‘Why Isn’t Anyone Congratulating Me? Sadly, My Daughter’s Arrival Wasn’t Celebrated…’

The lives of Eliza Bahneman and her husband were permanently transformed on October 25, 2018, when tiny Bella was born.

Bella startled her parents by coming home a few weeks early. She also surprised them by arriving as one of the most precious jewels you can find. “We are pregnant!” Everyone wants to hear these when making family-planning decisions.

The entire pregnancy process took my husband and I around nine months. My anxiety and trepidation were beginning to grow. There are so many different feelings that one might experience when thinking about having children.

I was fortunate to have my sister, sister-in-law, and a few girlfriends know about my pregnancy. We were all a few weeks or months apart from one another. Having someone to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of your pregnancy with was wonderful.

Aside from the fact that life might throw a massive curveball at any time, our path has taught me a lot about life. We are not always ready for change, but we are sometimes.

Like other couples, as our due date approached, we began to feel the excitement of bringing our little one into the world. The space was ideal and prepared to receive our infant. Both our family and we were eager to show them what we had produced. Observing the characteristics the infants shared with each parent was so much joy.

Additionally, I had heard a lot of tales about how challenging nursing can be. I was anxious about the upcoming changes as well as looking forward to developing a bond with my child.

Pregnancy was wonderful and simple for me. We eventually learned that my heart-shaped uterus was not the reason I was deemed high risk. Because I gave birth to Bella when I was 35, I underwent all the necessary prenatal tests in addition to my monthly ultrasounds. Everything came back ‘normal.’

On the evening of October 24th, my husband was working late and I was preparing the final touches to Bella’s room and diaper bag. Right before I went to bed at 11:30, I texted a picture of my belly and a note from Bella to her daddy. ‘Hi, Daddy, Mommy thinks I’m going to come early. She has this feeling she’s not going to be pregnant much longer. I can’t wait to meet you. Love you, Daddy.’

On October 25, 2018, at 1:15 a.m., my water broke. Bella was arriving a month early. I was frantic, as we hadn’t taken any classes (which later I learned you really don’t need). My bag was half packed, our car seat not yet installed, and my nails and hair were a mess. Not the way I pictured I would go into labor. We ended up calling my parents and together rushed to the hospital. The fun of labor began!

Bella’s pulse rate would rapidly drop throughout my labour, so I had to stay on my right side and be side prone. Due to her narrow airway, this later made sense. Due to the epidural and Pitocin, I felt sick and tired. I had to push when the time was right, then turn back to my right side. Strangeness, bafflement, and lack of excitement characterised my feelings. It appeared that a lot was going on.

My mother, husband, the delivery nurse, the midwife, and the NICU were already in my room. We learned the baby was having trouble exiting after about 30 minutes of pushing. After being paged, my OB doctor joined the rest of the group in the room. Due to the shape of my pelvis, I needed two persons to deliver Bella.

Bella finally entered our world after a 12-hour labour. She was five and a half pounds when she arrived sunny side up. I observed a fairly little folded ear when she arrived. Since I had heard that newborn babies have peculiar appearances, I didn’t pay it any attention. She was so little, so red, and so helpless. I was eager to meet our newborn girl and was prepared. I was grinning and looking forward to holding my newborn when I realised something was wrong.

Why aren’t there any congratulations for me? Why is my spouse feeling so uncertain and afraid? My mum won’t even look at me, why? My doctor left, but why? Why are so many more people entering my room? It was quiet in my room. Nobody made any noise. I was torn apart by the quiet; I was left broken and heartbroken. I started sobbing, trembling, afraid, perplexed, and lost. I’m in tears as I type this. I think back on these moments with sadness because I recall that my daughter’s birth was not commemoratedOther specialists entered and exited while taking notes. “What is happening? what went wrong with me? Why are so many people encroaching on our private moment? When I finally caught a sight of Bella, she appeared to be “different.”

A remarkable event turned out to be unsettling. The space was utterly disorganised. ‘What is happening?’ my father yelled as he rushed in from behind the curtain. Things will be okay, but we don’t know much, my mum said my dad after gathering herself as much as she could.

‘Mom, can I have kids again?’

These were the initial words that were said. I have no idea why. I have no idea why those particular words. Even the emotions I was experiencing at that time escape my memory. ‘Sweetheart, don’t think about anything right now,’ she whispered as she turned to face me. Everything will turn out for the best.

Bella needed to be rushed to the NICU to be hooked up to IVs, and my husband would follow, the doctors informed us. I had yet to hold my child.

‘Wait!’ I said. ‘I want to hold my baby.’ They put Bella on my chest and she looked so softly into my eyes. I will never forget that look, a look that said, ‘Mommy I am scared.’ It was also a look that brought comfort to me.

No matter what happens, she will always be protected, I said to her. I watched as my husband and infant left the room while my mother remained behind with me. I had never felt so empty. Why us?

I was able to reconnect with my husband and child around an hour later. You are required to press a button in the hospital where I gave birth after delivery to hear a lullaby. I was instructed to press the button as I was being brought to the NICU. I was unwilling to. I wasn’t having a party. I had no idea when or even if my infant would return home or be alright.