The story of Dane's birth is a little unique because at the time we were living in Hong Kong. Because of that, I'll do a little background leading up to his birth so you can get an idea of what we experienced!
When we found out we were pregnant we weren't sure what it would look like for us in Hong Kong, healthcare wise. I think most of our friends and family had skewed ideas in their minds that we would be delivering a baby in a dark and damp hospital ward in mainland China surrounded by women screaming laborious woe's in Mandarin... but, that wasn't the case, not at all. Because we were living there as expats, we had pretty decent insurance through Keith's company that allowed us to use a "private" healthcare plan, instead of the country's public healthcare (which is still pretty amazing coverage considering you can have a baby for like $10.) With this private plan, we were able to deliver at a specialty hospital and receive tremendous care. What I loved about this was that I had nurses AND midwives available to me and the baby, as well as all sorts of Western and Eastern practice specialists. The hospital was over 100 years old, located on top of a mountain, overlooking the sea... literally holding ALL the Wes Anderson vibes. The rooms were larger and nicer than most hotels, with private balconies and chef prepared meals that you actually WANT to eat. We were able to have any sort of delivery we wanted, water-birth to cesarian section and anything in between. Additionally, with each pre-natal appointment we had a full hour with the doctor, with a sonogram. They truly focussed on mother-wellness as well as baby. All this to say, I cannot sing enough praise about HK's private healthcare, I would have 100 more babies there if I could!
Okay, so, his birth:
When I was 34 weeks pregnant I went in for a routine checkup and reported to our doctor that I was struggling to feel Dane's movements as strongly as I used to. I knew I could feel him, but his movements seemed so faint. After an ultrasound and some measuring my doc diagnosed me with Polyhydramnios (which basically means excess amniotic fluid... and I had a lot!) What this meant for me was that Dane was a tiny little thing floating around in a big fish bowl, instead of being squished up into my ribs and organs, giving me big pushes and kicks like he was the week prior. Because of all of this my doctor wanted me to come in for daily monitoring. We wanted to make sure Dane was still being active and showing signs of vitality since I could no longer monitor his movements on my own. So, alas began my daily trek to the doctors office about 20 blocks from our flat. This went on for two weeks. By 36 weeks my belly was measuring the size of a 43-weeker...aka HUGE... from all the extra fluid, and at that checkup we decided that we would take Dane via scheduled c-section at 38 weeks being that the risk to keep him in was starting to outweigh the risk of taking him out. I was told that they didn't want me to go into labor naturally because with Polyhydramnios you are very likely to experience cord entanglement or cord prolapse, so the best way to avoid that is a c-section. I felt excited leaving that appointment knowing that I only had two weeks left, instead of potentially four or more! There was a light at the end of the tunnel!
When I got back to our flat that afternoon I tucked away our c-section orders into my birth-plan folder, not sure how I felt about having to have the surgery... when I had always envisioned a vaginal birth. I tried to put it out of my mind and just celebrate that meeting my baby was only two weeks away. I laid down for a quick nap and about an hour later I woke up with the fiercest hunger. I got up to grab a bag of nuts, and went back to the couch to veg-out. As soon as I sat down, POP! My. Water. Broke. And when I say pop, I mean P O P! They always tell you that only a small percentage of women experience their water breaking and that it is not at all like what you see in the movies... it's more of a slow drip, nothing too dramatic. Well, not for me, all that excess fluid really showed, it truly felt like a balloon popped inside of me, then waterfall gush.
I raced to the bathroom, and sat down waiting for it to stop gushing out, hands shaking I called the hospital...
"My water just broke, I think I am in labor!"
"How many weeks are you miss?"
"36, only 36! I have a c-section scheduled for 2 weeks from now!"
"Are you sure, often women think their waters break, its only urine though"
"NO I'M SURE!"
I quickly threw on the closest pair of pants I could find, and raced to the elevators of our building, terrified of what my doctor told me, "we don't want you going into labor naturally, it will come fast, the cord will likely prolapse." I got down to street level and thankfully was able to hail a taxi within no time at all. "I'm in labor, Matilda Hospital, now!" the driver was a saint, and he STEPPED ON IT! We began the twisty-turny drive up the mountain.
I called Keith next, at this point I was bawling from anxiety, nerves, and adrenaline, all the while the taxi driver assuring me, "It's okay, miss...baby is okay, miss... no cry, miss!" I told Keith what was happening and thank god he was in his local office that day, instead of his mainland China offices. He began to book it out of his building, through the subway station and then into a taxi himself.
When I arrived to the hospital I gave the taxi driver a huge wad of cash, told him to keep it, and rushed inside. They quickly admitted me and began monitoring. I was contracting but my adrenaline was too high to feel a thing. Dane was under some duress, but stable. We knew he needed to come out soon. Our doctor arrived and told me that we needed to proceed to an emergency c-section, and as quick as he said the word, we were down in the surgical suite. The operating room was actually quite beautiful, they had lovely music playing, and a giant clock on the wall that I stared at while they prepped me for surgery. I was shaking like a leaf, terrified that something would be wrong with Dane, but before I knew it... he was out. 6:23pm, Keith rushed over to him to cut his cord and get a good look. Dane didn't cry much. "Is he okay? Is he okay?" I kept asking. His pediatrician turned to me and said that he was a "10/10." Dark hair, plump lips, 6lbs7oz, 19.5 inches of pure perfection.
We had a few minor things to work through after his birth, he sucked in a lot of the fluid, so he had to stay the night with the nurses. He also ended up loosing a lot of weight which is common for polyhy babies, being that they retain lots of water weight from soaking like a sponge in all that fluid. When we left the hospital a week later he was only 5lbs... SO TINY. But, he was healthy, he was thriving, he was ours. In the most cliche way, I can now say "and life was never the same," and its TRUE. We love you so much, Dane Dexter, thank you for choosing us.