Henry Glen made his way into the world on February 12, 2007 at 37 weeks 4 days.
I went in for my 37 week appointment on Friday and my OB found me to be at 3cm and high. He told me I should expect some spotting from the exam. Saturday, I started getting some bloody show and it stopped. Sunday, Steve called my mom and told her that she needed to get me out of the house I was going crazy. We got the boys and went to Wal-Mart to get some last minute things for baby and me. I had more show that day and didn't say much before we left. We had a good time and I am glad that we got out now that I think about it. Got home and Allison and Joe were shoveling the snow off of our shared porch so I offered to have dinner for everyone. I decide before dinner to call Dr. Cooley to check about the spotting. He said he thinks everything is fine so I ate the chili for dinner. Steve and I spent some time together that night just in case the baby did decide to come and for the first time in about a month I fell asleep before midnight.
I woke up a little before 4am feeling "squishy" I didn't think anything about it and rolled over and felt "squishy" again. (I have been wearing pads for awhile since I was having a little bladder leakage) I slid off the bed and walked to the bathroom with my knees together all the while a little bit of something was coming out. I sat down and my underwear were soaked and yet I was still able to pee. Every time I stood up a little bit more dribbled out. I figured it would be a good time to give Steve a call. It is about 4:30 am now so I call Steve and then call Dr. Cooley,my OB, or was it the other way around? My OB says to go ahead and come in and I ask him if it can wait till Steve gets home after 6am. He said that it would be fine, but if I started to contract not to wait around. At the time I wasn't having any noticeable contractions so I wasn't nervous...yet. I called my mom to have her come over and Allison. When Steve got home we were all hanging out in the living room. I took a quick shower and we were off.
We got to the hospital about 7am. The nurses where happy to see me, they had nothing else going on. My nurse checks me and I am 3Cm's and still high, same as Friday. She swabbed me and sure enough, my water had broken. I get hooked up to the machines and the OB has called in to check to see how I am doing and there have only been 2 contractions and they where so light I didn't even notice them. He gets in just before 9am gives me a check and gives the go ahead for the pitocin. Mom and Allison also show up about this time. Mom and Steve take off to go look for food and Allison and I spend the next hour or so watching Regis and Kelly. Steve, Mom and Allison take turns on and off for the next couple of hours going out and getting food, something to do.
The nurse comes in every hour to check on me an increase my Pitocin dose. One of the few things that has been different from this labor than the others is that I am able to get up to use the restroom still, or that I actually know that I need to use it and it isn't just the pressure of the baby. I spent a little time in the rocking chair, back to the bed and finally after one of my final trips to the bathroom the nurse asks if I would like to stand. I think that it is a great idea, because sitting in that bed is so not comfortable. Allison comes back in thinking I am mom standing there and asks where Steve and mom are. An hour or so later they show up and I am still standing and rocking back and forth. It is almost 1:30 when I feel Henry move down. The nurse comes in and I am starting to really feel the contractions after she turns up the Pitocin. I get back into bed. I ask for the Stadol shot and the nurse has to check me before I can have it. I am measuring in at 6cm's so I can have the shot. I got my shot and then the contractions started coming right on top of each other and at 2:30 they called for my OB to come over from the office. He told the nurses that if I said I needed to push to believe me. I must have hit transition by then, because I was shaking a bit and moaning. I was riding the Stadol wave and griping Steve's hand for dear life. My eyes where shut and I just started telling myself that I can do it and we were gonna have a baby soon. My OB asked me to push and I as I did I felt him move right through the birth canal. Dr. Cooley sorta finished suiting up and had me push again and out came Henry. The nurses called him the One Push Wonder. I have no idea what his APGARS where, but as we were waiting for the placenta to deliver Dr. Cooley was telling me how wonderful I did and says, okay just waiting for the baby now I sat up straight from bed and said WHAT! He stammered, sorry I meant placenta. I delivered the placenta and after I heard the second best news that day, no rips or tears. The nurse cleaned me up and helped me get into a clean gown before we went to our postpartum room. Mom and Allison decide to go home since it is just after 3:30 and Allison has to go to work that night.
I walked over to our room pushing Henry in the bassinet and the nurse and Steve carried the rest of our stuff. We were the only people in the whole maternity ward. As we walked from the Labor and Delivery part to postpartum the nurses and some of the aides were all surprised that I had delivered, since they didn't hear anything (IE. me screaming). We get settled into our room and Steve decides he is going to go home for the night. I ask if he will be coming back and he tells me that he is tired so it looks like it will be me and Henry for the rest of the night.
I was able to get in a few phone calls to some friends and tried to take a nap. The thing is that I am too keyed up to sleep and there is no one there to talk to. My mom rode in with my sister so they both left at the same time since my sister had to work. Steve was tired since he had worked the night before. I can't lie and say that I wasn't upset, because I was. My aunt Jeannie did come to visit that night and even brought me something to eat. My aunt Terri called later that evening to get details. Steve never even called me that night. I called about 8 o'clock to tell the boys goodnight and nobody answered the phone. It was a long night.
Steve calls me at 4 o'clock in the morning to ask me where his glasses are. I have no idea, I am in a hospital bed 45 minutes away. My night nurse comes in and we discover that I know her sister and was actually friends with her in high school. Steve calls twice more while we are talking and I ignore him until we are done talking. Henry gets brought in to me about 6am. Dr. Cooley shows up just after 7am to check in on me and let me know that I can go home on the 14th and that he was very proud of me. He confessed that I made him a bit nervous when I was asking for a Valium and hadn't even felt any pain yet. I told him that it was more my nerves that the pain that I hadn't felt yet. Around 7:30 the nurse came in to take Henry for his circumcision and to met the pediatrician.
Just after 8:30 Henry comes back and I ask for him to be taken to the nursery so I can shower. The pediatrician comes in to talk to me and tell me he is doing well. I shower and eat my breakfast. The nurse brings Henry back and we get him ready for his pictures. It is during the time that Henry is gone that I am talking with another of the nurses and she admits that she is concerned about Henry and I leaving on the 14th. We are supposed to get another storm that day. I tell her that I am comfortable leaving that day if the doctors allow it. Dr. Cooley comes in about an hour later and asks if I want to go home, of course I do. The nurse follows and says that pediatrician will release Henry at 2:45 (he is 24hours old). I call Steve back to let him know that we are being released that day and to bring the car seat.
Aunt Jeannie comes back to visit again and brings Henry gifts. We talk a bit more and she is headed off to see Grandpa. Henry and I hang out waiting for Steve to get there. He arrives and gets most of the stuff down to the mini van, including my shoes. I have to send him back for those, since I am not going out barefoot. Two-thirty rolls around and the nurses take Henry out for a final test before we leave. Just before 3 o'clock on February 13, 2007 we are released from the hospital and sent home to meet the boys.
December 31st, 2006, 8:30 am.
Did my water just break? I call Jen the Doula, she says "calm down and call the doctor." So I do. Jani says to come into the office, even though it's a Sunday and she'll test to see if it's amniotic fluid that I'm leaking. So, I stuff my pants with papertowels and drive myself to the doctor. Jen the Doula meets me there. They test the fluid. Yep, my water broke.
So I go home, Jen drives me in my car. I panic. What the hell do I bring? I wasn't ready. I don't have a going home outfit yet! Carseat. Take that. Granola bars. Underwear. A sleeper. Okay, what else? Jen says to calm down, so I try. I have to call Leigh. "My water broke and I'm going to the hospital in Medford." Leigh's already at work. I tell him to come after work. That I'll be in labor all day anyway. (He calls every couple of hours, all day.) He sounds more scared than I am. I hang up the phone and finish packing. If I forget anything, it's okay. It's okay.
Jen's whole family drives me to Medford, to Rogue Valley Medical Center. I'm having light contractions every once in a while. Jen's kids are cute, and they make me feel better. Beautiful little girls.
I get admitted to the hospital. They take me to one room, but then switch me to another because the door on the first room won't close. And then we wait. Jen and I go walking around outside to stimulate contractions. That works for a while. Leigh calls while we're walking - wants to know what's going on. I try to tell him not much, that I'm having contractions now, but they're light. He says he'll be there after work.
At around 6pm, Jani comes. She says the contractions aren't enough and we need to start pitocin. I reluctantly agree. My water's been broken for probably 12 hours now (I woke up wet.) The pitocin starts to work. Leigh gets there, and he's brought his friends. He's nervous, and he needs their support. I don't mind. They leave. He makes me nervous and labor slows. We talk. He holds my hand and we're nervous together. The contractions continue. We miss the ball dropping - not sure why. It's a new year.
At 5 am nurses rush into the room - the baby's heartrate has dropped too low. They flip me over and put an oxygen mask on me, make me shift around until her heartrate picks back up. It takes 11 minutes. It's so frightening. Jen comforts me and Sara, my friend who went to all the birth classes with me, comforts Leigh. He's just as scared as I am - maybe more. Eventually they say she's fine. They turn the pitocin off and wait for the doctor to come.
Dr. Rollins comes in the morning, says we can turn the pitocin back on. She checks me (Leigh dashes from the room when he realizes what "checked" means.) 24 hours after my water broke, I'm still at 1 cm. But, the baby is pretty low. She says we can turn the pit back on, but I have to have internal monitors. Vaginal abuse begins.
January 1st, 2007. Day 2 is good. All the nurses are impressed that my contractions are so strong - they just assumed they were weak since I was coping well. But, they're strong. I try to "relax" - we have some fun. Leigh and Sara make it okay. Leigh tries to coax the baby out by imitating a raptor. During the contractions, I try not to laugh because I know that if I leave my "zen place" the pain won't be okay anymore. I move around as much as I can with an IV and wires hanging out of my vagina. I have to say "can you unhook me so I can go to the bathroom" more times than I can count.
In the evening, the doctor returns. This time when the doctor checks me, Leigh stays - up by my head. I've made no progress. So, a new plan. We're going to turn the pitocin off for the night and let me get some sleep. I've been up for 2 days straight and I'm tired. Jen goes home for the night, but Leigh and Sara stay with me. We try to think of names and they give me a shot of morphine. Elianah is added to the list. Every time I wake up, Leigh asks me if I'm okay. It helps a lot to have him there.
January 2nd. Day 3. I get another rude awakening at 5am. I've had a contraction and the baby isn't tollerating it. Again, I'm flipped over and given oxygen. Sara calls Jen. Leigh holds my hand this time. At six am, Dr. Rollins is back. No progress. By this point, I don't care who sees my vagina. And Leigh's stopped caring, too. We turn the pitocin back on and I have contractions all day. But no progress, and when Jani checks me again, she says the baby has moved back up. I can't do it anymore. The baby can't handle the contractions at all. Ellie has a name, but she doesn't want to come out. Leigh holds my hand and we both cry. It's time for a C-Section. Leigh will be in the room. He'll hold my hand. He puts on blue paper scrubs. They shave my belly and put in a catheter (and let me just say, that without any pain meds, this process is excruciating.)
At 5:30ish, they wheel me to surgery. As we're heading toward the operating room, there's a woman screaming her head off in one of the other labor rooms. Leigh holds my hand until they stop him and we leave him behind. Jani is in the operating room - she can't do the surgery because it's not her hospital and I'm a month early. But she's there to tell me what's going on and help me before Leigh can come in the room. They move me to the table and make me sit up. A cold foreign man stabs me in the spine three times before he gets the spinal in the right spot.
I start to feel warm and floppy. They lay me down and run around preparing things. The room is freezing cold and there's a loud constant hiss of air. Jani holds onto me and keeps me feeling safe. After I'm down, they tape my belly up and hang a curtain in front of my face. I can feel them moving and pressing on me, but there's no pain. Leigh and Jen come in. Leigh holds my hand. I don't want to know what's going on, so he starts naming colors - "Tell me something blue," he says. "Your scrubs." "Tell me something yellow." "The sun." Then he asks me about France. I start talking about the trees in the park by the room I rented, how they were square.
(6:04 pm.) Then they're saying, "Ember, look!" and in front of me is a purple, gooey, scowling, baby. They whisk her away. Leigh says "I gotta go" and he follows her. Jen stays with me. I throw up in a yellow plastic dish while they sew me back up. The only other thing I remember was asking what that strange sound was and Jen telling me it was them stapling me shut. At some point they came in and told me there was an obstruction in the baby's essophagus. Then they lifted me up and over into my bed. It was the strangest feeling. Since I couldn't feel my legs, it felt like they were just moving my upper body, leaving my stomach and legs behind.
Fuzzy nurses and shots of morphine. I'm back in my room. Leigh and Sara come back. They say she's beautiful. He tells me her nose is small (we were worried she'd have his nose). He goes back to her. I miss him, but I understand.
The doctor comes in with a drawing of Ellie's insides - her essophagus doesn't go anywhere. Her stomach is connected to her trachea. It's called TE Fistula. She has to be flown to Portland to have surgery. She'll be there for weeks. Leigh is already "Dad." He'll go up with her, he says, even if he has to learn stick and take my car.
But first, they let me see her. They wheel my bed into the NICU. She's BEAUTIFUL. She's got lots of blonde hair and a cute version of Leigh's nose. I get to hold her. I ask Leigh if we can add "Rowan" to her name. He says "hizzy", which means yes. Sara takes pictures. Leigh's parents come in one at a time to meet their grandbaby. His mom says Ellie has his nose and my lips. His dad takes pictures. Leigh leaves the NICU with his parents and I stay until they kick me out, holding her. She's so small and perfect. I can't believe it.
They wheel me back to my room and give me more morphine. I talk to people on the phone - my mom, friends. Drugs addle my brain. We find out that they'll let Leigh fly with Ellie. His friends bring him a suitcase of clothes. They even bought him socks. Before he leaves with her, they bring her into my room on the way out so I can see her one last time. She stops breathing as I'm trying to reach out and touch her and they rush her out of the room. They say she's fine, it was just a bout of apnea. I say goodbye through the doorway, and then they're gone. Leigh's parents and friends both come back to see me again. Sara stays with me and we sleep.