Tiny and Mighty
My story takes place in Germany where I was stationed in the Army with my husband. On Saturday July 11, 2020 at 6:00pm, I was resting at home in our base housing when I started to bleed. I was 24 weeks pregnant with our first baby. I spent the following four days in a German hospital experiencing painful contractions and frustration with language barrier.
On Wednesday, July 15 at 4:00pm, my doctor said my white blood cells increased signifying oncoming infection. We needed to do a C section that day; if we waited any longer, the baby would have more complications. My husband dropped what he was doing at work and hit the road – an hour away.
By around 5:30pm, I was rolled into surgery to receive the spinal epidural. My husband and I still had no idea what the gender was and wanted to keep it a surprise.
I was hunched over on a table, back exposed, shivering. The room was full of technicians chatting in German, acting casual. I felt like a lab specimen dissected in an anatomy class. It wasn’t the birthing moment I imagined I’d have. I imagined my first born birth to be that scene we all see in movies with the mother’s hair struck all around her face, yelling horrible names at her husband. But it wasn’t that at all. I especially didn’t ever expect to have a C section, let alone an epidural. But there I was. I compelled my body to stop shaking but the room was so cold, I was scared and felt so alone.
One tech behind me said as he pressed his fingers between my vertebrae, “You must stay still.” I took deep breaths and turned my head to watch the clock hanging on the wall to my left. 5:50pm.
Another doctor held my hand. A sheet covered my lower half so I wouldn’t see anything. I didn’t see what was going on, but I felt the first slice across my low belly. I felt tugging and pulling, and I tried to remain calm. I’m sure I squeezed all of the blood out of the poor tech’s hand. He tried to get feeling back into his palm by telling me this sort of thing happens all the time.
The poor guy who held my hand said, “The baby is out. It’s a boy.”
“A boy,” I said smiling with tears…. The tech confirmed he was okay. I smiled again and felt the sense of momentary relief.
Later, my husband received the official numbers and our baby weighed just over one pound. We knew it would be a long time before he'd come home with us. He spent the following 126 days in the NICU without visitors because of COVID-19. Only my husband and I were allowed.
He came home in time for Thanksgiving, weighing over six pounds. We were blessed with a resilient baby whom we believe was the only good thing to come out of 2020.