Birth Story

Before I worry all of you, I want to let you know that at 5:24 a.m. on Thursday, January 17th, I gave birth to a 3 pound baby boy. He is healthy and doing awesome so far. I was exactly 29 weeks into my pregnancy.

This is my birth story.

The evening of the 15/16th I was having some contractions. Nothing too crazy though. The morning of the 16th I complained to Brian that every time I moved in bed I had a contraction.  After what happened last week (having contractions, went to L&D, nothing was wrong) I just assumed it was basically the same.

The 16th was my 30th birthday.  I felt pretty crappy all day.  I assumed I was either starting to get sick (since my 3 little ones had been sick) or else that my body was working hard to fight off the sickness.

I went to the Social Security Office to request new SS cards for the kids, came home and took a nap, and swept and mopped the kitchen floor. That was pretty much all I did, other than making dinner and general kid taking care of stuff.

I went to sleep probably around 10:30 or 11. Woke up a little after 1 a.m. to pee and noticed I was having a LOT of contractions. Decided I better time them, and I wrote them down because I wasn't sure if I could remember.  Here is what I wrote:

1:16
1:18
1:21
1:23
1:25
1:27
1:29
1:30
1:32
1:36

Yeah, they were 2 minutes apart! I went to the bathroom and there was blood. You would think after like 10 minutes of that I would have made a move, but apparently I decided to wait 20 minutes. Looking back it is just laughable, but that's what I did!  I called my midwife, she said to go get checked. So I woke Brian up and told him I had to go to the hospital.

Part of me felt like there was no way that this baby was coming; the other half of me knew the truth: that with contractions 2 minutes apart I was probably close to giving birth! I grabbed a few things I thought I might want, and drove myself to the hospital. Seriously. Looking back it was totally ridiculous but I was in denial about being in labor, I'll admit it.

I parked and walked the long, long road to L&D.  The main doors into the hospital were locked. I stood there like an idiot, in labor with contractions rolling, staring at the doors willing them to open. No one was around.  I had no idea what to do and I couldn't even think straight.  Finally someone buzzed me in.  Two days later Brian pointed out to me the huge signs that say if the doors are locked, pick up the phone and someone will buzz you in. I swear they weren't there that night! ;)

I got checked in and they got me a room and checked my vitals. Last time I was here (a week ago) they would tell me "your blood pressure looks good, etc." This time they told me nothing. The nurse stuck an iv in me, checked my cervix, helped me to lay comfortable in bed, and called my midwife. When Carol arrived she asked the nurse about my dilation. The nurse said I was 6 or 7 cm already!! Apparently my blood pressure was through the roof also.  Carol checked me, and by that time she said I was 9 3/4 dilated! She said this baby is coming today!  The IV contained whatever it is that they give you to try to stop labor and also a bunch of fluid because the nurse felt I was dehydrated I guess. I didn't really ask too many questions; I pretty much gave myself to them to do what they thought was best for the baby.  Looking back I wish I would have had someone there to ask questions for me, but it is what it is.

I called Brian. I also called my doula, but she didn't answer her phone. I didn't have the presence of mind to call anybody else; still wasn't thinking right. Brian's mom came to stay with the kids and he came to join me at the hospital. When I called him and told him I was already dilated to 6 or 7 and that they were going to try to stop labor but probably wouldn't be able to, he was so confused!  "What...how is that possible???"  Yeah, my thoughts exactly!

They gave me a steroid shot in hopes it would help prepare the baby's lungs for the real world, but they pretty much said that it needed 24 hours to get to him and I probably didn't have that long, but that it was worth a shot at least. The NICU team got set up in my room and had everything they thought they might need for the baby, including his isolette and I don't even know what else.  Speaking of the isolette, it has a sensor that hooks up to the baby to monitor his temperature. The sensor kept going off because it wasn't attached to anything yet, and it was pretty annoying!

I just continued to lay in bed, pretty much just praying that labor would stop.  The lights were dimmed, which I was thankful for.  They did an ultrasound to determine if the baby was head down or not. Thank God he was head down.  They normally would just feel to see if he was, but they said that my bag of water was so bulgy that if they pushed around too much it would burst and the baby would be born shortly after.

I kept having to get up to pee. It was so very painful to move. They kept cautioning me that if I felt like I needed to poop to NOT POOP IN THE TOILET because they were afraid I was going to give birth in the toilet! Ha!  Every time I got up I started shaking uncontrollably. But I wasn't cold.  They kept bringing me all these papers to sign and I wondered how the heck anybody would know if I had signed them or if some random person had just scribbled on them.

My mom and my brother came to the hospital and sat with me while I labored (along with Brian of course).  I was just lying in the bed. I had wanted a natural labor, but as I've mentioned my classes aren't until mid-March. Since we were trying to keep the baby in (rather than in a normal labor, where you are trying to get the baby OUT) I just kept my legs closed and lay there, taking contractions as they came.  I would close my eyes and breath in through my mouth, and out through my nose.

Finally they became so intense, I told my midwife that I thought it was time. My mom and brother stepped out of the room, and almost immediately there were about 6 NICU people there (to care for the baby when he was born), my midwife, the nurse, and my husband.  It was, oh, about 6 more people than I had wanted in the room for my delivery but hey, what are you gonna do right?

This whole time they were monitoring the baby with an external monitor.  His heart rate began dipping with contractions.  My midwife decided to break my water so he could be born.

She broke it and it was a very strange feeling, but almost felt like a relief.  Then they got me into possibly the most uncomfortable position ever, which was me on my back with my knees up by my face and legs spread. It was not good.  Apparently they were trying to force my pelvis open because there wasn't enough room for the baby. They were telling me to push with contractions; I felt like I was pushing but nothing was happening.  Brian was holding one of my legs and repeating what they were telling me to do; it was much more calming coming from him than from them.  The contractions hurt so bad at that point.  They had been bearable before then (maybe a little too bearable; perhaps that's why I was apparently in labor in my sleep!).

I was pushing when I could. Between contractions became a frenzy of people telling me what to do when the next one came, and all I wanted to do was rest when I got the breaks.

Then the baby started to come and it was more painful than anything I have ever felt in my life. They kept telling me "He's right there, he's right there!"  Carol (my midwife) put her hands in me to support the baby's head while I pushed and it hurt so bad.  I yelled "What are you doing down there!" and I was super mad at her.  :)

Finally Brian was telling me he was right there; he could see the top of his head.  I believed him, not sure why I didn't really believe anybody else but it is what it is.  Carol told me that if I didn't get him out very soon she would have to cut me.  I wanted to beg for a c-section, but in my rational mind I knew there wasn't time.

Carol injected some pain killer into my you know what; she was preparing for an episiotomy.  I got him out on the next push and I have never felt such relief in my life.

And, he cried. My tiny tiny baby cried! I knew he was OK and that I had survived too.

I was just in complete shock. It's quite odd to wake up in labor and have a baby 4.5 hours later, especially when you weren't expecting a baby for, say, at least 10 more weeks or so.

I won't tell you the gross stuff, but basically I didn't tear, everything was just fine on my end.  About 2 hours after giving birth I was able to head to the NICU to see my baby for the first time. Brian had gotten a picture as they were getting him into the isolette so I had seen that at least.

For the first few times I went to see our baby I just cried. He has tubes into his umbilical cord, sensors all over his body monitoring heart rate, respiration, oxygen levels, and temperature. He had a cpap tube going into his nose.  He has a tube going into his mouth and down to his tummy also.  Emotionally I was kind of a mess for the first 12 hours or so after having him.

Now for the exciting part!

First, he is unable to have formula because his body just cannot process it. So he has to have breastmilk.  I am OK with that since we were planning on breast feeding anyway.  So, I pump, pump, and pump some more, every 2-3 hours around the clock. He was on donor breast milk for a while but at this point I am producing enough to keep him fed. He only eats 3 ccs every 4 hours until they can be sure that he is processing it well.  So far so good, though.

His cpap tube, which helps him breathe, was initially set at a level 6 with some oxygen added. They have weaned him completely off of the cpap and replaced that tube with a smaller one called a high-flow. It basically does the same thing but it blows much less air into his nose.  He is breathing room air with no added oxygen.

He had a tube in his umbilical cord to monitor blood pressure, and they have already taken it out.

I have gotten to hold him 2 times, once for 2 hours and once for an hour and a half. Both times I had to stop holding him because I had to pump. He is a happy happy boy when he is being held.

The nurses all say he is so big for his age, and he is just doing so well.  We are all very optimistic.  He is a fighter and a stubborn one!

I'll try to keep updating on him here when I can. It is going to be pretty crazy with trying to take care of our kids, pump, visit him at the hospital, and do normal things like, you know, sleep, eat, etc. They said expect him to come home around his due date (April 4), but sometimes they can come home up to 4 weeks sooner if they can meet all the threshholds (eating on their own, breathing on their own, maintaining their own body temperature, etc.). I'm optimistic that we won't be waiting until April to bring him home!

And here are some pics of our little guy:

Him being held for the first time!  I was bawling my eyes out. :)


Wearing his sunglasses under lights for elevated bilirubin levels. He also has a pacifier in his mouth, so cute! :)


Getting a taste of colostrum on a cuetip (I am holding the cuetip).


We are so thankful that he is in a hospital with a wonderful NICU, and he is just kicking butt every way we look.  I'm sure he will keep it up, he is a fighter and pretty feisty. :)

Comments

  1. Congratulations!

    I had to laugh at the nurses telling you not to poop...when my daughter was born, I was certain I was about to poop on the table and out came her head!

    So glad you and he are doing well. Prayers that it continues so!

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  2. Congratulations! How scary! Glad he is doing so well.

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  3. Congrats on an adorable little fighter! Please keep us updated as you can.... but take care of yourself and your family first! (Especially this new little one!) :) Thanks for sharing your story.

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  4. Oh boy! Congratulations. Glad you are both doing well.

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  5. Wow...what a birth story. Congratulations to you all and we will be praying for you and your guy.

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  6. CONGRATS!!!! He is adorable! And what an "exciting" story you have, too. So glad everyone is doing well, and prayers for fast recovery through the next days/weeks.

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  7. Congrats on your new little boy! I wish you all the best! :-)

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  8. You made me cry a little bit. I am glad your little man is a fighter. I will keep him in my prayers for development and you all for survival! Congratulations!

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  9. What a story! Congrats! Hope April 4 comes quickly!

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  10. Your updates always make me sheds few tears of joy. Thank you for posting the whole story!

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  11. Here from April 2013 BBC - Congrats on your blessing momma! I hope all is well with your family, and look forward to seeing you on the board.

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