My Birth Story: 'There's a Hole in Your Baby's Stomach'

Cynthia Dermody

We're sharing birth stories! Here's one from CafeMom user Miss.Cullen (Brittani) ...

Seven Simeon's is my only child, and my pregnancy and his birth were far from normal! It was a very scary experience, but I wouldn't have traded it for the world.

When I was pregnant, I found out via ultrasound that my son had a birth defect called gastroschisis, which means his stomach would never finish forming. A hole develops in the abdomen wall, from which his intestines, bowels, and various organs like the kidneys can emerge from it. The effects this birth defect can cause before and after pregnancy differ greatly, and my son was completely blessed to be on the better end of the spectrum. We had a few scares during the pregnancy, however, with low amniotic fluid, strict bed rest, low weight gain, intra-uterine growth restriction, and inevitably, premature birth.

It was September 15, 2009 around 10 a.m. I went to my doctor's office for a routine ultrasound and check-up. Everything seemed normal, but when the technician told me the baby was scoring only a 2 out of an 8 on the BPP (bio-physical profiles) test, I had reason to worry. She told me the baby was not moving, reacting to stimulus, or breathing normally. I excused myself to go to the bathroom, and while I was gone, my doctor came into the room and told my mother it was time to check into the hospital to delivery the baby.

When I returned, I laughed. I couldn't believe she was serious! We got to the hospital, where I was hooked up to monitors to watch his heart and contractions. I had two while I was there! I barely felt them. I was told his heart rate was not stable and that it kept dipping. I was told to wait a while to see if his vitals improved. Either way, I was delivering: natural if his heart got better, c-section if not.

I started crying. I was so scared. I called my son's father and told him to come immediately. He was over a half-hour away, and no one thought he would make it. Not even five minutes later, the nurses began to prep me for surgery. I bawled, oh, boy, did I bawl! I was so damn scared. I didn't believe it was happening. We went into the operating room, my mom by my side.

I was not prepared for what I saw: There were more than 20 nurses and surgeons waiting, some to deliver the baby and some to treat him once he was out. They gave me shots (which scared me more than ANYTHING but they actually weren't that bad!) and then I laid down. Next thing I know, my son's father is there, but I was feeling a bit tired and loopy. I just stared at him. I couldn't understand how he got there so fast. I laid there confused and a little bored, until finally I heard a weird noise. My mom said, "That was the water breaking! Did you hear it?!"

I freaked out. "They already cut me open! When did that happen!?" I'd been "open" for quite some time, I learned afterward. Seconds later, or so it seemed to loopy old me, my son was born! They took him immediately to the opposite side of the room; I didn't even see him. My mom went over and snapped some pictures, none of which were of great quality, to show me. It didn't even feel real, like that baby was mine. My son's father followed our baby to the NICU unit, where he would be prepped for surgery.

I went to recovery. It was the oddest feeling not being able to move my body. I tried so hard, to no avail. Two and a half hours later, I started to get very anxious. No one was telling me anything. I soon found out my baby hadn't even gone to surgery yet! The hours were dragging by slow as hell. Half of me was sad and concerned and wanted to see him badly, but the other half still didn't register that I gave birth and had an actual baby.

Finally, at 7 p.m., I found out my son was out of surgery and recovering in the NICU. My legs were working fine, so I went to visit him. It was bittersweet. I did not cry, I only stared. Just sat there and stared all night long. It was surreal. But my baby was finally here. It was amazing!

Seven Simeon was born September 15, 2009, at 1:33 p.m., exactly one month premature. He was 4 pounds and 2 ounces and 15 inches long.


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Image via  Miss.Cullen/CafeMom

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