The night that Scarlett was born was one of the happiest nights of my life, despite the whole pain and discomfort of giving birth. I was able to bring our child into this world. Although, she was about three and a half weeks early, she was absolutely perfect. She showed us from the very start that she was going to do things her way. I went into early labor, at 32 weeks, that was thankfully stopped. I spent the next four and a half weeks on bed rest and the next three and a half weeks on a medication to basically stop the contractions. The whole goal was to keep our girl on the inside, baking, as long as possible. Although babies can survive being born as early as 26 weeks, practitioners will do everything they can to keep those babies inside as long as possible.
I was not on strict bed rest, so I was able to get up and move around. The catch is that I could not work or be on my feet for more than twenty minutes at a time. I tried to fill my time by sleeping, crocheting, and watching lots of tv and movies. I may have watched every season of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. Around 35 weeks, I had had enough of the reactions I was having to the medication that my midwife had me on to stop the contractions. Heart palpitations and almost my whole body turning red after I took the medicine was driving me crazy and making me worry about the baby. Now, I cannot speak for every office, but mine will not stop labor after 36 weeks. They will not do anything to encourage labor but if it has started, then it is go time. That is what happened to me.
Exactly one week after stopping the medication, I ended up in labor and delivery. When the midwife on call finally arrived at the hospital to check me, I had gone from one centimeter to three centimeters in roughly an hour… it was go time! I cannot complain as my labor was short. Roughly 9 hours from the time I walked into labor and delivery until Scarlett was born at 3:46am. Once they laid my tiny six pound, six ounce baby on my chest, she immediately grabbed my finger and my heart was so full. Scarlett’s pediatric nurse kept checking on her because she was not crying. She was pretty chill for just being born and all apparently. After, our hour of kangaroo care, and still no crying it was bath time! She didn’t exactly cry but she screamed like a banshee to let her nurse know this was not what she wanted.
We were both still concerned about her eye as she was not opening it at all and the other eye was wide open when she was awake. We trusted our team of nurses and doctors as they are the experts.
Once, she was back in our arms, we noticed that her right eye seemed swollen and asked her nurse about it. We were told that it was due to the trauma of birth and that the swelling should go down in a day or two. We, also, asked the midwife and were told the same thing. We, happily accepted this answer as our baby otherwise appeared healthy. I spent the next few hours holding my precious girl while they worked on getting me into a room down on the Women’s Care floor. We finally got down there around six in the morning. We were both still concerned about her eye as she was not opening it at all and the other eye was wide open when she was awake. We trusted our team of nurses and doctors as they are the experts.
At twenty seven hours old, Scarlett was being seen by the on call pediatrician for our pediatrician’s office. I had spent the last hour and a half prior to this doing skin to skin with her and was having a good morning despite being so tired. The doctor noticed that she was breathing quickly and this concerned her. I had noticed it too but had been told to expect some changes in breathing patterns with a newborn. At this point, she said that she was sending Scarlett to the NICU for observation. This is when our whole world was turned upside down.