Monday, April 25, 2011

The (detailed) Labor Story

Gorgeous pictures done by my friend, Liz. (March 18)

It has taken me a while to write this story down because it was too hard to relive. I am less emotional now, so I thought it would be a good time to write about Charlie's arrival.

Saturday, March 5, I started bleeding a little. I thought it was just pre-labor stuff, since I was also contracting. I didn't want to go in to triage and be 'the girl who cried labor', so I decided to just clean the house, run errands, and go on a date with Sean.

Sean and I went to a yummy Greek restaurant that we found here. I think the feta cheese fries and giant gyro kicked my contractions into higher gear. I was in such pain, as we hit every pothole and crossed several train tracks, on the way home. I still didn't want to cry labor, so Sean and I watched a movie and went to bed.

I woke up in the middle of the night to do the usual bathroom run followed by the lay-in-bed-and-just-hope-you-fall-back-asleep thing. I found that I was bleeding a bit more than I thought was normal, and still didn't want to cry labor, so I said a little prayer that I would know when it was time to go in, and went back to sleep. I woke up around 9:30 and thought I should call and ask my mom or sisters if I should go in, but due to the time difference, I thought it wouldn't be good to wake them. Instead I texted a couple of friends out here, who have children, to see what they would do. Both said to contact my doctor and not to worry about crying labor, cause you never know. (I already had gone into triage the Monday prior, due to bleeding, and was sent home, so I REALLY didn't want to go through that again)

My doctor wanted me to come right in. I was excited, cause my favorite doctor, of the five, was the one that would see me. After a very painful check, Dr. Carroll told me that she didn't know why I was bleeding, and since I was 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant, they weren't going to take risks. She said that there was a possibility that my placenta had ruptured a little, so they inserted a balloon in me to get labor started. During all of this Sean ran home (a 10 minute drive) to get our bags. We were super excited and couldn't stop smiling. We couldn't wait to meet our little boy.

When Sean got back, they got me set up in a labor and delivery room. The pitocin didn't take long to kick in. OUCH! My contractions were painful and unrelenting. They were coming every minute and a half. After two hours of them, I was a wuss and begged for my epidural. Since Dr. Carroll had to check on me beforehand, and was busy delivering another baby, she ordered another drug (not sure of the name). Pretty soon, like within a minute of adding it to my iv, I joined Alice in her wonderland. Sean took advantage of my drugged state, and captured several embarrassing moments/comments on video.

At 5:30 the heavens opened in the form of an epidural. After I was numb, and all smiles, we started having some fun. My only concern was to keep pressing the button that released the liquid goodness, and boy did I press it. Everyone that came into the room guessed how much Charlie would weigh and made their speculations of what he would look like. We had guesses coming in through texts, and even Natalie and Kelly came to visit. When it was about 10:00 I decided to sleep. I thought I was still just at a three, so I figured it would be a while.

At 2:30 I woke up in such pain! I could feel so much pressure down south and felt like there was absolutely no drugs in my system. I felt like I was sick. I didn't know if I had a fever or if I would throw up. It was wretched. I begged for water and more drugs. The doctor said no to both, because I was about to deliver the little guy. I was at a ten.

At 3:00 I was rolling in pain and wanting to push. I watched as they were scrambling to get everything ready. Dr. Carroll had gone home and my second favorite doctor, Dr.Noh, was there. I felt like it was taking forever!

Finally at 3:10 I started pushing. Sean could see him crowning after the first push. I didn't want to look (they kept asking and had a mirror on the ceiling for me to watch) because I knew that if I saw what was going on I might not push as hard.

Due to the intense pain, I pushed so hard each time it was time to push. The only relief I felt from the pain was to push. After four sets of pushing the doctor wanted me to slow down because I was pushing him out too quickly and she wasn't quite ready. At this point, I could feel everything-- even his little nose coming through.

I wasn't really paying close attention to what was going on, and the pages that were being placed, but the doctor quickly said 'Sorry Dad' and cut his cord. I saw that it was around his neck tightly, but it didn't register. I think I was on a little bit of a high.

I couldn't believe the rush of shock and love that overcame me when I saw his slimy, squirmy, beautiful little body in the doctor's hands. I was anxious to have him laid on my chest. I was so excited to meet him and examine my little boy. Too bad for me, they wouldn't allow that.

I realized then that he wasn't crying or breathing. They opened his airways and pumped oxygen into him. More and more doctors and nurses flooded into our room. I think I was holding my breath the whole time. I just wanted to hear him cry, and never did.

Sean was rushing back and forth from me to him. He was taking pictures, trying to get information, and relaying what information he got to me. They took the oxygen off to weigh him quickly, and then they were gone.

They. Were. Gone. The doctors, nurses, and most importantly, MY BABY!

We were left knowing nothing. I didn't know if he was going to live or die. Sean and I kept praying, but we were both too numb to even cry. We sat in the dark delivery room in silence.

After an hour and a half the NICU pediatrician came in to tell us that he had been stabilized. Finally! He was alive and stable. She told Sean that he could go down to see him in another hour and a half. She then told me that I couldn't go down to see him due to my condition. I had no idea what she was talking about.

When the nurse came in she was carrying a bag of liquid. Little did I know, I would HATE that bag. Hate it hate it hate it! It was Magnesium. She explained that I developed pre-eclampsia when I was at a ten. They needed to wait until my epidural wore off to treat me. She said I was unable to see Charlie, in the NICU, until I was treated. As I was getting filled with death fluid, Sean got to leave to see our little guy. I laid there crying. How could my perfect pregnancy lead to the delivery from hell?

The drug quickly kicked in, and I hated it. It was miserable. A drug that is supposed to make you get better by making you feel ten times more sick than you actually are, doesn't sound cool to me. It wasn't.

Before Sean came back to me, I got a new nurse. She walked in super happy and nonchalant. She asked me how I was doing and if I got to see if my baby had ten fingers and toes. I think I killed her mood when I burst into tears and started hyper-ventilating. I looked at her through my mega tears and told her that I wouldn't even be able to tell her which child was mine. I didn't get to see him, let alone count all his tiny digits. She regretted asking me that question, I'm sure.

Sean came back and showed me videos and pictures he had taken of Charlie. I felt so much better seeing him breathe, hearing him cry, and sucking on a pacifier. I sent Sean back cause I didn't want Charlie to be left alone. I wanted him to know that he was loved and that his parents were here and were going to always be here. I cried as I sent him cause I knew I needed him to comfort me as well.

Each time anyone, aside from Sean, entered my room (even the cleaning lady), I BEGGED them to let me go see my baby.

Finally, at 11:30 (8 hrs later), two nurses came to move me to postpartum. They put me on a stretcher and told me that they would be taking me to see Charlie before they took me to my new room. They told me that I could only see him when I had a nurse with me, cause of the magnesium I was on.

When I got to hold Charlie I cried and cried and cried (as I am writing this, and reliving it, I am crying). All I could do was rock him, cry, and tell him how handsome he was and how much I loved him. The amazing thing about meeting him for the first time was that he looked at me while I was talking to him. He recognized my voice. I was suddenly on cloud 9! I didn't care that I was sitting on a stretcher, attached to an iv pole, face swollen, hair frizzed out, tears forming a waterfall off of the bottom of my chin, in front of nurses and my husband. In fact, the nurses got teary.

I got to hold him for ten minutes, and then the nurses needed to get back to work, so they took me to my room. On the way up they told me that that was the sweetest thing to witness and that it's moments like that that make them love their jobs.

I spent the day communicating to family and friends via my blog, emails, texts, and phone calls. It made me feel like I wasn't alone to have the ability to communicate with people that cared about me/our little family.

The rest of the day was spent getting my blood pressure taken, taking drugs, measuring the protein in my urine, and trying to recover.

At 9 pm they took me off the magnesium, and Sean wheeled me down to the NICU. We got to hold him for a couple of hours and rock him to sleep.

Throughout the night, I woke up periodically. Each time a baby would cry (which is very often in postpartum) I would wake up and cry. I wondered if Charlie needed me, or if he had someone taking good care of him. I had to pray each time that there would be an angel with him. I was hoping my grandpa, great grandpa, or cousin were watching over him.

The next two days consisted of me spending all of my time in the NICU by Charlie's incubator. I would walk from the third floor (postpartum) to the first floor (NICU) several times. I tried every flavor of the pharmacy. I hated the painkillers cause they would make me woozy and make the walk, down to see Charlie, very hard to do. The doctor and nurse begged me to take a sleeping pill, my last night, so that I would rest. It worked.

Labor didn't go at all how I expected it to go, but if that is what I have to go through to get each child here, I'll do it. I am just grateful it's not 100 years ago, I'm not sure if Charlie or I would've survived. Through this experience it made me re-realize that I am grateful for my faith. I know there were angels watching over my baby. Thanks grandpa, I love you!


Jenni said...

Argh. I just posted a super long response and it got deleted when I hit enter. I knew I should have copied/pasted before hitting that button.

I'll try this again...

I'm so sorry that your labor didn't go the way that you wanted, but I 'm soooo happy that your little guy is here safe and sound and healthy. He is so beautiful by the way.

Neither of my labors went the way that I wanted them either. I won't go into all the details to bore you, but with #1 I was 40 w 5 d overdue (like you were), and had low fluid levels. So I was sent to be induced. Tons of pitocin and 22 hours later I was still not dialating and the baby was stuck and in an awkward position on my hip. So they did an emergency Csection. It was the hardest recovery ever, but Preston was healthy and I was so in love.

With baby #2, I wanted to do a VBAC because there was no way in heck I was going to do a csection again. It took me my entire pregnancy to finally find an OB in Seattle who would let me try for a vbac.(Love my doc too!). 3 days before my duedate my water broke, so we went to the hospital and got checked in. 12 hours later, my contractions had completely stopped and I was not dialated past a 1. Hello pitocin! 8 hrs later still nothing and turns out baby #2 was stuck on my hip just like #1 was. 10pm that night I had a csection. I was so sad and scared. I did not want a csection. But through the surgery I found out that it saved both of our lives. My uterus had worn so thin from labor around my old csection scar that it almost ruptured. They said you could see the baby through the uterus skin. scary. So it was the right thing to do and I'm so grateful for doctors and modern medicine or my boys and I would not be here today.

10 days post partum from baby #2, I was back in the hospital with Pre-Eclampsia (actually, it was just Eclampsia).I had never had high BP before so it was weird. I also had pancreatitis. I was there for 6 full days and they would't let me eat. I could have liquids. That did not make a breastfeeding mama happy let me tell you that! I was on magnesium for 2 days and it made soooo loopy. I remember staring at a painting on the wall of my hospital room and for 2 days I could not figure out what it was a painting of. Finally after they took me off the drip, I realized it was a painting of some mountains.

Anyway, horrible labors...but healthy babies and I of course eventually recovered. And did it again! LOL that is the thing....I tell you this from the truth. Eventually the pain will subside and you will forget, and all that is left is pure love. And you will eventually get to a place where you want to do it all over again. I think Heavenly Father was so smart....whatever "thing" he put into women to make us forget pregnancy/labor...he was so smart. :)

Your little family is so beautiful. Sorry for my long comment. But I just wanted you to know I totally understand. :) Enjoy your new mommywood haitus. You deserve it.

Malerie said...

I'm so sorry this was so rough for all of you. I'm so glad everyone is doing well now! Mothers really are very special people to sacrifice and go through so much. Man that boy is handsome! What a cutie :)

Brittany said...

amazing (traumatic) story. i am so glad you and charlie are ok now!!

The Way I See It said...

I am a waterfall right now; crying with empathy and crying with joy. I definitely believe in angels. Charlie was never alone. Neither were you. Love you all.

Jenna said...

What a story. I'm so glad you both are doing well now. He is a beautiful baby boy and has a great mother!

Zinkand Family said...

that was an incredible story I can't believe what you went through, probably not something I should have read right before I go have this baby!! I am so glad that charlie is here safe and sound and that you guys are all healthy!! You have a beautiful family!

Sheena said...

This post made me cry. I'm so happy things turned out so well, and I'm so sorry for everything you had to go through. He's adorable!

rjd said...

Wecome Charlie! What a gift you have for telling a story and realizing some of the deeper aspects of Charlies birth. I am still crying and the last picture really turned on the tears for me.
I have no doubt grandpa was helping. It's always such an amazing miracle when these little ones are born.

Sara Lou said...

Wow, what a labor story. It's amazing that our bodies recover from all that happens to them both naturally and unnaturally! I love to read your stories Rachel, they are so sweet and sincere. You have an amazing gift of being sweet and sincere to everyone you meet as well. I loved the part in your story where you united with Charlie and told him how handsome he was and how much you loved him.