Saturday, May 19, 2012

Our Birth Story

Yesterday BGT was ONE MONTH OLD so I figured now was as good a time as any to share her birth story. Disclaimer: this is going to be a long and wordy post with many run on sentences and unnecessary use of commas. Apologies in advance.

I never really thought about asking anyone about their birth story until I was pregnant and curious (freaked out) about the process. Now I'm still curious and it is nice to hear other people's stories to compare. Several days ago I stumbled upon a link up for new moms on Kelley's Korner Blog. I was surprised to find several people who had very similar birth stories or back stories and even some babies with the same birth day! So here goes...

As with many other parents out there, we struggled with infertility issues. We kept our struggle private and told only close family and friends. That, looking back may have not been the best idea because we were constantly getting asked the dreaded question that starts shortly after you are married, "So, when are you going to have a baby?" It is natural for people to be curious and afterall we had been married several years and together for many more, however each time I answered "We will have to wait and see" with a smile painted on my face, my heart would break just a little. In the beginning we thought it may just take some time to get pregnant but as the months rolled by we began to think something may be wrong. If you have never struggled with infertility it may be hard to relate, but when you are having trouble conceiving it seems like everyone around you is pregnant or has a new baby. There is a huge internal conflict with a wide range of emotion from love and happiness for your friend/family member/co-worker/etc. to the emotions no one talks about like anger, jealousy and bitterness. It takes a lot of inner strength and personal growth to push past the negative and focus on the positives. After several more months with no success, I spoke again with my doctor, we went through fertility testing and learned that we would not likely be able to conceive on our own. We weighed our options and started infertility treatments.

When we finally learned we were pregnant (because our risk of miscarriage was increased due to the fertility treatments), we made the decision to tell only close family and friends. That proved to be very difficult. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops and tell complete strangers in the grocery store. At my first ultrasound she was just 4 weeks and the size of a poppyseed so we started referring to her as our little poppyseed. By the time we were able to hear her heartbeat I almost fainted. It was the most wonderful sound in the whole world. The ultrasound tech had a strange look on her face and switched to another view. She pointed up to the screen and asked how many red and blue flashes I could see on the screen and I told her I could see two, she said "Me too". We could only see one gestational sac but two heartbeats. They told me to come back and we would repeat the ultrasound to confirm whether there were one or two persons growing in my tummy. When I called Sean and told him, it was his turn to freak out. When we went back to the doctor they confirmed there was one and only tiny person in there. I have to believe that whatever happened it was all part of the plan.

I had a wonderful pregnancy from the beginning with only minor pregnancy symptoms here and there. I thought, "I was made for this!!" When found out she was a girl I started shopping right off the bat! But by 22-23 weeks I still had not felt her move and both my OB and I were concerned so my OB Dr. B sent us to a specialist, Dr. G-R. We had the craziest ultrasound that took over an hour and looked at her single body part and organ system. It looked like a camera was inside my stomach. My sister Lauren and I stared in awe as we watched the blood flowing in and out of her kidneys. I had no idea such ultrasounds even existed. In the end all was well and Dr. G-R confirmed she was moving, I just couldn't feel it.

On the morning of March 13th at 35.5 weeks I had a doctors appointment and was told my BP was elevated. I had never had an issue with BP in the past, even in pregnancy. I had not gained a lot of weight nor did I have a family history of high BP so I was surprised to say the least. I had some swelling in my ankles and feet which started the weekend before and I hadn't felt 100% but didn't know anything was wrong. She let me know signs to check for and suggested I stop by a pharmacy every couple days to get it checked. My sister Lauren's wedding was that weekend so I didn't have time to check it but the following Monday- the 19th I did and was shocked to find out it was 166/95. (I was told to call if 140/90 or higher.) The pharmacist would not let me leave or even stand up until I called my OB. I did and they told me to come right in which I did. They admitted me to labor and delivery and put me on 24 hour observation to monitor my BP. If my BP did not go down or my labs came back showing signs of pre-eclampsia they would go ahead and deliver her. I was totally freaked out. We did not even have a car seat and I was still interviewing pediatricians. I called my best friend Heather and she sat with me while Sean went home to pack me a bag. My labs came back clear and because my BP was fine when I was sitting or laying down, they released me and put me on full bed rest. Bed rest was hard, especially since I had such a great pregnancy before. The goal was to " keep her in" until at least 37 weeks. However, I did "beautifully" on bed rest per Dr. B and kept her tiny tush in place all the way through full term.

For the last month of my pregnancy I was dilated just over 2 cm, completely effaced and +1 station with not a contraction in sight (not a single tiny one). I had weekly to sometimes twice weekly non stress tests to monitor my BP's effect on her. My due date came and went and they scheduled an induction for 4 days past my due date on April 18th. So on (my birthday) April 18th at 6 am we arrived at the hospital to be induced. They broke my water and started my Pitocin just after 7 and immediately her heart rate went down. They put me on oxygen and her heart rate went back up. It took about an hour but I started to feel contractions. They went ahead with my epidural because they were controlling my contractions with the Pitocin. They kept me on the Pitocin for several hours but when they tried to increase the dose high enough to put me into active labor she would have full blown decels. Around lunchtime my OB came in and checked me and I still had made no progress. She was concerned about the decels and because she was so low for so long (a month), her head was experiencing molding from being in the birth canal. She cautioned me that if she had another decel it would be an emergent c-section and could put her and me at risk. She would recommend moving forward with a c-section. We were not willing to risk it so we moved forward with the c-section.

7 lbs, 8 oz. 21 1/4 inches long

While they got me prepped and anesthetized Sean had to wait in Labor and Delivery. They were actually running late getting Sean and so by the time they got him back I was already open on the table. (A shock for him I'm sure) My surgery started at 12:30 pm and at 12:36 pm we had a baby. I could hear her crying and Sean could see them lift her over the curtain but I couldn't see her. I can not even begin to explain all the feelings that came over me- joy, anxiety, relief, panic, happiness and bliss to name a few. When they brought her around to me and put her on my chest it was the strangest feeling. It was like meeting someone I already knew. I know that makes no sense whatsoever but when I looked at her one of my first thoughts was "oh, its you- of course that is what you look like." I couldn't hold her because of the epidural which was very difficult because I wanted to grab her and hold on to her.

They took Sean and the baby away to recovery while they finished my surgery. It took about 10 minutes but it felt like several lifetimes. After the surgery my doctor came around to check on me and showed me with her hands the size of my pelvis. (Which was ridiculously small!) She explained that we made the right decision in moving forward with the c-section because BGT was actually stuck under my pelvis and would never have been able to come out on her own. Because of this she had a bruise on her temple the size of a tangerine and her head was definitely a "cone-head" but to me she was perfect.

Birthday Girls!

When I got to recovery they put us skin to skin and she breastfed. It was the most surreal moment. I was a mommy to this tiny precious baby and she needed me. I did not think I was going to breastfeed so I made zero preparation but even in her first moments of life she had a mind of her own so I guess it was meant to be. We were in recovery for about an hour before they moved us to our room and let the family come back. I think waiting was the hardest for my mom because we had planned for her to be in the delivery room prior to the decision to have the c-section. In her first few hours she met literally dozens of family and friends.

Headed Home
We were in the hospital for 4 days. I was up walking the day after the surgery and was feeling great. We thought we were going to be discharged but unfortunately my body had other plans. My BP was fine the entire time we were in the hospital until the day we were set to go home and it sky rocketed. They held us another day. I was so upset because I just wanted to go home and start our life as a family and I felt like my body was betraying me. The next morning my BP was still high and they started me on BP meds. They held us all day and we thought they were going to hold us another night but thankfully my BP lowered just enough to give us the green light to go home. So on Sunday, April 22 we left the hospital as a family of 3.

After everything was said and done I can say that without a doubt she was worth every minute we hoped, prayed and waited for her.

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