Technically, I've been pregnant four times. My first resulted in my amazing and spunky now-6-year-old son. My second pregnancy unfortunately ended due to a miscarriage that forever changed our lives. My third pregnancy gave us our sweet, hilarious now-4-year-old son. And, just recently, my fourth pregnancy blessed us with our wonderful 11-month-old daughter. Looking back, the pregnancy that always sticks out as the most difficult though is the one right after our miscarriage, my third pregnancy. Everything about that pregnancy was scary. Mentally, I constantly wondered if I would lose him. Physically, the morning sickness kicked my butt and didn't let up until halfway through. Towards the end, I was treated for more and more complications, and until the moment my son was placed in my arms, I was terrified I'd lose him. His labor gave my the biggest fright of all. I bled too much at the end of labor and it was terrifying.
At first, the fears were mainly in my head and probably in response to the traumatic experience of losing a child in my previous pregnancy. At my 30-week appointment, my doctor discovered I'd already started dilating. Because of that, I was at risk for pre-term labor. My OB and a team of nurses ran a ton of tests on me and I panicked and wondered if our son would be born premature or if we'd lose him. At the end of the appointment, my OB sent home and put me on bed rest, which to be honest, only freaked me out more because I had a toddler at home to care for. My husband and I made it work, thanks to support and help from my mom and my in-laws, and even though I was able to come off bed rest several weeks later when my tests came back negative for pre-term labor, we were in the clear — or so we thought.
Weeks later, at one of my weekly doctor's appointments, my OB discovered that my fluid was low. My doctor told me to drink a ton of water and I was put back on bed rest. I went home fearful about what could happen to me and of course, to my baby. After getting home, I remembered my doctor telling us if we felt a drop in fetal movement to go to the hospital right away. Suddenly, I couldn't remember the last time he'd moved and I started to freak out once again. I spent the next two hours drinking sugary drinks, laying in certain positions, and trying everything to get him to kick, but there was nothing. I looked at my husband with pure terror in my eyes. Though he told me not to worry, we headed to the hospital anyway. Once we were there and I was hooked up to a monitor, we waited as the nurse tried to find our baby's heartbeat. After what felt like forever, we finally heard that glorious sound. Though his movement had significantly decreased, they sent me back home and told me to stay on bed rest no matter what.
Our boy was finally here and everything was perfect. But minutes after giving birth, I noticed something odd. I knew my baby was fine and I could see him being cleaned off. I heard him crying. As I looked around though, I noticed that my nurses seemed to be hiding something.
At my next doctor's appointment, I was hoping for good news. Since I'd drank an obscene amount of water and stayed in bed as much as possible, I was hoping to hear that my fluid had returned to normal. I wanted to hear that everything was fine and that we could just wait for labor to happen on its own. Unfortunately, the doctor told us that my fluid was still low and if it didn't improve by Monday morning (it was Friday), I'd need to be induced. But I never made that appointment. My body seemed to know what to do and I went in to labor on its own. I thought, Finally, I'm in the clear.
When we got to the hospital my contractions were already three minutes apart. I took a sigh of relief once I'd gotten my epidural and rested my head on my pillow... for a total of 12 seconds, until I felt the demanding urge to push. When my doctor finally arrived, he literally walked in, put on gloves, and caught my baby. I pushed once. Our sweet baby boy was finally out and my husband and I were ecstatic. We felt such relief to have gotten through this pregnancy mostly unscathed. Our boy was finally here and everything was perfect. But minutes after giving birth, I noticed something odd. I knew my baby was fine and I could see him being cleaned off. I heard him crying. As I looked around though, I noticed that my nurses seemed to be hiding something.
I'd already delivered my placenta and by now, I was supposed to be able to hold my baby. But everyone was still rushing around my room in a panic. Then I heard words that left me numb: "You're bleeding more than we'd like and we need to get it under control." I wondered if, after all this, I was the one who was going to die in childbirth.
Everyone was rushing around my room, grabbing carts, supplies, and running in and out of my room. I knew enough to know that this was supposed to be the peaceful part. I was supposed to be holding my baby and resting. I looked at my husband and my fears were confirmed. He had a look of sheer horror on his face. "What's going on?" I asked, afraid to hear the answer. Then, I looked down. I saw more blood than I'd ever seen before. I had no clue what was happening to me.
I'd already delivered my placenta and by now, I was supposed to be able to hold my baby. But everyone was still rushing around my room in a panic. Then I heard words that left me numb: "You're bleeding more than we'd like and we need to get it under control." I wondered if, after all this, I was the one who was going to die in childbirth. Was I going to leave my two sons without a mother? From my husband's fake smile and terrified expression, I could tell he was wondering the same. I felt weak and laid my head back to rest. Then, I prayed. My fear was overwhelming. I couldn't help but wonder if this was where my story would end.
After what felt like a lifetime, my OB gave me a shot to help stop the bleeding. Thankfully, it worked and I didn't need a transfusion. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and my husband embraced me like never before. We kissed and held each other with a huge sense of gratitude. When my doctors placed my baby boy on my chest, the scent of his sweet newborn skin brought me to tears. I'd made it through the darkest, scariest parts of labor, and this was my beautiful, perfect, wonderful, life-changing reward.