Its a day I will never forget. The day my second baby girl, Fishy Christmas, was born! Fishy Christmas isn’t her given name, but is the name that my first daughter named her while I was pregnant. The name has stuck around as a nickname that I am sure she will grow to hate as she gets older!
This was my second high risk pregnancy. Since I had to be induced at 36 weeks with Big Girl (my first daughter) due to preeclampsia; my second pregnancy was considered high risk from the very beginning. My OBGYN ordered a slew of tests at my first prenatal appointment in order to get a baseline of everything. Once I entered into my third trimester, I was diagnosed with pregnancy induced hypertension. My doctor was beginning to monitor my blood pressure closely.
I had strict parameters for my blood pressure and if the numbers exceeded what my doctor had given me, I was supposed to go to Labor and Delivery to get checked out. It got to the point that my blood pressure was steadily increasing as my pregnancy progressed. I found myself having to go to the hospital to get checked around once a week. My feet, ankles, hands, and face were so incredibly swollen. Not to mention, it was at the peak of an Oklahoma summer. I. WAS. MISERABLE. One of my trips to Labor and Delivery showed that my blood pressure had now climbed into stroke range! I was put on a blood pressure medication to try and control this problem. I was also scheduled to see my OBGYN once a week and have a biophysical profile done on the baby each week.
This only lasted a few short days because I once again found myself back at Labor and Delivery. This time, for other symptoms. Once several blood tests were completed, I was told that I had HELLP Syndrome. This can be fatal and I was going to be induced right away, at 35 weeks and 6 days!
I was so afraid! I just wanted everything to be okay with this baby! I was induced at 4:30pm. Labor was slow! Very, very slow! There was one point during the night that my oxygen levels began falling. I would try and get some rest, and just as I would fall asleep, I would instinctively jolt myself awake by gasping for air. After this happened a few times, I was put on oxygen for a while.
A while later my blood pressure began to act like a roller coaster. It would spike and then plummet. Over and over. I knew my body didn’t feel right, but the point when my OBGYN and anesthesiologist were both standing guard in my room, I knew this was serious! I was afraid. My mind felt fuzzy. It was almost like an out of body experience. There were a few times I was afraid I was on the verge of a seizure or stroke and wouldn’t live to see my baby. I knew in my heart that I had to be strong. I couldn’t go to that dark place. I had to pull myself out of this.
Thankfully, my Labor and Delivery team were a bunch of rockstars. They were able to stabilize my blood pressure and get me back to feeling like myself, a very exhausted self. Labor was still progressing slowly. I was beginning to wonder when they were going to suggest a Cesarean section.
Near the twenty two hour mark of labor, my doctor told me I was dilated to a 10 and we were ready to push! Hallelujah!!!! My doctor wanted the on-call pediatrician to be in the room for delivery since I was only at 36 weeks and I had HELLP Syndrome. As the nurses were getting the stirrups and lights ready for the big show, I began feeling sick. Projectile vomiting ensued for around 10 minutes. But then it was finally time! Time to push! Time to meet my baby after several long months of stress and worry about her safety! Thankfully, the pushing was short and to the point! I only pushed 30 minutes and Fishy Christmas was with me!
Holding her and meeting her for the first time was miraculous. A moment in time that I will never forget. When the doctor placed her on my chest, and I finally could hold my baby; I had such a rush of emotions. I was overwhelmed! I was beyond happy to have this beautiful baby girl. But sad at the same time. Sad that her father and I were going through a separation. Sad that I was having to deal with this on such a glorious day! I found myself weeping as all of these thoughts rushed into my mind.
The pediatrician checked out Fishy Christmas and everything seemed to be okay for the most part. However, we’d all heard a loud “pop” as she was being delivered and he was afraid her clavicle was fractured. An x-ray confirmed his diagnosis. But he assured us that this is a very easy injury for babies to heal. My Fishy Christmas came into this world 4 weeks early and weighed a whopping 7 pounds, 9 ounces and was 21 inches long! There’s no telling how big she would have grown if she would have had 4 more weeks on the inside!
The first 24 hours after delivery I was on strict bed rest due to the medication I was on. The staff told me I was still at risk for stroke and seizure. They did not want me to have any visitors. My room was to be quiet and dark so that I could rest. Fishy Christmas had to spend a mandatory 12 hours in the nursery for observation. She was only allowed to come to my room to nurse and then had to go back. For the time between 12-24 hours, she was only allowed to be in the room if someone else was present. Since I was on medication that made me a fall risk, and I was still in bed rest; I was not allowed to be left alone with her. This was very difficult. This was my first realization that it really does take a village to raise a child.
Fishy Christmas struggled with her latch from the beginning. She also struggled to stay awake while nursing. This resulted in her losing a little more weight than the pediatrician liked. He was monitoring her closely and was on the verge of placing a feeding tube if she didn’t start gaining. She also was showing signs of jaundice. This got her a first class ticket to the baby tanning bed!
All of these things combined made for a scary few days in the hospital. Luckily, everything with her cleared up and after 5 days we were being discharged!!! I couldn’t wait to get home!
Her birth story has all the elements of a Hollywood movie! There’s a little drama, suspense, conflict, and then overcoming the conflict in the end! I’m so happy that my baby gets to have such a unique birth story! I hope when she is older, she will enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoy sharing it!