We unexpectedly welcomed the arrival of our son seven weeks early! It was only about twelve hours from the first contraction to delivery. The previous night I had had contractions which prompted me to get up about every hour and walk a bit. Once I did, they seemed to dissipate. The next day I felt a few here and there but thought nothing much of it. In fact, David and I thought they were just Braxton Hicks contractions since there was no pattern and this was the time in which they were expected to occur. We enjoyed dinner with friends that evening. A few times the contractions would hit strong enough that I would have to pause and breathe through them. Still, we weren't alarmed (in retrospect we were in denial that it could be actual labor). I continued to work through the contractions which did increase in strength and frequency but still did not occur in any pattern. Some would be five minutes a part and others would be right on top of each other. Finally, at about three o'clock in the morning we still weren't convinced of being in active labor but decided to call our midwife. David described the situation while I rather vocally worked through contractions. Upon hearing me in the background, she instructed us to immediately go to the hospital.
I paced in a circle around the kitchen island while David very quickly tossed a bag together. It was such a rush that we later discovered that our toiletries bags were packed, but not the toiletries. haha. David certainly gets the "most focused driver award" for having driven an hour in the early morning hour with little rest, snow falling, and a screaming wife in the passenger seat. (I never thought I'd be a "screamer," but with the labor occurring so hard and so fast it was all I could do.) Once we arrived, things moved even faster.
Soon, every nurse on the labor and delivery floor seemed to be in my room. I was only 33 weeks along in the pregnancy after all. They tried multiple medications to try to stop labor. At first they were successful in at least slowing it down, but it didn't last long. Contractions soon picked up once more. Upon checking, it was determined that I had already dilated to 6cm and his little tushy could be felt making it's exit. He was breech and in a hurry to arrive. The call was then made for an emergency c-section. I'll never forget the look on David's face at that moment. If I wasn't so exhausted and in pain I would probably have felt the same.
The c-section was very fast. Within minutes, "It's a boy!" was announced and we heard quite the strong cry. It was such a sweet sound. We weren't expecting to hear much of anything considering that he was seven weeks premature and labor progressed too fast for the steroid shots to be given to quicken his lung development. The nurse allowed David to hold him and then presented him to me. In that moment the sensations of the surgery disappeared and I lavished in that moment with my son. He was then rushed to the NICU and David escorted back to the OB room.
The doctor discovered during the surgery that I have a septate uterus (arcuate style from what I understand). The top portion is thicker than normal which creates a heart-shape interior. Thus, the baby resisted in one side and the placenta was bunched together in the other side. Due to the abnormal internal space, the baby could not turn out of a breech position. He also simply ran out of space and therefore labor was initiated. My pattern-less and rapid labor was also due to the abnormal womb shape. As it is, the uterus cannot effectively contract and the cervix dilate.
We later spoke with the doctor, and she reassured us that we could have additional children in the future. She didn't see that we would be limited in having children. Those pregnancies, however, will always be a breech presentation, c-section delivery, and premature baby. The next one may even be able to go past the 33 week mark. Each pregnancy is different even in normal conditions.
As I look back upon his birth experience, I can't help but see God's hand in multiple places. Tennyson has behaved beyond the expectations for his age. He should have needed lots of respiratory support especially after not having the steroid shots prior to birth, but he didn't. He should have had a bit of a struggle to learn to nurse, but has been doing well since day two. He shouldn't be where he is now, but he is. I frequently forget that Tennyson is only a 3lb 11oz. preemie, not a full-term newborn. It's interesting how I struggled daily with so much digestion issues during pregnancy that my weight gain was always less than the recommendation. Yet, had I gained more weight he would've been a bigger baby that ran out of space even sooner. God was with us at all moments in the pregnancy and delivery. Neither one of us would have made it had it not been for the c-section. Some times having a plan broken is the best blessing there could be. God has also been at work in placing such dear friends and family members in our lives. We've been so grateful for all the offers to pick up items we'll need like preemie clothing, preemie diapers, a crib etc., in addition to competing tasks like cleaning our home and painting a dresser. We had anticipated an additional seven weeks to finish preparing for his arrival, and so weren't quite ready. God has really provided for us.
I look at his little being and fall more in love with him each time. He's simply incredible. I'm so grateful to God for blessing us with little Tennyson. I love seeing how amazing David is as a father. Tiny Tennyson is such joy in our lives. We do our best to stay with him in the NICU as much as possible. It makes for long and difficult days, but we're together as a family. We're eager to bring him home with us soon. How I can't wait to have life with this little guy!