Meet our son, Harvey.
Stan had picked the name before I was even pregnant, and we loved it so much that we never thought of anything else. We were so ready and always eager to grow our little family. I wrote in another blog post about Becoming First Time Parents and that even though it's no longer just Melissa and Stanley anymore, we prefer it this way.
If you see my Maternity photos, my pregnant belly wasn't that big, but Harvey's head was always measuring large. He was also posterior with the umbilical cord around his neck. My obstetrician said there was a likelihood of c-section and if I wanted to try vaginal delivery I should be induced early before his head got any bigger. I decided to attempt vaginal delivery over an elective c-section, so we got booked into the hospital later that day.
We arrived at the hospital Friday 5 pm and my obstetrician inserted a gel to soften my cervix overnight / prep my body for the induction. Then we got settled into a hospital room, ordered some Uber Eats and got ready for bed. Around midnight, I remember Stan was fast asleep and I was still nervous about the next day. I got out of bed to pee, which at 38 weeks pregnant, was very often.
Then my water broke. I was shocked.
As someone who likes to plan things out, I was caught by surprise. Luckily, a nurse walked in and told me I was going into "spontaneous labour". We had to move to a delivery room, and before Stan could finish packing up our things, my contractions started and they were painful. They were hitting hard and fast, and I assume it had something to do with the gel that accelerated things.
With a TENS machine and Stan applying heavy pressure on my lower back, I was able to breathe through 4 hours of contractions. But I wasn't dilating fast enough and was exhausted having not slept since the night before and asked for an epidural. The anaesthetist was so lovely and encouraging at 4 am. I remember there was a warmth to him, him and the anaesthetics!
With the epidural, I could finally relax and get some rest. However, after a few more hours, I had only dilated to 8cm and my obstetrician was worried about Harvey being in distressed as his heartbeat wasn't looking great. We decided it was best to go into surgery and I knew I had tried my best.
The nurses prepped me for surgery and I was nervous. I didn't know what to expect and honestly, the process felt very unnatural to me. I wasn‘t upset about my failed vaginal delivery, I was overwhelmed by how uninformed I was about a c-section delivery (and recovery, but more about that in another post).
No one told me how daunting it is to lie on the table, completely naked and not being able to see what’s going on. Stan was right beside me, but I couldn’t really see him and it felt lonely looking up to the ceiling. And even though I was numb, I was not expecting so much violent tugging to get the baby out.
10:37 am, Harvey was born.
I cried, and not tears of joy. They were tears of how uneasy I felt being on that table. Harvey was wrapped up and put on my chest. I couldn’t see him that well and felt disappointed that I didn’t get to do skin-to-skin or breastfeed like many other mothers.
Stan and Harvey left the room while I was still being stitched back together, and I felt sad and lonely again. I met up with them 30 minutes later where I could finally hold him. It felt weird that I had a baby, because I couldn’t see or feel him come out of me. And to make matters worse, when I finally got to breastfeed, I struggled and failed.
Then I felt that moment of love.
We settled into our hospital room around midday and I did skin-to-skin with Harvey. His right ear to my left chest, listening to my heartbeat, and I held him like that for the rest of the day. I was able to look at him and observe his details. He felt calm and slept in my arms. When he was awake, he’d look at me with his big eyes and I know he knew I was his mum.
My family visited that night, and no one asked or even mentioned about carrying him. Whether they were secretly dying to or not, I appreciated that they gave us our bonding time and that they knew Harvey needed to be soothed in my arms on his first day out in the world. I also felt a sense of pride that I am now a mother and only I was able to provide for Harvey in a way that no one else can.
We pulled out our camera on the last day before discharge and I'm so glad we found the time because I love these photos. I find the rawness of a hospital room magical and beautiful. I didn’t care about perfecting the shot, or that the lighting wasn't great, we just wanted to capture our bundle of joy and remember how tiny he was at 5 days old. Stan and I were a mess and sleep-deprived, but completely in love with our baby boy.
Check out my Instagram @themomentsbymelissa for more pictures and candid moments of our little family!