Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Last Few Weeks & Nadia's Arrival

Let me preface this post by saying that it isn't overly graphic for the general population, but it is a birth story, so if you get squeamish, maybe it's not the best post to read.  However, it's witty, so that may make up for anything that you may deem unnecessary or gross.  Sorry about that.  It's also super long, so I hope you get some food in you or else you might starve.

To give a little bit of background, this pregnancy was not easy for me, but in different ways than Naomi's pregnancy.  The good things about this time around is that I had no swelling, great blood pressure, and hardly any morning sickness (at least compared to Naomi's pregnancy - shiver).  The not so good things included low progesterone and almost losing the pregnancy at 7 weeks; Subchorionic Hemorrhage at 12 weeks; low amniotic fluid at 20 weeks; a 3 day hospital stay at 26-ish weeks for kidney issues; and lack of fetal movement at 32 weeks, which led to many additional doctor's appointments and stress.

At 34 weeks, I saw my OB, who measured my expanding middle section and just said "I would like to get a growth scan on you".  Um, ok.  Apparently, I was measuring 4 weeks ahead - yay!  She was about 7 lbs at 35 weeks, which meant I had to continue the monitoring (I had tried to get out of it, because I was feeling her move around more).

I stopped work on Wednesday, July 10, just 2 days shy of my goal.  That's pretty good compared to last time, where I had to take a whole month of prior to delivery due to modified bed rest.  I was, however, put on modified bed rest on Thursday, July 11, so the timing just worked out in that respect.

Naomi got this weird stomach bug that lasted about 7 hours on Saturday, then she was fine - no fever, and then symptoms went away about as fast as they arrived.  We thought we avoided bad news for the rest of us, but on Monday (July 15), I started feeling horrible.

Now, I had been having false labor (Prodromal Labor) for weeks.  This means I was having contractions that lasted 3-5 hours, anywhere from 6-12 minutes apart, for about 1 minute each.  It would be there, and suddenly sputter out.  It was irritating at first, but then it started to take a toll on my body (physically and mentally).  On that Monday, I came down with what Naomi had, which kick started what I thought was labor (though it was able to be stopped with fluids).

Since we thought it was the real deal, we quickly dropped Naomi and Roxie off at various locations, and headed to the hospital.  They monitored my stats, and my OB happened to be there.  He said that my contractions weren't close enough together, and they sent us home with the instructions to come back if it got worse.  3 hours later, we were back, I got fluids, and they were monitoring Nadia a little more closely.

During this monitoring, they discovered that Nadia's heartbeat was way too fast for too long (tachycardia), so they decided to keep me.  Additionally, once her heart rate got into the "normal" zone again, she started decelerating (meaning her heart rate dipped too low during contractions).  This led the doctor to believe that she was in distress, and told us that if it doesn't improve, then we will have to deliver.  This was on July 16.

Luckily, her heart got back into tip-top shape and we were able to go home without a super scary induction or c-section that I had no choice over.  My whole thing is that I wanted to make the decision for myself, and for things to not move so fast that I couldn't wrap my brain around it in time.

My parents came out that Wednesday (July 17) in case we had to deliver.   They helped us home, and I continued to get monitored on Thursday (July 18), Friday (July 19), and Tuesday (July 23).

By this time, my body (and mind) was done.  My original due date was July 31, and the doctor had told me that with the complications I had, he wouldn't want me to go beyond 41 weeks (August 7).  I told him if I didn't have her by 7/31, we would evict her.  We had this conversation on July 18.

By the time Tuesday, July 23 hopped around, I was so mentally and physically drained that I knew that I would not be able to give birth without major problems if we waited any longer.  I called the doctor and asked if we could induce on July 24.  This was not a decision we came to lightly, and understood the risks involved.  My doctor was very supportive, considering the problems that we had, but he didn't want to push the issue because he knew that isn't what I originally wanted.  We came to that decision on our own terms, and I am at peace with that.

We arrived at the hospital on Tuesday, July 23 at 7:30 pm to get a balloon placed so it would help me dilate.  Once that was done, they told us to eat some good food, and they would start Pitocin on a very slow drip at 12:30 am on July 24.  We had Roberto's (YES), and hung out until they came in with needles and crap around 12.  I also had to get some antibiotics because I was GBS Positive, which wasn't that big of a deal.

Anywho, they started Pitocin at 12:30 am at a very low dose.  I was nervous, and had already decided that we would probably opt for the epidural if it lasted too long.  Induced labors are known to be long, extremely painful, and overall not the best experience/environment for unmedicated childbirth.  I wanted to try it for unmedicated, but was not against getting the epidural.

At 3 am, I was still only dilated to 2 cm, so they turned up the pitocin a little bit.  Holy shiz, I cannot tell you how much more painful pitocin contractions are compared to "natural" contractions.  Oh.  Oh my.  It's a pain you cannot describe.  I did not want to tap out, but I did.  However, the nurse said that the anesthesiologist wouldn't do it until I was 4 cm (due to the possibility of it wearing out too soon), so I got some pain meds through the IV.

So, not only was I having enormously painful contractions, I was hallucinating.  I thought I was on a sand dune, then woke up to searing pain all through my body.   According to Michael, contractions were 2 minutes long, 3 minutes apart at that point, and I would pass out within the 1 minute "down" time, hence why I thought I was hallucinating (in actuality, I was dreaming or something).  I remember saying things like "I can't do this" and "Make it stop", but more of a whimper versus out and out yelling like I did with Naomi (however, in my defense, I had held her in for over an hour, and that was painful).

At 4 am, I was still only 3 cm, and about dying through the contractions.  Michael was great in the fact that he told me how long I had left for a contraction (versus asking "Are you having a Contraction?" to which I yelled "Look at the fucking monitor"), and he applied counter pressure to my back.

At 5:30 am, I declared that I needed to go to the bathroom.  The balloon fell out, indicating that I was finally at 4 cm.  When I was walking out of the bathroom, my water broke in dramatic fashion.  When I say dramatic, I mean it was gushing.  All over the floor, and I am practically wading through it.  I calmly look at the nurse and said "Oh, my water.  Should I clean it up?".  I cannot tell you how freaking weird it was to have a calming presence over me (the same thing happened with Naomi when we were in the car rushing to the hospital - I was able to just be completely calm after my water broke).

I calmly get back into bed, and clutched the side railings.  As I was laying down, the anesthesiologist came in to give me an epidural.  The nurse checked me at I was 8 cm - she said "If I sit her up for an epidural, she's going to have this baby on the floor".  I couldn't talk, so Michael said, "She's at the end, she can do it".  I am very thankful that he advocated for me in the way I needed him to, because although I WANTED the epidural, I knew that if I moved at that point, I really would have her on the floor and I would have to pay $150 co-pay for an epidural that I wouldn't even be able to use.  Yes, I was thinking of Co-pays during this process - anyone who knows me well knows that this is not out of the norm for me. 

About 10 minutes later, I said "I need to push now".  The nurse, surprised, checked me and I was at 10 cm and she could see Nadia's head.  She said "Call Dr. Harter, he needs to get here".  2 minutes later I told them again that I needed to push, and they told me he wasn't there yet.  I promptly (and apparently loudly) said "Then he better get his ass in here or he's going to miss it".  I hear Dr. Harter's voice in the hallway saying "I'm here, let's get going!".  I flipped on my back, and none of the nurses were prepared with the table or anything, but there was Dr. Harter, just telling me to push and that he had me covered without the table.  I pushed once, was told to breath for 10 seconds, then told to push.

Bam.  She was here.  I count it at 1.5 pushes, Michael said it was 2, Dr. Harter said it was really all one push.  27 minutes from when my water broke, she arrived.  Had we waited at home until my water broke (like last time), we would not have made it to the hospital.  The cord was also wrapped around Nadia's neck, so who knows what could have happened if we waited another week - it could have corrected itself, but it could have also constricted so she couldn't get food or air.  I don't like to think about that part.

She was 9 lbs, 11 oz, 21 inches long - I also don't want to think about how much bigger she would have been if we waited another week.  I know for a fact that I wouldn't have been able to mentally or physically do another week of false (painful) labor and have a successful vaginal birth. 

I found out later that Dr. Harter stayed the night at the hospital because he was done with another delivery at midnight, and given my history of "going fast", he didn't want to miss it.  I am so thankful for him - he is an amazing doctor who wanted the best for me and baby, and eternally grateful that he was there.  He calms me, allows my body to do what it needed, and got that cord out from around her neck without panicking me.

I was so freaking out of it after, though.  I'm not going to lie, the whole thing was a little traumatic.  I wouldn't change our decision, though, because I know that if we hadn't made that decision, a number of things could have gone wrong, and I am at peace with the whole thing.

Nadia had to get a Coombs test conducted on her umbilical cord blood because I am O+ and she is A+.  This ABO incompatibility cannot be treated until a baby is born, so they run tests to see if there are any problems.  With Nadia, my blood cells were attacking hers, making her bilirubin levels rise dramatically.  This is problematic, because biliruben levels are associated with Jaundice, which can cause brain damage, etc if not treated properly.  We were advised by the pediatrician that if her levels did not come down with treatment, we would have to perform a blood transfusion at another hospital.

Luckily, after 3 days in the NICU, her levels came down, and we were able to come home on July 27.  Mom and Dad had to leave to get back to work and such after pretty much waiting on us hand and foot for a week and a half - we are so thankful for all of the help they provided!

Michael is home this week to help me out - I have some Postpartum issues going on, so I have appreciated the help very much!  His parents get to come out on August 9, so we are very excited to spend some time with them.

Naomi is very much the doting big sister, but is very ready for Nadia to be able to play.  Naomi has been very helpful, putting things away and fetching things for me when I am feeding Nadia.

Nadia is very calm, cool, and collected.  She doesn't cry all that much - she just kind of baahhs like a goat.  She's a great eater, and grew almost an inch in 6 days.  Last night, I only had to get up with her 3 times, which is a miracle compared to Naomi's first few weeks at home.  Either Michael or I sleep in the same room as her for now so we can attend to her needs quickly and jump into action if something is amiss.

As far as me, the emotional part of Postpartum is much better than with Naomi.  I suffered from postpartum depressing (PPD) with Naomi, and I am happy to report that 8 days after birth, I am not seeing signs or symptoms of PPD.  Obviously this can change at any time, but I am thankful to be feeling myself.  I had arranged for some preventative measures prior to giving birth, so I think that has been a huge help.  I really really hope that this positive streak continues.

If you've made it this far, thank you so much for not peacing out in the middle of what is probably the longest blog to date.  This was the easiest way to get the story out there for those who wanted to know!  Many thanks to everyone who has called, texted, e-mailed, and provided help with Naomi during this process.  It is great to have loving friends and family!