Oscar Maverick Westcott (x-posted to Sept DDC)Thank you mamas so much. I am home now, and Oscar is still in Special Care. It's 4:30am, I just pumped and I'm going back to bed. I wrote up a little something last night that is incomplete, but will give you an idea:
On Monday morning, DP took the kids to daycare and went to work. I started having contractions around 9:00am, but figured they were the same kind I’d been having all week, and the same kind I’d had for days with dd2: prodromal, not-very-effective, yet still painful and frustrating. I watched some TV and noticed that the contractions seemed to be coming more frequently than they had on previous days, and decided to start keeping track using “contractionmaster.com”. I discovered my contractions were coming regularly every five minutes for about a minute each time. I phoned DP to let him know, but told him to stay at work until I called again. He later admitted that while he stayed at work, he couldn’t concentrate and was very anxious, so he looked at guitar websites until I phoned back. It was only 15 minutes or so before I phoned him back and told him to come home as my contractions had become more frequent: every four minutes or so. He stopped at a family member's house to swap cars so that she could pick up the kids with the car seats, and arrived home shortly after noon. We called the doula and midwife to come. Doula and Midwife (who were both out of town when I called) arrived around 2:00. By the time Doula and Midwife arrived, my contractions were again more frequent; about 2 and a half minutes apart. Midwife monitored the baby, and Midwife offered me drinks (not the kind I really needed!) and iced wash cloths for my face. DP sat with me and gently rubbed my back. I announced at 3:00 that it was time to go to the hospital.
We all left at the same time for the hospital. We called ahead to let the hospital staff know we were coming as they had to prepare for a 34-week preemie, and a breech delivery. The OB who was on call was one we hadn’t spoken to about my desire to have a vaginal delivery for our frank breech baby. We hoped that I would hang on until 5:15 when another OB was on—one who knew our position and was very supportive and happy to attend the birth. This OB, upon us telling him we were on our way with our breech baby, declared that he would get set up for a c-section. We informed him that I would be refusing a c-section unless circumstances other than breech presentation warranted one. He accepted our decision and prepared.
The drive was not very long, but it felt like it was, of course. Contractions hurt even more when you have to sit down strapped in and ride over bumps. I had DP let me out of the car at the entrance to the parking garage because I so desperately wanted out! I waited at the parking garage exit, and realize now how awful it must have looked to passersby when I was bent over having contractions standing there alone. I got a lot of sympathetic looks, and I wonder if they thought someone had just left me there alone. Of course, DP arrived as quickly as he could and in we went. Contractions came very quickly at that point, and it was difficult to make progress toward the labour and delivery area of the hospital as we had to stop so often and for so long each time. Finally, we made it to the admitting desk at labour and delivery where I announced: “I’m here to have a baby!” They asked me if I wanted a wheelchair and I said that there was no time for a wheelchair; just get me a room…!
They could see that I was in transition and really needed a room, so they directed me to one quickly. I held the baby in as I ran/waddled to the room. The nurses shouted for the OB who was on the phone talking to the head of obstetrics about my breech delivery and how to handle it. I guess he had enough time to get the information he needed! In the end, Oscar was born not more than 10 minutes after we arrived at the admitting desk. Since he was premature, they had a neonatologist and support staff ready to receive him in an adjacent room upon delivery. DP went with them to observe. They had to do some mild resuscitation, but Oscar was breathing on his own within moments. They gave him a feeding tube through his nose into his stomach and an IV in his abdomen to help feed him since premature babies generally cannot feed orally at first. They also did an xray to make sure the tubes were where they should be and to check on his lungs. They brought him back to me after about an hour so I could see and hold him briefly, then took him to the Special Care Nursery (called Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at most hospitals).
From beginning to end, this labour was only about six and a half hours, which was much shorter than my first two. The delivery was quick, though this one was difficult because there was some difficulty delivering Oscar’s head, which got stuck for a couple minutes. I have been feeling very well, and am so grateful that I do not have to recover from a c-section, and that I did not have another hemorrhage nor (it seems) infection. I never knew it was possible to feel this good after giving birth! I was kicked out of the hospital today for being too healthy.
Oscar has remained in the Special Care Nursery at the hospital since he was born. He has done very well. After about 24 hours, he was able to learn to suck/swallow/breathe, and took his first oral feeding. He still cannot latch on to breastfeed and must be fed with a bottle. We practice breastfeeding sometimes, but it’s important not to tire him out because if he works too hard he might not eat at all, even from the bottle. Tonight he actually latched on for a moment—a very big step. Unfortunately, he continues to require an IV to supplement his feeding tube and to administer antibiotics (just due to prematurity). Tonight I went in to visit and feed him, and found that they had been forced to put the IV in his head since all of the veins in his hands and feet had already been used and lost. It was sad to see, but of course necessary, and it will hopefully be gone in the next day or two as he takes more and more oral feedings. He started out at 2093 grams, and gained 27 grams on day one, then lost 65 on day two, bringing his weight down by only 1% of his birth weight, which is excellent. He has had no problems breathing on his own since the first few minutes of his life, and is now keeping his own temperature well. He should be moving out of his incubator into a regular cot tomorrow morning. We hope he will be able to come home early next week. We have been warned, however, that often preemies can seem to do well after a couple of days, but then begin to tire out and have trouble starting on day 3 or more. We hope that Oscar will continue to do well so we can bring him home and he can be with his family. One other potential barrier to that is that he has developed some jaundice. Hopefully that will remain mild and he won’t be kept longer to treat it.
So, that’s how Oscar came to join us. We should point out that “Westcott” is a name we chose to mark the special beginnings of Oscar’s arrival; it means “from the west cottage”.
The birth was very intense. Mamas, through all this I drew a lot of strength from your encouragement and support; it has meant so much! I wore my birth beads through labour and was still wearing them when Oscar was born. Funny enough, DP pulled them out of his pocket (I had taken them off to shower) and the clasp had broken on both sides. It was as if they had done what they needed to do, and literally given me their strength, and then were 'done'. I don't think I'll fix them. They've been used up in a wonderful way.
The delivery of the head was a little more dramatic than I desribed here, but this story is for all friends and family too. They were pretty hysterical as his head got stuck on a lip of cervix. All in all, it was only 2 minutes of stuckness, and 4 minutes is generally when it becomes a major deal. They reached inside to move things around while putting a lot of force onto my abdomen to push his head out from the top. Lots of shouting to push the baby out and I basically never stopped pushing until he was born.
I'm glad we didn't give them time to do anything but catch that baby! I did get a lecture from the OB, but I think he realized there was no point since the baby was out! I feel very empowered for making this decision and following it through, even through labour and birth. Thanks mamas!