Friday, June 27, 2014

Natalie Jane

**Disclaimer - this is a birth story ya'll…**

June 8th, 2014

I woke up around 9am and went to the bathroom as usual. On the way, I noticed a little more than a trickle, but nothing like the gush I had experienced when my water broke with Cooper. So I told Jason, who wasn't sure either.

It was a Sunday, so we didn't have much planned - though I was scheduled to work that day. I had taken myself off the schedule the week before since they thought she was IUGR, and wanted me taking it a little more easy. I texted my L&D friends to ask their opinion on the matter - do I go in and get checked, or not? I was having no other signs of labor, and ya'll know how I wanted to try to have this baby naturally. PLUS we were only at 37.6 weeks! Way too early in my opinion. (since I have control of these things)

I hemmed and hawed over it all. day. We had no plan for Cooper since my parent's weren't here yet. Finally, we decided to all go in and just see what they said. I threw an overnight bag together for Cooper just in case I didn't come home. I had already thrown a bag together for us, but it wasn't my best packing job ever.

By now, it's around 1:30-2pm. Nap time. I picked an awesome time to decide to go in! My triage nurse was due the same day I was supposed to be (the 23rd) - and confirmed the fact that I had ruptured.

Now came the fun part. Remember, I work there. I know and work with everyone I was about to show all my goodies to.  So I was given my choice of nurses, midwives, doctors, labor & post partum rooms, and was admitted.  The midwife 'stripped my membranes' during my first cervical check, and said 'Well you were one, and I took you to about a three…' And I felt all two centimeters of that. There was scar tissue on my cervix that needed to be broken up, and it was not pleasant. But on we go...

Since I had probably been ruptured since 0900, I only had about an hour until they wanted to start some sort of augmentation. I was still showing no signs of labor on my own. Meanwhile, Jason and Cooper are still with me as I'm getting admitted, IV, labs, etc. Signs of nervousness are starting to show as Jason is pacing and trying to figure out what to do with our now napless and inquisitive two and a half year old. He was finding all the things not to touch in the room, and Jason was becoming increasingly stressed.

We went back and forth about child care for a long time. Mostly what it boiled down to was we didn't want to bother others with our crazy child. Finally we decided on a friend of mine from work (who wasn't working, thank goodness). They have a 1 year old little girl, and I was so nervous about Cooper being too rough with her, misbehaving, or not sleeping. I rattled off a list of last minute things for Jason to gather - but I knew he'd be too rushed and forget. I was telling myself over and over that it wasn't the end of the world, but ya'll know how I hate not being prepared! And I was totally not prepared. I mean, I was texting Katelyn about Jason forgetting his sippy cup…not a big deal…but it was to me! And I was mad that I forgot to pack a liner sock for Jason's prosthetic.

We also had a limited amount of time to drop Sadie off last minute at the boarding place. So I can just picture Jason coming home and running around with his heart racing. I know he hated leaving and was afraid that baby would come out any minute. He had to get all Sadie's food ready to go too. I was trying to do what I could from the hospital like arranging drop off for her and texting Katelyn with their ETA. I told him to get dinner on the way back, which he didn't want to do because he felt bad since I couldn't eat. Thankfully I had the wherewithal to know to eat before I went, just in case. Good thing I did! He inhaled Burger King before coming back up to my room.

Once he was back, the fun really began. They had started pitocin and we were going up by 2 every 20 minutes. I was on the birthing ball, with the external monitors on. Lots of cords and annoyances, for sure. Because I was on pitocin, I couldn't be intermittently monitored. Finally once we got up to 18-20mu of pit, I was feeling them pretty good. But by then it's getting to the point of having to have an internal monitor since the pitocin was getting so high. Before shift change (1830) they did another check and inserted an internal pressure catheter to monitor my contractions better. Still 3cm. Frustration.

New shift, new nurse, new midwife. Of which I knew them all of course. I continued with the birthing ball, the pitocin, and I was really starting to feel them. Got checked again around 11pm, still 3cm. We decided to try a pitocin rest for 2 hours; the thought being that it lets the receptors clear the pitocin, and then when you start it again it usually works faster and the contractions are stronger. She even let me eat in those two hours. I inhaled some cheez its, jello, graham crackers, and I think a soda. We totally didn't prepare enough to bring snacks and had a very minimal amount of vending machine change, so that's all I got. Afterwards I silently prayed I wouldn't puke it all up later. I still had to be intermittently monitored for those 2 hours, but in between I was in and out of the shower.

There's something about being in pain/labor, that makes you feel like you have to tense your entire body, and you can't move. And then when you add external monitors, blood pressure cuffs, pulse ox, and various catheters…hanging…it just all feels so unnatural, and you'd almost rather lay still than get up and move. Though when I did get up, it felt better. It was a mental struggle for me, for 12 hours, while I was unmedicated, to tell myself to relax. When I did relax through the contractions, it did feel better, but to tell yourself that every 2-3 minutes was exhausting. Something I'm sure I would have been better prepared for had I invested in a doula or just educated myself a little better. Hindsight is always 20/20! Jason was great about doing hip pressure, and it really helped. I don't know if it took my mind off the other pain, but it felt great.

When we restarted the pitocin around 1am I think is when we checked again…still 3cm…and inserted a fetal scalp electrode at the same time. THAT was weird. When she would move her head, I could feel the cord moving against my leg. So at this point, I knew my body wasn't relaxing enough to let this happen. I could feel myself tense every single time. Didn't help we were watching it on the monitor and knew when every one was coming. I was already debating the dreaded epidural. And I knew it would take a little while to get things going, so I didn't want to wait too long to decide. I had a gut feeling that I wasn't going to change much on my own, and I was nearing 12 hrs unmedicated, had been awake far too long, and was loosing patience. Here's where a doula would have been beneficial, probably. But, as it was, I decided to get the epidural. Sat up on the edge of the bed as if he would be in there the minute I said the word, and waited. And waited. And got increasingly irritated with the length of time it was taking him. I was trying so hard to keep my sailor mouth in check. I remember with each contraction thinking "I'm not going to make it through this…" and then it would end. And then another would come and I'd be on the verge of tears…"I can't do this!" I remember wanting to scream at the top of my lungs for that man to "Get your F*cking tool box and get the F*ck in here NOW." But! I controlled myself. Finally, it came.

Now we're at about 3am, and the awful numb feeling was here, but I was no longer in pain. Now, I was just worried about the baby not coming down far enough - all the checks had been the same, she was at -2 station the whole time - too high. "Tell me if you start feeling pressure" they said…they said all the same things last time too, and I never felt that pressure. She had me using the peanut ball between my legs, on my side. We rotated sides every 30 minutes which was a struggle with dead legs. Apparently this helps to open up the pelvis, and let the baby come down further. How, I don't know because I was still laying fairly flat. But, these girls know what they're doing so I was just the very compliant patient doing what I was told. ;)

While all this rotating was happening, I was watching I Love Lucy, Jason was asleep, and I tried to sleep, but was getting checked every 15 minutes so it was pretty hard. The whole time though, I was praying I was dilating and she was doing what she was supposed to before this next check. At 0445 she checked again, and we just crossed our fingers, silently praying there was some kind of change. I was hoping for at least a 5 or 6. It's only been about an hour and a half since the epidural, so I wasn't trying to get my hopes up. She said "Ok, I can live with that! Complete, Complete, zero station!" Oh, thank GOD! Wait! What? That happened in an hour?! Holy Shit this is happening!

Then my nurse says, "Ok I'm staying until you deliver!" Meaning she was going to stay over her shift to deliver this baby because it was pretty close to shift change again. I would never wish that on anyone, and definitely not when you're working nights! They decided to let me labor down for another hour, to see if she'd come down any further on her own (We did this with Cooper, too.) so it was decided that at 0545 I'd start pushing. I was feeling tiny amounts of pressure intermittently, but nothing that screamed to me that a baby could be falling out any minute.

I had a very last minute photographer coming, and she hadn't arrived by the time we were due to start pushing. A tiny voice inside of me said to tell them to wait until she got there, but I didn't say anything. I had emphasized to everyone that I pushed for 3 1/2 hrs with Cooper, and that he ended up being forceps. My nurse emphasized to me that she did NOT want me to be her first nurse delivery (where the babe comes before the provider can be in the room to deliver it). So the nurse came in and said we could start pushing, and that the midwife would be in shortly.

A very different picture than last time, just me, Jason and the nurse (I know all their names by the way, I just don't want to throw them out there like that ;)). I asked for a mirror because I like to know I'm pushing correctly. We lifted my heavy ass legs and I'm mentally preparing myself for a good couple of hours of pushing. I gave half a push and saw white and knew I needed to stop. I don't even know if Jason or my nurse was looking, but since I had the mirror, I saw it instantly. I said "Uhhh I think that's head!" And the chaos ensued. Jason tried to push the staff emergency button and I turned my head to tell him which one it was, I turned back around and her head was pretty much out. Meanwhile four more nurses were in the room, and finally the midwife. I didn't push any more. She just came out on her own.

At first, she looked so incredibly tiny! And then she started looking bigger and bigger when I thought about how she had just been scrunched up inside me. She was on my belly till the cord was cut, and then they took her to the warmer. I believe she was a bit stunned by the quick delivery, and she needed a bit of oxygen to get jump started. After that, she came back to me, and we made sure she really was a girl, and did the full head to toe assessment. She had a nice little groove all along the top of her head where she must have flew past my pelvic bone, but it was gone by the next day.

She was 6 pounds 9 ounces, 18 inches long. Born at 0555, and the photographer did indeed miss it. But she got there right after, and got some incredible shots. So thankful too, because we left our camera's memory card in the computer at home. Ten fingers, ten toes, and no penis!

My recovery was out of this world compared to last time. Now I can understand how some ladies come back pregnant within the year. Last time, Jason wasn't allowed near me for months. This time around, there was a different emotional connection I felt to him. Maybe because we were out here with no family support, really relying on each other to get through and share this huge moment in our lives together. Whatever it may be, we communicated so well over those couple of days, and got a lot accomplished! But, I was never swollen, didn't need any kind of repair, and didn't dread standing, sitting, or walking! The only pain I felt after delivery was the cramping, which still wasn't horrible. Definitely more noticeable than last time, but manageable.

It was an early morning delivery, so Monday felt extraordinarily long. She met all of mommies co workers who were on that day! We took naps as best we could, but as things are in hospitals, people were in and out all day.

We decided Jason would pick Cooper up and spend the night with him at home so he could be in his own bed, and so as to not burden others with him any longer. After visiting with me and meeting his baby sister, they both went home for the night. Jason said he was fairly restless, like he knew I wasn't there. He went to day care the next day and Jason came up as early as he could.

I spent the morning struggling with breastfeeding (again!). I was determined this time would be different, but alas!, it was not. Extreme pain from the very first latch. We decided she's just small, and her mouth is small, and she just wasn't opening wide enough. It was never an issue of not eating, it was more of an issue of getting a good latch. (2 weeks later, we're almost better…still tender, but nothing like last time!)

I took care of some administrative things like turning in my time card, and updating my HIPPA so I wouldn't be locked out of my account upon returning to work…you know, the things one would normally do after just having a baby at their workplace…

And we finally made our way home. A stop to fill out her birth certificate paperwork where we debated until the last second on her name. I was the one filling it out this time, so if she hates her name, I goes I'm the one to blame this time! We weren't totally convinced on it, but decided if we waited, we'd just stress over it more and more the longer we had to think about it. Another stop to pick up lunch, and some other necessary post partum items, and we were home! It felt weird coming home to a quiet house. Cooper wouldn't be up from his nap for another couple hours at day care. We learned early on not to interrupt this process! And, then we learned not to pick him up before he eats his snack there, because he gets really upset about that too. So we had a couple hours to relish in our new baby, at home, alone, before the chaos would ensue. And, relish we did!

We were at home for two days before mom mom and poppy arrived, and it was a glimpse in to our near future. It will be Zone defense once mom mom and poppy leave, that's for sure. The first night home was incredibly tough, she was up every hour for some reason. My milk was already in, and she was feeding fine, just A LOT. It made for a tough next day, but Jason was up with Cooper bright and early (for us) and entertained him all morning until mommy got her butt out of bed and moseyed on downstairs. He was so great. He played with Coop outside, made me eggs and brought them to me IN BED! I had a huge list titled "Before Baby Nesting" that only had about 3 things crossed off it since she came 2 weeks early. He started knocking things off that list left and right without me even asking. It was awesome.

Though I definitely feel like myself again much sooner than I did with Cooper, I am still finding myself in a little bit of a daze as the days go by, and she gets older by the second. I'm trying so hard to relish in every moment as she will probably complete our family. And I'm already trying to work out the logistics of daycare in my head - what time will I have to get up in order to drop two off and get to work in time. This sounds impossible, yet people do it all.the.time. Everyone says we will find a new routine, but it sounds pretty far off right now. How will Jason handle both of them while I'm at work all day. When will we find time for each other, will we come out of this on the other side still loving each other?!

Now, I'm rambling.

So, dear Natalie, we feel so blessed to have you in our lives. Mommy prayed for a sweet, healthy little girl, and someone heard her! Your timing, though early, was perfect. Daddy has the whole summer to spend time with you and get to know you before going back to school and studying hard this fall. Your mom mom already hopes you will give me a hard time like I gave her. I hope you are always content with your beautiful self, and life, and grow to be a wonderful person. Mommy, Daddy, and Cooper will be there for you every step of the way, we already love you so much!