I haven't slept a wink all night. Something isn't right. It’s baby number three so I just know.
“Steph” I get a murmured “Yes Babes”
“Something's not right.”
“Do we need to go to the hospital?”
“I don't think so, I need to work tomorrow so let's see how the night goes."
3am rolls around and still no sleep. I haven't felt her move in hours and am getting concerned as she is usually active, but I am most likely being paranoid and don't want my husband to panic.
“Stephan... Babes. Something is definitely not right.”
Off to maternity ward we go. You know you have been to maternity ward one too many times in the past three years with prenatal stress when the nurses all know you by name. With my toddler I was admitted with pre-term labour at 28 weeks and spent five nights in hospital and prescribed bed rest. But who can afford to be on bed rest when you work for yourself?
At 4am the observation starts. Her heart rate is normal, albeit she seems a bit lethargic. I'm 35 weeks and guilt starts to consume me and I find myself sobbing at the realisation that I could have caused my unborn baby undue stress. What if I've hurt my child by not putting my pregnancy first, the tears are rolling down my cheeks.
It's 5am and I tell my husband to go home as the other kids need to get to school and he has to get to work. He asks me if I am sure and I say I am, it's going to be okay.
I finally fall asleep with the sound of the steady heart rate monitor next to me telling me everything is okay.
At 8am my OBGYN arrives for a check up. I start laughing and tell her I'm probably being paranoid, we've known each other for a few years and she delivered my son.
She takes a look at the ultrasound and says, "You're having an emergency C-section at 9am. Get Steph here and call who you need to. You have no amniotic fluid left."
What? How? When?
Panic-stricken, I call my husband who is still in rush hour traffic. I tell my father to get the next flight out from Port Elizabeth. I call my mother. When she arrives I break down like a child in my mother's arms.
I'm wheeled into theater in a daze. The nursery at home isn't even finished and I'm by no means prepared for this to happen now.
The first question I ask my Paed is if the baby will be okay. She says she will be but will most likely need assistance after birth with her lungs for a little while.
The operation commences and I feel like a deer in the headlights. I look at my husband who is being brave for me whilst I am in panic mode. I hear my daughter's first cry and am overwhelmed with the relief that she is okay. My third and last child is going to be okay.
Weigh ins, measurements and the usual observation commence.
It strikes me that I haven't held her yet. I'm overwhelmed with nausea and I get sick. The anesthetist calms me down and tells me it's normal, but I want to hold my baby.
"Steph!" I begin to feel the panic rise in my chest. Why aren’t they letting me hold her? What’s going on? Anybody? Please talk to me. Everyone’s huddled around the observation station while I’m being stitched up. I can’t see over the blue curtain so I can't make sense of what's going on.
"Can I please hold my baby?"
Stay Tuned for Part Five.