Karnel, an education coordinator for gifted children, and her husband tried for 12 years to have children. Married for more than 16 years, the Ohio residents are now the proud parents of 2 1/2-year-old Olivia and 1-year-old Trevor, both of whom were conceived via artificial insemination.
Olivia was born more than a month early, via an emergency C-section. While her entry into this world wasn't as smooth as her parents had hoped, having a happy and healthy baby girl meant that the dramatic delivery soon became just a great story to tell.
I was floored when, at 3 p.m. on Monday, April 17, 2006, the doctor told me that my daughter was going to be born that day.
With four weeks to go, I had expected her to tell me to go home and put my feet up until my next scheduled appointment.
Instead she said, "That baby has to come out now. Your amniotic fluid is way too low, and we need to get her out before she goes into distress. Go over to the hospital. Dr. Wilson is waiting on you."
(This was at 3 p.m. and the baby was crying by 5:45 p.m.!)
A million thoughts went through my head.
"I don't have a car seat yet. I don't even have a baby bed yet! My house is a mess...I'm supposed to have four more weeks to prepare for this baby?"
Then I started to cry.
The doctor told me to calm down, call my husband, go home and grab my bag and head to the hospital.
I didn't have a bag packed, and I live 30 minutes from the hospital. As I raced home, I called my husband, parents and work with the shocking news--that my baby would be born early. By the last phone call, I had stopped crying and started getting enjoyment from everyone's reaction.
"WHAT!? You're having the baby today!?" they all said.
When I got home, my husband was waiting for me in the driveway. He opened the car door before I even stopped. "What do you need?" he asked frantically.
"I don't know!" I replied even more frantically.
"I can't breathe," he said.
Quickly we ran around the house and packed the hospital bag, and 35 minutes later, we were at the hospital.
The doctor was waiting on me when I arrived--and he was wasting no time.
I got an epidural about five minutes after I got to the hospital.
About five minutes later, I lost my hearing. Then everyone started running around and they put something in my IV. The epidural went up too high and my blood pressure dropped. I couldn't hear, I couldn't swallow, and I turned white as a ghost, according to my mom and my husband. So they put me on oxygen and rushed me into an operating room.
Twice more during the surgery they had to give me something to keep my heart rate up. Then they must have lowered the epidural too far because when they were pulling the baby out I could feel pain at the bottom of it all. I asked, "Am I supposed to be feeling pain?" The doctor said, "Remember how I said you would feel tugging?"
I said, "I've been feeling tugging the whole time. I'm feeling pain right now!" The doctor said they would give me morphine once the baby was out. When they did, my blood pressure dropped again and they had to give me something else to keep my heart rate up!
I tried to breathe deeply and slowly to calm myself down. Anytime I am in a situation where I'm afraid, I always tell myself, "This will be over soon. Hang in there. Pretty soon this will all be a story worth telling."
And that's how I got through the whole thing!
After they pulled out our daughter, my husband said, "Karnel, she has hair!" I had been worried she might not. I heard her crying for the first time and I couldn't even look to my left to see her because I felt so bad. I felt like passing out. My lips were dry and cracking. I felt so alone. I tried to call out to my husband, but I didn't have the voice to say anything.
The nurse behind me said, "Bill, I think your wife wants you." Then he came over to me and held my hand! He kept looking over at our new baby girl, which made me happy because he had waited so long for her. We tried for 12 years before getting her!
They let my husband stay in there with me to hold my hand while they stitched me up. I was glad for that. All I could do was squeeze my husband's hand really hard. He helped me get through it, too! Plus, there was a nurse rubbing my hair above me.
I must have dozed off for a few minutes because I thought the whole stitching part went fast. Later I found out it took 20-30 minutes.
When they were ready to take my baby girl to the nursery they brought her over to me so I could see her. I tried to turn my head slightly to the left and physically felt so terrible. I couldn't even speak. I remember thinking, "Yeah, that's a baby." Then I went to sleep.
I woke up sometime later, maybe an hour or so later. I'm not sure, but I was in the recovery room. The first thing I did was smile at my family and asked for my camera so my friend could take a picture of me with my husband, my parents, my grandma and my brother and his wife.
The baby was having a little trouble breathing, so they put her in an incubator for two days with oxygen. I could reach in and touch her, but I didn't get to hold her for two days.
When I finally got to hold her, it was early on Wednesday morning. I had her on Monday afternoon. I was pumping breast milk and had taken some down to the nursery for the baby. One nurse asked, "Would you like to hold your daughter?" I said, "Yes." They handed her to me with a bottle of breast milk and left me to hold her in a rocker. It was a quiet moment. She was so beautiful! I didn't cry then, but I am crying now as I type this story.
Olivia was born at 5:45 p.m. on Monday, April 17, 2006. She weighed 5 pounds 1 ounce and was 18.5 inches long. She had black hair all over her head.
I was determined to breastfeed my daughter, so I started trying to breast feed her when she was two days old. Since she had taken to a bottle for the first two days, breast feeding was a little challenging.
Now that Olivia is 11 months old, we are expecting baby No. 2 on December 4, 2007. The babies are worth any kind of delivery I might have to go through. Even though I am scared of another delivery like that one, I am willing to do it all again. Wouldn't you?
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