A Very Scary Moment

Michelle Rivas writes a harrowing memoir about the birth of her daughter

Photo credit: Flickr CC Leslie

By Michelle Rivas

Pregnancy is a very normal process for those women who make the decision to become mothers, if they do not have any medical condition that prevents them to get pregnant. Ideally, pregnancy should be without stress and without complications but there are always things that get out of control.

In 2012, I became pregnant. I was very happy and excited. When I went to see my doctor to do the typical exams that pregnant women do, she told me that my due date would be on January 22, 2013.

The months passed without serious complications and my due date was approaching. In one of my regular check-ups, the doctor told me that if I had the delivery at the scheduled date, I would not need to have an appointment with her again, but if nothing happened, I had to go to her on January 23 at 10:00 in the morning.

Well, my delivery date on January 22 arrived, and my husband and I prepared everything we could ahead of time to receive our daughter. We prepared a suitcase with the important things that we had to take to the hospital like the forms that I was given to fill in the hospital, the clothes with which I was going to dress the girl to take her home, a camera to take enough photos and videos, and some bed gowns and other things.

The day came and passed without the labor contractions my water breaking. I didn’t even have any symptoms that would indicate the delivery was close. The next day we went to the doctor, full of joy and trusting that everything was fine and that soon our daughter would be with us.

When it was my turn, the medical assistant began to do the routine checkup. She weighed me, measured my blood pressure, and checked my vital signs among other things.

While checking me out, she was always laughing and the expression on her face showed confidence, but when she started looking for my daughter’s heartbeat her expression of safety disappeared, and I could see that she was distressed and scared. She stopped laughing and even talking. She made me move in various directions trying to find my daughter’s heartbeat, but did not explain anything to me.

She stared at my eyes, told me that she needed to talk to the doctor, and left. I was very scared because I understood that something was wrong, but I could not imagine what it could be. The medical assistant returned to the room where I was and brought the doctor and a sonography, or ultrasound machine, with her.

The doctor instructed the assistant to move my belly in certain directions to see if the baby reacted. After a few minutes we could hear my daughter’s heart beating but suddenly we could not hear it again.

While this was happening, my head was in another world. I was crying and thinking the worst. My husband was by my side supporting me and telling me that everything would be fine.

Because my baby’s heartbeat was barely unnoticeable, the doctor decided to call an ambulance to take me to the nearby Brockton Hospital.

The paramedics arrived and with all the professionalism and naturalness of the world they put me on a stretcher, placed me in the back of the ambulance, and started driving to the hospital. My husband followed in his blue Toyota Camry.

On the way to the hospital, one of the paramedics checked my vital signs and asked me questions as to my state of health. When he realized I was fine he asked me why they had sent me in an ambulance to the hospital.

I told him that my baby was the one that needed the emergency service and I explained to him what had happened in the doctor’s office.

We arrived at the hospital and immediately the maternity staff took care of me. They took me to a room and they connected different cables to my belly, so they could monitor the baby. The doctors tried to induce me in labor, but that did not work out because my baby’s heart was very unstable.

My husband had arrived and, like me, he was worried about the baby. He was also worried about a snowstorm that was going to arrive the next day. We had some apartments rented and as owners, we had to go and prepare the area with sand and salt. He had to do that to avoid accidents with the tenants, but he did not want to leave me alone in the hospital.

I was starving, but they did not allow me to eat just in case they had to do an emergency C-section. During the whole day the heartbeat of my daughter was very weak but still the  doctors did not do anything. They just said we had to wait a little longer.

January 24 arrived and the instability in my daughter’s heart was greater. My mom and the rest of my family kept constantly calling since they were in the Dominican Republic and wanted to know what was happening with me and the baby.

At four in the afternoon three doctors came to my room and they told me that because of the condition my daughter was in, they did not consider it right to continue with the plans of a normal delivery. They told me that it would be best to do a cesarean to avoid future complications. I agreed with them and they immediately began to explain the whole process to me and my husband.

My husband always stayed by my side, calm, and although he was as worried as I was, he never lost his composure.

At five in the afternoon they moved me to the surgery room and I felt very nervous. The surgical room was very cold and full of doctors and nurses. the only faces I recognized were my husband’s and my doctor’s, who had decided to do the cesarean herself.

The anesthesiologist explained what he was going to do. Right now I do not remember what he told me, but I remember that shortly after what he explained to me half of my body was anesthetized and thanks to that, the doctors could start to perform the cesarean.

I did not feel pain, but I did feel a little anguish. I did not know in what state my daughter was in and that caused me anxiety, but all those bad feelings were gone when I heard the strong cries of my baby and the pediatrician telling me that my baby girl was born perfectly healthy.

I will never forget that big scare that my husband and I had in the doctor’s office when she could not find my baby’s heartbeat. Undoubtedly this was not a pleasant experience but thank God and the good maternity staff of Brockton Hospital, that this story had a happy ending.

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