NOTE: Before reading this, you should know that Collin’s pregnancy was high risk. After the loss of my first son, Liam, & being diagnosed with an incompetent cervix combined with MTHFR, I was given a cerclage at 12 weeks. At 20 weeks, I was placed on bed rest due to cervical funneling. I had to endure daily injections of blood thinners; then weekly injections of progesterone. I also suffered from depression & lived my entire pregnancy fearing for Collin’s life. My pregnancy very much involved medical interventions & I credit these interventions with Collin’s life.
On the morning of November 3rd, 2009, Greg & I arrived at our perinatologist, Dr. Wilkes’, office for fetal monitoring & an amniocentesis. We were both noticeably nervous because at my appointment just a few days before, my blood pressure had skyrocketed & Collin’s amniotic fluid had decreased in volume. My OB, Dr. Vennart, & Dr. Wilkes agreed that if an amnio showed that Collin’s lungs were mature enough, that we needed to be induced within the next couple of days. Collin was 36 weeks, considered premature, which gave them additional reasons for wanting the amino.
When the nurse called my name, I tried to hide my nervousness. I mean seriously, I was about to have a huge needle shoved in my belly! What if the amniotic sac burst open & I started squirting fluid from my belly like a leaky balloon?!?! Luckily, I had a few minutes to calm myself down while they monitored Collin’s heartbeat & my blood pressures. Once they were satisfied that he was okay & my BP was good, they escorted us to the ultrasound room.
The technician came in & everything was normal, same old small talk & machine fiddling, but as soon as she started the ultrasound & I looked at the image, I knew something was wrong. Between my ultrasounds with Liam & the million I’d had with Collin so far, I could tell something was off. I couldn’t see any amniotic fluid. None! The technician got really quiet, poked around on my tummy for a bit & suddenly put the doppler down & snapped off her gloves. I took in a deep breath before she said the words I knew were coming, “I’m going to go grab Dr. Wilkes. I’ll be right back.” She said it with one of those fake, try-not-to-worry-the-patient smiles.
Greg was confused, but once he saw my face, he knew something was up. He asked what was wrong & I explained that there was supposed to be dark/black fluid all around Collin. I pointed to the frozen image on the machine. “See? There isn’t anything around him but this cloudy stuff.” He did his very best to reassure me, but I was already thinking the worst. How could I not, after Liam?
Dr. Wilkes came in & prepped me for another scan. “Hmmmm, well….it looks like you got out of your amnio!” he said cheerfully as he poked my belly with the doppler. A little annoyed, I looked up at him. He pointed to the clouds that were surrounding Collins little body & face, “See how the fluid around him is all cloudy & fuzzy?” he asked. “That’s meconium. He pooped! Something happened somewhere along the line that put stress on him & he pooped!” Greg & I looked at each other & back at him. “Don’t worry. Everything is perfectly fine.” he said with such confidence it was hard to not relax even just a little bit. “However, I want you to go immediately to the hospital to be monitored until Dr. Vennart can see you & decide what to do. It’s my professional opinion that you have a c-section before this puts any stress on your baby. I want you to be monitored closely now that we’ve discovered this, because with meconium, he could have a drop in his heart rate that could be potentially detrimental. If anything happens & they see him under stress, I’m warning you now, you will need a c-section. He will need to come out immediately. I’m going to tell Dr. Vennart to meet you at the hospital at 5PM & you guys can decide where to go from there. Congratulations!”
After that, I felt like a robot. We went to the receptionist, paid our co-pay & headed to the hospital. On the way, I called my family & then sat in silence the rest of the drive.
We had already pre-registered at the hospital, so we headed directly to labor & delivery, which was a zoo! It had been a full moon the night before & every woman in Las Vegas was there & in labor. Okay, maybe not every woman, but damn that place was filled! This meant, no rooms. I’d have to stay in triage, where only one person can be with me at a time & where I spent most of my time when we lost Liam.
The nurse gave me a gown, cup to pee in & socks. It sent shivers down my spine. Deja vu of the worst kind. This was exactly what they did when I came in for Liam. I changed & then went back to the bed. I felt cold & this didn’t feel real to me. She hooked up the fetal monitor & BP cuff & I was instantly sent back in time. I felt like I was back in the same bed with the same nurses & same awful doctor that told me Liam was going to die & that she wasn’t going to even try to save him. I started to get anxious & upset so, naturally my blood pressure started getting higher. I wanted out of that damn triage room. NOW!
Finally, they were able to room me with another woman. The problem was, this poor lady was in active labor. I felt terrible for her, but I couldn’t have taken another minute in that triage room. So, she was getting a roommate whether she liked it or not. We were separated by a curtain, but I could hear her moans & couldn’t help but mentally coach her through each contraction.
I was stuck probably 46541867415313 times for blood & an IV. Three veins were blown before theys ent in someone who could get a vein. I was extremely irritated with the vampires nurses & the fact that it was only 12:30PM. I still had hours before my doctor could even see me.
Right around the time I was silently cursing the full moon & the slowly moving minute hand on the clock, my nurse came in & asked me to turn onto my side. She informed me that Collin’s heart rate had been dipping & that sometimes it’s just because I need to be on my side. I groaned because being on my side was extremely uncomfortable. Throughout the entire process Greg was cheering me on & giving me comfort. He was so supportive.
I felt awful because Greg hadn’t eaten breakfast yet & now it was lunch time, so I told him to go get Cortney to come be with me & for him to go eat. After all, we had until 5:00PM, anyway.
I should have known better.
Thirty minutes later, I started having contractions. In my opinion, it was a combination of my nerves, the stress, hearing the woman next to me, & my brain telling my body that I was having the baby soon anyway, so it might as well get started. The contractions were getting progressively worse & worse, to the point where I was having to breathe through them. At that point, the nurse came in. She said that she had called my doctor & told him he needed to come in now. She informed us that with each contraction, Collin’s heart rate was dipping & then staying low. She checked my cervix & discovered that I was three centimeters dialated & my bag of waters was bulging out. She went out of the room for a few minutes & came back to inform me that I was, in fact, going to have a c-section the moment Dr. Vennart arrived.
My mind instantly went into Holy sh*t mode. I texted Greg to come back immediately & my mind started wandering into all of the what-ifs & will-it-hurts. I was upset about a c-section, but I hadn’t felt Collin move all morning & saw the heart rate steadily lowering every hour, so I was at peace with it. “I just want him safe.” I cried, to no one in particular. I was alone on my side of the curtain. Terrified & alone.
Once Greg got back, things started happening lighting fast. I was given my silly cap, Greg was given his outfit & told to change. I was shaved (totally embarrassing because I giggled the entire time….it tickled) & prepped for the OR.
I’d had a spinal earlier in the pregnancy when I had the cerclage put in, so I knew what to expect, but no one was cutting me open that time, so I was terrified. I mean, the concept it nice. A needle in the spine & you don’t feel them tearing into your flesh, but does it really work? I breathed & told myself that millions of women have gone through this & they are fine, so I will be, too.
After they did the spinal, Dr. Vennart did the poking dance that they normally do to see if you can feel the scalpel, “I can feel that!!” I exclaimed. “Hmmm, that’s weird….Can you feel this?” the anesthesiologist put a wet, cold cotton ball on my shoulder. “No.” I breathed. “Good, because we’ve already started.” he chuckled. “Uhhhhhh…….OH!” I tried to laugh, but I was way too nervous & it came out more like a garbled groan.
“Pressure. You’re going to feel pressure……..more pressure.” Dr. Vennart kept saying. It felt like they were rummaging around in a purse for something & my tummy was the purse.
My mind was going crazy. “Is this for real?!?1 Am I really about to be a Mommy after all of this?!?! I never thought this would happen. Wait, I’m too scared! Is he going to be okay?” Then…..a cry filled the air.
And a little, waxy, squirmy being appeared over the curtain. My son. Healthy. Alive.
“He’s here!” the nurse exclaimed.
I lost it. “Is he okay? Is he okay? Is he okay?” I kept asking. Even after numerous people assured me he was, I kept asking over & over & over again through my torrents of tears.
“Oh my GOD! Oh my GOD! He’s here!!!” I cried. “Greg go make sure he’s okay.”
My husband wanted to make sure I was okay first & tried to stay by my side until he knew I was safe. “Go!” I ordered, “I need to know he’s okay!”
Greg went to Collin & took some pictures. He brought the camera back to me to show me while they started to sew me up. I couldn’t stop crying. I just couldn’t stop the tears. I was in some kind of euphoric, alternate reality. After everything we had been through with Liam, this didn’t seem real.
They gave Collin to Greg & we sat there together, as a family, for the first time, while they stitched me up.
“Hi Baby! I love you so much.” I said as I kissed Collin’s tiny forehead.
Once I was stitched up & moved to my hospital bed, Greg handed me our baby boy. The baby boy I thought I’d never hold. The baby boy who looked just like his brother who had died in these same arms just a year ago. The baby boy I had prayed & hoped for was finally, finally safe in my arms.
Collin Randall Mateo Torrico was born on November 3rd, 2009 at 2:25PM. He weighed 9 pounds, 0 ounces & was 20.5 inches long.
After we held him for a moment, the nurses moved Collin to the NICU for a brief stint because he was considered premature & to make sure the meconium didn’t have any affects on his lungs. Then he was brought back to his Mama & everything in my little world was perfect when I held him again.
Holly is a self-described SoCal Mama with a Michigan heart. The mother of a blended family, she is passionate about normalizing step-mother and step-children relationships and bringing awareness to the ever growing blended family lifestyle. Holly is the creator of popular lifestyle blog OurHollyDays.com and writes for her local and regional newspapers as a recipe columnist. She is a lover of holidays and a stationery addict who is never without her trusty planner.