Friday, June 22, 2012

THE Birth Story!!

My delivery day was much anticipated for all the wrong reasons. Part of me started to dread the day that the Dr's would decide that "it was time". The further along I got the more pride i swelled with in being able to maintain a pregnancy against such odds being stacked against us. But the other part of me silently feared the end. Wondered if it would be an end, or a beginning? The end of my pregnancy should automatically equal the beginning of a new life, but we never knew if that would be our reality. Not everyone does, things do go wrong. Tragic things, but most people don't spend 50% of their pregnancy anticipating something going wrong. Some might say that I could have used this time to prepare myself for the potential crisis that may or may not await me. But I couldn't. I could not go there. I always envisioned this working out. Meeting our baby. That was my end goal. Seeing him grow up with his sister. I was terrified about the possibility of not getting to that point every single day. But I did not imagine myself burying my child. I had nightmares of never meeting him. That seemed so real I would wake up literally finding tears in my eyes as I had been crying in my sleep. I had to fully wake myself up and convince myself I was still pregnant and that it was in fact just a very very bad dream.
True Love - and super drugged up and pumped full of fluids...

The day that we met Brandon started out very differently from my usual day. Usually I would awake in the morning at 6:30am to greet the first round of Dr's that come through to check on me several times daily. I had been up the night before for 1am-4am with contractions and was on the monitors for that time. But this was my routine it seemed. I had gone about 2 weeks with nightly contractions and monitoring sometimes lasting until the Dr;s would come in at 6:30am. But they always stopped, just as they had that day. On that day I slept through the morning rounds which is very unlike me. i hate the idea of someone being in my room while I am sleeping and anytime that big heavy door creaked open I was instantly awake. When my OB came in to check on me around 7:45am, he woke me up standing over me, and he too noticed that I was unusually sleeping. Asking if I had a rough night. i informed him it was nothing out of the ordinary, but that if I kep having contractions from 1-4am then maybe I would compromise on having him at 35 weeks instead of 36 ( i sure was convinced I was going to make it that far - I had Feb 27th in mind). He laughed and said that he liked that I was negotiable and told me to hang in there and that I was doing a great job and he would see me tomorrow morning. And I fell back asleep. Slept through the breakfast lady bringing me my lunch and the cleaning lady cleaning my room. Both of whom I loved to visit with. My nurse even came in to listen to him and take my temp and left me sleeping because they thought it was unusual I was still sleeping, so they best let me sleep as I must have needed it. At lunch time my nurse came in and woke me up (as I had been sleeping over 4 hrs now) and she had to check me temp and listen to baby. I woke up extemely tired and almost dizzy. It was very strange I felt so weak. I told her that and they decided to recheck my hemoglobin because I had lost a lot of blood just a few days prior so it was possible that my iron was too low and that this was the side effect. Suprisingly enough to them I consented to a blood draw on a day when i wasn't supposed to have one (when you have them every other day and they olnly have one arm to draw from you get picky about these things). One of the girls I met there who had at that point been there for a month came down, we normal spent a lot of our time together chatting and she had been down for our morning visit and found me sleeping. She came in a brought me some of my lunch from the kitchen as I wasn't feeling good enough to get up and go to the kitchen myself and get it. We visited while I attempted to eat my grapefruit. I got up to use the washroom, and discovered I was again bleeding. Ugh... that explained that whole not feeling good thing. I paged for the nurse and she came and checked things out, and called for the dr's to come and check things out. A few minutes later contractions started. They were about every 2 minutes. But I wasn;t worried at all. I had done this so many times before and had been in much much worse shape, so I was content to continue my visit with Natalie and let the contractions stop like they always had before. The Dr came down and decided to do an ultrasound just to see if they could see where the bleeding was coming from. She was the first dr I saw when I came in at 21 weeks with my water broke. I really liked her then, and had spent the last 10 weeks seeing her. I told her about the pain I had had on the left hand side and she paid special attention to that area, and could even provide explanation as to what it was. Brandon had his hands over his head so every time I had a contraction it was stretching that ligament and due to the low fluid it was causing me pain. I was satisfied with that answer and was happy to let the contractions settle while still in my antenatal room. Unfortunately they didn't like the fact that I was contracting so regularily and felt the bleeding needed to be monitored more closely so they decided to move me to labour and delivery for my 9th and what would be final time. I wasn't happy about this arrangement as they would cut-off my food and water supply and would likely hook me up to an iv. Not to mention the beds were incredibly uncomfortable.

So, they wheeled me down to labour and delivery, and hooked me up to the monitors. I was pleased to hear that the dr that was working the D.R as they called it was Dr. Lopes, and I really liked him and had seen him frequently over the past 10 weeks as he was one of my Maternal Fetal Medicine Dr's. He came in and checked on me and decided he wanted an IV, despite my attempts to desuade him, he felt it was neccesary with the bleeding in case we got into an emergency situation when we needed one and then it would be too late to start one as I was not easy to start an IV on. Under his recomendation I agreed, and my nurse went about trying to start one. Which of course she blew the only good vein I had left in my hand. I asked her to get Robin back (the nurse I had one antenatal, whom I LOVED and she had never missed a vein). She paged her and in the meantime grabbed another nurse to "give it a try". Try is not a word I like to hear! She tried another shittier vein, and of course couldn't get it to start either, so Dr Lopes suggested that anesthesia was in the next room perhaps we should let them do it as it wasn't helping matters wasting all my veins and he could see I was about to decide the IV was off the table. In the meantime I had called Eric and let him know I was down in labour and delivery, as it was his visit night and him Hannah and my dad were coming up that night, so he said he would leave work right away (it was 3pm) and figure out what to do with Hannah. I told him not to worry about leaving early(he was done at 3:30), I was fine, and this is just what I did. He, of course did not listen, and left work right away and called my mom to see if she could leave work early and he could drop Hannah off there. The anestesiologist came in and began trying to start the IV, which was made even more difficult by the fact that I was having stronger contractions every 2 minutes, lasting 1 min 30 seconds so he had 30 seconds to try until the next one. Dr Lopes was in the room the entire time, and Robin (my fave nurse) had come back to and was teasing me through the contractions. We had a running joke about the intensity of the contractions, she was always teasing me that they weren't contractions, just mild cramps. She of course was saying these weren't contractions but mild cramps and Dr Lopes piped up "no that was a really bad one it was 127 toco", and decided he was going to do an ultrasound.

As you will recall I had just had an ultrasound an hr and a half earlier. So, I told Dr Lopes that and he joked with me that today he would be the Dr and that tomorrow he would let me go back to being the dr. We had a running joke about that too, as I was a very well informed patient. So, in comes the portable ultrasound machine, with dr Lopes trying to do an ultrasound, me contracting in a lot of pain and the anestesioligist trying to get a vein, and Robyn now holding my hand through it all. And the pain in the ass labour and delivery nurse telling me that now is a good time to change into a hospital gown, as I had resisted the idea before. Dr Lopes was just finishing up the ultrasound taht changed everything when Eric walked in the door. he showed me on the screen what looked like the same subchorionic hemorhage I had had in the first trimester, put his hand on my shoulder and told me softly. "This my dear is the end of the road for you. Your placenta is abrupting and we need to take you to the OR immediatly. You have done an amazing job and have been so strong it's time to meet this baby." I immediadtly started bawling, asked for the NICU team to come talk to me, and the room turned into a frenzy. Dr Lopes pressed the anesthesiolisgt to hurry up and get a vein, and little Brandon's heart rate began to go into distress. As I watched the numbers climb indicating his heart rate was in distress I had to remind myself to breathe. I was terrified. Suddenly not ready for this, there was no time for the NICU team to come, no time to calm myself down, it was hunk er down and get through this. Dr Lopes assigned Robyn to come in and help with the delivery depsite the fact that she was supposed to be in antenatal, and she of course scrubbed in. Thank God for them, it was soo nice to have familiar faces in the OR with me as Eric couldnt come in. There was some confusion about which OR I was going into and Dr Lopes solved it by saying I don't care, she's here now and we need to deliver this baby NOW. I didn't like the urgency in his voice. I didn't like the panic in the room. I wasn't ready. And the contractions sucked, especially being strapped to what looked like a cross unable to scrunch up with the contractions. We were all ready, just waiting on the NICU team. Dr Lopes was talking reassuringly to me, while at the same time asking where the NICU team was in a rushed manner. I was craning my neck (depsite my head being strapped down trying to see the monitor that was monitoring B's heart rate. Anesthesia was trying to give me oxygen, and i was feeling really clautrophobic. It was terrifying. Part of me just wanted to be put under. Get him out while its still safe, while he still has a heart beat I remember thinking. After what seemed like forever, but was really only 12 mintues from the time I was wheeled to the O.R to the time he was out (it was 4:49 and he was born at 5:01pm). He was born and I was told he cried right away (a really good sign) and was whisked away to the infant resucitation room by the NICU team and Robyn went with them. Eric got to meet him there and they were taken to the NICU. He weighed in at 3lbs 14 ounces and was 15" long. Soo tiny. He was NEVER intubated. One of my greatest fears was intubation there are soo many risks associated, some are even fatal. I am soo proud that he was never intubated. At some point my dad and sister arrived. I woke up in recovery around 6:30pm, and immediatly wanted to know how he was doing. Dr Lopes came in and told me everything was great and that he cried, and that I would get to see him soon, and Robyn came and told me everything wnet great, and then shift change started and I got a new nurse, Heather, whom I also loved from antenatal, and she went about trying to track down my husband, or someone, and luckily my sister was outside recovery waiting to see me, so she came in and told me he was great, but had forgotten her camera in the NICU, but Heather assured me that they would take me to see him on my way to my room in post partum. Eric came in at some point and all the while my dad was with Brandon in the NICU. Eric told me that they had knicked his head with the c-section scalpel and that it looked pretty bad (like it would need stitches but that we were very lucky as they had missed a major artery (that was literally millimeters away). Dr Lopes had apparently told me this when he came in too and I remember him apologizing (but things from recovery are still very fuzzy). Finally I could see him, they wheeled me into the O.R on my gurney. I was not prepared for how tiny he was, and he was big compared to other's I had seen. But he was tiny. But pink, oh sooo pink, and pink meant alive. I was very overcome with emotion, and I just wanted to stay there with him forever. I could not hold him. This was foreign to me. I wanted so badly to hold him. To be there for him while they stitched his head up, but I was in no shape to be any help, but Eric was with him and Dr Lopes did the surgery, so he was in good hands. He needed to stay in the incubator, but I was allowed to touch his tiny warm hand. I didn't want to go to my room. The room I would share with a mom who had her baby. One of the hardest nights of my life. i was exhausted, in pain and just wanted my baby, and i was stuck in a room with a lovely family who had their baby. Although I probably felt worse for them then I did for me, because I was the one crying, not their baby. It was a long long night, I couldnt wait until I felt good enough to stand up and get my butt in a wheel chair to go down to the NICU the next morning.   

Our First Family photo - all the machinery sure is distracting...

There were lots of tears shed, as it was really sinking in that he was here. I was happy to see him no doubt, but terrified about the ramifications of him being born. Would he live? Would they need to intubate him? They told me all kinds of stuff that was all floating through my head and I was trying not to get ahead of myself, trying to have faith it would all work out. But I was sad, part of me felt I had failed at keeping him in depsite my very best efforts. It was a very very rough couple of days. But I'll end this post on a positive note, he was here, and he was doing well.
Soooo true - Brandon's bedroom wall quote!!

That's in a nut shell our birth story.