Okay, I'm back. How I'm going to follow Joey's beautiful post - I don't know. I've told him he'll have to make an appearance here from time to time.
It's been a long week. Starting with Cally Jane's arrival on Monday and up through today as she remains in the peds unit at the hospital. They say every pregnancy is different, and in many ways, mine were. What stayed the same was the way I carried the babies - my bump - all baby, all out in front. And so I had worked it out in my head that the labor part would be too. I was 3 days early with Buddy with a 6 hour in hospital labor. With Ella, I was 6 days early and her labor was 3 hours from first contraction to when I pushed her out of my body. This last labor was a great deal different from the first two.
Now, while Cally did come 2 days early, I had been sitting at home waiting for her and feeling like she was never going to come. I had irrational thoughts about needing to be induced and I was in tune to every change, cramp or pain I felt, just in case it was the onset of labor. Finally, something started to happen. Early Monday morning at about 5:30, I woke up to Ella crying for me. I got out of bed to get into hers to try to get her back to sleep only to discover that I was leaking liquor. At least, I was pretty sure that's what it was. My water never broke with either Buddy or Ella until I started pushing, so I wasn't sure what to think. Imagine Joey's face when I walked into our room again after getting Ella back to sleep to ask if Buddy was awake to get ready for school and I said by the way I think my water broke.
At about 10:30ish, we made our way to the hospital and I was admitted to the antenatal ward. Visiting hours in all the wards are limited, so Joey had to wait outside until lunch time. Fortunately, the contractions didn't actually start until 12:30. The visiting hours were over at 1:30, and so I was alone again with Joey waiting in the hall and my contractions - 3 minutes apart from the start - began to intensify at about 3 o'clock. I urged the nurses to check me again to see if I'd dialated to 2 cm, the magic number to be admitted to the labor and delivery ward. I was 3 cm.
And the rest, as you may know, happened at 4:56 when Cally Jane was born. She weighed 3.28 kilos and was 49 cm long. I managed to get through the labor with only an injection of Pathadine to take the edge off the pain. I didn't even tear, so no stitches were needed.
What really helped me through the labor was my wiper of the sweats. Joey. And having him with me proved to be a challenge as he kept being asked to leave when they needed to do vaginal exams or when visiting hours were over - protocol of the hospital. Luckily, in the labor ward, he was allowed to stay with me (except for those vaginal exams) with a special tag he wore stating husband attend delivery.
Joey kept me calm, helped me be strong, kept my thoughts on the bigger picture - the imminent arrival of our third child and finally being able to meet her. And, of course, he wiped my sweats. And he has continued to be there for me through this whole, long week, full of emotional highs and lows.
The morning we expected to be discharged to go home and start our lives as a family of five, the nurses informed me that the blood test they'd run that morning showed that Cally had very high levels of bilirubin and needed to be admitted to the peds unit. This was the start of the hardest day. She had only been in the peds unit a few short hours before they moved her to NICU. She was under 4 big lights and on an IV drip, not allowed to eat in case they needed to do a blood transfusion.
I was an emotional wreck - so many thoughts running through my head - trying to understand what was happening. I decided to stay one more night - pumping in the nursery to store milk for her - and coming to terms with what I knew would be true. I would have to leave her behind. I also worried that I wouldn't be able to nurse her again. It wasn't until that evening, when Joey came again, that I got the comfort, perspective and strength that I needed. Joey told me what I needed to hear. That everything would be okay and that she would be fine. And, I believe him. When I sent him a text after he left that evening, I thanked him for being there. I'd never have made it without him. He responded back, we're a team. I've never been more glad that he picked me to be on it.
Cally continues to improve. She's back in the peds unit and I've been able to resume direct breastfeeding for her. The doctors have also detected a slight heart murmur, which they'll investigate on Monday. Being able to feed her and hold her again has done wonders for my own well being. So has being home with Michael and Ella, who need me as much as I need them.
We're hopeful each day that this will be the day she'll come home with us. The kids can't wait to meet their new sister, and we can't wait for her to become a part of this family.