11:11 – A divine time to meet our spirit baby

At approximately 4:00 a.m. on Monday, June 8, 2015 I woke up panicking about completing everything on my to-do list on my last day at my job before maternity leave.  Now that day would be amputated by the LP’s emergency eye surgery so the panic felt even more immediate. Time to get moving. But first I had to pee. Off I trundled to start my day. 

From that moment on, nothing about June 8th went as planned. 

First I discovered that I was awash with blood. It looked watery. I rationalized. I hoped it was my mucus plug and that this would not spell danger for baby Azulito/a. Nevertheless, I ran to where the LP was sleeping. 

“I’m bleeding!” I proclaimed. 

A flurry of questions and answers followed. What does that mean? What do we do?  Should we go now?  What do we do with the MT?

I grabbed the Doppler.  Baby’s heartbeat was slower than usual but just at the low end of normal range (120). I checked again. Still bleeding but definitely mucous-filled and not as much as earlier. We made a plan. 

The LP got up to shower. I went to work and made copies of the things I needed to finish, left the originals behind, put notes on files for my assistant to address in my absence and headed home. 

My mouth felt as though I had swallowed a field of cotton. I desperately wanted a drink. My nausea was ramping up, too and I felt as though I might faint. The LP was showered and lying in bed with the MT. He suggested we wait half an hour so we could drop the MT off early at his dayhome. I checked the baby’s heart rate on my Doppler again. Still low. Harder to find. But still there. 

By this  time the blood had turned real. Bright red blood. A steady stream of it. This was no mucus plug. 

I was scared. 

I called our son’s dayhome operator and explained. I had clearly woken her up. She said we could come anytime. We left the house with the MT in tow, dropped him off and headed to the hospital for our fourth unplanned trip to labour and delivery for assessment. 

The LP was scheduled to be admitted for his retinal reattachmeny repair surgery at 9:00 a.m. At 8:35 a.m. the Resident who had assessed me and baby A said that she was going to call my OB to confirm whether we would be proceeding with the cesarean the following day as scheduled while monitoring my bleeding (which had not stopped but was slower and stable) and baby (who speared unshaded by any of the morning’s mayhem) or having the cesarean Monday afternoon. 

Off to eye surgery trundled the LP.  He would return and wait fit my surgery that afternoon or as originally planned on Tuesday afternoon. 

About an hour later the Resident came back and told me that my OB wanted us to proceed later that day.  I then met separately with the Anesthesiologist and the Resident Anesthesiologist.  The anesthesiologist decided that it would be prudent to give me hydrocortisone in my IV during and after the surgery given that I was only able to wean off of the prednisone about three weeks ago. He wanted to make sure that if my body could not produce enough its own court is all I was covered as well as using the hydrocortisone to reduce the likelihood of me having a severe drop in blood pressure because I typically do with anesthetics. 

The Resident came and asked me some more questions by which time it became clear to me that plans had changed. I naΓ―vely asked what time I was expected to be heading over to the operating room (OR). 

His answer? 

In about 10 or 15 minutes.  It wasn’t even 10 a.m. yet. 

The LP was nowhere near to being released. I didn’t even know if he was in the OR himself. I must have looked stricken as the Resident asked if I was scared. I said no but my husband was not there. I explained what had happened. He took the LP’s name and which department he was in and called down to tell the folks in that area what was about to happen. 

Unfortunately, the message relayed to the LP as he lay in pre-op awaiting surgery was that I was having an emergency section imminently and that while he would be permitted in the recovery room he would not be allowed into the OR for delivery. This was not true. I was still scheduled to be using spinal anaesthetic unless something went wrong during the delivery. 

Upon entering the OR I began to cry. Not sobs. Not whimpering.  Simply, silently a steady stream of tears trickled out of each eye and down my cheeks. The doctors and nurses thought I was scared. The Resident Anesthesiologist explained I was sad that the baby’s father was not there because he was having emergency eye surgery. 

An OR nurse came over, held my hands, leaned her forehead into mine and just sat with me.  She stayed with me while the spinal was administered as well. She held my hand as my arms were outstretched beside me and strapped down. I am grateful for her kindness. It made such a difference. 
I did not know about the miscommunication to the LP until much later. Nor did the Resident Anesthesiologist. There was a delay after I was taken to the OR while we waited for matched blood products to arrive given my risk of placenta accreta. Every time the OR door opened I looked up hoping it was the LP.  It never was. 

Once it was clear that the LP was not going to be with me I tried my best to focus on what was about to happen. I would meet our baby face to face for the first time very soon. 

I won’t bore you with the weirdness that is having a cesarean section using a spinal other than to say it is a very strange sensation to feel strong pulling, pushing and pressure going on in your body without any pain or clear awareness of what is happening at each step of the process. Very strange. 

Finally my OB said my name and announced that we had one good looking baby. Loud clear cries ensued immediately. I felt myself inhale for what seemed like the first time in ages. 

“Thank you” I said. And the tears began anew. A steady, silent stream. 

My OB told the nurses that I wanted skin-to-skin contact with the baby. This is a new intiative where we live – skin-to-skin in the OR rather than only in recovery or on post-operative units though it’s been introduced elsewhere much earlier – and the nurse who was looking after our baby didn’t know what to do at first. Eventually she sorted it out and baby Azulito was on my chest as I was stitched (stapled) up. 

Our beautiful baby boy was born at 11:11 a.m. on June 8, 2015.  

I am in love, rivalled most conspicuously in my affections for this new little man by his older brother, the Miracle Toddler. Even the nurses who saw them together on that first evening after Azulito’s birth commented on how much the MT loves and wants to be part of caring for his baby brother. One said she had never seen a boy be so engaged and affectionate about a new baby. I generally believe that the MT is a pretty special kid but some days life mirrors back to me just how special. 

Last night the LP was holding Azulito. He looked up at me and mouthed the words “I love him”.  After all of the worry, after all of the fear, after the painful moments when – at sea with those worries and fears – the LP had questioned us doing this reproductive immunology cycle to have this child, had lamented the seemingly endless struggles and suffering to which he saw me as having been subjected, I needed those three words.  I need only notice the tears and snot streaming down my face as I write this to know how much I needed to hear those three words.  I believe that the LP and Azulito did, too. 

Azulito and I are still in hospital because the wee one has had typical pre-term troubles regulating his blood sugars. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed but if we want to get out of hospital this week and I want Azulito to be well (this goes without saying), it has now become apparent that I must supplement with formula after each time I nurse. Without that, his sugar levels are continually below the cut-off and on a few occasions have been quite low despite my nursing him every 2-3 hours. 

This has been upsetting and saddening but I am trying to keep myself together about it.  My hope is that in not too long my milk will come in (it takes longer with cesarean deliveries apparently), Azulito will mature a little more (he was born at 36w 5d so only slightly premature as term is 37 weeks) and things will progress normally from that point. 

The little dude is already trying to lift his own head, was a healthy length and weight and has a full head of one-inch long hair (!?!). Wicked recent heartburn explained or is that an “old wives’ tale”?

For safety and privacy reasons I do not wish to discuss on this blog I will not be posting pictures or the names of baby Azulito or the Miracle Toddler. If you have ever had personal contact with me or otherwise know me “in real life” please e-mail me either at spirit.baby.please.come.home@gmail.com or one of my personal emails if you know them. I will share more details and photos there if you promise not to blow my cover. As all good superheroes know, our secret identity is one of our most valuable assets. (Wink, wink and a nod to Disney for that thought from The Incredibles.)

From the deepest well of love and gratitude on my heart to each of you who have followed our journey, laughed with us, held my heart when it was aching and shared my joy when it flowed over, cried with us and cheered us on:  Thank you.  So much. 

70 thoughts on “11:11 – A divine time to meet our spirit baby

  1. Wow you must have published right when I was writing my last comment. Congrats mama! It was such a scary experience without the LP being there but you did such a great job! I am so so relieved and happy for you that this little boy has safely arrived. I hope that everything goes smoothly with the recovery. Love to you!

  2. SOB! I’m so glad he’s here and so glad he’s safe. It gives me the chills just thinking about it — after all of this, your spirit baby has finally come home. Sometimes, the world is a very wonderful place indeed. You tell that wee one that I love him, too — even though I’ve haven’t met him, and likely will never meet him, he holds a place in my heart!

  3. Congratulations on little man!! I can’t believe that in the end you had more to deal with your one tough mom be proud your beautiful family is complete very happy to hear you and baby are well.. again congratulations and enjoy this special time.. 😊

  4. So incredibly overwhelmed with joy and happiness for you as I read this post. It’s been a looonnnggg journey with you and I’m so happy you finally have your baby in your arms. Congrats friend ❀

  5. First of all 11:11!!!! That is amazing! When we first started our journey to baby, I saw the number 11 everywhere. I just knew when I was thinking of you on Monday that something was up. I’m sorry the LP missed the delivery, but I’m so glad your family is finally together. Welcome home Azulito!

  6. I am soooooo happy for you and the LP and your baby and MT are simply gorgeous!!! After all of the months of worry, fear, trials and tribulations, he is here, he is healthy and so is his mommy ! His beautiful face make everything you went through so worth it. Congratulations Mommy !! You did it !!! I pray LP is doing well after the surgery.

  7. Wey Hey Mumma you did it !!! CONGRATULATIONS to you all , I am sooooo pleased and relieved for you, Despite everything you got there. Well worth the journey now you can take slow breaths and relax . Little bubba no2 will be fine hes just adjusting to the outside world . I am so happy for you .all xx

  8. I’m crying reading this. I AM SO VERY HAPPY FOR YOU! Congratulations! 11:11 is a wonderful time to be born. Evelyn was born at 1:11 am. I think those times are a good sign. Especially taht 11:11!

    His sugar will all get worked out soon, and your milk will come in and all will be good. For now, formula is a *good* thing, and don’t tell yourself any different!

  9. Oh my gosh! Congratulations on Azulito’s safe arrival. I literally cried when I got to the point of his cries. I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am for you and your family. Huge hugs! And I hope you all get to go home soon.

  10. So much happiness for you and Azulito. My mom tried to teach me how to drive a car on a stickshift. It was pointless, i focused only on shifting and not on driving. So we switched to an automatic. I took my test, passed and when we got home, she handed me the keys to the stick shift and said, go to it. What dues this have to do with anything? My babies started out on formula in the NICU and once they were stable and home we exclusively breastfed – I believe it will work out. I will respect your privacy and am sure Azulito is beautiful. I am so happy for all of you. ❀

  11. What amazing news!!! It’s so surreal to think that Azulito is finally here… and a journey of a new kind is beginning. So happy for your entire family. MT is going to be the best older brother.

  12. This sounds so scary and so beautiful, all at once. I’m so glad azulito is with you and well. Congratulations for making it through an incredible journey and now onto a new one! ❀

  13. What a memorable birth story! I’m sorry the LP couldn’t be by your side during the section, but I’m glad that in the end, all went well and everyone is connecting with baby A. I’m so glad that everything with Dr. B ended up being well worth it. Heal well, and take good care of yourself. I know it’s hard when you’ve got an adorable infant distracting you πŸ™‚

  14. What….. a….. day! Thanks for making me cry on the way to work haha. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! What a remarkable experience. What a remarkable woman you are. I have followed your journey for quite some time now. Words cannot express how elated u am for you. You strong lioness. Well done welcome to the world little Azullito xxxxxx

    • Thank you very much. You can blame the crying on your current hormonal state! πŸ˜‰ i’m sending you all the positive energy I can and hoping everything is smooth sailing from here on out for you

  15. I’m so happy that you and baby boy are together! ❀ Congratulations and much love to you and yours!

  16. Congratulations! Welcome to Azulito and warm wishes to your entire family. I’m on a similar path and I’ve followed your journey with great hope. I’m so glad he is now safe in your arms. XO

  17. Now I’m the one with tears and snot streaming down my face! This is the most incredible birth story. I’ve been waiting and waiting, trying to be patient, for an update of some sort from you because I’ve been dying to know how things went. But, of course, understanding the difficulty of actually finding time to write any of this right now! Oh, my dear, dear friend, I am beyond ecstatic for you. Ugh, here comes another flood of tears! πŸ™‚

    Now, so much to say. Where to start?

    I can’t believe the LP was not able to be there with you for the birth. I can only imagine what you must have been feeling. You are one incredibly, amazingly strong woman! But then, I already knew that! πŸ™‚

    As for breastfeeding, I had some similar issues. I was forced early on to supplement with formula after every single breastfeeding session, though I was doing that every 2-3 hours just as you are. But Bunny was losing weight and had increasingly serious jaundice. We were at the clinic or hospital every day for the first nearly two weeks of her life for weight checks and blood work. Eventually, she turned the corner and we got into a groove with the breastfeeding. She’s 7 months old today (!) and just within the last week I have scaled back the breastfeeding. Until now, she’s been almost exclusively breastfed, and we still have quite a stash of frozen milk. The point is, just because the breastfeeding doesn’t start out the way you hoped, it can still work out. BTW, I didn’t have a c-section but was induced, which also delays milk coming in (took 9 days!). Unfortunately, when you don’t go into labor naturally, it takes your body a while to adjust the hormones needed for milk production. It sucks, but it makes sense.

    Now, about the number 11. My jaw dropped to the floor when i saw the time baby Azulito was born. My Bunny was born on 11/11 (November 11). My Peanut was born on the 11th of her month, at 11:01, and weighed 7 lbs 11 oz. My husband also has a birthday on the 11th. There’s something about that number….

    Sending you soooo much love and wishing you and your family of four ALL the best, especially in the coming days and weeks. xoxo

    • My friend, thank you so much. I have tears in my eyes as I write this note in reply. I don’t know where to begin so I will stop short by simply saying my most heartfelt thank you. For everything.

  18. Oh my goodness, so many happy tears reading this! I feel so much joy for you that you finally have your little one in your arms after such a long journey…but also a journey filled with so much courage and strength. So thrilled for your family! ❀

  19. Thank you for sharing your story. Congratulations. I am so happy for you. I hope little Azulito’s blood sugar stabilizes soon and you can go home. From my own experiences I know how meaningful it can be when someone shows you extra compassion. I’m glad that a nurse was able to offer you some comfort when the LP wasn’t able to be there in the OR. Congrats again my friend.

  20. Congratulations! I’m so glad you had a safe delivery and a kind nurse to comfort you during the surgery. I also had a emergency section (within ten min) and it really rocks your world because you have no control and no time to process. The hard part is over and now you have a healthy baby boy! What a blessing. πŸ˜‡

  21. Congratulations to you & family on the safe and healthy arrival of baby Azulito! I am so happy you are doing well. I wanted to share a quote with you that coincidentally I came across the other day in reading one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s works (I thought this would be particularly apt here):

    Mother and Child

    When you grow up, you might believe that you and your mother are two different people. But it’s not really so. We’re extensions of our mother. We mistakenly believe that we’re a different person than our mother. We are a continuation of our mother and father, and our ancestors as well.

    Imagine a grain of corn we plant in the soil. Seven days later it sprouts and begins to take the form of a cornstalk. When the stalk has grown high, we won’t see the kernel anymore. But the kernel hasn’t died. It’s still there. Looking deeply, we can still see the kernel in the stalk. The kernel and the stalk are not two different entities; one is the continuation of the stalk in the direction of the past. They are neither the same thing nor two different things. You and your mother are not exactly the same person, but your are not exactly two different people either. This is a very important teaching. No one can be by himself or herself alone. We have to inter-be, connected with everyone and everything else.

    Congratulations again & may this next chapter in your journey be filled with blessings of love, happiness, and wonder!


    • Alex, thank you so much for these beautiful and wise words. One day we must chat about my belief that this baby is connected to a past we both shared though I don’t know how, when, why or through whom. Just a gut feeling mostly.

  22. I totally missed this post, until I went searching for a blog update from you because I thought it was odd. But I do have to admit I am not at all upset that I missed this post because I already knew that your little Azulito was safe in your arms. I’ve been thinking of you non-stop all week, but don’t want to pester you with emails so please just know that we love you and are so happy for your family! If you aren’t already home, I do hope you get to be home together very soon! And I also hope LP’s eye is improving and you are healing well.

    • Thank you so much. I will email you. We are home and it’s still touch and go on whether we will have to go back to hospital for jaundice (because Baby was premature technically he’s at higher risk and has been hovering around levels that could require phototherapy. I really hope that we avoid that. Otherwise it’s so great to be together as a family. Thank you so so much for the love and kindness.

  23. Congratulations to you and your special family, it has been wonderful and thought provoking reading your amazing journey to motherhood and growing your brood. Thanks ever so much for sharing. All the best and go well. Mucho Arohanui Xox

  24. I have been thinking of you and wondering why we hadn’t seen a post from you when I finally checked today and saw that I somehow unfollowed you! I have missed so much! I don’t know what happened. That said, I am absolutely ecstatic that you have a healthy baby in your arms, even if his delivery was less than ideal. (You poor thing–I got teary just thinking about you being alone after everything.) I have more catching up to do now, but I am just so, so relieved and happy for you all.

  25. I’m so so thrilled for you and your family. What a journey this has been, and now a new one begins! Welcome to this world, sweet baby! I hope you are recovering enough from your multiple surgeries to feel the newborn bliss you have long deserved.

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