I can’t believe she has already been with us for over seven weeks. It has been quite the whirlwind, but I think we are finally starting to move towards our new normal. I was torn about writing her birth story, mainly because I was (and still am, to be honest) upset with how her first week went. The show must and should go on, though!
Miss AJ – July 28th, 2012 11:13 pm
7 pounds, 10 ounces – 20.5 inches
Early in the morning on July 26th I awoke to slight cramping. It was definitely on the level of a standard menstrual cramp. I didn’t think much of it until the first one resolved, and another one followed 10 minutes later, and then another 10 more minutes down the line. This went on for a few hours and stopped, as I kind of figured it would. But it did tell me that my body certainly was working towards something.
The next morning, Friday the 27th, I experienced the same thing, except that the contractions were now starting at the top of my uterus and moving down. At that point I thought that perhaps that was the true beginning. My symptoms eased off, though, so I sat at home and worked, cleaned, and slept. Come evening, I started contracting again, in the same fashion and still erratically. I experienced the aptly named “bloody show,” but by the time I noticed that, the contractions had stopped. I went to bed, and prepared myself for another day of false starts.
I woke up exactly at 7:36 in the morning on July 28th to a strong and painful contraction. I had another around 7 minutes later, and then more followed. All were painful, and getting worse. I woke my husband up to help time, and with the help of an app on my phone, I knew that I truly was in labor. I showered, and packed up the last few essentials into my hospital bag, and went about laboring. I was quickly very uncomfortable, and breathing, kneeling, rolling, walking, and trying just about anything to make the pain more bearable. By 10:30 the contractions were five minutes apart, and lasting for at least a minute. I called my doctor, and confirmed that it was time for me to head into the hospital. The ride was thankfully short, but still difficult. The worst part of labor for me by FAR were the contractions in the car. I couldn’t move, and it made it so much worse. We checked in, I was found to be 3 centimeters dilated, and soon after I was admitted. Shortly after admission I was moved into the my labor and delivery room, where I opted to have an epidural. The procedure went smoothly, and a half hour later I was completely pain free.
Several hours later my doctor arrived to check how far I was dilated and break my water. She found that I was already 8 centimeters, but when the water came out, she quickly told me that there was meconium in the fluid and the pediatric team would have to be there to check her when I delivered. Honestly, I did not think much of it at the time, because I was so excited to know that I would be meeting my daughter soon. Another few hours passed, and I was fully dilated, but the doctor wanted me to wait to push until her head had dropped a little further. By that time I was feeling pressure, and it increased significantly over the next hour.
Finally, after 12 hours of active labor it was time for me to push. I could still only feel pressure at that point, but apparently from what my doctor told me, I was pushing well. And I pushed, and pushed, and pushed some more. At some point, my hip started to hurt, and I requested my epidural dose to be upped, as it was distracting me from effectively pushing. About two hours into “Push Fest 2012″ there were signs of slight fetal distress, so I wore an oxygen mask, and only pushed with every other contraction. Another hour passed, and I was still pushing. For whatever reason, she did not want to come out.
At that point the doctor presented my options: forceps or work a while longer and try for the vacuum extraction. I opted for the vacuum route, so after some more pushing and a small episiotomy, the vacuum was in place. I still ended up working for another 20 minutes or so, but finally the doctor told me her head was out, and the shoulders and the rest quickly followed. At 11:13 I heard a cry, and she was whisked away to the warming table, without me even getting a peek.
After what seemed to be an eternity, a very bundled up and sweet pink faced girl was brought to me. She was placed in my arms for a few minutes, and then was taken to the NICU, because she had some respiratory distress due to inhaling some meconium. Crushed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. Nine months waiting to meet my child, and all I got was a quick look, and then she was gone. At the time I was told that she could very well be back with us in a few hours.
I was stitched up, and had my stomach pressed on several times while we waited. About an hour passed, and my husband was able to go down and see her in the NICU triage unit. At this time he was told that her lungs were cleared, but 48 hours of monitoring was going to be necessary. She never required oxygen, and the x-ray of her lungs looked good, but infection is always a possibility in that type of situation. At that point I was beyond upset – so sad that I could not even cry. Obviously, I was pleased that she was ultimately going to be fine, but I did not have my baby. I couldn’t hold her, and feed her, and all those things that I felt I needed to be doing. Finally, around 3 in the morning, I was moved to my recovery room, and on the way I got to visit with her for a little longer!
The next day I was up early, ordered my breakfast, and was down with her as soon as I could be. Certainly not the best recipe for recovery, but there was no way I was going to stay up in my room. On Monday the 30th, I was set to be released. As I was packing up my things, my husband came back with the news I did not want to hear. She was being held for the full 7 days to complete the antibiotic treatment, because her white blood cell count was slightly elevated. It was not until that point that I broke down into tears, as I would have to leave her at the hospital for more than one night.
Monday through Friday was a complete whirlwind of being in the hospital, and only returning home to sleep. Since she was never actually ill, the nurses let me take care of her needs during the day. I would feed her, change her diaper, help to bathe her, and change her clothes. The biggest downside, aside from her not being home with us, was that she had to have her heart and respiration rates monitored continuously. Therefore she was essentially tethered to the wall, and it did not make the feeding and cuddles easy. Finally on Friday afternoon she was disconnected from the monitors, and we were allowed to stay overnight with her in the “nesting room.” It was wonderful to finally have a cordless, or as we joked a Wi-Fi baby!
On Saturday the 4th of August she received her last dose of antibiotics and came home! And at that point, our real life together as a family of three (or 9 counting our animal friends) began.