My sister, Nikki, was due to give birth on 12/18/18. Our entire family was beyond excited to welcome her baby girl! My sister and her husband, Matt, had been going back and forth about names from the moment they found out they were having a girl. (Yes, we did their Gender Determination Ultrasound at Perfect Timing Ultrasound!) Because they couldn’t settle on a name, we took to calling her “Baby G.” Nikki had come to Perfect Timing on a few different occasions which enabled us to really appreciate Baby G’s development and even get some beautiful 3D images of her! This only enhanced my family’s anticipation! We just couldn’t wait to meet our new family member.
Apparently, Baby G could feel us beckoning. Sixteen days before her due date, Nikki noticed that she hadn’t been feeling the baby move very much. This was a noticeable change as Baby G had been very active in utero. A decrease in fetal movement in the later stages of pregnancy can indicate that the baby is under stress. So, following the advice of our mom, Nikki called her Obstetrician’s office. They were concerned and did not want to take any unnecessary chances, so they directed Nikki to go to the hospital.
Once at Umass Memorial Medical Center, she underwent several tests to determine how Baby G was doing. The results weren’t great. They determined that the baby was ok but that Nikki had borderline low amniotic fluid, which is dangerous for the baby. Because of her gestational age of 38 weeks, decreased fetal movement, and low amniotic fluid volume, the doctors decided to induce Nikki. This was a shock to everyone. Nikki and Matt had not even brought the “Go Bag” with them to the hospital and had nothing that they would need for Nikki’s stay.
Labor inductions typically take some time so Nikki thought it best to send Matt home for their things. They lived about 20 minutes or so from the hospital, so they figured this would be no problem. While he was gone, the doctors went forth with beginning the induction. They started with misoprostol, which did in fact initiate contractions. Nikki had texted our mother that “some small contractions” had started but that she was doing fine and to stay home because this will take a while. Nikki had said the same to me and even asked Matt to bring her work computer back to the hospital with him so that she could get some work done during the early stages of induction.
My knowledge of medically induced labor had me agreeing, “Okay, yeah this will probably take a day or so.” Most medical inductions are slow going, and somewhat uneventful. Most of the time, doctors carefully watch as labor slowly progresses in a controlled environment. Unfortunately, there are just some factors that the doctors cannot control. One of these factors is that low amniotic fluid levels result in compression of the umbilical cord. This is a dangerous situation for the baby as cord compression results in a lack of oxygen and affects the baby’s blood pressure and heart rate.
Once Nikki’s contractions started, things got pretty intense. Out of nowhere, monitors started sounding, a code was called and a team of doctors and nurses rushed in to Nikki’s room. My poor sister was there alone, anticipating none of what was about to happen. Apparently, Baby G was not handling labor well. Despite the medical team’s efforts, her heart rate plummeted with every contraction. They rushed Nikki to the operating room, the surgeon calling Matt from Nikki’s cell phone on the way telling him he needed to get to the hospital ASAP because they needed to perform a c-section. Matt texted my mom, “c-section” and rushed to the hospital. During that time the medical team had stabilized the baby’s heart rate and actually brought Nikki back to her room in the birthing unit. That didn’t last for long, though. A few minutes later, another code was called and Nikki was rushed to the operating room again. Once again, they were able to stabilize the baby’s heart rate. Thankfully, Matt had made it to the hospital and was there when the doctor told them that, “This baby is going to need a c-section. We are better off doing it now while we have her temporarily stabilized, than waiting and having to rush to save her life.” Nikki and Matt readily agreed and the c-section was performed. By the grace of God, everything went extremely well! The baby was delivered in good health and my sister made it through the surgery just fine.
My mother and I had raced up to Umass Memorial (in separate vehicles) as soon as we heard that Nikki was having a c-section. It was a long ride for both of us as no one knew why Nikki needed the c-section delivery. We didn’t know what was happening or which of them was in danger. All we knew was that we needed to get there. On my way up, I called my sister, Kayla, who lives in Arlington, Virginia as she is attending George Washington University. We kept each other company and just talked to pass the time. It was scary, but I was so thankful to have my sister to talk to during that long drive. When I was about 20 minutes out from the hospital we started receiving texts that the baby was here! I could see picture messages popping up on my phone and cried tears of relief and joy that my sister and the baby were okay.
Getting to meet Baby G was so incredible. I can’t accurately describe what it was like for me to experience becoming an Auntie for the first time. Nor am I able to put in to words how my heart ached with relief when I saw that my sister was okay with my own eyes. My heart raced with adrenaline for hours thereafter.
Several hours following her birth, Baby G was still without a real name. My sister, who was somewhat doped up on pain medication, was blatantly harassing her husband to come up with names he liked. We were all giddy with relief and it was hilarious. My mom and I left the room for a few hours to give the new parents some time alone with their new baby girl. Later that morning we had name! They had decided on Addilyn Lee, Addie for short! We all absolutely loved it. I held my perfect little niece and told her, “Auntie loves you so much, Addie girl.”
The next day, Nikki told us that a resident who had assisted during the scary ordeal of Addie’s induction and birth, stopped by her room. The resident told Nikki that they heard that Nikki and Matt had named the baby and she wanted to come by to see “miracle baby, Addie.” The resident explained how rare it is to call two codes on one baby and that Addie was in fact a miracle. Nikki explained that she didn’t realize until this conversation, that “they really could have lost her.”
When you have a baby, everyone congratulates you. It’s just the cultural norm to do so. I’ve been thinking about it and there is so much behind that custom. People mostly mean it in the “how exciting!!” kind of way, but there’s more. Birth is truly a miracle. The congratulations we extend to new parents and their families encompasses all of the excitement as well as the knowledge that pregnancy doesn’t always have a happy ending. Addie is indeed a miracle and we are so fortunate for Nikki noticing the change in her baby’s movement. For my mom directing Nikki to call her OB. And for the wonderful care and expertise of all of the Umass Memorial Medical Center staff that ensured that my sister’s pregnancy would have a happy ending.