We had the EV (external version) scheduled on her due date, August 18th at 10 a.m. In the middle of the night before, I had a lot of contractions, but didn't think too much of it. When we got up, E asked if we could take a walk around the block, so we did- literally one block. My contractions increased during the walk, to the point where I had to hold on to J's arm by the end. We got back home to get E ready for daycare and us the hospital, but I quickly realized that I was in labor and we needed to go right then. We dropped him off, and when we got to the hospital I was over 8 cm dilated.
I knew Belalu was still breech, because together with the contractions, I could feel her kicking me- she was lying diagonally. They gave me a shot to stop the contractions and the Dr. came in to tell me we'd be going right into surgery, since they couldn't do the EV if I was in labor. By that point, I had resigned myself to letting go of all expectations for her birth. My low point had been earlier in the week, and at this point, I just wanted to meet her and make sure she was healthy. So when the local anesthesia didn't work, and they told me they would need to give me a general one, I just surrendered and said, "fine." I still remember lying there in the OR with all those people around me, saying good-bye to J and thinking, "I am living exactly what I was petrified of." I wouldn't even be conscious when she was born. My sister, husband, and sons would meet Belalu before me. It was the complete opposite of E's birth. But as I was thinking all this, I was calm because I had surrendered all control at that point. It was what it was. As long as she was healthy, it would be fine.
Once I finally was able to hold her, I was happy to see that she nursed right away. Her apgar score was not great at first, there had been a lot of meconium, the nurse told me. She had been born at 11:40 a.m. and was 7lbs 9oz and 20 in long. Soon after we had met, Belalu was lying in my arms and J noticed that she was turning bluish/purple. I didn't think too much of it, because babies are so funny looking and weird colored at first anyway. But it happened a couple more times that afternoon, and he was really worried. The nurses and mid-wife, however, dismissed any concerns.
That night, everyone had gone home and I was lying in bed, dosing, with her in my arms. A nurse came in and told me the Dr.-on-call wanted to do the newborn exam and it wouldn't be too long. I dosed off and woke up an hour later. It was about 4 a.m. Belalu still wasn't there. I called the nurse and asked where my baby was. She told me the Dr. was still observing her. I dosed again, woke up, and asked once more why they hadn't brought her back. She told me that the Dr. would be in soon. When she came in, the Dr. told me that she had detected a heart murmur and Belalu had turned blue again. They were going to send her to a hospital across the river in another state, half an hour away. They had called an ambulance to take her, but because of my surgery I had to stay where I was.
I called J at 6 a.m. and told him what was happening. When the Dr. had been telling me all this, I was numb and completely calm. When I talked to J, my voice broke. Having to say it out loud was much harder than just absorbing the info as they told it to me. He came right over, and they wheeled our baby into the room so we could say good-bye. She was so tiny in that huge incubator. She just looked so alone, and I reached in through one of the holes to grasp her little hand and give it a squeeze. J followed behind the ambulance to spend the day with her as she underwent a battery of tests. I was left back at the hospital, alone.