Soon after we arrived at the hospital, the nurses confirmed that I was in labor and 3cm dilated. They attached a fetal monitor to my baby bump (much larger than just a bump at this point) and told me to stay in bed. At this point, I was determined to labor for as long as possible without an epidural. While laboring at the hospital, I lay in bed bombarded with too many questions about my medical history, religious preferences, and even more that I cannot recall. Brandon was busy completing paperwork to get me admitted into the hospital.
A few hours into labor, I could not handle it. Brandon and I had learned breathing techniques for labor, but I just could not focus. Holding my breath actually felt better than breathing. This was probably exactly what I shouldn’t be doing. In the moment, I just did anything to feel “better”. I told Brandon that I wanted the epidural and expected it to be given immediately. Instead, they had to do a blood test to make sure that I would not have an adverse reaction to the epidural. Another twenty to thirty minutes of pain passed before it was relieved with the miracle of the epidural.
About half an hour after the epidural kicked in, the nurse came in for a routine check on the baby and me. Without warning, the fetal heart rate monitor started beeping. Immediately, the nurse called in another nurse. I don’t remember what they were saying, but they tension in the room escalated as more nurses flooded my room and pushed Brandon out of the way. Soon after, they informed us that our baby’s heart rate had dropped significantly, and I had jumped to a 7-cm dilation. To save the baby’s life, they rushed me into the delivery room, leaving Brandon outside. He started shaking uncontrollably as he watched two doctors and several nurses enter the delivery room. He had no idea what was happening, except that they had to save our baby’s life.
Throughout my pregnancy, I had imagined that my birth story would be similar to what you would see in movies or read about on Facebook and Instagram. The mom would labor through her delivery holding her husband’s hand. For some, it would take half and hour, while others required much longer. Nevertheless, each mother would have her husband by her side. After several pushes, the baby would be born, and the nurse would gently but swiftly hand the baby to her mother for precious skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding. This was all that I had hoped for.
As I lay under the glaring white light in the delivery room, I asked for my husband. The doctor calmly told me that this is an emergency delivery, and he needs to make sure that the baby and I are okay before he can allow Brandon in the room. My heart pounded as everyone rushed around me, anxious to deliver our child. After a few pushes and help from the nurse, our baby girl was born. I was in the delivery room for merely 20 minutes. It happened so quickly; I barely had time to catch my breath.
When the doctor pulled Kyla out, he held her up so I could see her for a few seconds before she was whisked away by the pediatrician. Realizing that our baby girl had swallowed some amniotic fluid on her way out, she struggled to take her first breaths. As I lay there getting stitched up, all I could do was wait, listen, and watch as the pediatrician and three other nurses worked quickly to save our little girl’s precious life. After what felt like forever, sharp, rhythmic cries filled the delivery room. It wasn’t until this point that the doctor allowed Brandon into the room.
Dressed in hospital scrubs, Brandon rushed into the room. He came to my side to make sure I was okay and received an update from our doctor. I was healthy, and Kyla made it just in time. Because of respiratory distress, Kyla was immediately admitted to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for the entire duration of our stay at the hospital. All I could do was watch as the doctor cleaned her up and quickly took her away from me. I craved to hold her tiny body close to mine, and a newfound ache grew in my heart as they wheeled her away. While I was overjoyed that she was okay and my labor was swift, the only thing I wanted in that moment was to hold my baby girl.
The doctor gave Brandon a piece of paper that detailed when we could visit her. Unlike hospitals in the U.S. that encourage skin-to-skin contact as much as possible, even if the infant is in the NICU, Taiwan is overly protective of NICU babies. Because of this, we were only allowed to spend 30 minutes in the NICU, talking to her through the walls of her incubator. Our first visit was on October 16th, 2018 at 10:30am. After sanitizing our hands and wearing a hospital gown and mask, Brandon wheeled me in to see our sweet baby girl lying in her incubator with tubes attached to her body everywhere. Within minutes, I began bawling. I wanted to hold my baby. I felt helpless, as though I had already failed her. I couldn’t feed her or comfort her. I could only place my hands on her tiny warm body that made me feel like a giant. In a blink of an eye, thirty minutes was over, and the nurse rushed us out of the NICU.
As I returned to my hospital bed, I spent the next hours looking through all of the photos we had already taken of Kyla. She blew me away. She was absolutely perfectly beautiful. Reflecting on our labor and delivery experience, I knew that God’s hand was over it all. Literally nothing happened according to my birth plan. When I needed my husband the most, he wasn’t allowed by my side. When I had been dreaming of holding our baby after delivery, she was taken away from me. Yet, through it all, God guarded her life and mine. He ensured that the best doctors were available to care for us. He gave Brandon and I sweet moments together to relish in our experience and the growth of our family before we were flooded with overjoyed family member. Through it all, God was good. And God was good through it all.