital stay). Because my husband was not there, the women in the room were even more helpful. Literally, the head doc from the NICU popped in, realized my situation and that my husband hadn’t made it and helped hold my legs so the pushing was easier. I was in total awe of how great the staff at NYU was.
And so I pushed, for what is apparently a very short time, but to me felt like forever. Since everything happened so quickly, they were updating me on the situation between pushes. With statements like, “Everything is probably fine, but your baby is early and will need immediate attention from the NICU doctors. You won’t be able to hold your baby immediately” and “Your baby might not be breathing well when she gets here but that is why there are so many people here right now”, etc. And while prepping me, my doctor kept me informed of where the baby was in her journey, what an amazing job she was doing moving down the birth canal and just how good she was looking. So, while they were honest, they didn’t scare me. I delivered at 6:12PM. She let out a good scream (cue HUGE sigh of relief) and was bedside to be checked out. My poor sweet husband arrived at 6:15PM (I’m sure we could do a whole post on this crazy day from his perspective) to a room full of doctors, a wife who had just delivered & our BABY!! He was so sweet and supportive and I’m sure wildly confused.
She was doing so great - breathing on her own - strong heart beat - nearly 4 lbs and just generally looking well that they agreed to put her on my chest and give us a little time together as a family before she had to go to the NICU. We were so grateful for her health and that initial time together.
And so, December 8th, 2010 Dylan Elizabeth Lawley was born at 6:12PM. 3lbs 15oz of pure perfection!
Talk about a whirlwind. It was hard to process all that had happened. But she knew what was best, apparently she was safer outside than inside and we made that happen fast! She spent 3 weeks in the NICU. After the initial shock of having Dylan early we were nothing short of grateful every single day. Dylan was so healthy, never needing assistance breathing and never having many typical preemie episodes. She spent some time under the photo therapy lights for jaundus and had to take a little extra time to learn to eat (apparently suck, swallow breathe is developed in utero by week 34) and just get bigger and stronger. It was clear she was a fighter from the beginning. The birth was not hard on her at all (no distress, no elevated or erratic heart beats, nothing funky at all!!) and she could pull an IV out like no other 3 and 1/2 pound baby I’ve ever seen!! We were surrounded by little ones and their loving families who had a lot more to deal with than we did and we tried to never let that reality get far from our thoughts.
Those 3 weeks felt like an eternity. Having to leave her each night was so hard. We would wait until she was calm and sleeping. We could never leave if she was crying or upset. We would sometimes stay late into the night because the nights were quieter in the NICU with many fewer visitors. This was a time we could help to bathe her, feed her and just relax with her on our chest. We went to the hospital to be with her every day and some days that was a challenge, like through the blizzard (phew, talk about some long cold walks!)!! But it was all worth it to see her adorable little face each morning.
And so, on December 29th she came home to Brooklyn. And she has been growing stronger and bigger each day. She has done an amazing job. She is now 21 months, right on target and as strong willed as we saw in her entry to this world. We couldn’t love her more. This was her first night at home.