Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Baby Girl's Birth Story - part one

The cervix ripening gel did not work.  My doctor checked me Tuesday (1/29) and I was still long and closed...not one centimeter dilated and baby girl was still floating around way up high.  Our induction was scheduled for Wednesday which meant that I was to report to L&D Tuesday night for the Cervidil to get things started.  I was bummed but excited at the same time.  There was going to be a baby, one way or another, on Wednesday.

We spent Tuesday evening at home and were visited by my SIL and her 3 kids a little while before we left for the hospital.  We had french bread pizzas for dinner and I had baked a chocolate candy crunch pie for dessert.  It was SO good.  I made a couple of phone calls as the evening dragged.  The Little Guy had been adamant that he wanted to be at the hospital when his "only sister was being born" but since births are very unscripted we promised that he'd be there as soon as he could.  He was so worried about his little sister and he just wanted her to be ok...just like the rest of us.  He was with his mom and had basketball practice that night.  I asked her to bring him to the hospital for a quick visit once we were checked in.  It was nice of her to do that for us.

We checked in and I was hooked up to everything.  It all felt very surreal, like I was watching someone else go through it.  A tech came in to start my IV line in case I needed it later.  I could tell by talking to her and looking at her that she didn't know what she was doing.  Since my left wrist hurt so bad and I wanted to wear my brace I asked her to stick me in my right arm.  She searched for a vein...and searched...and searched.  Mind you, since becoming pregnant, finding veins had not been a problem for anyone.  She found one and stuck me...and turned the needle and twisted the needle until finally she said she had it.  Then she said she blew my vein and pulled the needle out.  Lovely.  She left the room to get more supplies.  When she came back she didn't try to find a vein in my arm or wrist...she went straight for my left hand.  If someone is in labor and experiences contractions and needs to push a baby out, why would you hinder her hand that she'll need to either grip a bed or someone else's hand by putting an IV line in it???  She stuck it in and got it right away.  When she went to pinch it off and cap it, blood went everywhere!  It was all over my hand and my bed.  She was something else.  She got me cleaned up and changed my sheet and left.  Then she was back.  She had misplaced her scanner.  She came back 2 more times looking for it because she couldn't remember where she had left it.  This visit did not get off to a good start.

The Little Guy and his mother came by around 8:00.  They didn't stay long.  We chatted and took a couple of pictures to commemorate our last night as a family of 3.  We promised he'd know about the birth as soon as we could tell him.

My doctor came by around 8:30 to administer the gel insert.  I wish she would have prepared me for how much it was going to hurt.  I've had hands and instruments up my hoo ha but this procedure took the cake.  Oh my gosh...it felt like she was inserting a rusty razor blade up there.  You would think that they would make those things a little more aerodynamic for the hole in which they are going.  OUCH.  BJ was watching me writhe in pain and confessed later that it was really hard for him to see that and not tell the doctor to quit hurting his wife.  So sweet.

BJ and I were both exhausted so it was time to settle in for the night, as best we could.  There were 3 chairs on the right side of my bed for him to sleep in.  He maneuvered the first into a lounging position but was not very comfortable at all.  He decided to try the second chair but first he had to figure out how to get the first chair back into a chair.  The second chair was better but very noisy to lay on and still pretty uncomfortable.  It was on to the third chair...after figuring out how to get the second chair back in place.  The third chair was the winner!  However, it took up so much room he had to get the other 2 out of the way before he could actually lay down.  This chair adventure took about an hour!  It was comical to watch it all unfold (great pun).

My contractions started to get stronger around 12:30.  They were coming at about 4 to 10 minutes apart.  BJ was trying to sleep and I was trying to breath through the pain and practice for when the real thing started.  I had to get up to pee several times and that was very interesting.  I had to be very careful not to pull the string and to keep it out of the way while I relieved myself.  That was not very easy.  My belly was really big and I had a hard time just wiping myself, let alone fishing around for a string to move to the side.  But I managed.  Getting back in bed was tricky, too.  I was so afraid of snagging that damn string.

The night was full of sleep in about 10 minute intervals.  I was afraid to move too much because at times I couldn't hear baby girl on the monitor and I was afraid of the string and I didn't want to wake BJ up because he actually fell asleep.  More importantly, the contractions had moved into my back.    I knew that pretty much meant she was facing the wrong way and that I'd most likely be in for a very painful labor.  The pain was pretty severe at times and I had a hard time breathing through the contractions.  I put my own arm behind me and applied pressure to my lower back and that helped a little but was so uncomfortable I wasn't able to maintain that position for very long.

Finally the morning arrived.  My contractions were closer together and still pretty strong.  I decided that I wasn't a wimp after looking at the print out and seeing how they spiked all the way to the top of the chart.  BJ went to get some coffee and find out when I'd be checked for progress.  We were very hopeful and pretty confident that things had progressed nicely and that I'd be starting pitocin very soon.  Nurse Bernie (I really liked her) came in and said that she'd be doing the checking very shortly.  Yay!!  She looked at the print out and was impressed with what she saw so I felt even better.  We were going to DO this!

The moment of truth...she was prepping to pull the insert out and we were making small talk about the baby and then we told her about our fears regarding her head and Bernie said that not too much should be made about those ultra sounds sometimes.  The insert coming out was pain free!  Then she reached way up in my lady parts and shook her head.  BJ and I held our breath.  She said there was no progress.  She couldn't even get the tip of her pinky in my cervix.  My heart sank and the tears came.  Again my body had failed me.  I couldn't even speak.  BJ told Bernie how disappointed I was.  Bernie was great, though.  She kept everything upbeat and told me on several occasions that c-sections really are the safest way to have babies.  It didn't matter at the time.  I was crushed.  I knew I was headed for major surgery with a long and restricted recovery.  I was so excited to meet my little girl but I knew they'd take her from me right after she was born.  It meant not holding her as soon as she came out.  It meant her going to the nursery without me getting to see them clean her.  It meant no skin to skin contact right after birth.  It meant only hearing her first cries and not actually seeing her little face.  It was probably the biggest disappointment I had felt in a very long time.

My doctor came by to reassure me that everything would be fine and to let me know that we'd be going in for surgery at 10:45.  That meant that in 2 hours I'd be meeting my little girl...my daughter.  I was very excited and couldn't wait but at the same time scared shitless.  Scared of the surgery and scared for baby girl.  I was exhilarated but deflated all at the same time.  It felt like everything was happening to someone else and I, again, was watching from the outside.

I posted on FB and made a couple of calls.  BJ called his sister and she said she'd be right up.  We made small talk for a few minutes but then things started happening pretty quickly.  Nurse Bernie came in and hooked up my drip line (remember the fiasco of getting the line inserted?) and started running down a list of things that were about to happen...IV antibiotics, anesthesiologist visit, compression legs, cap and gown for BJ, etc.  BJ's sister arrived and tried to lighten the mood.  Yes, I was excited, so very excited, but so very disappointed and full of fear.  I had never had surgery before (just my wisdom teeth out and that didn't go smoothly) and she tried to explain it as she has had 3 c-sections.  She kept saying that her first was born via c-section and it was a good thing because she had complications that could have cost them both their lives if she had delivered vaginally.  Her theory was that this was happening for a reason.  And I said, "well, if that's true then something is wrong so that is not very reassuring to hear right now."  And again I was in tears.  The fear of the unknown (and knowing they would take her from me) was the worst part of all of this.  That and the fact that I was still having contractions from the gel.

Nurse Bernie came back and wondered why my fluids were not dripping properly.  You have one guess as to why.  The incompetent lady from the night before screwed it up...are you surprised?  I wasn't.  Nurse Bernie had to re-do her line in my other arm making for a total of 3 lines in about 12 hours.  The anesthesiologist came in and we chatted about the usual stuff and I was put in my sexy compression sock things and given a hair cap to wear.  In the mean time, BJ was fumbling around trying to get his booties over his boots and cursing himself for not wearing tennis shoes.  He was given a bigger pair but they were still not fitting.  He was so aggravated that he was stressing me out even more.  He hadn't eaten, even though he was told to by the nurses, so that made him more cranky.  I told him to eat something, even a candy bar, so that he didn't fall out in the OR because I NEEDED him now more than ever.  He obliged.  :-)  We took a few pictures and by that time it was time to go.  I was expecting to be wheeled to the OR in my bed but I was instructed to walk there.  Our room was right next to the OR so it only took a few seconds.  I kissed BJ good-bye and told him that I loved him and that it was going to be ok...although I wasn't sure of that but I needed to say it.  Then I turned my back, grabbed my pole of fluids, closed the back of my gown with my other hand and walked into the room that my daughter would be born in.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My, How Things Can Change

I have a lot to say so this will be a bit long.  First and foremost, Baby Girl is here and she is amazing (and seemingly fine).  I'll get to all of that but I want to catch you all up on the events leading up to her birth.  The last you heard from me I was 39 weeks and had made no progress.

At our scan on 12/31 I noticed that BG's head (the top view) looked a little narrow but no one said anything to me so I didn't think about it again.  I went in for my regular weekly appointment and my OB didn't mention any issues.  At our second weight scan I again thought her head was a little narrow but the tech didn't say anything and no one came in to tell us of any problems so I didn't even bring it up.  These scans were done locally in our county, by the way.  My first cervix ripening appointment (that was to happen after my OB appointment) got cancelled because there were actual women in labor that needed the rooms so BJ had taken off work for nothing.  That really bummed us out.  However, I still had my OB appointment.  I told BJ he didn't need to come with me now since we weren't doing the gel.  I was so hopeful for some progress at this point.  I was just so excited to get labor going and to meet our little girl.  My doctor came in and right away I knew something was wrong.  She was very business like and started telling me that my baby's head was too small for her body and she noted on the u/s report that her measurements were less than 73% and they should be much higher.  She was worried about the baby not being able to start labor because of such a small head...which STILL had not dropped into my pelvis.  I was high and closed with no progress in sight.  She ordered a NST right away.  I asked why no one told us this at our last scan which was 3 weeks prior to this one.  She looked back in my file and basically had no answer for me.  I was devastated.  The name for what they said our baby had was mild dolichocephaly.  Basically, it meant that the open portions of her skull had grown shut prematurely.  My mind was swirling around and I was all alone.  One day before our due date and we find out that something could be very wrong with our child.  I couldn't believe this was happening.  I had to report to L&D right away for my NST.  I called BJ from the hallway and he answered with "do you have good news for me?", hoping that I had dilated.  I held back tears and told him that I had bad news for him and quickly tried to explain what I didn't even understand.  He said he was coming up to the hospital to be with me.  I was glad he was on his way.  While I waited to be checked in at L&D I stupidly used my phone to google.  There wasn't much time to really look things up but what I found was very disturbing.  I was beside myself with fear.  I was mad at my body for letting me down again.  I had gotten over some of my anger at myself because I had carried to term with no issues or complications and now THIS happened.  When BJ came into the room we sat together and I tried to hold off the tears.  I apologized to him over and over again.  He said I had nothing to be sorry about.  I felt differently.  I told him that if I had not been hell bent on having a baby that we wouldn't be facing this terrible diagnosis for our child.  He would hear none of it.  He was great.  Baby Girl passed the NST, which I knew she would...she moved all the time.  We were sent on our way with another appointment for the gel ripening Monday night and another OB check on Tuesday.

We didn't know what to do with ourselves.  We googled and then got frustrated because we couldn't really find anything that helped us understand what was happening.  All of our happiness and joy and wonderful anticipation had now turned into the ultimate stress situation filled with worry and fear.  We told very few people what was happening and asked for prayers.  We tried to find information on this condition and what the severity of her situation was but there isn't much out there.  And what is out there isn't very helpful.  Usually preemies and breech babies are afflicted with this condition, she was neither of those things.  She'd been head down forever.  BJ stayed home with me the next day and we both sat under a dark cloud.  We talked about how much we loved this little baby and how we wanted her to come out, not only because we were ready but now we wanted to take care of her and "fix" her if we could.  With her being inside there wasn't much we could do.  The web suggested skull surgery to give the head a more round shape and the thought of that terrified us.  Poor BJ learned of the Little Guy's heart problem 2 days after his birth and then had to schedule open heart surgery when he was only 6 weeks old.  It seemed so unfair that now we were having another child with a health crises.  All we wanted was to hold and love our baby girl.  We felt so helpless.

On Friday, I decided to be a bit more proactive.  I contacted the ped office that we intended to take baby girl to and set up a meet and greet.  I picked up her u/s pictures and report and headed to the meeting.  I looked over the report and was even more disturbed.  Of all the measurements they took, only her femur measured on target.  Her head measured almost 4 weeks behind and her abdomen was measuring 2+ weeks behind.  They had her weighing 7 pounds and 8 ounces and said that her weight was only the 36th percentile and that she did not show appropriate growth from the last scan.  How could this be?  I was so angry that no one told us any of this before.  I would have been able to get an appointment with the MFM that did our 12 and 20 week scans.  I trusted them much more than I trusted these local yahoos.  It was too late for that.  I met with her pediatrician that afternoon and brought the report and the u/s pictures with me.  He seemed stumped by the diagnosis and didn't really have any insight for me.  Basically he told me to just wait and see.  What?  I knew more about it than he did from my online research.  He said he didn't see anything to really worry about (he didn't look at the pictures as he said he didn't know how to read them...hmmm) but that he'd also not had anyone come to him about this before.  Ok, I was basically on my own again.  There really was nothing to do but sit and wait and try to get her to come out.

It was a very long weekend indeed.  I was so uncomfortable and couldn't sleep and now most of my waking thoughts were about my little girl and how this would affect her.  I was due to see my OB again Monday afternoon if I didn't go into labor over the weekend.

I'm going to stop for now.  I only get a few minutes of time here and there and this post has taken me weeks to write.  Plus, I now have 2 bum wrists instead of just one.  Not sure what the deal is but I'm in constant pain and typing really makes it worse.  I will tell her birth story in my next post.  Like I said, she seems to be fine so there's no need to worry right now.  I will try to get another post up soon.  We just bought her a swing and that will hopefully help me to have 2 free hands for at least a little while during the day.

Thank you all for checking in with me and I'm very sorry for the delay in getting something up.  I'm also going through what I'm sure is mild PPD which I will write about later, too.  I have so much to say but not many free minutes.  I'm reading and following along with all of you and cheering for you and celebrating with you...I'm just quiet and busy.  Love to you all!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

39 Weeks!

Again, I need to apologize for being so absent.  I feel a little overwhelmed with all I want to write and I think that has kept me away.  Not really a good excuse, but that's what I'm going with.  Thank you to those that have prodded me with e-mails...it's nice to know that you are still out there and still interested in reading my updates.  There's so much going on but for now I will just write a pregnancy update and then see where that takes me.  Here's where we stand:

As of my 38 week appointment there had been no progress.  I had been having some braxton hicks contractions on and off and some extra pressure in my abdomen.  I was hopeful for at least a cm or 2.  No such luck.  Plus, at my 37 week appointment I was measuring 36 weeks, no big deal...then at my 38 week appointment I had jumped up to 39 weeks!  No wonder I was feeling more pressure.  Baby Girl had gone through quite a growth spurt.  I told my doctor that I could not physically do my commute anymore.  I told her that I commute to DC (almost 2 hours each way) and that the bus was killing me.  She wrote me a note to get me out of work and I was so relieved.  She told me to walk, walk, walk and walk some more to get things going.  So of course the weather turns cold and rainy as soon as I'm home to take those walks.  Figures.  I walk around the house and I rock on my big exercise ball that I got for Christmas (which I need to write about, too) and I try to stay mobile and busy.  I have started feeling stronger contractions.  I knew these were different because they started in my lower abdomen like menstrual cramps and then my belly would get hard.  One morning I almost started timing them because they were coming fast and furious.  Then they stopped.  I figured it was the start of something good and that at the next appointment things would be moving along.  Not so much.  I hadn't seen any signs of a mucous plug and the contractions were few and far between.  I'm big, uncomfortable and having arguments with myself.  Things like:

me - I just want to go into labor and have this baby and meet her and love her
me2 - don't wish your pregnancy away...it's the only one you are every going to get to experience
me - you are right, but I can't sleep and I ache and I'm ready for her to be here
me2 - yes, but once she's here, you won't feel her moving around in your belly anymore...and you'll be even more tired
me - you're right again...I love having her with me all the time and feeling her move and rubbing my belly.

It's a hard problem to have, right?  I must sound so shallow.  But really, I am not wishing the pregnancy away, I just want to feel better.  I've had it really easy but these last few weeks have been pretty hard on me.  I wasn't expecting to be so uncomfortable.  I do not look forward to getting into bed at night.  Yes, I look forward to sleeping but my bed is my enemy right now.  I have pillows everywhere and can't really find a comfortable way to sleep.  Cry me a river.  Can I just tell you how cool it is to "complain" about the last weeks of pregnancy?  Especially since I have no real complaints other than mobility and sleep.

Backing up a little, we were sent for a sonogram on 12/31 to check Baby Girl's weight.  I didn't expect to see her again until I saw her in person so I was really excited.  BJ came with me and we were just amazed at how big she has gotten since our 20 week scan.  She looks like the Little Guy to me but BJ said he doesn't see it.  She has hair and chubby little cheeks and weighed in around 5lbs, 13oz.  We got a few good pictures of her and it's unbelievable how seeing those pictures made it even more real for me.  I have the huge belly, she moves all the time and our house is ready to bring a baby home any day now but I still have trouble believing that we are having a BABY.  I know it must sound crazy at this point but it's true.  Seeing her on that screen really brought it into perspective...there's a human baby, our baby, that will be joining us on the outside very soon.  It blows my mind that we are here.  Anyway...

I was really hoping for a little progress yesterday at my 39 week appointment but that was not to be.  My cervix is holding onto this baby like fort knox.  BJ said I shouldn't be surprised because I couldn't get pregnant on my own why would I think my body would cooperate come delivery time?  He's right and I told him that I was thinking the same thing.  My body didn't get this way on its own and it appears that it doesn't know how to let go of the pregnancy, either.  I keep telling myself that first babies are often late and many need help coming out.  I wasn't surprised that nothing was happening but I was a little disappointed.

My doctor wants another weight scan (yay!) on Tuesday and then to come see her Wednesday morning at 11:30.  If nothing is happening then I'm off to labor and delivery for some good old cervix ripening gel.  They will monitor me for 2 hours and if things start happening then we stay and have a baby.  If things don't happen after 2 hours then we go home and proceed with an induction the following week...I've already been placed on the waiting list.  Things felt extremely real after my appointment yesterday.  I'm now anxious and nervous and excited all at once.  I'm scared of labor, I'm scared of a c-section and I'm still scared that something could go really wrong.  It's a lot of emotions to experience at once.  Our due date is Thursday so the thought of having her the day before or exactly on that date is pretty awesome.  In the mean time I'm going to continue to walk around the house (because we are having lousy weather) and rocking on my exercise ball in the hopes that we won't need any intervention (yeah, right).

Oh, and we have a name but are not revealing it until she's born.  I learned early on that people are not afraid to express opinions when you throw out some names that you are considering.  And on the flip side, they get a bit offended if you don't love and pick the names they are giving you.  So we decided that once we picked a name it would be a secret.  It was the simplest solution to an issue that was becoming a stressful topic with people around us.  I bought wooden letters yesterday that we will be hanging on the wall in her room.

That's about all for now, I guess.  My wrist is tired of typing and I need to get up and get moving.  I will try to write more about the other things running around in my head very soon because once she's here I have a feeling I'll be even worse with blogging...as if that is possible.  Thanks for sticking around and checking on me.  It really is nice to have all of you out there rooting for us and caring.