Thursday, December 11, 2014

November 12, 2014: Part One

Today is the day I'd been waiting for. Not just because my body didn't want to be 9 months pregnant anymore, but because it was the day that my family would be complete. It was the day my husband and I would welcome a daughter to our lives and all that goes with it. We were pros at boys at this point, but the thought of raising a daughter has us excited, confused, terrified and madly in love. Here is the birth story of our daughter.

Saturday, November 8, 2014- 37 weeks, 5 days. 
The boys and I anxiously awaited Eric's arrival after having him gone for three weeks. I kept telling Sweetie that she had to stay in there until her dad was home. She listened, but reminded me with strong contractions that she was getting ready. My body was preparing in every way, I kept track of what was going on, but I wasn't counting or calculating contractions. I kept telling her not for five more hours. Not until 8 PM. She listened.

Sunday, November 9, 2014- 37 weeks, 6 days. 
I knew I was having contractions. I had been ignoring them for much of the morning, I didn't want to take Eric away from the boys. They needed him. We enjoyed our family time, got the boys to hockey practice and during hockey the contractions started to become stronger and more consistent. I didn't say anything because it wasn't time yet and I was really enjoying the day with the boys, knowing full well our days as a family of four were limited. By the time hockey was over, I was ready to go home and sit, but Eric and the boys decided that a trip to Bass Pro Shops was necessary, and I caved thinking, this will be a great story for her birthday, and walking won't hurt the labor process. That evening during dinner I couldn't eat. The contractions were stronger, they were every two minutes (normal for me) and I couldn't stop crying- there was just so much to be emotional about: my last dinner as a family of four, the fear of having another child, the excitement of having a daughter, the fact that I was in labor and about to have a baby, etc. After Eric and the boys finished eating, we packed up the boys' things and sent them to a friends house so Eric and I could be at the hospital. I was excited, I was ready. I knew we were going to meet this little girl and our family would finally be whole.

After checking me out- 3 cm and 70% effaced, they made me walk around to try to progress labor. They commented on how Sweetie's head didn't like it when I was getting checked and how she kept wiggling away from them. But after an hour, they sent me home because they said I wasn't full term yet and therefore couldn't help progress labor. I needed my water broken with both boys so I figured the same thing would need to happen this time. But they wouldn't do it until Monday. Seriously?! So I'd have to come back because hospital policy said so. I was angry that night. I couldn't believe that they'd send a woman home when on her third child she knew she was in labor, but just couldn't progress. I got stuck with both boys at 4 cm and my water had to be broken. I was 38 weeks with Henrik too, so this hospital policy just made me even more angry. I was mad I didn't get to speak to a doctor. I was mad that they didn't believe my body. I was mad that they made me question my instincts. Actually, I don't think there was anything I wasn't mad about that night.

Monday, November 10, 2014- 38 weeks. 
On Monday, after a third consecutive day of not being able to sleep due to labor, the contractions switched to back labor. I called the doctor (because I wasn't allowed to talk to one on Sunday night) and wanted to express my anger towards their policy and how I knew on my third child that this baby was trying to be born. The doctor calmed me and explained that the nursing staff had to follow hospital policy. I got that, but I was still upset that my doctor (who was on vacation) told me one thing and another thing happened. After getting checked again, the doctor confirmed that no more progress was being made still the same- 3 cm. I was told that this doctor would be the on call doctor on Wednesday so if things progressed or the contractions continued, we could come in and she would be there to break my water as long as the baby's head was on top of the cervix. She wouldn't do it if the head wasn't there because she didn't want the cord to come out before the head. I agreed that that would be the safest and best solution for us. So, still uncomfortable and still in IN LABOR, I went home. It was a very rough day full of some of the worst back labor I've ever had, and Theo was pretty rough on me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014- 38 weeks, 1 day.
I woke up Tuesday morning and I was surprised to find that despite all the back labor, the mucous plug loss, and my own intuition that I was in labor for the past three days, that my contractions had stopped. My back labor was gone. I actually felt good. It scared me. Fortunately, I felt Sweetie moving around a little bit, but I was beyond confused. Maybe I was wrong all along. Maybe I wasn't in labor. Maybe I had made it all up? I had a regular appointment scheduled for this day anyway so I went in again and met with a different doctor. This doctor reviewed my chart and we talked about what happened and she noted that Sweetie's head had actually moved up and was no longer on top of the cervix. I was surprised, but new that something was up because all of the contractions stopped. She sent me home, but at least I wasn't upset or angry at this point, just confused. Tuesday came and went and still with no contractions, I went to bed and for the first time in a week I was able to sleep. Theo came in to our room around 11 PM. It was a sign, though I didn't know it at the time. I just figured he knew that the baby was coming and we told him he couldn't sleep in our bed once Sweetie was here. I assumed he was taking advantage of it, but gave in because who doesn't love snuggles when you know they are going to be limited?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014- 38 weeks 2 days. 
Around 2:30 am, I woke up to go to the bathroom, Sweetie was pushing on my bladder, and even though I didn't want to get up because I was finally sleeping, I woke up, stumbled to the bathroom in the dark, peed, and went back to sleep. I didn't want to be woken up, I just wanted to enjoy this great night of rest!  I was startled awake when I gasped and ran to the bathroom. My water had broken. I was in disbelief. No contractions, still. My water had to be broken with both boys, why was it breaking now? I woke up Eric and showed him what was going on. He just looked at me, it was only 3:15 am so nothing registered with him. In fact, he went back to sleep. I called him into the bathroom again, this time he got up.  Once he and I talked about what was happening, we agreed that I should call the hospital to let them know we were coming and to find out how long we had. But, I called my mom instead,  "Mom, I think my water broke, I can't stop it so it's my water right? Maybe you should get on a plane and come out here. She has to be born today". Then I called Labor and Delivery, they told me that I had to be there before 5 am. So, Eric woke the boys, I took a shower, did my hair and asked Eric what he wanted me to do about the leaking fluid. My water had never broken so I had no idea how to deal with it. He kind of looked at me like I was gross, but said, "whatever you decide". He's a real keeper. I decided on a pad and was grossed out the entire drive to drop off the boys and get to the hospital.

When we got to the hospital we got set up in a triage room where they calculate contractions and dilation, etc. I was still 3 cm, and still had no contractions. I was worried about it. I didn't want this labor to last long, I didn't want drugs, I just wanted it to progress normally, but with no contractions it's nearly impossible and I knew that. Finally, after monitoring me, and seeing that there were a few (not that I could feel or would complain about) contractions, they sent me to a delivery room. I was hooked up for about three hours before the doctor came. In that waiting time, Eric and I sent out messages to our family and let them know it was baby day. We updated our Facebook and just waited for some kind of progress.

It's Baby Day 
We had a wonderful nurse, Nicole, and around 7:45 she asked me what I wanted for today. I told her that I wanted a safe vaginal delivery, I didn't want drugs, I wanted an intact placenta, and I planned on having a healthy baby girl. She wrote it all down and we talked more about my other deliveries and things I liked and didn't like about them. It was all very comforting and I felt like I was really being listened to. When the doctor came in just after 8 AM, she said that she expected I'd be getting some pitocin and once the contractions really started she thought we'd have a baby pretty quickly. She did a cervical exam and immediately had this look on her face. Her eyes were huge, like she just saw a ghost. She shook her head and said to Nicole, "we're going to need an ultrasound in here, I don't think this baby is head down". Within a second there was an ultrasound machine in my room and Dr. Ryan put the device on my belly and just sat there with her mouth open. "This baby flipped," she said. "I can't believe it, and, look, there is no fluid in there, we need to get her out. I can't flip her". I didn't really know what all that meant, but I understood two things 1. She was breech 2. no fluid. I got all of that, but I didn't really have a chance to really comprehend the c-section that was about to happen. In an instant the anesthesiologist was in my room, I was signing consent forms and before I knew it, I was wheeled down into the OR without my husband.

Nicole assured me he'd be allowed in once I was prepped for surgery and once my nerve block was in. She held me and helped me breathe as the nerve block was done. "Breathe in, breath out. It's just like if you were in labor, you've done this before". I nodded. On the inside I was terrified. I never even read the c-section of my pregnancy books, it was something that wasn't even on my radar. Nicole kept asking me if I was OK with the c-section, "I know you wanted a vaginal birth, are you OK with this?" "Of course," I replied. "She has to get out. We need to be safe," I told her. I did understand that. I knew in my heart that I just needed to have a baby girl to hold at the end of the day, I just didn't know what to expect with a c-section and an operating room was absolutely terrifying to me, I'd only been in one one other time in my life when I had my appendix out, but I was knocked out before I actually saw the inside of it.

I looked around, the room was so bright and full of metal. There were at least eight people in there, nurses for me and for the baby, and two doctors. The anesthesiologist was there assuring me that I wouldn't feel anything. I kept telling him I could feel his touch as he tested my body. He moved up the block. Eric still wasn't there. An oxygen tube was put under my nose, there was this intense pressure up into my lungs and through my arms. I started to cry a little bit, just out of fear, and where was my husband?!

Finally, they let him come in, they opened the door and he didn't walk in right away, "COME ONNNNNNN" I was thinking, what was he waiting for?! I smiled when I saw him. It finally felt safe. He was wheeling a chair in so he could sit down, but I felt like it took him forever to get to me. They started to cut me open before he got in the room so he moved over to me carefully and slowly. To this day we haven't talked about what he saw. Eric was only by my side for a second when I heard, "There's her foot!" Then a cry, then "Oh no! Baby, don't cry yet, you're not all the way out!" Then I heard the nurses say how adorable she was, and her cry, it was so wonderful and so beautiful. They took her, and Eric over to a side of the room I couldn't see. I could just hear her cry and all I could do was wait. I looked around trying to see behind the curtain, but tears just formed in my eyes when I couldn't see anything except my own blood and insides being sucked through a tube. I said, "That's a horrible spot to put that container" as I watched this giant sucker pump up and down. No one heard me.
It's a girl! 6 lbs, 13 oz 18 3/4 inches long
I yelled, "Is it still a girl?!" "Yes!" the room replied. I smiled, and cried some more. The anesthesiologist came over, "are you OK? Just a few minutes more". I nodded. "What color hair does she have?" I asked. "Blonde" someone answered. I smiled again. It felt like hours before Eric walked her over to me. I looked at her and just smiled. I saw Eric and the pride in his face as he held his daughter. He's never held one of our babies first.

The first picture of Daddy and Daughter
They always give the baby to the mother. I think he loved having her for a minute. She kept crying. I wanted to hold her, to calm her and to have her on my body so we could finally meet one another, but that wasn't an option. I got that, but I didn't like it. "She did really well on her test, 9 out of 10," said one of the nurses. "That's really great for an early Colorado baby, we have full term babies that don't even get that! And she's breathing so well!"

My favorite photo of the whole experience
Eric was told to take the baby to the recovery room, he looked at me, sort of asking if it was OK, I nodded. Though really, I just wanted her in my arms. "Just a little longer," said Dr. Ryan.

My body started to move as the table I was on was shaking back and forth. I watched the blue curtain,  the shadow was just right and I started in shock as Dr. Ryan's arms moved up and down as this giant thread stitched me back together. It's really odd watching your body being stitched up. It was like a scene out of a move where I was supposed to be dead, but I wasn't. I felt like I was Frankenstein and wondered what exactly was going on over there. The table moved a few more times and then it was still. The curtain was taken down, I was lifted on to a bed and wheeled into a room where my husband and daughter were waiting for me.

I looked at a clock, it was 8:56 am. From when the doctor came to my delivery room to the time I was wheeled to recovery it was only 56 minutes. I felt like that was fast. I looked around this recovery room and there was my daughter, and my husband who had a beautiful smile on. I can't explain how comforted I was by seeing them. The nurse said, "we waited to give her a bath and weigh her so that you could see it all". I was honored. I had never seen any of my children get a bath at the hospital. They washed her up and did what they needed to do but I felt like it was forever.

Waiting for Momma
Nicole was by my side making sure all of the monitors were right and she kept checking on me to see if I could move different parts of my body. I just wanted to hold my daughter. And I didn't realize it at the time, but Nicole was trying to make that happen. As soon as I was able to move my arms she allowed the baby's nurse to place her on my chest. It was marvelous.

All is right in the world
 Finally, though it was almost an hour later that I was able to do that. I couldn't stop smiling. I couldn't stop saying, "She's so tiny! She's SOOOOO small". The nurse asked what her name was, as she filled out her birth record, "Elinor Kay Sweetie Precious". They looked at us funny. We told them that her brother's came up with this name before she was born and we just couldn't stop calling her Sweetie and we just wanted to incorporate it into her name.  I'm sure they thought we were nuts, but Nicole said, "I really love that. You can tell there's a lot of love in your family".

She was right. There is so much love in our family.


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