Thursday, November 10, 2016

Birth Story 2.0

I had another baby!

This is old news obviously. Parker Jane was born on September 15th at 3:18pm at 36 weeks. Everyday I think to myself that I definitely need to write down my labor story before I forget all the details. But this time was so long, not to mention mentally and physically exhausting, that there's no way I'm forgetting any details any time soon! Now that Parker is almost 2 months old, and I'm somewhat out of the newborn fog (yeah right) maybe I can write it out and have it make sense.

Just to recap, getting pregnant was not an easy task. It took 16ish months, if I'm counting right. In that time I had another 2 losses to add to my list, making a total of 4 miscarriages and 6 pregnancies. This pregnancy was sort of a surprise. I peed on the stick "just in case" because I was starting injections 3 days later. Surprise!! No need for those needles I brought home from the fertility office.

From day one I was high risk. 4 miscarriages and a heart condition will do that to you. I had a bazillion ultrasounds in the first 12 weeks just to make sure everything was going well. I decided to use doctors in Orlando so that I could deliver at the women's hospital there. It was a 45 minute drive one way, and by 30 weeks I was making that drive 3-4 times a week for various appointments. But it was worth it. I loved my doctors!

At 28 weeks my blood pressure sky rocketed. It was terrifying. I've heard that most people don't notice, but I definitely did. I knew what was happening, but doctors didn't want to call it pre-eclampsia. I found out recently that if they called it that, then they'd need to deliver me sooner or admit me, because if they sent me home and something happened to me, they'd be liable. I was mad at them at the time for making me feel crazy for thinking it was pre-e, but now I'm grateful that I didn't have to live in the hospital for weeks. 5 days for delivery was more than enough. I had to deal with my symptoms worsening daily. I stopped being able to do simple things like dishes, unless I wanted to suffer and end up on the floor. Grocery shopping was out of the question, and I could only go to the first hour of church. I was never put on bed rest, because they try to avoid that, but I was told to "take it easy." They basically didn't want me doing anything. Unofficial bed rest if you will.

By 36 weeks I felt like a ticking time bomb. Getting out of bed was a chore. Not because my belly was enormous, but because the second I sat up my blood pressure would rise. It gave me horrible headaches, my vision was a mess, and I was sick all the time. Feeling so terrible meant I ate very little, and by the end I had gained 10lbs total. All of it was in the last week and a half when the swelling kicked in! So, I can't complain about that.

Right before Peyton left me in the hospital.
Anyway, I got off subject. I had been going in for non-stress tests twice a week since 31 weeks. Baby was passing with flying colors. My blood pressure was up, but fairly controlled with medication. On Monday the 12th I went to my ob feeling even worse than usual. My blood pressure was higher than it normally was at my appointments and I could barely stand. But, against his better judgement, my ob sent me home. I had Peyton and I had things to do. But I was told to go to labor and delivery that night if I didn't get better. I ignored that advice thinking I was fine. I had stuff to do! My house was a wreck trying to get things ready!

The next morning I had an appointment with my high risk doctor at the hospital. I had my sidekick, Peyton, with me. She loves most of my appointments. My blood pressure was up, but I had been walking so no one was super concerned at that point. We knew I had issues. I laid down for about 30 minutes for my appointment. I was becoming worse as time went on and my doctor noticed how pail I was becoming, so he had my blood pressure checked again. Instead of going down like it should when you lay down, it had gone up significantly. Still, we wanted to hold off. While I was sitting there we decided I would be induced at 37 weeks, that coming Saturday. 37 weeks is considered "early term" and 39 weeks is "full term." That's changed since I had Peyton. Very confusing. Anywho! 37 weeks meant I had time to get things done at home and pack my hospital bag. And then I stood up and grasped the back of the chair. That was it. My doctor looked at me and asked me if I could stand or walk without holding on to something. I couldn't. 99% of the time I had to be holding on to something or else I'd fall in to something. Without hesitating he said "well then we're going to get you up to delivery right now. I don't want you driving home like this." Wait, what? No. I'm just here for an appointment dude! I have my 3 year old! I can't be induced today. I have too much to do. But they weren't letting me drive home. I called Gabe, who thought I was joking when I told him, and he had to leave work and run home to pack my hospital bag. I was put in a wheelchair, Peyton on my lap, and taken straight up to the room where my induction would be started. I got lucky with Peyton. I was able to call a good friend and have her come to the hospital to pick her up. Super grateful for that.

I got to the hospital at 11am for my appointment and was admitted and in a room by 1230. I was started on a magnesium drip immediately in an attempt to lower my blood pressure. Mag is the worst. I hate it. It made me feel like absolute crap for days while on it. They wanted to start my induction as soon as husband got there.

Our hospital board in the delivery room!
Did you know that you can be having too many contractions to be induced? I didn't! I was having regular Braxton Hicks ever 3ish minutes. They didn't hurt, just a bit uncomfortable. I knew they were pretty useless. They wanted to wait for them to stop. So they checked me and I was still high and closed. That meant my induction wasn't going to be easy. I already knew that. I was early, and my labor with Peyton was long and miserable and she came at 39 weeks. Gabe showed up at some point, multiple bags in hand that I had given him instructions on how to pack over the phone. My brother was on his way to take Peyton for the night, hoping that I'd have the baby in the next 24 hours (HA). I was ready to go! But my body just wasn't getting it. Somewhere around dinner time they decided to give me something to stop my contractions. Seems counter productive doesn't it? Stop contractions just to start them? But that's exactly what happened.

The contractions slowed down enough for them to put the first pill in around 9pm. I had been at the hospital for 10 hours at that point. By 11 I was having solid, regular contractions. They weren't terrible, but I wasn't happy about them. I couldn't sleep through them, but I slept in between them. So about 3-4 minutes of sleep at a time if I fell asleep. At the 6 hour mark they came in to check me. I was at a 1. Great! I'm making progress!! Time for the next pill! No. My contractions were too close together again. Can't give another pill on top of contractions that are coming too much. Again. So I had to wait it out. Several hours went by and they finally slowed and I got the next pill. Luckily I was on the floor where I could eat. So I wasn't going days without eating. The floor I was on was just for laboring, not delivery. No epidurals on that floor. I had to get to a 3 to go to the delivery floor. My goal was 3cm. That's it.

Meeting in the hospital.
At 3am on Thursday I was still at an "almost 2." ALMOST TWO. I had been given 3 pills and had been in labor (just counting when I started having painful contractions) for 28 hours. My blood pressure, even on a magnesium drip, which is the worst, was going up and I wasn't allowed to get out of bed. Do you know how much it sucks to labor in bed and not be allowed to get up except to pee? It sucks a lot. It hurt. I was super upset. I hadn't slept in a very long time other than the few minutes I had slept in between contractions on Tuesday night. But now it was early Thursday morning and I was getting desperate. In fact, the morning I went in to the doctor, I was thinking how much it would suck to be induced that day because I'd only had 3 hours of sleep that night. BAH! A midwife came in to check me herself. She felt bad for me. I was clearly in pain and having a lot of contractions, couldn't move, couldn't sleep. I was going crazy. Her plan was to give me an ambien so I could sleep. She decided to check me herself and told me she could do one of two things. She could use a little balloon contraption to dilate me, which would take 12 hours, but I could have an ambien, or she could get me to a 3 herself right then and there, but it would hurt. It had been 28 hours. So you know what I did? I braced myself, with my sleeping husband in the pull out bed next to me, and let her cause me a heck of a lot more pain than I anticipated. I regretted not forcing my husband to wake up to hold my hand. I had a nurse talking me through breathing while this woman manually opened my cervix. Guys, that hurts. It hurts like Hades. But she did it. I made it to 3cm. YAY! I could go to the delivery floor and get an epidural, pitocin, and sleep.

The contractions after that were awful. I had been surviving my contractions on my own the whole
time, but after that I needed Gabe to push on my back during every contraction. I was ready for the epidural and get some sleep before baby came. But it took a while to get down to delivery and get an anesthesiologist. While I was waiting I had to get poked some more. By this point, I had had my IV placed multiple times. But they needed more bloodwork and my IV needed to be moved again. The phlebotomist they sent in struggled, just like the 3 nurses before. I lost count after 15 attempted pokes. I will never forget what he said to me. "Your skin is like poking a football full of fluid." I was really swollen at that point (thanks pre-eclampsia). That morning is a blur of pain and sleep deprivation, but I'm pretty sure it was almost 8am by the time my epidural was placed. It took a while because they had to wait for approval from the head anesthesiologist because of my heart issues, then attach a monitor to me that would be watched constantly. The epidural is when things got interesting.

When I got the epidural with Peyton I sort of passed out. I say sort of because I'm told I passed out, but I think I remember most of what happened. I remember voices becoming distant, but I don't think I ever fully lost consciousness. They laid me down and I was fine. That time, Gabe was there for me to lean on. This time was different. No one was near me when I was hunched over the side of the bed to have the epidural placed. No one to lean on. I breathed through everything. Despite the fact that those needles are gigantic, it doesn't hurt. It DOES feel weird. I was totally fine while it was being placed. She wanted to make sure it was right in the middle since last time it wasn't. It's weird feeling exactly where a needle is in your spine. It wasn't until she got it in the right spot that things went downhill.

The anesthesiologist told me I had a vasovagal response. Apparently it's a drop in blood pressure in response to stress or pain. My blood pressure definitely dropped, but I don't remember being in pain, or being stressed even. I was totally calm until I started passing out. I was sitting there and my hearing started to go out and I heard ringing in my ears. I don't know how fast it happened, but it felt like a long time. I remember saying repeatedly "I'm going to pass out," but no one was doing anything. The doctor and nurse just kept on saying I would be fine, but Gabe was trying to tell them this happened last time and that someone needed to hold me. It's amazing how even though I was definitely losing consciousness, I was very much aware of the fact that there was a needle in my spine. I did my absolute best to stay still until the nurse realized I was going down. I don't remember what happened at this point very well. I remember people trying to tell me I would be fine. I was freaking out. I was shaking uncontrollably (apparently this is normal when they first start an epidural), and I couldn't breathe. They had to put the oxygen mask on me. I don't know how long I was out of it, but I know this fiasco happened more than once. It was almost 2 hours before I have any solid memories again. The anesthesiologist was in there for a while. When I "came to" she told me what she thought was going on and that they were glad I ended up okay because the head anesthesiologist wanted to send me to the ICU. But my nurse while I was in there was awesome and almost constantly with me until I was totally fine so they decided against it. Thank goodness.

After that very dramatic time, things kicked in to gear. The Pitocin was going. The midwife came in at some point to check me to see if my water was ready to be broken. As soon as she went to check, I felt a pop. The amniotic sac had actually slipped through and it was the first thing she touched and it broke with one poke! It was actually pretty funny. Even the midwife was surprised. After that, I was at a 10 in just a few hours. I had fallen asleep and let my epidural become weak. When I woke up I realized I was feeling contractions. Not hard obviously, but my belly was burning and I couldn't sit up and adjust myself to feel better so I pushed that button as much as I could (every 5 minutes) until I could just feel the pressure from the contractions, rather than pain. The midwife came back in and said that she was going to deliver another baby first and that I could just sit there and chill. And not push. Guys, not pushing when you feel like you need to push is really hard. With Peyton I was so numb I never got the urge. This time I felt it. I could literally feel her getting lower and lower. I didn't even have to push to make anything happen. She was just slipping out on her own. The midwife came back after a few minutes and said I would go faster. She was right. Parker was crowning already when she sat down. I pushed twice. Not even hard. It took almost no effort and BAM! There was a baby. I've been super lucky with both of my labors to have really easy pushing experiences. With Peyton I pushed for maybe 20 minutes, and with this one, it was 2 little pushes in 2 contractions. Sure, my labors are forever, but I hear that pushing for a long time is terrible. Also, I donated my cord blood this time. It was very cool being able to have the option to do that. I figured that I'd rather someone benefit from it rather than it just be thrown out.

40 hours. From the first painful contraction to the time she came out was 40 hours. It took 9 hours longer than with Peyton. But you know what? I just might do it again. However, I'd prefer to go into labor naturally. I'm not interested in being bed ridden during an induction again. It much preferred shopping in labor then going to the hospital. But we all survived. Peyton stayed at our house with my brother for one night, and then she spent three nights at a friends house since my mom couldn't make it until the next week. She did awesome and I'm so grateful for our friends!

Parker was technically premature so we had to stay til her 48 hour mark. She was super close to going in to the NICU because she wasn't staying awake long enough to eat. Her blood sugar was super low. But I ended up pumping and got her to take some and it went up. When she was two days old she had to do the car seat challenge (sitting in her car seat for an hour while being monitored). She just barely fit in her car seat. Her little chicken legs were too small so we had to use a wash cloth to pad her. HA!

Parker has blended right in to our family. Peyton loved her from the start. I wish I got more sleep and quiet time, but I will live! I love baby snuggles. All in all I have really good kids. Makes me think we should stop here. I can't possibly get this lucky again!!!

Phew! That was a long story. If you stuck it out, I'm impressed. Thank you. Have a lovely day!

The end.