THE DAY I BECAME A MOMMY: HARLOW LACE’S BIRTH STORY + NEWBORN PHOTOS
My loves, thank you to everyone who has sent a little love our way as we welcomed our first born baby, Harlow Lace McMullin into this world. This is going to be extremely difficult for me to write and I do feel a little bit traumatized from what we went through but I do feel ready to share. A very big thank you to Corrina Walker Photography for capturing these photos for our little family we are so excited to have her do more family photos done in the near future. ( p.s I added a LOT of photos for our family members)
On October 10th 2016, our lives changed forever. I got to experience a love I had no idea was even possible. I was able to fall even deeper in love with my husband as I watched him become a daddy to our little girl. This was by far the VERY best day of my whole entire life.
From the beginning I knew I didn’t want a birth plan, mostly because I am not a planner, but also because I know how easily things can change and how unprepared that may have made me felt.
My dream was to have a water birth in the hospital setting under the care of a midwife with a medical team close by just incase. If I changed my mind and wanted an epidural it would be there and we would have modern medicine to support if necessary. It was nearly impossible to get a midwife in Calgary during my pregnancy so early on I knew this wasn’t going to be an option for us.
The ONE thing I knew I wanted was to have my baby placed on me the second she was born no matter the situation. That was my birth plan. I didn’t mind how she came or how it happened I just needed her right away.
On October 10th around 1 p.m. Tim and I had made plans to finish something we were working on and just before we were heading out the door I told him I wasn’t feeling well and I wanted to stay back and he should go ahead without me. He was reluctant as he knew it was something we both wanted to do together but I told him to go and keep his phone near by so he could update me on how things were going.
I thought nothing of it, hopped in the shower and was preparing for a relaxing night at home. I decided it was time to shave my legs (seriously it had been a while). I placed on leg up on the bench in our shower and noticed a little bit of blood on my leg. I am extremely blind so without my contacts I can only see blurs of colours but I knew for sure it was blood. I went to put my leg down and thats when I knew it just wasn’t a little cut on my leg.
I felt this huge rush and the entire shower floor was covered in bright red blood. It wouldn’t stop coming, just pouring and pouring out of me. I knew I had to act quickly so I ran out of the shower, grabbed a pad and quickly put it on. Within seconds the pad was full. I changed it and it happened again and again and again. I quickly threw on some clothes and called Tim hysterically bawling. I told him I was bleeding really really bad and I couldn’t feel her moving and I needed to get to the hospital right away. He tried to comfort me over the phone and told me he would be home in ten minutes. I didn’t have ten minutes. I hung up and started running. I literally grabbed my purse and physically started running up the street. The hospital is across the street from where we live so I knew it would be faster for me to start walking then trying to get my self there by driving myself. I was clearly in a little bit of shock.
Tim was there within seconds (thought it felt like hours) and we rushed so fast. He kept holding my hand telling me it was going to be okay and our baby was going to be okay. I kept crying saying, “She isn’t okay! We need to get there right now!” He kept asking how much blood there was and I just kept telling him it was the most blood I have ever seen in my entire life.
We rushed up to labour and delivery and right away Tim told them I was losing a lot of blood and that is when everyone started running. They grabbed an IV and started a line all while trying to check on the baby. I kept crying saying, “I just need to hear that she’s okay, please tell me she’s okay!” They placed the little monitor on me and I heard boom, boom, boom, boom. I looked up and it read 153 beats per minutes and right away I just laid there and said Thank You God. I couldn’t imagine a life without her and I hadn’t even met her yet.
The blood was pretty substantial where Tim began feeling unwell. I wasn’t able to be unhooked for even a second and this was pretty uncomfortable since I was saturating the whole entire bed time and time again. They asked me to stand up so they could change it to help me feel a little more comfortable but as soon as I did the entire floor beneath me was full of blood. Tim was in shock and so scared neither of us were going to be okay. At this point I was just grateful she was doing good. The doctors and nurses had my blood all over their scrubs and I felt embarrassed but so hopeful everything was going to be okay.
The nurse checked me right away and I was having contractions and they were pretty sure my water had broken as well. I was dilated and at this point they asked me what I wanted from my birth. Did I want an epidural, did I not, did I wanted to play it by ear. They also brought up the possibility of needing a cesarean and how it would be safest to complete the paperwork now instead of in the middle of a crisis should one occur. They were suspicious of a placental abruption (which I was suspicious about at 34 weeks when I was having threatened pre-term labour) but we would have to wait to know for sure.
They couldn’t believe my baby was doing so well since I was presenting so poorly so they told me I could plan for a natural birth as long as she didn’t show any decelerations at any point. The doctor explained that even if she saw one decel she would have no choice but to take me into an emergency cesarean. We debated so hard what to do. Should we call our parents, is it going to for sure happen today, why was I bleeding so much. There was so much going on. Tim leaned in and gave me a kiss on the head and told me everything was going to be okay.
Within seconds, everything changed. The anesthesiologist, delivery doctor, student doctor, nurses and a couple other people all came rushing into my room telling me we needed to get my baby out ASAP. Tim and I both got really scared and that’s when the nurse sat down on my (very messy) bed and held my hand. She looked me in the eyes, and said; “I know who you are. I know your story and what you went through to get here and I promise you we are going to do everything in our power to make sure your baby is going to be okay.”
I started bawling but she gave much so much assurance I just remained calm. I was scared and secretly after I’ve watched caesareans be performed I was a little traumatized and I did NOT want one. But at this point I didn’t care, I knew I HAD to what was best for my baby to get her here safely. I turned to my nurse and asked if she could come with me and she said she was coming. There was something about her energy that just calmed us both and I knew I wanted her by my side. I asked them to make sure they still passed me my baby as soon as she was born so I could have her on my chest right away and they assured me as long as baby was okay that they would make certain of it.
They didn’t let Tim come in for the epidural but as soon as that happened he was right there next to me. I reminded them again how I really wanted to hold my baby right away and everyone told me that they were going to make sure of it as long as baby was doing on. The surgery was pretty quick and I heard a little cry and BAWLED like I have never ever done in my whole entire life. That was our baby. The one we talked to and sang to and brought everywhere with us while she was tucked safety in utero for the last nine months. I just couldn’t wait to have her in my arms.
All of a sudden I saw a team of people and my baby being whipped right past me. They laid her down and I started to panic. You told me I could hold my baby right away, why aren’t you bringing me her. I was crying so hard and screaming at them telling them I needed my baby in my arms. Tim said that I didn’t say anything out loud but from what I remember I was screaming. We were both so caught off guard by the whole situation it was all a blur. I knew she wasn’t doing as good as they wanted her to.
All I saw was a tube being pushed down her throat and blood being suctioned up, again and again. This felt like eternity. I could hear Tim asking, “Is this normal?” “This doesn’t look normal”. One of the team members responded saying, “She has swallowed a lot of the blood.” I kept crying begging them to make sure she was okay. Tim was able to cut the umbilical cord which our nurse got on camera (in the midst of her being suctioned–it’s truly the hardest thing I’ve ever watched) but I’m so grateful they were able to capture that moment for me.
They then told me I could hold her quickly. Oh my heart. I was bawling so incredibly hard I never wanted to let her go. The nurse took a photo of us and then Tim told me they needed to take our baby away and she needed a little help. I was so upset. There is no way you weren’t letting me stay by her side. The team asked Tim where he wanted to go (with me or with baby) and he literally stood between us unable to decide. I quickly told him he was ridiculous and better stay by that baby of ours no matter what and they all went running out the door up to the NICU.
Recovery was the longest wait of my life. I debated lying to them telling them I could feel everything again but I was scared I’d be numb forever so I waited it out. Tim was sending me photos and updating me the entire time. They did a chest x-ray and the blood had gotten into her little lungs. She was going to have to stay in the NICU for a little bit. This was such a shock. We felt like we were in the clear because we only transferred one embryo and we wouldn’t have to experience the NICU. The whole thing was very hard for us both. Tim said it was something like 3 hours by the time I was able to see my baby again. I was wheeled to the NICU and they placed her on my chest right away. I cried and cried and cried. I kept telling her how sorry I was that she had to go through that and how much I love her and how I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that she is healthy and happy.
They had a number of different cords going into her (a feeding tube, oxygen, a little IV, monitors of all sorts) and I asked Tim if he was doing okay. We never imagined in a million years this is how our birth story would go but I for one couldn’t have been more grateful. For science, and modern medicine and a team of selfless human beings whose goals are making sure everyone else is okay. I was on cloud nine. A bit traumatized, but the happiest I had ever been. The next few nights were VERY tough. Not having her by my side was extremely difficult and I got very very little sleep. For the next couple of days the staff kept saying, “You’re the couple that saved your babies life”… I just don’t think we realized at the time just how severe things were. They had told us if we were minutes later things wouldn’t have had such a happy ending.. and for this reason we are more grateful for our little miracle than ever….
We have no words powerful enough to thank the medical team at South Health Campus who were involved in Lo’s care and keeping her safe and bringing her to earth. They cared and loved all of us well beyond their job descriptions and this is something we will never ever forget…