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I woke up on the morning of August 16th feeling... weird. Physically and emotionally just... weird. It's hard to explain and I did try to express it to my husband and a few others... only to be met with a feeling of frustration because no one understood what I was saying, exactly. I felt like something was just... wrong. I was shaky, nervous and anxious about something. It was a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. Husband left around 8 AM to go do some work with my brother about an hour and a half away. My parents had a whole slew of people over at their vacation house for the weekend and my in laws were getting on a plane to Detroit later that morning. My niece was there to watch my kids for my doctor's appointment at 11:30... but for some reason, I felt very unsupported that day.
I left for my doctor's office at about 10:15. Ran a couple of errands and made plans to do more of them on my way home. This whole time, I'm basically having a panic attack. Why? I have no idea. I couldn't think straight. It was weird. By the time I got to the office at 11, I couldn't sit still. I was pacing around in the lobby like a crazy person and obviously making the other pregnant ladies nervous.
The wait was long, but at about noon my doctor poked her head into the lobby and asked if I was alright. Apparently one of the girls who went in before me (a nervous looking pregnant teenager) had told the nurses there was an insane looking pregnant woman that wouldn't sit down and looked like she may or may not have smoked some crack earlier that day (Ok, she probably didn't say that. I wasn't smoking crack. Drugs are bad for you. Crack is whack).
I responded by rambling on and on about how I wasn't feeling that great and things were weird and I was really hot and thirsty and my husband was gone and I read somewhere once that there was a baby that was born with a third eye and blah blah blah blah blah... which was all basically met with raised eyebrows and a gentle suggestion from my doctor to shut up and sit the F down so she could take my blood pressure.
My vital stats were fine, baby sounded great on the doppler and I was having no cervical changes to speak of, but my doctor wanted me to go to the hospital anyway for some blood labs. She thought I might have an infection of some kind that was making me feel so shaky and bizarre. My response to this was:
I hate the hospital. I'm not going there. I had errands. And children. Not happening.
Her last order of business was to measure my belly... and that's where things got sucky. She looked confused... and then concerned... and then she said: "Ok. Now I really want you to check into the hospital." When I asked why, she explained that it was because I was measuring at 33 rather than 36... and definitely smaller than last week. She asked if I was leaking amniotic fluid and I began to freak out a little because I honestly didn't know. Maybe? I can't ALWAYS play the amniotic fluid or pee game! Sometimes I just have to go about my day and assume it's pee!
In any case, she wanted an ultrasound. But I still refused to go to the hospital on the grounds of... errands. And children. And a general hatred of hospital visits in general.
So she called over instead to the ultrasound lab in the building and made them make room for me right away. I was rushed over there and in minutes, my little girl was up on a big screen... looking and measuring very, very small. I could tell immediately that something was wrong. Watching the gestation estimates in the bottom right corner of the screen based on the length of her little bones was horrifying. I knew I was 36 weeks and 3 days, but all that kept showing up in that little corner was
32 weeks 4 days
33 weeks 2 days
32 weeks 6 days
Y'all... it sucked. I started crying. The tech attempted to comfort me by saying that "sometimes this just happens." Apparently, she looked healthy as could be. Everything was working correctly and she was very active... she just hadn't grown at ALL since my last ultrasound. My fluid was also very low which indicated either a rupture, or a lack of nutrients being received from the placenta... resulting in fluid depletion due to the fact that she wasn't recycling it anymore.
And look, I'm not a doctor or anything... but both of those things sounded f*cking horrible to me.
Back in my doctor's office, I was told that I was ABSOLUTELY GOING TO THE HOSPITAL TODAY and that I needed to get over it and get over there immediately. Because it was my destiny to be induced. Immediately. I'm pretty sure someone said the words "better out than in" to me at that point. I'm not sure because I had transformed into a dazed, zombie like person that was in total denial of what was happening. All that was running through my mind was "I'm not ready. I'm not ready. I'm not ready."
Fast forward to 3 o'clock that afternoon: I'm sitting in a bed in Labor and Delivery. My husband has arrived. My mother has blown off her guests and is sitting next to me. And I'm getting a weird little flat, tampon like thing installed into my lady parts. Apparently the point of Cervadil is to "ripen the cervix"... which sounds gross to me. But ok. I'm not sure how much ripening it did... but it definitely made my insides tender and raw... and it also put me into active labor.
So as I sat there, contracting, I was assured by several people that this would probably go fast. I had every faith that it would, considering how fast all my other births went... but NO. Not this little girl! She wanted to be stubborn and silly... and no matter how many painful contractions I had, that cervix dilated at the pace of a sad, drunken snail. After 12 hours, I was at 3. THREE.
And look, I know that there are people who suffer through days of labor. But that's not my rodeo. I've never had a labor that long... and I wasn't enjoying it. I had gotten no sleep, eaten no food and things were painful. Everything hurt. So when she told me they were going to start pitocin, I immediately asked for an epidural as well.
Done and done. A pitocin drip and sweet relief! I briefly reflected on the fact that I had lost my chance to ever experience natural child birth... and immediately decided that I didn't give two sh*ts about that. Not in the moment, anyway. I was just happy to be able to rest. I had been having painful contractions every two to six minutes for 12 freaking hours. Over. It.
After the pitocin, things picked up a lot. Until I went to sleep and then everything stopped completely. The contractions started up again when I woke up (about an hour later), but didn't accomplish much. I was checked at around 6 am and was only at a 4. So, at 7, my darling doc showed up, cut to the chase and broke my water.
THEN, things got moving.
My brother's wife blessed me with her lovely presence around 8:30 and I got to have a much needed girl chat. She's about 13 weeks pregnant, so we gushed over her impending baby shower and speculated about whether or not her baby would be a girl or a boy... and then around 9:30, I jokingly said something about the contractions being in my butt.
My nurse (sweetest woman in the world, btw) softly interjected our conversation with:
"Excuse me, Brie? I don't mean to interrupt... but are you feeling the urge to push?"
To which I responded:
"I guess I should probably pay attention to that, sorry."
So I payed attention for a second... and actually... yes. It did feel like I needed to push. Well spotted, nurse Claudia! Thanks for listening to my conversation, because honestly I was just so distracted that I didn't even notice that my baby was about to start crowning. Awesome.
A quick check revealed that I was complete and ready to go. I had to wait on my doctor to get there, but she arrived fairly quickly.
Feet in stirrups, I took a deep breath and pushed. The immediate encouragement from my doctor and the nurses in the room was motivating.
"Yes!" They cried.
"Just like that! You're doing perfect. Keep pushing. Keep pushing."
I stopped immediately and felt something literally SHOOT out of my junk into my doctor's waiting hands. It felt like I had launched a rocket from my vajayjay. But then I heard the little rocket start crying, and suddenly I had this tiny, adorable, muck covered baby laying on my chest.
She was beautiful.
It was like looking at every beautiful thing ever created and knowing that it would never compare to the tiny little person staring back at me. She opened her eyes wide and peered up at me as if to say: "So you're the one making all that noise." I loved her instantly... and I realized that this would be the last time I would ever feel that way about someone. Because she is my last child. And I saved all this love for her... because holy crap, there was a lot left to give her.
My time with her was too short. But she needed to be weighed, warmed and evaluated. She weighed in at 4 lbs, 12 oz, which was about as well as we could have hoped for. She was tiny... but very strong. And very irritated, which we all find incredibly amusing.
As I write this, she is sleeping soundly in an incubator in the NICU. This breaks my heart into a million pieces. It always makes me cringe when I hear about women wanting to go into labor weeks before their due date... and this is why. Because you just never know. You have no way of knowing how big or small they'll be or if their lungs will powerful enough yet. You have no way of knowing how difficult it is to look at your baby crying through glass... and not be allowed to pick her up and hold her. Eisley was only a few days from being considered "term".... yet here I am. Alone in my hospital room with no cute baby keeping me too occupied to update facebook or write birth stories. While women are arguing over breast vs. bottle... I don't get to make a choice. Because my baby's being given her nutrition through an IV for the time being.
I'm not saying any of this because I want anyone to feel sorry for me. I know that she's going to be fine and I'm handling it OK. I'm saying it because too often I see mothers consider early inductions or try multiple "home" methods of desperately trying to get their babies to pop out as soon as possible because they're "done" being pregnant.
And I just want to gently say to those women: Slow down.
Just let this happen the way it's supposed to. I know you're tired. I know you're in pain. I know that you're anxious to meet your baby and start the rest of your life as a parent... but just WAIT. Just wait until he or she is ready. Because all babies are born eventually. Some just need the extra time in there. Don't begrudge them that. Because you don't want this. You don't want to have to look at your baby through the thick glass of an incubator and cringe from the sight of an IV poked into his or her tiny little arm.
Anyway... that's my PSA for the week. Take it or leave it.
The good news is that Eisley is going to be just fine. She will stay in the NICU until her lungs are a little more mature and she's eating well. Basically she's being treated as if she were born at about 33 weeks gestation rather than 36. And that's ok. I am ok. WE are ok.
As of this morning, I am feeling pretty good physically. Due to the speed of which she catapulted out of my vagina, I have several tears... externally, internally and on my urethra... which... WTH? How does that even happen? Did she grab it on the way out or something? You've got to be kidding me. Anyway, it's all stitched up and it hurts like a mofo to pee. But in general, I feel pretty good and pretty strong. I've been walking a lot (back and forth from the NICU) and I'm anxious to get discharged on Monday.
I just wish she was coming home with me.
But still... life is beautiful. She is beautiful. And my family is officially... complete.
This made me laugh and cry (sometimes at the same time). Thank you so much for sharing Brie! I am so sorry that your beautiful baby girl can't come home with you, but if she's anything like her mama I bet she's a total badass and she will grow strong enough in no time at all. In the meantime I'm reminding johnny once again that as much as mama is dying to meet him she would appreciate it if he would stay put until at least week 39.
First OB Visit: 02/19/2013
Dating Ultrasound: 02/20/2013 Got to see the baby move! HB 170!
Level 2 Ultrasound: 4/24/2013 It's a boy! HB 148!
That brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, Brie, for sharing that. Congratulations on a healthy beautiful baby girl, and best of luck with your recovery.
And I am so so grateful you have a dr. who doesn't take crap and made you get an ultrasound.
I'm glad I read this. I've been very frustrated and feeling like I'm at the end of my rope at 38.4 weeks. I know I am blessed to be able to carry a baby at all, I should be glad she is happy in my belly.
I'm glad you two are doing ok!