Sunday, May 29, 2011

Isn't It Ironic?

Isn't it ironic ...

*  That every time you put a clean cover on the changing pad, the baby immediately finds a way to soil it?  The same thing goes for new sheets on the bed.

*  That every time your kid swears to you he's so sick he is DYING and you rush him to the pediatrician or emergency room, once you get there he is all of a sudden fine?

*  That every time you finally get the laundry completely DONE, the kids change into pajamas and the laundry bins are half full again (and in this situation, half full does not connote optimism)?

*  That without fail, your toddler manages to have an accident, or your baby a blow out, the one time you forget to shove a spare outfit into the diaper bag?

*  How kids ONLY ever seem to puke on MOM???

*   That every time your child swears he's looked everywhere for his shoes, homework, special toy, etc., it ends up being right where you told him it was in the first place?  Selective blindness maybe?

And the list goes on and on.  Its enough to drive any mother to repeatedly bang her head against the wall.  Oh, the joys.....

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Birth of Isla Michelle

Better late (i.e. nearly 5 months later...) than never, right?  I'll be honest, the last five months have been a whirlwind.  I worked through most of my maternity leave, then returned to work full-time at 10 weeks post-partum, Bennett was hospitalized for a week in April, and with three kids is just plain HECTIC.  So, forgive me.  But I have to share this story.  I think it is even more poignant to me now than it was in the immediate aftermath.  I've made no secret that my first two births scarred me - literally and emotionally.  I wanted so badly to have a healthy, HAPPY birth with Isla, and I accomplished that.  This baby girl has healed me in so many ways.

Its a loooong story (yes, feel free to pity me), so hang in there.  On to the narrative:

Thursday, December 23

I went to the OB and was really feeling discouraged. The week before, I was told I was 2.5 and 80%. This OB said I was much more like a 2 with a lot of length still. WTF? That's like NO progress since 30 weeks!!! She asked me if I wanted my membranes stripped. I said, if she thinks it will help, sure, but if not, then let's wait because it would be much more effective the following week. She said she wouldn't do an "aggressive" strip, just see if she could help loosen it up some. She really doubted it would start my labor though, and said to tell the OB I saw next week to strip me "really good." With vbacs, there is much more concern about going overdue as the success rates are shown to decrease significantly at that point, and obviously there are very limited options for induction. She didn't think it was a big deal, but she said she didn't want another doc freaking out on me for going post dates. So, I left the appointment really frustrated.

So, I go home feeling conflicted - glad that I would not likely have the baby in the middle of the holiday, but just ready to be done and afraid of having to deal with going over due. That afternoon, I started to get REALLY crampy. Not contractions per se, but yucky menstrual like cramping.

Friday, December 24

When I woke up on Christmas Eve morning, I started to feel like something was brewing. The cramps were growing more intense. I spent the day cleaning and organizing. My parents arrived from Kentucky. We get ready to go the 4:00 mass. Right before the mass, I start having super painful contractions with the cramps. They aren't super close, but they are getting really "deep" and intense. The entire night, the contractions start to grow closer bit by bit and more painful. We had our celebration with Ace's family that night and everyone kept telling me I was going into labor - I just had that "look." Around 11:30 pm, I try to go bed. I couldn't lie in bed to save my life. I was having contractions every 5-6 mins and I couldn't stand to lie down through them. I was like "great...of course she's going to come NOW, and I'll miss Christmas morning with my kids!" So, I "slept" in the glider in the nursery all night in between the contractions and tried to focus on relaxing and trying to keep the contractions from getting closer.

Saturday, December 25
Christmas morning, I decided to wake the kids up at 7 a.m. to open presents b/c the contractions are 5-6 min apart at this point and requiring concentration to get through them. We had a nice Christmas morning, and I was so glad she held off. The entire day, my contractions ranged from 5-8 min apart at various points.  My mom helped keep me distracted by playing Gin-Rummy and making me walk on the treadmill - ha!  It was starting to get really exhausting, especially since I really hadn't slept more than a few minute snipits the night before. I was contemplating calling my doctor to see if something was "wrong" that could be keeping me from going into active labor, or if I could take something to help me at least sleep. Then, around 9 p.m., my contractions almost completely STOPPED. I was about to lose my mind at this point. I just started crying. I lied down to try to sleep. I was still contracting, but every 15 minutes. BUT, the contractions were more intense than anything I had ever had up to this point. I couldn't stay in bed through them. I posted on Facebook about my frustration. Everyone suggested getting in the shower. Honestly, that was the LAST thing I felt like doing at the moment. I just didn't feel like getting wet. I just wanted to SLEEP!!!

But, I figured what the hell, and got in the shower. Wow. Almost immediately, my contractions picked up to every 3-5 minutes apart. I yelled to Ace to come in the bathroom to time them. It was funny actually because he was playing Starcraft and was super annoyed that I was interrupting him. But after he saw a few come super close, he decided it was time to log off. After this lasted 30 mins, I called my OB and told him what was up. Since I had a far drive and there was a forecast for bad weather, he told me to come in and they'd see if it was real. I honestly fully expected the contractions to stop again. But no. Every 5 minutes like clock work the entire drive there!!! I wanted to kill Ace, as it seemed like he was taking every curve extra tight and hitting every pot hole along the way!

Sunday, December 26

My last belly pic - Still able to smile!
We got there at 12:05 a.m. I thanked Isla for NOT having a Christmas birthdate.  There was only 1 other mom in labor at the time. I go into triage, and I fully expected her to tell me that I'm a 2. Nope. She said I'm a 4.5 conservatively, but probably more like a 5 and almost completely effaced. Baby was still high at -1 though. They get me checked in to my L&D room. My nurse comes in and I immediately do not like her. She is Chinese and hard to understand, and just brash. She asked me if I had a birth plan, and I gave it to her. She said "most moms who say they don't want an epidural end up getting it, and right now is the ideal time if you are going to get it." I said no thanks. Then I hear her talking to my OB in the hall say "Another one who thinks she's going natural." B!t(#. So, I didn't like her the rest of the night.

My doc checked me and said I was a good 6 and 100%. I was feeling SO confident at this point. I was handling the contractions pretty well. I felt like I really could do this. I knew transition was going to hit soon and was mentally preparing myself. Sure enough, within an hour, the contractions were about 2 minutes apart, and it seemed like they would come two at a time before I'd get a break. So, the nurse sees this on the monitor and comes in and checks me and I'm 7 cm. I was SO psyched!! I felt like I was handling it really well. I knew that this meant my baby was really close, as transition generally lasts 1-2 hours, right? Well, after an hour of this, the nurse checks me again and I'm STILL a 7. I was disappointed, frustrated, but determined not to let it get me down. No big deal... But over the next hour, I was starting to really struggle with it. I'd been in transition about 3 hours at this point! They check me again and I'm STILL 7. I started to lose it. I could take it 1 contraction at a time, I knew that. But I mentally couldn't handle the thought of HOURS more of this.

I asked the nurse if I could get an IV narcotic to help calm me down because I was starting to get panicky feeling. Nope, she said it was too late. My only option was an epidural. I said no, I don't want it. But I was really starting to doubt my self at this point. Each contraction that came after that, I started to lose control more and more. I started to hyperventilate and tremble and felt literally like I as spinning out of control. My mom did an excellent job of helping me to refocus, but every time I'd panic, Isla's heart rate would go super low then super high. The nurse came in and said I really needed to focus on BREATHING b/c the baby wasn't liking it. I tried my darndest, I really did, but every few contractions, I'd lose it again and go into an anxiety attack. Finally, I said F it. Give me the epidural. I can't do this. I really couldn't.

As soon as my moms left the room, I spiraled out of control. I turned into one of those crazy shrieking women you make fun of on TV. It was nuts. But I got the epidural and was able to at least calm down. The epidural was no walk in the park though. It gave me major shakes and I still felt the contractions enough to have to really work to concentrate through them. My OB came in to check me and I'm STILL 7 cm. I was so glad at that point that I got the epidural. She recommended breaking my water, as she thought that was preventing the baby from descending and stalling my dilation. Ok.

As soon as she broke my water, Isla's HR went way low. They tried positioning me a million different ways, but the only way she would tolerate it was flat on my back. Again, I was REALLY glad I got the epi at this point because there was NO way I would have been able to lie flat on my back through this, and I'd have been off to a c-section for sure. I didn't get the rest I'd hope for with the epi though because I was panicking at every decel she had and was shaking like a leaf. I also had a "window" in my left hip where the epi didn't work at all, and I had the most intense stabbing pain there with each contraction. I had one mom putting her weight on my shoulders to help stop the shaking and the other one pushing my hip in!  Thank God for them!

I cannot tell you the sheer RELIEF I felt when the nurse told me I was complete!! I was so scared for Isla at this point and just wanted her OUT safely. Her HR was in the 100-120 range the last few hours. She had me do a few practice pushes, telling me to push into my butt. Only problem was, I couldn't FEEL my butt!  I asked her to turn the epi off or at least down, but she wouldn't. I never got the urge to push. That made it really difficult. Fortunately, because of the window in my hip, I could feel when a contraction came, but otherwise, I felt like I was pushing blind. My OB came in and helped me out tremendously. She pressed on my perineum so I had a focal point to push toward. Unfortunately, because of the HR issues, I had no choice but to push flat on my back, which felt SO unnatural. But I guess it wasn't too bad because it only took me 25 minutes to push her out!!! Once her head started to emerge, I felt the ring of fire, and that was all the motivation I needed to get her OUT!

It had been my wish to let the cord stop pulsing before cutting, but I knew something was up when she made me stop so she could cut the cord before delivering the rest of her. It only took one push after that, and they put her on my chest. It was the most incredible feeling ever. I just held on to her so tight. She as soo warm!! I just started bawling. I can't even put into words what I felt at this moment!! It was a confluence of a sense of awe of what had just happened, this little creature, everything!

Unfortunately, she wasn't breathing, so they had to take her to the warmer pretty quickly. They got her breathing there but she was breathing really fast and having retractions, which meant she was having to work too hard to breathe. And her heart rate was very irregular. They started her on oxygen and called the NICU. The Neonatologist came in pretty quickly and looked her over. He explained to me what happens sometimes when a baby has a tight nuchal cord in utero, it can cause acid to build up in their blood stream. This caused her to have respiratory distress at birth. So, they took her to the NICU to give her some IV meds to help flush out the acid and kept her on O2 for a while until she was able to breath well on her own. I was obviously pretty upset by this all. How ironic - I get a termie and she still goes to the NICU! The nurse told the Neo about Bennett so the Neo said they could do her weight and measurements in the room with me and let me hold her for a few minutes before transferring to the NICU. I really really appreciate that!!!

She was 7 lbs 6 oz and 20 1/4'' long.  Her AGARS were 5/6/8.

Needing a little extra oxygen
Daddy talking to his girl!
The epidural wore off pretty quickly, but my right leg stayed totally numb for several hours.  So, they wheeled me to the post-partum room and told me to sleep.  After being awake for the past 50+ hours, 41 hours of which were spent in labor, they didn't have to tell me twice.  I was OUT and slept the deepest sleep I think I've ever had in my entire life.  When I woke up, I hopped out of bed and declared I was ready to go see my baby!  I walked down to the NICU (which AMAZED me because I didn't walk for at least 24 hours after the boys were born) and found my baby girl sleeping soundly in a warmer, with the blood and amniotic contents still matted in her hair even!  She was doing GREAT so they let me nurse her and she took to it immediately like an old pro.  Then we gave her a MUCH needed bath.  I felt like I was high on happy juice the whole time!
Chillin' in the NICU

By 6 pm they let her come over to the post partum ward with me and has been FINE ever since. She's a beautiful girl and pretty easy. But according to Carter, she has "big attitude" when she's upset, lol. I ADORE her.
Big Brothers meeting their Lil Sis!

She is my little girl - something that has taken on a meaning I could have never imagined.  She is perfect in everyway.  I thank God for her.  Beyond just being amazing in her own right - she has literally healed me from the traumas I carried from Carter and Bennett's births.  It was not a perfect birth.  I was a little disappointed that I didn't go 100% natural.  But I went full term.  And I got to hold her on my chest when she was born.  And she is perfectly healthy.  So, in the end, it was MY perfect, imperfect birth.