Our son Jayden Yahir Hernandez was born May 14, 2011 at 6:40 am weighing 8lbs. 4oz and measuring 21 1/4 in. long!
But before we he took his first breath and let out his first cry, mommy was believing Friday the 13th was really unlucky.
My contractions began on Friday the 13th (*twilight zone theme song) at around 9 am. I really didn’t know what to expect. My husband was at work so I was home alone. I had had Braxton Hicks for the past two weeks so when I started feeling the first contractions that’s what I thought they were. All of a sudden I started to notice a pattern. They were coming every 5 minutes. I waited an hour because the doctor’s instructions were to wait until 411: contractions every 4 minutes lasting a minute and consistent for an hour.
At 10:30 I decided to call Carlos at work and by that time the contractions were every 4 minutes. He got home around 11 am. He was so excited and I was trying to relax. You’re probably wondering what I was doing all that time? I was on my exercise/birthing ball. That was the only thing that helped me get through each contraction.
I decided to call my midwife a little after 11 am and I don’t know if they assume all first timers exaggerate or don’t know when the “real” contractions come. The person that answered the call said they’d pass that message to my midwife. A few minutes after I called my water broke. Now I didn’t know my water broke because I was expecting a gush of water come out. It’s never like the movies.
My midwife returned my call and said I am not the person to exaggerate and if I thought I was in labor than I must have been. She asked me to come into the office before calling the hospital. We drove to Aptos (past the hospital) and she did some test to see if in fact my water had broken. She also noticed that by that time my contractions were every 2 minutes. She said, “Honey you’re ready to go to the hospital. You’re in labor!” She made the call and they were expecting us.
We arrived at Dominican Hospital and the nurses up front knew exactly why I was there (could they have noticed my pregnant belly?) They led us to my room and that was it.
No really, that was it for ever!! They had me change into the ugly hospital gowns and they put all these monitors on my belly (okay it was only one monitor that monitored the baby’s heart and another that kept track of contractions) They also told us we’d just have to wait…. and wait…
I had to have a labor picture.
At 6:30 they finally checked me and I was only 4 cm dilated. They didn’t want to continue checking me because of danger of infection since my water had broken. We waited some more. The pain was getting stronger. I was drinking water like crazy and chewing on some ice. Finally, I decided to go into the shower and see if the warm stream would help. One word: HEAVEN!! I loved it! I didn’t want to get out.
Then they informed me that my doctor was busy with family stuff and was in San Francisco. Sound familiar? She was not at a Bar Mitzvah though. She would not be coming back until midnight and I had to be seen by the on-call doctor. I was honestly in so much pain I didn’t even care.
Contractions were getting stronger and stronger I thought for sure I had made some progress. After all it had been over 4 hours since they last checked me. At 11:30pm I asked them to check me. They did, and I got so disappointed to find out I was only 6 almost 7cm dilated. I had endured the pain for 16 hours now and although the plan was to go all natural I knew I had to make a decision.
I wasn’t making any progress. My water had broken over 10 hours before and If I didn’t get any rest I wasn’t going to have the energy to push the baby out. That’s when I asked for the epidural. I had to rest and the breathing exercises I was doing, didn’t even help anymore because I was so tired to concentrate on not feeling any pain.
My life saver finally arrived, I kid you not, at 12am midnight. The anesthesiologist asked me to lean forward with my back out and to stay still. Now here is where I didn’t know where it hurt. I was getting stabbed by a mile long needle while having to stay still through the strongest contractions ever. Talk about punishing Eve for eating that damn apple.
So this is where it feels like an episode of the twilight zone. I got the epidural at exactly midnight and the pain stopped as soon as Friday the 13th was over. It was now Saturday the 14th.
I was able to sleep for a little bit until I noticed nurses were coming in and they seemed worried. It turned out my baby’s heart rate had dropped at a dangerous level. I didn’t mention this but before all of this his heart rate was faster than normal. That is why they worried when it dropped so much. They decided to put more fluid in because they thought there was pressure on his head or on the umbilical cord and was causing lack of oxygen. They inserted a little heart rate monitor on top of the baby’s head.
At around 4am they checked me again and told me I was 10cm! I thought now they’ll tell me I’d have to push right? Now the epidural that I’d gotten was not all that horrible like the stories I’ve heard. I could feel everything except pain. I could even move my legs. I only had that one dose the anesthesiologist had put so it was wearing off slowly. Around this time I had a strong urge to push, but the doctor was telling me not to push because every time I did, the baby’s heart rate would go down.
Again, because I was a first timer, they thought I wouldn’t have the strength to push the baby out quickly and his life would be at stake. They discussed two options. The first option was to use the vacuum or forceps. I automatically knew I didn’t want that. The second option was for C-section. I knew I definitely didn’t want that either. They also told us our baby would have to go directly to the NICU because he might have gotten an infection since my water broke long time ago.
I couldn’t believe what was happening. I just wanted to hold my baby. They were telling me he was in danger and if he did make it, he would be rushed away and I wouldn’t even see him. My husband and I were so sad. This was not how it was suppose to be.
I decided to listen to my body. My body was telling me to push so I pushed. I pushed so hard that the nurses could see his head. Less than 40 minutes later I had given birth to our first son.
I cannot even begin to tell you how emotional it was to feel him on my chest, to see him move, and to hear him cry. My husband and I got close to our little one and we couldn’t believe we had made this little miracle.
They didn’t rush him right away after all. He was able to lay on me (skin to skin) for a good amount of time. Carlos even got to cut the umbilical cord. They took our baby for a closer evaluation since he was purple and most likely needed oxygen. Carlos was able to go with him, but I felt torn. I wanted to be with my baby.
This is the picture Carlos sent to my phone when he was in the nursery.
After a couple of hours I was able to go visit my baby at the NICU and even got the chance to feed him for the first time. That’s when I found out how much he had weighed and measured. It was time to go back to my room and I had to leave my baby there. For the rest of the day, I would go back every two hours to visit and feed him. Our friends and family that visited us at the hospital would see him through the nursery window. I couldn’t understand what was going on. My baby looked healthy. He didn’t deserve to be there.
The next day they told us he had responded well to the antibiotics and he might just go home with us on Monday. On Sunday however they told us more bad news. They told us our baby was a carrier of a virus that could not be treated by antibiotics. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by a strain of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections. People get this who have been in hospitals and who have gotten antibiotics. Now we had no idea what it was and just the sound of it scared us.
We had gone through an emotional roller-coaster that weekend and I didn’t want to hear that my baby would have to be put in isolation because of fear of infecting other patients. That’s when I broke out in tears right there in the NICU. The nurses and the doctors felt so bad for us they took us into a private room to explain to us exactly what this virus was all about. They didn’t have much information because it was one of the first cases they had there at Dominican. They communicated with Stanford and would not get an answer until the next day.
They found a solution. So our baby wouldn’t have to be in a backroom all alone in the NICU they decided to put all three of us in isolation in my recovery room. This meant that we would not have any visitors and all nurses and doctors needed to wear gowns, gloves, etc. before entering our room. We did feel isolated indeed but we were all together as a family. Now the only thing we would have to wait for was to see if he would go home with us the next day, or if he had to stay behind for as long as one week.
Monday morning came and so did many doctors, nurses and random people. The discharging process at a hospital is not like checking out of a hotel. It was not until 1pm that they told us our baby would go home with us. Finally, some great news. I dressed him up in his going away outfit and we were glad to finally be going home.
This is Jayden in his car seat and with his going home outfit ready to go home for the first time.
So we finally made it home and we could call ourselves a complete happy family.
This is our first family picture taken at the hospital. Mommy and Daddy are tired and all three have gone through a roller coaster of emotions, but we are happy to be together.