The Birth Story
Editor's Note: Here is the long awaited final entry! Oops! Did you not read the rest of her journal from the beginning? No worry, at the end of this entry is a pull down menu and you can read all of the entries in order, or not. Enjoy!
I remember being in the ICU the first night. It was rough. They were really concerned about my blood loss and had already given me some units of blood. They kept pressing on my tummy every 30 minutes, which hurt so bad. I remember them checking my stitches and it hurt to roll over. They had not only given me an episiotomy, but they had to cut through my vaginal and rectal wall, one inch past my rectum and re-stitch everything back together. In other words, they literally ripped me a new one.
The nurses had to keep changing my pad all the time because I was still bleeding heavily. My husband came to visit me. And so did my younger sister-in-law and younger brother-in-law. I was still vomiting. The nurse told me to not talk too much because my blood pressure was not stable and talking would cause the alarms to go off. I remember my mother-in-law and father-in-law coming by. My husband mentioned something about a hysterectomy. I guess the doctors said that if the bleeding didn't stop, I would need a hysterectomy. I was so scared and in so much pain.
I kept asking how my baby was doing. My husband said she was doing well. He told me they were taking good care of her in the NICU. I was sad I couldn't hold her or see her. I had no clue how long it would be before I saw her, especially since things were really scary for me. I wanted to hold her and kiss her more than anything in the whole world.
My husband would tell me that once I got better, we would both be able to go see our baby together. I asked him about names just to distract myself. We still hadn't settled on anything. We both agreed to think about it over the night since we knew neither one of us would get any sleep.
The next day in ICU went a little better. I still had to receive more blood and have more tests run before they would even think about getting me out of ICU. I was so exhausted but I couldn't sleep with the nurses checking me every hour. I managed to eat a little breakfast and lunch.
And they did get me out of bed twice. The first time, they made me. It was very painful. The bed was too high and the toilet was way to low with no handles to help me so two nurses had to be there. The second time, I wanted to get out of bed because standing did feel good and I also wanted to try out the doughnut they had sent out to me to help me sit.
All day long, all I could think about was getting to my little girl. Some coordinator came up to my room during the morning and I talked with her for a little while. She told me my baby was doing good and asked me some questions about what my wishes were for my daughter as far as care is concerned.
When she heard that I hadn't seen my baby since right after her delivery, she did the sweetest thing. That afternoon, I received the most beautiful picture of my baby. She was wearing a white hat and had this beautiful contented look on her face. A grin kissed her mouth in such the gentlest way.
They also brought me a breast pump and I tried my hardest to sit as upright as I possibly could. I wanted to try to breastfeed if I could. I doubled checked that I wasn't on any medications that would be harmful to baby. And I pumped what I could of colostrum. The lactation specialist was rather pleased with how much I was able to pump on my first try. And the doctors all assured me that the medicine I was on was okay with breastfeeding.
The picture and pumping for my baby totally helped my motivation of getting well and out of the ICU so I could go see her. Although pumping was really difficult because my tush was still sore and I could hardly sit. But by that evening, my test results were good enough that I did eventually get moved to the Mother/Baby Care ward of the hospital. I was finally one step closer to seeing my daughter.
I wanted more sleep than I received that evening. Even with sleeping pills, it was tough with my body adjusting to the trauma. They had taken out the catheter before I came to the Mother/Baby Care ward. The nurses said they would help me to the bathroom when I needed to go. The only problem was my body had to go to the bathroom so fast, that if I didn't get myself out of bed, I would have wet myself. That was the last thing I wanted to do. So, against doctor's orders, I helped myself to the bathroom 4 times before I was able to get some sleep. And then only twice until the morning came. The nurses found out I had been getting out of bed on my own when they had to come in and give me a new bag of antibiotics. They were not happy, but I really didn't know what else to do.
The next day I learned about all the new medications they had me on. I had to receive 10 bags of antibiotics through an IV each day. I had pain medication that I was given, as well as anti-gas and stool softeners. I was instructed to take sitz baths at least 4 times a day. I had no idea when I would be able to see my baby if I was on such a rigorous schedule.
Fortunately, I had a good staff taking care of me who were very sympathetic. I was able to get a medication schedule written out so I could see when the best time would be for me to try to visit my baby. I tried my best to rest while I patiently waited to see baby. The first chance I saw according to the schedule was around 4:30 that afternoon where I had a healthy break between antibiotics.
While my husband visited, I was anxious about choosing our baby's name. Since finding out our baby was a girl, I had loved the name Sophie Abigail. My husband didn't care too much for it. He said Sophie reminded him of the Golden Girls and he just didn't like Abigail. And I never did get a list from him of baby names he liked, even with the Valentine's Day coupon he made for me. Well, my husband finally said in the hospital he could deal with Sophia. As for a middle name, we were both still clueless. Completely thrilled of the name Sophia, I really wanted to meet my little girl.
That first break I got from the antibiotics, my husband and I went to visit our daughter. Thanks to the doughnut, I was able to ride in a wheelchair. Down in the NICU, we had to sign in and scrub down. Our little girl was in the first room, which we were told was a good sign. She was in an isolette and had more tubes running to her than I had in the ICU. But the nurses said she was doing really well. She didn't need any oxygen, but she did need to be under lights and have a feeding tube.
I cannot describe all the feelings that swelled through me when I finally got to hold her for the first time. How tiny she was in my arms but how beautiful she looked. I could see how proud my husband was of our precious bundle. And he beamed when she was nestled in my arms. Oh goodness -- it had been so long living with empty arms and now they were finally full!
The days in the hospital ended up being long. I was in the hospital for 7 days. I had to have them start the IV a number of times, and I managed to pop an external stitch while I was there. But every time I could, I had someone to take me down to see my little girl. And every time I could, I pumped for her. I even tried to breastfeed her, but I saw it would take us a lot of practice. It helped me a lot to go visit my little girl although I was careful to not push myself, because I, too, needed a lot of rest and time to heal. My husband and I tried to figure out a middle name. He picked out Elise and I loved it right away. I tried to see about spelling Sophia like Sofia, but when my husband saw that spelling, he couldn't get a sofa out of his head. We didn't finalize anything until the day I went home.
It was Tuesday, May 7th when I got to go home. It was a sad farewell for me. My little girl had to stay in the NICU a few more days, but chances looked good for her to come home by the end of the week. I hated the idea of not being able to see my little girl, but it would be too much for me to go back and forth between home and hospital to be with my little girl. My husband had to constantly remind me that I have to be well to take care of Sophia. And he did a terrific job of getting the bedroom set up for me, so it makes it easy to rest.
Since then, I have had 2 days of rest at home. We are looking forward to tomorrow. I managed to pop another stitch and the doctor wants me to come in to the office for an exam. Since I will be so close to the hospital, I will get to go pick up Sophia with my husband. I am taking many pads and all my medicine, as well as my doughnut to ensure I get to stay through the whole car seat exam and paperwork. If her vitals are good in the car seat, it is a green light for discharge. Oh, I am so excited. Sophia's homecoming will be tomorrow!
Now it is time for me to say goodbye to all the heparin shots and baby aspirin. It is time for me to reflect on the past 8 months, and savor the memories, no matter how difficult the journey was. I get to exchange OB/GYN visits for pediatric visits. And instead of wondering if my child will take her first breath of life, I get to watch her grow and learn and love her with all my heart. Now it is time for me to walk down a new path in my journey…this time it will be down the path of parenthood!
Closing remarks from Tristine: Special thanks to: My husband for being my rock during this bumpy ride to parenthood; My family and friends for all their support during our trials and our triumphs; St. Luke's Hospital in Boise, ID, and their wonderful staff of nurses and support staff for taking such good care of me and my family; The Doctors and support staff at OB/GYN Center, Boise, ID, for their special care during a difficult pregnancy and delivery; And a special thanks to all my online friends for their wonderful encouragement! Thank you Pregnancy.org for allowing me the opportunity to share my journey with others!