August 2, 2012

I have never been so scared

The prompt, "Tell us about one of the scariest moments of your life."


"She's not breathing." The doctor said it very calmly, but in that moment I stopped breathing too.

It had only been seven weeks since we found out about this baby girl. And as much as we were trying to be reserved (since adoption is never guaranteed) she already felt like ours. But she had decided that she was good and settled and was two weeks and counting past her due date. On edge doesn't begin to describe it. Every time the phone rang it was like we were being electrocuted. And we were ready to break.

So on that cold, Tuesday morning in January when the phone went off we almost ignored it. Something made us look and it was the text we'd been dreaming of for the last 8 years. Our little girl was on her way. We ran around getting things together and then drove to the hospital like we were competing in the Indy 500. I'm pretty sure we would have won it too.

The hospital was under construction, so finding an open parking lot and then the labor and delivery wing was a total nightmare. Eventually we did, bursting into the room completely out of breath to hurry up and wait. And wait. And wait.

After about 11 hours the doctor checked the progress and discovered that baby girl was dealing with meconium aspiration. (The link gives you the full info, but basically the baby pooped in the uterus and was breathing it which blocked her airway) So they called the respiratory specialist to be on hand and said the delivery needed to happen pronto.

Just that by itself was scary enough, but it was nothing compared to what was coming.

The doctor came to check again and it was time. No decisions had been made about who was staying or going for the delivery, but when the time came the birth mom (her preferred terminology) told me I could stay. I have never been so humbled and overwhelmed with gratitude in my life. I would get to see my daughter be born. I'm crying now just thinking of that moment.

The delivery took all of 15 minutes. 12 pushes and she was out. I don't think I will ever see anything so amazing again. I was stunned. Frozen to my spot. Absolutely heartbreakingly in love with this little person already, and the woman lying next to me who had decided to share her. Somewhere out of the adrenaline rush I heard, "she's not breathing."

The world stopped. The baby's cord was wrapped around her neck three times. That plus the meconium aspiration had caused her breathing to stop completely. She was blue. She was limp. She was almost completely unresponsive. I have never felt fear like that before. And dear god, I hope I never do again.

Thankfully the respiratory specialist was already on hand because of the meconium aspiration, so he was able to take the baby immediately. He started to work on her, but it was a good 10 minutes later before we heard a cry, and another eternity before he felt he could take her off the oxygen. It wasn't until he placed the baby in her birth mother's arms that I started breathing again. Watching the blue recede and the pink come into her cheeks was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

We stayed in the hospital a little longer than normal with her because of the scary start, and her first several weeks she was really fragile...but now? Now that little girl is kicking butt and doesn't even have time to take names.

You would never know she started her life by fighting for it. And I am thankful to the bottom of my soul every single day for my little fighter. But if she ever scares me like that again, she's grounded for life!

{finally pink}

{ready to take on the world}