When my water broke, it was nothing like the movies. There was no gush, just an unsettling wetness, a slight trickle that woke me out of a deep sleep with a strong sense that something was not right. I walked through the darkened house past the sleeping shapes of my family, and headed to the basement to throw some baby clothes in the wash, just in case. With the soothing rhythm of the washing machine in motion, I called my obstetrician who spurred me into action.
“Get yourself to the hospital,” she advised, “and don’t dilly dally.” We woke the kids, told them Steve would be back to take them to meet their new baby brother or sister before dinner time, and dispatched them to the neighbors. Then we headed to Prentice Women’s Hospital.
The gush came in the hospital parking lot. This time it was just like the movies, the amniotic fluid that had protected my baby for 8 months was flowing out of me and sloshing on the dirty pavement.
As soon as the nurse confirmed that I was leaking amniotic fluid, I was admitted and mentally prepared to give birth. My body was not as cooperative: it took 12 hours of increasingly large doses of Pitocin to get me ready to give birth. Thanks to an epidural and fun conversations about TV shows and movie stars with the labor and delivery nurse, the only anxiety we had was over finding a babysitter to watch the kids for the evening. We were still texting, coordinating a patchwork of childcare after I was 6 centimeters dilated.
When the time came to push, our little girl came quickly and easily. Soon I got the surprise I’d been waiting for all those months, heard the doctor say, “It’s a girl!” But the real relief came when she cried a few seconds later, pink and glowing with life, showing that although she was early, her lungs were still functioning. The NICU pediatric team was smiling, gathered around her tiny body. Then all hell broke loose.
My placenta ripped, part of it had grown into the wall of my uterus and I began to hemorrhage. Suddenly the room was filled with doctors and nurses, barking orders at each other. I felt weaker and weaker, and felt the overwhelming urge to just close my eyes. Our doctor shoved a consent form in my hand, told me to sign, quickly. I heard him talking to Steve, saying terrifying words like hysterectomy and bleeding out. Then I was in a cold room with blinding lights and strangers hands were reaching deep inside me, pushing, prodding, and cutting. Then I really wanted to close my eyes and just go to sleep, but they kept bringing me back, asking me questions that made little sense.
I don’t know how long it lasted. It was probably shorter for me than it was for Steve who was left all alone in a room that looked like a crime scene, wondering whether he was about to become a widower. I woke up in a small room, shaking violently as the anesthetics wore off. Once Steve and the recovery nurse explained that my uterus was still intact and that our little girl was doing well in the NICU, I felt a world better.
On our way up to my room, we stopped by to see her again. Sophie Claire Druckman, our teeny tiny daughter, born on Sunday, August 28 at 7:30PM, weighing in at just 5 lbs 1 oz, but coming into the world with a bang.
I came home from the hospital yesterday, and we’re hoping Sophie is released tomorrow. Walking out of the hospital without my baby was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Intellectually, I know that this week will soon be a blur amidst a sea of memories, and that she needed these extra days to grow and get stronger, but until she’s home, completing our family, there’s a little hole in my heart.