This is not the birth story I had intended on writing but it's the one I was given.
Many, if not all of you knew I was planning a home birth. However it's funny how God begins to prep your heart and you don't even know it's happening. The best thing we can do is sit back and let Him take the wheel...
I woke up feeling funny the 15th and started cramping which didn't ease up so I knew labor was right around the corner. About dinner time I went to the bathroom and saw my first sign of "Bloody show" (Mucus plug fall out). I called Kyle (my husband) downstairs to show him and in doing so I watched him jump for joy around our room, "The baby's coming soon!!!" he rejoiced. The hug he gave me had me asking for air to breathe, he was beaming! We told my family and they joined in our celebration that new life was soon coming into this world. Not long after my cramps intensified, this was plenty confirmation labor was due any hour/day. My body kept me up off and on that night with random contractions, they varied in pain and length. I didn't care, I was excited! Kyle would check on me if I made any indicator a contraction was more than just a little blip. I maybe got 4 hours of sleep? (Kyle says I got less.) The next day I was uncomfortable as you can guess and just waited as my body prepped. I honestly don't remember that day other than waiting, waiting, waiting...
At first I wasn't quite sure how to relax because I was met with SO many emotions and was eager to get the show on the road! I talked via txt with my best friend Diana
There's something I never considered nor remembered about how my body deals with pain.
Esp new pain.
With my TBI my body will shut down after long drawn out times of pain and stop it by cutting off sensation. This is not good when it comes to a woman in labor! In fact it's very detrimental when you're contractions are roughly 1.5 min long and almost solidly 5 min apart. We were 30 min out from having our midwife come when the worst hit and my body very quickly shut down... I was on my yoga ball in the middle of a contraction with my upper body resting on the bed when I felt the wave hit me. 10 min came and went before the next contraction and that contraction lasted only seconds. 20 min came and went... Nothing. My midwife said to try and sleep some and to txt her when I woke up. I slept for maybe and 1.5 hours and was woken once again by intense contractions so Jessica stopped over to check on me and said I was 90% effaced and barely 1cm dilated. After all of that...
Labor continued Sunday and drifted into Sunday evening, I was weary as we pressed long into the night. Both of my parents came to our room helping take some weight off Kyle since he still hadn't slept a wink. We are ever grateful for their support, we couldn't have done it without them!! They took shifts as I found a focal point and relaxed with each contraction, had plenty of time to get it right by that point. ;)
Jessica came back to check me Monday morning and said there was no change and my heart broke. She said in her professional opinion I wouldn't be able to handle another night of zero sleep and hard labor so I needed to transfer to a hospital. She wanted me to be induced and to have an epidural to help my body along. For her to say this meant she saw a real need for such interventions, I trust her 100%. She copied all my records and gave me the name of a doctor to try. We made contact and were told to go to the hospital right away vs coming to the office. I packed a bag for myself and our baby boy. My world was spinning in circles as I felt contractions coming and going and I was faced with my greatest fear, going to the hospital. The only joy I found was in the fact God was in control and my baby was still on his way. The baby's heartbeat was still good each time our midwife checked, this too helped ease us into the transition of needing to change our plans so drastically. I can remember crying as we prepped to go, I wanted my baby born at home!
We got to the hospital, they took me back to a small room and I was sickened by what little they did to check both me and the baby. They pulled the medical card of "knowing better" and didn't want to hear how the head injury affected me with all of this. From there it turned into an even bigger nightmare....
The doctor we planned to see decided my case didn't sound very serious after all and so she wanted me to see the on call doc. The doctor on call said I wasn't worth coming into work 30 min early for and to send me home with sleeping pills that I simply needed sleep and wasn't/hadn't been in labor. (If the medical community was looking for ways to boost my confidence in them they were doing a bang up job at this point.) This was said without checking the baby via ultrasound or anything, I was hooked up for some minor monitoring and that's it. My contractions had lessoned due to my hospital anxiety I developed post head injury and that gave them even more reason to send me home. Nobody would listen. (I wonder if Mary and Joseph felt like this when looking for a safe place to have Jesus... Gave me a little more perspective that's for sure.) I told them no thank you to the sleeping pill because it wasn't safe to ingest still being pregnant, I had done my research and knew what the side effects looked like. They tried to convince me otherwise but I assured them I had gone into this pregnancy well educated.
Something was very wrong, little did we know just how wrong the situation really was. The nurse gave me a long list of reasons to return and had me sign a paper discharging me. I didn't feel like arguing, even if some of things on that list were already taking place. They didn't believe me and that was that. Jessica told me to go home, collect myself, to eat something and maybe take a nap before heading to the next hospital. There had to be some phone calls made to see if they'd first take me so we headed home. I tried not to feel depressed over this matter in fact I felt more shock than anything.
As soon as we got out the door my contractions kicked back up again, it's like my body was relieved to be out of that hostile environment and relaxed enough to let me proceed. We got home and they came 5 min apart almost 2 min long, I wanted to eat and I wanted sleep but my body wouldn't let me get more than some wonton soup and a spring role in me. (Whoever said you're not hungry when in labor... They lied... I was eating the entire time it made me so hungry!) Mom called the next hospital in tears begging for somebody to take her daughter. God placed a kind ear on the line and spoke tenderness into their hearts, they agreed to see me. I could feel my body growing weaker with each passing hour so I prayed they'd find reason to keep me; the baby began to move less and that started to worry me. I wasn't able to stay too hydrated either as I oddly needed the bathroom more than usual. Kyle had a hunch to weigh me seeing as my feet looked far from swollen, this wasn't the norm for me at this point of my pregnancy. It turns out I had dropped 10 lbs, what on earth was going on?? Water weight or no water weight, something was very, very wrong...
Getting checked in, changed and hooked up to the machines I was already shown more tender care inside of 20 min at this new location than I had the entire time at the other. The care God showered me with in the nurse that was taking care of me was so incredible! They hooked me up to a machine that showed my contractions, the baby's movements and heartbeat. Right off the bat they noticed the baby's movements weren't what they should be. Giving me cranberry juice and ice water they wanted to see what rehydrating me would do and it proved to do very little for our little man. They ordered an ultrasound as the deciding factor if they'd keep me or not, this nurse wouldn't tell me how worried she truly was and did a good job hiding it from me. The ultrasound showed the amniotic fluid was dangerously low. That right there was more than enough for them to take what my midwife suggested and put it into action.
I was now in the process of being admitted...
The plan was to have me moved to labor and delivery, hook me up to an iv with fluids, start the induction with pitocin, get the epidural and hopefully let my body relax enough so I could dilate and hopefully deliver him in several hours time. (No, I wasn't thrilled either but these interventions were designed for such times.) Getting the epidural wasn't the horror I thought it would be, in fact, they did it so quickly I felt very little pain, I was thrilled! (The iv hurt worse as my sister had warned.)
I think I threw up due to those meds over 5 times! I was told to sleep if I could and I inwardly laughed, me being to intensely watched and them shifting me from side to side every hour, checking my progress occasionally... Yeah right! All in all I did my best to chill. I tried to pray but my heart hurt too much for actual words.
Jessica looked pensive as she checked me and watched the screen. The doctors decided they needed to insert and internal unit to watch the baby's heartbeat and In order to do that they had to break my water. I really am grateful for their trying to work with me on wanting a vaginal birth but it didn't change the heavy feeling of concern in the room as we learned baby boy did worse if I laid on my R side. I was kept on my L for the remainder of my time, this was nice since I could actually see everybody who was with me then. Our midwife announced several hours later she would go home to get some sleep and be back in a flash if things progressed or got worse. We thanked her profusely for sitting with us and explaining things in better detail once the staff would leave the room. Major ease on the nerves, you have no idea. We wished her well and prepped for a long uncomfortable night of very little sleep. My sister and husband "slept" off and on by my my bed with their feet up near mine as mom and dad took the pull out couch.
Night dwindled into day and I was introduced to new staff and informed I was going to be passed onto my next doctor. This had me on edge as I was going from a female to a male. However, when I met him I realized I was in safe hands, he had a remarkable bedside manor! He kept a very close eye on the baby's heart rate as it began to dip lower and lower with each contraction, he started to react badly to the induction. Watching your baby's heart dip and watching how he all but stopped moving minus a few times per hour is a very difficult thing...
My family returned in the morning and got the update that things weren't looking good and option "B" was being pulled out of the drawer for possible consideration. They decided to insert a different type of catheter near the baby to start pumping fluid back in to make him "float" as we got word his cord was wrapped around him like a sash and each contraction compressed it. My husband and I had a moment alone and I started to cry as I realized how weak I was and that if it came time for me to push I may not be able to. I stayed 3 cm all night and by now as inching my way to 5cm with growing pressure down below that frightened me, my body was trying to push! I had to force myself to not give in even though it felt incredible to have that feeling I had craved so long for. The level of danger this presented was something far more than I could currently comprehend. As for the tears that met my eyes I told my husband I was pretty sure I didn't have the strength to have this baby vaginally. Kyle remained strong and told me all would turn out just as God had planned and wasn't that always the better option anyway? Yes. The Dr came in and he looked pale saying we didn't have a choice, option "B" was fully on the table. The doctor said this little one was giving him heartburn and he wanted to start prepping me right away. I requested to have a moment alone with my mother as she had gone through 2 C-sections already and I needed my mother with me for a few to help me clear my foggy head. We talked and cried as we knew a dream was being shattered and a mother's worst nightmare for her daughter was coming true. I told her how scared I was but how I just wanted the baby to be safe and I knew something was up that I wasn't being told. I txt Jessica and she told me she'd be there in 20, Praise God for that!
The team came in and very quickly rushed me out the door, I touched the hands of my family and told them I loved them and that I'd see them soon. The ride down to the operating room was a massive blur...
My husband was getting his O.R. duds and a crash course in what was about to go down. I kept asking where he was, I couldn't see him and that worried me because their hurried nature had me on edge. There wasn't a utterance of prayer that came to me as I felt fear taking over once I reach the room and saw all the lights and equipment. My heart danced for joy when I saw my husband's handsome face looking down at me and smile. My Dr and the anesthesiologist also helped as their tender personalities kept me on level ground and calmed some of my nerves. My husband kept telling me the baby was coming and to focus on that. I was ready, very ready to have this done and to have my baby safely out! They numbed me with a saddle block and was told I would feel A LOT of tugging and pressure during this procedure. They didn't lie about any of it, my head automatically went to the end of Braveheart. Enough said.
I'm sure not every C-section is that intense and I was assured mine was a special case because the baby needed out yesterday. I was feeling pain during the operation and realized that dumb catheter the nurse "fixed" was digging into my side causing excruciating pain. Pain that was far worse than any contraction I'd had at home. I kept telling them what I was feeling and they were shocked I felt that with how drugged I was. They kept intensifying my meds to numb me but nothing helped. The doctor said if I could hold out for a few more I'd see my baby and then they'd knock me out.
My husband and family almost lost both me and the baby twice that day I learned.
Waking up was difficult.
I remember begging to see my mother and I remember being given meds in my iv that really hurt.
I was finally allowed to leave the recovery unit and getting wheeled past my family and Jessica while Kyle went to go be with our new son. I also remember getting back to the room and them telling me roll if I could to have me help them as they moved me to the bed in my new room. HA! Yeah right, I couldn't move my body from the chest down almost. The move was painful non-the-less! Morphine was injected into my iv on top of the other pain med I was given and I was left in a VERY loopy state. (I've been told I sounded drunk.) My mommy never left my side and that was a true comfort since I was in such a useless state and had no clue what was going on half the time. Both she and Jessica made sure I was okay and then Jessica stepped out to go see the baby before she took off for home. A nurse soon came in and wanted to hold this in depth conversation on lactation and breast feeding, talk about my "welcome folder" etc... I was quite shocked because I must've looked more coherent than I felt. Goofy medical staff, always wanting to talk when you simply can't. No wonder people are in hospitals so long, you NEVER rest! (People aren't joking when they say such things.)
I was wheeled down in the bed to the NICU and will never forget hold my little bundle I had carried for 41 weeks! The pregnancy wasn't an easy one but I did enjoy the feeling of him move and watching my belly grow with each passing week. Part of me misses being pregnant very badly actually (I'll explain in a later post)... Seeing that sweet face for the first time and holding that small body in my arms didn't set in till much later. How I wish there was more privacy in those moments and how I wish he would've let me nurse him but he wouldn't latch due to the drugs messing with my system and them telling me I wasn't developed enough for him to nurse. They told me he needed fed and his best option to start gaining strength was for them to feed him formula... Inwardly I broke apart as I knew I wasn't gong to be the first to feed my child and his first meal wasn't going to be us bonding as he fed from my breast.
After that my time was spent going back and forth from the NICU for a week.
But I say this...
My heart is singing a song of praise that my little one's life was spared,
That my God let me live to watch him grow and to live with the man I call husband,
To see my family and to cherish this new adventure!
I am no longer just a daughter, sister, wife and best friend... I am a Mommy!!!
May I introduce the newest little love in my life...