When I was younger, I always knew I wanted to be a mom when I grew up. There was never a doubt about having kids from me. I was obsessed with baby dolls, I was always bossy, and when we played “House” I was ALWAYS the mommy. The idea of having a little me that I could teach, dress up, and watch grow is something I’ve looked forward to since I can remember. When I found out I was pregnant that August evening in 2017 I think I cried with joy for a whole day straight. Both Morgan and I were the happiest we’ve ever been and couldn’t have imagined feeling happier, but little did we know our hearts could come so close to exploding with happiness and joy like they did on May 25, 2018.
I can’t imagine I would forget that day for the rest of my life but I want to try and remember as much detail as possible so this is your warning that this story is a long, but great one. 🙂
May 22, 2017 was the due date we had all been looking forward to in extreme anticipation of baby Odom’s arrival. I was down to the week-by-week appointments that occurred every Thursday, so when May 22nd came and went we knew our little girl was a rebel in the making, waiting to come into this world in her own time. At my appointment that Thursday afternoon I felt normal, like any other check-up I had along the way waddling into the doctor’s office, exploding cankles, swollen midsection, and all. Morgan, my husband, had been able to make most all of my appointments, but this one, I told him, I didn’t think was going to be very eventful so he didn’t have to come. The nurse took my vitals and found my blood pressure was unusually high and with the swelling in my legs she looked a bit concerned. She said she would note to the doctor about my blood pressure before he came in to see how far along I was. I felt like I waited in that exam room for over an hour (although it truly was like 35 minutes which was still a while) when he came in, checked to find that there was still no change in dilation meaning nothing was happening labor wise with my body, but the fact that my blood pressure was so unusual compared to my normal numbers combined with the swelling seamed cause for concern with mine and the baby’s well being. Although my body hadn’t begun labor, the doctor suggested I go to triage at the hospital for them to run tests to check further of my blood count and the baby’s status. I suddenly went into a small amount of shock because I heard “go to the hospital” and I’m pretty sure I stopped listening after that. My mind immediately began reeling with who I needed to call, what I might need, what this might mean etc. If you know me, you know I am a VERY emotional person. It does not take much to get my waterworks going and once they are on, it’s like the tear duct dam broke in my eyeballs because it takes a while for it to taper off.
Of course my first phone call was to Morgan who had so many questions that I could not answer other than telling him to meet me at the hospital. I then called my mom to also meet me at the hospital because, well to be honest at risk of sounding childish, I just needed my mommy. When I arrived at the triage wing a nurse began hooking me up to all sorts of machine to begin monitoring what seemed like everything. Mom arrived first, then Morgan arrived, and word apparently spread because my grandmother made a surprise visit which was amazing because she stood next to the bed holding my hand almost the whole time. I have to tell you that I have pretty much NEVER been to the hospital, luckily, so being a patient at the hospital was new to me and made me feel more anxious than I had ever been. Nurses came and went, sticking me with needles, taking my blood pressure over and over while my husband paced in front of my bed waiting on results. This long evening led to no real positive change in my blood pressure and my “blood platelets were a little low” so when the nurse called the doctor to give the results he said I should be induced to begin labor that evening. That sparked a family game plan between my three support team members who huddled and talked out who should do what. Morgan went to get our go-bags for the hospital stay. Mom went to get Roxy to take her to her house and to let the family know what was going on. Grandma stayed with me so I wouldn’t be alone which I was very happy with because hospitals make me so uncomfortable for some reason!.
I was moved to a labor and delivery suite which was a giant room that could fit my whole family, and was equipped to do most everything for labor and delivery, except of course what I unexpectedly had to go through. After everyone got back we got a little more settled in for the long night ahead and at 9 PM they gave me the first dose of Cytotec to being inducing labor. Throughout the night I didn’t really feel different than when I arrived at the hospital, and nurses came and went every so often taking tests and giving me more doses of Cytotec every 3 hours for a total of 3 doses. It wasn’t until about 6 AM that I started to feel slight contractions and changes in the way my body felt. The contractions progressed but my cervix unfortunately did not. I was dilated barely 1 cm for hours that Friday morning. The doctor also came and went a few times, but around 9:30 AM she checked my progress and in a matter of seconds I went from 1 cm to 4 cm dilated so we were getting hopeful that my body would continue to progress as quickly.
As the pain worsened I began to tough it out as long as I could, but around 10:00 AM with a shiny red face from all the tears in my eyes I look at my husband and tell him I have to get the epidural, I don’t think I can go through this anymore. The pain was completely unbearable, it truly felt like the baby was at war with my uterus and my uterus was winning and saying NOPE! WE’RE CLOSED! So we ordered the epidural and the anesthesiologist came in about 30 minutes later to “easy my pain.” There’s a video they make you watch for this and I had actually watched it twice (once in our hospital tour weeks before delivery and once when we checked in yesterday) so I knew there was a possibility for side affects but never thought I would fall victim to it. Once again.. WRONGO. As the epidural began to take I could feel the pain of the contractions subsiding somewhat, until the contractions became steadier and all that burning pain went running down the entire left side of my body. It was like the drug took to everywhere in my lower body except the lower left back and butt cheek so the contraction pain focused all of its energy in those spots. This made it even more unbearable and began the most uncomfortable hour and half of my entire life.
Even though I was the one bearing all the pain I honestly felt bad for everyone standing around me in the room. To be looking at someone in pain like I was, unable to really do anything, but try and help me be as comfortable as possible had to be awkward. Morgan would go from prepping me for each contraction to getting me ice to pacing around the room. He didn’t know what to do to help bless his heart. My mom stood beside me and was my breathing coach, giving me encouragement about how well I was breathing through it all. After what felt like a long while of breathing, crying, shifting from side to side and laying down to sitting up I just could not get into a comfortable position anymore. The nurses checked my progress again finding no change around 11-11:15 and noticed the baby’s heart rate was becoming increasingly irregular. I could hear them talking in low voices by the monitors and my heart began to race as I panned the room and saw concerned expressions on their faces.
Everything after that happened pretty quickly. The nurses called my doctor in to check on me again. She checked and saw no progress. They informed her of my pain and the baby’s heart rate becoming irregular so she suggested to give me an oxygen mask to make sure there was enough oxygen getting to the baby since I was breathing so rapidly. Again, I am NEVER in the hospital so I had never worn an oxygen mask before and I really hope to never need one in the future. The doctor left but said she was supposed to be leaving at 12 that day which made my heart drop tremendously. I wanted her to be the delivery doctor from day 1 and was overjoyed when she was on call that day. She left and the nurses put the oxygen mask on me. A few breaths into using the oxygen mask I started feeling extremely nauseous and claustrophobic. This made me even more uncomfortable and anxious and double the hot tears running down my cheeks. After another 35-45 minutes of this terrible suffering, my body still would not progress at all and I thought the pain would never end.
Around 12:15 one of the nurses phones rang and she was speaking with someone about my progress, or lack thereof. When she hung up she said to me, “that was Dr. Booth, she had left but really feels that since you still have no progression she wants to take another look at yours and the baby’s vitals and see what we can do, she’s coming back to the hospital now.” I felt very blessed that this doctor was kind enough to come back and finish this process with me because I felt comfortable having her around and knew she would get the job done. When she came back in she checked all the vitals and found that the baby’s heart rate was still very irregular and the monitors were finding it hard to keep reading all of the baby’s needs. So Dr. Booth looked at me and said, “I really suggest we do an emergency C-section since these monitors are no longer able to keep steady readings and your body is not progressing any further. We do not want to cause any stress on the baby and risk something fatal happening to either one of you.” After everything that could have possibly gone wrong did, this was the absolute nightmare I was terrified of. I had wanted to do natural birth from the beginning so badly. All the thoughts and feelings of being sad, unworthy, weak, or whatever negative emotion you could feel about yourself as a failure came to me like a flooding tidal wave.
From that point the nurses kicked it into high gear and I felt like I was on the set of Grey’s Anatomy. The moment they took the baby’s monitors off of me they quickly wheeled me out into the hallway, Morgan trailing behind as they began to prep him for what to expect. As they wheeled me into the surgery room, Morgan was taken off into a side room to get the proper scrubs on to support me during the c-section. In the surgery room 6-8 doctors were waiting there for me and I have never felt so scared, embarrassed, sad, anxious, and vulnerable in my entire life. My whole body was shaking in fear and I could barely breath from the overwhelming sobs I couldn’t keep from coming. The team of doctors lifted me onto a skinny operating table with bright white lights overhead. I kept yelling for Morgan as I was looking around and didn’t see him anywhere. They put up the blue cloth in front of me and Dr. Booth was pinching me around my lower abdomen asking if I could feel that, and I could. I could feel everything. It was almost as if there was no epidural anymore. She tried again and I cried out a yes to her after she asked again if I felt her pinches. She glanced at the doctor standing behind my head and said they would have to give me anesthesia so they could get the baby out. I screamed for Morgan one more time as I watched the doctor behind me shoot something into my IV on my hand. Morgan was still not in the room. The liquid that was shot in my IV burned like the fire of a thousand suns, and I wailed in pain. It surged through my body so quickly I felt like I was going to Hulk out in that operating room. After that moment I blacked out for a while…
When I woke up I was blurry eyed, feeling like I was in a daze or a dream. The bright lamp that was once shining directly into my eyes was pointed away now and there were only a few people in the room now versus what had to have been at least 12 during the operation. I tried to lift my head and it felt like it weighed a ton. I wanted to know what happened, where my husband was, if my baby was okay, but all I could muster up when I opened my mouth was “where is my baby?” To my surprise it came out very much like I was Sylvester Stallone in Rocky yelling ADRIEENNEE! One of the people in the room said “she is fine, she is with her daddy in the recovery room where we will be taking you in just a moment.” This did not suffice. I wanted to see her, I wanted Morgan, I did not want to be in this cold operation room any longer. Hot tears started again and I began asking over and over, “where is my baby, where is my husband?!” Again, very much slurred and jumbled but that’s all my mind was thinking over and over.
They finally got me to the recovery room where I could faintly see Morgan standing in the other side of with his shirt off and he seemed to be holding something while rocking back and forth with a blanket or something draped over his shoulders. He said, “There’s mommy,” and I knew he was holding our baby girl. The nurses said they had to do a few things to me before I could hold her but Morgan brought her over to me anyway because he knew how important it was to me to be able to be skin to skin as soon as possible. He brought her over and held her out a little but the drug was so strong I felt like I was trying with all my strength to clear my eyes but I could not see her. This began the water works again and I kept saying “I can’t see her, I can’t focus on her,” as my eyes were just too blurry to truly see her face so I could take in all her beautiful details. (I think I might cry again just thinking about that moment as I type this!)
Finally the nurses were done doing what they needed to do to make sure I was good to go to hold her and Morgan laid her on my chest. I still could not really see her all that well but I didn’t care. I just wanted that labor of love close and to snuggle on her and from the minute she laid her perfect little head on my chest the emotions of the whole experience took over and the tears from that point could not be stopped. She laid there on my chest so peacefully and I rubbed her back and felt her little hands and feet while Morgan hunched over us and we just cried. We couldn’t believe she was finally here and that we were finally, officially parents.
I hope all the mamas out there that read my birth story understand that everything I had hoped and planned on went wrong and/or did not happen. Some things are just not meant to turn out the way you planned but that’s because God always has a bigger plan. I am not a control freak but for big, life altering things like this I prefer to have things somewhat planned for. I thank Him every single day for bringing us Caroline. Everyone says her entrance is just a foreshadow of how her life will go. She will do things in her own time, on her own schedule, and she will turn out great. I just want all you first time expect mamas to understand that no matter what happens during pregnancy or during your delivery, you got this. Stay strong, trust God, hold fast to your support system, and trust your body. Don’t give up. When you feel like you couldn’t make it one more minute just keep the notion of your little baby laying their head on your chest for the first time. It’s an experience and moment in my life I WILL NEVER forget.<3
If it hadn’t turned out the way it did, we wouldn’t have this amazingly crazy story to tell now would we?
Thank you so much for reading! Caroline, I hope you read this someday and know how much that moment you landed on my chest means to me. You are mama’s whole heart baby girl, I love you.