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We're still at the hospital, and in between going to NICU for Bennett's next feeding, I'm trying to type this up! He's doing well and will hopefully be released to our room later today.
Bennett's birth story starts back at the end of June. I went for a doctor's appointment one Tuesday afternoon, and suddenly had high blood pressure and some protein in my urine. My doctor sent me over to the hospital, and I was kept for monitoring for 2 days. The BP got a little bit better during that time, but I was diagnosed with mild preeclampsia and released home on bedrest. At that time, I was almost 34 weeks pregnant.
A few days later, we went in for an ultrasound to make sure that the baby was growing ok etc. The ultrasound didn't detect any problems as far as his heart, brain, or other internal organs, and there was plenty of fluid, so that was good to hear. However, when they measured the arm and leg bones during the ultrasound, they discovered that all of the long bones in the baby's arms and legs were very very short, measuring about 8 to 10 weeks behind. We were told that this made it very likely that the baby had some form of dwarfism. At the 21-week ultrasound, the bone measurements had been a little low, but still in the normal range, so there had been no way to detect it then. There didn't seem to be much point in attempting to diagnose any particular type of dwarfism until after the baby was born, since it would be much easier to make the diagnosis then. The good news was, that other than the short limbs, everything looked otherwise healthy.
So, I remained on bedrest and had weekly NST appointments, which all went fine. On July 27, the doctor checked my cervix, and I was a 1. My blood pressure was stable, but I was now past 37 weeks, and the doctor scheduled me for induction on August 5 (my original due date was August 15). On July 28, we had a final follow-up ultrasound, which confirmed that nothing had really changed since early July. The baby's arms and legs were still measuring about 10 weeks behind, but everything else looked healthy. His head was measuring in the 99th percentile, but his abdomen was only about the 40th percentile. All of this was consistent with dwarfism.
The next morning, July 29th, I got up to pee around 7am. I went back to bed, and then suddenly felt a giant gush. I must have gasped, because my S/O said "what's wrong?", and I said "my water just broke!" I got up to try to get to the bathroom, and water went everywhere, all over the bedroom floor, all over the bathroom floor. It was a pretty big shock! I thought it only happened that way in the movies.... And the timing was really not great either. My S/O is in the middle of setting up a new business, and he'd been up until 5am getting together all the paperwork that needed to be filed. He'd been planning on sleeping late that day to get rested. Instead, it was now 7am, and my water had broken.
My doctor had told me to come to the hospital if this happened, and not to try to labor at home first. I wasn't having any contractions though, and we used our at-home doppler to confirm that the baby's heartbeat was fine. So, we took a little time to have some breakfast, clean up the mess, let out the dogs etc., and got the bags together (thankfully my hospital bag was already mostly packed).
We got to the hospital at about 11am, I was still not having contractions. They hooked me up to the monitors etc., and waited to see how things would go. By 1:30pm, I think I had one contraction. The doctor came in and said “ok, your cervix is still high, and the baby's head is not engaged. His heartrate is ok, but I'm concerned that he's not having accelerations like I'd like to be seeing. So we have 2 options. We can go for a c-section now. Or, we can put you on pitocin and see if we can get labor started, and do a trial of labor. However, if by tomorrow you haven't progressed, we would then do a c-section.” I like my doctor a lot, and she's not one to recommend c-sections in most cases, but because of his dwarfism/large head and possible complications from my BP issues, she let me know that in my case she thought a c-section might be necessary. And she didn't want me to labor for a day, and have no progression, and then end up exhausted and getting a c-section anyway.
She let me think about it, and then checked me again, and I was at 2cm. She then said, “you know, it is starting to feel different, it is starting to stretch. I think we should try the pitocin, are you ok with that?” So we did.
So by 2pm I was on the pitocin, and shortly after that started having contractions. They were ok at first. Every 15 minutes they would up the dose though, and soon the contractions started getting really strong and about 3 minutes apart. It started to really hurt. It was also frustrating because not all the contractions were showing up on the screen, although I knew they were happening! At 5pm they checked me again, and I was 3-4cm, and was feeling pretty miserable anticipating the long labor ahead of me. The doctor came in, and said that unfortunately the baby was not responding well to the contractions, and she was still concerned. She suggested that we stop the pitocin, and that I get an epidural, and that we see if labor continued. I agreed.
I was nervous about the epidural. The whole idea of messing with the spinal column just creeps me out. And of course I've heard some horror stories about bad epidural experiences. But now that I'd experienced some serious contractions, I was willing to give it a try. The anesthesiologist was really great. He explained everything he'd be doing ahead of time, he promised that there would be no surprises, he told me everything he'd be doing before he did it. The numbing shots were the worst part, and honestly they weren't even that bad. I didn't feel the actual epidural needle at all. And then he said “ok, that's it!” and taped the line to my back. It took a little while to feel the numbing start, so I felt a few more contractions, but each one got a little better. The epi just started taking the edge off. Once I was numb, they put in the urine catheter, and I didn't feel any pain with that either. It was about 6:30pm.
The baby did better when I would lie on my side, so I would just switch from side to side every ½ hour or so. I was continuing to have contractions, and the next time they checked me, I was at 6cm! The doctor was surprised, and very glad. She said “this is great, you're progressing on your own. We're not out of the woods yet, but I'm feeling much more optimistic!” A couple hours later, I was at 8cm. I stayed at 8 for awhile, and at some point (around midnight) the doctor restarted the pitocin. This worked fine, and the epidural was still doing great, and soon enough they were setting up the delivery table. At about 3:30, we started pushing. I could feel some pressure when I was having a contraction, but no pain. Each contraction, they would have me push for 3 sets of counts of 10. Because I couldn't really feel much, and because I've never delivered a baby before, it was hard to know exactly how I was supposed to be pushing. But, it seemed to work. She would say “oh, that's good, whatever it is you're doing right now, keep doing that!”. In between contractions, we'd be just chit-chatting about local restaurants or stuff on TV or whatever. I couldn't help but realize how different an experience it would have been, if I'd been feeling all the contractions for the previous 10 hours...
And then all of a sudden, I could tell that he was really close to crowning, that he was right there. The doctor jokingly said “ok, so you will *not* be delivering by c-section today!” and we all laughed, and we did a few more pushes, and he was out! It was 4:13am, and I'd been pushing for about 45 minutes.
He was 37 weeks, 6 days. They put him up on my chest for a bit, then took him over to be checked over. His scores were 7 and 9, I guess he was a little pale at first. They wrapped him up & brought him back to me, and he was very alert, looking around at everyone.
There was still one extra complication. The placenta wasn't detaching properly, and the doctor had to pull it out in pieces. She then had to reach all around my uterus with her hand to make sure that she'd gotten it all. If I hadn't had such a great epidural, she wouldn't have been able to do it that way, they'd have had to give me anesthesia to do a D&C. As it was, even though I only felt pressure and not pain, it was still pretty uncomfortable, and seemed to go on for a long time (it was probably 15 minutes or so). But, it seemed like she got it all, so then we were done! I had one small tear, only one stitch.
Ok, well this went on longer than I thought it would, but that's the story! I wanted to write it down as much for myself to remember, as to share it with everyone else. Since I started writing this earlier today, Bennett has been released from NICU, so he's now staying with us in the room, and we're all getting discharged tomorrow. Yay!
He was in the NICU because on his first day, they were concerned that he wasn't sucking strongly enough, and that his oxygen saturation levels were low. Since then, he's been doing great, breastfeeding like a champ, and all his tests so far (brain and body scans) have not shown any serious problems. He does have dwarfism, and it seems most likely to be achondroplasia, which is the most common type. So, he will always be short, but hopefully he won't have any other serious health issues. We'll be meeting with a geneticist next week to get an exact diagnosis.
And so far, the most surprising thing for me, is that he seems to have red hair! My mom was a redhead as a kid, which faded to strawberry blondish, so I guess it shouldn't be that surprising, but it never occurred to me that it might happen. My S/O and I both have medium/dark brown hair and hazel eyes. Of course, his haircolor could change, but his eyelashes look reddish too, so we'll see.
We love our little boy.
Last edited by maracuja; August 1st, 2010 at 07:23 PM.
So glad you avoided the c-section and had a great labor experience with the induction. Sounds very similar to when I had my first son (tho there was no talk of c-section at that point for me b/c things were going well with the induction).
Happy to hear you're all doing well!!!
Thank you so much to Typical Vampire for my awesome siggie!!