Hello Dear Friends,
Many of you have been asking me to share my experience with Evelyn's birth. It was an exciting one, I can assure you of that! I have been meaning to write about it ever since she arrived, and now that she is almost two weeks old, I am finally going to do it.
On Thursday, July 21st, we were scheduled to come in to be induced at 9pm. I was planning to go in for my last day of work that day (exactly one week past due.. yes I know I am probably crazy..), but when I woke up that morning I was spotting blood and I was starting to have some contractions. I called in and said I couldn't make it. I thought to myself, "Yay! I won't have to be induced after all!" Alas, by the time the hospital called at about 8:15 pm, my contractions were still only 6-7 minutes apart. When we got there, they ended up inducing me anyway.
Nathan stayed home with me all day that Thursday, and it was such a wonderful last day with just the two of us. We ate Thai take-out, cleaned up the house, took a few home movies, and just lied around the house together.
When we got to the hospital, I was expecting to have dilated a bit more than I had at my last doctors appointment, but I was still just shy of 2 cm. That was a little disheartening.
So, the doctor decided that they would go ahead and induce with a lovely little pill that they put up by your cervix called "cytotec" which was essentially supposed to thin out the cervix and cause it to dilate. They gave me the first dose at about 10 pm.
Shortly after the cytotec was administered, my contractions started coming on pretty hard and fast. I felt absolutely horrible. Labor sucks. I guess that one of the side-effects of the cytotec is that you have lots of contractions with very small (or no) breaks in between. Exhausting! I tried to wait it out, but gave in to an epidural at about 2:30 in the morning.
The doctor that gave me the epidural was very interesting... he was from India, and I could hardly understand his English. He kept saying "Curl up like a mad cat.... like a mad cat... like a mad cat..." It took them quite a bit of time to get the epidural in because I kept having contractions. Honestly, as much relief as the epidural brought, it was really scary getting it. Ugh.
After the epidural I rested a bit easier, and by about 8 am, they said I was dilated to about a 8 or 9. My water hadn't broken, so they brought the doctor in to break it. When he broke the water, they discovered that the baby was floating around in meconium. If you don't know what that is, it basically means that the baby pooped in-utero, and is floating around in it's own feces. This can be very dangerous if the baby breathes it in, swallows it, etc. So, when they discovered the meconium, things started to get a little tense. They were watching me much more closely.
Once the water was broken, the baby's heart rate kept dropping. One minute it would be a healthy 150 bpm, and it would drop down to 60, then 30, etc. It was so frightening! They nurses would come running in, and they would turn me over to try and take pressure off of the baby. Eventually, they actually tried filled my uterus back up with fluid to try and take pressure off of the baby. It wasn't working. The contractions were also coming too close together, and this was stressing out the baby, too. They gave me a couple of shots to try and slow down the contractions. This barely slowed them down at all. I went from having about 4 contractions in 5 minutes to having 3 contractions in 5 minutes.
When they checked me for dilation again at about 10 am, I was back down to only 5 or 6 cm. This was the worst news ever. Not only was my baby in danger, but she was regressing! The doctor said that the amniotic sac, before it was broken, was forcing the cervix open. So once the bag was broken, the cervix was relaxing back. Plus, if I moved from laying 1/4 turn on my right side, the baby's heart rate would drop again. I stayed in that one position for hours.
Finally, after the baby's heart rate started slipping again, I said to the nurse, "I am done. Get this baby out of me. I don't care what you have to do."
She went and found the doctor, and then came running back in with her arms full of stuff. She threw a white jumpsuit and Nathan, started prepping me for surgery, and called the anesthesiologist. He came in (a different doctor now, mr. mad-cat was off duty, thank goodness) and juiced up my epidural. This whole time I had been able to still move my legs a bit and feel a tingling/light pain every now and then, but he pretty much killed off my lower body. I was grateful.
They wheeled me quickly in to the operating room. The efficiency of the whole medical team was amazing. They had my completely dead-weight body on the table in a snap, they strapped me down spread-eagle, set up a partition so that I couldn't see them cutting into me, and got Nathan a stool to sit on by my head.
I was so scared I was going to feel them cutting me open. My sister-in-law had had an emergency c-section as well, and they didn't get her epidural completely working in time, and she said she felt a lot of pain. I told this to Dr. Lind, the anesthesiologist, and he promised me that if I felt anything, he would knock me out. I started shaking uncontrollably (I'm not sure if this was an emotional reaction or a reaction to the drugs), and lovely Dr. Lind gave me something to calm me down. Ahhh... the good drugs :)
Just before they started cutting, the nurse realized I had never signed a consent form for the surgery, and so she asked me "Can we do this c-section on you?" I wanted to say "Are you serious????!!!", but instead I said "yep". They also informed me that the NICU team was standing by to make sure the baby was okay.
Nathan was right there holding my hand and petting my hair while they started the surgery. As soon as the cutting started though, his head disappeared to the other side of the curtain (he wasn't grossed out at all... amazing), and Dr. Lind (who I swear will be sainted someday) kept me informed of what was going on. He also put this warm balloon thing around me that was filled with hot air to help keep away the shivers. He also kept patting my head in a fatherly, comforting way. I love you, Dr. Lind.
It took them about 10 minutes or so to get in to the uterus, and as soon as they pulled the baby out, Dr. Lind told me that the cord was wrapped tightly around her neck. The doctors and nurses counted out loud together as they unwound the cord "1...2...3...4 times around!!" You would think it was some kind of strange tradition. It was 10:50 am.
The baby didn't cry. They rushed her away, and Nathan went with her. Dr. Lind said the NICU team was working on her in the other room. I didn't know what was going on... and at that point I was either so hopped up on drugs or so emotionally exhausted, I couldn't even react. I just lied there and snoozed. A really sweet PCT that had been with me all through the night stood by my head and held my hand while they stitched me up.
At one point, I said to the PCT, "I am just laying here completely naked right now, aren't I?" She said yes, and we laughed a little bit.
NICU team working on Evelyn.
I asked another nurse to find my parents, I knew they would be somewhere in the hospital waiting. I knew that Nathan would be with the baby, and I wanted my mom and dad in the recovery room. I must have dozed off, because when they wheeled me out of the operating room it was 12:15 pm. They had been sewing me up for over an hour!
Someone had found my mom and dad, and they were waiting back in my room for me. I began shaking uncontrollably again, and the nurses told me it was a normal reaction to the drugs. I was shaking so much I couldn't speak and my jaw cramped up. Someone got a hold of Nathan, and he updated us on Evelyn.
She had been admitted to the NICU because she had indeed breathed in the meconium as we had feared, and she was having a lot of trouble breathing. They had her on a ventilator that went down her trachea, as well as numerous other needles and tubes. They also had her sedated. I wouldn't be able to see her until after I was out of recovery and back down in mother/baby on the floor below. We also found out that she was 9 lbs. 3 oz., and 22 inches long!! Big baby!!
Evelyn on the ventilator.
Finally, at about 6 pm, I was able to go see my baby. Nathan, his parents, and my parents had all been able to see her already, and finally they were letting me go. When I saw her for the first time I was very emotional and still really drugged. She looked so sick! The other sad news was that as long as she was on the ventilator and had IV's in her arteries, we wouldn't be able to hold her.
Meeting Evie for the first time.
Thankfully, she was only on the ventilator for just over 24 hours, and they had her breathing on her own. They had sucked meconium out of her lungs, her stomach, and her sinuses. Then they gave her a ton of antibiotics to fight off any infection caused by the meconium. Then they gave her probiotics to build her good bacteria back up. By Sunday, they took out the artery line and allowed me to hold her and breast feed her for the first time.
Holding our girl for the very first time.
The nurse said that if we could wean her off of the IV by the next day by breast feeding her every 3 hours, she might be able to go home with me. Nathan and I stayed up all night Sunday night making trip after trip to the NICU to feed little Evelyn. It worked! She bounced back, her blood sugar was looking good, and she was cleared to go home on Monday afternoon.
Evelyn's identification sticker.
The nurses in mother/baby and the NICU at UVRMC were fantastic. They were so kind, loving, and considerate. I don't know what I would have done without them! I love them so much! They did everything they could to make us feel taken care of while we were there. I won't ever go anywhere else to have my babies in the future.
Evie's nurse Heather who took such great care of her.
Since leaving the hospital, both Evelyn and myself have been doing great. My recovery has been very easy. I didn't even need to fill the prescription for pain medication that they sent me home with, and I am already starting to fit back into most of my normal clothes again. As of her 6-day check up, Evie had put on 4 oz. and grown a whole 1.5 inches! She is a healthy girl! She sleeps pretty well too, so that keeps me happy :)
Evelyn, the most beautiful baby ever born ;)
Thank you everyone for your love, support, and concern. We have felt so much love from friends and family through this whole ordeal, and don't know what we would have done without you!
Happy, healthy girl.