Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Birth story

I was drying my hair when I felt a little bit like I'd wet myself. Weird... I thought... I didn't think I had to go. But whatevs... maybe baby kicked my bladder or something. I pottied again, put a pad in just in case I did it again, finished getting ready and headed off to work.

In the car on the way to work I called Mike. "Call your doctor," he told me. So of course I hung up and called my friend Tracy, who has a two year old. "Go home, change into fresh underclothes. Roll around in bed, stand up and if water comes out then your water probably broke." I headed back home to try this out, but once I got home and used the bathroom again I realized what was coming out was tinged pink. I knew at this point that something was happening - what, exactly, was the big question. I called the Doctor's office and left a message - the on-call doctor called me back almost immediately and told me to head to triage at the Women's Hospital. I called Mike, told him I was heading to the hospital (he then convinced me to bring my hospital bag, which was mostly already packed, with a listing of what else I needed on top of the bag, so I quickly tossed the other items in the bag and headed out).

On the way to the hospital I stopped and got a bagel with schmear from Einstein's, and then promptly got stuck in rush-hour traffic on the way to the hospital. I didn't have any contractions at this point, so I wasn't too worried about getting there fast. My dad called when I was in the car on the way down there, and I freaked out that he knew I was headed to the hospital (he'd happened to call Mike when Mike was heading out of the office). "Don't tell anyone!" I exlaimed to him. I was terrified that people would think I was in labor and then we would just find out I peed my pants. That would have been awesome.

At this point, I was 34 weeks and 4 days. After 34 weeks, the risk to the baby of staying inside after your water breaks is greater than the risks of being born a bit early. So when I got to the hospital and they confirmed my water had broken, they brought me up to a labor and delivery room. My doctor stopped by - she happened to be at the hospital - and told me that her colleague was on call and would deliver me. She jokingly said "I wasn't supposed to see you here yet!" when she walked into the room. We discussed starting some pitocin to start labor and I had been dead against the use of pitocin. I asked her to check my dilation to see if I'd started progressing at all first and she balked a bit - they don't like to check too often after your water has broken b.c they don't want to introduce germs to the baby's environment and I was just a bit crampy/didn't have real contractions yet. But she checked and at that point I was 3cm. We agreed to start just a bit of pitocin to get my labor going - the nurse mentioned that pitocin can be dialed up to 40 or so and I was on 2 or 4 most of the time. So I didn't need a whole lot to really get the contractions rolling.

And rolling they did. I didn't want the epidural until I really needed it, and so I did the full blown labor thing until I was about 5cm dilated. The contractions were coming pretty close together and were not pleasant at all.... I demanded that Mike stand by me and that my Dad (who had jumped on a plane only half an hour after talking to me - when I'd told everyone to wait and see if I was even IN labor or not before doing anything... hahah) not talk at all during contractions. I even yelled at him a little bit when he got chatty during a contraction. Hey, I was in labor! I get to yell right?

Around 5cm I finally called Uncle and got the darn epidural already. Dadnd Mike had to step out of the room while the anesthesiologist attending and resident did their thing. I really didn't feel anything at all (they do topical anesthetic before sticking you with the needle) and the nice nurse we had held my hand. I was a bit scared but it ended up being total cake. Relief washed over my midsection and my legs went numb. I went from writhing in pain to being on top of the world. I had to actually look at the monitor to see when I was having a contraction. Since it was around 2:30 and Mike hadn't had lunch yet, I sent him off for a cheeseburger and fries while I was on Cloud Epidural Nine. Thank goodness I did this too, because it was going to turn out to be a long day.
Three cheers for epidurals

Getting in some reading after the epi

The nurses kept fiddling with my pitocin, dialing it up to a 4 or 6 and then back to a 2-3 after the contractions came too fast. I was feeling a short pain in my right side but it was nowhere near as painful as the early contractions. That was the only indication I had that I was having a contraction at the time. I will just say I expected to be in ALOT more pain during labor, epidural or not. By 5 or so I begged the resident to check how far I was dilated. I simply needed to know if I was going to be in for another hour of waiting around or another half day of waiting around before pushing. I was 8cm and fully effaced, so things were definitely in full swing. About an hour later the doc himself swung by, pronounced me 10 cm dilated and gave the nurse instructions to start the pushing. At this point I didn't really feel the urge to push (as the doctor said "You have a really good epidural") but that doctor said we could get things going anyway. My nurse, Autumn, who had been helping out in several rooms, notified someone else to take over her other rooms and prepared to start the pushing process. We loved this labor and delivery nurse - I have a new respect for the nursing profession after this whole experience!!

This chart told me when I was having a contraction

I'm told that usually people are allowed to push for about 3 hours. I pushed for 5. I was not tired and in a great mood to just meet our little one. I didn't want to have a csection after a whole bunch of pushing, so I just kept begging to keep going. We tried pushing in about every position in the book. We could see a bit of change but the whole effort wasn't really going very far. At one point I made a whole lot of progress, and we got to the point where the nurse said she thought I was far enough along to avoid a csection. This made me pretty happy.

At about 5 hours of pushing, the Doc came back in and talked to us. I had been pushing for two full hours longer than he usually lets people, he could tell we were pretty tired out. He indicated that he could use the forceps and get baby out. At this point I was pretty convinced he was right and that baby wouldn't be arriving without some sort of help - I'd been pushing with all my might for 5 hours, Mike was exhausted, I was only OK b.c of all the adrenaline, and our nice L&D nurse had had to go home and she was replaced with one who wasn't very helpful or encouraging. So we looked at each other and knew that it was going to have to happen this way... he was sunny side up, facing up and just not coming out.

The minute we acquiesed to the forceps, the room jumped to life. The doc's resident came in to help position the forceps, the anethesiologist came in to redose my epi, and a team of pediatricians came in to attend to the baby since he was almost 6 weeks early. There were literally 20 people in the room as they positioned my legs up on some platforms and got me all medicated and positioned. I felt really bummed that I hadn't been able to push baby out on my own, but happy that he was going to make his way into the world like NOW. I also needed some more encouragement what with the Doc not being my doc and being very matter-of-fact/quiet and the nurse who wasn't friendly. And Mike was looking pretty exhausted. So I asked him to go get my sister. I needed someone in Hyper Cheerleader on Crack Mode. He and Katie stood at my side as the docs got all done and positioned and we waited for the next contraction.

The next contraction came and I pushed 5 times...and the docs pulled him right out. Katie was perfect, going nuts and hollering encouragement "You're doing it! You're doing it! It's out! He's perfect! He's perfect! Oh my gosh! You did it!" I collapsed, so relieved that Dos had made his way into the world, and so happy to have labor all over with.

The team of pediatricians attended to Dos, now christened Emmett Jeffrey, while my doc and resident finished delivering the rest of the "junk" and sewed me up. The doc wouldn't say how many stiches I had, which clued me into the fact that there were kind of alot. At this point my epidural was so well-supplied that I didn't much care.

They laid him on my chest and we all met each other as a family.

When he came out I immediately started crying.... more crying came when they put him on my chest

I love the look on Mike's face here.... our first moments as a family

We had an hour with him before they whisked the little one off to the NICU to be monitored and watched. Any baby under 35 weeks goes straight to the NICU. We were just 4 days short, delivering him at 34 weeks and 4 days. Now that we are home I am so thankful he had such great NICU staff to watch him and make sure he was 100% healthy. But at the time being away from him was SO HARD.

After I'd been sewed up, my Dad came in and told me he didn't know we were thinking of using his name as a middle name. His lip was trembling and he looked really touched. Katie told him he should just cry it out, and he pulled it together. So cute.

I wish I could say that we all just headed to our postpartum room after that, but right before they took Emmett to the NICU I got a really bad case of the shakes and could not get warm. I shivered for about two hours before finally dropping off to sleep and shaking it. It was pretty much the most awful part about the whole experience; I wanted someone to pitch me out the window it was so awful. My sister tried to feed Emmett a bottle; I was afraid I would drop him b.c I was shaking so bad so I wouldn't hold him while I was shaking. The nurse brought me a turkey sandwich but I was so messed up I couldn't eat it.

About two hours later they wheeled me down to the postpartum room where a nurse helped me clean up and into bed. She was amazing, and was the night nurse most of the time I was there. She was great. Thanks, Nelly!

Only two hours later I woke up with the realizations that a) I was going to need pain medication for awhile and b) that I had a son. I suddenly couldn't wait to see him. I ordered room service breakfast and prepared to go meet him, updating my facebook status to say that he had been born in the middle of the night. And the rest isn't really birth story...


Tabatha said...

I am so happy Lil Emmett got to come home. I soooo love his name.
Congrats he sure is a cutie!!!!
Can't wait to see more pics of him as he grows.

Anonymous said...

I've been dying to hear this story because I knew he was early and I wanted to know why and details, details, details! Sounds like it was exhausting, but you're a pretty scrappy chick so I'm not surprised you took it all in stride. Pretty hilarious that you stopped for a freaking bagel before you went to the hospital :)

Mich said...

I first read this at 3:40am after being awaken by Samantha yelling "Oh NO! Oh NO!" (presumably because of a bad dream about running out of milk or having her snacks stolen at school) - after getting her back to sleep I was wide awake and thrilled to have some good reading material. And then the water works started - a whole flood of memories came rushing back and I couldn't believe that my almost 2 year old baby used to be a little one like E. Your story is great (I especially loved Tracy's advice, the bagel and your sister's reaction) and I am so glad that your little family is snug as a bug at home.

Thanks for sharing!

Kara said...

Holy hell April, 5 hours??? Unreal. You are amazing!!!