Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"She's a pistol!"

Rob and I hoped more than anything to have a natural childbirth. We spent a lot of time preparing for the process, but sometimes life just doesn’t always go as planned. At the end of pregnancy, I was just waiting to hear the words, “you have to go on bed rest”. I was swollen beyond all belief, my blood pressure kept inching up, and generally speaking, I just wasn’t feeling great. But each week passed and I got the green light to carry on as usual.

At my 39 week appointment, my doctor was very concerned about the swelling in my face (as if the epic proportions of swelling everywhere else weren’t enough). She sent us to have some lab work done and the results showed very low blood platelets which indicates potential problems for the mother. She wanted to induce me before my situation deteriorated. I did NOT want to be induced for fear of a c-section or other complications, but I also didn’t want to end up sick and most importantly, wanted to deliver a healthy baby.

The doctor left the decision up to us, but there were a lot of grey areas and what-ifs to consider. Ultimately we conceded, and that afternoon we packed our bags to check into the hospital at midnight. The upside to this is that we called our families, and they were able to make preparations to be present for the birth. I was definitely ready to have the baby and was very excited that I would get to meet him/her soon. I sat down in the rocker to prop up my legs...errrr....tree trunks up and realized that we were making a good decision to induce. I was tired, I was swollen, and frankly, I was CRANKY!
That evening, my parents arrived; I was a little scared about being induced and they helped calm me down. Rob and I finished getting everything together, and left for the hospital right at midnight. The drive was much different than I anticipated our drive to the hospital would be. There was no rushing around, no deep breathing through contractions, and no sense of panic; it was peaceful. We drove to the hospital quite slowly with the streets all to ourselves, and pondered the enormity of what was about to happen. We would become parents.

When we arrived we settled into our room and I got hooked up to all the stuff someone hoping for a natural childbirth is supposed to avoid. The nurse administered a drug to make sure my cervix was ripe enough for delivery. That kicked in some gentle contractions that were about five minutes apart. After four hours, she administered the second dose, and that’s where things started to go downhill. My uterus contracted and stayed contracted for the next few hours. The nurse told me this was called irritability and I thought to myself, it certainly is making me irritable!

That morning, the doctor came in and told me she wanted to break my water. I really wanted my water to remain intact for as long as possible, so she gave me a very low dose of pitocin instead which brought my contractions much closer together, about a minute apart. I wouldn’t say they were a piece of cake, but with water still intact, they were definitely manageable.

I asked the nurse to hook me up to a wireless monitor that would allow me to walk around. That’s what people in labor do, right? Walk around, squat down, bounce on ball, etc. After about a minute of standing, the baby’s heart rate dropped and I was immediately put back in bed. Eventually, her heart rate stabilized, and we all calmed down, but I was told that I would have to remain in bed for a while.

My contractions were getting closer together and gaining in intensity, but I wasn’t dilating. The doctor said my contractions actually needed to be farther apart to allow the baby to come down into the birth canal, so she took me off the pitocin drip, and broke my water. It is amazing how much easier contractions are with a pressurized bag inside your uterus. When that was gone, things definitely got a bit more painful. My contractions stayed very close together with no actual progression, and along the way, the baby (I keep referring to her as the baby at this point because we didn’t know it was a girl) kept going into distress.

I was DESPARATE to go to the bathroom to relieve some of the pressure in my abdomen, but they insisted that I not get up in an effort to try and keep the baby’s heart rate stable (my hard and heavy contractions were a little too stressful). Queue Rob, bedpan, and complete loss of dignity. In the span of about 30 minutes, I think I used the bedpan about FIFTY times, and each time was usually in the middle of a contraction because they weren’t far enough apart to get the job done in between. Rob was a trooper though, and without him, I think my bladder would have exploded (seems to be a common theme throughout pregnancy).

Due to the intensity of my contractions, they decided to put a pressure monitor inside of me to see exactly how hard they were. Because the baby’s heart rate kept dropping, they also wanted to screw a monitor into her head, but I protested and promised to lie completely still. At this point, I was still only dilated to a two, and the baby wasn’t dropping into position. Also, the daggers stabbing my lower back indicated the baby was facing away from my spine.

After about another couple of hours of close and hard contractions, still nothing was happening. The doctor brought in a birthing ball and wanted me to sit on it for a while to see if that would help the baby come down. Hmmm, this was going to be interesting considering all the stuff I was hooked up to, but eventually we got situated. Think Blue Whale balancing on a beach ball. The back labor was crazy intense, but Rob was keeping me as relaxed as he could. More time passed….nothing. More time passed….nothing except more baby distress.

At that point, they heaved me back into bed, and I was starting to get frustrated. Nothing, NOTHING was going as planned. I had a long way (8 centimeters to be exact) to go, and the baby was having trouble. The doctor came in and said at this point it looks like you are going to have a c-section. On top of everything else my blood pressure was still on the rise as was my swelling. Also, my blood platelets were so low that it was iffy if I could have an epidural, and I did not want to be completely out if I had to have a c-section.

The doctor agreed to give me an epidural and let me labor for a little longer to see if I might progress. I lay in bed while Rob and the nurses flipped me back and forth to see if that would help the baby come down. Time passed….nothing. More time…..nothing. It was time to make a decision. The doctor didn’t think it was likely that I would be able to deliver vaginally. So, it was off to the OR.

In no time flat, they upped my epidural, scrubbed and prepped, and slid me onto the operating table. Rob was up by my head providing reassurance and sharing in the excitement that we would soon meet our baby! I felt some jiggling and some pressure, but no pain. When the doctor cut open my uterus, the baby was face up and looking right at her. When she pulled the baby out Rob peeked over the curtain to see that we had delivered a beautiful, healthy baby GIRL! Cora Mae was welcomed to the world at 4:29 p.m. on 7/8/09 measuring 19.5 inches and 8 lbs 5 ounces.

After a few quiet moments, she let out some pretty magnificent wails. One of the nurses said, "She's a pistol!". Which is ironic, because even though she came into this world showing off her well developed lungs, she has been the most laid back easy going baby ever (Mama is the pistol).

These were our first moments together as a family and I will never forget the warmth radiating from her little body onto my face. Incredible!

While they put me back together, Rob and the nurses were tending to Cora. She scored a 9 on the APGAR, and had ten little fingers and ten little toes (although there was some doubt about the toes initially). After they stamped her foot, from across the room I heard something about “four toes” and I was all what (see below)? And then they were like, just kidding. One was just hiding.

They wheeled me back to a recovery room while Cora got her first bath and was checked over by the pediatrician. Then, they brought her to me, and THERE ARE NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE FINALLY GETTING TO HOLD HER. I will never forget how warm, soft and delicate she felt, and I was so happy to have my family surrounding us with their love. That tiny, pink face peering out from blankets and a sweet knit hat was enough to completely melt me.

It wasn’t until late that night, or I guess early the next morning (all of that starts to run together really quickly) that everything truly hit me. It was around 2 a.m., the room was quiet, dimly lit, and I was feeding Cora. Rob was sleeping softly at our side. I was a Mom, Rob was a Dad, and we had a precious baby girl. We were a family. She was so beautiful with her little wrinkly fingers and toes and she was ours.

1 comment:

  1. You are a fabulous parents! Cora Mae is one of the luckiest babies in the world. Love you guys!