Friday, April 5, 2013

The Bear Cub's Birth Story

Someone asked me about the bear cub's birth and I was going to just post a link to the story here and I couldn't find it.  I guess I never posted it here, so I went to my old livejournal account to repost it here.  Here is the story only modified slightly from the version that was written a few days after her birth.

Early on the day of her birth, I started telling everyone that I was going to have the baby the next day. I didn’t really have any signs, but I felt that I was ready after all. That evening, we went to visit Q’s grandmother in the hospital. She had come down to visit and in order to be here for the bear cub's birth, but had acquired pneumonia before coming down and ended up in the hospital. When we got to the hospital parking lot, Nerdlet started throwing up on herself. So instead of visiting, we went to Q’s parents in order to bathe and change her.

Afterward we visited there a little while before leaving. On the drive home, I had my first contraction at 9:16 pm. The obstetrician told me that my labor would be fast and the contractions would be stronger and faster than normal so that I need to come in at the first sign of a contraction and not wait and time them. So since our house was on the way to the hospital, we made a quick stop for my bag and breast pump and headed in. By the time we got to the hospital less than 30 minutes later, I had had 8 contractions and they were coming so fast that I could only take 3 to 10 steps before another one started. When I got to L&D and they checked me, I was 6 cm dilated. They admitted me and moved me to a delivery room and by the time I got there and they checked me again, I had progressed to 7 cm. They asked me if I wanted an epidural and I said yes as at this point it felt like I was having one big contraction that didn’t end. Everything I had read and heard before indicated that being induced causes harder and more painful contractions than going into labor naturally. I can tell you that for me that this was completely not true. The contractions I was having were much worse than the ones I had with my first pregnancy, which was induced.  I didn't end up getting the epidural, though, as they didn't make it to me before the bear cub was born.

The doctor on call came to see me and asked me if I was ready to have the baby at 11:50 pm and I joked that my sister could get her wish for me to have the baby that day instead of the next because her ex-boyfriend was born the day after, and the doctor said that I was ready and I could push the baby out then. I told her that I wanted the baby to come healthy and that it didn’t matter which day. At this point the baby’s heart rate spiked and shot down and the doctor told me to push her out now. The nurses helped me into position and I didn’t get her out and the baby looked to be in even more danger and the doctor said she needed to come out now or we’d have to do a C-section. I pushed her out with the next contraction at 11:55 pm, and she came out in her water sack fast, quick and healthy.

When she came out, one nurse took her to clean her up and the doctor and the rest of the nurses were crowded around the table whispering about something frantically. I asked what was going on and none of them seemed to hear me. I became more insistent and started to move out of my position to move toward them. The doctor told me that I had a vasa previa. I asked her what that meant and she briefly explained that the placenta had not been attached to my uterus, but only to the water bag and that it was amazing that the baby had lived and she wouldn’t have if she hadn’t come that quickly. She sent the placenta to the pathology lab and told me that we were a case study. I have since looked it up and in apparently most of these cases the baby is born dead and they find out that vasa previa was the cause afterward. The babies that live were delivered by C-section ahead of time. So my little bear cub is a miracle baby. I did not have time to share my birth plan with the doctor, and I found out after I delivered that she gave me an episitomy to get the baby, but considering it after I read about vasa previa, I can only be grateful that we got her out so quickly.

It turns out that it looks like my bear cub also has Down syndrome. In another miracle, she had no organ problems yet, did not need to go to NICU, and her blocked kidneys had even cleared. She was jaundiced and had phototherapy, and she responded well to it and we went home after 2 days in the hospital.

When we went to the two-week appointment is when the doctor heard something funny in her heart beat.  We went to the cardiologist at that point and that is when they discovered the two holes in her heart.


  1. Whoa! Bear Cub is a true miracle. I never heard of vasa previa. Talk about scary!

    1. She really was a miracle. It's so unheard of that a baby with vasa previa lives that my perinatologist dismissed it and said the delivery doctor clearly didn't know what she was talking about if the bear cub lived. It was the first of three large miracles associated with the bear cub.