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A shocking surprise: The birth of Caleb Epidural

A shocking surprise: The birth of Caleb

"Every week my anxiety grew because I did not know if the baby was coming early or if he was going to be OK."

If someone had told me that at the age of 35 I would be having another child, I would have laughed hysterically. The thought of having another child after having two teenage boys (Alexander, 17 and Brandon, 14) at home never crossed my mind. I was at the point in my life where I was content. I have an amazing husband, two wonderful kids, I just received my Masters degree from graduate school, and I was about to start a new job. Life couldn’t be better! Well, at least that is what I thought. Boy was I surprised to receive the news from my doctor saying I was pregnant. I had been on the pill for 14 years, I was not planning to have any more children, and my husband and I were set with our two boys. We were both young parents; we had our first child at the age of 18, and now that our kids were teenagers, we had a bit more ease and flexibility back in our schedules.

Before we received the news, my period arrived as it usually did. However, one month after my regular cycle, my period didn’t last very long like it usually does (it lasted about 2 days with light spotting). I did not think anything of it because I was on the pill; pregnancy was far from my mind. But, as the days passed, my breasts started to feel full and began aching. I was too busy at work to even notice it since I was in the process of leaving my current job to start a new one, until one weekend it hit me hard. I could not sleep because my breasts were aching so badly, and I could not bear the pain. I remembered feeling this soreness before; it was when I was pregnant with my last child. In my mind, I kept thinking, “No it can’t be. I got my period. Maybe I have some other health issue that I need to go get checked.” Needless to say, I told my husband what was going on, and he sent me to the doctor right away.

Before rushing to the doctor’s office, I told my husband that I would go get a pregnancy test just to make sure that I was not pregnant. I went and got the test the same day and waited until the next morning to take it. Sure enough, it came back positive. I was in shock. I started crying to the point that I was shaking, and when my husband asked me what was wrong, I showed him. Being the calm one in the relationship, he just hugged me and said, “God has a plan for us, and He knows what He does.” I was too in shock to try to understand what his kind words meant. I could only focus on trying to rationalize, thinking, I was on the pill. What does this mean? I called my doctor to make an appointment to make sure that what I was seeing was real.

I arrived at the doctor’s office a few days later and did a urine analysis. Sure enough, the doctor comes into the room and confirmed I was definitely pregnant. I was still in disbelief. I can’t be pregnant. What about the pill? I had my period after all. Once the doctor calmed me down and explained the situation and that the baby and I were going to be OK, I calmed down. He said according to my last menstrual period I was four weeks pregnant. But to make sure that the information was accurate, he made me do an ultrasound in his office. Well if I was not already in shock, the ultrasound made it worse. The ultrasound tech yelled out, “Congrats! You are 2 months pregnant!” What? No way. She then proceeded to show me the baby on the monitor, and I started to cry.

Once the shock wore off and all was said and done, I found myself pregnant and about to start a new job in a week. Because of my age and previous pregnancies, I was at high risk. My doctor is a really great OB/GYN; he took such good care of me. He started me on progesterone shots at week 18. Once a week I had to go to the doctor to get my weekly shot and get checked to ensure that the baby was developing properly and that he was healthy. Week 25 of my pregnancy, I felt sharp pains at work; I was not sure what was happening, so I called my doctor. He sent me to Labor and Delivery that day. It turned out I was having contractions, and I was so scared. My contractions stopped after a while, but the doctor was worried about my condition, so he put me on bed rest. I was on bed rest for a while, but I was fortunate enough that I was able to work from home.

Every week my anxiety grew because I did not know if the baby was coming early or if he was going to be OK. The contractions would come and go. I was in Labor and Delivery again in week 28. Luckily, the contractions stopped, so I was able to go home the same day. I had to limit my physical interactions to make sure I was not doing too much. I took the doctor’s order seriously and did what he told me to. Despite the precautions, I ended up having pregestational hypertension on the border of having preeclampsia. One night while going to the bathroom, I also fainted; I was fortunate that I did not fall on my belly. I landed on the sink and screamed for my husband when I woke up. I was so scared because I did not know if the baby was OK. Again, I was in Labor and Delivery for observation at week 32. By this time, I was so worried that something was wrong with the baby because of everything I was going through. Luckily, I had exceptional care that allowed me to continue on with my pregnancy. I finally made it to week 36, which is longer than I had ever gone with any of my pregnancies. I was excited to know that I had made it this far and that the baby was healthy. My last shot of progesterone was given to me that week on a Thursday. The doctor told me that after the last shot was given, I could go into labor any day.

Well, he was correct. The Monday after my last shot, I was cooking dinner and talking to my husband on the phone when I heard a pop. The pop was not a usual popping noise; it was more like a noise inside my belly that I heard. I had to pause the conversation with my husband to explain the sound I just heard. I didn’t really think anything of it. I continued talking on the phone. Once I got off the phone, I went to the bathroom and saw that my mucus plug had come down. I read so many pregnancy magazines and books that mentioned that the mucus plug could come weeks before labor actually begins, so I was not worried at all. I had no pain, so I just went about what I was doing. I ate dinner with my family and then watched some TV with my husband. Shortly after watching TV, I decided I would go take a warm shower like I usually do. While in the shower, I started experiencing some abdominal pain like I have not experienced before. I thought it was because I had eaten a bit too much during dinner. I put on my pajamas and came down stairs and watched some more TV with my husband. However, a couple minutes later I started feeling more abdominal pain, and I told my husband. He suggested I go lie down on my left side to see if they were false contractions. I went to lie down, and the pain was so intense that I had to call him into the room. I told him to time the pain because they were contractions. He started timing the contractions, and they kept coming every three minutes. I could not bear the pain, and I told him I had to go to the hospital.

I arrived at the hospital and the pain I was in was unbearable. I asked the nurses to please give me some medication, but they couldn’t give me anything until I was checked by the doctor. So I had no choice but to wait as I suffered through every contraction. Finally, the doctor came in to check me, and I was already at 5 cm dilated at 8 p.m. I was surprised because I had no idea that I was already that dilated. The doctor said, “You are having a baby today!” I couldn’t believe it. I started texting my boss, my team members and family that today was the day! I kept begging the nurse to give me medication because the pain was so sharp. Finally, my wish was fulfilled, and I got my epidural. Afterwards I felt so much better. I was relaxed and didn’t feel any pain.

At 10 p.m. the doctor came to check me again to see how far along I was, and sure enough, she said I was fully dilated and ready to push. I couldn’t believe how fast that was. I looked at my husband, and he was also shocked. My sister-in-law had just arrived and right on time, she was in the room when the doctor said start pushing.

On November 17, 2014 at 10:55 p.m. my little man that had wanted to arrive early finally took his first breath of life. Caleb Aiden Garay was born at 36 weeks and 5 days, weighing 6 pounds, 2.6 ounces. He was still considered a preemie, so the doctors took good care of him. I was so emotional because I was afraid that he would not be able to breathe on his own or that I would not be able to hold him.

Sure enough, they placed the baby on my chest after they cleaned him off. It was the best feeling I have ever felt. I was relieved to know that this child was doing so well despite all the complications I went through during my pregnancy. What was a surprise and a shock at first, turned out to be such a great blessing. Caleb arrived right on time for Thanksgiving dinner. He spent his first Thanksgiving surrounded by his family. My family and I are so excited about having another addition to our gang. I’m getting used to having a newborn in the house again. It has been such an emotional roller coaster ride, but worth every second!

Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to birthstory@pnmag.com. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!