Monday, April 14, 2014

Baby Abe - A Birth Story

(Disclaimer: This is the post where I talk about my labor and delivery experience, and it may or may not include what some people would think TMI. So, read at your own risk.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
(37 weeks and 1 day)

4:00 am -
I woke up to go to the bathroom, and then couldn't fall back to sleep.

5:00 am (maybe a little before) -
I felt 3 little pops in my lower regions. It felt similar to my back popping, except I could tell it hadn't been my back. Not knowing what it was I chalked it up to the fact that I was pregnant, and my pregnant body was just doing another strange things. I remember thinking, wouldn't it be funny if that's how it feels when my water breaks?
Then, within 5 minutes or so, I felt liquid coming out between my legs. At first I figured it was some particularly liquidy discharge, or maybe even some urine. 
Then it kept coming.
I knew that if it was my water if I stood up there would probably be a gush.
So I got out of bed and stood up and definitely felt more liquid coming out. By the time I made it around the bed and into the bathroom my underwear was soaked and I was leaving puddles on the floor. 
After sitting on the toilet for a minute, trying to convince myself that this was really happening, I poked my head out of the bathroom door (careful to keep my leaking self over the linoleum floor) and called Kyle's name, waking him up.

5:15 am -
I called the labor and delivery unit at the hospital, and told them the situation. They took down my name, and told me to come into the hospital.
We spent the next several minutes getting dressed, and packing some things into the hospital bag. Luckily I had most of the things packed already, we just needed to add some toiletries.
(PS, silly me thought I could make the 10-15 minute drive to the hospital just wearing a pad. Not so. I should have taken a towel or two. My underwear and pants were soaked by the time I got to L&D.)

6:00 am -
Made it to the hospital and got admitted, then wheeled up to the L&D unit.
Our L&D nurse was Shannon, who we really liked. She was kind of funny and sarcastic, but obviously knew what she was doing and she took great care of me.
She got a sample of the fluid I was leaking and was going to send it down to the lab, just to verify it was amniotic fluid.

6:30 am -
 She checked my cervix (not very fun) and said I was dilated to a 1 and 50% effaced. Water was still gushing out at this point and she said she wasn't going to even bother sending my sample to the lab because it was obvious that my water had broken. (Also she mentioned that my cervix was still way back and that baby's head was low and in the way - one reason it wasn't too fun for me.)
After hooking me up to the monitors she mentioned I was having some small contractions and asked if I could feel them. I said no.

Kyle and I just hung out for the next couple of hours. We watched a couple informational movies that the hospital wants you to watch before you take your baby home. I also ordered up some breakfast from room service. The whole time we were hanging out Kyle was really sweet, rubbing my back and holding my hand. He also texted our family members to let them know what was going on. He ran to his work for about a half hour (it's next to the hospital) to finish somethings really quick and to do a couple of things on the computer. At one point I got out of bed and Kyle and I started walking around L&D, as an attempt to really start contractions coming and to avoid having any Pitocin. However, after just one lap, Shannon called me back into my room and said that baby wasn't really tolerating that well and that she would feel better if I stayed in bed for a while.

9:30 am -
I started feeling contractions, although they were still just small ones. Shannon told us that she was concerned about baby's heart rate. It wasn't too alarming, but she was monitoring it closely. She also mentioned that my OB should be in soon to check in on me and baby.

10:15 am -
My OB showed up - it was her day off and she came after doing a workout with her personal trainer. I was grateful she came to check on me, even though she could have turned my care over to the on-call doctor. She echoed what Shannon had said, and then said she wanted to insert internal monitors so she could get a better read on baby. It took a few minutes to get that done. She said it was one of the hardest placements she'd done in a while (probably because of what Shannon had said earlier about my cervix). She also said I was probably about 75% effaced now, but still at a 1. Once the monitors were placed Dr. McCrummen said she was going to hang out for a while and watch mine and baby's stats. She also mentioned that a c-section might be the best bet, but again, she'd monitor for a while to see how baby did, and then she'd come back in and go over options.

My contractions started getting a little stronger at this point and I could tell when I was having them. But they still weren't terrible.

The anesthesiologist, Rich, also came in during this time, to discuss options with me, and go over risks of each, like they have to do. He was a super nice guy, probably in his 50's or so.

11:00 (ish) am -
Dr. McCrummen came back in and said that although baby wasn't doing terribly, he still wasn't doing great, either. Again she mentioned that she thought that a c-section would be the best option at this time. I was still only having small contractions, and so they weren't helping my cervix to open and progress at all. At this time they would have probably started giving me some Pitocin, but since baby wasn't doing well with even these small contractions, Dr. McCrummen didn't think that would be a good idea because that would bring on stronger contractions (the point, obviously) and baby would probably go downhill relatively quickly. So - opting for a c-section right now would be the best bet. We could do it under controlled circumstances, instead of me trying to labor and then baby really going into distress and having to have an emergency c-section.
Kyle and I agreed, and Dr. McCrummen went to get changed.

They left Kyle and I alone for a few minutes, and I will admit I cried a little. It was just a little overwhelming. First my water had broken at only 37 week, so I wasn't really mentally prepared to have a baby yet anyway, and then after being at the hospital only 5 hours, here we were, deciding to have a c-section. And I hadn't really even experienced labor. (I didn't really have a birth plan, I had talked to Dr. McCrummen and told her I was pretty open about whatever needed to happen, in order to keep baby and I safe. That being said though, Kyle and I were prepared to labor at home for a while, and not come in until my contractions were strong, lasting at least 1 minute for one 1 hour, and 5 minutes apart. So again, it was a shock, even though I was pretty laid back about the birth anyway.) But we knew that this was the best option for both baby and me. I just needed to get out a little emotion.

The next few minutes were a blur of nurses. About 3 or 4 came in, along with my nurse Shannon. They started wiping down my whole body with anti bacterial wipes, one shaved the area where the incision would be, one put on some TED hose on my legs to prevent blood clots, one made sure my IV bag was full, one handed me a hair cap thing, etc. Then they walked me into the OR. Kyle stayed behind putting on his OR gear, and waiting until they were ready for him to come in.

Being in the OR was kind of a blur and a little nerve-wracking. Everyone was wearing the paper gowns and masks, and it was freezing. They had me sit on the operating table, and hooked me up to some monitors. Rich came in and started to administer the spinal block. They gave me a pillow to hold onto, told me to arch my back, and Shannon kind of held me by the arms/shoulders. My contractions had started to get stronger as well, so that was not pleasant. Rich drew on my back for a minute and then he administered the numbing medication, which was a short,  brief, stinging pain. Then he administered the spinal block. It wasn't necessarily painful, but it was a lot of pressure - it was like when you get your gums numbed at the dentist in preparation to get your cavities filled - it was pretty uncomfortable.
The spinal block took effect in less than a minute. Shannon and another couple of nurses helped move me around on the table, put my legs up, and laid me back. Shannon inserted a catheter. Rich hung up a curtain so I couldn't see below my chest. He put on oxygen, and put a thermometer type thing on my forehead. He also strapped my arms down by the wrists - so they were straight out from my side. He then covered me with a blow up blanket heater thing. He was so nice the entire time, making sure I was comfortable and doing ok, and he was always explaining to me what he was doing and why.
I couldn't stop shaking. I think both from the cold of the OR and also from the anesthesia.
After I was all situated Dr. McCrummen came in along with Dr. Woods, the OB who was on call. Shannon and who I assumed was a type of scrub nurse did a count of medical supplies and also named all who were in the room. There were the 2 OB's, Shannon, Rich, another nurse or two, and a pediatrician from the nursery in case Abe had a few troubles, since he was a little early. They might have been a couple others, I can't remember.
Then they brought Kyle in. He sat kind of up by my head and left shoulder. I was so glad to see him. They started the operation. I couldn't feel any pain, just some tugging and pulling. At one point I felt some non-painful pressure up by my rib cage, and the next thing I knew, baby was crying!
Someone said, "what are we saying, 12:05?" And Dr. McCrummen said, "12:04."
(Side note: it was weird being in the OR with the hospital employees - this was just another work day to them - they were talking about their pets and joking around with each other, etc. while here we were about to have a baby!)

Kyle went over to where they wiped him off, and he was able to cut the cord. They weighed him, then wrapped him up and gave him to Kyle. Kyle brought him over to me and I got to look at my baby's sweet, squishy face. Rich unstrapped my right arm so I could reach over and touch him.
Dr. McCrummen stitched me up very quickly, and before I knew it, they wheeled me to the recovery area of the hospital. I can't remember her name, but one of the baby nurses, who was in the OR with me, brought the baby to me.

(At this time we still hadn't decided on his name. Well, we had one in mind, but I wanted to really be able to see his face better before I made the final decision. Kyle was basically leaving the decision up to me.)

My nurse there was Connie, I think. She monitored me, and fed me some ice chips. She tilted my bed up a bit, and kept checking to see if my spinal block was wearing off by putting a cold wipe on different areas of my body, and by asking me to try to move my feet, legs, and toes. It was the most bizarre feeling to try to move my toes and not see them moving. SO weird. The baby nurse gave Abe his Vitamin K and Hep-B shots, and I think pricked his heel (although that might have happened after). I was still shaking, and my nose was so itchy (both from the anesthesia). They put Abe on my chest and we had skin to skin time and attempted nursing for the first time. After a while the nurse took Abe to the postpartum unit to wash him. I stayed in recovery for about a half hour more.

2:00 pm -
They wheeled me to my postpartum room. I was able to wiggle my toes a bit, but still couldn't really move. Kyle had been waiting for me, and had been able to be there when they washed Abe.
(FYI, they had this cool inflatable mattress type thing which they had been using to get me onto different beds since I couldn't move at all.)

So there we were, Kyle, Abe and I in the room we'd live in for the next couple of days.
I was able to eat dinner Wednesday night - so I am lucky I didn't have to go too long without food.

The rest of the time we were there (until Friday afternoon) was a blur of snuggles, catnapping, learning to breast-feed, pain meds, getting my vitals and bleeding checked, nurses feeling around my belly to make sure my uterus was shrinking, getting Abe's vitals checked, and slowly regaining my feeling and starting to walk around a little bit. We had some great nurses, and I really enjoyed my time at the hospital (as much as you can enjoy it, anyway).

Although things didn't go as expected, we are so grateful he is here, and that we are both healthy! We love our little Abe, and are so blessed to have him in our home.

(I'll probably do a follow up post a little later, about my thoughts and feelings on having a c-section, and having him come early! And I'll also do a post about postpartum recovery from a c-section.)


Jordan and Katelyn said...

I love all the details you remembered! Sounds like it was a fairly smooth delivery! Congrats! So happy for you all!

Camille Spence said...

Wow you remembered a ton!!! My c section was such a blur I don't remember much. I'm interested to see how your recovery is going in your follow up. I'm really really nervous about having another c section for this baby. Hoping that by the end I'll be so uncomfortable I'll be more willing, but I didn't have a great recovery and it was really rough the first full month...and I'm nervous it's going to be that hard this time too.

Lisa said...

So fun and sweet. You are a champ. Congratulations!!

Cam said...

I love this! So glad everything turned out like it did and you're both healthy.

ginger said...

Thanks for posting this! I love you. I'm especially impressed by your attitude (even though you haven't said your particular feelings about them) towards c-sections. I get kind of offended by the hate c-sections get (all of my mom's kids are c-section babies) and you express an attitude of "I had a c-section and it was good for my baby and me and I'm not apologizing for it."

Also, regarding poo (oh dear, that sounds silly), my sister suggested prunes (if you ever have another kid). She was dreading it as well, but ate prunes as a snack post labor and the next day (along with other stuff obviously) and said it was no problem. Just something to keep in mind.

I love you.