Part 1 is the Labor Story and Part 2 is the birth!
Part 1: Labor Story -- It has been a very crazy two weeks! I cannot believe that we have entered a new phase in our journey to parenthood. We are truly blessed despite all the challenges we have faced.
Our latest adventures started Saturday, April 27th. I had another clumsy fall, this time outside of my mother-in-law's house. I managed to twist my ankle as I was walking up to her porch. I was returning some glass bowls she had loaned us and fortunately managed to throw them into the grass without breaking them. I also managed to catch myself before I landed on my belly, and ended up on my side instead. When my in-laws found me (only one minute later) I was crying on their front lawn due to frustration and shock. I wasn't hurt, just stunned. They helped me up, and we started joking about me needing a walker since this is the second fall I have had! I sat down for a while and didn't feel anything that hurt so I went home after I rested for a few minutes.
Sunday was a rather slow day. My husband and I had spent Saturday getting some rooms organized in our house. We both had the nesting syndrome pretty bad, so we made sure we relaxed on Sunday.
Monday was when things started to get interesting. About mid-morning, I noticed an ache in my lower back. I thought it was from the baby moving or perhaps from constipation. It wasn't too painful, but I just wanted to keep track of it. Over the course of the day, the pain started to increase but never exceeded a 3 on the pain scale.
My husband had just gotten home from a long day at work and told me he had to back into work that evening to rebuild on a server that had crashed. Just as he got home, I had noticed some pink discharge. I knew that pink discharge was common in late pregnancy, especially if it was with lots of mucus. I called my mother-in-law to ask her about her 6 birth experiences and if she had any pink discharge. She hadn't, but told me to let her know what is going on and she would go with me to the hospital if my husband had to go to work.
Within 30 minutes of him being home, the bleeding started to increase. I called the on-call doctor who said not to worry unless it was really heavy. Within an hour, I passed a clot the size of a silver dollar and the bleeding was much heavier. I was instructed to go to Labor and Delivery. Fortunately, my husband had a few more hours before he had to go into work, so we headed to the hospital.
The nurses plugged me into the monitors like they had done twice before. The bleeding seemed to be easing up. There were no contractions detected on the monitor, but by this time my back pain had increased to a 4 on the pain scale and wasn't letting up. This was also the second day of going to the bathroom frequently as well as having diarrhea. The nurse got a hold of the on-call physician who said they didn't want to examine my cerclages. And if there were no contractions, I was to be sent home.
By this time, I was really frustrated. I just knew things were not right. I wanted them to look at my cerclages. The nurse said she would call him back and talk to him about that, but she never did. When she returned, she told us if we needed to come back in if we experience any more bleeding or if we feel contractions.
My mother-in-law had been waiting for us for a couple of hours at the hospital. When I was sent home, it was time for my husband to go into work, so my mother-in-law took me home. I vented to her about my frustrations. She is such a good listener. She told me that she could take off work if I have to go back to the hospital. My husband had his hands tied with the broken server and she understood that he would be exhausted if he had to take me back to the hospital in the morning.
That night, I spent tossing and turning. I was still very achy and woke up every 2 hours to re-heat my rice bag so I could put it on my back. I started noticing menstrual cramps too. My husband came home at 8am after a long night of fixing the server. By this time, my back pain was at a 5 on the pain scale, my cramps were at a 3 on the pain scale, and the whole situation reminded me of what I experienced prior to losing our son, Gabriel. My husband crawled into bed, and I called the doctor's office.
When I called the doctor's office, I was informed that the 3rd on-call physician I saw, the female OB/GYN, was on duty that day. After waiting an hour for a call back, her nurse instructed me to go to the hospital for monitoring. My husband was so exhausted; I called my mother-in-law to drive me to the hospital. My poor husband had only an hour of sleep and I knew he wasn't in any condition to drive. Fortunately, my mother-in-law had warned her work about needing to leave if I called and she was able to come get me quickly.
On the way to the hospital, I told her it reminded me of the time before we lost Gabe. I remember lots of back labor, menstrual cramps, but nothing like regular contractions. I was nervous that they wouldn't find any contractions and send me home again without looking at my cerclages.
Once we arrived in Labor & Delivery, they took me back to observation. They hooked me up to a monitor and within an hour, someone was getting ready to put an IV in my arm. They were going to admit me to a real Labor & Delivery room. They still didn't notice any contractions, but my back hadn't stopped hurting and my menstrual cramps weren't getting any better.
After some delays with the IV, the nurse decided to try to put it in once I was settled in a real Labor & Delivery room. It was nice to have them monitoring me more carefully. My mother-in-law sat with me as I called my husband to let him know what was going on. The poor guy was worried, but he was still too tired to drive and wanted to sleep a couple more hours. I agreed that it would be for the best that he slept since we really didn't know what was going on.
It took the nurse 3 tries to find a vein and get the IV in. My veins are so bad and I was about ready to tell her to find someone else to do it after the 2nd try, but I just didn't feel like arguing at that moment. My back pain was steadily getting worse and I was hungry. The nurse brought me a heat pack as we waited for the doctor to stop by.
When the doctor finally arrived, she told me that she wanted to monitor what I do for a couple hours. She mentioned to me that if my body did go into labor, she would just let it happen. She felt it would be safer for baby and me. In the meantime, I was just to sit tight and she would check back with me later on that afternoon. After she left, the nurse and I had forgotten to ask her about eating lunch. The nurse brought me a tray anyway and I was thankful because I was starving by then.
It was after 2:00pm when my mother-in-law had to run back to town to pick up her kids from school. I told her I would be okay and she said she would come back after her doctor's appointment at 3:30pm. The nurse was also going to take her lunch break at that time. She told me she would return in 30 minutes, but if I needed anything to press the Call button. I joked with her and told her I would be good until she returned! Little did I know what would happen 10 minutes after they both left.
I was just sitting in the room, watching The Christopher Lowell Show, when I noticed a gush of fluid. Instantly, I knew what had happened. It happened with Gabriel too! My water had broken. I called a nurse right away and told her what happened. I also warned her that the last time this happened to me, the contractions got really bad fast. The nurse did a paper test, which confirmed amniotic fluid. She left me all alone to go page the doctor. I called my husband and he woke up instantly and headed towards the hospital.
What I remember during the next few hours is rather confusing because I was overwhelmed with pain and shock.
Part 2: Birth Story -- Once my water broke, I felt the contractions start to hit my stomach. It took only 30 minutes for them to be full strength and I was doing everything I could to try to breathe through them but they hurt so bad I was sobbing. They had left me alone for 15 minutes while they called the doctor. I was furious and scared to be alone so I paged them and told them that they couldn't leave me alone like that. Once that was said, I had 3-4 people in the room! The doctor showed up and wanted to do an exam, but realized how much pain I was in and ordered a shot of Terbutaline to try to lessen the contractions. The doctor was worried about the effect of contractions on my cerclages. I honestly don't think the shot made any difference in my contractions.
At this point, I lose all concept of time. I was in so much pain! I was worried about my little girl being delivered early. I wanted my husband there right away. I kept asking for something for the pain. They opted to do an exam once I got into the operating room, rather than in the Labor & Delivery room. They were preparing to remove the cerclages and then perform a c-section. I had people trying to shave me during contractions. I had people trying to get a hold of anesthesia, and make orders for the OR. I had people asking me a ton of questions when I was crying from the pain. I had received a catheter in the middle of contractions. I was praying for my husband to hurry up and get to the hospital. I think they moved me to a different bed to take me back to the operating room.
And when they wheeled me into the OR, there were only 2 nurses with me, and one who was already working on setting up the room. Since the 2 nurses weren't sure what was going on, where the doctor was or where the anesthesiologist was, they asked the lady who was already in the room. Maybe my perception was rather off due to how much pain I was in, but I swore this 3rd nurse was being rude to the other two and didn't care about their problem or the fact that I was a very scared, traumatized patient at this point. She explained she was too busy trying to set up for a c-section, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada…. I wanted to feel better to just go ring her neck! I just remember lying there in pain hoping they would get things worked out fast.
It probably was only 5 minutes and the doctor and anesthesiologist arrived into the OR. By this time, I was in so much pain I was freaking out. One of the nurses was trying to get me to breathe through the pain. HAHAHAHAHA! I am sorry, but where were you at the beginning of the situation trying to help me breathe! Now she wants me to try it?!?! They transferred me to the OR bed and prepped me for the spinal. I asked about my husband. They said he was suiting up.
Within a few more minutes, I had the spinal in me. They were happy that I never took my heparin shot that morning, but they were a little disappointed that the nurse gave me lunch a few hours ago. I was happy to not feel any more pain. I instantly started to smile as soon as the spinal took affect! I guess it is a good thing that my husband didn't come into the OR until the spinal was in. I am sure it would have scared him to hear me screaming from the pain.
He took a seat beside me, as the doctors were doing and exam to see what was going on with my cerclages. This is where things start to get shocking and scary….
The doctor discovered that I had completely ripped through both cerclages. When she was examining me, she also discovered our baby was right there, ready to be pushed out. She was still small enough to fit through my pelvis, although it was a very tight fit. She opted to vacuum suction the baby rather than perform the c-section. I do remember hearing her say that I would have been able to push, had the spinal not been given. I remember thinking that I was in too much pain to push prior to that spinal. I just said I wanted what was safest for my baby and me.
So the doctor's started to get her out. I vaguely hear them discuss that they had to cut me. I am not sure how much time passed. I had no screen to block the view from what was reflecting my pelvic region. But the doctor's head worked rather well most of the time as a screen. I didn't want to look so I just focused on talking to my husband who was anxiously sitting next to me. We were excited for parenthood. We were looking forward to hearing our little girl cry for the first time. We were nervous and scared, but we had gone through so much together, it was good to hold his hand during the delivery.
I am not sure how much time passed to get her vacuumed out. I remember that the doctor had to call another doctor in there to help her with some of the complications we were facing. I didn't think too much about needing two doctors to deliver my baby until after she arrived in the world.
I remember hearing her cry. I remember the look of joy on my husband's face. I remember briefly seeing her has they walked her back to be cleaned off and have her vitals checked. My husband and I were trying to get a peek at her without much luck since there was a team of staff working on helping baby. Oh, but we could hear her and it was the most beautiful noise in the entire world. Once she was cleaned, she was brought over to my husband who held her and showed her too me. I was amazed that I was looking at our baby! OUR BABY!!!! She was finally here! She looked so beautiful. I touched her just to make sure it wasn't a dream. She was really there!
The staff asked to have her back because they had to take her to the NICU unit. I told my husband to go with her. I was in good hands, and I do not think he wanted to watch me get sewn up. So off he went with our baby to the NICU.
It was then that I realized how complicated her birth really was. I had to be cut past my rectum in order to get her out, which I guess is classified as a 4th degree tear. I could only imagine what my cervix looked like after ripping through the cerclages. The doctor had a hard time stopping my bleeding. My placenta delivered okay, but I was hemorrhaging. I remember seeing a tube of blood that ran past me. It was all my blood flowing for what seemed like forever. I also started to feel really sick and started to vomit. I think I remember hearing the doctor say that she had to curettage me twice. I remember that the one doctor had left after baby was born, but then she had to call him back. I was losing lots of blood. I remember feeling sleepy, but was scared to sleep. I remember my vision getting blurry and seeing spots. I remember vomiting many, many times. I remember wondering if I would even live to watch my baby grow up.
My memory starts to fade here significantly. I guess I started to go into shock. It took them awhile to stitch me up after they got the bleeding to slow down some. I was wheeled back into recovery but do not remember the trip out of the OR. I was told my mother-in-law and younger sister-in-law was in the room with my husband, but I don't remember them being there. In fact, my husband said that I was so out of it. He was going to leave to let me rest and he kissed me. He was almost out the door when I said to him, "You're leaving without giving me a kiss?" My mother-in-law and sister-in-law told me later that I was talking about the craziest things. The only thing I do remember about recovery is trying to get my legs to move after the spinal. I think I slept. I don't remember the ride to the ICU, but I do know I made it there that evening at some point.
Stay tuned for Part 3 -- the exciting conclusion!