It all started at 11:45 p.m. on Thanksgiving. After a not so comfortable day, and barely being able to eat my delicious meal I look forward to for an entire year, I should've known I was having contractions all day! I woke up to my water breaking in bed. My initial reaction was....oh, I must have peed my pants, but after finally realizing that wasn't a common occurrence, it dawned on me that my water had actually broken. I nudged Ryan and told him to wake up. He didn't seem to realize the urgency and responded "Ok I'll roll over." This was our typical nightly routine when he snores. After a few seconds, I nudged him again and yelled, "Either I peed my pants, or my water just broke!" I've never seen a grown man jump up so fast in my life! I rolled out of bed and walked to the bathroom, leaking amniotic fluid every which way. Being that I had polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid) they had warned me that it would come out rushing like a waterfall and they weren't lying. I sat on the potty and immediately called my mom to tell her the good and scary news. Meanwhile, Ryan was searching for someone to come watch Isla until the in-laws could arrive. Due to the fact it was Thanksgiving, it was the one evening we had no care set-up for Isla in case this were to happen. He was frantically running around calling every friend on his iPhone but wasn't having any luck. Either they weren't answering, or in some situations, were too intoxicated to care for a child due to the over consumption of holiday beverages.
Meanwhile I was getting off of the toilet to head out of the bathroom, when I felt a sudden pressure, rush of fluid, and an object was coming out!! Yes, it felt like Cohen was ready to enter this world in my bathroom! Though I was in no pain, I began to shake and my adrenaline was rushing through my body. My thoughts continued to race through my mind..."Why was this happening?" "How did I have no pain when I was quite obviously in labor?" "How were we going to survive this?" "How was Ryan going to deliver this baby?" Ryan called 911 and explained the situation to them on the phone. As he put it on speaker phone, I overhead the operator beginning to talk Ryan through the steps to delivering a baby. I screamed out, "This baby can't be born in our bathroom! He has a heart condition and a genetic disorder!" I have never been more scared, anxious, or nervous in my entire life.
It felt like time was racing by, but within 5 minute the ambulance was heard whistling down our street. Three male paramedics and one female paramedic rushed into my bathroom. Without being too graphic, I was still holding the object ( I thought was Cohen's head) from coming out any further. They immediately checked me out and determined that it was not his head but my water bag! Thank goodness. They immediately put an IV into my arm and started asking me a laundry list of questions. The female paramedic was mentioning they would take me to the closest hospital. I explained to them the uniqueness of our situation and that he would have to be delivered at my hospital. Being the condition that he had, I again pushed that we would need to go to Prentice (the hospital that I had planned to deliver at, the hospital where all the doctors knew already about Cohen, and the place I would feel the most comfortable having this baby.) Once I said "heart condition" a look of panic was in her eyes and she then stepped into high gear and reassured me that they would take me there.
Meanwhile Ryan was still desperately searching for someone to come over to our house to care for Isla while she slept until my in-laws could race down from the suburbs. He aimlessly searched the stairwell until he was able to find the next door neighbors to come over. Strapped onto a board, I was lifted by 3 grown men in the air and through my living room as I awkwardly waved at my neighbors I've met once and said "Thank you so much!" They seemed to find the situation pretty entertaining.
The ambulance ride was all a blur. As we pulled into the emergency room at Northwestern I began to get pretty nervous. They wheeled me through the double doors and before I knew it, there were over 30 doctors and nurses waiting for me and me alone! It was embarrassing yet a wave of comfort and calm came over me because I realized that I was in good hands. Everyone I needed to be there was there, from the labor and delivery nurses, to the heart surgeons, to the genetic doctor Ryan and I had met with who came in from home wearing a hoodie and jeans. It was overwhelming in a good way to know that Cohen was going to make it through this and be born safely. I literally asked them, "Don't you have other patients?" and also remember saying, "This is so embarrassing!" They asked me many questions before they whisked me away to Prentice to get set-up in labor and delivery. Once I reached my room, I finally was able to relax and breathe.
Fast forward 4 hours of pain, though definitely easier the second time, and our beautiful boy was born! Weighing in at only 5 lbs 13 oz and 19 inches long. He was perfectly pink, petite, and had an amazing set of lungs. We were able to hold him for about 15 minutes before the neonatologists whisked him away to the NICU.....and the next two weeks have been quite a blur!