1 night of FUN, 3 blood tests, 1 positive test, 8 months of craziness, 25hrs of labor, and 22 minutes of pushing until we got to meet our son. He was the most amazing little thing I had ever seen. It was at that moment when I finally understood the words love at first sight. One look at him and I melted. I knew right then and there that everything I had gone though was completely worth it.
It all started August 28th on a Friday afternoon around 2:30 which looked to be a normal day, but apparently my body decided otherwise. I headed to Thunderbird hospital for my NSTs (non stress tests) like I had done twice a week for the last month. They checked my blood pressure and it was sky-rocketed it kept changing but basically around 160/94, which is extremely high for pregnancy. So just to be on the safe side they told me they would run some labs and a urine test. This same week I had my blood drawn like 4 times so no big deal, I expected everything to be fine. The nurse came back with the results and told me that my protein levels were a 2 and my kidneys were starting to fail. At this point I really wasn’t sure what was going on. After that I must have watched Monster Inc. for like 40 minutes before a nurse came in and talked to me again. After those forty minutes that seemed like forever, I saw my doctor heading towards my room around 4pm. My first impression was that she was here to say hi and she just wanted to see the new testing center or at least I was praying that was what it was, but boy was I wrong. She first started off by asking me how I felt which surprisingly enough even with everything going on I felt great definitely better than most days, my swelling even felt like it had gone down. Then she proceeded to tell me about my labs and bp, she had always said that I had pre-preeclampsia and yes I realize that is not very accurate but she could not diagnose me fully and nor did she want to until I declared myself because declaring myself meant immediate induction at any week. I could tell something was wrong but I just kept changing the subject, finally there it was, I had finally declared myself and it was now time to talk about induction. So I asked her when she was thinking we should do it. Her response, I was thinking tonight, today, in a few hours. Oh my gosh, wtf, my heart dropped and I felt sick to my stomach. I wanted to break down but I knew it would only make things worse so I gathered myself together and with little tears in my eyes I asked what is going to happen to my baby, is he ready? At this point I didn’t even care about me I just wanted to know that my lil man was going to be ok. She told me I had now reached a point where it was no longer safe to have him inside of me and taking him out now is the best thing for him and me. She told me she had already talked to the doctors and nurses up stairs and they would be down to get me in a few minutes. I asked her if he was going to be ok and she told me that he would be a preemie but should be perfectly healthy and to not be scared if he needs to have a little oxygen. Her last piece of advice or more of a doctor’s order was that I was going to have to have an epidural due to my condition, which she knew was something I had never been unsure about getting. I was pretty devastated about everything I had just been told but thankful that I had such a wonderful doctor that was willing to come down to the hospital on her own time and explain everything to me. I know that without her words of wisdom I would have felt so much worse. She told me I would do great and that she would see me and my beautiful lil boy on Monday!
The next step was to call Ben; I really wasn’t sure what to say I knew I did not want to explain everything on the phone so I just said “IT’S TIME.” He really didn’t seem too surprised given what had happened last week at Triage. I told him to take his time and I would let him know when to come down here. The next person I called was my mom and you better believe I told her to get here right away. I knew I needed that support and thankfully Beth went with me to the hospital so I was never alone. I was such a wreck, I had nothing with me for me or the baby, my hair was a mess, and I was kicking myself for not eating before I left. I honestly knew I would never be completely ready for labor but being thrown into it like this was a whole different ball game. I had no control over anything; I was now a prisoner in that hospital for what turned out to be the next 10 days.
The nurses came down to get me at 4:30pm to take me upstairs. I was definitely still scared and nervous, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I skipped the whole triage part and went straight up to labor and delivery. My doctor even made sure I had the biggest room which was very helpful. My first nurse came in and started by hooking me up to the monitor and then placing an iv in me to keep me hydrated. Then they checked me and shock shock I was dilated to 1 with zero effacement, which basically meant that we were starting from ground zero. At 5pm they started me on my first set of gels to soften up the cervix. There are several different health concerns with pre clampsia. The biggest concern would be seizures so they had to start me on several other different iv meds, the worst being Magnesium. This stuff was terrible they gave it to me at 6pm and from the moment it went in my whole body, I was hot and I instantly felt nauseous, this feeling never went away. At 6pm they also switched nurses, her name was Peggy and she ended up being there for me twice through out my laboring process, never thought that would even be possible. My mom and Ben arrived around 6:30pm with a bunch of goodies. She went to Kohls and bought me 2 pairs of pjs, a robe, socks, and snacks which of course I was not able to eat. I was so glad she was there and I am not sure what I would have done without her. I love you mommy, thankful for everything!
At 7pm they told me they would be placing the epi in soon but it was up to me when I wanted to have them turn it on. I had no idea they could do this but apparently if you are not 100% sure about having one they can place it in at anytime and then you make the decision of when to start using it. I knew once the Pitocin was started I would probably need it but until then I wanted to feel some pain just to say that I had. At 7:30pm she checked me and I was dilated to 2 and zero effacement, whoopee. Around 9pm I received me second set of gels, the epi was still not turned on but I was definitely starting to feel pain and small contractions. Around this time Ben went back to the house to get all the stuff I needed. Around 9:30pm I started to bleed and they said that was a good thing and my body was beginning the laboring process. My mom handed me her ipod and I started listening to Casting Crowns which I had done throughout my entire labor, it really helped me relax and displace pain. At 10:30pm the nausea was really getting the best of me so I asked for some Zofran, which helped a lot. Around the same time I got to talk to my daddy which of course made me feel better. I could tell he was nervous for me but very excited to meet his grandson. At 10:30pm Ben and his mom arrived back at the hospital, I was so glad to see them I was starting to feel a lot of pain and I needed my support system. At 11pm I broke down and finally decided to turn on the epidural, the gels were causing a lot of discomfort. I told the Dr that I wanted a low dosage so I could still feel my legs. He started me on about 10cc and told me that every hour I would get relief and also gave me a button incase before the hour I felt I needed more. I still remember the first time the epi started; it was so cold and felt like someone was tickling my back. At 11:30pm they started me on the Pitocin, this is when the fun started. At 12pm they checked me and I was dilated to 4 but again no effacement. 7 hours in and I was feeling pain, but nothing I couldn’t handle.
So here we are the start of day 2 and I was feeling pretty good so I decided to take a nap. My contractions were pretty strong and about 5 to 6 minutes apart but thanks to the epi I did not feel anything throughout my nap. At 2am I woke up with some pain and noticed that my whole support system was sleeping. Mom and Beth were sprawled out in there recliner chairs and Ben had the chair/bed in the corner. I tried to sleep but after an hour it was just not possible anymore. Around 2:30am Ben woke up and we started to talk about when we first found out we were pregnant and what we thought our lil man was going to look like. At that moment I forgot about all the pain and discomfort instead I just got super excited about meeting our son.
Right now it is 2:30am, Ben is eating and I am starving. It is just mean to not let us eat during labor, it just makes for an angry woman, maybe if they feed us some food we might be a little more relaxed, ugghh. Ok now that I got that off my chest I will continue. At 3am they checked me again and I was still dilated to 4 which meant in 3 hours there was no progress. This did not surprise me because my mom told me with all her babies she would only get to 4 and then they would have to break her water to get things moving again. At this point I was not doing so well, I was shaky, nauseous, and I had a really bad headache. To top it all off, a mean nurse had just come in and woke everyone up to take my blood. At 4:30am I fell asleep for about a half hour but like I said before I was just not able to sleep. Finally I told the nurse about what my mom had said and begged her to ask the Dr to break my water. At 6:30am my doctor came in a broke my water. What a relief I felt, yes it was really weird but oh so wonderful I instantly felt twenty pounds lighter, Alleluia. 7:00am and now things are really starting to move. My contractions are very strong in the high 50s and 60s and about 3 minutes apart and even with the epi I am experiencing pain. At 9:00am I met Dr. Contant who would deliver my baby later in the evening. She was such a character and I immediately felt like we were both in good hands. My nurse came in at 9:15am to check me and I was dilated to 5 ½. Five minutes later the nurse gave me a bullet ball to help open everything up and get things moving quicker. It really helped and I would definitely recommend it.
It is now 10:30am and I am in a lot of pain, it does not matter how many times I push that button it is just not working. Ben was such a wonderful labor partner throughout the whole process. He would hold my puke tray, feed me ice, (so important) let me squeeze his hand as tight as I could through a contraction and most all, encouraged me. To have someone so dedicated to you and your feelings in that moment is the reason I was able to do this. Did I believe in myself, yes, but were there times when I felt defeated? Absolutely. My mom and Beth were watching my contractions for me as I worked through them. I didn’t learn much in my birth classes but I did learn to not hold my breath and take long deep breaths so that is what I did. I remember that right before I would have a contraction on the monitor I would feel a tingling feeling in my lower right side, then I would hear my mom say, “It is coming get ready to breathe.” The last 8 hours was pretty much like this, but every hour they got worse. In the earlier hours of labor the epi blocked out all of the contractions allowing me to conserve my energy but not anymore. I was feeling everything and these things were no fun. I told the nurse my concerns about the epidural not working anymore. She explained to me that it might have came out and she would call the anesthesiologist to check it and if so they would put it back in.
At 11am I was dilated to 6 and 80% enfaced, still not a lot but something. Around 1pm I felt a little relief but unfortunately it did not last long. 1:30pm dilated to 7 and 90% effaced. Still able to handle the pain I decided to try to take a nap. I woke up at 2:30pm in so much pain, dilated to 7 ½ and 90% effaced. At this point I needed something. The doctor told the nurse to give me morphine. A little side note: If you know me at all you know how much I despise pain medication but let me tell you what, at this point morphine was my utopia. I was given the morphine at 3:45pm and I mean green utopia. Apparently after it kicked in I was high as a kite and cursing like a sailor. The funny thing is that I don’t remember any of it, which is why I don’t like pain meds. I will have to get a quote from my brother because even I couldn’t believe it was me. However, I do remember getting some relief from the contractions.
At 4:45pm the nurse came in to check me I was dilated to 9 and 90% enfaced. She told me that we would probably be having a baby in a few hours and she would be back to check on me then. I couldn’t even believe my ears, I was hurting BAD and I still had a few more hours. I wanted to give up no joke, I wasn’t sure if I had a few hours left in me. My epidural had already worn off and is useless now and I had already had my limit of morphine, all of my options were dwindling.
Only about 5 minutes had gone by before I was in the WORST pain of my life. I am not sure what was going on but I was feeling an urge to push. I remembered the nurse saying a few hours so I was trying to hold back but the pressure was too much for me. I told my mom to call in the nurse to check me because I am starting to push. Sure enough the nurse checked me and FINALLY at 5:10pm I was 100% dilated and effaced. The next ten minutes seemed to be taken right out of a movie. The nurse ran out of the room to get my Dr and everyone else started running in. Dr Contant came in without her gloves or scrubs on, it was pretty insane. The anesthesiologist had still not come back in to check my epidural and by this point it was too late. I just kept telling myself that the pain would not get the best of me and I was going to do this, I had to do this.
The next 10 minutes was kind of a blur. There was so much going on and I couldn’t even function anymore. All at once I was given oxygen, gels, a shot, and the anesthesiologist ran into the room to put something in my IV. I didn’t think to ask what it was but he told me that after about ten minutes I should start feeling some relief. The next thing I remember was Dr. Contant telling me to slide down the bed and get ready to meet your baby.
5:30pm and time to push. I have thought a lot about how I was going to describe this part without freaking out any mommies to be but then I would be leaving out a main part of my story and no one wants to read a story without a climax. From the moment the Dr told me to slide down the bed I was ready. I didn’t care about anything anymore. Normally I am a pretty shy and the idea of people seeing my lady parts was NOT something I was comfortable with, but at that point nothing matter to me anymore I just wanted him out. All of the worrying about people seeing me and what not was out the window. I was like a free bird. The bigger the spread the quicker the labor. Well it is true.
The pushing was definitely more intense than I would have thought it would be. I am sure if the epidural would have still been working it might have not been so bad. Part of me is glad that it wore off because I could feel everything. Every contraction, push, pull, and yes tare. It was an amazing thing. I felt him moving down and I had control of my own body and legs. Yes the nurse and my mom were holding them in the beginning but when the Dr found out I could feel she let me just go for it. It took three pushes to get him down the birth canal. Apparently he was going up and down, he was definitely a little stubborn. When he started to crown the Dr told me I was going to tare and then asked me if I wanted a episiotomy or just to let it happen. I had done a lot of research on this before and I was glad she asked. I immediately said no, just let me tare and so she did and YES I remember it. It wasn’t too bad but I could tell. After the crowning the pushing go WAY more intense. It felt like I was on fire down there and I was pushing so HARD to get him out. I did not hold back at all. I grabbed underneath my legs and waited for a contraction. As soon as I felt that evil thing coming I bared down put my head to my chest and pushed harder than I ever thought I could. At this point I was hurting, honestly I was crying and in so much pain I felt like giving up. I remember Ben coming up to me and whispering in my ear, “I can see his head he is so beautiful, you can do this baby you are almost done.” That was the last thing I needed to hear to finish it off. After the 3 pushes to get it down it took 8 to get his 14 ½ inch head out and just 1 other to get him completely out. When his head was out the Dr paused so Ben could take a picture of it. Again before I would have thought this was weird but now that I can look back and see those moments that I couldn’t, it is truly unbelievable. It was the most amazing feeling when I felt him release from me. I told myself that I had done everything I could do and the rest was up to God.
As soon as he came out, they placed my slimy son right on my chest. It was the most amazing moment of my life. I had never seen anything so BEAUTIFUL. I was so in LOVE. I remember looking at him, rubbing his face, feeling his ten fingers and toes, he was a miracle. Travis was born at 5:53pm on the August 29th 2009. He weighed 6lbs2oz and was 19 ¾ inches.
I only got to spend a few minutes with him until he was taken from me and placed in the NICU. They told me his lungs were not fully developed and due to all the medication they had me on for the preeclampsia he was going to need around the clock care. I kissed him and told him. “Mommy would see you soon.”
More to come on Travis’ days in the NICU.