My pregnancy with Arayana was definitely a surprise. As much as I wanted four children, I was pretty content with the three that I had at home, especially after what had happened with Vishnu. I experienced a lot of anxiety during my pregnancy as a result. However, I knew I was in the best hands possible because I was in the care of a very knowledgeable OBGYN as well as a team of midwives. I expressed my concerns again and again and due to my history with preterm birth and Lupus, my team of doctors monitored my pregnancy carefully. When Arayana showed signs of growth restriction, my OBGYN discussed an early induction at 36 weeks. I had already had two previous inductions and I was okay with having another, if it meant my baby would thrive outside the womb. Just like that an induction date was scheduled and I packed my bags anticipating the day baby girl would arrive.
On May 23rd, I walked into the hospital alone, equipped with a mask and hand sanitizer in tow, because COVID, for my early but very necessary induction. Because we were social distancing from my parents, it was decided that it would be best for the kids’ father to stay home with the kids while I gave birth to our daughter. I had no plans of taking my immuno-compromised mom into a hospital, despite her pleas. My plan was to birth my daughter and go back home the same day given she was breathing on her own and generally okay. I, of all people, should know that things seldom go according to plan.
The labour department called the night before and instructed me to be ready at 8AM on May 23rd. Due to COVID, they were only allowing patients like myself to arrive, once a bed was free. I arrived, registered, and got my IV in right away. My doctor met with me and started the first part of my induction to ripen my cervix. At 36 weeks pregnant my body was definitely not ready or prepared for labour. After a few hours, my cervix was open enough for my waters to be broken and hopefully kick-start labour. As soon as my waters were broken, the second part of my induction began and I was given Pitocin. Things actually went smoothly for the first bit. Baby girl and I were initially doing great. The nurses and doctor even commented on how baby girl’s heart rate response to the Pitocin was so perfect that it belonged in a textbook. Everyone in the room expected my daughter to make her appearance before the end of the day despite my history of long labours.
Then out of nowhere, I developed a slight fever, and had to be treated. Then I experienced trouble breathing, and needed oxygen. Then baby girl’s heart rate started to drop and wasn’t being picked up by the monitor. She gave us all a good scare. My OBGYN quickly inserted an internal fetal heart rate monitor on her head which picked up her heart rate. At that time my OBGYN was also able to notice and unwrap, the umbilical cord that was wrapped around and being compressed by my daughter’s head. I assumed all crisis had been adverted – we all did. My contractions were strong and overlapping one another so I was offered an epidural which I happily agreed to. However, by midnight I had not progressed at all in terms of dilating. My blood pressure was steadily decreasing and I was feeling light-headed, and passing in and out despite laying down on a bed. Arayana was not tolerating the Pitocin either, despite the doctor ordering to reduce the strength of it. Around 1 AM of May 24th, the Pitocin was turned off completely and I was instructed to rest for two hours. By then I knew a C-section was imminent.
Despite the Pitocin being turned off, baby girl’s heart rate was still not cooperating; infact it was fluctuating between high and low causing worry over whether she had a heart condition. My OBGYN called for an emergency C-section. I had no time to rest and only two minutes to call my parents and husband and notify them while I was being wheeled down to the operating room. One of the nurses present, contacted my midwife who quickly arrived. I didn’t have time to panic about the upcoming surgery, even when my legs were being strapped to the operating bed. Due to extremely low blood pressure, I wasn’t given the choice of being fully put to sleep, which is what I preferred. Within the span of just minutes, everything was set-up and baby girl was literally cut out of me.
Our daughter, Arayana Shree Danancheyan was born in the early hours of May 24th, at 36 weeks, weighing just over 5lbs. I do not remember seeing her, as they whisked her away while doctors and nurses hovered over her on the opposite side of the room. My only consolation was that I had heard her cry; scream actually, confirming that she was alive and well. After what seemed like an eternity, she was brought over to me and the nurse held her to my face. Fortunately she was breathing on her own and her heart rate had returned to normal meaning she didn’t require a stay in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Baby girl immediately stopped crying once she was placed on me and the thoughtful nurse looking after me took photographs on my phone. I would have no pictures of her birth, otherwise. The nurse was even able to take a picture of when Arayana pulled out my oxygen from my nose. The nurses restrained her hands after that and we all a good laugh about that one.
All in all, despite anything termed emergency being frightening, it was a pretty good experience in that I had an amazing team of nurses and doctors. My OBGYN was able to safely bring my daughter into this world, just in time without any consequences and for that I am forever thankful. She also allowed me to leave the hospital when I felt up to it given that I stayed a minimum of 24 hours. And you can bet, I left as soon as I could even though I was instructed to bring back baby girl every day for two weeks at 8AM to check her weight and have blood drawn. I much preferred this arrangement over having her stay for two weeks amidst COVID.
We are all so in love with our newest addition and pray that she continues to thrive just as she has been doing. As much as I love children, I feel a sense of relief knowing that she is definitely my last. I’ve had extremely difficult pregnancies and births, but I can also say that I’ve experienced it all. Four kids, two successful inductions, one unmedicated, all natural vaginal birth, and now an emergency C-section later, I am finally retiring haha. Thank you to all those that have sent well wishes and love our way – we appreciate all the positivity, more than we can say.