Sophia's birth story

Monday, March 2, 2015

It's Sunday, March 1 and my baby is 10 days old. I could sit and cry my eyes out over that. Time has completely flown by and everyday I love her a little bit more. My pregnancy was not an easy one, from horrible morning sickness to weird, random symptoms, and my cardiac episode at the end of pregnancy. I was hoping for an easy labor and delivery, but it was not. However, we have been so blessed with an easy baby! I'll take a rough 9 months and labor for an easy baby, any day.

Here's Sophia's birth story:

February 18

8:00pm - My mom, Austen & I had just finished watching "Food Inc." when I felt a strong contraction that had me clutch the throw pillow. I remembered thinking it didn't feel like any Braxton Hicks I'd had before, but I had also been having these sporadic contractions for the past day or so. After a few smaller ones over the next 15 minutes, I got their attention letting them know what I was feeling. Everyone jumped into gear: Austen took a shower, my mom started packing her hospital bag, and I just sat there hoping they were for real this time.

10:00pm - Oh, they were real! I couldn't talk or walk through them, so I took a shower, washed up, and grabbed the last of the little things I needed for my hospital bag while I fought through the pain of the contractions. We decided at 10:00pm to head to the hospital since they were coming about every 3 minutes apart and lasting a solid minute each.

10:20pm - Austen was in a panic and drove to the hospital so fast. In hindsight, had we known how long everything would actually take, we could have walked and still made it there in time. But anyways, we got all checked in and I was taken to labor and delivery triage where I got all hooked up and kept breathing through the contractions. I was already 3cm dilated! I didn't want to lose control during them, no matter how bad they hurt or how long they lasted. I picked a spot on the ceiling and stared at it through them, breathing really deeply, and squeezing the bed sheet. I was afraid I'd hurt someone's hand if they let me hold it.

February 19

1:30am - I hit 4 cm and they said I could technically get an epidural, but that they don't usually give it in triage. I requested pain medication through the I.V. then, despite that it would make both myself and baby drowsy. The nurse pulled some strings for us and got the anesthesiologist into triage to do the epidural since we were just waiting on a room to open in labor and delivery. What I expected to be insanely painful was one of the easiest parts of labor! The I.V. hurt worse than the epidural, and I was so thankful that they let me have it instead of pain meds.

2:00am - I got put into a room in labor and delivery, and was measuring right around 5 cm dilated. I figured this was great progress! After 6 hours of laboring, I was halfway there!! We all managed to get some sleep and rest.

8:20am - Labor sort of stopped progressing by this point, so my OB/GYN decided to break my water in hopes that it would pick up on its own. Due to my Long QT Syndrome, having pitocin wasn't an option since it can cause my heart rate to speed up. I was left to do it the old fashioned way, or Plan B was a c-section. We were certainly hoping breaking my water would help move things along again!

12:00pm - My OB/GYN came in to check on me since my labor was still not progressing. My mom had asked the nurse if there was any truth to nipple stimulation encouraging labor, and she said yes it does, it's not just an old wives tale! When my OB/GYN came in, he also encouraged me to give nipple stimulation a try to see if that would work. I asked the nurse how long I should try it for, and she laughed saying until I fell asleep because I was so bored of it. So that's exactly what I did! It did help my contractions to become stronger and closer together, as they had faded to about every 4-7 minutes leading up to this point.

7:00pm - While my contractions were stronger and closer together, I only progressed to 7 cm dilated. My nurse said all signs were pointing towards a c-section and to stop eating ice chips. I was so thirsty and hungry, having not eaten for 25 hours that all I could think about was water. I was beyond irritable, and finally asked my new nurse for just a few ice chips. She was hesitant, but said since technically there was nothing stating I was having a c-section yet, I could have a few. I ate my few and then wouldn't let anyone take my cup from me for a while; I just had to hold it!

9:30pm - My OB/GYN came back and said yes, we were having a c-section. I was prepped and Austen put on those sexy blue sterile outfits. We were all ready to go, and then another woman was having hemorrhage issues, so she went to the OR first. Waiting was awful, and I was completely exhausted. I napped in between the nurse and doctor coming in to give me antibiotics since my water had been broken for so long without delivering (I had run a low fever earlier in the day that broke on its own shortly thereafter, but was nonetheless reason for concern of infection) and prep us.

11:00pm - I was finally taken back to the OR for my c-section. I was completely exhausted and nervous at this point. My anesthesiologist gave me the increased meds for my epidural in a longer amount of time, just to be safe with my Long QT. I told him that I could still wiggle my toes and he laughed saying that's completely normal. I thought I would have zero movement or feeling! Just before surgery, he asked if I could feel him. I said yes, I could feel him touching my stomach and he said he was actually pinching me as hard as he could, so this was good. I was able to have my hands free but just laid them out to the side, which I appreciated so that I didn't feel tied down. Just before they began the c-section, my OB said, "We're just going to count our tools," and I told him okay as I was ready to hear them start talking, and suddenly felt them begin. Smart man to distract me just before they started. ;) At the very beginning, I felt a twinge of pain beyond just the immense pressure, and while I told my anesthesiologist, it was over so fast we opted to not have more meds. Austen held my right hand as they began surgery and I swear it took less than 5 minutes before I heard the doctor say, "She has a cone head!" and heard her cry. After a minute or so, Austen went to go take pictures of her as they weighed her and whatnot. At this point, I felt nauseous and drowsy. My anesthesiologist laughed saying the nausea was from the pain meds, but the drowsiness was from being in labor for 27 hours! Sure enough, I got sick several times and was really hating the whole sewing up process. The pressure was really intense to me, and my uterus wouldn't start contracting after surgery. The norm is to give pitocin to force it to contract, but they couldn't. It took two different medications in both shoulders and one more shot of medication in my uterus to make it contract (lovely, I know). They brought over Sophia to me to see, and it was so surreal. I felt like I was forcing my body to be present, so I really didn't have that, "Oh my gosh, this is my baby!" moment with her in the OR. I kept looking at her thinking, "That's my baby. That's my baby." but I couldn't get my emotions to catch up with me. I blame it on the exhaustion. After Austen and the nurses took her to the nursery, I was so exhausted, I actually fell asleep as they were finishing sewing me up.

After the c-section was done, the OB told me that even if I could have had pitocin, it wouldn't have made a difference. I was too narrow and her head was tilted up, so nothing was going to get her out. We're really thankful that I didn't get to the pushing stage before realizing this. My mom also said I really shouldn't have been in labor for so long and the c-section should have happened hours prior. That probably would have helped my state of exhaustion!

February 20

12:00-2:30am - I had to go to recovery while Austen went upstairs to the nursery with Sophia. He was able to hold her and sit with her while I stayed downstairs. My mom came down to sit with me for a bit, and I got sick again. When I fell asleep, she went upstairs with Austen and the baby. Aside from the couple of times they gave me meds, I literally just slept. Sleeping felt so good! They brought meds in one time for me to take orally and brought in ice water. It was probably the best thing I have ever tasted after not drinking any water in almost 30 hours.

3:00am - After being brought up to my postpartum room and getting situated, it was the best moment ever when they brought Sophia in. I was alert enough to completely bond with her. I breast fed her for about 45 minutes (Austen said she would cry in the nursery and nothing comforted her, he just knew she wanted me and to eat!). Austen took my mom home to get a shower and sleep, and it was sweet time for her and I to bond as just the two of us. I completely fell in love with her.

February 21

Sometime around noon - A nurse came in saying that they needed to take Sophia to do an EKG on her. I didn't think much about it, because I've had more EKGs than I can count. I asked if I could go with and the nurse said yes. I had gotten out of bed just a couple of times prior to this, and as soon as I did, I started to bleed down my leg. I was completely embarrassed and kept thinking, "We need to hurry up so they don't do the EKG without us!" as Austen helped me get cleaned up. We went into the nursery where a children's cardiologist performed the EKG. I didn't think anything of it, and we went back to our room a few minutes later. The doctor came in to tell us she had a low heart rate (Austen said it was in the 70s) and that her EKG had an irregular QT interval, and both are signs of Long QT. He called the children's electrophysiologist to give him the results and they decided she needed to be put into the NICU for precautionary reasons. My heart dropped. I had to be away from my baby for 2 hours after delivery and had been with her for less than 12 hours, and they wanted to take her away again? Austen & I had been bonding so strongly with her that morning, I had literally never been happier in my life. And now they wanted to take her away from us?

He said they would come get her when a bed downstairs in the NICU opened up. In the meantime, Austen held her while I scarfed down some lunch, called my mom, and then called a family friend who is a NICU nurse in St. Louis.


I want to give our experience in the NICU the space to be written out as it deserves. It was one of the most trying experiences for my heart, but I really do believe it brought Austen & I closer together as we supported one another and I treasure Sophia even more because of it. Thankfully for us, our time in the NICU was relatively short and we were there for precautionary reasons (even if the staff didn't see it that way). At least once a day, one of us said to each other, "It could be worse," as we saw the other babies in there. I am so thankful that Sophia was a full term baby, and is healthy and happy. I want to properly document our time in the NICU instead of glossing over it though, both for my own record and, someday, hers. I don't want this leave-it-hanging to feel dramatic, but is simply for me so that I can take time to process and write out our experience in the NICU.

1 comment:

  1. So happy she is happy and healthy! She is ABSOLUTELY adorable!!!! I loved your birth story!


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