August 23rd, at 8:25am: I just heard your scream for the first time. I stood up, peaking over the curtain wall blocking our view of the operation. Long hours of labour, gut-wrenching decisions, and even some inside jokes now behind us. In this moment, all that exists in the world is you.
The date was circled on the calendar for a few weeks. Babysitters were arranged. Mentally, we were as prepared as we could be for Amber to be induced on August 22nd, at 7:30 in the morning.
We arrived at the hospital on time, and begin the steps of induction. In my naivety, I jumped to assume that this would guarantee we would meet you that day. However, I quickly learned that Amber would be given cervidil and sent home until the contractions kicked into gear.
Back at home, things were no calmer than the bustling hospital. Waiting for us, were the other two kids – anxious, nervous and excited to meet their little sister. Utterly confused about the entire process. 19 stairs away, on the second floor (Amber has counted the stairs many times during this pregnancy), our cat Puff was doing her best to have her very own babies.
Allow me to set the scene for you… Amber, fighting off the early contractions, sprawled alongside Puff, working together to guide the kittens out. Amber, fully strapped into the emotional rollercoaster that is labour, had to help deliver the 3 kittens. Sadly, 2 of them did not make it. One emerged undersized and underdeveloped. The second was breached and put up a good fight. An eerie, almost ominous grief fell over us as we prepared ourselves up to head back to the hospital. Heavy feet, and anxious hearts.
Induction Day – Part 2
Back at the hospital, contractions were squeezing Amber like a dollar store toothpaste. Determined to get it done and over with before midnight, she fought the contractions and kept a brave face, as well as high spirits the entire time.
The night drew on, and it became apparent that it was not going to be done before midnight. With some wind out of our sails, we had lots of time to sit and watch the monitors as the contractions continued. As we watched, we noticed the baby’s heart rate would drop considerably amidst each contraction. The nurses did a poor job of hiding this fact from us, trying not to worry us. However, we have eyes and could see the effect it was having on our unborn child. I was locked into a staring contest with the monitor well into the early hours of the morning, until I passed out in the corner.
After a brief, excruciatingly uncomfortable sleep, we woke up and dove head first into a very tough conversation with the Doctor. She explained that after 14 hours of crucial contractions, Amber’s cervix was still only 5cm dilated, and showed no signs of further expansion. It came down to two options Amber had to choose between.
Unfortunately for her,both options were her two biggest fears heading into labour. Option 1, she could try an epidural (Which had awful results in a previous pregnancy) and cross her fingers and hope it helped the cervix relax and expand.
Option 2, was to jump right to the C Section. The weight of the world fell on Amber’s shoulders as she faced her fears, but she did not waver. Knowing that option 1 very well could have led to a C Section anyways, she opted to go right for the C section.
The Operating Room
Surrounded by a sky coloured curtain, I was face to face with Amber as we waited to hear the cries. Locking eyes with her, I could feel the panic, the fear and even love that coursed through her.
8:25 we heard her scream, and I shot up out of my seat to peer over the curtain. I was met with the most beautiful sight I have ever seen… My baby girl, covered in all kinds of “goo” for lack of a better word.
The nurses, when they were done gawking over her, called me over to cut her umbilical cord.
“Do you have a name for this beauty” I was asked as they handed me a pair of silver scissors.
“Aubrey-Rose Marie McGuigan” I said, with a shaky voice and tears in my eyes.
I cut the cord, they congratulated me and I rejoined Amber to tell her how beautiful she was. They finished cleaning Aubrey up, and took me and her up to operation recovery to wait for Amber. While we waited, Amber went through further trauma. The shock of her procedure, coupled with the medications they had in her caused her entire body to convulse. I was forced to leave the operating room while watching her shake and cry.
We Did It
It was not easy, and nothing went according to plan, but this birth was perfect. We now have another beautiful girl in the family, with a beautiful name. I will take today and everyday to celebrate Amber for the fight she showed every step of the way, all to welcome Aubrey-Rose.
A lot of lives around me have been lost in the last few years. Today, I feel like each one of them will live on in memory of this new life I helped create.
Expect plenty more baby topics on this blog. Because I’m in love, and there’s no better motivation.