Thursday, December 9, 2010

Birth Story: PART TWO. Don't Say You Weren't Warned.

Thia heading is a bit more cautionary than necessary. However, I know I have a mixed audience and I want to prepare my male readers, family, co-workers, etc. who may not want to read these type of stories about anyone, let alone me!

However, I know some of you are curious and I know I appreciated reading others' stories before my big day arrived.

If you missed it, read how this all began at Birth Story: PART ONE.

Get ready, this is a long one. We arrive at the hospital and check in at Labor and Delivery. I remember being thankful that the chair I sat in to fill out the paperwork was plastic. However, I am sure this is purposeful as I can guarantee I wasn't the first to sit in this chair with a soggy bottom (gross, right?). Well, that is only the beginning.

They took Bill and I back to the exam room and a very nice nurse named Beth checked us in. She got me into a gown, brought a bag for my clothes, and hooked me up to monitors. She immediately told me I was having regular contractions. She was a little concerned about my blood pressure, but said it was probably because I was nervous.

She did a swab to see if the fluid was indeed my water breaking and also checked my cervix. She said I was dilated to a two, but my cervix still hadn't come forward (PS: OUCH!). She said we'd have to wait 30 minutes to find the results of the test, but she was quite sure that is what it was (considering we had some gushes as she was examining me). Shortly afterward, my Aunt Sue arrived and we also made a call to Marcie.

About 45 minutes later, it was confirmed my water was breaking and they would move me to a delivery room. Here we go!

As soon as we got back to the room, Marcie arrived and she notified Corey -Bill called his family and then the updates began. Marcie had a list of folks to notify as did Corey. On Marcie's list was Jessica, who had my blogger password to start updates to Jahjong. And yes, I had a chart to keep track of all of this. Does that surprise you? (smile).

Pitocin was started. At first, it wasn't bad. We joked about how I arrived to the hospital in a SCRUNCHIE. How did that happen? Marcie came to the rescue and we made a switch. Funny, how I would NOT be caring about this for too long!

Seriously, at first, it wasn't so bad.

Everyone just kind of hung out.

I was super hot and Aunt Sue - she used my robe to snuggle in. She was COLD.

Nurse Kelly came in and said we were having WAY too much fun. She could hear us laughing. She kicked up the Pitocin. Here I'm still smiling, but it is getting weaker. I'm starting to really feel it.

Kelly was fabulous by the way. She explained everything and was very supportive, during my entire stay at the hospital. LOVE HER!

At about 6 p.m., I received my epidural. My nurse (Kelly) and Bill stayed with me. The epidural did NOT go well. From the time Dr. F entered the room, he did not seem confident. He had difficulty with the insertion and it took longer than normal, as commented on by both my nurse and Dr F. The insertion took approximately 30-40 minutes.

Upon completion of the procedure, Marcie and Sue were allowed back into the room. Dr. F seemed to second guess himself on the effectiveness of the procedure. It didn’t appear he was comfortable or knowledgeable about using the equipment. It was obvious something wasn’t right. He kept saying, “It will get better in 15 minutes.” Kelly had increased my Pitocin levels at this point and I started feeling increasingly worse. I shared this with Dr. F and he repeated, “It will get better in 15 minutes.” Frustrating to say the least!

He started poking me to test the effectiveness of the procedure, wondering if I had a “window” causing my discomfort. Even when I told him I felt something that he didn’t expect, he seemed to just make an excuse repeating, “Give it another 15 minutes.” I told him I was present for my nephew’s birth and with her epidural she had no pain and we had to tell her when she was having a contraction. He told me that not all epidurals work and that, “It will get better in 15 minutes.”

Shortly afterward, he left the room. Kelly worked to get me as comfortable as possible. She gave me some Tylenol and said if my pain continued she would page another anesthesiologist. She left to check on another patient and said she would return shortly. My pain continued to elevate and my husband went to find Kelly. She notified us she had paged another anesthesiologist and said he would be there shortly.

At approximately 8 p.m., Dr. C arrived and administered a bolus. The bolus took effect quickly and soon I experienced much awaited relief. While I am thankful for the assistance from the bolus, I know this is only required if an epidural block is inadequate.

My Pitocin was increased and Baby and I were not responding well. Her heart rate was dropping and my blood pressure was rising. It is a good thing at the time that I didn't know how serious things were. The staff were very good about using phrases like, "Baby is mis-behaving" so as not to cause alarm for me. They wanted me on my side. This sounds easy until you realize you can't feel half of your body. They helped me shift to my left side. No improvement. They shifted me to my right. Still not working. They repeated this a couple more times and then said, "Courtney, we are going to get you on your hands and knees". Marcie said I just kept saying, "Good Lord! Good Lord!" I really didn't think it would be possible to get me in this position. With a lot of help, somehow we got me on my hands and knees facing the wall of the delivery room. Fortunately, I couldn't see that the room had filled up with concerned nurses as well as Dr. Burtner. I thank God, Baby's heart rate came back up and my blood pressure settled down. I was taken off the Pitocin and Dr. B described what was happening, her concern for me and the baby and discussed the possibility of a c-section if things continued as they had.

Fortunately, without the Pitocin I continued to progress and my contractions became stronger and more regular. Unfortunately, at approximately 12:30 a.m., the bolus began wearing off. I was having severe back labor and abdominal contractions. I couldn’t feel anything in my pelvic region or my legs, but my stomach and back felt like they were in flames with each contraction. The nurses were concerned that my epidural had numbed my legs more than normal and they had asked that I stop pressing my button for the epidural for some time. I asked if another bolus could be administered and they said, “No” because I needed to feel the pressure to push. I was shaking and shivering and the contractions burned in my lower stomach as well as in a tight ball in my lower back.

This. This is what real labor looks like.

Between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. the pain was at its most significant. I was crying and started vomiting. The nurses had continually asked me if I felt pressure to push and I repeatedly told them I was in too much pain to know. My husband notified the nurses that I was vomiting and they returned to my room and said it was time to push. This is the beautiful nurse, Stephanie, who coached me through pushing. She was gorgeous and I told her so.

This is the Stephanie who was about to coach me through pushing. She was gorgeous and I told her so.

I started pushing at 2:10 a.m. Pitocin was started back up. Fortunately, I felt some relief with the contractions during pushing. I had worried so much about pushing, but it turned out to be easier than the contractions I had just been feeling. Things got a little worrisome. I was making good progress in getting baby out, but her heart rate kept dropping significantly and my blood pressure continued to elevate. For this reason, they had me push every other contraction. I was making excellent progress and everyone exclaimed that Baby had a lot of dark hair! I was crying with happiness at this point. Dr. Burtner arrived. At about 2:40 a.m., things became more serious. Dr. B reminded me of how we had discussed a c-section. She said we wouldn't need to do that, but it was very important we get Baby out - and quickly. She said she was going to need to use a vacuum extraction. She quickly set things up and next thing you know, Dr. B said, "Courtney, you are going to have your baby in the next push!" Next push and Marcie told me later, the suction cup came off her head. She said everything was really bloody and she looked in fright at the doctor, but Dr. B seemed very calm. She put the suction back on baby's head, told me to push... and at 2:49 a.m. my sweet baby girl was laid on my chest.

Poor little head from the suction cup...

All of those scary things happening at once were suddenly over. She cried a bit at first, but as they cleaned her off and checked her out, she was amazingly calm and alert with her eyes glued on me.

We didn't get a good picture of her looking at me, so I captured this from the video, so please excuse the poor quality.
It was the most amazing thing I had ever experienced and the whole room laughed when I said, "I can't believe that just came out of me." It was so crazy to be pushing and pushing and then have her come out all at once. My life changed in that instant.

12 hours later we named her. Elyse Kaylee. Our most precious gift.


Stephanie said...

Thanks for sharing your story. Everyone's is different. Sorry you had such a bad epidural experience. They had to poke me 4 times with Evelyn... NOT fun! But you do forget about that rather quickly once you see that sweet baby face! :)

She is absolutely the sweetest thing! I am SO glad I got to hold her for a bit when she was here with Bill!!

Enjoy your first Christmas as a momma!!


Gretchen said...

Such a beautiful story!


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