Monday, November 21, 2011

Jack's Birth Story

*Warning: This is super long, so if you aren't interested in all of the birth details, just skip to the pics at the end!*

It’s seems pretty apropos that the little man whose conception was a surprise, would also have an unexpected birth date.

Back in March when we found out our due date, I thought, “Oh, wow! Wouldn’t it be cool to have a baby on 11/11/11?” but seeing that my due date was 10 days past that, I didn’t think there was any chance that would happen. (Liam didn’t arrive until his forced eviction at 41 weeks, so I had no reason to think that this baby would be a week & a half early.)

But, as my blood pressure rose over the past few weeks and I made multiple trips to Labor & Delivery, I realized that it was likely that I’d end up delivering early. Especially when one doctor said he didn’t want me to go past my due date and another said she didn’t want me to go past 39 weeks.

Last Monday (Nov 7), when I made my semi-weekly trek up to the ob’s office to get checked and have my Non-Stress Test to see how Jack was tolerating everything, my (old) doctor said that she wanted to go ahead and schedule my induction. I asked if we could do it on Friday (Nov 11) and she said that she wanted to push it to Tues (Nov 15) because she’d be out of the office until then. I mentioned several times that I was comfortable with having another doctor deliver me, but she stuck with Tues, saying that she wanted to be there. (Which, I have to say, amused me. She didn’t care whether she was there for Liam’s birth. I’m not sure why it was so important this time.) She asked me to go ahead and schedule an appointment to be monitored on Thursday—which I did, with the new doctor I’d been seeing.

Thursday morning, I met my parents at a shopping center close by so that they could take Liam for the afternoon. The plan was to go to my appointment, then come home and do a few last minute things around the house. I still had a few casseroles to make, some things to wash and a nap to take! As I was pulling out of the parking lot, I started to have some visual disturbances (aura) like I do when I get migraines. I had a bad feeling about it, so I took out my blood pressure cuff and checked—it was 150/110. When I got to my appointment, the nurse checked it & it was still 145/104. The doctor immediately sent me down to labor and delivery to be monitored.

Thursday night was a full moon and L&D was already a madhouse at 10:30am. Triage was full and I had to wait almost an hour for a room to be cleaned for me. (I found out later that 21 babies were delivered that night!) I got settled in and got hooked up to the monitors, then called Rob and my parents to let them know what was going on. The doctor had said that if my blood pressure didn’t go down, I would not be leaving the hospital pregnant. But all I could do was wait…it went down in the early afternoon and I thought I’d be going home. Then, it crept back up. (Probably unrelated, but I threw up all day long. I had to take the monitors off, go to the bathroom, get sick, then page the nurse to come back and hook me up. I think it was a stomach virus—I threw up more than 10 times that day.) After nearly 7 hours in L&D, my (new) doctor came in and told me that I’d be having a baby in the morning & to rest up.

I made a list of things I’d need and sent Rob home to pack my bag. (Oops, that was on the list of things to do Thurs afternoon!) I made a few phone calls and settled in to eat my (hospital) dinner. Rob was feeling sick (he was diagnosed with walking pneumonia the day we came home from the hospital!) so I sent him home to sleep. There wouldn’t be any action that night, so I didn’t think he needed to sleep on the hospital couch. I just told home to come back in the morning.

Around 10pm they inserted Cervadil and I got a shot of Phenergan to help with the nausea. It knocked me out. The next thing I knew, it was 4:30am and the nurse was coming in to start my IV and take out the Cervadil. At 5am, we started the Pitocin and at 6am my doctor came in and broke my water. Just like with Liam, once my water was broken, the contractions got intense. The difference was that I was a little over 1cm with Liam and this time I was 4cm. I made it 4 hours without needing the epidural with Liam. This time, within the hour I went from whimpering through contractions to shaking I was in so much pain.

By 8am, I was 6cm and 80% effaced. I got my epidural, but immediately started feeling very off… I felt lightheaded, disoriented, dizzy and extremely nauseated. Then, the blood pressure alarms started going off. The epidural had caused my blood pressure to drop to 70/40. They started flushing my IV lines with ephedrine, trying to bring it back up, but since I had a history of HIGH blood pressure, they had to be careful not to overdo it. After two doses, it started to come back up, but it was a scary 15 minutes or so until it stabilized!

After letting the epidural take effect, the nurse asked me what I could feel. I told her that I could feel something internally when I was having contractions. At first it just felt uncomfortable but as contractions got stronger, it became painful, almost like a pinching feeling. They called the anesthesiologist back, who decided they needed to boost my epidural (which thankfully, they can do by injecting meds into the line that was already inserted). My nurse, in preparation for another drop in blood pressure, gave me an intramuscular shot of ephedrine in the thigh—so strange, watching a needle go into your leg when you can’t feel it.

Things settled down for a bit after that. I was comfortable—talking and laughing. (I did not experience the shaking that I did with Liam’s epidural) and around 10am, I told the nurse that I was feeling a lot of pressure. She checked me and announced that I was 10cm, 100% effaced and +3 station. Ready to push! Well, not quite ready.  We had agreed that both of my parents would be in the room (as they were for Liam’s birth) and my aunt would watch Liam… but no one was there yet! Everyone was on the way, but no one thought that I’d progress so quickly. My aunt came to my room so that she’d be ready to take Liam as soon as my parents got there. A few minutes later, they arrived, got him settled and I started pushing.

I felt like I did at the very end of Liam’s birth—so much pressure, I had to push and I was just certain that the baby would practically fall out of me. He was right there!

Ummm, no.

I pushed three times with each contraction, resting in between. I held the bed handles, I held my legs, I pushed my feet against the stirrups, but I felt little progress. The nurse paged my doctor about a “position check.” A few minutes later he came in, reached in to feel the baby’s head and announced that he was sunny side up.

What is it about my kids, trying to come into this world backwards?!

Flashing back to Liam’s birth, I asked if he could be turned. The doctor tried several times to maneuver him to turn (I even felt a pop in my pelvic bone as Jack’s head ground further into my pelvis) but it couldn’t be done. Unlike Liam, Jack had dropped so far on his own, he was wedged into position.

The doctor looked at me and said, “I can get him out, or you can get him out. I want you to get him out… You want you to get him out. It’s going to take a while and it’s going to be difficult, but I think you can do it.”

So, I started pushing again. I thought that I had been pushing as hard as I could before, but this time I blocked out everything else in the room and tried to bear down as hard as I could. After a few pushes, I started hearing some encouragement from Rob and my mom. They could see his head! He had really dark hair! He was close to crowning! But I still worried.

After about 30 minutes, the nurse called the doctor again and I was concerned for a minute that she was going to tell him that I couldn’t do it, but when he arrived he sat down and let me know we were almost there. I pushed as hard as I could, four times for every contraction. I pushed in between contractions. I pushed until I was out of breath and shaking. I just pushed.

Finally, I heard Rob and my mom tell me that this was it—that his head was almost out. They were cheering me on and encouraging me as I made those final pushes that brought Jack into the world. I had begun to tear and my doctor let me know that he was going to need to do an episiotomy to get Jack out safely. (I really didn’t want one, but at that point, I just wanted to get him out!!)

I gave one final push and Jack tumbled out quickly and quietly. The doctor worked to suction his mouth for what felt like forever. He was down between my legs and I couldn’t see him—I kept trying to sit up and lean forward so that I could see him. Then, I heard that beautiful cry and he was swiftly placed on my chest. I cried as I saw my second precious son for the first time. After a minute, the nurse took him over to the warmer to wipe him off, weigh him,  measure him, and wrap him up.

Just like I had with Liam, I lost a lot of blood after delivery. I had warned the doctor that this was a problem last time. A new bag of Pitocin was started to help me contract as the doctor stitched me up. Most of my focus was watching everyone admiring Jack over in the warmer, but it was a little scary hearing the doctor say that I was bleeding so heavy that he couldn’t see what he was doing. Each time he raised his hands up to tighten a stitch, they were covered in blood. It took a while (and he was very good about reassuring me that I was ok!) but he got the bleeding under control.

The doctor shook hands with Rob and put his hand on my knee and said, “That was tough. It takes a real woman to deliver a baby sunny side up. Great job.”

Jack was swaddled and given back to me. My dad was snapping pictures of Rob and I with him. My parents took turns holding him & Rob went to find my aunt, who brought Liam back into the room to meet his baby brother for the first time. (He was mildly interested.)

Jack was having some slight breathing problems, so I wasn’t able to breastfeed him right away. He got a slight fever & his blood sugar was low, so the nurses gave him a small bottle of formula—since I had planned to breastfeed and formula feed, I was fine with this. His grunting stopped later that night and I was able to get him to latch on without any problems.

This delivery was a totally different experience than my first—it took about half of the time, my doctor delivered me and I loved having him in the morning! We had all day to enjoy being with Jack & had friends and family stop by and share our joy. I wasn’t so exhausted from a long labor that all I wanted to do was sleep! I was up and walking around within 90 minutes of having him and later in the evening, I took a shower (& even dried and curled my hair!) and changed into my own clothes to prepare for visitors the next day. My nurses were fantastic (my nurses from Liam’s delivery stopped in on Thurs night to say hello and wish me luck on Friday!) and overall it was a really great experience.

Pics from Jack's birth:

 I’ll update on how we’ve settled at home in an other post—this one is long enough!!