Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Birth of Piper Chloe

***Disclaimer, this entry contains details of childbirth so if you're not interested in reading them, I'd stop here. It's not too graphic, but I don't know how squeamish you are.....

My induction date was set for Monday, July 14, 2008 the week before since my OB's office wanted to be sure that the baby wasn't getting too big. I was 39 weeks, 1 day the morning of induction and my body was starting to show pre-labor signs, but still no labor. We were supposed to be at the hospital at 8am, so my mom came over a little after 7am to be with the kids. They had been up since about 6:30 and were already very excited. Just before we left for the hospital, my mom snapped this picture - our last picture of just the four of us. With bags in hand and a few tears in my eyes, I kissed the kids good bye and headed out to the van knowing that the next time I entered the house, I'd have three kids!

Jay and I listened to Howard Stern on the way to the hospital (romantic, I know but it's always a good distraction) and laughed over the stories they were telling from being off two weeks. We got to the hospital right on time and they checked me in quickly and then we sat down in the waiting area ready to be called back. I remember doing this with both Caroline and Bryce and just sitting there next to Jason wondering how the day would progress. Unlike my other two times, they took me back first to triage instead of immeadiately to my room where they did all the inital monitoring and got my IV in. I had no idea what I was going back there for so Jason just sat there in the waiting room wondering what in the world they were doing. By the time they called him back, I was in a gown, hooked up to a monitor and my IV was about to be inserted. I had the nicest nurse, Karen, who gave me the best IV of my life. She put it on my right arm, well above my wrist/hand so I had full mobility of that arm - a HUGE deal since they usually at least leave the IV in (not necessarily hooked up) for at least 24 hours.

Shortly after, my room was ready and my labor nurse, Rose, came in and introduced herself. Jason and I liked her immediately and were pleased to hear she was there until 7:30pm that night - so I had a goal for myself to deliver before she left! She got me all settled into my room and we decided at that point to let my sister, Chrissa, know that things were moving along and she could come at any time. Then my doctor, Dr. M, came in and did my first check. My cervix was 4cm and 70% effaced - way better than the 2cm and thick from just a few days before! While Dr. M was there, we found out that she had a 14 month old daughter that she had delivered there the year before and that Rose had been her nurse - something that told me that Rose must be one of the best nurses on the unit, which we quickly figured out was true! So we got started on the pitocin and waited for Chrissa to arrive. It was about 10am.

Chrissa arrived and they checked me again and I was only about 5cm and 90% effaced. At that point, they gave me the option to get my epidural before breaking my water and I took it since they knew that the anesthiologist was available. While Jason is completely comfortable with childbirth, the notion of something going into your spine is something he cannot stomach, so Chrissa was my epidural buddy for the 3rd time while he took a walk and called home to check on the kids.

The epidural went really well and the doctor was very efficient. They had this new thing to lean on while they administer it so it made it a lot easier to hold still. Probably my least painful epidural ever. Of course, a little later when I pushed the pain button for the first time, we noticed a sudden drip drip drip from my IV stand. My nurse came in quickly and found that the doctor had simply forgotten to hook the catheter in my back up to the medication on the pole. The doctor came back and apologized profusely - I was just happy that the insertion went well and we noticed the error right away before I was really in pain again.

Then, Dr. M came back in and broke my water - nice clear fluid, which you always want to see. At this point, labor seemed to stall a little since they turned off the pitocin to see if my own. I was still at 5cm a little while later and while my body was contracting on it's own, regularly, they wanted the contractions to be a little closer together and more intense so they augmented me with a little more pitocin.

I was pretty comfortable at this point and was okay just laying in bed in one position chatting with Chrissa and Jason. We turned the TV on for the first time at 4pm and caught the rerun of Dave Letterman on Oprah. As that part of the program concluded, the nurse came in to check my bladder and determined they needed to cath me to make sure my bladder wasn't interferring with the baby making her way down. Not long after she completed this, it was about 5pm and Dr. M checked me. I was at 7cm and almost completely effaced. She told me that there were 2 other women she was watching - one at 8cm and one at 9cm. It was a race! She also mentioned that people don't stay at 7cm for very long.....something I was about to find out and why I never mobile blogged this progression - things went much too quickly! They also moved me back to my left side because laying on my right side made my right leg go completely numb.

However, pretty much as soon as she checked me, things started changing. I had Jason turn off the TV because it was annoying the crap out of me and I started shaking. I wasn't cold, I just could NOT stop shaking - a sign that I was in transition. Jason rubbed my legs and Chrissa rubbed my arm and ran her fingers through my hair which helped me to relax some. Sometime around 5:30, I started realizing the intense pressure I was feeling very low in my pelvis and we called for the nurse. Rose came in and checked me because Dr. M was next door delivering another baby. I was 9cm and she said I was completely right on in feeling like I was - I had been 2nd guessing myself. She told me that she'd let the doctor know and they'd be back to deliver this baby! The pressure was intense during a contraction, but I was okay in between, even though the epidural was keeping the pain at bay in the rest of my body.

However, as we got to about 5:45pm, things started to get VERY difficult. The pressure I was feeling was INTENSE and it wasn't letting up very much between contractions. It was all I could do NOT TO PUSH and I started to lose it because no one was coming to help me. Jason and Chrissa continued their soothing and after repeatedly calling for the nurse, each went out to the nurse's station to summon someone. We understood why my doctor/nurse couldn't come running but why no one else did was frustrating! Jason was afraid he was going to have to deliver the baby, but Chrissa said she was ready if needed.

But, finally just a few minutes after 6pm, in came my nurse and doctor. They broke the bed down in seconds and Dr. M got her delivery gear on. They didn't even check me, they could tell by looking at me that this baby was ready. So they had me push to 10 about 3 times and then Dr. M had me do quick bursts of pushes to get her head out. Jason and Chrissa were cheering me on and exclaiming that she was coming. Of course the thing I'll remember the most is the searing pain of the "ring of fire." (google it if you don't know what it me, it hurts!) I hadn't experienced it with either Caroline or Bryce so it was a bit of a shock, but it hurt so bad that I knew that the only thing that would make it stop was getting her OUT OUT OUT. Dr. M delivered her head and Jason said that while the cord was around her neck, it was loose and Dr. M removed it quickly and easily. Then she had me push a little more and out she came - a little purple, but just perfect!

After a quick kiss and some rubbing, they quickly moved her over to the baby warmer where they did all the usual newborn arrival procedures. She scored 8 and 9 on her 1 minute and 5 minute APGARS, respectively. Finally, after all was done, they gave her back to me and I got to nurse her right away. I was already realizing that I was feeling better than I had after Bryce. I only needed 2 stitches (1st degree tear) and my bleeding was nothing close to what it had been with him. Piper began breastfeeding right away and seemed to be born an expert! I just couldn't stop marvelling at her and how this was the little person who had been kicking me for all those months.

Most other moms I know have said the same thing - your head knows there's a baby in there, but until s/he is laid in your arms, it's just too amazing to fully realize. And then when they are here, you still have a hard time believing it. Your heart is so full and you are just amazed at the miracle of birth. I've been through it 3 times now and nothing will ever rival the awe I have felt at the birth of each of my children. Kind of makes me understand why some women keep having children!

Shortly after getting settled again and the room cleaned up, we called the expectant grandparents and Jason talked to the kids who were at his mom's. I was bursting to see them but knew it would be until tomorrow that I'd see them. My parents, since they live so close, were on their way out the door as soon as they got the call.

Finally, sometime between 8pm and 9pm (the hours after birth are amazingly fast!), they wheeled me to my postpartum room with Miss Piper. Jason made sure I was all settled and then went home to rest himself.

The rest of the stay was a bit of a blur with oodles of hospital staff bugging Piper and me every few hours and little sleep to be had. Caroline and Bryce visited on Tuesday with my IL's and from the second Caroline laid eyes on her, she was in love. She asked to hold her right away and nuzzled and cooed over her like nothing I'd ever seen. Bryce was interested at first and asked a bunch of questions, but then lost interest much like Caroline had when she visited him shortly after he was born. ("Piper" had bought each of them a big sister/brother present - a new Cars car character.) Although Bryce did continously say, "Thank you baby tister for my car!"

Finally, it was Wednesday, July 16 and it was time to go HOME! I have never wanted to go home more in my entire life. My back ached from the stupid bed and I was so tired of my room being invaded every 10 minutes. I missed the kids more than I ever imagined and I was getting stir crazy in that tiny room. (Katie described it as a bad hotel - NO JOKE!) My day nurse, Lauren, on Tuesday/Wednesday had been very good - I think because she was a new mom of an 11 week old - but the rest of the staff drove me nuts. But even though it was the day of discharge, of course, I had no real hopes of getting out of there that early since it seemed to take forever. However, the resident pediatrician came in at 9am to tell me that Piper had been cleared for discharge and all I needed at that point was the okay from my OB. Jason arrived by 9:30 and Lauren came by at 10am to discharge me, take off Piper's umbilical cord baby "lojack" and go over discharge instructions.

The tech wheeled me out just before 10:45am and we were pulling into our driveway at 11am. (Does anyone else remember that drive home feeling so surreal - I'll always remember it with all 3 kids!) And how happy was I to see that Caroline and Bryce were out front with my mom as we pulled up - they started jumping around at the sight of the van and I just couldn't get out of there fast enough.


Christine said...

What a great story!!! And I LOVE LOVE LOVE that there are so many pics of you and Jason, not just the kids. BTW- you looked so great in each of them- so happy and excited! Piper is just so adorable- what a beauty!!!

Katie said...

I agree with christine, you are lookin' so FABULOUS in all of your post-baby photos! What is your secret????

Viv said...

Thank you for sharing your story - I love hearing baby stories!

Funny that you had a epi buddy - Jay wanted to stay but they made hime leave the room both times! And my TV was on from the time I was in the bed - it helped both Jay & I have the time go by faster (and with Victoria he had his laptop too so he surfed the net)

Heather said...

Oh, that is such a sweet, memorable story! I love the last photo of your family of 4...that is special! I know what you mean about hospitals...I was out of their when Gretchen was 12-hours old. I couldn't stand it! It is a bad, expensive hotel!

Krissy said...

Great story Erika! Yeah, I made sure that we got out as soon as all Gwen's tests were done and she was cleared. I think we left in 26 hours or so. But who's counting. I agree too with the "bad hotel" reference. Congrats on all the beautiful pictures!

Erin said...

I LOVE birth stories!! :) Sounds like you had a fairly easy one this time around! (except for the ring of fire thing... ugh... I had that with Ben and felt like I was going to just tear in half down there...)

Thanks for sharing!!! :)