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My birth story is actually going to start several days before my birth, because thats when things started going downhill, and I find it extremely relevent.
Tuesday, March 30th I awoke extremely short of breath. This was, unfortunately, the normal for me the past couple of days. I moved to the recliner, puffed my inhaler, and tried to relax, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't breath. I began to get anxious, a feeling of terror lingering in the back of my head because of my inability to catch my breath.
Shortly into the morning, my home health agency called to check up on me, as they did every day. While talking to the nurse, I explained to her my shortness of breath. She told me that, while it was highly probable that I just had a bad cold, that I should call my OB and ask them what to do. As soon as I got off the phone, I rang in to the OB office, and spoke with a nurse. She put me on hold for a moment, then came back to say the doctor wanted me to go to L&D for a work-up, to make sure everything was okay.
I had to wait an hour and a half for my mom to get the car to us, but once we got it, my dad took me to the hospital and dropped me off. I waddled my way, 35 weeks and 3 days pregnant, to the elevators and rode them to the fourth floor. I told the nurse at the desk I was there because I couldn't breath, and when I told her my last name, she knew who I was.
I was taken back to a triage room, and very shortly visited by a resident. She worked me up, said everything looked great, I sounded great, and she wasn't too concerned, and that the doctor would be in in a moment. Outside my room, about 10 minutes later, I heard the resident telling the doctor my history, and the doctor telling the resident "Oh, this isn't even an exciting case!" only 30 seconds before entering my room. The doctor informed me they were going to do a CT scan, just to be 'safe', and the nurse came in to start an IV.
I was shortly thereafter wheeled down to CT. The contrast made me nauseas, and I was throwing up on the trip back to my room. I was being reattached to the baby monitors, not 30 seconds in my room, when the resident returned to my bedside. Her look seemed bothersome, and I was sure (from past experience with her) that she was going to tell me they couldn't find anything and that they were sending me home. What came out of her mouth completely blew my mind.
"The radiologist called up to tell us your results. You do have a blood clot in your lung." Was what she said, and the only word I could get out was "What?" before the tears started and the room began to spin. Here I was, alone, and hearing something so... unexpected, so devastating. The doctor came back in, and confirmed what the resident told me. I felt like asking him if my case was exciting now, but decided to bite my tongue. He told me I would be admitted, and that I would be started on blood thinners immedietly. He also informed me they wanted to keep me on an OB floor, for monitoring, and since I was "maintaining okay oxygen levels" on my own, that I would not need to go to ICU.
For one night I was in a L&D room, my mom came and spent the night with me. I had to wear an oxygen mask all night because I couldn't maintain decent enough levels when I was sleeping. The next day, I was moved to the High Risk OB floor.
This is the day I met with one of the two head High Risk OBs. We're going to nick name them, Dr. Awesome and Dr. Craphead (we have had major problems in the past). Dr. Awesome is who I met with this morning. We had previously discussed an amniocentesis and induction at 37 weeks, because I was still rapidly losing weight and extremely sick, but this morning when he came in, his first words were. "Well, I think this pregnancy has done enough to you..." and so he said we would do an amnio at 36 weeks, and if her lungs were mature, we would induce.
I remained in the High Risk OB floor for several days, waiting for the Monday after I hit 36 weeks for my amnio. I spent my nights on oxygen and my days struggling to breath. Sunday night, before my amnio, I suddenly became extremely cold. By the time the nurse layered on my fourth blanket, she decided to check my temperature. 103.4, so she put the pulse ox on my finger, my heartrate was fluttering in the 160s. Doctors were called, things became hectic, and suddenly, it was evident why. Something was really wrong with me. A specialist from the ICU floor brought down a special heart monitor, and shot me up with drugs to try to slow my heart rate. I was given tylenol, and after throwing it up, was given a tylenol suppository to try to bring down the fever. Over the course of an hour I saw 3 doctors, and 8 nurses. I was surrounded with 6 icepacks, and very quickly, wheeled up to ICU.
ICU is terrifying, by the way. They made my mom leave, and I had people everywhere, sticking me with needles to draw blood, starting IV's (I had to have two open at all times), attatching me to a baby monitor, attaching me to heart monitors, asking me a million and ten questions. It was insanity to its core, and I was freaking out. I broke down crying when I had to explain my allergy to adhesives to the one nurse. He kept reassuring me everything was okay, but I couldn't stop freaking out. The nurses come in and remove my PICC line, they cut the tip off to send for cultures. No more TPN, no more nutrition, just IV fluids. Finally things die down, and my mom is allowed to return to the room.
The entire night I am refused liquids. My throat is dry, my lips are cracked, and I am dieing of thirst, but I'm not allowed to have anything. The entire night, the nurses keep telling me they have been speaking to Dr. Awesome and that I will be delivered the next day. I have an OB nurse at my bedside at all times, constantly watching the baby on the monitor, I am never alone.
Monday morning finally arrives. I am still running fevers constantly. The blood cultures they drew have not come back yet. Dr. Awesome is not here, instead it is Dr. Craphead. I am alerted that no- I will not be delivered today. My mind cannot fathom this, I am devastated. This pregnancy is killing me, one day at a time, and they aren't going to make it better. Keep in mind, I was slightly out of my mind at this point.
Later that day, I begin to refuse treatment. I refuse, to the core, to have any more blood thinners. I tell them that I have to have this baby, I have to have this baby right away and they cannot give me blood thinners because I have to be able to have this baby. The doctors are confused, three enter the room and look at me like I'm crazy when I cry, and scream, and practically foam at the mouth telling them that I have to have this baby now. I beg them,
"Please, please, let me have this baby. I do not want to hate her when she is born because of all of my suffering. Please, let me have her now before I hate her." (Please, remember, I was completely out of my mind suffering at this point. I cannot begin to explain how bad fevers that high make you feel, I felt like I was dieing.)
John spent an hour at my bedside, begging, pleading for me to take the blood thinners. He began to get angry, mean, and threaten me. He told me he would leave. He told me that if I died because I didn't take my treatments, he would tell Sebastian I was a coward and I gave up. But I was angry, I wasn't hearing any of it.
Finally, I gave in. I informed the doctors I would take the blood thinners, if they would give me something, anything, to make my comfortable. I cried and told them every part of my body hurt from the fevers, that I felt broken at every bone. The doctor ordered a dose of nubain, and my mother returned shortly after.
My mother was furious. She insisted that we speak with Dr. Craphead and Dr. Awesome at the same time, in person, because we were tired of hearing one thing from one person, and another thing from another person. Believe it or not, they both came to the room. Both agreed I could not deliver the baby yet, that it would be too unsafe in my condition. Dr. Craphead kept leaving the room and coming back, but Dr. Awesome stayed, and answered all of our questions. My mom asked him if there was anything they could do to keep me comfortable, and he ordered round the clock pain + antinausea medications.
Tuesday comes, and the only thing keeping me going is how amazing the nurse staff in the ICU are. My favorite nurse even tells me "It's nice to have a patient that talks back." She takes very good care of me. Very early in the morning I am visited by Behavioral Health, the doctor agrees that I am just having a hard time dealing with all the problems I have been having. Our conversation is cut short by sudden vomitting. My favorite nurse comes in, and I tell her I think I have a fever. She takes my temperature and my jaw hits the floor when she reads off a 104.6 fever. I am immedietly given a tylenol suppository, and the ice packs are back. I am puking violently, I feel like I am dieing, I keep my eyes closed, and don't even call my mom or John. I lay there, knowing that everytime I open my eyes I will puke more, and that if I am, truly dieing like I believe I am, I don't want the last thing my loved ones hear from me to be puking.
Soon the fever breaks, and shortly afterwards my family arrive. At first they are angry I didn't call them, but when I explain that if I didn't try to sleep through it I would puke, they understood. The doctors came in, they were a bit stumped by the fever. Dr. Craphead mentions the fever, and asks me if I am trying to set a record. We learn that I am septic with a staph infection, which came from the PICC line. I am informed that if I am fever-free for 24 hours, they will do the amnio.
The next morning, the doctor comes in, the one who thought I wasn't an exciting case. I REALLY wanted to ask him if I was excited now, but I continued to bite my tongue. He tells me that we will induce today. I call John and tell him, I tell him I will call when they are going to start. He can't sleep (he works 3rd, remember) and comes to the hospital then anyway.
At 11:00 am, they wheel me from ICU to L&D. I am asked a million questions, set up on the monitors, and informed of the worst news I have ever heard. I cannot have an epidural, because the anesthesiologist will not risk spreading the infection in my blood to my spinal cord. I am told that the next morning my blood work should be back and should show whether or not the antibiotics cleared up the infection. I am given two options. A) Begin the induction today and either deliver without an epidural, or labor until the next day and MAYBE get an epidural, or B) Wait until the next day for the lab results to know whether or not an epidural will be available.
After a bit of discussion with John, I decide to begin the induction. I am tired of doctors pushing things further and further, lying to me constantly, and I need to get this over with.
The induction is started, and labor begins at 2:45. It doesn’t take long before I am contracting well. I am able to rest, somewhat, through these contractions. Around 7 pm, my mom and dad arrive, and things begin to pick up. I move to a chair beside the bed, and sit here and practice my breathing. My mom compliments how well I am doing often, this helps me concentrate.
Soon I get up on the birthing ball at the side of the bed, this is amazing. The nurse brings my mom a warm rice sock, and my mom applies it and pressure to my lower back to help the back contractions. This is amazing as well. I roll my hips and breathe through each contraction.
Soon I have to get back in bed to have my cervix checked. As soon as the nurse tells me I’m a 2-3 (no progress from the beginning), I burst into tears. This is taking way too long. The doctor (different than the doc who began the induction) says he wants to break my water. I refuse. My family and I spend hours discussing it, I rest some, but not much.
It is nearing 3 am, and I finally agree to have my water broken. The doctor comes in, checks my cervix and tells me he cannot break my water. He says the baby is too “floaty” and that if he breaks my water, the umbilical cord may fall down before the baby’s head does and she would pinch it off.
I become hysterical again. This isn’t fair, why do they keep telling me one thing and then changing it at the last minute. I am given a dose of nubain, and the bed is turned into its “throne” position, where I sit upright for the next couple of hours, trying to ease the baby down so they can break the waters. The nubain is helpful, combined with my music (which John so thoughtfully starts for me), I am able to keep my eyes closed, concentrate, and breeze through the contractions.
I have to have my cervix checked again. I am still 2-3 cm. This time, the hysteria overwhelms me. I am enraged that I have made absolutely no progress. By this time it is nearly 4 AM. I curl into a ball in my bed, close my eyes, and shut everyone out. This labor is breaking me down; it is lasting way too long. My mom and fiancé are under the influence that I sleep through the next couple of hours, but the truth is I go into my own world, ignoring the sounds, movements, and pain.
Morning has arrived, and it’s the doctor who began my induction. I cry to him that this labor is frustrating, that I need to know what to do. This doctor agrees to break my water. I have a solid gushing flow for several minutes, lots and lots of fluid. I am informed there is meconium in the fluid, and my heart sinks. I already am worried that my baby, being born at 36 weeks and 5 days, would have premature lungs, but now I have to worry about meconium too. I am devastated, but the contractions do not let me worry about this for very long. The pain is now entirely in my pelvic area. It is unbearable, the pitocin contractions are definitely much worse than the natural contractions I experienced with my son. The doctor places the contraction monitor and the fetal heart monitor inside my cervix and the monitors are removed from my stomach.
For the first hour, I have a very hard time coping with the contractions. I make very loud noises each time they come. Finally I am insisting on an epidural. I am too tired from the months of being sick, the week of struggling to breath, and the days of fevers. I cannot do it on my own anymore. They check all my lab results, and speak with the anesthesiologist, and I am approved for an epidural.
John is just getting me into a “mode”. I am breathing well through contractions; he is an amazing birth coach. I am able to maintain my cool during each contraction now, and the anesthesiologist comes in to start the epidural. It has been two hours since my water was broken, it is now nearly 9 o’clock.
The epidural is started; the contractions while sitting for the epidural are the worst I’ve experienced. John does amazing, keeping me calm. He was the only one allowed to stay in the room during the epidural, because he was the only one who could keep me calm.
My cervix is checked after the epidural is placed. I am now at a 4. I have finally begun to make progress. I lay my head down, close my eyes, and sleep.
I wake up about two and a half hours later. It is now 11:50. I explain to the nurse that I feel a lot of pressure. She checks my cervix and I am 7 cm. The nurse has me roll onto my right side, and she places my left leg in a stirrup to allow the baby room to move down. John leaves the room to try to get lunch, since I am at a 7. My mom follows the nurse out of the room to ask her a question, and my dad is the only one there. It is 11:55
I call out, calmly. “Oh no, this isn’t going to last long.” The pressure is immense. Dad says “Yeah.” And again I say “Oh no, this isn’t going to last at all, its time.” I can feel it, it hurts. Every contraction is hurting from the pressure. I didn’t hurt like this with my son, but this, this hurts.
My mom walks back into the room, and my dad tells her what I’ve said. She gets the nurse back into the room. I tell the nurse I am feeling a ton of pressure. It is about 12:05pm. She puts on her gloves, and checks me again. Without a word, she pages the doctor, it’s time.
The doctor comes in, followed by what seems like a million people. Things become hectic now. I am placed in the position in which I will deliver. The doctor sits in front of me and tells me, with this contraction, to push.
The first two pushes nearly kill me. My head is spinning, I cannot breath, it hurts so bad. I remember thinking that I was going to be pushing for hours, and I remember the fear in my heart. I couldn’t push for hours, I wouldn’t make it. The next contraction is coming on, the doctor tells me he wants me to push three times each contraction, he says a couple more contractions and we’ll have a baby. I push hard when the contraction starts. They count to 10. I take my breath, and push again. They count to 10, then the doctor asks me to hold my push. He removes the cord from her neck, and tells me to push again. My chest swells as I take a breath, and I push with all my might. The pain is searing, but halfway through the push I look down to see my daughter emerging. The push is halted by me tearing up and saying “Oh!” My daughter is born! It is in this moment that every second if pain I suffered, every day I spent vomiting, the entire 36 weeks of hell became entirely worth it. It was this very moment that I fell head over heels in love and for the first time, did not regret my pregnancy. It was all okay now, she was worth everything. The time is called out by the nurse, 12:20 pm.
John cuts the cord, and they rush baby over to the table for examination. My mother and John begin to throw a fit, stating I am supposed to have the baby placed immediately on my chest. Though nobody is listening to me, I am explaining with the nurses that they can’t, they have to check the baby because she is early, and because of the meconium.
Suddenly, between my legs is a student. I remember her from previous admissions to the hospital, she is very nice. I smile to her, and say Hi. She is delivering my placenta. She politely asks me if I can give her a little push to help the placenta out, and I do. The doctor states he wants the placenta sent for testing.
I hear the NICU team calling out my baby’s stats. 19 and a half inches long. Apgars are 9/9. John is with her, she is crying. He is talking to her. I watch them move my baby to the scale, and we all giggle as she grabs the side of the scale and holds onto it with her arms and legs as if her life depended on it. She is 6 lbs, 4 ounces.
She is given to me, the room empties, thing’s get quiet. The only person besides my family and I is my nurse, who is in and out, and quiet, and leaves us be. My mother sits beside me, as I hold my daughter, and she reads her this letter:
“Dear Baby Girl,
Your mommy has written this, and asked me as your grandmother to read it to you here in the moments after your birth. She wants me to explain how amazing you are to us, and to give you a blessing you will have with you forever.
We will start with a quote your mommy loves.
Before you were conceived I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were here an hour I would die for you. This is the miracle of love. - Maureen Hawkins.
In the beginning of this all, you were quite the surprise to our family. Though your mommy and daddy struggled very hard to conceive you, your Heavenly Father gave you to us at just the right time. When we all found out you were going to join us in this world, it was one of the best days of our lives. As excited as we were to receive your big brother, Sebastian, we were just as excited to receive you!
Shortly into her pregnancy, your mommy had become very ill. Your mommy needed a lot of medical interventions throughout her pregnancy, so that she could continue to work hard to grow you, and help you stay safe. During all of this, you had to be a trooper as well! Malnutrition was a big scare, but you, and your mommy, are both so very strong!
To prove your strength, you amazed us all the day your mommy received a strong electric shock. You continue to be one strong, thriving beautiful baby!
Your Heavenly Father has blessed us with you. Your mommy and daddy have been waiting for you for a long time, ready to embrace, raise, and love you. Your big brother, Sebastian, is waiting to bring you home, and teach you everything he knows. He is already your best friend, and loves you more than you could ever imagine, and he hasn't even met you yet.
It was the grace of God that we received you now, here, at the perfect time in our lives. Your mommy wants you to know that she hopes that you and she will develop a bond as strong as the one her and I share, and be best friends as we are as well. She loves me very much, and cannot wait to share that mother-daughter relationship with you as well.
It is for these reasons, that your mommy has chosen me to read this to you. It is for all of these reasons that your mommy has asked that I bestow you with the blessing of your earthly name, By the love of our Lord and Savior, welcome to our family, Madelyn Grace Smith; you have been a long awaited miracle.”
We are crying. My mom, my dad, and John all get time to hold the baby before my parents leave. I was in labor for 22 hours, and they have both been up all night. John helps me to start breastfeeding. After much encouragement, Madelyn latches well, and nurses for a solid 15 minutes.
She is perfect.
John cuts the cord.
She grips the side of the scale as if her life depended on it.
My beautiful girl.
I finally get to hold her.
My mom, reading the letter from the laptop, because we never had time to print it.
♡вєвє вєαи є∂∂ 7.30.11
ωιfєу тσ נσни 9.25.10
Last edited by RawrDiino; April 28th, 2010 at 09:20 PM.
I'm so happy for you. It made me cry as well. I felt sorrow and sadness when reading your extended stay in the hospital, and then, the unmistakable joy when you saw your daughter being born. (i know my feelings are nowhere NEAR as intense as you felt) And then, when i started reading the letter, i really started crying. Congrats to you, and to your little girl. She is so beautiful.
What a beautiful story! What a strong mom you are, I know you and your daughter will have such an amazing relationship. She is lucky to have a mom like you . Hope things are going well for you all now and that you're feeling better. Please continue to keep us posted. ::HUGS::
Mirabel (4) May 2014, Juliette (2) July 2012, Baby 3 after m/c due October 2015