Friday, August 13, 2010

Felicity's Birth Story

I am finally sitting down to write Felicity's birth story. I will do my best to remember details, but many parts of that day are a little hazy. The thing I remember most is the relief and joy I felt when I finally held her in my arms!

We got up early - I think the alarm went off at 5:30. I took a shower (and shaved my legs, of course!), then called the hospital to make sure they had a bed available. We stopped to take some pictures on the front porch and headed to Prince William. It was a good thing we arrived when we did, because a few hours later almost every L&D room was full and the nurses were running around like crazy.

The nurse hooked me up the monitors and IV. The baby's heartbeat was strong and clear, and I was still contracting about every 2 minutes. She said the doctor wasn't in the building yet, but would come to check me as soon as she was so we could get things moving. Since it was the 8th day of constant contractions, I was so sure I would have dilated some more. Dr. N came in around 8:00 and gave me the disappointing news - still 2 cm, but at least I was 100% effaced. She said that she would break my water and start Pitocin. Since I was hoping for a more natural birth (ie no epidural), I asked that they hold the Pit at least a little longer, in hopes that I would progress once my water was broken. Breaking the water was not the most comfortable feeling, but I was so excited that the baby was definitely coming. Once that water is broken, there is no going back!

The contractions were getting stronger, so I figured my cervix should have played along. No such luck. Dr. N checked again at 9:00- still 2 cm! The nurse hooked up the Pit and we waited. My mom arrived around that time. She knew I was disappointed that I was being induced, but we were all staying positive. At that point, I just wanted the baby out. Within the hour, the contractions started to get very painful. I couldn't believe how much they hurt. The nurses kept offering the epi, stating that my contractions would be much more painful with the Pitocin than if I had progressed on my own. I definitely wanted to keep trying to go natural. I sat on the birthing ball and my mom and M both rubbed by back. Over the next hour or so, I was doing everything I could to breathe and stay comfortable. The contractions were very close together, so much so that I was not getting enough time in between even reposition myself.

Then Dr. N came back again. I was 3 cm. So began the next part of our journey - the epidural. Since I was only 3 cm, the contractions were right on top of each other, and it seemed like I would be in labor forever, I asked for the epidural. My nurse came in and told me that the nurse anesthetist had a couple of rooms to go in before she could come to me. It felt like hours before she came. Finally, around 12:30 it was time. It was so hard to hold myself still for the epidural. They were trying to insert it between contractions, but that was only about a 15 second window. As soon as it was done, the nurse anesthetist told me that I had a "Wet Tap." Basically the epidural needle went in to far, poking a hole in the dura. Therefore, spinal fluid was able to leak out of the spinal column, leaving the brain without its normal cushion. She explained that I would probably have a spinal headache and that I needed to lay flat. When they were cleaning up the epidural equipment, the nurse anesthetist said, "That hasn't happened to me in 6 years, and now it just happened two patients in a row. I guess I need to slow down a bit." I was like are you kidding me? Maybe she should have slowed down a bit BEFORE she put the needle into my spine. I was frustrated, but thankful that the pain eased up.

I did feel relief from the epidural almost immediately. They did have to give me more medication than normal, since some of the medicine was also able to leak out and I would frequently start to feel sensations and pain. The nurses kept asking me if I had a headache, but as long as I was laying flat, I could really only feel a dull pressure in my head. My mom and M were watching HGTV, and I dozed in and out. The nurse checked me again around 2 - I was 5 cm and I finally felt like things were moving. I had to keep adjusting, since my head and back were hurting. At 2:30 I told M to go get some food at the cafe, since he hadn't eaten lunch yet.

A few minutes later, I started to feel an achy sensation in my hips. I told my mom and she helped me readjust in the bed again. When that didn't help, I asked her to go get the nurse so I could be checked again. I was stinking 9.5 cm! The nurse asked me to push, and I did, which got me to 10. It was time to call the doctor! I tried to call M, but of course, he wasn't answering his phone, so my mom went to get him. As I watched the nurses setting up the room for delivery, I had butterflies in my stomach (amazing that you can still feel that, even with the epidural!). I just kept praying that everything would be ok.

Our nurse came in and said that Dr. N was in surgery, but that I was ready to push, so they were going to call an OB Hospitalist in. Matthew and my mom came back and everyone was in a flurry. Next thing I knew I was pushing away. I was surprised when Dr S came in. She is a doctor from my regular OB practice, but I hadn't gotten to meet her while pregnant. She was so positive and happy. She actually left the office to come deliver for me!

As soon as I sat up to push, my head started pounding. It was a dull but thick, throbbing pain. I decided to just ignore the pain as much as possible, and just focus on my baby. I couldn't really feel that I was pushing, but I could feel the urge. I could only tell how effective my pushes were based on what the nurses and Dr. S were telling me. It wasn't too long until they could all see the baby's hair! Matthew told me later that the hair would show during pushes, but then would go back in between. Dr. S called for a mirror. Honestly, being able to watching during the pushes was so strange, but it really helped me focus. The mirror gave me great motivation; I had two great pushes and her head was delivered. Since I was watching in the mirror, I could see that her face was blue and the cord was wrapped around her neck. Dr. S moved so quickly to unwind the cord and start suction. She told me to push with all my might. I beared down and grunted and out the baby slipped. It was so amazing to see her be delivered!

The baby was still blue, and Dr S was rubbing her back with a towel and it seemed like the nurses were all running around. After about 45 seconds, she started crying and her arms flew out. That cry was the most amazing sound! I was so excited! I think that M cut the cord next, then they laid the baby on my chest. She was screaming so loudly, and I couldn't believe that I was finally looking at her face! Her cheeks were so chubby, which I didn't expect, and she had so much hair! She was born at 3:39pm, after 45 minutes of pushing and was 7#4oz and 20" long.

When they took her to weigh her and wash her off, I noticed that Dr S was very busy working on me. I actually saw her hands moving inside my stomach! I asked her what she was doing, and she told me not to worry. I really wanted to know, so she told me that my placenta had torn, so she was scooping out my strange. I also had postpartum hemorrhaging. I remember noticing that Dr S was covered in blood, and they she kept pulling out completely drenched pieces of gauze. I also had a 2nd degree tear, that required 4 stitches.

The nurse brought me some Diet Coke, and said that caffeine would help my headache. As soon as she said that, I again became conscious of the pounding in my head. She told me to lay as flat as possible, and to keep drinking the caffeine. At that point, I was able to nurse for a little bit and the room settled down.

The nurse came to take the baby to the nursery from her tests, first bath and medications. An hour or so later they were ready to move me to a postpartum room. Since I had to lay flat, the nurse decided to bring my bed down to L&D so I could just be wheeled down. After they took out my cath, I really needed to go to the bathroom. Matthew and the nurse helped me to the toilet. A few seconds after I sat down, I felt totally woozy and passed out, probably since I had very little fluid around my brain. The nursed pulled the call bell, and all the sudden I was smelling ammonia. I looked up and there were 4 nurses looking at me anxiously. They helped clean me up and moved me back to the bed. M told me after that he thought I had passed out from seeing all the blood, since seeing it made him feel funny, haha. Honestly, the sight of my own blood didn't bother me a bit.

After we settled into our room, they brought the baby back to me to nurse again. It was so strange to have to lay on my side to nurse, since I wasn't able to sit up to nurse her. Nursing was so strange and amazing. She looked so sweet and I felt to incredibly close to her. I don't remember too much about the rest of that night. I know that M's parents and sister and my dad visited. I thought I would care how I looked, but I felt so bad, that I was totally fine just laying there in a daze while they held the baby.

The next morning my headache had not improved. They sent an anesthesiologist in to do a consult. He recommended a blood patch. That is a procedur
e by which approximately 15-20 mls of blood is taken and injected into the epidural space at the site of the spinal fluid leak. The blood clots and seals the hole in the dura which stops fluid from leaking out. The procedure was done about 24 hours after Felicity was born. I didn't feel the immediate relief I was hoping for, but the headache did ease some. The anesthesiologist said that I might have the pain for up to 6 weeks. Luckily, the headache eased up by the time she was a week old.

Felicity went down to the nursery for a little bit that night so Matthew and I could sleep. It was so hard for me to rest for the couple of hours she was there, so I had the nurse bring her back. I was finally to the point that I could walk myself to the bathroom, as long as I was clinging to my IV pole.

We were supposed to be released on Saturday morning (she was born on Friday). We saw the pediatrician, and my doctor and they both said we were clear to head home. As we were getting ready to leave, I slipped in the hallway and twisted my ankle. Honestly, I really wasn't ready to be walking on my own yet, since whenever I was upright I felt dizzy. So, we had to stay another couple of hours to make sure my ankle was ok. I declined the xray, since the pain wasn't too bad (how could it be when I was hopped up on Percocet) and I had minimal swelling. It was one last burst of excitement.

It felt so good to be at home. I mostly stayed on the couch, while M took care of me and Felicity. Recovery was an uphill battle, but it was worth every minute. The next couple of weeks were rough, but we managed. Felicity is the sweetest little girl, and I thank God for her everyday!

I hope that I didn't miss anything major, though it is possible that I left some stuff out :)


Jen J. said...

Congrats Lisa!! So excited for you guys. That epi story was scary but I'm happy you are doing well now. Hopefully we can meet one day soon & our little girls can play together!! :)

Hilary Lane said...

Wow, that's definitely a different take on the traditional, "I went in, I pushed, there was baby." story. I hate that all that happened to you! Thanks for being so honest, though! I'm glad you & Felicity are doing well!

Mary said...

Wow, I didn't hear any of this from you before! Crazy and awesome story! It's amazing what I learn from birth stories too. I had no idea I could have asked them to hold off on the pitocin. I feel angry with them that they didn't offer to let me wait on it. Thanks for sharing!

Samantha said...

hey! how have you been? i am looking forward to baby pictures!!

Felicity said...

Wow - birth stories are always so interesting. I had 5 epidurals, and luckily none of them went the way yours did! I'm glad, since I'm not very brave about things like that...
Felicity looks really darling! Enjoy her!