I started to write this out months ago but.... life's been keeping us super busy over here (I will update on a separate post on Noah’s current status). It is hard not to compare pregnancies, but physically, my pregnancy with Noah seemed like a breeze compared to this one!
I can barely walk without complaining that something hurts, so it’s hard to believe that right around this time we were loading up and moving our lives to Houston while pregnant with Noah, since we were required to be relocated within 30 minutes of Texas Children's Hospital a month prior to his due date. I've had this urge to "nest" and clean lately, and I never had the opportunity to do that as we were having to relocate and living in such a temporary place with so many unknowns. There were many emotions during that month as we received more devastating news about Noah's heart and were unsure if we would have much time with him after he was born. On the day he was born, it was the most magical day. As I prepare for this delivery, I imagine that it’ll look quite different. One doctor and maybe a couple of nurses instead of 15 medical staff waiting for Noah to make his entrance. My mom and Brandon in the room as Noah was delivered and a group of our dearest family and friends in the waiting room. This time, especially with COVID, my mom will not be able to be there but I can imagine the room will be much more "empty“ in general.
My induction date was scheduled for July 28th, Sunday and I was supposed to check in around 7 pm that evening with the hopes we would have Noah the following day (Monday) when all hands were on deck. We knew a lot about his heart but we truly wouldn’t know everything until he had arrived so the doctors wanted to be prepared for every scenario. We were living in a very small studio apartment about 15 minutes from the hospital. We were all packed up and ready to go by early that morning, because.. first-time parents, anxiety... all the things. The day seemed to go by VERY slowly as we anxiously waited for the time to get closer to the check-in time. The pressure was on as our support team and loved ones started to trickle in! My mom had flown into town a few days before and was staying with my sister who lives about 45 minutes away from the hospital. Noah's soon to be God Parents Robin and Dave had booked a hotel right next door to the hospital for the next two nights to be there when Noah arrived. And Brandon's close friend arrived to cover us in prayer as we entered into a world of so many unknowns.
The instructions in the folder that they give you with all the prep for birth said to give L&D a call a few hours before to ensure they had a room ready, available, etc. So I did and that's when they told me that it had rained babies that weekend and they had no rooms available!
I panicked. Of course, this would happen. More waiting. More unknowns. I was sure it would only be pushed back a couple of hours so I left my phone on loud and we grabbed some dinner and went to sleep. Every few hours Brandon would come and wake me up to ask if we had gotten a call.. I would check my phone to see that we hadn't missed anything- so I would call the nurses station and ask for an update but they would continue to tell me that we just had to keep waiting.
The next morning, Monday, we had to keep busy or else we would have gone crazy. We went to breakfast with our friend, then back home to wait for more....and more...and more.. At this point, it was around 7 in the evening and I was frustrated.. I didn't want to have Noah at 2 am in the morning when not ALL the team was there.. I wanted to have a plan and this plan wasn't going as previously planned lol. Brandon was stressing out, which was then making me stress out! Robin and Dave dragged us to dinner and we grabbed our suitcases to spend the night with them in the hotel right by the hospital. I encouraged Brandon and Dave to go grab a couple of drinks and try to relax.. so Robin and I could relax in the room!
They (B and Dave) arrived back at the hotel room around 11:30 pm and 30 minutes later, I popped up to my phone ringing! It was the hospital, the room was ready, and to get there as soon as possible. We grabbed our bags and walked to the hospital where we would get checked in and Brandon would be passed out before we even got to our room haha.
I got settled into the room, IV placed, monitors on baby and around 2 am they started the Pitocin. I was 3cm dilated when I walked in. Before this point, I had never had a single contraction... some occasional Braxton Hicks.. but nothing painful so I really didn't know what to expect. I told Brandon to sleep while we could and I was way too nervous so I stayed up and watched the movie Crazy Rich Asians.
The nurse was a nice older woman but you could tell that I was annoying her every time I rang the call button. I was bored, anxious, and not knowing what to expect next. I rang, "I think my water broke"... nope it didn't... I rang "my stomach hurts, is that a contraction?" yes, probably try to relax and get some sleep. She was totally giving me "tough love" but it wasn't super comforting at the time.
Around 5 am I asked for some pain meds and took a little 20-minute nap, then POP, my water broke. Then things went really fast! I was around 6 cm when I asked for the epidural. My contractions had gotten pretty intense and Brandon had to leave while I was getting in the epidural, so he went to go meet my mom and sister and they grabbed some breakfast while they waited... Meanwhile, the anesthesiologist came in to give me the epidural and I was having such intense contractions back to back that I kept finding myself unable to get into the position to get the epidural. I couldn't help the urge to keep pushing through the contractions and despite the nurse's stern voice telling me to STOP PUSHING YOU'RE GOING TO RIP YOUR CERVIX... I couldn't!
As this was happening and I'm trying to make my way to the edge of the bed to get that magic needle in my back, the anesthesiologist gets a call..and they dart out of the room. The nurse explained that they had an emergency call to the OR and that I would likely have to wait till shift change to get the epidural but I was already 8 cm and I likely wouldn't make it till then. She turned my Pitocin down but the contractions were so intense at this point. Brandon, my mom, and sister came in the room and took one look at me, and were terrified to come closer.. Brandon was confused as to why I hadn't gotten the epidural so the nurse explained what had happened and that I likely wouldn't be getting n epidural because I was progressing too fast. By the Grace of God... a few minutes later shift change happened and the new anesthesiologist bolted in with the epidural and I don't think I ever moved so fast- despite the pain! After the epidural, I was so calm and relaxed.
About an hour later the doctor arrived with the fellow who would be assisting and told me I was 10 cm and ready to start pushing.
The new nurse was incredible and so encouraging as well and soon we started pushing! The room started with just a few doctors/nurses, about 6, plus my mom and Brandon. I pushed for about an hour and a half and then Noah made his grand entrance. At this point, we had nearly 15 people in the room.
They laid Noah on my stomach, where he was very limp and looked blue. It took him about 50 seconds to start crying, and I was terrified something was very wrong. But then he started to cry!
My mom cut the cord, and the doctors handed him over to the staff that was waiting to get IV access and complete his first procedure which was inserting medication into his umbilical cord that would keep him PGA open in his heart.
The procedure took about an hour but he was right there in the room with us the whole time. During this, our family and friends were able to come in and meet Noah from afar and take photos.
I got to hold Noah one more time for about 1 minute since he was stable, and B and I took a couple of first family photos. Then they took Noah and wheeled him to the CVICU where Brandon followed.
I went straight to recovery and was able to go to the CVICU and see Noah a few hours later and get all my cuddles in. Brandon was able to stay with Noah in the ICU and my mom stayed and helped me. I was discharged the very next morning and moved into our new home in the ICU for the next few months.
It's incredible to think what all Noah has been through in his short 18 months of life, but we are so proud of him and our little family. We are incredibly thankful to our community of family and friends that have shown up, prayed, and just been there for us through all the ups and downs. We can't wait to see Noah as a big brother. His heart is so pure and sweet and I just know he is going to be so caring and loving to his new baby sister!