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I wrote my birth story shortly after Carrie's birth, but it seemed very "matter-of-fact", and seemed to have no joy in it. So I didn't post it, and I deleted it. Truth is, I had always looked forward to labor and delivery. I really wanted to experience it, no matter how painful it might be. What I didn't prepare myself for, was how incredibly long and scary it would be. And the fact that my DH was so overwhelmed at the end of it, that I felt like an invalid, caring for a baby with great needs, all on my own.
If some of you remember, my blood pressure was becoming a greater issue every day closing in on my due date. Each time I went to the doctor, they sent me to the hospital. After resting at the hospital for a couple of hours, my blood pressure would go down, and they would send me home. I emotionally couldn't take it anymore, so for my next scheduled appointment (Wednesday, April 18th, early afternoon), I brought my bags, and my husband, and when they said I needed to go to the hospital (my blood pressure was 158/110), I told them I would not go without a direct admit for induction.
I was admitted for induction and Cervadil was administered at exactly 6 pm. I thought that Cervadil wasn't really going to do much, that I'd have a pleasant night, and start Pitocin (and real labor) in the morning. Boy was I wrong! Immediately, contractions hit hard. They were 3-4 minutes apart all night, and no amount of Ambien or pain medication was going to let me sleep. The plan was that I would begin Pitocin at 6 am and stop it at 4 pm for a break and dinner, then have another Cervadil overnight, with Pitocin to begin again the following day. But, by noon, the contractions were one and a half minutes apart and excrutiating. I couldn't even move. I felt like I was sinking down into the bed in pain. The pain killer allowed me to rest for the few seconds between contractions, but the during was horrible. At about 2 pm, I was alone in my room (my family went to have lunch), and I had the worst contraction ever... when it happened, I felt and heard a huge POP! I called the nurse in and told her my water had broken. She checked me and told me it hadn't. As soon as she left the room, the water gushed. Naturally, contractions got even worse. I asked for an epidural, which seemed to take a couple of hours to get... And while I was waiting, the midwife came in to tell me that I was going to have an emergency c-section. Apparently no one had been paying attention to my monitor, and every time I had a contraction, Carrie's heart rate would drop below the line. They showed me the graph history for the past hour, and I was horrified. I began to cry and told them to stop the Pitocin and see what happened. They left the Pitocin off for a couple of hours and gave me an oxygen mask to help the baby. My contractions went from 1 1/2 minutes apart to 5 or 6 minutes apart. Then, they began Pitocin again from the lowest dose. We were still having some issues with her heart rate dropping, so they'd lower the dosage of Pitocin and ease back into it. By Thursday evening, I had also had 6 bags of penicillin for group b strep. I think it hurt my arm nearly as bad as the contractions were hurting the rest of me!
So Thursday evening, I had my epidural in, I was terrified watching Carrie's heart on the monitor, I had a fever and was having to take Tylenol orally, while receiving even more antibiotics, I had a catheter in my urethra and two in my uterus, to accurately measure her heart rate and the contractions, I was wearing an oxygen mask (kept it throughout the rest of labor and delivery) and of course, I hadn't slept. Finally, after midnight, my body started making some progress. At about 2 am, I started shaking so hard that DH thought I was convulsing. That continued until Carrie was born. Things got a bit fuzzy at this point. I remember thinking, "something's happening", and I began to vomit. The nurse checked my cervix and called the midwife in. I pushed for probably 45 minutes and Carrie was born, at 4:24 a.m., Friday, after 34 1/2 hours of labor, weighing 7 lbs. 1 oz, 20 1/2" long, with her umbilical cord around her neck, and unattached to the placenta. The placenta was then manually removed.
When they laid her on my chest, it was as if I knew her. She looked exactly the way I imagined her. She was absolutely perfect, and we'd both made it without a c-section! Yay!! But I was EXHAUSTED, so I napped... for a whole hour. That was the only sleep I got for 6 days!
Our first day together was wonderful, until late in the evening. Carrie wasn't taking to the breast immediately, so the nurses made me give her formula. I regret that to this day. I should have never listened to them. She had, and has, horrible reflux, made worse by formula, and in those early days, she didn't know how to get it up or down, so she'd choke for 30 seconds at a time, while I had her upside down trying to help her breathe. My husband slept... and he slept... and he slept... Wild elephants could have walked through and he wouldn't have awoken. And I was deliriously tired and scared about Carrie's reflux. The nurses took Carrie for 2 tummy washes because her spit-up was full of mucous (another thing I wish I hadn't of let them done), and really offered me no solution to the problem. Therefore, I didn't feel comfortable sleeping because she made no noise when she choked. So, I sat and watched her for 2 days in the hospital... very disappointed in my husband, who was nothing more than a blob laying to the side of my bed.
When we were to be discharged, I told two separate nurses that something wasn't right... Carrie hadn't peed in 15 hours. They said, "I noticed that on your journal!"... and did nothing about it. Carrie couldn't even be awoken at this point. No matter what I did (even cold rags), I couldn't wake her up to eat.... and she was the color of mustard, so I knew she had horrible jaundice. I took her back to the hospital the day after we were discharged, and her bili count was 16. We were admitted for jaundice and dehydration. So, two more days in the hospital, breastfeeding every 2 hours, and pumping inbetween, so there was no sleep. Carrie had an IV in her head, and laid under the bili lights with her goggles on. It was the worst time of my entire life. I've never been so exhausted, and I felt like I was somehow responsible for how dehydrated she had become. It was simply impossible to wake her with the jaundice to get her to eat.
Once we were discharged, things became normal. Slowly, she got rid of the jaundice and was easier to wake. Nursing was going much better, and we didn't touch another drop of formula until she was 3 months old. Now, I have to supplement a little in the evening with it, and the reflux is pretty rough. I'm working hard at pumping and feeding to try to build enough to get her back on solely breastmilk.
My dear husband is now a dear father. It took time. He was overwhelmed and scared. Then again, so was I!
This story is a downer, I know, because for that week, the only joy was that I loved someone so much that I was completely terrified of losing her. I think you all know what she means to me! I always look at her now and think back to those first 13 weeks of pregnancy when I had a subchorionic hemorrhage, bled every day, and had emergency run after emergency run to the doctor - each time thinking this would be the time they didn't find the heartbeat. And now here she is! Making me smile and laugh and love more than I ever have in my life.
I'm so very blessed! And I'm ready to do it all over again in a year or two! (Better prepared next time!)