On June 19th at 1:40pm, after some of the longest hours of my life, Emersyn Rose arrived in the world.
The doctor delivered her and lifted her in the air Lion King style.
She was beautiful.
She was perfect.
The road to get there… not so much…
PART I: THE APPOINTMENT
THURSDAY, JUNE 18TH ( 27 hours before birth )
When I woke up on Thursday, June 18th I fully expected a pretty normal day – get up, work for eight hours, eat dinner, watch some tv and go to bed – I know, we’re boring. But while being pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic, we definitely haven’t taken any risks. There have definitely been challenges for us but we’ve always considered ourselves very lucky that we’ve both been able to greatly reduce our exposure by working remotely and ordering everything we need online. We almost never leave the house except for appointments, and hardly anyone comes in our house. We’ve been on full lockdown. So I was a little caught off guard when Ashley came in at 10:30am to tell me she was leaving.
By this stage in her pregnancy, Ashley had already been seeing the doctor every two weeks. But I had forgotten that her doctor asked her the previous week to start coming in every week. This is common when you start getting closer to your delivery date but for Ashley, who was 35 weeks, it was a little earlier than usual. The reason was that her doctor had noticed her fluid levels were a little low but also that the babies growth rate had dipped a bit. Honestly, it wasn’t anything that we were too worried about. Everyone made it seem pretty normal and just a precaution.
After a quick goodbye, she was gone and I was back to work. (And if you’re wondering, because of the virus, I hadn’t been allowed to go to a doctors appointment since week 16).
So I texted her:
Joking aside, I really wasn’t too worried. I was just assuming the doctors appointment went long but what I didn’t know, and what was actually happening was that Ashley was already in the hospital.
Given the information that I just gave you in big bold letters, you might think you know what her response to my text is going to be – maybe something logical like, “I’m in the hospital”?? That would be a good guess. These are the actual next two texts that I received from her in response:
So I text back, “I have a meeting starting right now” because I really did have a meeting but also a little bit because I didn’t want to touch that cake and I’m slightly irritated because it looks like Chick-fil-A is not in my immediate future.
And she says:
HOW DID SHE NOT LEAD WITH THAT!
So now I’m completely overwhelmed with emotion – fear: because I don’t know what’s wrong; nervous: because I’m really going to have to box this cake; guilt: because I didn’t want to eat the delicious ravioli meal that she picked out for me…
But mostly, I was scared.
I start calling – no answer.
I start texting – What’s wrong? Is the baby okay? Where are you? These ravioli’s are heavenly…
…and the only response that I could get were texts about the cake…
I got a bit annoyed:
She messages that there are doctors coming in and out of the room and she hasn’t had a chance to call. She’ll call as soon as she gets a minute.
I’m thinking 15 minutes. Okay, I can wait.
I start pacing the house.
But then 15 minutes comes and goes and now I’m wondering just how long I’m going to have to wait.
So much pacing.
After 30min, I try:
I continue pacing.
I call my mom and freak out to her for a bit. She says to get on the phone! So I get on the phone. I start with the doctors office, which is the most infuriating messaging system when you just need an answer. After pressing one, then three, then holding, then being sent back to the menu, I slammed the phone down… actually I just pressed “end call” really aggressively! But you get the idea.
So then I call the hospital, but I don’t have a clue where she is in the hospital. So when the guy on the other end asks me what department, I say something like, “wherever they deal with baby problems”… I appreciated his calm manner.
The poor guy is trying to help me but I’m no longer listening…
What do I do? Do I just get in my car and drive up there? Terrible thoughts start to roll through my head: Is Ashley okay? Is she being wheeled into surgery right now? What if it’s the baby? Are we about to lose her? I can’t lose her.
And just as I’m starting to lose my mind…
And without warning, I hung up on the hospital.
My first impression was that Ashley sounded fine. She didn’t sound stressed or nervous at all and it calmed me immediately. My anxiety doesn’t let me handle stressful situations very well if that wasn’t apparent already. My fight or flight response system has a third option: duck-hide-be-invisible.
So, Ashley explained to me what was happening:
During her appointment, her doctor saw low fluids again. She wanted Ashley to see a Maternal Fetal Specialist, however, they couldn’t get her in to see one the same day. So, her doctor decided to send her to the hospital for observation – a decision that I truly believe is the reason that I have my daughter today.
Fast forward to around 8pm, they had us checked into the Antepartum Wing of the hospital. The plan was to get Ashley’s fluids back on track. They were going to put her on an IV and steroids overnight, see what her levels looked like in the morning and go from there.
So we settled in for a long boring evening.
Or so we thought…
To Be Continued…
Thank you for reading 🙂
This is the end of part I. You can read Part II here.