Saturday, May 24, 2008

Charlie's Birth Story

I'm ashamed it took me this long to get Charlie's birth story up on my blog, but here it is, forgive the typos and long-windedness, I'm on minimal sleep here...

Sunday (April 27th) was a pretty uncomfortable day and I ended up spending most of the day laid out on the bed with Joe. I was having contractions but they were still not consistent in timing so I held off on calling the doctor - didn't feel like making another trip that would be a false alarm. We tried going to bed early but I woke up around 11 with pain and tightening, I was able to get myself back to sleep for a few hours and woken up again around 2 am. From 2 until about 6:30 I had stronger contractions at about 7 minutes apart and was pretty uncomfortable. Fell back asleep until 8 am and decided to give the doctor a call.

I called the office and let them know that I had been up most of the night with more painful contractions that had started to space out around 6 minutes apart and wanted to see if I could move my appointment up earlier in the day since it was scheduled for 2:45pm. The nurse mentioned she would rather speak to the doctor on call about whether I should actually go into the hospital, which shocked me a bit. She told me she would call back after speaking with him. I had already asked Joe to work from home so he was with me.

The nurse called me back pretty quickly and said my doctor wanted to have me checked at the hospital. In a state of semi-shock, because deep down in my heart I knew this was it, I finished getting ready for the day, blew out my hair and threw on a little make-up to make myself feel better. Joe helped out by cleaning out the dishwasher, taking the trash out, cleaning Malc's box out and straightening up. We made it over to the hospital at about 9:30 am and I was pretty uncomfortable.

The nurses "checked" me into a room in labor and delivery and set up the monitors to check the baby's heart rate and contractions. After putting in an IV with fluids and monitoring me for about a half hour it looked as though I was having regular contractions but not really "strong" enough. My doctor was in surgery so another doctor from my group came in and checked out how dilated I was. I was about 4 centimeters and 60% effaced at that point so he decided to break my water to make things progress faster. It was an extremely surreal experience to have my water broken for me, not a bit painful, but it just made reality set in for me that we were now not going to leave the hospital.

After my water broke the contractions came on every 11/2 to two minutes very strong and to a new level of pain that I had never explored before. They called the anesthiologist for my epidural and he came within a half hour, thank god. Epidural went in perfectly, the doctor and nurse were amazing (no pain, my only concern was trying to sit still during a contraction). Joe stepped out to get something to eat while I had the epidural and came back with a pizza. I remember wondering to myself, why the heck he was having pizza for breakfast- little did I know it was already 12:30pm.

The epidural started to kick in after about ten minutes. I was able to relax a little bit and tried to take the advice of the nurse and have Joe and I get a little rest. I could still feel the pressure and tightening on my belly but, the pain was gone. After about an hour of contracting and watching HGTV (I couldn't rest!) my doctor came in to take how much I had progressed. He determined I was still only 4 cm dilated at that point- no progress. When he finished examining me we both noticed that I passed a large mass of tissue.

About a half hour after my doctor checked me I was watching the monitors for the baby. Suddenly the baby's heart rate declined. It had been averaging around 140 bpm. I watched as the rate continued to drop all the way down to 60 bpm. Joe and I looked at each other fearfully and I hit the call button. As I was pushing the call button my doctor and nurse came rushing into the room. They tried to reposition me on my side to get the baby's heart rate back up- no luck. They had me get on my hands and knees, and the heart rate seemed to improve ever so slightly (still less than 80 bpm).

My doctor told me that he thought a c-section was necessary as I was only 4cm dilated and they baby was showing signs of distress. He would have considered having me deliver vaginally if I were fully dilated. The nurse handed me release forms to sign and they wheeled me off to the OR. I couldn't believe how fast everything had happened; we had only arrived at 9:30 in the morning and were going to have this baby before 3pm. I wasn't able to absorb it all. Time seemed to lose it's meaning that whole day.

Poor Joe had to stand and wait in his scrubs, as he watched me pushed down the hallway. The doctors, nurses, and neonatologist were all wonderful to me as I was prepped.

Joe came in and my doc told he was going to get started. I remember him telling me that he was going to give me a "bikini line incision", very surreal when all I could think about was the baby. I jumped when they cut into me with the cautery pen (despite their checking to see if I was numb); they had to up the epidural. Within minutes I heard my doctor telling me the baby's head was out, then the shoulders, finally he announced, "It's a boy!" Joe and I looked at each other and simultaneously burst into tears and laughed from joy. Little Charlie was bellowing quite a cry himself.

Joe was able to hold him and brought him close to me, unfortunately I couldn't touch him because my arms were strapped down from the surgery. It took about a half hour from them to put me back together and then I was wheeled into the recovery room. My doctor then shared with me how his intuition had told him I wasn't going to be able to deliver vaginally. A little strange, seeing as I had had a dream Sunday night that I had to have a c-section because of the baby's declining heart rate. He also thought I might have had a placental abruption (the mass of tissue I had passed earlier in the day), and that could have been the cause for the sudden drop in Charlie's heart rate.

I wasn't able to nurse Charlie on the spot because of my time in the recovery room. My Mom made it to the hospital at that point and she was allowed to come back and see me. After about an hour I was wheeled down to the nursery and able to hold my little guy for the first time. Here's our first shot together :o)

Recovery was tough and slow going. I found out after the fact that Charlie was sunny-side up, which my doctor thinks added to his going under distress. I remember feeling him try to descend for a week before. I would feel a lot of pressure and pain and then he would travel north again and I would feel a little relief. Poor guy was trying!

I plan on sharing our breastfeeding ‘journey' in my next entry. For me, breastfeeding has been far more difficult than L&D and recovery. But we'll save that for another day.

Charlie has both Joe and I wrapped around his tiny finger ;o)

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