ETA: This is really long!! So sorry!
Just thought I'd put my birth story in it's own thread as so many others have done
I had a massage scheduled for Friday (9/09/11) morning at the student clinic, but when I got up that morning I just really felt I couldn’t do it. I had gone for the clinic on Wednesday morning just fine, but Friday felt different. At one point that day when I was going pee I thought to myself, “I wonder what it will be like when my water breaks… I feel like that’s going to be today... I’m crazy! What am I talking about??”
Brandon and I decided to go out to eat for dinner and I thought Gyros sounded really good. We went to our favorite Greek place and because it was busy there, we took our Gyros to-go and ate them on the back porch table. It was a very nice and relaxing dinner.
We started a movie after dinner and I was relaxing on the couch when I felt a bubble of liquid leak and I thought I’d gotten too relaxed and was about to pee my pants. I instantly got up and said I needed to use the bathroom – but when I got up more liquid came out and as I hurried to the bathroom I yelled out, “Why am I peeing?!”
Once I reached the bathroom, a bit of a gush came out when I sat on the toilet. My underwear and yoga pants were wet enough that I felt I needed to change them. Brandon came to the bathroom looking quizzically at me and I proclaimed that I peed my pants. We both had a laugh at that and I put clean underwear on. Not a moment later, another small gush and my underwear were wet again. It wasn’t funny anymore; I felt I knew what was going on, now. Being that I had just put on clean underwear, I looked at them and (sorry, TMI!) smelled it and there was no odor whatsoever. I was mortified. My water had broken. I was 31 weeks 6 days pregnant.
I burst into tears. I picked up my phone and called my midwife. She said I needed to go to the hospital ER. She said to try to be calm and that it was okay to take my time to gather some things to bring with me. She told me I would probably be there for more than a few days, so to bring toiletries and a change of clothes and anything else we might need. I took a shower while Brandon got things together. I put a washcloth in my underwear and we left.
We got in the car about an hour after my water broke and drove the ten minutes to the hospital. I called my parents on the way and they said they would be there as soon as possible. We parked in the ER parking garage and took the elevator up to the ER reception. I told the lady that my water had broken, and even before I’d finished my sentence, a security guard was behind me with a wheelchair and there was a sense of urgency to get me to the Birth Center.
At the Birth Center we went to the triage/emergency unit and I told the nurse my information and that my waters had broken. The triage unit was full, and I guess they also felt the urgency of our situation, so they put me in a birthing suite right away. I had to change into a hospital gown and was given an enormous pad and some stretchy ‘underwear’ to put on. I felt like I was wearing a diaper!
By this time it was about 10:30. My parents arrived and so did my midwife. I was feeling very overwhelmed and scared; not sure what was going to happen or why all of this was happening – too early.
Because I was seeing an independent midwife with the hopes of doing a homebirth, I didn’t have an OB at the hospital, so throughout my entire stay I saw the ‘hospitalists’ – whatever OB was on staff at any given time. The doctor on staff when I arrived was Dr. Czuk. She did a quick sterile vaginal exam and proclaimed my waters had in fact been broken, but my cervix was high, posterior and very closed – good news. She wanted to get me started on an IV for fluids and antibiotics to prevent (or treat) any infection.
Being that I have a needle phobia AND teensy, tiny veins, I was not looking forward to the IV. They brought in an ‘IV Services’ specialist and she completely mutilated my left hand/wrist. She poked me twice with no luck and then ‘got it’ – but when she turned on the fluids my wrist and forearm began to burn and puff; obviously filling with fluid. I was in some agonizing pain at that point and told she needed to take it out! Luckily she was called to the triage and my first nurse was able to calmly get my IV line in and draw blood for labs on the first try. As I am writing this, almost four weeks later, the bruises I sustained from the first lady have finally just gone away a few days ago.
An ultrasound tech came and they checked on baby and his fluid levels. Everything looked good – baby wasn’t in distress, his heartrate was fine and he was kicking and moving just like normal. He had a good fluid level for my waters having broken. The tech measured his leg bones and skull circumfrance and whatnot and asked me, “You sure of your due date? He’s measuring about three to four weeks ahead.” I said I was sure – there was only one weekend we could have conceived. He measured 35w4d – 36w2d and 5 pounds 14 oz.
I was hooked up to everything – fetal monitor, contraction monitor, IV with fluids and antibiotics BP cuff on my arm to take my BP every 15 minutes, pulsometer, and my temp was taken every half hour. As well, my blood glucose was taken because I had mentioned that I had been treating myself as if I had GD because I had found that my blood sugars rose quite a bit with consumption of carbs/sugars (I had been monitoring at home with a BG monitor).This was the routine for my full first night. I also received a series of steroid shots to help baby’s lungs mature if he needed to be delivered sooner rather than later. I didn’t sleep that night. Not only was there just so much happening to me with the machines and monitors and beeping and whatnot- but my mind was racing with thoughts of how completely unprepared we were! We didn’t even have the nursery put together – like AT ALL! And I hadn’t washed the baby clothes and diapers and the baby shower was in two weeks, so I didn’t have hardly anything as far as baby stuff went… Add to that that I was just reaching 32 weeks the next morning. It was too early! I was stressing!
The next morning the next on staff OB (Dr. Morton) came in and told me what would be happening. She said that for now my blood work and urinalysis looked good, but my BP was still high and I still had quite a bit of swelling in my feet/hands – so the threat of pre-eclampsia was there. They were not sure why my water broke; either it was PE related or GD related, or something else entirely – either way I was on bedrest. I could only get up to go to the bathroom. She ordered a GD test and so I had to gulp down the orange syrup and wait an hour. Blood draw revealed elevated BG levels – 240. I was ordered on a strict GD diet for the duration of my stay, and I would be poked four times a day to test my sugars. At almost noon on Saturday morning, I was finally allowed to eat. My diet would be one of the biggest concern for the duration of my hospital stay – as our normal diet at home consists of organic, local, grass fed, etc foods. Needless to say, the hospital fare was not what I was used to.
That weekend went by in a blur of sleepless nights and fitful napping interrupted by BP and BG taking, the fetal monitor needing to be adjusted every time I moved, and bathroom trip after bathroom trip because I was trying to drink tons of water to make sure I was well hydrated so baby would have enough fluid. All the while I continued to leak. I am started on two different oral antibiotics. My parents stay the weekend and my dad takes care of our dogs.
Monday morning and the doctor says she’s contacted the maternal fetal medicine clinic on campus (where I had my ultrasounds) and they have ordered an amniocentesis and ultrasound and that the only available time they had to see me was just then. Brandon had been at home having breakfast and letting the dogs out (he stayed with me in the hospital for the duration of my stay, but had to go home several times a day to let the dogs out) and so I called him and told him to meet me at the clinic. I was wheeled there by my nurse (the only time I left my room until I delivered) and Brandon arrived while I was waiting for the ultrasound tech to get the room ready.
The ultrasound showed baby was doing well, but the fluid levels were lower than they had been on Friday, but not alarmingly low. The doctor came in and spoke to us about doing the amnio and why they wanted to do it. She said that because I had been seen by the ER and birth center 8 weeks before for UTI/kidney issues that they had reason to fear that I might have an infection in my uterus which could have caused the rupture of membranes. She said that doing the amnio could tell us if there was something going on in there, or if we could buy more time and keep him inside. With tears, we decided to go ahead with it. The procedure was quick and only slightly painful, and I tried my very best to remain calm despite my fear of needles. It was a huge needle. After they collected the fluid for testing, the doctor said that on first glance the fluid looked good, the color was normal.
Back to the room.
Tuesday. I refuse the 3 hr GD test. The nutritionist comes to see me to discuss my GD diet. She informs me that I should have been given the GD test at least 48 hours after receiving the steroid shot – that the shot will spike blood sugar levels and give false positives. I had my GD test not 12 hours after getting my steroid shot. She tells me a bunch of stuff I know is bologna. She says I need to eat carbs at every meal. I’m sorry, but I thought I was supposed to be keeping my blood sugars down?! I had been monitoring my blood sugars at home for months and I knew what my body reacted to and what it didn’t. But, I nodded and smiled and listened to her American Diabetes Association food plan and promised to be a good patient. After she leaves, Brandon and I discuss how to get me food that’s actually good for me. In the meantime, I’m ordering from the hospital ‘room service’ menu things I know won’t spike my sugars. My sugars continue to be high on Tuesday and the first half of Wednesday, though not overly so. It’s also time for an IV change, which I am dreading. They bring in another (different) IV services nurse and she gets a good vein on the first try. I am so relieved.
Wednesday. The physical therapist comes to give me some stretches and whatnot to do. She’s impressed by my knowledge of muscles. I tell her I’m a massage therapist. The preliminary results of the amnio show no infection present. They will continue the culturing and report those results at a later date.
Thursday. I weigh myself (had Brandon bring our scale from home) and I’ve lost five pounds since coming to the hospital. I’m getting upset by the hospital food, but I’m not sure what to do about it. I feel like I can’t bring my own food in because I’m made to order the GD diet food from the hospital menu. And I am delivered a GD diet snack three times a day I’m supposed to eat (I think I only ate two of the dozen or more that I got). I share my concern with the nurse (Andriette) and she really feels for me. She has the nutritionist come back so that I tell her my concern. I was afraid the nutritionist would chastise me, but she shows her sympathy and commends me on valuing my nutrition. She says that usually she has a hard time getting her diabetic patients to eat three meals a day and not chips and pop for snacks. She is fine with Brandon bringing in meats for me, and she offers to go to the store and get me other things I feel comfortable eating. It was very kind. I felt a lot better after speaking with her. From this point on, I am eating mostly my own food with a base of hospital food (because I *have* to order something three times a day, GD diet rules.
Friday. I want to go home. I feel like I can take care of myself at home. I’m tired of being in the hospital and I want to eat all my own food and sleep in my own bed. I want to get ready for baby and see my cats and dogs. I’m feeling tired and done! Another IV change and this time it’s not so good. The IV services nurse (another different one) gives me one that’s painful and makes my arm ache. The doctor orders a PICC line to be put in the following day. (A PICC line is a large IV that they thread into a main artery and toward the heart. Mine was placed in the inside of my right upper arm and threaded for 40 centimeters into my artery toward my heart. With this they can draw blood for labs and delivery IV fluids/meds as necessary. And it can be in place for up to 30 days.) I am to keep a warm water ‘blanket’ on my arm for 48 hours to encourage good circulation. It’s very warm, and even with the AC on in my room (and all the nurses asking me if I’m warm enough because my room is so frigid) I’m still boiling. I forgo any modest and sleep naked besides my huge diaper of a pad.
Saturday. BP has been sky high over night, so the doctor (Dr. Sausbee) orders a blood panel. I get blood drawn and it’s sent to the lab with a stat order. A bit later the doctor returns and says that my blood panel showed elevated liver enzymes beyond what he’s comfortable with and that he’s contacted the maternal fetal medicine doctors for their opinion. They said that with the high BP, and the suddenly very elevated liver enzymes that I’m at risk of going into full blown eclampsia and should deliver. I call my parents and they come to the hospital. The PICC line is put in place. I’m terrified and crying and shaking and because it’s considered a sterile procedure, my parents and Brandon cannot be in the room. Luckily my nurse, Isa, is able to stay and she comforts me. The whole thing takes about an hour. The lady who put my bad IV in the day before is performing it. She’s crazy and rough and is making the procedure more painful than it needs to be, I think. Once in place, another blood draw is done and I’m started on a magnesium drip and IV fluids. The bolus of magnesium they give me at the start is intense and I’m suddenly burning hot and my arms and legs go tingly for a while. The magnesium is supposed to keep my BP down and prevent the seizures and strokes associated with eclampsia, but it’s also a muscle relaxer. Because of this I am now bedridden; I can’t get up even to pee. Even though I don’t feel like my legs are too tired to get up, it is doctor’s orders. I want to avoid a catheter, so I opt to try the bedpan. First attempt and I’m sitting in a puddle of my own urine by the end. I cry and just get the catheter. After the magnesium has been dripping for a few hours the doctor returns and starts a Pitocin drip as well. It takes several hours before I start to feel any cramping, and it feels manageable. By midnight, I’m feeling cramps that feel like menstrual cramps and they are ten or so minutes apart. I am able to get a few blinks of sleep between them.
Sunday. I’ve gotten a bit of sleep overnight because the contractions are not too bad, yet. I’m almost at the maximum dosage of Pitocin when finally the contractions intensify. It hits me like a ton of bricks and for the next seven hours I shake and rock and roll around in my bed trying my hardest to get comfortable and breathe away the pain. I’m still attached to: the fetal monitor, the contraction monitor, the magnesium drip, the Pitocin drip, the IV fluids, the catheter, the BP monitor and the lower leg compression devices to prevent clotting in my legs. It makes movement very difficult. Plus, the PICC line is so, so tender and I’m not comfortable laying on that side. The doctor checks me early Sunday afternoon after the six hours of hard contractions and says I’m just 1 centimeter dilated. He orders the Pitocin drip to stop and he’s going to start the doses of Cytotec once the contractions subside. It takes until after midnight before the contractions finally fade away.
Monday. About 1 am the (different) doctor comes in and tells me what their plan is. They are going to put this pill behind my cervix to help it soften and ripen. It may cause contractions to pick up, which is my body’s response to the cervix softening, he says. They will put the pill in every four hours, up to six doses. I tell him that I’m not sure I can do again what I had done the day before. I ask if I can just do a c-section. He tells me blankly that whether I want an elective c-section or do the cytotec, nothing is happening immediately. And, he says, the anesthesiologist isn’t going to be happy about coming in for an elective c-section in the middle of the night. I feel a bit foolish. They put the first dose in about 2am. I am able to get some sleep between BP and temperature checks. At 6am they insert the second dose. I’m feeling a few contractions, so I get some more sleep while I can. 10am and the next dose is put in. I start to feel some more contractions here and there, like menstrual cramps. The doctor checks me and I am 3 cm dilated. 2pm and another dose is inserted and the contractions pick up. Within a few hours the contractions are as strong and as frequent as the Pitocin contractions I experienced the day before. The doctor checks me again and I’m still just 3 cm. I’m crying and breaking down. I don’t think I can keep doing it. The pain is intense and I just cannot do again what I did the day before. It’s too much. I’m telling Brandon that I just want a c-section. I just want it done. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t take the pain and the everything attached to me and in me and on me and monitoring me. I want to be anywhere but there! Brandon calls his mom is talking to her about what’s going on. He’s accepted that I want a c-section and is telling her that. The tone of his voice and the look on his face is killing me, it’s more painful than the contractions. I feel like I’m letting him and myself down. I don’t want a c-section, I really don’t – I know that the recovery will be horrible and I’ll likely have more trouble with my milk coming in and the baby won’t get the ‘birth canal massage’. I tell myself I can do it and that it will all be over before I know it. Sucking it up and pretending to ignore my fear of needles, I ask for an epidural. If I am going to do this, I am going to need pain relief. I will not be able to do it without it. An order is put in and about an hour later the anesthesiologist comes in and gives me the epidural. Brandon is there holding me, but he nearly faints and the nurse ends up having to tend to him. He lies on the floor and sips orange juice while the epidural catheter is placed in my spine. I feel pinching and stinging and sharp pains, but it’s soon gone and my legs start to feel like jell-o.
Within 30 minutes the pain of the contractions has lessened, but so have the contractions themselves. They drop off to ten minutes apart. I’m shattered. I was afraid of the epidural causing the contractions to subside, and even though I asked the nurses and the anesthesiologist, they both said it wouldn’t happen. It did. Brandon and my dad leave and get some dinner. Brandon is still shaken a bit by the epidural experience.
5pm. The doctor checks me again and I’m still just 3 cm dilated. The doctor orders the Pitocin drip put back in place. I’m put on a higher dose than the day before. I can feel the contractions – the tightening and the pressure, but not the splitting pain. I’m so thankful. I am able to sleep a bit between the contractions. He comes in again to check on me a few hours later and says that he’s not going to check my dilation again until the morning. He’s got a c-section to do, he says, and so he’ll be back in a few hours to see how I’m doing. Meanwhile, my mom says she wants to watch the season premier of dancing with the stars. I turn it on for her and Brandon reads (and watches the show). My contractions are getting more intense, and although I can’t feel pain, per se, I can feel the pressure. I close my eyes and begin going to another place. I envision my body doing what it needs to do – dilating and moving the baby down into the birth canal. With every contraction I embrace the pressure and do deep breathing to breathe the baby down. Between contractions I relax and open my eyes and watch a few silly dances and then resume my ‘meditation’ when the next contractions starts. I’m feeling the pressure build lower and lower and I tell the nurse. She says to tell her if I’m feeling lots of pressure in my bottom. I tell her I am feeling pressure there, I’m just not sure how much is ‘lots’. Just after the show got done (two hours later) the doctor comes back to check on me. The nurse tells him I’m feeling pressure in my bottom, and so he opts to check me, even though it’s only a quarter after 10pm.
This moment I will never forget. He checks me and announces, “You are 9 centimeters. We need to get you on a labor bed!” I am so relieved! I am laughing and smiling and so, so happy. A whole crew of people suddenly appear and I’m moved onto a labor bed (I was still in my more comfortable extended stay hospital bed). My legs work better than everyone expects, and I can move myself pretty well. Once on the labor bed, the doctor has me do a few practice pushes. He tells me to push into my bottom, like I have to poop. So, I do. I’m afraid I’m going to actually poop! He and the nurses all say how good I am doing with my pushes and there’s a sort of mad dash to get me to the delivery room. I have to deliver in one of the c-section rooms because there’s a direct pass through window to the NICU for my baby to go after he’s born. My mom and Brandon suit up in their operating room attire. We see my dad in the hallway; he’s just arrived from our house where he was sleeping and watching the dogs while I was laboring. We say hi and he takes a few pictures of us on our way.
Once we are in the delivery room and everything is set up, the doctor instructs me to push with my contractions. I am finding the pushing thing very easy and I am getting positive feedback from the nurses and doctor when I do seriously push like I’ve got some super constipation and am trying to get a big poop out. I feel silly, but it seems to be working! They say he’s crowing. A few pushes later and he slips right out in one push. He’s placed directly on my chest and instantly lets out a healthy cry. He’s reaching his arms out. Brandon cuts the cord; there’s no delayed cord clamping as we wanted – because he’s tied a true knot in his cord!
He’s then whisked off to the NICU through a pass through window in the delivery room. I’m deliriously happy in the fact that I’ve delivered vaginally and that it’s all DONE! I proclaim that I want a milkshake J
We head back to the room and the nurse helps me get set up with the medela pump. I pump out 6 cc of colostrum. I feel very accomplished! I continue pumping every two-three hours and get about 15 cc of colostrum total over the next 24 hours. My milk is very slow to come in, but by the fourth day I’m getting an ounce per pumping! All my worry over milk supply was for naught.
Brandon was able to go visit Rhyko a few hours after he was born, but I had to wait until the epidural had faded enough for me to stand and get into a wheelchair. Brandon took a video on the camera of Rhyko and showed me when he got back to the room.
At 7am Tuesday morning, I got to go see Rhyko and hold him skin to skin. He seemed so tiny to me! And he had so many things attached to him; a nasal canula, a blood pressure cuff, an IV drip, an oxygen sat monitor, and three monitoring stickers on his chest. He was beautiful to me, though! I was so happy to see him.
The next 25 days would be the hardest of my life. I continued to pump (and still am) around the clock and Rhyko only had to have supplemental formula for the first four days after the NG tube was put in (at 24 hours old).
Rhyko came home on a Friday afternoon – five weeks after my water broke.
Here he is on "Going Home" day! 25 days old.
Edited by LunaLady - 11/21/11 at 8:05pm