Emersyn Rose: A Birth Story – Part II

The following is Part II of a three part series. If you haven’t read Part I you can do so here.

Okay, so where were we? We had the doctors appointment, Ashley went to the hospital for observation, I ate some ravioli, and now we’re sitting in a hospital room.

Some of you will be like: cool, what happened in the hospital? But I know there are others that might be thinking: wait, there was like a 5 hour gap in your timeline in Part I, what happened to the cake!

I like to think that I’m a people pleaser. So here’s what we’ll do – if you care about that five hour window, which doesn’t have much to do with the birth story, you can click the link below to read about it. Once you’re finished, there will be a link that will bring you back here. If you could care less about the five hour window, just skip the link and keep reading. Everybody wins.

The Missing Hours: A Birth Story Spinoff

Alright, now that that’s settled, lets move on…

~ 12:00am

From around 8pm to midnight, things were pretty much as we expected: boring. We ate some hospital food and watched some reruns of Diners, Drive-In’s and Dive on the 1995 27” TV bolted in the corner of the room. The TV sound came through a remote control that attached to Ashley’s hospital bed. We both tried to sleep about as best you can when you’re uncomfortable and it’s noisy. The sound of Ashley and the babies heart beats echoing through the room endlessly. You end up in that permanent state of fog – half asleep, half awake, and miserable. At around midnight, things got a little more interesting – and by interesting I mean terrifying. We were about to find out why we were sitting in the hospital to begin with..

We had this nurse – I honestly don’t remember her name so we’ll just call her… Nurse Loses-Her-Cool. For the most part, we liked Loses-Her-Cool. She was loud, she talked a lot, she called Ashley Girlfrieeend. Her main job was to come in and check Ashley’s vitals every 4 hours. But she had another important job – Ashley had a monitor wrapped around her waist that, when positioned correctly, picked up the babies heart beat and recorded it. We could see it on a computer monitor in the room. Generally the babies heart beat stayed around 150bpm, which is good. However, sometimes, it would just stop and the room would go silent. I know, creepy huh? But it happened constantly. If Ashley moved at all or if the baby changed positions the monitor would lose the signal. Then, after a couple seconds, a subtle, (subtle, but annoying) alarm would start to sound.

BING BONG… 1 mississippi , 2 mississippi, 3 mississippi…

BING BONG… 1 mississippi , 2 mississippi, 3 mississippi…

BING BONG… 1 mississippi , 2 mississippi, 3 mississippi…

When this alarm went off, Nurse Loses-Her-Cool would get notified as well. She had to come in, check on Ashley, and reposition the monitor so that it was picking up the babies heart beat again. We got comfortable with it – maybe too comfortable.

Around midnight, Ashley sat up in bed to give her back a break and the baby came off the monitor.

Nurse Loses-Her-Cool came in and said, “I knew you were going to be sitting up in bed, Girlfrieeend”. Ashley laid back down, the nurse began to reposition the monitor and the next couple minutes were a blur…

As she moved the monitor around, from where I was sitting I could see the whites of her eyes growing larger and I knew immediately something was wrong. She began moving the monitor around frantically – front… side… bottom… back to the front. She asked Ashley to roll onto her side probably more sternly than she meant to and with a fear behind her voice that said, ‘don’t ask questions, just do it!’. She moved the monitor around a few more times and then dropped it while turning to grab the phone. She waited for a moment and then yelled to the person on the other end to send a doctor now!… but not like a medical professional asking for the morphine, STAT! more like a teenager saying, “JUST DOOOO IT, GAAWD!”. She hung up and turned around. The pale look on her face made my stomach churn…

Have you ever gone to get your hair cut and as soon as the person starts cutting you KNOW this is probably the first time they’ve cut hair that isn’t on a mannequin? There’s this immediate fear that kind of washes over your body and you think, “oh god, I don’t think they’ve ever done this before”. I start casually turning my head from side to side looking for anyone else with scissors. “Someone please help me”…

It was like that, but instead of hair, it was my child’s life…

She grabbed at an oxygen tank on the shelf but dropped it and the sound it made when it hit the floor in a quiet hospital room in the middle of the night was earth shattering. Ashley looked paralyzed. She picked up the tank, wrapped the hoses around Ashley’s head and told her to breathe… and I thought ,“You breathe, girlfrieeend. You breathe”.

Nurse Loses-Her-Cool tried the monitor again and this time she seemed to calm a bit. The babies heart beat echoed through the room again just as the on-call doctor came casually strolling through the door like he just walked off the golf course after his best back nine ever. She explained the last ten minutes to the him, talking so fast she had to catch her breath at the end of every sentence.

I’ll translate:

She was alerted that the baby had come off the monitor and came into the room fully expecting to see Ashley repositioned and the monitor just needing to be adjusted. However, when she tried to adjust the monitor on Ashley’s stomach she wasn’t able to find a heart beat (which caused her to panic). She repositioned Ashley onto her side and found the heart beat but noticed that the baby had ‘deceled’. She then called for the doctor, and gave Ashley oxygen. When she went back to adjust the monitor again, just as the doctor was walking into the room, the heart beat had returned to normal.

This was the first time I had heard the word ‘deceled’ – short for deceleration. It basically means that the heart rate dropped much lower than it should have. Earlier I said we had been seeing the heart rate around a normal 150bpm – when the nurse was finally able to find the babies heart rate again it was around 80bpm. It stayed there for a full 8 minutes.

For reference, we learned later that if we had been in Labor and Delivery when that 8 minute decel took place, Ashley would have been on an operating room table and the baby would have been out.

We also learned later that Ashley’s doctor had seen a decel during her appointment as well. It was another reason she decided to admit her for observation.

~ 1:00am

By some crazy coincidence, it just so happened that Ashley’s doctor, who was not on-call on this night, was still at the hospital looking in on another patient when the baby deceled. When she heard what happened she came to Ashley’s room to talk to us. It was at this time she said the words that made me take a seat…

“You’re not leaving this hospital without a baby.”

Wait, wait, wait. We were supposed to have five more weeks! The nursery isn’t finished. The bassinet isn’t put together. Do we even have any diapers? And on, and on, and on…

“So what are we talking about here doc, Sunday, Monday…?”

“Probably around 1pm today”

That’s crazy!

I think this might have been the first time I realized we were having a baby… I mean, I knew we were having a baby, but, like, there’s a human coming home with us. Like, a real human. I can’t really explain it but it’s like the word ‘baby’ took on a whole new meaning in that moment.

And then my panic turned to deep empathy as I watched a wave of realization wash over Ashley’s face. As long as I’ve known her I’ve known how scared she has always been about giving birth. In that moment I couldn’t imagine how frightening it must have been for her to go from having five more weeks to hearing someone tell you that you have to do this in the next 12 hours.

To be continued…

Thank you for reading. 🙂

This is the end of Part II. You can find Part III, the final post, here.

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