Thursday, 12 July 2012
My baby girl Hannah Elizabeth was born via c-section on June 30th: one week before her scheduled arrival, two weeks before her due date. She was 7 lbs 15oz and 20.5 inches long.
She was originally scheduled to come July 6th via c-section due to a breech presentation. I was totally excited and really wanted to hold out until then because plans and arrangements were made and I was told that scheduled sections are easier to recover from than emergency ones. Well she had plans of her own.
I had no leading indications that labor was imminent. Not a single clue. So when I got up around 6:45 am on June 30th and felt a gush of fluid I had really hoped I had peed myself. I went to the bathroom and felt even more fluid come. Then I peed. I looked in the toilet and it was so cloudy that there was only one possible explanation. My DH, Nate, could hear me freaking out and asked what the big deal was. I announced that my water had broken. He brought me my phone and I stayed on the toilet as the fluid just kept coming and coming. I phoned my midwife.
I knew it was baby time. My midwife told me straight up that since I absolutely needed a c-section due to breech position that if my water happened to break I would just go to the hospital and have her born that very day. I actually had the nerve to scoff at such an idea thinking I would surely make it to my scheduled day. So I talked to my midwife, Cora, and she said she would meet us at the hospital in 30 minutes. I was feeling a little panicky because I had not put my hospital bag together yet. I was so unprepared. And my hair was a mess!
I was a little surprised because I wasn't experiencing any contractions. I felt totally fine except for the discomfort of constantly leaking fluid. I threw my bag together (forgetting a lot of things) and we took a cab. I checked in at triage, getting bumped ahead of a lady because I was "in labor". After I got my bracelet and paperwork I headed up to L&D. They set me up in a delivery room, asked me questions, got me into a gown, and hooked me up to the fetal monitor. Hannah was happy as a clam.
Over the next couple of hours I was asked a ton of questions, hooked up to an IV, met with the on call OB and had a last minute ultrasound to make sure Hannah was still breech and that the c-section was a go. Meanwhile Cora was around for support and my dad and step mom showed up.
After waiting for an emergency c-section and a head trauma to clear through the OR I was wheeled in and prepped. I only waited 4 hours from the time my water broke to the time I was prepped for my surgery. I'm so glad I had Cora there to talk to me while the anesthesiologist did my spinal. It was uncomfortable, but not nearly as bad I thought it would be. After they had my lying down they put in the catheter and a surgical nurse checked me.
She said I was at 5 cm. Cora and I looked at each other thinking, "Say what, now?!" I was somehow already 5 cm dilated without having any pain or contractions. So...apparently I'm the silent laboring type. It blew my mind, just a little bit. I spent the rest of the day in disbelief.
So the team, as efficient as it was, finished prepping me when I suddenly felt a sharp pinch on my belly. I said "ow" and the anesthesiologist looked down at me. He was instantly concerned that I it not only hurt, but that I could feel it at all. He asked me to move my legs and I could a little. I could even wiggle my toes. Apparently the spinal wasn't taking. Crap. I had to be put under general anesthetic and after sighing in disappointment and saying okay I was out like a light.
I came to three hours later in recovery. It's like waking up but without the will power to do so. It took me a while to be able to open my eyes and the anesthesia kept making me stop breathing. That's when I'd hear a machine start to beep so I'd take a few deep breaths to try to get back on track. I had no voice when I spoke because I was intubated, but thankfully the tube was taken out before I woke up.
Nate came by with pictures. He showed me his skin to skin time with Hannah and told me she had to be sent to the NICU for low blood sugars, but I wasn't surprised to hear that. My dad tried to stop by but I was trying to get with it and was throwing up a bit so the nurse sent him away.
After I was lucid enough to leave recovery I was wheeled to the NICU to see my baby for the first time. Nate was by her side. Unfortunately, I didn't get a good look at her face and I was too groggy and in pain for the reality to sink in that, hey, this is MY baby.
After I was wheeled up to maternity where Nate joined me shortly. That's when all the grandparents showed up and it was visitor city. Apparently they all got to see Hannah and take pictures while I was still out. I was okay with that though. At least they weren't passing her around before I even so much as got to touch her. However, I did find out after the fact that nobody was allowed to hold her anyway because she either had an IV or was in the NICU. Apparently only mom and dad are allowed to hold the baby then.
As the day wore on it started bothering me more and more that I still had not held my little girl. I got ambitious and tried to get up, but the pain was too intense and I was about to throw up. It wasn't until closer to 8 pm that I made that first venture on my feet. The nurse said I could go down to the NICU IF I could walk to the bathroom.
That was hell unto itself. It was so painful. But I made it. I had so much motivation in me. I didn't care that I needed to for my own recovery. I just wanted to hold Hannah. So while in the bathroom the nurse helped me out with fresh mesh panties and the most ginormous pad I had ever seen. She gave me a squirt bottle and used that to rinse away all the lochia and clots. I was shivering and miserable, but suddenly the walk back to the bed wasn't as bad. I told the nurse that I wanted gravol so I could go down to the NICU. There is a strict no vomiting policy down there. Instead I threw up while the nurse fetched the gravol. I had a good chuck then had medication to keep me covered. I suddenly felt like a champ. And I finally got to go down to the NICU and hold my brand new baby girl.
The next day I was feeling infinitely better. My appetite returned, my pain management was under control and I could walk. I was in such a good mood too. My stay at the hospital was just Nate taking me down the NICU multiple times a day. Nate was absolutely wonderful. I didn't think I could love him any more, but my god. His support while I was in the hospital was phenomenal. We kept asking the nurses when Hannah would be taken off the IV and brought up to our room. It took a couple of days, most likely because it was a long weekend and the pediatrician wasn't around because her sugars were the stable the whole time. While she was there I started to breastfeed, but the IV made that a little challenging. She eventually figured it out though. The day before were discharged she was brought up to our room. The first night with her was challenging because she cried for about a good three hours. Nate held her and tried to comfort her so I could get some rest. I don't think that was the solution, though. She was likely cluster feeding and wanted some boob.
The day we were discharged an orthopedic pediatrician came to our room to assess Hannah's hips because she was frank breech. Sadly her left hip has a shallow socket and depending which way her leg moves the joint can pop out a little bit. It's not a full blown dislocation so we're lucky in that regard, BUT she has to wear this stupid harness that keeps her legs in a certain position all the time. Basically it's supposed to help the socket deepen so the joint doesn't pop out at all. It was really hard for me to take (and so
was the $200 we had to pay up front for the harness ). An orthotist was there showing Nate how to put the harness on while I balled my eyes out in the bathroom and on my dad's shoulder. I was choked that I couldn't hold my baby just the way she was. Instead she had to be strapped up. I know it's for her own good and it was my first lesson as a mother to do something beneficial, albeit upsetting, for the sake of my child's health and future. Hannah wasn't bothered by it, but I was. She can have an hour out of the harness every day and I can already see a difference in the way her leg sits compared to her first days. We have a follow up appointment tomorrow and then at 6 weeks she'll have an ultrasound done on her hip to see how well the harness worked for her. If she checks out fine then we can wean her off of the harness. So she's not wearing it for a long time. Six weeks isn't that long, it just seems like it.
Otherwise she is healthy and that makes me happy. She is a little angel. And so freaking cute! Nate has been the best dad ever. I'm so happy we're now a family