Friday, December 14, 2012

Jeremy's arrival

This is a pretty lengthy post about Jeremy's birth. It's mostly so I have a record of my experience, so feel free to read it or not.

My induction was scheduled for Wednesday, December 5th at 8:00pm. Justin and I arrived at the hospital and checked in, anxious, excited, and ready to get the ball rolling! We filled out all the paperwork, I was taken to a room where I changed into one of those lovely hospital gowns, and they got me all set up with an IV. At about 9:30, the induction was officially started when they gave me a medicine designed to soften my cervix and get things going, with the plan to start pitocin the following morning.

That night was pretty uneventful. The monitors showed that the medicine was doing something, but the contractions were very irregular, and I couldn't really feel anything at that point. The nurse on call that night, Anne, was fantastic though. She was very friendly and optimistic about everything.

The next morning, we expected to start pitocin fairly early, but ended up waiting until closer to mid-day before the doctor got in to check on me. I hadn't made much progress yet, but they decided to start the pitocin anyway.

Thursday was very frustrating. We kept being told we'd be checked on in x time, but would end up waiting several hours after that before being checked on. I wasn't really dilating at all either. I got up to a 2, and stayed there for a LONG time. Then I got up to a 3, and again, stalled. And since I was on pitocin now, the contractions HURT. I tried a few different pain killers, and boy was that an adventure. I got an IV with pain meds in it that knocked me out for a few hours, but once it wore off, I was ready for something stronger. So they gave me a walking epidural, since I still had a long way to go. It worked at first. After having it topped off once or twice though, it started making me REALLY itchy. My skin was crawling, and I couldn't get any rest or relief from it. They decided to give me some Benadryl through my IV to see if that would help the itching. Well, I know now never to get Benadryl through an IV! I had an almost immediate reaction to it - I started to hyperventilate and have an anxiety attack, and when I could finally calm myself down (with a lot of help from Justin), I was out of it. My speech was slurred, I was having hallucinations (including talking to Justin about how to divvy up the leftover pizza, since I didn't want the pepperoni, just the cheese... No idea where all that came from!), and overall I was just not doing well. At this point, they decided to stop the walking epidural and switch to the regular epidural. Apparently there are two types of medicine in a regular epidural, only one of which is in the walking epi. With the regular, they could use an additional medicine to block the one kind that was making me itchy. It meant the epi wasn't as effective as it could have been, but at least I wasn't in as much pain, and the itching was gone.

By Friday morning, my doctor was starting to worry about how little was happening. I was still stuck at a 3.5, and hadn't changed in quite some time. I was now on the full epidural, which meant I couldn't get out of bed. Jeremy hadn't descended much, so he wasn't putting the pressure on my cervix that was needed. We discussed my options. I could have a c-section, or they could break my water. If they broke my water and I didn't progress, I would end up with a c-section anyway. If they broke my water and Jeremy's cord started to come out before him, I would end up with an emergency c-section, which scared me. Justin and I weren't sure what to do - do we risk needing an emergency c-section where everything is a lot riskier just to have a shot at a vaginal birth? Or do we just take the risks of a planned c-section, and know when all this would be over?

Another factor was that the nurse from my first night, Anne, was back, and my doctor that I really like was on call, but they would both only be there for another few hours. If I had my water broken, it would be a completely different team delivering little Jeremy, and based on my day nurse from Thursday, I wasn't too excited about that. She was fine, but Anne made me feel a lot more comfortable, and Dr. Yiakis is the one who has been so on top of everything this pregnancy. I really wanted them to be the ones there when I delivered.

After praying about it and listening to recommendations from Anne and Dr. Yiakis, along with the risks associated with each choice, we ended up having my water broken. I bawled when the shift changed and I was still pregnant, knowing I'd be delivering that day, but at least Jeremy would be arriving soon.

I did not care much for the new nurse. She was nice enough, but a bit bumbling. She kept grabbing my wrist with the IV in it, which was already sore from having an IV for so long, but being grabbed just hurt. She was also the epitome of annoying during my contractions. The epidural wasn't as effective as I had hoped, and I kept needing it topped off. When it would wear off, I could feel the contractions really strong. She tried to "coach" me through them, but mostly just made me angry, which certainly didn't help with the pain. At one point when she told me to count through them or breathe through them or some other nonsense that wasn't helping at all, and I told her I didn't want to, she basically said I could either count, or just suffer. Finally at one point I told her to just stop talking, and from that point was able to handle the pain a lot better. I wasn't dealing with pain and thinking about how much I hated her as a nurse, so I was better able to focus on the pain. I think she noticed how much better I did without her, because from then on she was silent through my contractions. Thank goodness.

She also didn't believe me about certain things. For instance, when they broke my water, I had a LOT of liquid come out. She did her best to clean it all up, but I knew there was a lot more coming. When she put the little thin pad under me and a single towel to help soak it up, I told her that wouldn't be enough. Did she believe me? No. And when the next big gush came, water ended up on the floor. Should have listened.

With my water broken and after finally figuring out a system to keep my epidural somewhat effective, I started to progress. It was slow until I hit a 6, then I flew to a 10 in no time at all. Finally, after starting the process 41 hours prior, it was time to push. Since Jeremy hadn't really descended much at all at that point, I had a lot of work to do. The problem was that the epidural was so effective, I couldn't really move my legs at all. So the nurse made me wait for the epi to wear off somewhat before starting. This meant I could control my legs and pushes better, but it also meant I could feel more.

This is where I have to give my nurse a bit of credit. She may have been terrible during contractions, and boy how I wish she wouldn't grab my wrist with the IV, but during pushing, she was actually very helpful. Pushing was very difficult, since I had planned to have the epidural, but had to let it wear off in order to actually push. I hadn't really prepared for being able to feel it as much as I could, especially by the end, after 2 hours, when it was essentially completely worn off. It was a frustrating experience, because both of my sisters have pushed for such a short time, I was kind of expecting the same. When the nurses and doctors told me I was pushing well, and making good progress, I thought it meant I'd be done in a half hour or so, like they were. Nope. As time kept ticking on, I started to feel like they were lying to me, and I wasn't actually pushing effectively. When I had just about reached my breaking point, I asked how many pushes they thought it would be before he was out. My doctor said 10, which to my exhausted mind was WAY too many. They had said so many times how close I was, I was almost there, just a little more... I put everything into my next few pushes, and managed to do it in 3 more instead of 10. The worst part of pushing was being able to feel myself tearing.

But after 2 hours of pushing, 43 total hours of labor, I felt his body slide out of me, and they placed him on my chest. I can't even begin to describe what that felt like. He only cried for maybe 30 seconds, then calmed right down as we snuggled together. I couldn't really see much of his face, but I knew he was just perfect.

It's been a crazy week, but definitely the best one of my life. I love this little guy so much, and am so blessed to be his mother. We're still figuring everything out, but each day is a little better, and each day I love him more.

There are a few other things I want to remember about the pregnancy/delivery that don't really fit into the story very well, so here they are.

Toward the end of my pregnancy, I had to have a non-stress test twice a week to make sure Jeremy was doing okay, because of my blood pressure issues in the past. Quite often he would be completely still, no movement at all, for the first part of the test, until the nurse came in to check on me. Once the nurse started talking, it was like he was trying to impress her, and he'd start going crazy! So in the future, I can tell him he was a flirt from before he was even born :)

In the hospital after delivering Jeremy, when we were moved to the post-partum room, I had a really rough first night. My friend Essi and her husband Mark came to visit. My mom had arrived the night before and been there all of Friday. Right after Essi left, my mom decided to go too. In a few minutes, I went from having Justin, my mom, Essi and Mark all in the room with me and Jeremy, to being completely alone (Justin walked my mom down so he could give her the garage door opener). At this time, a nurse came in wanting to take Jeremy to the nursery to test his blood sugar (something they do for any babies born bigger than 8lbs 13oz). He had only been born a few hours prior, and I wasn't ready to be apart from him. I asked if I could come with him, since I had been told previously if they had to take him anywhere, his parents could go too. They said yes, but took him out right away. I was still getting checked by the nurse, and it took a few minutes for her to finish and help get me ready to go to the nursery. I felt so terrible during that time, wishing Justin had been there to go with Jeremy, so he wouldn't be alone. I couldn't stand the thought of him being off in another room with a bunch of strangers. What if something happened? Obviously nothing did, but it was one of the hardest moments for me.

That whole first night was pretty rough overall. Jeremy wasn't eating well, so his blood sugar levels weren't getting better. I had a LOT of amniotic fluid, which he had ingested, so he was working on getting it all out. He didn't want to eat while he was backed up with all of that. He was pooping a lot, but the nurses weren't too happy that he wasn't eating well. They ended up saying he had to eat, so he could either have formula, or I could try to express some of my own milk for him. I really didn't want to give him formula, especially since I was pretty sure I'd be able to get some milk out for him. Luckily that wasn't a problem, although it was a bit uncomfortable, but once they gave him something to eat, his blood sugar levels went up to where they were supposed to be. I still think that whole thing was kind of ridiculous. The only reason he was tested was weight, and the only reason it was low was because he was working out all the fluid from when he was in the womb. But it worked out, so I can't complain too much.

On top of being stressed from not being able to get him to eat, and all the testing for his blood sugar levels, half-way through the night a nurse came in to tell me that the room I was in, which was set up to be a shared post-partum room, but to that point had just been me, would soon be rooming another patient. I was exhausted and stressed, and the thought of having to deal with it all while being crowded in a tiny room with a random stranger, whose baby I was sure would cry the whole time, was too much for me. Jeremy was a very laid-back baby, and hadn't done much crying, even when they gave him shots or drew his blood. Now I'd have to deal with a crying baby, and next to no space. Seriously, the room was tiny for one person.

Well, part-way into Saturday morning, they did move the other patient in, with her twins. There was literally no walking space in the room for quite a while. If I had wanted to get up to go to the bathroom, I wouldn't have been able to. They did get it sorted out to the point of having a walkway to the door, but it was ridiculous how cramped it was. That's a big reason we pushed to get discharged as soon as possible. The other lady was only in there for a few hours before they were able to get another room for her. She really needed her own room, having twins and recovering from a c-section. But it sure made for an interesting experience at the time.