Photography courtesy of Miss. H and her iPhone
I held out my arms for my baby, but they’d taken her away across the room. I didn’t know why they hadn’t honoured my request of a delayed cord cutting, or why David wasn’t offered the chance to cut the cord himself. David had also disappeared. I discovered shortly after that he had followed our baby, but H remained by my side as the midwives administered the medication I required to assist in preventing another haemorrhage.
Through my post-birth haze, I asked several times if she was okay. I asked where my baby was, if I could please hold her, and then why there were suddenly so many people in the room. No one would answer me. I asked again. I was reassured by one nurse that my baby was “okay”, but I still hadn’t heard her cry. It had only been minutes, but it felt like hours and I still hadn’t seen or touched my baby daughter.
I didn’t know that within seconds of her birth, a neonatal code blue was called, nor did I know that she’d been born with the cord wrapped firmly around her neck twice.
While I delivered the placenta, the doctors and nurses had been attempting to get my baby to breathe. They rubbed her down with towels to stimulate her circulation, and after what I later discovered was only three and a half minutes, our little one was able to breathe on her own. I thank God every day that she bounced back so quickly. Her APGAR score rose from the initial terrifying score of 3 to a 5 at 5 minutes, and then an eventual 9 at 10 minutes.
After what seemed to be an eternity of confusion and adrenaline, they placed her on my chest and covered us both with warm blankets. She barely moved and she still hadn’t cried. I kept asking why she was so blue but no one would answer me. I still didn’t understand what had happened. I had no idea what had passed in those few minutes since she was born. I was so hazy and out-of-it from the pain and exhaustion, and so very confused.
After several minutes of simple skin-to-skin, I was encouraged to try and see if she would nurse, and eventually she did, albeit weakly. I was assured by the medical staff that she had had a rough start but that she would be okay, and gradually my head cleared and my spirits were raised. The relief in the room seemed palpable. It was all so surreal but so beautiful too. As I held her, we watched as her swollen, squashed little face turned from blue to purple, and finally to pink. And she cried. It was so good to hear her voice.
We named her Freya.
Soon it was time for David to have his skin to skin cuddles with our little one. She slept a long time on her Papa’s chest.
While I indulged in that first, wonderful post-birth shower, H brought JJ to the hospital to meet his little sister for the first time. He was so excited, and helped us dress her for the first time.
The time we spent after the birth in the labour suite went by so quickly, and everything seemed so normal and peaceful.
Normal and totally not scary.
Little did I know, but that was about to change.
… Read Birthing Baby: Part 3