This post is inspired by Mom Bloggers for Social Good and the State of the World's Mothers Report. The State of the World's Mothers (SOWM) report is Save the Children’s signature annual publication, which compiles global statistics on the health of mothers and children, and uses them to produce rankings of nations within three groupings corresponding to varying levels of economic development. They have produced the reports annually since the year 2000. Though the core report indices are the same every year, each year there is a new feature or story angle added to it. In 2013, the new feature is the Birth Day Risk Index -- the index compares first-day death rates for babies in 186 countries to identify the safest and most dangerous places to be born.
For 7 months I had been working on overcoming one of my biggest fears, to deliver through a natural way, so I planned everything so thoroughly, careful to touch every little detail of a normal birth, completely ignoring most times things are far from going by the book and always, with no exception, something comes in the way, forcing us to adjust our perfect plans.
For 7 months, my little peanut was behaving perfectly, moving around as expected to and adopting all the right positions, suggesting a natural birth, at the predicted term.
Well, Ellie had different plans as all her moving around brought her into a breech position on month 8, when she was already too big for the available space in there so she's got stuck. And I got stuck to the idea of an unplanned, terrifying C-section. I tried my best to convince my doctor to give birth naturally, even under this special condition, but she vehemently refused me, saying doctors these days don't assist nor support mothers willing to commit suicide. Because she says, that's a pretty good chance I won't survive the natural birth, considering the breech position, my pelvic bones' construction and my retroverted uterus.
So I started changing my plans and redoing all the details to adjust to the new reality. We've scheduled the C-section on the 25th of August 2011, about 10 days earlier than the full, estimated term as my doctor considered the baby will be fully developed by that time and there were no risks for her health as well as mine.
Again, Ellie had different plans, it seems she does that a lot, even these days, 21 months afterwards. On the 13th she only moved for about 3-4 times throughout 24 hours (yes, I was monitoring every little thing about my pregnancy, including her moves), and since it used to be a storm in there the whole time, this particularity became quite scary. And here I am at midnight, completely freaked out, running to the hospital for a check. The doctor on duty said all seems fine now but she'd like to keep me over night for further monitoring, to keep the baby under the radar. Again, I got scared and refuse, so I went home without even realizing how stupid and selfish this decision was. I mean my baby wasn't moving, what the heck was I thinking? Obviously not much brain has had left into this mommy's head at that time, the hormones must have been taking my judgment and lucidity over.
The next day, on the 14th, Ellie resumed to her usual, moving a lot and this time seemed to be more energetic than ever so Yay! I said, I can go back to my routine and patiently wait for the big day. The thought of that precise day being the big day never crossed my mind. To celebrate the good news, I suddenly became very restless, doing errands all day and hoping around shops, minutes before they were closing, running the soul out of me, and as I soon learnt, out of my baby too.
At 2am on the 15th of August, when I finally decided it's time to rest and get a good night sleep, Ellie also decided she's had more than enough with this crazy, hectic life her mommy was running lately. I felt her tiny feet kicking me real hard, like never before and suddenly the bed turned into a pool of amniotic liquid that kept coming and coming, as if it was an ocean of it in there. I still wonder where all that stuff got fit in my teeny tiny belly, with a 2,700 grams baby taking most of the space.
I was prepared, cool and calm, as opposed to my dear hubby which was running around in sweat, like a freaked out chicken. Luckily he follows orders very, very well so I started giving them, like plenty. He called an ambulance and while waiting for it we got all the stuff needed for hospital, then he's quickly run to his brother's place to get our sister in law to come with us for moral support, then grabbed some money from the ATM.
45 minutes into all that and no ambulance was in sight. We then called about a zillion taxi companies and strangely, none of them were available. Meanwhile my baby was not moving at all. So I suddenly come down to earth and realize we'll lose her if we don't do something. So my something was to just jump into my car and drive it by myself, as I was the only one with a driving licence at that time.
It took us another 45 minutes to go to the hospital and while in the car I called my doctor and told her to be at the hospital as I have a pretty bad feeling about the baby. Obviously I wasn't very convincing as she wasn't there. It took the nurses another 30 minutes to register and put me under a monitor and although within 3 minutes after the monitor went on, my baby's heart has stopped twice, they were still hesitating to call my doctor. Only because I was a bit of an abnormality, as I had no contraction or pain the whole time. The only sign was my broken sack and the complete lack of amniotic liquid.
That's when I started to lose my cool and patience so I shout at them and threaten that if the doctor is not there, like now, I call the police and report them. It worked, the doctor was there within minutes and luckily they moved really fast. Within 30 minutes, I was under anesthetic, cut open, baby out and stitched back.
Ellie showed signs of distress, she was purple and not screaming, even after they pinched her but even so, my brave little hero has hit an Apgar score of 9 out of 10 and after 5 minutes, she's got the maximum score.
Meanwhile, I was almost losing it, I had a minor stroke on the surgery table, I couldn't talk or turn my head to see this beautiful angel I've just been giving birth to, and passed out for few seconds. I was lucky, those doctors were top notch, they were not only professional but also very supportive, holding my hands and shouting supportive words to me all the time.
Ellie's adventures weren't over yet, mainly due to the unprofessional behavior of some nurses in the neonatology department that decided to feed her formula, first thing after she was born, without even checking with me if I was able to breastfeed, or had any milk yet. Ellie's got a severe reaction to their formula and had to be incubated for the first 24 hours. I was not informed about the situation and I had been left in the dark, without any news about my baby, the whole time. I wasn't able to move after the surgery and no nurse from maternity was passing by for hours and when they finally were, my pleads for help were completely ignored, because they said it's not their department. As simple as that.
Everything turned to better from that point on. I had plenty of milk for Ellie and although I was in excruciating pains following the C-section and the millions of tubes I've got in about every inch of my body, it seemed my presence and my bed were the best environment for Ellie. Her diarrhea stopped within hours of breastfeeding, she's peacefully slept most of the time, waking up every 2 hours for milk and cuddles and she's been in perfect health at every check.
If you'd like to see more birth stories here's a video where some celebrities are talking about theirs, like Jennifer Garner, Rachel Zoe, Alyson Hannigan and Jennifer Connelly,
in a Save the Children video talking about babies' first moments.