Monday, September 10, 2012

Ford Birth Story Part 2

As soon as she stuck the monitor on my belly we could hear that all familiar sound of a horse running rapidly down a track. Ok. Deep breath. His heartbeat is there and sounds good. My doctor's face completely changed. A sense of relief washed over her. She told us to get comfortable because she was going to want me to stay for a few hours to monitor his heart rate and just make sure everything was ok. So now that our second son seemed to be doing well, the focus was on figuring out what to do with our first who was not going to last in a tiny observation room in the hospital for a couple of hours. Marty stepped out and made some phone calls and got family to get on their way to pick him up. In the mean time my boys were hungry for lunch, so they went down to the cafeteria to eat something while I just relaxed in the super plush, comfy bed I was in (yeah right!). I watched a little TV, played on my phone and gave the news that I was in the hospital "for observation" to a few friends & family. One of my good friends was in Colorado and I had specific instructions to keep this baby in, until she arrived home. She texted and asked how my doctor's appointment had gone that morning and I had to break the news that I was in the hospital. However I assured her, I was NOT in labor and they were just watching me for precautionary reasons. I was sure I'd be headed home in the next few hours. Another friend who was going to be photographing the birth for me was wondering if she needed to gather her equipment & head to the hospital and I, again, assured her there was no need for that. I'd be leaving in a few hours to go home. I was not in labor, so there would be no reason for me to stay at the hospital. Marty came back a little while later without Ty, and we just sat in the tiny closet of a room talking and looking at our phones. The baby's heart rate continued to look good. As we sat & waited I started having contractions. They weren't extremely painful, just uncomfortable. Lo & behold they started coming on somewhat of a regular basis. They weren't very close together, maybe every 12-15 minutes, nevertheless regular. So we watched my spikes go up on the monitor and, as we did every time I've had a baby, we watched all of the other contraction monitors that were up on my screen and talked about which woman must be getting ready to have her baby and which one was just dramatic and showed up at the hospital when she wasn't really in labor. "Oh look at that girl's contractions. Whew! I hope she has her epidural by now!" and "That girl's contractions aren't even half way up the graph and they're like 25 minutes apart. She's not in labor. Geez...what is she doing here?" My contractions stayed far apart but continued to come pretty regularly. My spikes went almost to the top of the graph every time I had one. The nurse came in at one point and said, "You're having pretty regular, strong contractions. I'm surprised you're not in more pain. Are you feeling those?" Well yes, of course I was feeling them. She asked on the 1-10 scale what my pain level was and I said, "About a 4." I always wondered what the answer to that question actually tells them. I mean, the contraction monitor speaks for itself as far as how strong the contractions are and everyone has a different threshold for pain. So are they really just asking, "How big of a wuss are you?" After I'd been there a little while, my doctor came back in and wanted to check me again. I felt a little excited because I thought maybe since I had been having so many contractions that I might be more dilated and she would say, "Oh! You're in labor...let's get you checked into a room!" Nope. Same number as I'd been for weeks. When she finished her exam, she said, "Well your bleeding has stopped and his heart rate has looked good the whole time you've been here, so I'm thinking you might be good to go home. Disappointment. Of course, the most important thing was that my baby was ok, and he was. But I did have some anticipation that maybe since I was already in the hospital and since I had started contracting some, they would just keep me and we'd get to have a baby! I expressed my concern about having regular contractions to my doctor and she asked if the contractions were picking up in intensity. They weren't. She said since they weren't really increasing in intensity and they weren't productive enough to change my dilation, I wasn't really in true labor. At this point is when I believe God really "stepped in" as the orchestrator of this day. (Of course, he was always the orchestrator, but this is when it became clear to me.) Something in me said, "Don't go home. You shouldn't go home." If you know me at all, I am not a person to question a doctor or their advice. So, when that nagging feeling would not subside, I knew I had to speak up about it. I said, "I really don't feel like I should go home right now. For some reason, I feel like if I leave, I'll be coming right back." So my doctor was kind enough to appease me and she said, "Ok, well why don't we just keep you here for another hour or so and we'll monitor you for that hour and go from there." I agreed that was the best idea. She said she'd be back in an hour. Not 5 minutes after she left the room I had a contraction that had me gripping the side rails of the bed. Well of course, the contractions would pick up and get "real" as soon as she walked out of the room. A few minutes later, a nurse walked in and said, "The baby's heart rate is having decelerations and we're not sending you home tonight. We can't send you home with that going on, and we'll either keep you to go ahead and induce or we'll just keep you overnight for monitoring. I've called your doctor and I'm waiting to hear back from her on what she wants to do." Marty decided he should run home to get my bag. I hadn't packed my bag for the hospital until very recently and I just happened to get all of my toiletries organized in a group on the bathroom counter that morning so if something happened and I wasn't able to grab my own stuff, I could tell Marty to grab the whole group on the counter and I'd have everything I needed. I was glad I did that. My dad had decided to stop by and check on me, so Marty asked if he wouldn't mind staying with me until he got back so I didn't have to be alone. I was so glad to have my Dad there. The reality was starting to set in that we would probably be having a baby very soon and the worry that something might be wrong was unsettling. While Marty was gone, my doctor came back in the room to chat with me about what she wanted to do. She sat down on the stool next to my bed and said, "I have good news & bad news. Which do you want first?" I answered, "Bad news." She said, "I have a plane to catch in an hour. But the good news is that I think we need to just go ahead and have a baby tonight."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ford Birth Story Part 1

I'm writing this story really for my own benefit, but thought I'd share it with those of you who like these  sorts of stories. I fear if I don't write out as much detail as possible from this experience, the memories will start to fade and eventually be gone forever. Unlike all of my other births (which I remember with perfect clarity) the memory of this one is a tad on the fuzzy side, so I want to make sure to document it. It is, in fact, one of the most traumatic experiences I've ever gone through. I will include details of all kinds, like what I was thinking and things I remember hearing & seeing. I don't plan on being super graphic, so no worries in that department. However this is a story about birth, so if you are not into that sort of thing you may want to just go back to browsing Facebook or whatever it is you were doing before you stumbled upon this. If you like birth stories as much as I do, read on. And buckle up.

It was a Thursday morning. And just like I had spent the last few Thursday mornings, I had my weekly OB check-up. I was 38 weeks. This was to be my last appointment before my scheduled induction exactly one week later. Like always, I had Ty with me (since he didn't go to school on Thursdays and that was my Doctor's OB day) and Marty met me at the office to help me with him during my appointment. We had a very short wait in the waiting room, but enough time for me to update my Facebook status that I was at my last OB appointment and that next week we'd be having a baby.

The nurse called us back and we did the usual blood pressure, weight check (always super fun), pee in the cup drill. When we got into our room the nurse came in with some paperwork and said, "Ok, I called the hospital this morning and got you first on the list for induction next Thursday." "Sweet," I thought. As any 38 weeks pregnant lady would feel, I was READY. Ready to not be pregnant anymore and ready to meet my baby boy. You see, there wasn't a 100% guarantee that I would be induced in a was only if the hospital had room for me, since I didn't have a medical reason to be induced. So the fact that she got me first on the list was great news. I remember her telling me she had never had a patient first on the list and not get in for induction. Even better news. Ty was born at 39 weeks and weighed in at a hefty 8 lbs, 11 oz. so I really didn't want to go past 39 weeks if I didn't have to. And my doctor was totally on board with the plan, so we were all good to go. My doctor came in and asked how everything was going, and I had my typical response of, "Good. Fine. Nothing New." with a smile. I lied back and she put the doppler on my basketball of a belly and we all listened. My favorite part of those appointments. Heart rate was somewhere in the 130's like usual. Perfect. Then it was time for the ever so lovely dilation check. As much as that's not the most pleasant experience, it did always come with a certain sense of excitement. "Maybe, just maybe there would be big change from last week!" When she told me "my number" I felt a little disappointed. It hadn't changed from last week. It was the same it had been even the week before. Bummer. But the feeling of disappointment didn't take over, because I did have my light at the end of the tunnel after all. One. More. Week. I could do this for one more week. As my doctor finished the exam, I started bleeding. A lot. I couldn't really see what was happening because I had a sheet blocking my view, but I could tell from her reaction, she was a little alarmed. Alarmed. Yes. But just a little. No need to panic. She said, "'re bleeding." She called the nurse back in the room and then she ran out to grab some towels and came running back in. I just sort of stared ahead and watched everyone around go into motion. Marty was getting Ty out of the way. My doctor was calling down the hallway for a wheelchair. She told me she was going to take me over to the hospital (it's right next door) and just check some things out. I remember saying, "Do I HAVE to go in a wheel chair? Can't I just walk??" I didn't want to create a scene leaving her office being wheeled out! She looked at me like I had lost my mind and said, "Get in the wheelchair." As I got up from the exam table, I then realized why there was a bit of panic going on. My feet and the bottom half of the table were covered in red. Hmm. Alrighty....guess I'm getting in this wheelchair. After I stood up my doctor asked if I wanted to just go like I was or put my pants back on. "Hmm...let's wheeled out into the waiting room, down the hall, down the elevator, outside, down a corridor and into the hospital with nothing but a thin white sheet covering me.......or......have pants on?? Umm...I think I'll take the pants please. Thanks." I wiggled myself back into my jeans that I wore almost EVERY day of the last weeks of my pregnancy and remember worrying that I would get blood on them and THEN what would I do!? She started to quickly push me down the hall and outside, down the corridor that led to the hospital. Behind me, Marty carried Ty and I heard him say, "Daddy, why is Mommy in a stroller?" I about died laughing. Then my mind went straight to, "Whew! I bet I am not easy to push in this thing. I am no feather weight at this point." Nevertheless, my doctor pushed on...and increasing in speed almost to a full out run. It started to sink in at that point that she was worried. She needed me at the hospital, in an exam room as soon as she could get me there. Once in the hospital, we went straight to one of their OB triage rooms where they can monitor the baby and contractions. She barged in one of the exam rooms like she was in charge! I remember thinking, "Woah...can we just go in there without even seeing a nurse or an admissions person or anyone??" Seemingly in fast forward motion, she had me get on the exam table, grabbed the monitor for baby's heart rate and the bottle of sticky gel, squirted a big glob of cold gel on my belly and stuck the monitor on.