Tuesday, 29 May 2012
This is a guest birth story from Cheryl of The Beautiful Side of Hectic
First, Hi! And thank you Mandi for letting me post on Mamaroo! I always love meeting new people and sharing something that I seem to be a junkie for, birth stories. Our story is a little bit different than some peoples, and I’m warning you, it will probably be long!
First things first. I’m Cheryl and I have 2 girls, Lauren who is 5 and Jillian who is 3. I decided to share Jillian’s birth story because it was the most eventful or stressful. Whatever word you’d like to use! We currently live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, but we’re originally from Nova Scotia. For those of you who don’t know Canadian geography well, we’re now in the middle of the country, instead of the east coast. We were only supposed to be here for 3 months, and now we’ve been here for 4 years. Guess it’s time to call this place home.
I grew up as an only child. Adam was the eldest of 3. We decided (ok… I decided, but he was on board) to have children close in age to each other. When I first met Adam I was set on 6 kids. He didn’t run away screaming, instead we both took the ‘wait and see’ approach.
Nothing with Jillian’s pregnancy was easy. “Problems” arose with her pregnancy at 12 weeks gestation. Lucky me! (And Adam…. He didn’t leave me high and dry or anything… Although he might have wanted to!) To say that I was pretty much exhausted by August was an understatement.
On a very sunny HOT September day in Toronto, my friend Anna had a baby at 24 weeks gestation. I had been to visit her and her son often. Her son and Jillian were supposed to be born 3 days apart. You’ll see how well that worked out. My friend Bree returned from out of country and wanted to lend support to Anna as she had had a 24 weeker as well. Deciding to try out my new double stroller, we loaded Lauren and Lincoln in and headed to the hospital, just a few blocks away from my house. After our visit, we walked home and I noticed my underwear was damp. Did I mention I was only 29 weeks, 3 days at this point? Seeing as Jillian was breech, I tried to come up with every possibly scenario for damp underwear. Obviously, I knew what was happening. I just didn’t want to admit it. Thankfully, Lauren still napped, I put her down and went to lay down myself. Just to see what happened.
When I got up, I felt a familiar trickle again. I thought… “Hm. I know what this is… I don’t think I like it”. I promptly called Adam to come home. I told him what I suspected happened and his immediate response was “But it’s not November yet” really?? Thanks for that Captain Obvious! He came home, I headed to the hospital by myself, figuring they’d send me home. And they did that first night. They managed to get 2 positive amniotic fluid tests on litmus paper, but not on a slide. Mostly because they tried to take a sample before it leaked again. I was given a shot of steroids to help mature Jillian’s lungs and sent on my way, told to call my OB in the morning.
Upon calling my OB, I was pretty much yelled at… He had NO clue why I was sent home. He told me he’d meet me at the hospital and we’d go from there. Lucky (?) for me, I was admitted on the spot. A breech baby with leaking amniotic fluid was exactly how I wanted to spend my next 10 weeks pregnant. On bed rest.
When I was first admitted, I was allowed up a little. To get some water, go to the bathroom, whatever. That privilege was taken away quite quickly when the nurses realized I would contract for a while after being up on my feet for 5 minutes. Jillian and I endured 2 daily NST’s (Non-stress test) and LOTS of rest. I could only go to the bathroom if the nurse was outside my door and a 5 minute shower every 2 days. Gross!
On the night of September 7th, 2008, I was once again hooked up to the NST. Jillian’s heart rate was chugging away at 190 bpm for over 20 minutes. I was trying to blame it on something. ANYTHING. I had visitors that afternoon that had brought me a coffee. Right. A small Tim Horton’s coffee had that effect on me 7 hours later. Nice try. My OB apparently didn’t think I would make it through the night and ordered an IV to be placed, however he hadn’t made it back to tell ME that, so I was quite confused when the IV team showed up!
All night long, everytime I rolled over in bed, I would start contracting. Do you know how difficult it is to stay in ONE spot when you’re 30 weeks pregnant?! Brutal and torturous! Since my water had previously broken, I wasn’t supposed to get internal exams done, so my OB announced he’d do an ultrasound to check for any progress. Ultrasound was at 8am, according to that, I was still closed and thick. Good signs. We tacked it up to Braxton hicks. They’d go away. Or so we thought.
By 9:30 or 9:45? I was getting contractions every 5 minutes. Still figuring they would go away, I anxiously watched the clock. Finally a few minutes later, I decided I really needed to concentrate on them to get through them. Breathing and wishing it would just stop. It wasn’t time. I was only 30 weeks exactly.
I finally paged the nurse. She came running since I NEVER paged. Having been there for 3 days previously, the nurses knew I would NOT call and ask for anything, just whenever the peeked their heads in. I explained what was happening. I had to stop a few times for contractions. She immediately paged the resident on call, STAT to my room. Cue panic stations! (My dad was in the military. I like this phrase. Basically all hell broke loose in my room!)
The resident hemmed and hawed and wondered if she should check me. I was connected to another monitor. Contractions now coming every 2 minutes and INTENSE. The nurse and I told her to just check me. I’d been on oral antibiotics for a while, so we’re covered. Once she gloved up, her whole face fell. That was NOT the look I was hoping for, when someone has their hands all up in your lady parts. She said “Well… She’s 3 cms… But, I feel a foot and it’s kicking me… Do I push it back up?!” I think I said “Oh hells to the no! Don’t piss her off any more! Get a real doctor.” I’m a gem in labour, really.
Frantically between contractions now coming every 1 minute, lasting for almost as long, I called Adam. I told him to get to the hospital ASAP. He asked if he could shower. I said “NO. If I’m not in my room, I’m in the OR. Come. NOW.” I made a deal with a nurse and a social worker since we didn’t have child care for Lauren. They would watch Lauren so Adam could come to the OR. I was finally put in a wheelchair. (I was having a repeat c-section because Jillian was breech, plus my previous c-section scar had started to thin around 20 weeks pregnant) As we’re walking down the hall, I see Adam coming from the opposite direction. PHEW! I could NOT do that alone! Even though I had worked out a deal for someone to watch Lauren, someone pushing me said “Say good bye to your husband” I wanted to leap out of the chair at that moment! Also? It’s said that women who are close to pushing sit on ‘one cheek’. I was doing exactly that in the hallway. I was thinking “if they don’t get me in there soon, I’m going to cough her out.” Finally, I am in the OR with the spinal in place. My OB was there and he had been on call all night… I tend to tell jokes when I’m nervous, so I said “Please don’t let him do the cutting. He was up all night”. Everyone laughed. A little break in tension. I was warned Jillian may not cry and she’d be taken immediately to the NICU. I was so unbelievably nervous. After receiving the spinal, I was checked again. 6.5 centimeters. With her size, I COULD have coughed her out in the hall.
At 11:01 am on September 8th, 2008, we welcomed Jillian Nicole into our family. Since she was breech, I had a lovely view of her bum before they took her to the NICU. Jillian was born screaming, obviously angry we yanked her out of her hot tub.
10 Minutes Old
I told Adam he had to go with her. She couldn’t be alone for the first few minutes of her life. I was fine on the table. I could see the conflict in Adam’s eyes, but reluctantly agreed. He came back with pictures and video to sustain me until the spinal wore off. 2 days before Jillian’s birth, I told Adam that this pregnancy had been too hard. If he wanted another child, I’d do it for him, but I was done. We opted to have my tubes tied that day, as much as I dreamed of having a large family, I am perfectly happy with the 2 girls I have.
Jillian stayed for 5 weeks in the NICU, mostly gaining weight and learning how to eat. She started showing me from day 1 how stubborn and strong she is. I can only hope that I’m the one who helped her with that. ;)