Archive | September, 2016

birth story

22 Sep

When I posted last on the 30th, I thought I would be pregnant for one more week.  Well, my body and my baby had other plans.

My blood pressure started to elevate again on the 30th and it was well over the numbers that my Dr. was comfortable with.  It stayed high all that day and the next day.  I was also dealing with some killer headaches again.  The next day, September 1st, I had an appointment for our last ultrasound/bpp before our daughter was supposed to be born on September 6th.

I had a feeling that he was going to make me have her that day, such a strong feeling that I thought I should pack my hospital bag and bring it with us.  But, I was so hoping he wouldn’t make that decision so I packed it somewhat and left it at home.  We stopped and had lunch before my appointment and I was sure that it was a mistake for me to eat, but decided to do it anyway.

I was pretty sure that Baby Girl had flipped herself again and I was anxious to find out if that was true.  I felt her turn to head down at 28 weeks.   At my ultrasound at 32 weeks, she was indeed head down.  Since that ultrasound, she has flipped to a completely different position before every appointment.  And, I could always feel her move.  She had been head up at our ultrasound the week previously when I was 35 weeks, 2 days.  And I was pretty sure I had felt her move again a few days after that.  Sure enough, at this ultrasound on September 1st, she was transverse.  I asked the tech if she could take a look at her cord.  With all the moving she was doing, I was a little concerned that she was going to end up having a cord accident.  She spent quite a bit of time looking at the cord and said that because of how she was laying, she couldn’t definitively tell or not if it was around her neck.

My mom, Arturo, and I went in to the exam room immediately after that and waited to see what my Dr. was going to say.  He came in the room and he looked at my blood pressure readings and I told him about my headaches returning.  He asked me to get on the exam table and he did some pressing on my upper abdomen.  It was sore, which is another indication that my pre-eclampsia was getting worse and my liver could be affected.  Without saying anything else, he got on the phone and called over to Labor and Delivery.  He told whoever answered, “I need to mess up your schedule for tonight.  I need to do a C-section this evening.” I started to cry as he gave the nurse instructions for me to come over and be directly admitted and hooked up to Magnesium.

He asked when I had eaten last and I told him 12:30 pm.  It was now 2:30 pm.  He said anesthesia would probably make me wait until 8 hours after my last meal, so the surgery would likely be around 8:30 pm.  I was really upset and so worried about her having to be born at 36 weeks, 2 days.  He handed me a tissue and told me that not only was my health getting worse, but that the blood flow to her umbilical cord was starting to slow down and that it was time to have a baby.  He spent a good amount of time explaining how that could be dangerous for her, but I kind of zoned out at that point.

I asked him if I could go home and get my stuff first and he looked at my mom and Arturo and said, “Can you guys go get her stuff?”  They said yes and so he said, “You need to go straight to the hospital.”

I asked him about being on the Magnesium and he said, “You are going to feel like shit.”  This made me cry some more.  I did not want to feel like shit when I met my daughter for the first time and I have heard so many stories of moms that puke non-stop on it or almost feel paralyzed to the point that they can’t hold or nurse their babies.  I did not want that, but he said I had to be on it to help avoid seizures.

He said that 36 weeks was considered late pre-term and that she wouldn’t need NICU time, but would need time in the special care nursery.

It’s very hard to feel like my body fails me when it comes to pregnancy.  I don’t know why I am so bad at being pregnant, but I just wanted to birth a healthy baby so badly and I couldn’t help but feel like I failed again.

I think I was still having a hard time believing that this was going to be much different from my last C-section.  It was hard to believe that this time I wouldn’t have to say hello and goodbye to my baby on the same day.  Now, today, she is 3 weeks old, and I still can’t believe it.

I was really emotional the next few hours as I waited.

My mom and Arturo stayed with me while they got my IV in.  I had a great nurse who was really sweet, but I still wasn’t going to let her try to stick me, not even once.  After the 3 of us were quite insistent, she called anesthesia to come.  The guy they sent was super funny and his humor helped to calm me down.  He found a spot on the top of my wrist that he was pretty confident with.  He got it in first try!  I was so happy, but he and I were both concerned of the placement and weren’t sure that it would last.  He said I couldn’t bend my wrist at all and I just needed to try not to use that wrist for much at all.  I knew that was going to be challenging over the next few days while I tried to take care of a baby and learn to nurse her.  (It definitely was challenging, but the IV ended up lasting the whole time.)

My mom and Arturo left just after that to go home and get stuff for me and the baby and for Arturo, who would be staying at the hospital with us.

Shortly after that, 3 nurses came in to hook up my Magnesium.  They were so dramatic as they laid my bed flat and started to tell me all the negative side effects I would probably experience within the first 5 minutes of it being hooked up.  I started bawling, like the hard ugly cry.  I was terrified.  I so wanted a positive birth experience and to hear that, “You are going to feel like you’ve been run over by a truck,” while being handed a puke bucket did not reassure me at all that this was going to be the beautiful day I had envisioned for so long.

Much to my and the nurses surprise, I felt fine.  I felt REALLY, REALLY hot and itchy, but that was it.  All the other horrible things they said would most likely happen didn’t.  I asked if it would come later and they said that if I wasn’t feeling any of it now then I wouldn’t.  So, that helped me to calm down some.  They ended up packing me in ice to keep me cool and I had Arturo bring me a fan when he came back.

Also, my dad called me.  He had hopped on his motorcycle and was on his way to be there as soon as he could.  My dad is the absolute best at comic relief and has always known how to make me laugh when I am at my most stressed moments.  Laughter is the best medicine after all.

When Arturo and my mom came back and I saw how thoroughly excited they were, that helped me to calm down too.

The C-section itself was such a completely different experience from when Angel was born.  Some of that was different in a bad way, but most of it was different in a really great way.

Our last picture before the OR!

It started out the same.  They wheeled me into the OR and got my spinal in and then prepped me on the OR table.  After that, they let Arturo come in.  When Angel was born, the drape they had up was low enough that we could see over the top.  This time, the drape was so high, we couldn’t see a thing.  That was frustrating because I could feel all this pressure and had no clue what was going on.

When Angel was born, the Dr told me when he was going to start cutting.  This time, my Dr didn’t say a word.  He just got to work.  I finally said, “Are you going to start cutting?”  I was told, “He’s already almost through your uterus.”  Shortly after that, I started to feel a ton of pressure and it seemed like they were shaking my whole body around.  I had no idea what was going on.  I could hear a few different things like, “There’s a hand, but where’s her head?”  I was starting to get a little panicky and then I heard someone say that she was out.  But…she wasn’t crying.  I immediately asked why she wasn’t crying and was told, “She will.  Don’t worry. ”  Sure enough, soon after, I heard the sweetest cry and I started bawling.

I was later told that all the trouble was because she had moved back to head up in the hours since my ultrasound and whenever my Dr would go in to try and get her out, she would squirm away from him.  He finally had to vacuum her out.  And the reason she didn’t cry right away was because he delayed clamping her cord.  So, once he cut her cord, that was when she started crying.

I never heard Angel cry.  He couldn’t cry. He cooed, but he couldn’t cry.  So, at that moment, that was the most beautiful sound I have ever heard.

Through the procedure, Arturo sat at my head, this time on my left side.  When Angel was born, he was on my right side.  He held my hand and I could tell how super excited he was.  I was very nervous, still having trouble believing that she was going to be born healthy.

After she was born, Arturo got to go over to the warmer and cut her cord.  They weighed her and she came in at a perfect 6 pounds and 18 1/2 inches long!  She was born at 8:56 pm.  They let him bring her over to me and I was able to see her and touch her face for a few minutes before Arturo left with her to the nursery.  I couldn’t believe how beautiful she was.

The next hour was one of the loneliest and longest of my life.  I laid there still sort of clueless about what was happening below the drape as my Dr stitched me up.  There was idle chit chat happenning in the room that had nothing to do with my baby or me and it all made me kind of uneasy.  But, then I heard the med student that was with my Doctor mention that he used to live in Grand Forks, North Dakota and I started engaging in the conversation with them.  That relaxed me a little bit.  However, I just wanted to see my daughter, and hold her, and never be apart from her again.  I was never apart from Angel for his whole life.  They kept him in the OR the whole time I was being stitched up.

After I was all stitched up they wheeled me off to recovery where I was still alone and clueless as to what was happening with my husband and daughter over in the nursery.  My pain was pretty great at this point.  When Angel was born, they had me hooked up to a morphine pump that I could push every 10 minutes.  I don’t remember being in a lot of pain because the nurses just kept coming in and pushing my button for me.  This time, the nurse in recovery was administering shots of Fentanyl through my IV at my request every 10 minutes.  I have never been good at asking for pain medicine, so thankfully, she kept asking me if I needed another shot every 10 minutes.

A nurse came in from the nursery and told me that our daughter was doing great and that my mom was in the nursery with Arturo and everyone was crying tears of joy that our baby was healthy.  They said it would be just a short time longer and then they would bring her in to me to try and nurse.

The Fentanyl started to make me nauseous and vomit and so that was even more painful to be vomiting after just being cut open.  So, every time the nurse gave me a shot, I would vomit for a few minutes right after.

FINALLY, Arturo brought her in to me.  The nurse put her on my chest and said that I should see if she wanted to nurse.  She said she might not want to and that if she didn’t that was ok.  She gave me about 5 minutes to try, and it didn’t go well for me or for her.  We had no idea what we were doing.  So, then they whisked her back to the nursery and told me that after I was back in my room, they would bring her to me.

Amor Rose!

I got back to my room and my mom was there and so happy!  It was really late by this point, about 11:30 pm.  While I was talking to my mom and sending pictures to family members, the nurse from the nursery and Arturo came in and said that Amor’s blood sugar was only 41 and that they needed to give her a bottle of formula or start an IV if I didn’t want her to have formula.  I was really frustrated that they hadn’t given me more time to try to feed her, but at this point there was no choice but to let them give her the formula.  My mom and Arturo both thought it was right thing to do, but it made me so emotional.  I already felt like I was failing her.

My mom went home shortly after that.  It was late and she needed to drive almost 30 minutes back to our house.  So, I was alone again, waiting for some news about my daughter.

Truthfully, the first 24 hours of her life were really emotional for me.  I was awake the whole night just staring at her and in total disbelief about how beautiful she was and that she was here and that she was going to live.

Every few hours, the nurse would come in and try to help me nurse her.  But, this nurse…was horrible.  Nursing wasn’t going well and she kept trying to get me to give her more formula.  I really resisted though and said that if we had to, couldn’t I pump some colostrum instead?  She didn’t like that idea and just kept telling me, “I don’t know what to do.”  What do you mean you don’t know what to do?  You are supposed to be teaching me!  I REALLY don’t know what to do.

Finally, the morning came and that meant shift change.  The new nurse that came on from the nursery was amazing.  She was so reassuring and helpful.  She said that I was doing a great job nursing and that I was doing exactly what I needed to be doing.  She said that because she was born a little early it might be a little challenging but that we were doing fine.  She took her to the nursery for a little bit to have the Dr. look her over.

I had to be on the Magnesium for the first 24 hours of her life.  So, I was still very, very hot and itchy.  I itched until I broke all my nails.  But, even though I was really hot, apparently my skin felt cold to the touch.

We had been doing skin to skin before the morning nurse had come in to take her for a check-up and the nurse came back in the room to tell me that she was really cold and needed to be put under the warmer for an hour.  Cue the tears.  All my worst fears were coming true.  I was failing this girl already.

When she was brought back in the room, I told the nurse that we should turn the air off and that I would just have to suffer through it.  She said that wasn’t necessary and this wasn’t my fault.  They didn’t want  get overheated because it could make me sicker.  She had brought her back all wrapped up in a sleep sack and said that this was a good solution until I was off the Magnesium and started to cool off.

It was the first time I truly understood how much this precious baby depended on me for everything.  And because I was so hot, she was cold and wasn’t able to regulate her body temperature yet.  And because I was having trouble nursing, she was not getting what she needed and struggling with low blood sugar.  I could not stop worrying.

Later that day, a Lactation Consultant came in to see us and she was very helpful and encouraging as well.  She agreed with what the Day nurse had told me.  We were doing great and that it was a learning process for both of us.  I am proud to say that she never had to be given another bottle of formula and she never had to go back to the warmer. However, if she had to, I now know that wouldn’t have meant I failed her in any way.

I had another breakdown that evening, though.   After I finally got off the Magnesium and they removed my catheter my nurse let me get up and take a shower.  I didn’t think I was in pain until I finished my shower and got back in bed.  The shower was rough.  I was in so much pain that I was crying.  But, I was trying so hard to not ask for pain medication.  Finally, my nurse came in and convinced me to take something.  I realize now also, that I shouldn’t have resisted.  I just had major surgery a little more than 24 hours ago and of course I was in pain.

They had to keep us a little bit longer to continue to monitor my blood pressure and make sure that I wasn’t showing any signs of any lasting effects.  Everything was looking good so they finally let us go home on Sunday morning.

I can’t count how many times Arturo and I looked at each other in the hospital and asked each other, “Can you believe she’s here and she’s healthy?”  It was so surreal.

I had no idea how much I loved my husband until I saw how amazingly he took care of our daughter and me while we were there in the hospital.  I never changed a diaper until I was getting her dressed to go home.  He did it all.  He burped her after her feedings, he held her when she wouldn’t sleep in her bassinet, he helped me with nursing and calmed me during my anxieties.    I could not be luckier in the husband that God chose for me.

September 19 marked 5 1/2 years of marriage for us.  Honestly, if you had told me 5 1/2 years ago what these years would look like, I might not have been so eager to walk down the aisle.  These years have been hard.  Now, that we’ve walked through it, I know that God designed us for each other and that I could not have weathered these storms without him by my side.

I started crying as we were putting her in the car to go home.  I couldn’t believe we were leaving the hospital with a LIVE baby.  I hope that I will never take her for granted.  I am happier than I have ever been, happier than I knew was possible.  I know what my purpose is on this earth.

Let’s go home!


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