I know…it’s been a while. A LONG while. Things have been crazy busy here, and I think about blogging all the time but haven’t had the opportunity to sit down and write. My Etsy shop took off in January and I’ve been trying to stay on top of things ever since then (with minimal success). All the while, I’ve been thinking about the post sitting in my Drafts folder-the one about Baby B2’s birth.
In case you’ve forgotten, B2 decided to arrive six weeks early. I would have never thought in a million years that I would have a baby early, not after having to be induced with J3 because he was so large and I was past my due date. I had already discussed birthing options with my OB in case this one decided to go late as well. So you can imagine my surprise…
November 11th, 2011 was an interesting day. Not only was it 11-11-11, but I was in a good mood and actually feeling okay. I decided to go to a fabric store about 25 miles south of me to try and track down some more of the elusive Adam fabric from my maternity gown line. I lifted J3 into the cart, and when I did, there was a twinge; nothing big, just a little nip that I noticed. As I walked through the store, I was having (what I thought was) Braxton-Hicks contractions. Again, nothing severe, just enough for me to look down at my belly and say “hey mister, don’t you think for one moment you are coming early. I am nowhere’s close to ready. You have no bedding and I just pulled the bassinet down from the attic”. Then I laughed and went on with my day.
Later that night, J2 was at work and J3 was in bed. I was sitting in my office, wrapping up some orders and I sat down to enter some information into my inventory system. I felt a gas bubble, so instead of letting it sit there and make me uncomfortable, I tried to force it out. Suddenly I felt like I had peed my pants! I’m sitting there thinking “What the h*ll was that?!? Did I just pee myself? Do I have no bladder control anymore?” It was shortly before one in the morning and time for me to go to bed anyway, so I got up to turn everything off. When I stood up, it felt like I was peeing again. Just a little bit, like I had leaked. So I went into our bedroom, took off my clothes and threw them in the hamper, shaking my head at my leaky bladder. I then went in and used the bathroom, emptying said leaky bladder. “HA!” I thought. “No more leaking.”
As I started to grab my nightclothes, I remembered I had left the iced tea out on the counter. I headed out in the kitchen, naked as the day I was born (thank heavens the blinds were closed. It would have been terrible scaring anyone passing by!). I grabbed the jar of tea, and in the process, knocked a fork off the counter and onto the floor. As I bent over, the stream down my leg was unmistakable. It was at that moment I thought something might be wrong.
I headed back into our bedroom, put on my nightclothes and found the sanitary pads I hadn’t had to use in months. My mind was going a million miles a minute as I tried to wrap my head around the fact that something just wasn’t right. I picked up the iPad off my nightstand and entered “leaking amniotic fluid” into the search engine. It only took me reading through the first three entries-I called the cardiac ICU where my husband works and shakily asked if he was available.
When my husband picked up the phone, he thought I was calling to say goodnight. Instead, I asked him if he could go up to the Labor and Delivery unit to see if they would give him a test to bring home in the morning to see if what I was leaking was amniotic fluid. It was very quiet on the other end of the line for a moment, then my husband asked if I was sure. I explained to him what had happened and that I thought this what it was, but I wasn’t leaking that much. He told me he would call me back after he had talked to the girls upstairs.
By the time he called me back, whatever was flowing out of my body was flowing a little faster. When J2 called me back, he was in L&D and he started asking me questions as they asked him. After I had answered a few, I heard one of the girls sternly say “She needs to get in here RIGHT NOW. This is serious.” My heart hit the floor.
I texted T-Spot and asked her if she was still awake. Instead of getting a text back, my phone rang. “What’s wrong?” she asked and I could hear the worry in her voice. “Oh, nothing much.” I said. “I may need you to watch J3-I need to go in to L&D. I think I’m leaking amniotic fluid.” “WHAT?!?” she screeched into the phone. “Well, I think my water may be leaking. I need to go in and have them stop it, but I don’t want to wake J3. Can you watch him?” I asked. “Stay there” she told me. “I’m on my way to get you. I’ll wake BBKF and she can watch J3”.
By now I was starting to fully realize what was going on. I was going to have to be admitted at least for a little while and I had no maternity hospital gown! I make and sell them, and mine was only cut out and not finished. I burst into my office and grabbed the only gown that was almost done and started applying the snaps. I was still applying snaps when T-Spot and BBKF arrived. By now I had leaked through three pads and about to fill a fourth. But I was bound and determined to get that gown done! I hadn’t showered that day, my hair needed coloring and I was in desperate need of a manicure and pedicure, but by golly, I was going to wear one of my gowns.
I went over details with BBKF and then eased in to T-Spot’s truck, leaking fluid all over. By the time we got to the hospital, my jeans were soaked. My husband met me downstairs and then helped me up to the fifth floor where a L&D nurse showed me to a room. After a barrage of questions she had me take off my pants so that she could check out what was going on. She was so sweet as she conducted her examination and answered all of my questions, but then she dropped the bomb.
“So, are you ready to have a baby today?” she asked. Both my husband’s and my head whipped around as we asked in unison, “WHAT?!?” “Your water has broken” she replied. “You’re going to have your baby today.” Both our eyes were as huge as saucers. A million thoughts started running through my head. “You can’t stop it? Please, stop it” I begged. But no matter how hard I pleaded with her, she just shook her head no and left my husband and me alone so that we could talk.
We both knew that the hospital where my husband worked and where I had planned on giving birth was not equipped to handle a baby this early, so we had to choose another hospital in the system that had a Neonatal ICU (NICU). John had worked at one and it was the closest, so we choose to go there-30 miles away.
Now I haven’t been sick nor have I ever been in a hospital except for J3’s birth, so I didn’t know that I had to ride in an ambulance to get to the medical center 30 miles away. There’s nothing like being walked through the hospital and the ER where your husband works on a gurney! They loaded me in and I immediately started to call my family to let them know Baby B2 was on his way and there was nothing I could do to stop his arrival.
When we arrived, there was a flurry of activity as they tried to assess exactly where I was labor-wise. I had been experiencing a few contractions, but nothing regular nor serious. After I was hooked up to the various monitors, the nurse checked to see how much I had dilated. I was only at a 3, so then it was a waiting game.
By this point, it was seven in the morning and I hadn’t slept in over 24 hours. BBKF and T-Spot arrived with J3 around this time, but I knew I needed to sleep. As I dozed, the nurses closely monitored my contractions, which I didn’t even notice. I was able to sleep about three or four hours, but then the contractions started getting more powerful. I was pretty determined to ride out the pain but my lack of sleep was making that difficult. With each contraction Baby B2’s heart rate started doing funny things, and the nurse alluded to an imminent c-section if we didn’t do something. After discussing it with J2 and the nurse, we decided to try an epidural to see if that would help alleviate the stress on B2.
The epidural was exactly as I had remembered it from J3’s birth-slightly uncomfortable, but effective. Just as I was starting to relax, the charge nurse from the NICU stopped by to “prepare” us for what was about to happen. “When you have a baby this early, they will end up staying here in the NICU until their due date” she said. “There is a good possibility that your baby will have heart problems, respiratory issues and maybe even mental issues. Be prepared for them to weigh four pounds or so, although they might weigh less. I just want to prepare you.” She smiled, then turned and left the room.
I took one look at J2 and burst into tears. He held me in his big strong arms as I sobbed and sobbed, his eyes wet as well. Thoughts of every little thing I had done “wrong” while pregnant was running through my head. I had drank soda, I had eaten some sushi one night, I had that cup of coffee, I had been terrible about exercising. Which one had been the transgression that had landed us here?
We didn’t have much time to dwell on the “possibilities” the nurse had mentioned. Soon things were progressing quickly, but the doctor on call that weekend was in another case. The epidural was so strong on one side I couldn’t feel my left leg and so light on the other I felt most everything. B2’s heart rate was starting to fluctuate again, so the nurse put me on oxygen and paged the anesthesiologist. The anesthesiologist came in and adjusted the epidural, but by that time I was starting to feel the need to push. The doctor was still in the other room and the drug that the nurse had given me to slow down my labor was not working. I was starting to worry and it was reflected in B2’s heart rate, so I told the nurse I was going to start pushing, doctor or not. We had been asking to meet him all day and he hadn’t stopped by, so I could have cared less if he was there. I know nurses are just as, if not more competent than doctors sometimes and I was willing to find out if this was the case.
Just as I started to push, the doctor strolled in. He got a chilly reception from both me and my husband, although it didn’t seem to bother him. He gowned up, sat down, and acted like he’d been there all day long.
Labor was short-four sets of four 10 second pushes and little Baby B2 was welcomed into the world. As the doctor pulled him out, it was obvious he was no four pound baby. Little B2 must have felt the same way about the doctor as his parents, for he immediately started peeing all over him! The NICU nurses, including the charge nurse that I had dubbed the “NICU Nazi” were there and quickly nabbed B2 to check him out. No skin-to-skin contact, no latching on-nothing like what I had planned. When I say I think birth plans are a waste of paper, this is what I mean. Labor and delivery is extremely unpredictable. Nothing is guaranteed. You may *think* it’s going to go a certain way, but the vast majority of the time it will not. We all need to wake up and start calling them “birth wishes” instead because the more you plan, the more is bound to go wrong.
((Hops off soapbox)) Sorry, had to get that one off my chest. Anyway…
B2 weighed in at 6 pounds 13 ounces and 19 3/4 inches long. His Apgar score was good, but his breathing was a little erratic so off to the NICU he went. I didn’t even get to hold him. I had only been able to see him up close for a moment before he was gone.
The aftermath of the delivery was horrible. I had asked J2 to go with B2 to the NICU, so I was alone with the doctor and my nurse. Don’t get me wrong-my nurse was amazing, but the doctor gave me the creeps. I stared at the ceiling, tears running down my face, as the doctor attempted to deliver the placenta. Childbirth may be painful, but I’d push out a baby ten times over than have the doctor yank the placenta out again. I was in so much pain and I couldn’t do a darn thing. The manual extraction of the placenta actually took longer than it took to deliver B2!! Finally he was done and I was left alone to wonder how my baby boy was doing…
That’s it for now…stay tuned for more tales of
** Our life in the NICU
** Life with a preemie
** The repercussions of the delivery
** How postpartum depression can kick you in the teeth (and that there are other symptoms to PPD other than just depression)
**When breastfeeding doesn’t work out the way you planned