All my life I’ve had such a rough time with periods and any other thing that women are supposed to be able to do easily and naturally. This led me to believe I may never be able to have children. It was never really in my plans to start off with, but I would rather tell the world I didn’t want to have kids than have that reality handed to me without any choice.
In May of 2017, my body was telling me that there was something different going on. My already pretty irregular period was even more irregular. I took a pregnancy test that read positive, but I started bleeding heavily. Another pregnancy test read negative. After a quick “consultation” (I don’t know what else to call it because their lack of care at the clinic seemed far from helpful) at Planned Parenthood, it was confirmed that I wasn’t pregnant and probably miscarried, so I told no one and life went on…
On August 25, 2017 and a couple of days before, I was in unheard of amounts of pain. I started feeling sick and my back hurt incredibly bad. I figured I had done something at work because I was lifting chairs and mopping floors. However, on the night of the 25th I was bleeding a lot. It was like nothing else I had ever experienced. The bleeding stopped then there were these cramps. The cramps hurt worse than when I had to get my appendix out and that was the biggest red flag. I decided to go to the ER despite it being 11pm. I really just wanted to sleep it off. I remember calling my boyfriend, Micah, and having him convince me to go. May not have been my best decision, but I drove myself to the ER.
At first, they said maybe kidney stones, maybe obstructed bowels, but then they took a blood test and it turned out I was pregnant. That’s when I began internally freaking out.
I’m lucky my boyfriend’s sister, Lisa, was there eventually or I would have had to go through this night alone.
Before I knew it, they were carting me off to an ambulance so I could be sent to a hospital better equipped to handle the situation. I remember shivering the entire ambulance drive. Whether that be from actual coldness or impending panic attack – I’m not totally sure.
I was grateful to see Lisa already at the hospital. She’s a nurse and turned out to be my guardian angel while I was going through all of this. I felt like she knew what to say the whole time so I wouldn’t totally freak out.
I eventually got to a room with an ultrasound machine in it. The baby’s head was measuring 39 weeks; which I knew was impossible. However, we weren’t going to get an accurate measure of the baby’s age until later on.
It seems like barely any time passed before a more accurate verdict was given. They found the baby to be 32 weeks. I gave a sigh of relief, but it was short lived when they told me the baby was breached and my cramps were actually contractions. After an examination, I measured 6cm dilated. Having been around no pregnant women in my life, I turned to Lisa and remember saying “what does that mean?!” because everyone was looking at me expectantly. She said something along the lines of “people have babies at 10cm dilated!”
So the baby was breached and trying to come right now.
Micah, who was working at a new job in Seattle, and due to fly out to Las Vegas in a few hours, dropped everything and tried to drive over. However, he had taken a Benadryl before bed and one of our friends (and another guardian angel to this entire, crazy situation), Jonnie, drove all the way out to pick him up and drive him back.
There was no choice but have an emergency c-section. Despite the contractions, I was under strict orders not to push, but that was absolutely the only thing my body wanted to do at that point.
The anesthesiologist who did my epidural told me the surgery wasn’t going to hurt. He pushed on my shoulder and said that’s about all the pressure I would feel.
I had Lisa there holding my hand through it all.
As soon as I was numbed up enough, they began. I really could feel all the pressure but it didn’t hurt. That is, until they got the baby out and were trying to put my uterus (that the gynecologist would later call a “gargoyle”) back inside me. I remember saying “I don’t like this” over and over until the anesthesiologist put something else in my IV. After that, I felt like I was having and out of body experience. I was seeing so many weird things. The only thing that brought me back down was hearing the baby cry. He was born August 26 at 2:39 am, weighing 4 lbs 1 oz. I got to kiss his forehead. I felt like we had just met even though he had been there all along.
The nameless little baby was to be life flighted to Spokane because of how little he was and a respiratory infection.
Post-operation I was still feeling like everything was spinning and telling anyone that saw me “I’m tripping balls” which couldn’t have been more appropriate for the situation.
I got to see Micah for what felt like a split second before he and Jonnie were to drive to Spokane and be there with the baby since I could not.
Extremely loopy still, I was grateful to have my boyfriend’s cousin (and Jonnie’s wife), Nicole, in the room with me. She was there for me a lot while I was in the hospital. I think after the surgery I was still eerily calm and weird company. We eventually fell asleep while the sun was already risen.
“How do you just plain not know?” people keep asking me. “You had to have felt something, right?”
I didn’t gain weight through the 7 months. I kind of just stayed the same and was bummed the whole summer that I couldn’t lose weight even with a more strict diet and going to the gym. I have always bloated an annoying amount during that horrible time of the month. The biggest I ever got was the week leading up to giving birth and instead of it ending with an annoying period, I had a baby. The entire pregnancy I was having my regular period as well as still taking birth control just like I had been for years before.
The doctor who did my surgery told me my uterus is so thick and filled with fibrous bands, the baby had no space to grow and there was no way I could feel anything through it. He compared my uterus to a rock cave when he was trying to get the baby out. During the process I lost 800 ml of blood and it made the stay in the hospital longer than expected. I had a blood transfusion and (for lack of any kind of medical terminology) a bag containing some kind of iron that could be put into my body through an IV. I was badly anemic and still recovering.
Despite everything that has happened, I love my little baby. There’s a decent chance he might be my only chance to have a baby.
Paxon Khanh Ohl has made quite the entrance into the world. I can’t wait to see what other amazing things he’s going to do. He’s already hurdled over so many obstacles in such a short existence.