Last week a friend of mine was telling a bit of her delivery story... I was so blown away I asked her to share the full experience with us here at the blog. I feel like I should warn you that its a little intense - but ends well with a happy healthy mom & baby... want to share your story? Please do! email me at email@example.com
A year ago today, I had a lot to do. I probably did more than I should have, considering I was on bed rest. I was placed on bed rest at 32 weeks because of preterm labor contractions. After 3 visits to the hospital for monitoring and shots to stall labor, I was on the maximum dose of terbutaline. Contractions were still coming, irregularly. My blood pressure was elevated and was told I may be developing pregnancy induced hypertension at one of my hospital visits. A year ago today, was Election Day. I had to visit my polling place and vote for the midterm election. Afterwards, we stopped at a local bistro for a latte, my one allotted caffeinated drink a day. Early afternoon, we went to my weekly appointment at my OBGYN. For the first time during my pregnancy, she had a difficult time locating my son's heartbeat. I became nervous, but eventually she settled on a sound and said "120's, not bad." I was a little worried, stating that it is usually in the 140's to 150's, to which she was not concerned. It was still in the range of acceptable. After the appointment, we went to Wal-Mart. I just HAD to get post-baby underwear and a nursing bra. This is not a task I could send my husband to do alone. We did a little more shopping, and I began to feel awful. My head hurt, my stomach was upset. I told Robbie we need to get home, I had overexerted myself. I must not have been used to that much activity after 3 weeks of bed rest.
After getting home, I lay on the couch and drank water. I began to think the day over, realizing I had done far too much. I thought of my developing child, and realized he had barely moved during the day. I may have just been too busy to notice, and many times as the pregnancy nears the end, the baby will move less. However, just the day before he was very active. I was able to get 10 kicks in 10 minutes or so. I decided to count his kicks, as I was supposed to do daily, but typically didn't have to because of how active he was. Half an hour passed and I only had 4 little flutters. I began to worry. After an hour, I only had 6. My office said to call if I do not get 10 kicks in 1 hour. I called and left a message for the on call doctor. I lay down on my bed while waiting for a call back, drank some more water, and got a sudden somersault of activity. It was easily 10 movements, very energetic. I thought I must be overreacting. However, the on call doctor called back and said that I should go to Labor and Delivery just to get checked out.
Off we go again, 4 time in 3 weeks. I figured they must be getting tired of seeing me! I was afraid of them thinking I was overreacting, but I thought I'd rather go and be sure than something bad happening and regret not going. A nurse who had seen us before greeted us at the nurse's station. There were 3 or 4 other laboring mothers there that night, so I am sure they were slightly annoyed to have to deal with us. I can only imagine how many "I don't think my baby is moving much, can you check on it?" pregnant women they get. They didn't even have me strip into a gown, just pull up my shirt. The nurse used a Doppler and searched around for my son's heartbeat. Nothing. She called another nurse in. She messed around for a while, still nothing. A third nurse was also unsuccessful. A call was placed to the on call doctor who had told me to go in. She ordered an ultrasound. They wheeled the machine into my room, and turned the screen away from me. The faces of the nurses suddenly got solemn. Another call was placed to the on call doctor. She arrived in a huff a few minutes later, seemingly annoyed.
"What?" she demanded of the nurses. They directed her to the ultrasound.
"So?" She didn't see what they saw.
"Just keep watching," the nurse pleaded.
A few moments later, the doctor's face turned solemn to match the nurses'. She turned to me and explained, finally, what was going on. "Your heart rate is around 120. The baby is dropping to the 50's and 60's, this is why we had a hard time locating it. We need to get him out immediately. We are taking you to the operating room and doing an emergency c section."
I asked if I would be awake, or if my husband could be there. Unfortunately, the answer to both was no. They suddenly began stripping me, removing all jewelry and clothing, replacing it with a hospital gown, and attaching leads, a catheter, and an IV. I said good bye to my husband, he looked so worried. I took a deep breath as I watched the ceiling above me as they moved me into the OR.
Once in the operating room, they began to prep me for surgery. A nurse put betadine on my stomach. The doctor yelled at her, saying she wanted the Doppler used to monitor the baby's heart rate until the anesthesiologist arrived. They stalled and followed my son's heartbeat while waiting for the anesthesiologist. I'm not entirely sure what happened, but suddenly my doctor apologized to me. She said they could no longer wait for anesthesia, and that he had to come out immediately. She asked what was available in the room, and was told about 4cc's of lidocaine (according to Wikipedia, Lidocaine is used topically to relieve itching, burning and pain from skin inflammations, injected as a dental anesthetic or as a local anesthetic for minor surgery.) I was given about 4 shots across my stomach, and the surgery began.
When I tell you I feel everything, I don't mean I felt pressure and tugging. I mean, I felt the blade of the scalpel across my abdomen. I felt a gush of blood and fluids around me. I was held down while they pried my stomach open. I screamed while my organs were removed. I had a nurse holding me, repeating "It's okay, you're doing great, remember to breathe," over and over. My body bucked, I am sure I kicked, I tried turning away and fighting. I thought, why haven't they gotten him out yet?I am not sure if it was the beginning of shock, or meditation taking over but I gave in and my body relaxed. An unknown amount of time later, at 11:27 pm, I heard the sound of my son cry, and they announce "It's a boy!" I felt relief. About that time, the anesthesiologist arrived. They said, "You're going to go to sleep." I remember thinking "Why am I not asleep yet?" and then everything went black.
A few hours later, I awoke. I asked "Why does my throat hurt?" Apparently I saw my mother and said "Mom! It's really you!" I asked about my son. He was under an oxygen tent. I was told later he coded when he was born and had to be resuscitated. They had to x ray me post surgery to make sure no tools were left in me, then they had to x ray my son to make sure his lungs didn't collapse. The following morning, the pediatrician came in and told us that he had a very irregular heartbeat. They did an EKG and sent it to the leading pediatric cardiologist at the Children's Hospital of Illinois in Peoria. We were told he was having arrhythmias and that they were going to send him to the NICU in Peoria. Unfortunately, I had to wait until I was released from the hospital before I could join him. On his fourth day of life, I was released. We made the 1 hour drive and I held my son for the first time.
There were many triumphs and set backs the first couple months. He was taken off oxygen on his second day. He was not eating well, so we had to monitor how much he took in. I had to pump and provide, as I was not allowed to breast feed until he was a week old, and then only once a day. Because of his prematurity, he had to pass a car seat test before being released. He failed the first one because he had an apnea. We began giving him caffeine citrate to help with the apneas, and had to take Logan home on an apnea monitor. It was a blessing and a curse, as it gave us peace of mind, but was a pain to haul, gave false alarms frequently, and had to be on him at all times. He was put on Zantac for reflux, and I had to stop pumping and giving him breast milk as well as put him on a special formula, Nutramigen, for cow's milk protein intolerance that caused blood in his stool.
I looked at him today and cried. I cried because I wasn't sure what the lack of oxygen when he was born would do to his brain, or that his prematurity would do to his development. I cried because if I hadn't gone to the hospital when I did, he most likely would have been born stillborn. I didn't expect to see him walking before 1, or able to call me Mama or my husband Dada. I didn't know what to expect that first day, or those 12 days he was in the NICU. I didn't know what to expect of my little 5lb 15oz, 18in, 35 week miracle. And now, he is a perfectly healthy 1 year old boy. He weighs over 25lb and is over 31 inches tall. I am so thankful to have him in my life.