Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ryan's Birth Story: Part 2

39 Weeks, 4 days pregnant--Right outside the hospital on Thursday


Friday, March 29

If there's anything you're going to learn about your father, Ryan, it's that he doesn't sit well.  So going into our second day at the hospital, I had honestly hoped you would make your appearance quickly because I wasn't sure which expensive piece of hospital equipment Daddy would choose to "experiment" with first.

To be honest, I was also a little nervous about the prospect of induction.  The one thing Dad and I took a hardline stance on was Pitocin.  We just didn't want to expose you to large amounts of this particular drug, and I also knew it had the potential to make labor more intense in the long run.

The nurse came in around 8 am to remove the Cervadil and assess our overnight progress.  Over the next several hours, Megan (my nurse) and I got along really well.  But my initial reaction was less than favorable.  Why?  Because she was the first person to inform us the Cervadil did absolutely nothing.  And had I known that would be the theme for Good Friday?  The crying would have commenced at that very moment.

Dr. J came in to see us and get the ball rolling on the Pitocin drip not long after 8 am.  He determined that it was best to start slow and increase the medicine slowly.  We were grateful for his approach because he reasoned there was no need to use a large amount where a small amount would do the job.

You had been at station -1 for the last three weeks, so I assumed a small amount of Pitocin would be our ticket to the big show.  But in case you aren't seeing the theme here, my assumptions regarding your appearance into the world were largely off-base.  I also thought I would be able to walk while in labor to help my progress; however, my blood pressure and the necessity of the IV made that reality an impossibility.

I wish I could give you a detailed account of the day after our initial meeting with the doctor, but most of that day's events swim together in my mind.  At one point, I even told the doctor I'd felt nauseated for about 15 minutes before the nurse indicated I'd told her the same thing two hours before.  Time, while important, was impossible to measure outside of contractions and progress. 

But those were elusive in that first day of induction.

My contractions wouldn't strengthen.  I didn't dilate.  I didn't efface.  I tossed and turned in my bed praying for something to happen, and I even cried--twice, actually--out of frustration at the whole process.

The most exciting thing that did happen on Friday was probably when my blood pressure cuff wouldn't stop airing up.  I was caught so off-guard, I didn't have the presence of mind to rip it off.  Your Grandma and Daddy, the only two people in the room at the time, both jumped across my bed to help, but by the time the cuff was ripped off my arm, the damage had been done.  I now had a very sore arm, a bruise the size of my palm and a fear of the blood pressure cuff I wasn't allowed to remove.

People showed up off and on throughout the day.  Your Uncle Ronnie and Aunt Sheena made it in from Ohio.  Uncle Timmy and Aunt Nikki drove in from their AFB.  Friends.  Cousins.  Grandparents.  The hospital chaplain (who is also a friend).  Their visits were a nice relief from the tedious reminder that nothing was happening.  Of course, your father did his best to provide a bit of comic relief, too.  At one point in the evening, he even attempted to put a surgical glove over his entire head and blow it up with his nose.

(He wasn't successful, by the way.  The gloves were a size medium so he requested a size extra large from my night nurse.  She apparently also had a pretty interesting sense of humor because she hunted for that glove for a full 40 minutes before telling us there weren't any available.)

After almost 12 hours of Pitocin, my primary doctor (Dr. S--who was on call for the weekend) came in to discuss our options.  She identified our situation as "gray area" for her, and said we could continue the Pitocin through the night or stop it and restart it the next morning.  Since I hoped to make as much progress as possible before the next day, we chose to continue the Pitocin through the night in hopes of delivering you early the next day.

Dr. S ordered the nurse to stop the Pitocin for a couple of hours so I could eat a real meal--I'd had nothing but liquids since the night before--and then restart the IV at 10 pm.

The anticipation was intense, and after a whole day of no progress, I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown...

To be continued

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ryan's Birth Story: Part 1

Ryan,

I watched your little back rise as you were laying on my chest today, and I thought about how important it was that I take the time to write this part of your story.  But your Momma?  She's picky about words.  This couldn't be one of those stories, as they say in the movie Big Fish, with "all of the facts and none of the flavor."  Frankly, that would be missing a large portion of the way your Daddy and I see the world.  And I truly hope you grow up to see the humor in the most stressful moments of your life.

Love,
Mommy

Thursday, March 28th

I went to my regular appointment with the fourth doctor in my practice hoping I had progressed in dilation and effacement.  The Wednesday before I had experienced some pretty hard contractions and was disappointed they completely stopped the next day so I was ready to hear some progressive news.

After a quick check, Dr. J informed Daddy and I that I was still only 1 cm and around 60% effaced.  He was, however, concerned because my blood pressure had taken a sudden jump this last week.  While everything was OK as far as you were concerned, he recommended we head to the hospital to be admitted for observation.  Then, he said, he would come by later in the evening to discuss possible induction or the next course of action.

Daddy and I headed home in order to gather a few essentials, eat lunch and then, two hours later, found ourselves walking into the hospital.

We quickly found out it was a crazy day on the second floor.  Labor and Delivery was so busy, in fact, that there were women laboring in triage rooms and I had to share a room (atypical for this floor, I was told) with another woman who hadn't progressed enough to be moved.  Of course, even if she had, I'm not sure where they would have put her.  In that short night, there were about eight births total--including one set of twins.

When we first walked into the room, my roommate was telling the nurse that she would not, under any circumstances, take an epidural.  "I'm tough," she reasoned out loud, and was echoed by her husband who assured the nurse she was a strong person.

I raised my eyebrows because 1.  I am not tough and 2.  I realized pretty quickly this labor stuff was no joke.  It didn't take two hours before that same woman was declaring her overall hatred for the hospital, her doctor, Jesus and her own husband.  She hit the bed and moaned "Ohmygod" repeatedly.  I looked at your dad and said, "Umm...I'm not sure I can do this..."  He responded wide-eyed, "Me either."

I won't share all of the things she hollered, but you should know her vocabulary was colorful and entertaining.  Unfortunately, she didn't make labor look appealing.  So it's not surprising I got a little sick to my stomach when Dr. J came in to let us know we wouldn't be going home without a baby.  My sudden spike in blood pressure wasn't temporary, and he felt induction was our best course of action.  He reasoned that you weren't in distress, but it was best to make these decisions when baby was still healthy and safe.

Daddy and I looked at each other, looked at the sheet separating us from Armageddon over Mommyhood, and agreed that if this would keep you safe?  We were all in.

About an hour later, nurses came to move the moaner.  She apologized on her way out, but the damage had been done.  I was n.e.r.v.o.u.s.  When she was gone, I made the nurse sit down and talk to me.  I was sure that woman was transitioning from a 6 to a 7 and I just wasn't sure I was capable of handling something obviously so painful.  The nurse smiled and said, "She moved from a 2 to a 3 while she was in this room.  She was a little out of control so don't worry.  I'm sure you'll be fine."

"Can I have her epidural and mine?"  I asked, not really kidding.

"Listen," the nurse said.  "When the time comes, focus and breathe.  Don't waste time yelling or creating more drama in your room.  Your body knows what to do. You'll be fine."

Everything at that point seemed to happen really fast.  I got a new nurse due to shift change.  A couple hours later, I got a new roommate--a former student at my high school, in fact--who I will refer to as Typhoid Mary because she hacked all.night.long.  Loudly.  After telling the nurse she smokes a pack a day.

Sigh.

We really didn't have the option to be choosy, though.  My new nurse was given direction to give me Cervadil in order to finish the process so dilation could begin.  I think that started at 11 pm, but I honestly can't remember due to the sleep aid I was given.  All I do remember is periodically waking up as your monitor was readjusted so we could keep tabs on your sweet heartbeat.

(A side note to you:  You, child, are a mover and a shaker.  The nurses repeatedly commented on how active you were and How.Much.You.Move.  Of course, you were out of space.  I was 39 weeks 4 days, but you were 8 lbs and 22 inches at birth...so you were tired of people invading your space with monitors, hands, stethoscopes, etc.)

Daddy couldn't stay with me in our shared room.  There just wasn't space for him.  He scoped out a prime spot in the intensive care waiting room one floor up and left to get some sleep (or attempt to get some sleep) before the events of the next day.  The next thing I remember, it was 4 am and Andrea (my nurse) was moving me into a birthing suite.  Our induction with Pitocin would start that same morning so it was important I was as relaxed and comfortable as possible before proceeding.  I called Daddy and he made himself comfortable in our new space.

Good thing, too, because we were there for a while.

To be continued...