Monday, October 29, 2007

Phoenix's Birth Adventure

*Note--This post will quite possibly be the longest post in blog history. Bear with me, and just skip it if you don't care to read the fun part of having a baby.

Wed. May 17th
I present to the birthing center having had high blood pressure all afternoon and evening. (I had a BPP the day before with a 8/8 score and my blood work from that Mon had been within okay levels yet. I had asked for a weight check during the BPP (what a pain in the ass that was) and our Bun in the Oven was approximated to be 5lb 10oz. It was apparent to me that his growth was starting to slow and I saw on the radiology paperwork months after he was born that he was measuring almost 2 weeks behind, which is not a surprise with bp issues.)

So, I show up at the birthing center and the nurse I have is wonderful. She's understanding and empathetic to my fear and anxiety. Then came the nurse from hell. After laying on my side while being monitored for an hour, my blood pressure was normal. Um, of course, I just laid on my left side for 45 minutes. What the hell do you expect? She hadn't hooked me up to the bp machine for the duration, and she only took my bp once in the last 30 minutes of my resting. I got the "you're fine, go home and rest. Call your doc with any concerns, keep your appointment for tomorrow" schpeel. I was used to that as I had experienced it before. This night was different however. I was literally scared out of my mind that something bad was going to happen and soon. When I expressed my fear to nurse Bee-otch, stating that women and their babies died from preeclampsia....she replied with "But you don't have that condition." Um, do you know that PIH is on the preeclampsia spectrum? I knew at that point, all I wanted to do was get the hell out of there. I attempted to hold myself to gether as I received my discharge instructions and was able to change back into my clothing. She offered to have a support nurse contact me to help ease my worry. Fuck you lady is what I wanted to say. As we walked out the doors of the hospital, I angrily told Jason that I would not be stepping foot into that place again until I was literally having a baby. I couldn't make myself feel like that again. At this point, I was 36 week and 3 day pregnant. 3 days passed the goal that was given to me months ago. Now my OB wanted me to reach 37 weeks and quite honestly, I felt betrayed by him this week. I dearly love and respect that man, but this week I hated him. I had been falling apart at my appointments after he'd leave the room for weeks. I just wanted to have this baby before I got sick again.

Thurs. May 18th
I show up for my OB appointment and the lovely nurse T takes one look at me and I immediately begin to tear up. I was a mess emotionally. That's hard for some to understand, and it's one of those unless you've been there you cannot fathom the fear I was feeling. My OB walked in and said he thought it was baby time. I was scheduled to be induced that Monday. I would be 37 weeks on the nose. If I had any issues over the weekend, I was to call and we'd probably have baby that weekend.

Over the previous weeks, I had been having escalating blood pressures, increased proteinuria (but not enough to warrant an official PE diagnosis), and marked edema in my extremities. After having twice weekly OB appointments, labs every 3-4 days, and weekly BPP's & NST's, the time had come. My hospital bag had been packed for months.

Mon. May 22nd -- Birth Day!
We checked in at 5:00am and got started on paperwork. My blood pressure upon arrival was 149/97. The nurse placed the cytotec at 5:30am and I had to remain lying down for an hour. I had a fetal monitor put on as well. At 7:30am, I was able to get up and walk the halls. This was something of a miracle for me as I was on strict bedrest with Ariana, and I felt quite awkward. We took one turn about the hall and went back to the room. One hour of free-time quickly sped by. At 8:30am I was back on monitors. By 9am, I was having contractions every 3-4 minutes.

At 9:50am I was dilated to 2cm and the OB broke my water to hopefully have me progress more. However, I had bloody fluid coming out. I was out of it a bit, but noticed the concerned look on the OB's face. I heard him tell the nurse to "run abruption labs stat." Shit. I knew what a placental abruption was and it scared the crap out of me. I knew I had to remain calm as Jason had no clue what was truly going on. I kept thinking how freaking ironic that I missed severe preeclampsia only to be plagued by an abruption. I was pissed and scared. What if they couldn't stop the bleeding? What if they didn't get the baby out in time? Ah, fuck. I wouldn't trade my knowledge of preeclampsia and other complications of pregnancy for anything, but at that exact moment I was hating that knowledge. I was recounting the women on the forums who had lost their babies to placental abruption and all I knew was that I didn't want to know their pain.

I continued to have bloody fluid leaking out and I was prepped for an emergency cesarean section. Scrubs were brought in for Jason, although I knew that since I didn't have an epidural yet I would most likely end up completely under and Jason wouldn't be allowed in the OR. My makeup and nail polish was removed, and I was even shaved in preparation. We were almost ready to go when the labs came back with okay levels and the blood started to decrease.

During this time, my contractions were picking up however baby was still having decelerations. I was put on oxygen and my positions were varied to see if that would help. The OB placed an internal scalp monitor on the baby to better monitor his status. With the continuing fetal heart rate decelerations I was unable to have an epidural. After an hour of trying different positions, we finally found one that baby liked....me on my hands and knees. Great for him, awful for me. This position left my belly unsupported and the contractions were very strong. I was struggling to breathe through them. But over that hour, I had progressed from 2cm to 7cm. And with the baby doing better, the epidural was ordered. YAY!!!

Within 15 minutes, the anesthesiologist was attempting to insert the catheter. Due to the edema in my back, insertion was difficult and he finally was able to place it on the third attempt. By 11:30am I was hardly feeling any pain and was able to take a short half an hour nap. With all that had gone on that morning, I had a nurse with me at all times and would until delivery. My OB was just down the hall and was monitoring me via his computer in his office. During this time, my blood pressure was running 140-150s/90-100s.

I woke up just before 12:30 and was feeling pain on the left side of my body. Damn it, the epidural was wearing off on the one side! My OB came in to check me and I was still at 7cm so he ordered pitocin. The nurses got the pit started at 12:40 and by 1pm I was fully dilated and +1 station. It was baby time. My blood pressure now was 150-170s/90s.

I started pushing and 12 minutes later, Phoenix was born. I remember telling the OB while pushing that I didn't know how women did this for hours or with big babies. See, I didn't get to push with Ariana. She basically just slid out with the first push, so this was a totally new experience. The pressure to push is so intense and it feels so good to push. It's really remarkable.

Upon delivery, we discovered the cause of the decelerations. The nuchal chord was wrapped around his neck twice. Phoenix cried and the sound was so beautiful. He was placed on my chest and I got to snuggle a bit. I was in shock that he was finally here and we were both safe and healthy. The nurses cleaned him up, weighed, and measured him in my room. His apgars were 8 + 9. 5lbs 6oz 18 1/2 inches long. My blood pressure came down immediately after birth to 137/76. The OB said it was definitely time to deliver and that if we hadn't today, that my body was making it's way to having a baby soon. He thought the bleeding was from my cervix.

I couldn't believe that this little creature was ours, and here to stay. The nurses left the room and we were stunned. What do we do with him? Panic set in for a brief moment. Sure, we were parents before, but we never experienced the whole "keep your baby with you after birth" thing. It was amazingly wonderful. He looked so much like his sister. It was a long road, but he was finally here.

Looking back
While the memories of the labor pain fade somewhat (yeah right), I can still vividly remember the fear. I was cautiously optimistic, but also realistic with my history. The outcome was successful, I had a healthy baby. But I can tell you that the emotional damage is there. The decision to not have another child was difficult and painful. But the pain of possible losing a child or my children losing their mom is so overwhelming, we simply cannot chance it again. And it's a heartbreaking choice.

I love my children dearly, and would do anything for them. We've experienced things that other parents haven't and I believe that has made us appreciate our kids in a way we couldn't have otherwise. While I hate that I had preeclampsia, I try to remember that it has made me into who I am today. I have passion for a cause that I hadn't had before. I have these two beautiful children, and a wonderfully supportive partner. I am more knowledgeable about my body and concerned with the possible long-term affects of preeclampsia. I have met some wonderful people who can share and understand my complex feelings on pregnancy, preeclampsia, and babies.

3 comments:

Jen said...

What beautiful tribute to your blessing in Phoenix! With much love and understanding,
Jen, mom of Grace & Meghan

Dawn said...

Oh yes, the "fun" part of having a baby. With our experiences in birthing so different, I relived my own experience reading yours. I did push constantly for hours, and it sucked, I also had to go through the fear of losing my baby during birth, and there's nothing more horrifying. While our experiences are different, they are life changing, and make us the moms we are today, and that we can share. Great birth story, D.
You're such a good mommy!

Mama said...

You did it! What a touching, honest, and beautiful story. You really captured the doubt and fear that just never seem to go away.