Monday, August 5, 2013

Little Man: A Birth Story

We went to the hospital the evening of July 4 to begin the induction process. I hadn't made much progress in the weeks leading up to my due date and my doctor wanted to go ahead and induce labor while she was the doctor on call, which put us having a baby on July 5, 2013. Anyway, we arrived at the hospital after spending some time with family (it was the Forth of July after all!) and after some confusion on the part of the hospital (aka: they had been expecting us the night before!) we were taken to a room where they proceeded to poke, prod, and hook me up to all kinds of monitors. A few hours later, they came in and gave me cervadil, a drug to dilate my cervix and suggested I rest as much as possible. My mom and dad came by to bring me a late night snack since I wouldn't be allowed to eat after midnight and we'd eaten an early dinner.

We were both already feeling tired as we approached midnight, but tired would be the least of our worries over the next couple of days. At about midnight, I notice my back was starting to hurt, but I didn't think much of it. I mean seriously, if I thought much about it whenever my back hurt then I'd be thinking about my back hurting a LOT. Over the next several hours, I would move between standing next to the bed, swaying, and trying to recline in the bed to relieve the pain and pressure. As it turns out, I was in back labor. Ladies, if you've been through this, then you know there's nothing worse than back labor without drugs.

At 4:30, the nurse came in to start my pitocin drip. The pitocin did exactly what it was supposed to- start contractions, which naturally intensified my back labor and made me feel miserable at best. My doctor was set to arrive and break my water at about 7am, and my goal was to not have any pain medication until after she arrived. Everyone has their own way of managing pain, and in this case, mine was music. I have turned on my ipod while I was swaying because it gave me something to concentrate on and allowed me to sway in time to the music. When the pitocin started making the contractions worse, I scrolled down the list and cranked the volume on my earbuds to Shine Down. I listened to "45" and "Simple Man" more times than I can count. If the contractions felt like they were getting more intense, I would simply turn up the volume a little and focus on it. Seriously, it helped. Whatever gets you through.

My doctor arrived about 7am and broke my water (and to all my sweet friends, thanks for telling my how much fun THAT was... yeah, read, "NO FUN AT ALL!"). There was a point at about 6am when I really thought I wasn't going to make my goal of no pain meds until after my doc came, but praise the Lord I made it! I was thrilled to make my goal (small though it was) and when my doctor said I could have an epidural, I was THRILLED!

I had met with the nurse anesthetist shortly after admission to get everything lined up so it didn't take very long to get the epidural, but my contractions were getting more intense and I was NOT very fun to be around. My sweet husband who had spent the night sleeping on the too short couch in our delivery room  made a comment about my "ET" finger (heart rate monitor that lit up and made my finger look like ET), and I told him in no uncertain terms to "SHUT UP!!!!"... In all fairness, I was having a contraction at that moment while they were trying to stick a giant needle into my back and wasn't feeling like joking. In the end, I made the same joke and my very wise hubby discerned to save the jokes for later.

After the epidural kicked in, everything was pretty smooth sailing with a few visitors coming in and out and trying to nap (and napping is hard when your blood pressure is being taken every 20-30 min and you're hooked up to all kinds of monitors). My doctor had been monitoring me from her office down the street and arrived to check on our progress about 2:30-3 o'clock in the afternoon. My epidural had slowed down everything a good bit but we had progressed a little bit and made the decision to wait a few more hours before discussing the need for a c-section.

This is where everything starts to get crazy. Within a couple minutes of my doc leaving the room, the nurse and my husband noticed my contractions had flat-lined and that Baby's heart rate was dropping again (we'd already had some issues with that earlier but the oxygen they gave me helped). My doctor came back in and within about two minutes time, she said we needed to have a c-section... stat. The next thing I knew, there was a heard of people entering my room and all modesty, dignity, etc was gone as they proceeded to kindly, but very forcefully poke, prod and get me prepped for surgery. I wasn't really nervous in the room, but as they wheeled my down the hall, the butterflies started fluttering in my tummy. My husband was only allowed to come part of the way, but was brought into the OR shortly after I was settled on the table.

It is a strange experience having people introduce themselves to you while someone else is moving your around, but that's the way it worked for me. "Hi, I'm Doctor ____________ and I'm going to assist in your c-section today." Everyone was super kind as we got situated and for that I am very thankful.

My husband was brought in and I felt a lot better then, minus the butterflies that had tuned to rocks in my tummy. I was definitely not feeling great (gotta love all those surgery drugs!) but I was ready for them to get Baby out and make sure he was okay.

A few minutes later, I could hear my doctor say, "Happy birthday Baby Boy!!! And he is ALL boy!!". I was relieved! You never know if those ultrasounds are going to be correct... I said to my husband, "are we sure that's our baby? He isn't crying very loudly." Hubby aptly said, "Honey, they have an oxygen mask on his face, that's why he doesn't seem very loud". Oh. Right. Once they removed the mask, I KNEW he HAD to be our baby- boy! He was MAD at the doctor for removing him from his cozy home! Hearing his first cry sent a cold wave through me- he was HERE, after all these months and all the waiting!! Magical!

And that's where the magic ended. The nurse brought Little Man over for us to see him (all 7lbs, 3oz, 19 3/4 inches of him) for a brief second, but that was it. Within a couple minutes, my doctor told my husband that she was sending him and Little Man to recovery and keeping me a little bit longer. We had been hearing the doctors on the other side of the curtain talking about everything being too spongy and not tightening up properly, and we had heard them call down and order a couple units of blood. I knew something wasn't quite normal but I was so out of it that I didn't think past that.

I have no idea how long I was in the OR after my husband and son were taken to recovery. I remember waking up and feeling horribly nauseous shortly before they took me out of the OR. As we were leaving and headed down the hall, I asked where we were going, "We're going to ICU". Thankfully, I was still so out of it from the medicine that all I could think was, "well, that's not good".

I was wheeled into my ICU room and shaking like a junkie in withdrawal. I was so cold and drugged and utterly exhausted. The staff was so kind and sweet but professional they whole time. I asked about my baby and husband and they reassured me that my baby was healthy and perfectly fine, and that I could see my husband soon. I was actually more worried about my husband and parents than I was the baby. I knew they would all be so scared and I just wanted to see them so they knew I was okay. I wanted them with me. Sure enough, not long at all after entering my ICU room, they brought in my husband, followed a few minutes later by my parents.

I learned from the anesthesiologist who came to check on me (several times through the next couple days) that I had lost about 2 liters of blood and turned very grey. He said, as I was laying in ICU, that I was really looking very good and pink. He told me that if I hadn't been in a hospital or if this had happened to me at another point in history, I would not have made it. My parents were there for this exchange. This is important because when I was born, I was very blue and they weren't sure I would make it since I was about 8 weeks early. My dad said he was remembering the first time I turned pink... Now you know why I wanted them to know I was okay.

My doctor came in and told us what happened and why I was in ICU. When they got Little Man out, my uterus should have started contracting and shrinking back to it's normal, pre-baby size. It didn't. My uterus was so worn out that it simply could not contract and shrink, and thus I kept bleeding and bleeding. In order to try and stop the bleeding, they inserted a balloon into my uterus. This is a rare procedure, and if it hadn't worked I would have gone back into surgery to have a hysterectomy.

When my doctor told me that, all I could think was, "But I just had a baby and now at 25 you're telling me I might not have another... I guess we will adopt". You do not expect to go into the hospital to have a baby and be told that you might have to have all your lady business removed... particularly at 25 years old. I was shocked and scared, well as much as I could be (I was OUT OF IT!). My sweet husband's thought was a little different. Bless him, his thought was "Good there's one more thing they can do before I loose her". Sobering.

We would wait in ICU until they removed the balloon the next afternoon and pray it worked. There were so many people praying for us! Oh my goodness! How blessed are we to have been so covered in prayer! I'm holding back tears as I think about our friends and family who prayed for us, and with us- I am so humbled! In case you didn't know, this is what the church does, people! Oh, there are no words to describe how blessed and humbled we are to have been so covered in prayer and love- thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!!!

It was in that ICU room that I got to hold Little Man for the first time! Normally, you can get a picture in the OR where dad puts baby next to mom's face for a picture, but since we didn't have a normal c-section, this didn't happen. It was 5 or 6 hours before I got to see Little Man and hold him. But it was worth it! I can't describe how wonderful it was to hold him!!! In that moment, nothing else mattered.

We spent that night sleeping on and off and generally loosing all track of night or day. The medications were wearing off and I had been given 2 units of blood and a unit of frozen plasma. I was exhausted and uncomfortable to say the least.

The next day, my doctor came in just was promised and removed the balloon. I think we all held our breath- IT WORKED!!!! PRAISE THE LORD, IT WORKED!!!!! I wasn't going to have to go back into surgery! I wasn't going to have a hysterectomy! We could have more kids... someday! Relief!!!!

This meant we could be moved to a regular room!!!!! Good-bye ICU!!! Woohoo!!!!!! The next couple days were spent like pretty much anyone else- lots of visitors (the hospital did let people into ICU to see us and I'm so thankful!) and hospital staff, and poking and such. I was glad when I could actually sleep once we got home- I was tired!

I could easily transition here into our first week at home, or even a recap of our first month, but I will save those observations for another post. To our family and friends, thank you for your prayers, love, support, help, etc over the past month. We could not have survived this past month without you- thank you for showing us Jesus in all you have done for us- WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!

I go back and forth on how I feel about everything we have walked through with Little Man's birth. But at the end of the day, this is our story, this is my story, regardless of whether I like it or want it. Some days, I struggle with "why me". My sweet friend Rachel, gave me a new perspective: "it's just proof that God has a special plan for you, for Little Man and for your family. It shows you that He's not done growing your family." Wow. I hadn't thought about it like that. This life is a journey of faith- and I am so thankful in a God who does miracles and who puts the right people in my path to continually point me to Him.

First picture as a family of three!!! 

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