Sloane’s Birth Story

Our perfect little angel baby is 1 whole week old and what an eventful week it’s been! I spend most every day reflecting on her delivery and to be honest there isn’t a lot that I can tell you about it. My husband is probably the one who needs to write this story and maybe one day we’ll get him to do that. But nonetheless, here’s my side of the story…

I’ve always felt pretty aware that birth is an unpredictable thing. There’s no real way to control how it’s going to go. The idea of having this structured “birth plan” has just been crazy to me. I went in expecting the unexpected and still I never could have imagined things happening the way that they did. I had such an easy and healthy pregnancy. Complications during birth weren’t anything that we needed to be over concerned with.

Last Tuesday morning I had my weekly appointment with the OB and everything was perfect. I was progressing well and she predicted that Sloane would be here by the weekend. Of course Alex and I were elated to hear that news. Although it did set in and the paranoia of being on water-breaking watch began. She said it would be soon but I didn’t expect it to be that day.

Sure enough it was! Around 8:00pm we headed into the hospital to confirm that my water had broken. It did and we settled into our little labor and delivery suite. We called all of our family and they headed our way.

As I’m sure you’ve heard labor is not in any way comfortable. By midnight I was ready for an epidural and had consumed more orange flavored popsicles than anybody would consider healthy. Mr. anesthesiologist came in to make my life a lot easier but unfortunately it didn’t work out that way.

After an hour in the epidural still hadn’t helped anything. I was still feeling every contraction from start to finish and had no relief. They guessed that this could have been because of how fast labor was progressing. Mr. Anesthesiologist returned and gave me a little more of the medication in hopes that would help my discomfort and it did. Within minutes I was feeling great.

My nurse came in and checked on us and this puts us up to around 2am. Alex and I decided to take a little nap before things really started.

And that is basically where my story stops.

I vaguely remember different glimpses of the rest of the night and when people that were in the room talk about what happened it all sounds familiar.

I remember a light being shined in my eyes. I remember a room full of doctors and nurses telling me to stay awake. I remember Alex holding me on one side and a nurse on the other. I remember the OB holding up Sloane, telling alex to cut the cord, them laying her on my chest, and a sweet little NICU nurse saying that it was time for them to take her away.

That’s it.

Multiple others have informed me of the events of the night so this is essentially what happened:

When Alex and I laid down to nap I went unresponsive. He woke up about 30 minutes later to check on me and I was 100% out of it. Thankfully Alex is a doctor in training and knew what to check for. Praise God for having a husband in medicine.

He immediately called for my nurse and everyone ran in for an emergency delivery. Normally with me being unconscious they would have done an emergency c-section but Sloane had already decided that she was on her way out. They had no choice but to go on with the delivery and thankfully this process only lasted about 30 minutes. However Alex would say that he’s sure it lasted hours longer than that.

Immediately after she was born I started becoming slightly more lucid. So I do remember alex cutting the cord, Sloane crying, and her being laid on my chest. I guess if I had to pick what I got to remember from my child’s birth those would be the three events that I chose.

Sloane was a trooper through it all. Since she was on her way out on her own without much assistance at first she inhaled amniotic fluid which caused her O2 to drop and a patch of fluid on her lungs. She got to say hello and then immediately had to be taken to the NICU. *cue the nurse saying “it’s time for me to take her away now”*

The frustration I remember feeling is unreal. I remember everyone yelling at me to stay awake and being mad because I thought that I was awake. I was trying to talk but couldn’t and that made me mad. I wanted to hold her and miss NICU lady took her away and that was infuriating but my body wouldn’t let me express any of this.

Basically through all of it my husband is my hero.

Had he not woken up when he did, neither me or Sloane would be here. At multiple points throughout this process he thought that his wife and daughter were dying and that’s a feeling that I can’t even imagine. He’s an absolute rock, though.

After they took Sloane back everything was a blur. Alex was in and out all morning. I kept having him run to the NICU to take pictures of her so I could see her. I was still recovering form whatever kind of spell that I had so I wasn’t allowed to get out of bed much less leave the labor and delivery room.

I’d say around 9ish I was once again fully aware. Once my epidural wore off they let alex take me back in a wheel chair to actually meet her and that I remember every second of. The nurse in the NICU at the time handed her to me and I just cried.

Sloane was off of her oxygen by that afternoon. Her nurse said that she pulled it out all on her own so they assumed she didn’t want it. She had one episode after they took her off the oxygen when her levels dropped which was followed by her coughing up the fluid that she swallowed which was actually a great sign. She was just correcting the original problem.

As for what caused my unconsciousness, no one really knows for sure. Every medical professional in that room swore that they had never seen anything like it. They decided that it must have been a reaction to the epidural. It could have been because of how fast the labor process was progressing, the amount of medication that I received through it, or that the medication somehow leaked to the rest of my body rather than staying in my lower back.

Regardless, I basically overdosed. The light I remember being shined in my eyes was them checking to see if I had a stroke, they contemplated giving me Narcan. What we learned here is that I am not someone who can handle experimenting with opioids.

Different doctors and nurses popped into our room the next day and always started with “so do you remember me?” The truth is I almost did. They all had familiar faces but I couldn’t pin point exactly who they were or why they knew me.

We spent our few days in the hospital running back and fourth between our room and the NICU. We tried our hardest to nap between feedings and visitors. We were beyond exhausted.

Sloane had to have been held by 30+ doctors and doctors-to-be in her few days in the hospital. Perks of being friends with so many medical students. It’s comforting to know that we have a list of the most qualified babysitters out there.

I was discharged on friday morning but Sloane had to stay until Saturday just for supervision. We stayed until bed time on friday and then came back again in the middle of the night to feed her. Going home without her on friday was probably the hardest thing that we’ve done. We just had to keep reassuring ourselves that we could go back and get her first thing in the morning. I have such a respect for parents whose children are in the NICU for even longer than just a few days. I genuinely don’t know how you do it.

So here we are! Heading home with a precious, perfect baby girl. We could not be more thankful to Jesus for taking such good care of us. We have soaked in all the newborn cuddles and love this past week.

Thank you so much to everyone who has called, texted, visited, brought us food, and just checked in on us in our first few days settling in at home. We appreciate you more than you know!

Dream Pregnancy

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13-14‬ ‭ESV

You guys. These past 9 months have FLOWN by–even if it didn’t feel like it in the moment. Someone told me pretty early on in my pregnancy that time will never go by slower or faster than when you’re pregnant and that couldn’t be more true.

I have officially reached full term and I’m not sure that Alex or myself have ever been more ready to meet our daughter. It is so so surreal. This week all that has been echoing in my mind is Psalm 139. “You knitted me together in my mother’s womb” This verse is of course plastered everywhere in hopes of reassuring worth and self image but it’s never been more important or meaningful than it is now. “Knitting together” is exactly what God has been doing through me these past 40 weeks and that is the most crazy beautiful thing that I could possibly imagine.

I really am so thankful for the pregnancy in general of course but especially how easy it’s been. It really has been a dream pregnancy. I was fairly sick during the first trimester but isn’t basically everyone? What was worse than that in my opinion was the absolute exhaustion. It made working full time and doing school full time hard. It didn’t last forever thank God. Alex loved the sick aspect of it. He found it enjoyable to document the process. Literally. He was in the bathroom with my Nikon each morning before we left for work taking pictures of me puking. As you can see here…

Now second trimester really was a dream. Post sickness and fatigue. Back when I could actually sleep without getting up 5 times throughout the night to pee.

Now, however, I just feel huge and tend to be easily irritated. Trust me when you’re 25ish weeks and you feel huge and uncomfortable, you aren’t. Just you wait and see.

Also, 10/10 would recommend not being 8-9 months pregnant throughout the scorching hot and humid summer months. We voted to switch up our timing next kid if we get the chance. That isn’t promising considering we had zero say in it this go around. But that’s life!

All-in-all, despite minor discomforts, this pregnancy has honestly been so easy. We absolutely cannot to hold our sweet girl officially any day now!

Maternity Pictures

We had maternity pictures done at 33 weeks in mid-July. Possibly on the hottest, most humid weekend in July. I guess when you’re due in august that’s really your only option. Despite the frizz and sweat we endured we were THRILLED with the way that they turned out. Alex hates doing pictures and still said he liked them. Seriously Crystin Urban is amazing and the sweetest. Here are a few of our favorites from the shoot!

**fun fact: these pictures were taken at Romanza Johnson Park by drakes creek in BG. That is also where we had one of our first dates (three years ago almost to the day!) where alex met my family. Kayaking the creek/floating turned into a disaster 😂 really funny story though.

^^ This one is one of my favorites!

^^ That sunlight 😍

^^ And this one is my very favorite!

Photography by Crystin Urban

Baby Stewart is a…

Genetic testing is all the rage these days.

We’ve had a couple of appointments thus far and at each one they do blood work to test for any genetic abnormalities to try and see how healthy the baby is. A couple of weeks ago at our last appointment we received the results from the first round of testing.

I tested positive as a carrier for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA1). This is a recessive gene that could potentially be passed on to the baby. Being a carrier isn’t an issue but the disease itself is fatal–which is absolutely terrifying.

Upon initially hearing this news I didn’t know how exactly to take it because I wasn’t totally sure what it was. However my hubs lives and breathes these things and knew all to well. He wouldn’t tell me anything about it at first just to keep me from panicking but I know how to work google.

Me being a carrier means nothing unless alex was as well. Go back to 9th grade biology and draw a little punnet square. If both of us are carriers the chances of the baby having SMA1 went from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 4. It would mean there was a 25% chance that our baby wouldn’t live to be a toddler. Absolutely terrifying.

So, at our last appointment they did more blood test on me to check for various other genetic abnormalities, gender, and also tested alex to see if he was a carrier for SMA1.

This news lead to the LONGEST couple of weeks of waiting ever. If Alex wasn’t a carrier then no worries, if he was then lots of worries. This last week has been a lot of praying and a lot of being forced to trust that God has a perfect plan, even if that plan was far from what I would consider to be perfect. It’s been a week of us being forced to understand that this child is God’s and we are just lucky enough to love it and raise it while it’s here, no matter how long that may be. Regardless of what the test results say we have to be okay.

Last night we got a phone call from our OB and we missed it! We heard the phone ringing but didn’t get to it in time and she left us a very vague voicemail saying the results were in. Of course when we called back it was after office hours and we couldn’t get a hold of anyone or even leave a message. So I called back first thing this morning and of course got the voicemail. I left a message and anxiously checked my phone on repeat all day long. This afternoon when I left work alex had me call again–no answer.

Finally I tried back a 3rd time and someone picked up rather than the automated voicemail. We received the BEST news that we could hope for in that Alex was negative for SMA1. I also tested negative for all other genetic abnormalities so as far as we could possibly see at this point, we have a very healthy, growing baby and we could not be more thankful to Jesus for that.

Please don’t get me wrong here, I fully understand that the momentary scare that Alex and I had is nothing in comparison to the reality that so many parents and families face each day. Because of this I have the upmost respect to anyone who has ever been in this position and didn’t get the right test results back. I pray that if that’s you, you find peace, comfort, and strength in Jesus and know that we are praying for you. I speak for Alex in saying that moments like these confirm his desire to make even the smallest difference for patients and families experiencing trying times.

So in relief in finding out this news, we were also overjoyed to find out that baby stewart is a baby girl! Initially only I found out because the OB called me. I had full intentions of doing some kind of fun gender reveal for Alex. However I totally ruined it when accidentally calling her a “she” rather than an “it” when telling him all of the good news. I quickly tried to keep talking so he wouldn’t notice but he did.

It’s totally okay though, we have enough surprises going on around here. Alex was at the gym when I got the call so I immediately had him come home so we could go shopping. Natural reaction, right? It’s a girl, we must go to target!

We were walking around at Baby’s R Us and it had me so overwhelmed and so full of joy. Pale pinks, polka dots, flowers, hearts, we can’t wait for any of it! Baby is so so loved.

Sloane Alexandra Stewart, we are thankful to Jesus for you and your health. We are beyond ready to meet you!

Sincerely, Stewarts.

P.s. It’s not easy making a confused dog pose well with a onesie.