Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Miracle

I woke up Saturday morning and there were twice as many doctors at the foot of my bed than normal. They were changing over. I had been there thirty days and I was getting a new OB. I was bummed because I really liked the OB I had. They decided that if I could stay pregnant until Thanksgiving they would induce me then. I guess the dangers of staying pregnant outweigh the benefits at that point. They told me the baby might even be strong enough to go home by Thanksgiving. I was elated!

I awoke from a nap that afternoon at around 1:00 pm. My hubby was watching Lord of the Rings. I looked at him and said, "I think I am in labor." I don't remember if I buzzed the nurse or he brought her in but I explained to her that I was feeling painful cramps. She told me not to worry they were probably growing pains. I wanted her to be right but I knew she was wrong. She hooked up the fetal monitor. They had run out of extra small belly bands though. She only had large, which was huge on me. She could not get it tight enough to actually read any contractions but every time I felt one, we could see my baby's heart rate drop a little bit. She told the doctor and he ordered blood work. 

It was only about an hour before a group of people came into my room. Things started happening fast. Someone told me I had an infection and I was in labor. They had to get the baby out fast. I would be induced. I called my mom to tell her, this was it, I was having the baby tonight! I added, "You didn't say it would hurt this bad!"

"I told you it was the worst pain imaginable." She replied. I told her I didn't have as good an imagination as she thought I did. 

They rolled me over onto a stretcher. Now that I really was in labor they could not let me stand up. Gravity was not my friend. I would not have to dilate very much for my child to be delivered and they were taking no risks that I would be standing when I did. They wheeled my stretcher into the hall and I left that prison cell room forever. 

When I got to the labor and delivery room, they hooked me up to pitocin immediately. Right away my contractions started to climb, one on top of the other. They were excruciating already. The infection I had was in my uterus, which was not surprising because the amniotic sac was not protecting myself or my baby from anything. I can say this now, having had another child without an infection. It was far more painful than regular labor. 

It is amazing how big a part your nurse can play in your birth experience. I had a mean nurse. I will call her Nurse Ratchet. I had my pillow from home behind my head, I had a hospital pillow under my knees but I could not keep my legs up together. I asked for another pillow so I could have one under each knee. She snapped at me, "You can't have every pillow on the floor!" I wish I could have gotten up and slapped that woman.

I had been in the hospital for a month. Everyone knew that at anytime, I could go into labor. I asked several times if I could see a movie on childbirth or talk to a labor coach so that I would know what to do when the time came. They always shrugged me off or turned me down flat. Now, here I was laying on my back, in incredible pain and Nurse Ratchet was telling me I was breathing wrong. How was I supposed to know how to breathe!?!?! 

When she went on her break a sweet, young nurse came in. I had been laboring for probably 7 hours at that point. I was in the excruciating pain and trying to breathe through contractions that were right on top of each other. Despite the fact that they kept cranking up my dose of pitocin, I was still not dilating. The nurse was nice, she was trying to be helpful. She stood close by me and tried to talk me through a contraction. She sweetly suggest to me, "Find your focal point." WHAT!?!?! What was a focal point!?!?! I had no idea. Obviously she was young and inexperienced. She did not realize that at women in labor at 27 weeks has not had time to research "focal points". I was not nice to her. I regret that I told her where she could shove said focal point. I wanted an epidural. 

They were not going to bring me an epidural though. I was not dilated. I could not get up and move because if I did dilate suddenly... gravity. I was stuck in the most impossible situation to labor in. I nearly broke my husband's fingers and I am pretty sure I levitated off the table a few times.. during each contraction. If you have seen the exorcist, It was very similar. 

Finally around midnight my OB took pity on me. Even though I was not dilated past a fingertip, he let me have my epidural. You know you are in pain when you are begging people to shove a 9 inch needle in your back. I don't know if it is really 9 inches but it is HUGE. 

They call the epidural "the champagne of pain meds". What a truly wonderful thing it is too. My anesthesiologist must have been the best in the country because I went from wanting someone to just go ahead and saw me in half, to feeling like someone did saw me in half. I thanked him and then drifted off blissfully to sleep. 

Nurse Ratchet would check me every once in a while to see if I progressed. Nothing, nothing, nothing. That was always the answer. They had to put me on oxygen because my son was starting to show signs of distress. I had an epidural but he did not. He was still sick and hurting. They reluctantly brought me consent papers to sign. The nurse explained I was going to have a "classical section". That meant a vertical line down from my belly button, instead of the common 4 inch cut across the lower abdomen. A classical section is more dangerous. It can lead to more complications like uterine rupture and increased risk of  infection. They were hesitant to perform one on me because I had an infection already. They told me all the terrible things that could go wrong and explained that a vaginal birth would never be possible for me again. I told Nurse Ratchet  that my priority at that moment, was to save my baby.

Somewhere in my medical records you might be able to find a consent form for a classical section with my name on it. Right after I signed the paper, I felt a TERRIBLE cramp. I asked her to check me. I had finally dilated to between 3 and 4. She was so happy she ran off to tell the OB. He decided to wait for a little while on the section and see if I would progress. One more terrible pain later and I asked her to check again. The baby was at +2 station. Time to push!

The room got awful crowded, awful fast. There was a team for the baby in the corner waiting and a team for me. The OB sat between my legs and asked me if I could feel the contractions. I could not, but I remembered how bad they felt and I was scared they would turn off the epidural, so I lied. I told him I could feel them. He said, "When the next one comes, give me a little push." Lucky for me I could see the monitor out of the corner of my eye. So when I saw that line start to rise...

I had heard a lot of birth stories by then. My mom had told me that she was afraid to push me out so she just grunted a little. She called them "wimpy pushes". She warned that she spent hours faking wimpy pushes and they ended up having to pull me out with forceps. 

I did not want to wear myself out with wimpy pushes. So I pushed like I was in the Olympics and trying to win gold for childbirth. The OB and nurses all yelled "WOAH!" He said to me, "This is a little baby. Give me little pushes." and he added, "Would you like to feel the head?" 

It was only a few more little pushes before I delivered my perfectly formed but tiny little boy. 

He was a part of a cord clamping study that Brown University was doing. I had signed the consent forms for that weeks earlier. The theory was that if you hold the baby below the placenta and let all the blood flow into the baby, he might not need as may transfusions, suffer from low blood pressure, or be as jaundiced. When ever I see a "bank your baby's cord blood" ad, I think, "I already did. I banked it all on him." 

Once the cord was cut, they whisked him into another room. I never really saw him. My hubby was allowed to go in after they got him stabilized. He was supposed to take pictures but when he came back out to me, he had tears in his eyes and all he said was, "I think I broke the camera." Luckily, he didn't. He got a couple great shots of our itty bitty baby's first few minutes.

My little man was born on October 5th, 2003 at 6:48 am. He was 2 lbs 3 oz. and 14 inches long. I got to wave to his incubator as it left the room. They asked me if I could see him but it was impossible to see that tiny body in that giant incubator filled with stuff. 

It seemed that as quick as it had filled, the room was empty again. They unhooked me from all my wires; oxygen, blood pressure cuff, epidural. I had to keep my IV in though because I was getting antibiotics through it for the infection. Then they wheeled me into a new room. My hubby went out into the lobby to tell the small gathering of friends and family that our son was here. 

They did not put me on a maternity floor. They brought me to the surgery ward. We were told that maternity ward was full. We were warned not to celebrate too much because there were women in there for hysterectomies that should not here about babies being born. In hindsight, I am so glad I was put there. I think I might have been sad to hear other babies crying. To see other moms walking around with their little ones. As it was, I never thought about it. I was thrilled with my own little special delivery downstairs in the NICU. 

I went down to see him as soon as I could. They wheeled me down again just like they had done 2 1/2 weeks earlier but this time it was my son I was looking at. 

His head was swollen and looked squishy. He had strawberry blonde hair. His skin was almost see through. He was still covered in downy lanugo fur from head to toe. His foot was not near as long as my finger. His fingers were small and thin. They couldn't wrap all the way around my finger. He looked just prefect to me. 

I could not hold him. I just rubbed him softly with my fingertip. I watched him wiggle his little body every time I cooed his name. I told him, "I love you." over and over. He smelled so good. I felt like I was being washed over with waves of love. It is a feeling that only a mother knows on the day she meets her child. There is no other way to describe it. 

My mom, dad, and brother flew up from Florida as soon as they could. They were in my room not long after I was. We took them down one at a time to meet the baby. My mom took my Dad in and got the most amazing picture of him meeting his grandson. I cherish it to this day.

Happy 8th Birthday to my amazing miracle baby. 
I know God has great things in store for you.
I am so blessed that he chose me to be your mommy!

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