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I intended to write out a long and detailed story behind the events that led up to my hospital stay and the birth of my new baby, but when I tried it just ended up being a long bulleted summary of events.<br><br><br><br><br><ul><li>My water sprung a leak early Thursday morning (4/19). I originally dismissed it as incontinence since the baby was getting lower and squishing my bladder. At 3 AM, however, I woke with a start because I was lying in a puddle. Believing it was simply a pregnancy-related urinary "accident", Brian helped strip down the bed, put new sheets and blanket on, and I went back to sleep.</li>
<li>I couldn't sleep very well and got up earlier than I ordinarily would. When I stood, I felt another little gush and just knew that something wasn't right because this was something that I couldn't physically stop. I called my OB's office and explained what was going on to the nurse and she said I needed to come in asap since my doctor would be gone over the weekend.</li>
<li>Brian had finals at school, so it was just Bree and me. I got to my doc's office, which is connected to the hospital, and was seen shortly after signing in. When I was finally seen, it was determined that this was definately not urine but amniotic fluid. That meant that I would have to be admitted to the hospital, something I hadn't really even given much thought to. Bree helped my nurse push me in a wheelchair to the Women's Pavillion in another wing of the hospital.</li>
<li>Finally get into a room of my own at some point in the early afternoon and Bree is able to settle down after the ordeal of waiting in a triage room and watching me have blood drawn and have a heplock stuck on my forearm. The nurses tried really hard to be friendly, but everything all at once was just scary for her -- well, not just for her.</li>
<li>Brian gets my message while in the midst of finals at school and walks out of class to rush home with a friend of ours and grab some things I'd need. They get to the hospital within an hour of my being moved into my own room and Bree is happy to see them. She had already commandeered the tv and was watching Diego and munching on a popsicle that my nurse was kind enough to fetch for her.</li>
<li>Several tests were done to check for infection since infection = really bad for baby. If my bloodwork or temp ever indicated that I had an infection, the baby would HAVE to come out either by inducing labor or a repeat cesarean. Waterbirth and/or using the birthing pool or labor tub was out of the question since it would increase my risk of infection. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> That meant that my birth plan was pretty much shot since a birthing pool was going to be my pain relief and I was starting to wonder if I was going to be able to handle labor and birth without pain relief.</li>
<li>Day one passes with no sign of infection. I'm given IV antibiotics every few hours since my strep test hasn't come back yet. The first day I was stuck to the monitor the entire time. I was afraid of leaving the bed for fear of labor starting, so it wasn't a big deal. It was a little annoying to unhook myself from the machine and carry my wires with me whenever I had to pee, but it was tolerable. My biggest complaint is the continuous leaking I'd been dealing with since the morning. The fluid was clear, though, and I just keep drinking plenty of water and trying to stay put in order to replace what I'm losing. I was drinking as much as I could handle... which meant plenty of trips to the bathroom. Bleh. Not fun.</li>
<li>My doc was out of town so I'm seen by a different doctor (one whom I think I might actually prefer over my regular one, but it's a bit late to think about transferring care now), Dr. Newton. She informs us that when a woman's water breaks before labor has begun, there are generally two peaks where labor is most likely to occur-- the first being 24 hours after water breaking and the second being 72 hours after. I'd made it past the 24 hour peak and she said I didn't need to be continually monitored now if I didn't want to be. I was unhooked and allowed to move around freely. The nurses would only put the monitor on periodically to check the baby's heartbeat and check on my contractions.</li>
<li>While I was connected to the monitor, I passed the time listening to the baby's heartbeat and watching the counter on my contractions. They were coming irregularly around 8-10 minutes apart, if I remember correctly, and the counter was giving them a value of 10-30. If I hadn't been watching the monitor, I wouldn't have been able to tell that they were contractions since it didn't hurt and I was already accustomed to my belly feeling tight whenever the baby would roll and it was sometimes hard to tell a Braxton Hick's contraction from 'baby ballet'.</li>
<li>Skip forward to late Saturday night. Both Brian and Bree stayed the night with me and had fallen asleep. I couldn't sleep. I'd been feeling spasms in my back and the counter was climbing quite a bit higher. Friday I'd felt one that registered at 80 and it didn't bother me at all. These were reading around 60-70 at their peaks and they were tolerable, but the pain in my lower back was not. I tried to wake Brian without waking Bree, but he was completely out. I watched the monitor for a little while, anticipating the contractions and bracing for them when they'd hit. I learned fairly quickly that if my bladder wasn't completely empty, it hurt more, so I was making trips to the bathroom every 20 minutes or so.</li>
<li>My night nurse, Eva, came in to ask me if I was feeling contractions because the nurse station's monitor showed the same info on the monitor in my room and some of my contractions were starting to take on an unmistakable pattern. I told Eva that my back was killing me and asked if there was a heating pad or ice pack or anything I could use and she said she'd check for me. She came back shortly after saying that they didn't have any heat pads on the floor, but that she'd be happy to heat an IV bag in the microwave and I could use it on my back. That was <i>so, so</i> wonderful and the heat lasted for hours. Whenever a strong back spasm would hit, I'd push my back as hard as I could into the heat and it helped a great deal.</li>
<li>Sunday morning Brian finally woke up around 10ish or so, about half an hour after Bree had been up playing around in the room. I was still having contractions, but they were spaced further apart than they had been a few hours earlier. Friday had been this way, too, with a pattern of contractions, but they fizzled out and I was hoping this would happen again because a 6 week early baby was just a scary, scary thought. They didn't, though, and we had to decide if we wanted to keep Bree with us for an impending birth. Brian's sister showed up a little while later with some blankets and we let Bree decide if she wanted to stay or go with her aunt. Up until that time, she had said she wanted to stay and see the new baby, but once the prospect of going to her aunt's and playing with cousins came into the equation, she changed her mind.</li>
<li>Bree left and Brian called friends to let them know that we were in labor. Our friend, Alycia, dropped in as soon as she found out and she and Brian were awesome as things started picking up and I was feeling more and more out of it. The contractions were registering in the 90s and at every peak, my back would throb. The back pain was really the only thing that was driving me crazy. I'd feel a contraction in the back of my throat and just knew that I was going to feel it in my back within a few seconds and I'd try to find a position to help deal with it. I asked for a birthing ball and rocked back and forth on it while someone would put counterpressure on my back. That helped some. The contractions were peaking really high at that point. The machine was showing some of them reaching 100-120 at the peaks and the pain I was feeling in my back had somehow spread to the tops of my thighs. It was like a tingling hot pain that crept down my hips and into my thighs. I only felt the pain in my thighs when the contractions registered over 100 and thankfully the majority of my contractions were wavering just under the 100 mark at their peaks.</li>
<li>Dr. Newton came in and asked if I wanted to be checked for progress, and I said yes. I was 100% effaced and 4 cm dilated. I was thrilled to hear that since I was completely closed when I was checked out at my OB's office and then admitted on Thursday and I was afraid that I might still be closed (though in hindsight I can see how that thought is kind of silly).</li>
<li>I had the very best nurse in the history of all nurses at just the right time, too. Jennifer is going to get a bouquet of roses from me in the near future because she was just everything I needed. She didn't question my want for natural childbirth at all and kept encouraging me. I loved her so much. She, Alycia, and Brian were at my side through the hardest parts of labor and I made good use of my heated IV bag. Lots of massage, visualizations, and breathing techniques got me through all that. I remember invisioning a tree being bent in strong wind, but being rooted firmly in place and I imagined the contractions were the wind and wouldn't topple me over. Sarah came in at some point, though I'm not really sure when. I was sort of out of touch with reality then. I know I heard her voice and saw her and I was really happy she was there, but my mind was wandering elsewhere, helping me to focus on breathing and my visualizations.</li>
<li>Another progress check showed that I was at 6 and another a little bit later showed me at 8. It was probably shortly after that time that my regular OB came in. I was waaaaaay off in my own world at that point. I have pictures to prove it. I was on all fours and was asked to try a little pushing. I was fine with that until fingers were suddenly inside me feeling for baby. The shock from that sent me spiralling back to reality and I no longer wanted to be in that position if fingers were going to play a part in this birth. So much of my birth plan had already been overwritten or ignored, but I relented because I was only 34 weeks and I was going to go along with whatever my doc(s) thought was necessary because I wanted the baby to be well and I was more than happy to give up some of my wants for the baby's needs.</li>
<li>After feeling that, my visualizations were completely gone. I couldn't get back to the 'happy place' I'd created for myself during the hardest parts of labor and now had to face birth head on. I changed to a semi-sitting position and found myself surrounded by friends and nurses. As lovely as that sounds, I think back to it now and am reminded that every pair of eyes in that room was trained on my nethers. They brought in a mirror so that I could see them, myself, too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"></li>
<li>Pushing was hard. Partly because I didn't really know what I was doing at first, but mostly because I was exhausted by that point and just couldn't seem push to anyone's satisfaction. I realize I was the only person whose satisfaction needed to be met, but at the time I was just trying to get through everything. My contractions weren't equal in duration, either, so while I might have good pushes through one contraction, my efforts would be short-lived in others because they just didn't last long enough to make my pushes very effective. I kept being urged to put my chin on my chest and pull my legs up towards my head and then push on a count to ten, which I did not want to do. I cried out when fingers went back in and I was expected to push. I yelled that I couldn't do it. It's not that I didn't think I could birth the baby, it's that I didn't think I could handle doing so with someone's stretching me in order to reach the baby (it was posterior, which was causing all the back pain and may have contributed to my lack of feeling an urge to push).</li>
<li>After finally getting somewhat of a second wind and trying desperately to get back to my 'happy place', I managed to push the baby down far enough that I could feel it was in my birth canal and I wanted more than anything to see its head in the mirror. The hard part was going to be pushing it past my tailbone. I don't recall how many pushes it took, but I did manage to do just that and everyone was starting to see the top of a little baby head down there. I'd see the top of its head and when the contraction would pass the head would slip back inside.</li>
<li>"Crowning" hurts. Period. Crowning and then having to slow down or stop in order to avoid tearing and allow the baby to be checked for a cord wrapped around the neck is worse. In my case it was, anyway. There was no cord wrapped around the neck and I was given the OK to push the baby on out. Easier said than done because I was still waiting for my next contraction to hit so I could start pushing. That was the longest 30 seconds I've ever waited through. As soon as I felt it, I started pushing. Up until this point, I'd been quiet through labor and delivery, only sighing and breathing, but feeling the head down there and the shoulders to follow, I let out a few yelps and grunts as it slid into the world. I did it! I had my unmedicated VBAC! I got to see my baby BOY momentarily as Brian cut the cord. Purply-pink and speckled with vernix, but beautiful. They put him under the warmer and checked him out. There were several bodies in the way and I could only catch glimpses of him then. When he cried, I let out a sigh of relief, but not more than a few minutes passed before he was whisked away to the neonatal intensive care unit. What we had feared -- that the baby would have immature lungs and trouble breathing -- had come to pass.</li>
<li>Though he was premature, he still weighed a whopping 8 lbs. 4 oz.! He was an ounce bigger than Brianna had been when she was born via cesarean at full term! I still don't know how that happened. I didn't have gestational diabetes and there wasn't anything abnormal about the pregnancy. I was under a great deal of stress for a few weeks prior to all this because of some family issues, but that was it. If he'd gone to term, he'd have been huge! I suppose my water springing a leak was simply because he was running out of room in there and something was bound to give eventually.</li>
<li>I did have a little tear and had to get a few stitches as a result, but tearing wasn't so bad. I'd rather have torn than had an episiotomy. I think I wouldn't have torn at all if I'd been able to keep my original all-fours/squatting position and let gravity play a bigger part. I just didn't want my doc's fingers in there because it was extra painful in that position and I didn't think I could tolerate it. Much of what I wanted to happen didn't, but I'm not really saddened by it. I accomplished something that many other people doubted I could do and I feel really good about that. I found out later that the nurses at the station were referring to me as a "woman in control of her labor" because I hadn't requested or needed any medication. That made me feel proud.</li>
<li>Skip forward to Tuesday. I knew I'd have to be discharged because my insurance wouldn't cover another day in the hospital. The baby was doing better as each day passes in the NICU. I was told earlier in the day that he would be taken off the feeding tube and I could try nursing. I got to HOLD my baby! Finally! It was the very best feeling in the world after having spent the previous nights alone in the room (since Brian needed to figure out his FMLA leave with his work and take care of Bree) having to listen to the cries of other mother's babies in neighboring rooms. To not have your baby in your tummy or arms is a terrible feeling and I never realized just how hard having a preemie is on parents until now. Not even being able to hold that baby until it's progressed enough is heartbreaking. I couldn't even go down to the NICU to see him that first night because Brian and I just couldn't handle it. Brian couldn't even stay at the hospital. It was the first time I'd actually seen tears rolling down his cheeks and we've been together for well over 8 years now. All of this hit him really hard and I felt terrible that I couldn't make it better for him. I hope that none of you ever have to experience this.</li>
<li>When he came back to the hospital the next day, we went down to see our baby for the first time together. It was surreal. Our baby was nearest to the door and they had put a fleece blanket with planets and stars over his isolette. He had wires and tubes attached to him and I felt so guilt-ridden for him being here. I felt like all the stress I'd been under contributed to it and I was to blame for his suffering because I just couldn't stop dwelling on things and focus only on positive affirmations.</li>
<li>I'm home now and I need to pump every few hours and store it in syringes or bottles. I'll be visiting the hospital daily in order to see the baby and bring the NICU staff my milk.</li>
<li>There have been ups and downs in the NICU, but more ups than downs and I'm hopeful that we'll be able to take him home very soon. Brian just called me a little while ago and got to hold him for the first time as well as feed him a bottle of my milk. I wish I could've been there. I'm so happy that he's getting better. I just want my baby home with me and my patience is definitely being tested right now. I want to get something nice for the nurses who cared for me during my hospital stay and for the nurses caring for my little one during his. I think I'm going to match a huge batch of cookies and brownies for them all.</li>
</ul><div style="text-align:center;"><span style="font-family:'Arial Black';"><span>Gideon Alexander Tree Barnes</span></span><br>
Born April 22, 2007<br>
8 lbs. 4 oz. 20 1/4"</div>
<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Bunch of pics:<br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_0965.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_0965.jpg</a><br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_0970.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_0970.jpg</a><br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_0989.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_0989.jpg</a><br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_0992.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_0992.jpg</a><br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_0994.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_0994.jpg</a><br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_0997.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_0997.jpg</a><br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_0999.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_0999.jpg</a><br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_1000.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_1000.jpg</a><br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_1014.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_1014.jpg</a><br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_1019.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_1019.jpg</a><br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_1022.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_1022.jpg</a><br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_1025.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_1025.jpg</a><br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_1077.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_1077.jpg</a><br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_1078.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_1078.jpg</a><br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_1080.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_1080.jpg</a><br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_1088.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_1088.jpg</a><br><a href="http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/QuietTempest/IMG_1089.jpg" target="_blank">http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...t/IMG_1089.jpg</a>
 

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congratulations on your beautiful baby boy and your VBAC!<br>
i hope he gets out of the NICU soon...it is amazing that he was 8 lbs at 34 weeks!<br>
thanks for sharing...
 

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Congrats! He is BEAUTIFUL! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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Congrats on your beautiful baby and VBAC <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/biggrinbounce.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bgbounce"><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/champagne.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="champagne">
 

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He is beautiful! And he weighs as much as my dd did at full term! Wow!<br><br>
My dd was quite impressed with the pictures. She squealed, "baby!Baby! More please." Especially the nursing pictures.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Congrats to you and your family. I hope Gideon is brought home very soon!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the well wishes, everyone. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/luxlove.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="throb"><br><br><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Igraine</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7983576"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">He is beautiful! And he weighs as much as my dd did at full term! Wow!<br><br>
My dd was quite impressed with the pictures. She squealed, "baby!Baby! More please." Especially the nursing pictures.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Congrats to you and your family. I hope Gideon is brought home very soon!</div>
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Awwwww! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> Thank you! I just have to figure out where my digital camera disappeared to and I'd be glad to get more pics of him up.
 

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Congrats to you! and your baby boy Gideon!<br><br>
Keep up the hard work of pumping, he'll be in your arms and at the breast soon.<br><br>
Your story bring back so many memories - my oldest dd was also a giant 34 weeker with a short (less than 3 weeks) nicu stay, went on to bf and she is a happy healthy 8 yo now.<br><br>
Best wishes in getting your babe home quickly.
 

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Congratulations and many blessings!!!! I know I don't know you but it's such a beautiful story. I'm so happy for you. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> I will be thinking of you... here's to getting that baby in your arms AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
 

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Congrats to you on your VBAC and your baby boy! Woo hoo!<br><br>
My nephew was a 9 lb NICU babe, spent 3 weeks there.<br><br>
Hugs to you for all you've gone through.
 

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Just updating to say that I've been given the OK to breastfeed anytime I visit him in the NICU. I nursed him twice today and it was the greatest feeling in the world to hold him and breathe him in. My nurse said that he's been choking a bit when they try to bottlefeed him and he doesn't like the formula they're supplementing him with when he's out of my milk because he spits up then. It looks like he's going to be a breastbaby just like my daughter was. When I nursed him today, he did cough a couple of times, but no gagging and no spitting up. He actually filled two diapers during the second nursing session today. I'd forgotten what newborn baby poo smelled like and was a little confused for a minute because I initially thought it was his breath I was smelling and I was getting concerned... then it hit me. He's got a dirty diaper. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 
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