Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lillian's Birth Story

This is going to be very long, but I want to write everything down so I don't forget it.

We went into the hospital Friday evening at 5:00 for my induction. Cervidil was in place by 8:00. The placement of the Cervidil was actually a bit painful, mostly because the string attached to it was flat and textured, kind of like sandpaper, and the nurse was super rough with it. Sandpaper to the lady bits = not so fun :/ Other than that, though, I didn't notice any bad side effects from the Cervidil.

I spent the night connected to an IV so they could administer penicillin every four hours - that was needed because I tested positive for Group B Strep. I was also hooked up to blood pressure, fetal heart rate, and contraction monitors.

Having the IV placed, however, hurt like hell! I almost hyperventilated when the nurse put it in. I didn't expect that – I had gotten an IV several other times in my life and didn’t remember it hurting. The nurse didn't even numb my vein and was like, "Yeah, this is the biggest IV needle we use, so it hurts." WTF, thanks for numbing me first.

We didn't get much sleep that first night because the medical equipment was constantly beeping. The blood pressure monitor kept screaming that my blood pressure was too low, (it wasn't), then the battery was running low on the IV pole, and then the contraction monitor ran out of paper. So, I'd say Greg and I got about four hours of sleep. And I even took an Ambien :P

The next morning is when things started to pick up. The Cervidil was removed at 8:00 and I was still only 1 cm dilated. The nurse started the Pictocin around 9:00, and the doctor attempted to break my water around 10:00. Wow, having my water broken sucked! Apparently my cervix was still facing posterior and the doctor had a hard time getting her giant crochet hook in there. She made one attempt and I almost hyperventilated (again) because her fiddling hurt so much. When that didn't work, she said she needed to be more aggressive and told me that it was going to hurt MORE and asked me if I wanted something for the pain. "Um, yes, please." She let me choose between the epidural and Stadol. I chose the Stadol because I wasn't ready to be chained to the bed for the day. HUGE mistake. The pain was still horrible and I flipped out and got really hot and almost passed out, the medicine make me soooo dizzy, and it took everything in my power to keep from vomiting, despite getting IV Zofran. I spent the next hour trying to stop the room from spinning and trying not to vomit while I waited for the Stadol to wear off.

After all that, my OB wasn't sure if she had gotten my water with the hook, because nothing happened, but she wanted to give it some time to see if maybe she snagged it just enough for it to break on it's own.

The next few hours were not bad, although I don't really remember them. My contractions became regular, (three minutes apart and lasting one minute), around 10:00 (the same time my OB tried to break my water). Around 11:30, my water broke while I was in the bathroom. Whooohooo! My contractions steadily picked up from there, but they were very manageable. I thought they were similar to severe AF cramps that wrapped around my back, except I got a break in between them. The breaks are what made them so manageable. I stood up and did gentle side to side lunges during the breaks (I couldn't really walk around because I was attached to too much equipment). And I sat on the bed and did breathing exercises as Greg massaged my back with each contraction, (and I would whisper things like "Sons of Bitches" and "Mother Effer" at the peak of each contraction). One of the nurses even said I was doing so well that I should considering going natural. However, I had no desire to keep that up for hours and hours and hours. I wanted to be able to rest and chill out. So, at around 2:00, I requested the epidural.

It took over an hour for me to actually get the epidural, so I'm glad I asked for it when I did. While I was waiting, I lost my mucus plug, (I always wondered if I would notice it - Um, yeah, there was no denying it). And, at some point, I lost all sense of modesty with my husband and was handing him my used pads to throw in the trash :P - moving around was just not easy with ten thousand cords and IV pole attached to me.

Getting the epidural freaked me out but really didn't hurt too bad. It wasn't as bad as the IV. Still, I am not a fan of people "doing things" to me, especially sticking a needle in my back, so I was holding Greg's hands saying "Sweetie, sweetie, sweetie" over and over again.

I'm so glad I got the epidural. It made me very shaky for a while, and I was bit nauseated, but other than that it was great. I could still move my legs a little bit, but I was able to sleep a bit. And watch TV, talk to my family, read some magazines, and write a lot of this down here :)

Shortly after I got the epidural, I got my sixth dose of IV penicillin for Group B Strep. That medicine burns! And I guess my vein had enough. A few minutes after the nurse started the medicine, my arm started to hurt so badly that I thought I was going to lose my mind. She tried turning down the flow rate and it did nothing. I was laying in bed holding Greg's hand and crying out, "It hurts! I can't take it! It hurts so badly! Oh my God it hurts! What am I going to do????" It was the worst pain I’d ever experienced, including all of labor and delivery. Finally, my OB gave the nurse permission to turn off the medicine and I didn't get it again.

Around this same time, the contractions really picked up - they were really close together and to the point that the baby was showing signs of distress. So, they turned off the Pictocin and had me lay on my side wearing an oxygen mask for an hour. The baby looked much better after that and they started the Pictocin back up again at a lower dosage.

This is where I stopped writing stuff down during labor, so things are much less clear from here. I remember being unable to sleep and watching Star Wars. And I remember starting trembling soooo badly around 1:00 AM on Sunday morning. I had to put my mouth guard in to protect my teeth from all the trembling. I remember getting that undeniable urge to push around 3:00 AM and having to breath through the contractions, and I asked for a booster to my epi because it wasn't time to push yet.

At some point around here I also got a fever of 102 degrees. I think this was the scariest part for Greg, because I was so hot and he was just constantly going back and forth from me to the sink giving me cool washcloths for my face. Then the nurse joined in and was putting washcloths everywhere on me. My doctor got called in and gave me Tylenol suppositories.

My doctor then informed me my fever could potentially be caused by a uterine infection, and, because I had tested positive for Group B Strep, our baby would have to go to NICU to receive antibiotics until the results of a blood culture, (for GBS), came back, which would take 48 hours. I was disappointed by this news, but accepted what was best for our little girl.

Soon after that, it was time to push, and I got a freaking migraine at the same time! I was like, "Are you effing kidding me???" because I didn't want to be disoriented when I met our daughter. I am soooo thankful to our nurse because she got the anesthesiologist, who put something in my epi that stopped the migraine in its tracks.

So, then came the pushing. My contractions were about four minutes apart, and I pushed three times with each one for three hours. It wasn't too bad - I got to relax in between pushes and Greg and I chatted with the doctor and nurses. I did not find it more exhausting than anything else I’d experienced during labor and delivery. Unfortunately, the baby got stuck in the birth canal when she was almost out! We could see her hair, but she just wouldn't come any further, no matter how much I pushed.

The doctor told us that we would have to decide between a c-section and using the vacuum extractor. There were risks to the baby associated with both, and Greg and I were had a hard time deciding which route to choose. So, while we were deciding, I pushed for another half hour. Greg called his brother (a doctor) for advice. My doctor and the nurses left the room for a while so Greg and I could talk it over. We finally decided to go with the vacuum, because the baby was almost out and they would have to pull her back up through the birth canal in order to perform a c-section, which had its own risks, and because, as everyone knows, a c-section is major surgery.

Once we made that decision, the room filled with people. It only took three sets of pushes for the baby to crown, (which hurt, BTW, but it only lasted for a few seconds, so it was not as painful as the penicillin). After that, the doctor told me to keep pushing whether or not I was having a contraction, and she guided the baby the rest of the way out.

During this time, someone asked Greg if he was okay, and he said he was just trying not to cry. I will never forget the look on his face when she was born - he looked at me and there were tears in his eyes. It was the first time I ever saw him cry.

Unfortunately, this is where things started to go not as I planned them. I always wanted skin to skin contact and to breastfeed immediately after birth. Someone asked Greg if he wanted to cut the cord, and I heard the doctor say, "No, I am just going to do it." Lillian was then whisked away to another table in the room while the NICU people took care of her. Once they started cleaning her, she let out a wail and started crying. I started crying at the sound of her voice because I couldn't believe that was my daughter and I was so happy. I told Greg to go over to her, so he did, and then he got to hold her once she was cleaned up and swaddled.

In the meantime, I heard something about me having a lot of bleeding and needing medication to stop the bleeding. At the time I didn't realize this was a big deal, but afterward I learned I was hemorrhaging and the doctors were worried. I also had a 2-1/2 degree tear that needed sewing up. I spent the entire time watching our daughter across the room.

Finally, they let me hold her for a few minutes. She was screaming and I could tell she was hungry, but they wouldn't let me breastfeed her and it broke my heart. She was then taken away to NICU pretty quickly.

I was trying really hard to be okay with all of this NICU stuff, but I lost it when a nurse told me I wouldn't be allowed to see her until she was released from NICU because I had a sinus infection. I sobbed and said how I wanted her to know I was her mother.

After that, I still had to spend quite a bit of time in the labor room while the post-pardum nurse cleaned me up and put me on more IV antibiotics (not penicillin this time, thank goodness!). However, someone disconnected my IV at some point, so the nurse had to flush the port to reconnect it. Well, my vein had enough. It hurt so freaking bad that I yelped and jumped and start bawling. That was definitely part hormones, part exhaustion, and part being sick of being in pain. So they placed a new IV (and numbed my vein this time!).

Then, I thought I was going to pee myself, so the nurse helped me to the bathroom and I couldn't go, which meant I needed a catheter. The epi had worn off by this time, so this meant that it was going to have to be placed without pain medication. And I was very sore and swollen. It hurt so badly that I kept crying out, and it took the nurses three tries to get the freaking thing placed! A few hours later, I started cheering when I was able to pee on my own because I was so afraid they were going have to place a catheter again!

During all this, I remember getting a call from NICU asking me if there was any type of formula we wanted Lillian to have. My heart absolutely sank. This is not what I wanted. I wanted to breastfeed. I hadn't even bothered to read the chapters of formula feeding. I was so taken aback by the whole thing that I just told them it didn’t matter – honestly, I had no idea what kind of formula I would have wanted her to eat.

After my torture was over and the nurses just had to finish cleaning me up, Greg went to NICU to see Lillian. I got transferred to postpartum, and Greg came back glowing and said, "She is awesome!"

During all this, I kept crying over not being able to see Lillian. Then, it turns out there was just a communication issue and I would be able to see her, and nurse her, I just had to wear a surgical mask.

The next 48 hours were some of the most stressful and wonderful of my life. I was so in love with Lillian, and holding her was the most amazing thing I'd ever experienced. However, the fact that she was in NICU and receiving formula meant that breastfeeding did not get off to a good start. I will blog more about our breastfeeding saga in a separate post - I knew it would be hard, but it's been harder than I ever anticipated and is a long story in itself!

Thankfully, Lillian’s blood culture came back negative and we were able to take her home from the hospital with us! As hard as it was to not have her with us during those first two days, I kept reminding myself how lucky we were that we had the healthiest baby in the NICU and got to take our baby home.

And all of the pain of labor and delivery was soooo worth it. It’s so funny, because I’m sure this post seems like a lot of complaints, but I already look back at those 40 hours in the labor room with a lot of fondness. It made me love my husband even more, and seeing him glow over our daughter makes me such a proud wife. And, of course, I already can’t imagine our lives without Lillian. I can’t believe how perfect she is, and how much I know I would do anything for her. I know that we are so lucky and blessed to have her!

11 comments:

Jocelyn said...

Good for you for getting all the details down...those hours really do melt together! I can't imagine having to deal with them taking your new baby away for those first two days, I've got tears in my eyes just thinking about it.
Congrats on your new baby girl, hope you are doing well.

The Steens said...

This is the first birth story I have read since Benjamins birth, and wow I cried and cried reading this. I know the pain that you experienced, the joy, and falling deeper and deeper in love with your husband. Its so true though, I do remember the pain, however all the love that comes from it far outweighs the pain. Meeting and hearing your child for the first time is well there are no words to describe it.

Thanks so much for posting your birth story! I cant wait to see some pictures

gringa78 said...

Thanks so much for posting your birth story! I'm being induced a week from today and I'm so nervous! So glad you and Lillian are home and healthy!!

mtendere said...

Congratulations on your baby girl. I'm sorry things didn't go quite as planned, but thrilled that she is healthy.

Lindsay said...

Congratulations. What a great story.

Amy said...

Thank you for posting this! I love reading honest, full of emotion birth stories! Congrats on your baby girl. I hope things are going more smoothly with breastfeeding now.

Alicea said...

Reading your story brings back so many memories of my labor and delivery with Kyle. You went through a lot, girl. I'm so glad you're doing so well now!

Karyn said...

Congrats on your baby.
And good luck and congrats on the decision to breast feed. You can do it! If you need help as your doctor for a name of a lactation consulted. My mom was one, and sometimes they truly can help a lot.

Shannon said...

I've popped in from time to time to follow your story and I am so excited to read that your baby has come! how wonderful! If you need any nursing help (though I know it can be hard over the internet) I would be happy to send you to links and offer advice, I hope you can get Lillian right back on the breast. I am so esxctied to read about Cf moms who nurse! Best to all of you, enjoy this babymoon!!

Shannon (wanderlost at cf2)

Carly said...

what a story! Congrats- she is just perfect and gorgeous!

claire said...

i was just reading your birth story and it was very similar to mine, i spiked a fever, i only found out by chance they were taking him away right after his birth, i threw the biggest fit!
in the end i had a c section, and they took him up to the NICU to get an IV and automatically start antibiotics without waiting the 48 hrs.
However he was able to be with me.

i am saddened that the nurses did not show you more respect towards breastfeeding, especially since it seems you made it clear.

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