Now I will start this story with the best part, I’m typing this while pretty much fully recovered with my son laying next to me on the couch- the journey to get to this point was not as wonderful. I will let you know that if you are expecting or planning on having a baby anytime soon, read this story with caution- as far as I know, this is not normal, but it would’ve scared me if I read this while I was waiting to give birth. Be forewarned that this is a very long story- so at some point in the next few days I’ll be uploading a video to YouTube so you don’t have to read the entirety of this to get the whole story.
Jackson Graham was born!
On November 30, 2020, at exactly 9:30 pm Jackson Graham Jaskiewicz was born at a solid 7 pounds 14 ounces!
At approximately 1:00 am on November 30, I woke up with severe cramping. Now, this is my issue with that, I had been asking my doctors for MONTHS if contractions felt like bad period cramps, the answers were always unclear. Mind you, I was technically high risk and was also seeing an MFM (maternal-fetal medicine) doctor as well with regular ultrasounds, check-ins, and eventually, I was receiving weekly iron transfusions. If I were my doctor (and
maybe I’m biased) I probably would have been asking more questions and not just writing them off as Braxton Hicks (which surprise, they weren’t).
I tried to go back to sleep but got up and went to the bathroom and found some light spotting. I woke up my husband, Joe, and let him know that it might be the night but I was going to try to get some more sleep, he responded “okay” turns out he doesn’t remember that at all lol. I tried to sleep but I was in too much pain to fall asleep. I tried timing the contractions but they never really ended so I decided to shower to see if that would stop them like it had in the past. By the time I got out the contractions had only intensified to the point where I didn’t even want to lay down, so I woke up Joe and we got ready to leave.
Now in true Mary fashion, we were not 100% ready to go. Luckily we had packed our bags in October after a scare, but the laundry was all half-started with a plan to finish it after work that day, along with his dresser and final room decor going up. I was scheduled to get induced on 12/3 so at this point, I had really given up on going into labor naturally and decided to relax that Sunday and I would finish the last of my tasks on Monday and Tuesday- safe to say I’m still catching up.
Laboring at the Hospital
We got to the hospital around 4:30ish am, we got ourselves checked in, I peed in a cup and they confirmed that my water broke and I was in fact in labor so they admitted me and moved me to a labor room. While waiting to go to the labor room, the nurse in triage blew two of my veins and recorded my “birth plan” which was very simple: informed consent and knowing what was happening at all points. Remember that.
Once there, the contractions were getting more and more intense but I wasn’t really dilating any further so they decided to administer Pitocin to try to get things moving, at that point, I said “forget it” to my plan of IV pain medications and got an epidural. After receiving both of those, I could no longer eat which was not great for my long labor, I don’t know how anyone does anything longer than 24 hours, to be honest. After a while, I was still not progressing, but when my nurse checked me, she said “oh, I think you have another bag of water” and then called the doctor in. The doctor confirmed her suspicions so my second bag of water was broken- because nothing normal ever happens to me. So yes, in case you were curious you can have two bags of water that need to break in order to progress.
After that was broken, I started dilating rather quickly. It wasn’t too much later that I was 10 cm and we were waiting for me to be ready to push around 7 pm. I had read so many blogs that said wait to push until you’re ready, and I stood by that. However, I didn’t necessarily know what it felt like to be ready, so I did start pushing earlier than I needed to in my opinion. This lead to me pushing out the top of his head for approximately an hour and a half which was fine because my doctor was doing a c-section while I “practice” pushed. It turns out the nurse was trying to help him out a little but she didn’t want to be too aggressive since she’s not a doctor. At about 9:20 the doctor came back in and I did one push with her at my feet and she pulled him right out.
Jackson was born!
When Jackson came out, he didn’t cry right away but was very aware. He did a little scream but mostly wanted to stare. We did skin to skin and Joe cut the cord while the doctor tried to remove my placenta. While I was holding my precious baby I started having some complications. The placenta wasn’t coming out, and I was apparently bleeding quite a bit. They ordered a hemorrhage kit and I’m honestly still not sure if I was hemorrhaging. I need to request my file because I never had the re-cap session the next day (for reasons we’re getting to) like I think you typically would after giving birth. They said that I wasn’t, but they did use the kit.
Eventually, the placenta was out and I had an ultrasound to confirm it was entirely out. My doctor was not chill during this period which was scary for me, but scarier for my husband. I won’t get into his feelings too much because I’m not him, but he saw everything that was happening, where I was focused on Jackson. While she was down there doing stitches and whatnot I ended up vomiting and they wouldn’t let me sit up. It felt like it took forever to get someone to take Jackson from me, which was very scary to me. Poor Joe, received the vomit on him because I was laying down and couldn’t fully make it into the bag.
To this day, I don’t know how many stitches I got, all I know that according to Joe, it was “a lot” for my third-degree tears. To be quite honest, I’m just very happy I didn’t need an episiotomy because that was def my biggest fear.
While I was vomiting they took that time to wipe the gunk off Jackson, give him his Vitamin K shot, put on the eye stuff, and weigh him. It’s funny that my entire pregnancy they kept telling me how big he was (one of the reasons I was scheduled to be induced) but our little boy weighed 7 lbs 14 ounces. He then was given back to me and he latched right away and ate for about an hour and a half. To be honest, I’m not sure if he really got anything but I’m happy that he got that little feeding session in.
Soon after that, it had to be around 12:30 am that they told me had to use the bathroom, I had to pee. It was quite the to-do since the epidural was still in my system so two nurses had to get me out of bed and to the toilet. Well once there, I started getting dizzy and not being able to hear so out came the smelling salts, and guess who didn’t pee?! ME! So I had to get a catheter to get the pee out. I’m honestly still fuzzy on a lot of these details. A little while later after Joe and I were getting our baby cuddles in, I actually had to pee, so we went to try again. This time, the dizzy spell didn’t come until after I peed so what felt like 10 nurses came in to get me to not pass out on the toilet and back to the bed. During this time a nurse noticed that Jackson was breathing funny, Joe and I thought it was snoring. She told Joe that she was going to bring him to the nursery for testing, and the plan was for Joe to go with him. Like most couples, we had talked prior to getting to the hospital that if anything happens with Jackson, he stays with the baby. However, because Jackson was leaving after we had spent time with him, Joe wanted to let me know what was going on so after I got out of the bathroom it wasn’t just me in the room- he wanted me to know where they went. By the time he told me and got back to where Jackson was, Jackson was gone.
Moving to Recovery
Not too much later they decided to move us to recovery- even though they told Joe that we would be able to spend the night in the room we were in because of the complications I had they could keep an eye on me. So they wheeled us to the new room while we were still waiting on a Jackson update. Luckily, once we were in the new room, Jackson’s nurse came in at 3:30 am to tell us that they neonatologist looked at Jackson and determined he was okay, but if we wanted to get some sleep they could keep him in the nursery while we slept as well as asked for permission to give him formula because his blood sugar was a little low. I said, yes to both, but I wanted to breastfeed throughout the night, so they said they would wake me for feedings. Next thing I know, I’m being woken up at 8:00 am to have my blood taken and I haven’t seen my baby in four and a half hours.
Now I knew the phlebotomist wouldn’t be able to help me in getting Jackson to the room so when the nurse came in right after her, I asked if she could bring me the baby, she said of course, where is he, and I responded with the nursery. The next thing I know, it’s 9, and then 9:15 so I page the nurses’ station and ask again, they said yes, and then it was probably 9:30/9:45 and I page them again. this time, they send a nurse in, she asked if I was asking for lactation, and I said no, I’m asking for Jackson, my son. If you ask me- there’s not much use for lactation if you haven’t seen your baby in 6 hours. We paged again at 10 and that’s when they say he’s not in the nursery.
If you’re anything like me and have been obsessive about kidnappings since Elizabeth Smart went missing (first kidnapping I remember) your mind immediately goes to someone stole my baby and I’m in a really messed up Lifetime movie. It was at this point things get fuzzy again because I was furious, scared, and beyond upset, but I know Joe and my nurse went to go find Jackson. They found him in the NICU.
Right away, I just about lost it. I was thankful that yes he was in fact, in the hospital. However, why was I never told where he was? They said that maybe they wanted to let me sleep. If you’ve given birth in a hospital I find that to be quite laughable. He had apparently been sent there about an hour after our last update on him. There was no information on why we weren’t told and still isn’t much to this day. It was maybe the doctor “forgot” but we never got to talk with him.
The most frustrating part about the experience was that everyone was acting like I was upset that he was in the NICU. That’s not why I was upset and to this day is not upsetting to me. It was upsetting that no one could tell me where he was from 8:30 until 11:15. Imagine being confined to a bed for nearly 3 hours after being frustrated no one woke you up to feed your baby for five hours and not knowing where he was.
Jackson’s in the NICU
Joe came back to our room after seeing him tell me everything he learned. I demanded to go there right away, naturally, because of Covid-19 we couldn’t see him together. To this day, I’m not sure if someone told me I could hold him or I just assumed I could hold him, but that’s all I wanted to do at that point. I got to the NICU to see my baby with a CPAP, feeding tube, and IV. I was not prepared to see my sweet boy like that. I was not allowed to hold him. They put me in a plastic chair just mere hours after receiving an unknown number of stitches and a very sore vagina. I sat there for 10 minutes starring at my son, crying, telling him over and over again how sorry I was that I wasn’t there for him sooner.
After 10 minutes I couldn’t do it anymore. I needed a break. I went back to my room and met with nearly every person who works in labor and delivery as well as the NICU, at least it felt that way. The apologies felt fake, the NICU doctor tried to blame my anxiety meds, a nurse manager tried to blame anyone and everyone else. As I write this I’m crying, I can hear myself sobbing in my recovery room asking why no one told me where he was and no one could give me an answer.
God bless the wonderful lactation nurse that came in to help me pump and I told her that my poor baby had a feeding tube and they were giving him formula even though I had told them the night before (marked on his little tag thing for proof) that I wanted to breastfeed. She told me that he didn’t even need a feeding tube. Again, cue the sobbing. My precious newborn had a tube down his throat unnecessarily. All of his nutrition could’ve been given to him through his IV. To make it clear- I don’t have an issue with formula, Joe gives Jackson formula at home when I need a break, what I had an issue with was him getting a tube put down his throat without my permission or knowledge of the procedure.
With only a few minor issues with a nurse in the NICU we were smooth sailing. He was of CPAP later that day and I was able to hold him in a comfortable chair. Unfortunately, insurance and the hospital would not let me stay another night, and my discharge date was the day before his. I have never cried so much in my life- leaving the hospital without my baby, coming home without him in the backseat, and his empty but ready for him bassinet. We went back to the hospital that night so I could feed him, and then I spent the next day with Jackson while we waited for his discharge. That process took much longer than it needed to, but I’m thankful it’s over.
I’m unsure where to go next, to be honest. I’m thankful he’s home, but the entire experience has made it hard for me to leave him in any capacity. It’s gotten easier- I went to Target alone the other day, but it’s not without its struggles. My heart breaks if I put him in his bassinet while I go to the bathroom and I hear him cry. While I know it’s not true, I just picture him in an empty nursery with hospital machines beeping while he cries for his parents. Again, I know it’s not true, but I never want him to feel like I abandoned him, and I have this fear that he feels this way, even though he has no recollection of the events I’m sure. This experience left me with major trauma to the point where I wouldn’t take anyone to this hospital for even some minor stitches. The hospital has called me twice since we were home and I can’t talk to them without yelling and crying. I wouldn’t use this hospital or any doctors affiliated with them because of this experience. Luckily for my OB office, this experience often outshines their shittiness throughout my entire pregnancy that I might not switch offices like I planned to prior to this. I plan on seeking therapy at some point to get this off my chest and get help with the trauma I experienced. I worry that this will end impacting Jackson long-term as I don’t like him out of my sight, and yet I have to return to work. We both have to live lives not co-dependent on each other and we are learning how to do that still.
Today, Jackson is just over five weeks old at 9 lbs 7 oz, with a chart-topping head circumference. I’m so thankful for this sweet mamas boy. As someone who has wanted to be and has been ready to be a mom for years now, I can’t imagine a better baby.
As we decide as a family how we are going to proceed I have decided to leave the hospital name out of this story- however, if you would like to know, please message me on Instagram (@marysavrgadvtrs) and I will be more than happy to tell you. We just aren’t going to pubically put them on blast quite yet.
I can’t wait to dive further into being a mommy blogger! Let me know what you’d like to see- be that my hospital bag, nursery, or really anything else!