Friday, October 2, 2015

Anna Grace's Birth Story

Let me start off by saying the birthing process scares me to death.  So many things can go wrong for both the mother and baby.  It's also a very confusing time.  Am I in labor?!  Are these contractions painful enough to go to the hospital?!  Did my water just break?!  With William things were crystal clear.  My mucus plug came out 30 minutes before I felt a big POP and gush of fluid.  There was no question if my water had broken.  I immediately went into painful contraction mode and delivered William 5 hours later.  Things were a little different this go around.  I think a lot of our anxiety regarding "birthing Anna Grace" had to do with what we'd do with William and what time of day it would happen.  We do, after all, live 40 minutes from the hospital!  Gordon and I prayed that I wouldn't go into labor during the morning rush hour traffic.  God listened.  :)

So, here's Anna Grace's birth story.  Warning.....this post is really long!!! 

On September 8th my cerclage was removed.  Dr. Zepeta told us it could be days or weeks, but he was pretty sure she'd come within 10 days.  And that she did!  I mentioned in my 38 week post that when Gordon got home from work and the gym I made a trip to the bathroom and found my mucous plug had started to come out (sorry if that's TMI).  Obviously, Gordon started freaking out.  He could barely eat dinner he was so "excited".  I tried not to get my hopes up.  I knew this meant she could be coming soon....but it could still be a few days.  We went ahead and gave everyone a heads up.  After dinner we gave William a bath, put him to bed and made sure all his things were in order.  Gordon took a quick shower and got in bed early in case I went into labor.  I took a shower and finally climbed into bed around 10:30.  At 11:15 William started crying out, "MAMA!!!!"  (this is not like him at all)  I waddled up stairs to find that he was really still asleep but crying and talking in his sleep.  As I went to lay down next to him I felt some trickling.  I went down the hall to the bathroom and yelled down for Gordon to come up stairs.  We couldn't get William to stop crying (and on top of that he started having a yucky productive cough....great timing, right?!?!).  So, the three of us headed down stairs to our room.  The trickling continued.  Had my water broken?!?!  I felt crampy and uncomfortable but I wouldn't say I was having super painful contractions.  (again, so confusing)  I didn't want to call people over to our house for a false alarm.  I went ahead and had Dr. Zepeta paged.  While we waited for a phone call back we gave William some Tylenol and Benadryl and prayed he'd fall back asleep.  My conversation with Dr. Zepeta went something like this....."I think my water may have broken.  But, I'm not for sure.  I think I'm having contractions.  But, they're more like bad cramps that are really low?!?"  Poor Dr. Z.  He told me to go ahead and go in to get checked.  Gordon and I got dressed, called the crew to come take over William, Gordon packed up the car and I curled my hair while we waited for my BFF, Alison, to get to the house!!!

Alison got to our house around midnight and stayed with William until Grant and Emily got to our house an hour later.  During the drive into town I put on a little makeup and tried to take it all in.  We. Were. Having. A. Baby!  And by the looks of it, we would be having a baby on our 5th wedding anniversary.  {What a special gift this is to share with our baby girl}  As we exited for the med center Carrie Underwood's song "Something In The Water" came on.  After our miscarriage last year I posted here  about how this song had really helped remind me that God always has a plan.  12 months after the heartbreaking miscarriage here we were getting ready to meet our rainbow baby!

                                                                     Just a little faith, it'll all get better
Gonna look ahead, no turning back
Live everyday, give it all that I have
Trust in someone bigger than me.

12:45  Arrived to hospital and waited to be triaged (they were super busy that night).

1:00  Nurse confirms that my water had indeed broke!  Still not having super painful contractions.  We discussed my "birth plan".  My answer is always, "Get the baby out safely!"  The nurse asked if I wanted an epidural.  I paused for a moment and said I'd really love to do it without an epidural but was pretty sure I wasn't up for that.  HAHA.  Gordon told the nurse I would be getting an epidural.  :)
2:00  Contractions had become painful and more frequent.  The nurse went ahead and started a PIV, IV fluids and we were moved to labor and delivery room 901.

2:00-3:00  I got all hooked up to monitors in the new room and started to remember why epidurals are so wonderful.  Contractions are for real.  When I'm in pain/uncomfortable I get super quiet and wiggle my toes a lot.  haha.  Gordon loves to watch the monitors and announce when I'm having a contraction.  Things that came out of his mouth, "That was a big one!"  "Here comes another one."  Men.

3:10  Epidural started.  This one definitely hurt more than the one I had with William....but it was worth the pain!  At this point Gordon and I had both been awake for 22 hours.  The nurse turned down the lights and said to get some rest.  I was instructed to let her know if I felt any pressure (like I needed to push).  She went ahead and got everything set up since my chart indicated I had a history of fast delivery.  Gordon got a little cat nap in but I was too, I laid there with my eyes closed, thinking.  At one point I made Gordon get up to look at the Epidural pump.  When it was giving me a bolus dose it seemed like it just kept going and going....I swore it was going to overdose me.  LOL.  Yep, I'm crazy!

6:00  My contractions had slowed down so Pitocin was started.  We texted/called family to let them know she'd be coming soon.

7:00  Shift change.  God was watching over us when he gave us the best nurse ever!  Dr. Zepeta had a morning surgery scheduled so they told us he'd arrive after 9:00 (unless we needed him sooner).

9:10  Dr. Zepeta arrived to our room.  He gave me a quick check and immediately declared I needed to start pushing!  I remember him telling me that pushing this baby girl out would be a little different than William (since she was bigger).  My right side was a lot more numb than my left side.  Luckily, Gordon was in charge of the left leg during the pushing.  At 9:15 the pushing started.  Right as Anna Grace was coming out Dr. Zepeta said, "Were we expecting a girl?!?"  Um, yeah....she better be a girl!  AND THEN THERE SHE WAS.  At 9:28 our sweet little angel took her first breath of air and gave us the tiniest cry ever.  Just as I expected from her in-utero movements she came out waving her arms around.  After Gordon cut the cord they immediately laid her on my chest.  What a wonderful feeling!!!  I can't say how great it was to get to keep her there with me (versus William's birth).  Baby girl just kept looking at me with the biggest eyes.  She seemed a little shocked by what had just happened.

From here I envisioned getting all cleaned up, changing into my own hospital gown, ordering a yummy breakfast and just holding our little girl.  That's what I get for planning!

Instead, this is when things got scary.  I could tell they were having problems with the placenta.  Luckily, I was able to keep myself distracted by focusing on Anna Grace.  Around 9:45 the placenta was delivered.  That's when the bleeding started.  People started moving a little more quickly.  Dr. Zepeta asked for a medication called Cytotec.  I still didn't ask many questions.  Dr. Zepeta said my cervix was still causing problems (being so open and floppy) and the lower segment of my uterus was bleeding.  Nurses were instructed to hold pressure down on my uterus and Dr. Zepeta put dis-solvable stitches in my cervix.  He left the room for a few minutes while the nurse held pressure.  When he came back he started massaging on my uterus and a large amount of blood came out (I won't go into details, it isn't something I want to remember).  Poor Gordon was right there for all of this.  I can't tell you how scared we both were.  Neither of us said anything, our eyes said it all.  The "baby nurse" quickly came over and asked if she could help me with Anna Grace.  I handed her over so they could work on me more efficiently.  {Later on that nurse told me she could tell I was a nurse myself because I'd stayed so calm}  At this point they tried to distract Gordon by weighing Anna Grace, getting her foot prints and cleaning her up a bit.  From there daddy took over with baby girl. :)  A million people were called into the room to help stop my hemorrhaging.  I closed my eyes and just prayed.  Prayed I'd get to see my precious babies grow.  That Gordon and I would get another anniversary.  I put all my trust into God and those taking care of me.  I was given an injection of Methergine and the anesthesia team was called in to start another PIV and draw DIC labs (clotting test).  Blood was ordered in case I needed an emergent transfusion and a bolus dose of Pitocin was given through my other IV.  Dr. Zepeta put a balloon into my uterus and filled it with 240 cc of water to help stop the bleeding.  When the balloon is expanded with the water it holds pressure on the bleeding vessels (kinda like a huge bandaid).  It also worked like a foley catheter and would drain blood.  Since my foley had been removed before I started pushing another one had to be put in.  After the balloon was in place I continued to bleed for another hour (but not much).  For the rest of the day I received Pitocin through my IV, my blood pressure was checked every 15 minutes and my pulse ox was continually checked.  Every 30-45 minutes my uterus was massaged/checked and I was assessed for any bleeding.  I finally got to hold baby girl again around noon!  If the balloon didn't do it's job Dr. Zepeta said it'd be taken out and another one put in.  If the bleeding still couldn't be controlled there was a possibility of surgery and possible hysterectomy.  For that reason, I was unable to eat or drink anything for the rest of the day (ice chips only).  At 12:30 I started violently throwing up.  Not sure if it was nerves, lack of sleep, all the medicine or not eating in so long.  After that things calmed down some.  I wasn't able to get much rest since I had to be assessed so often....I didn't mind.....I was so glad to have to bleeding stopped and thankful that my epidural had worked through all of this!
There were a few times throughout the day I didn't feel like the best mama.  I didn't change her first diaper, I had to watch her get her first bath from my hospital bed and I wasn't able to breastfeed her until sometime around noon.  Thankfully, we had wonderful nurses that helped me and Gordon out a ton!

3:00  My mama made it to Houston!

4:00  William came to visit with Grant and Emily.  He was immediately in love with his baby sister but a little confused as to why my belly was gone.  Their meeting wasn't how I'd always envisioned (there goes my planning again) but it was sweet as ever.  I still had tubes coming out of me and IV infusions going, so getting him up on the bed with me was a bit challenging.  Luckily, he was very gentle and happy to just sit with his mama.

4:30  At this point the balloon had been in for 6 hours.  That meant it was time to start "deflating" it
to see what would happen.  Every four hours 60 cc of water was removed from the balloon (this happened at 4:30, 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30).  Dr. Zepeta came for the first removal.  He seemed confident that the bleeding had stopped.  To be on the safe side my epidural was kept in (it hadn't been on since 9am but was still in my body in case I needed to go to surgery) and I was kept NPO.

5:30  Gordon took my mom and William home.  Poor little William didn't do well saying goodbye to his mama (to be honest I didn't do well saying goodbye to him).  I think we'd both had a long, emotional day!  Gordon helped get him all settled before heading back to the hospital.

7:30  The last of the water was removed from the balloon and the balloon was removed by the on-call resident.  My BFF, Alison, was here during all of this.  All went well!!!  Again, to be safe I had to stay in my labor and delivery room for a couple of hours to assure I didn't have any more clots/bleeding.  The Pitocin was stopped and they decreased the frequency of vital signs.

MN:  The nursing staff had continued to check me every hour.  Since I'd had no more major bleeding anesthesia was called to take out my epidural, and after not eating for 30 hours I was finally given the go ahead!  Around 12:30 we were finally moved to the mother baby unit, room 1415, where we had to sit and listen to all the million rules.  Don't get me wrong....I was glad to have a thorough nurse....but when you've been awake for nearly 48 hours you just want to close. your. eyes.                        
So, there you have it!  Anna Grace's long birth story.  I sure do make everything interesting.  :)  God answered our prayers on 9.18.15.  I lost a little over 2 liters of blood.  The next day I had some scary clots so oral methergine was started.  I was pretty uncomfortable due to all the "massaging" that had been done (the doctor said I probably had some internal bruising).  Otherwise, things were great!  We were all so happy to have what I now call one of the best and worst days of my life over with.  We were already so in love with our little Anna Grace and happy to have me on the mend!                                                  

To say our 5th wedding anniversary was eventful is an understatement.  It was way different than our normal dinner celebration, but we definitely had a bonding day that made us realize, more than ever, just how much we love and need each other.

I can't say thank you enough to the wonderful staff at Texas Children's Women's Pavilion for taking excellent care of me.  There was never a single moment that I didn't have 100% faith in them.  We have never felt more blessed than we do now.  God has been so good to us.  We have two beautiful, healthy babies and a mama and daddy that are over the moon.  I've never felt more grateful and happy to live this wonderful life.  Life is precious.  You never know when it will be cut short.  So, count your blessings and hug your loved ones!

We prayed for this child and the Lord has granted us what we asked of Him.  - Samuel 1:27  

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