Dear Naia…an Unexpected Birth Story
The week before you were born, my friend Julien was visiting from Canada, and your Auntie Bora had just moved out of our house, and into her own apartment. Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving had just passed, and we’d spent a glorious early autumn 4 day weekend wandering around Seoul’s blissfully empty streets.
We had no inkling that you were planning an early arrival. We foolishly thought we had 6 weeks left to prepare our house, but as it turned out, we didn’t have any time at all.
The week before you were born, I started bleeding. It wasn’t much, but bleeding in the third trimester of pregnancy is never a great sign, so we headed over to Samsung Hospital’s Emergency Department to get checked out. Fortunately, Korea’s efficiency even works in places where you don’t expect it to, and I was admitted, checked out and discharged all within the space of 2 hours.
Our doctor wanted to admit me into the hospital for 24 – 48 hours of observation, but I told her that we lived only 10 minutes away, and would come back if the bleeding increased. Well, little Naia, the bleeding didn’t increase, but it also didn’t go away, so at our next scheduled appointment, 2 days later, the doctor insisted that I be admitted into the hospital.
I guess I was a little bit in denial because I still had not even considered the possibility that you might make an early debut into the world. In fact, I spent my 3 days of observation in the hospital, just waiting to get out!
I was diagnosed with partial placenta previa, where the placenta sits too low in the uterus and covers part of the cervix. It does have risks, but over the course of 3 days, the bleeding slowed down and stopped. I secretly rejoiced, thinking that I would be discharged the following day.
That was Saturday, October 3rd.
But boy, did you have a surprise for me, because in the middle of the night, my water broke. Unfortunately, I was still in denial. You see, it was 6 weeks too early, and your daddy and I hadn’t prepared a thing for your arrival. You had no name, nowhere to sleep and nothing to wear.
I must admit that I simply went back to sleep. The next morning, I mentioned it to a nurse, and all hell broke loose. I was rushed into 2 ultrasounds, and a battery of tests I didn’t understand.
The verdict: my amniotic sac had ruptured.
I was put under 24 hour observation and scheduled for an emergency C-section, the following day.
And on Monday, October 5th at 8:48 in the morning, you were unexpectedly born at 34 weeks and 2 days. You were a little skinny and light, but healthy and strong. You cried right away, and though I didn’t really get to see you for more than 5 minutes before the doctors whisked you off for more observation, you didn’t spend one second in an incubator or need feeding through an IV.
After 24 hours, the nurses wheeled you into my room, and we began to get to know each other. I confess that it was a bit strange to have you there. I wasn’t scared or nervous, but it was definitely weird to suddenly be responsible for another life.
And though you arrived much, much earlier than we expected, your daddy and I have fallen completely and totally in love with you. You are perfect.
PS: I’m sorry you had to sleep in a big tupperware box, but it’s the best we could do on such short notice…