How The Fish Came Into The World

We were focused on bringing Thomas into the world as safely as possible, as one imagines anyone who cared would be. That’s it, that’s all. There was no personal agenda, no deliberate meanness- we were just focused on the most important thing, here. I am so incredibly proud and in awe of how supportive Kurt has been of me and the choices he made. Anyone who is anything less needs their head examined: he has been nothing short of a remarkable man and a powerfully devoted father. That’s what was important here and his priorities were definitely in line with that. I consider myself beyond blessed to have such an amazing, supportive and involved partner- when we got home, the first thing he did was to make sure that the bedroom was set up so that I could not only care for Thomas, but so that I would not injure myself further in the process.

I don’t usually like to use words like “miracle”. I think that word gets thrown around a lot. I’m not sure what you’d call it, though, what happened. “Extremely fortunate coincidence” downplays how deeply this impacted us.

If you don’t care to read through the whole prior blog: I had been in a tremendous amount of pain for weeks. Thomas was posterior, and I was dealing with prodromal labor. This is often called “false labor” but anyone who has dealt with it can tell you- it’s often awful and posterior babies tend to bring on a lot of back labor. Thomas had been doing just that. Still, I wanted to carry him as long as possible so he’d be born as healthy as possible. I was also trying for a VBAC, which came with a lot of restrictions and many things we needed to do to avoid a repeat c section. We also have quite a few responsibilities, so we weren’t just able to run off and take a little vacation. Kurt had just gotten a really excellent job in a very competitive field. So, we were waiting on the doctor to let us know my body was doing what it needed to be. We thought surely at the 40 week, with all the contractions and pain, there’d be good news, we could go.

On that 40 week appointment, we instead got bad news.

There was no change in my body to indicate any labor immanent. Of course, this can change in the blink of an eye but there was another problem. My amniotic fluid had begun to go further down in volume than it should. Most people who are close to me know that my birth experience with Aidan was very traumatic to me. It was horrifying, scary and ultimately ended in a c section that was by all accounts, completely unneeded. I was fully prepared to deliver at home if need be and Kurt and I had educated ourselves in terms of what would need to be done- because delivering naturally after a c section is still not yet a widely accepted practice.

I also knew that low amniotic volume is often used to push induction and c sections. My OB was on my side in this, and when we discussed it, the mood was somber, it was respectful of me and he didn’t push. We were originally going to wait a week.

I was heartbroken, but still resolute. I wanted to go home and read up on things, to inform us more before we really decided.

That is just what we did, and by the time I went to bed that night, I still didn’t know what to do. I knew that the amniotic fluid issue was most likely not something that would merit booking the c section on our case. Thomas’s kidney function is fine, and there were no real indications of anything actually being wrong. Still, that night I had horrifying nightmares that I woke up sobbing from more than once. They just would not stop.

The next morning, I called my OB and booked the c section. This was, for those who know me, incredibly out of character. I am not one who gives up easily but for some reason, I had this awful sense of urgency. As a matter of fact, when they booked it for early Friday morning, it was not early enough for me. I did not know why I felt that way.

All through this, I have always held to my instincts and all I knew was my instincts were screaming at me.

Friday morning finally gets here- neither Kurt nor I slept very well. My sleep was fitful and terrified, I kept waking up scared. I thought it was due to the fact that I was having a major surgical procedure I never wanted.

We go in, and the hospital is madness- they were referring to it as “baby madness” all weekend. Women were coming in and essentially, delivering on the way in the door. We napped a bit, and then, we were prepped for surgery.

Kurt in his snazzy dad pantsuit.

Kurt was originally going to take photos as it happened. Instead, a nurse offered to do so because she was allowed to be closer. I had no idea she would capture an image which even writing this out takes the wind out of me.

As I lay on the table, I very vaguely recall the doctor talking about Thomas. He was saying something about his cord, but I was on a lot of morphine. I asked that he tell us when I was a little more coherent.I vaguely remember hearing more than one nurse exclaim “Oh my god” and some discussion about my baby wherein words like “amazing” were used, and yes, “miracle”. They didn’t know, nor did I, right then, that the way everything shook out would in fact make it a much more profound situation than it was. Everything was pretty hazy at this point. I remember my heart racing, and I remember telling the student about it and the anesthesiologist thanking me for being a talker because it would help his student. I was sort of in and out of it at that point.

What were they talking about?

Our baby had the cord wrapped around his neck three times and he had a knot in the cord:

This sort of thing is usually found out because the baby is still born. Had we even “given it a week” as we’d planned before making the decision, things would have been very different. Had we birthed at home (which, oddly then went against my instincts, rather than being the stubborn option of choice it was for me) or had we gone with our original plans- again, things would have been tragic.

Our baby Thomas, was instead- very much alive and screaming to let the world know that he was. My extremely out of character choice fed by extremely terrified instinct and changing plans coupled with Kurt’s support and care- at the last second-  had saved his life.

In the OB ward, Thomas was already a favorite. His alert eyes, his funny way of making little noises and “talking”, he’s mellow attitude, and his snuggliness already had him a favorite, but then, word got out about what he’d made it through and how that happened.

He is very healthy, nurses very well, and is absolutely a beautiful little guy who I still get teary eyed from time to time just to look at. He is currently fast asleep next to me in his bed and sleeps very much like Kurt does. I am just blown away by everything that happened and so completely in love with this little guy- I am in fact, tremendously blessed.

We do thank everyone for their good wishes and hope that people understand that this week, things have been a little crazy- plans getting changed, things sort of up in the air, but ultimately, I wouldn’t take back a bit of it. Welcome to the world, Thomas Stockton Kroeck, you are amazing and beautiful: I am so grateful to be your mother.

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