Sunday, April 10, 2011

Special Delivery

She's here! Our precious package arrived at exactly 11:30 pm on March 21st. She weighed 6 pounds, 3 ounces and was 18 inches long. Now, a month later, I'm still loving being a mommy to my beautiful little girl! The following is the story of her birth so I can record it before I forget all the details.

In my last post, I said that I had a doctor's appointment the following Monday at 9 am with Dr. Gamette. Since it was a routine appointment, we assumed we could get ready for school after seeing the doctor so Todd and I just rolled out of bed and went to our appointment without showering or eating breakfast, although Todd did make sure I drank the leftover strawberry shake I'd made for dinner the night before. When we went in for the NST, everything was fine and my blood pressure was normal both times the nurse checked it. Then we had to wait forty minutes for the doctor to see us, and when they checked my blood pressure again, (surprise, surprise) it was once again elevated. Todd and I are really not fond of that doctor, but I made a great effort to be civil. He checked my cervix to see how I was progressing and I was still at 2+ centimeters. He asked if he could strip my membranes again, but it was way worse this time than before, and made me actually scream from pain. When he was done, he calmly said, "And now you're 3+ centimeters." Then he made a snarky comment about how it was a good thing I was getting an epidural because if what he'd just done hurt, there was no way I could survive natural childbirth. I smiled, but had to restrain myself from kicking him in the teeth. He told us that, since my blood pressure was still high, he wanted us to go directly to the hospital "without passing Go" and get some blood tests done to make sure everything was okay. We got to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center about 11 am, and I was taken to room 510 in the Labor/Delivery unit.

The nurse, Amy, had to check my progress again, which again made me scream, but at least she apologized the whole time. Her fingers were covered in blood from where the doctor had hurt me, but I was still at 3+ centimeters. It took a long while for my blood tests to get done, so she brought me a root beer. Then our on-call doctor, Dr. Jacob, talked with us after looking at my test results and said that although I was probably fine, he thought he could make a case for inducing labor, especially since I was only nine days before my due date and Evie was mostly developed. He said that inducing labor would eliminate the risks of seizure that my pregnancy was posing for me, and was our best option. I asked if I was allowed to go home first so I could shower and grab my suitcase and the car seat, but he said no: it would look weird on the hospital records to tell them that I needed to be induced for my health, but to discharge me first. Already knowing the answer, I halfheartedly asked if I could hurry and eat something because I hadn't eaten since the night before, but he laughed and said no, but I could have all the ice chips I wanted. Yay. Todd had a student he had to teach that afternoon, so he said he would grab everything while he was home and bring it back to the hospital. They hooked me up to the monitors and an IV of pitocin at about 1 pm and I immediately started having consistent, but still bearable, contractions. I worked on my stitchery (which I'd happened to have in the car), watched Law & Order: SVU, and ate flavored ice chips.

Todd left at 3 to teach his student, and by the time he got back at 5 (after showering, the twerp), the contractions were strong enough that I wanted my epidural. Amy had been replaced by Alyson, and Todd had her write the baby's name on the whiteboard so that I couldn't change it to name her after the anesthesiologist. :D The anesthesiologist, Dr. Mark Steffensen, came in, and I'm deadly serious when I say he had a glow about him. He was so kind and friendly! He told me exactly what he was doing and what to expect. I swear he was an angel. Then, Dr. Gamette came in to break my water. I was NOT happy to see him, especially because he wasn't on-call and I'd hoped that I'd never have to see him again. But he broke my water (I could faintly feel the gush of fluid, but no pain) and my contractions intensified. However, after upping my epidural dose, I pretty much dozed through them all. During that first hour, I dilated from 4 to 7 centimeters, which is a really good rate especially for a first birth. Alyson wrote the date on all of the paperwork, and jokingly told me that I had to have the baby before midnight so they wouldn't have to re-do all of it. I was fine with that because I think that 3/21 is a cute birthday. Besides, it is the first day of the year that is guaranteed to be in the springtime. :D In the following hours, I went from 7 to 9 centimeters, then from 9 to 9.5, and finally from 9.5 to 10. Somewhere, there was another woman in labor too, and Alyson told us that she would stay with whoever hit 10 centimters first. The other lady won, so I had another nurse taking care of me. At about 10:30 pm, Dr. Jacob came in and told me that it was time to start pushing. I couldn't feel anything below my belly button, so pushing was an adventure. Everyone assured me that my pushes were perfect, but I had to take their word for it, because all I could feel was the pressure in my head increase when I held my breath. In between contractions, I clutched my oxygen mask and sucked air like I was dying. I probably didn't need the oxygen, but it offered me psychological support by letting me think that I was helping my baby have an easier birth. At one point I felt sick, so Todd got me a bag and held my hand while I threw up. Although Evie was head-down, she was facing the wrong way, which was going to make labor longer and harder. So on every push, Dr. Jacob worked her around a little more until she was facing down.

I was afraid I was going to lose in my race against the clock, but after only an hour of pushing (also really good for a first birth), Evie was born at exactly 11:30 pm! Since I still couldn't feel anything, I didn't believe them when they said they could see the head, not even when Todd said he could see her. Alyson made it back to me just in time for the last push and said, "Hurry and look down. There's your baby!" I was surprised and looked down just in time to see Evie slide into the world. I immediately started crying. They hurried her away to clear her airways of meconium and Dr. Jacob delivered the afterbirth. I was shocked that, although I didn't feel any pain when Evie came out, I felt excruciating pain when Dr. Jacob pressed on my stomach to help the placenta detach and my uterus contract. For the last time, I screamed in agony, and then it was over. He stitched up my small tear and the nurses bustled around cleaning and measuring my little daughter while Todd watched and took pictures of her.

Knowing I was starving, Dr. Jacob had asked the nurse to bring me in a root beer and some cookies (mini packages of Oreos and Lorna Doones) as incentive to push (like I needed more incentive than I already had!!). I was hungry, but I was more anxious for all the medical staff to leave so I could be alone with my little family. Finally, we were left alone, and Todd and I were able to hold our little girl. Despite being swollen from the birth, she was beautiful with a full head of dark brown hair and dark blue eyes that she kept trying to open in spite of the eye drops gluing them shut. We tried nursing together for the first time. Then, when a nurse came to get her so she could get her newborn shots, Todd followed her to the nursery while Alyson checked me to make sure my uterus was contracting in size so I wouldn't hemorrhage. I drank half of my root beer and ate half of one package of Lorna Doones (I was saving the Oreos for later), and then I had to get all of my stuff together so I could move down to the Mother/Baby floor. I grabbed everything and held it in my lap while Alyson wheeled me, but I didn't have room for my cookies so I had to leave them behind. I asked if she would bring them to me, but she said that I would be able to get some more once we got into my new room: 420. When we arrived at my room, she gave me a card and pair of pink baby socks from her and Amy, and she told me that it was an honor to have been my nurse and that my daughter was beautiful. Then she gave me a hug and left. Todd and Evie came back, and so did my new nurse. I asked if I could have some food, but despite Alyson's promise that I could have more cookies and Dr. Jacob's statement that once I had the baby I "could order a large pizza," the new nurse would only let me have clear foods. So I was stuck with Sprite and lemon jello. Again, yay. We called my parents to let them know that they were, in fact, grandparents and to describe their new granddaughter and my first childbirth experience.

Finally, 36 hours after my last meal, I was allowed to eat again. I would just like to rave about the delicious food at this hospital! Everything was delicious, but two things stand out in my mind as absolutely amazing: the breakfast parfait and the raspberry chocolate cake. The parfait had layers of vanilla yogurt, granola, fresh strawberries, and blueberries. The cake was chocolate with chocolate frosting, raspberry syrup drizzled over it, and a fresh raspberry on the plate. The best part: I was allowed to have as many as I wanted. :D The food might have been the best part of my hospital stay, although the shower is up there too. It had been 3 days since my last shower when I was finally able to get up long enough to get clean. It felt amazing to be clean again, and when I came out, I got dressed in real clothes (not the hospital gown), held my baby girl, ate a piece of cake, and talked to my sweetie husband. Later that day, Wednesday, we were able to bring Evie home with us. She was healthy, although she was a little bit jaundiced, and we were excited to welcome her into our home. The next day, my family came down to see her, and my mom stayed the next week with us. Eventually, after being on the bilirubin lights here at home for a little while, Evie turned pink again, and we were all healthy and happy. And we still are!