11.21.2012

A BIRTH STORY

Before too much time passes I wanted to sit down and write the story of our little peanut's birth. I worry that as the days and weeks go by, the vivid memories of that day and those that followed will slowly fade.  Though some may find this to be too much information, it is how our Josephine Faye made her way into this world...it deserves to be told in every last detail.

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I went to my regular weekly doctor's appointment on Halloween. Just as I had been at my previous appointment, I was about a centimeter dilated with a very soft cervix. We discussed all of the scenarios if I didn't go in to labor by that Sunday, November 4th (my due date). If she didn't come on her own by the middle of the following week, we would schedule an induction for the Thursday or Friday. Even after talking over the induction scenario, though, my doctor told us that he had a feeling we wouldn't have to wait that long. As we left the office that day he joked with us that we could make an appointment for that following Monday, but he would most likely be seeing us that weekend. In the back of my mind I remember thinking how great that would be if we did go in to labor that weekend since my doctor was on call and would therefore be guaranteed to deliver our baby. I also remember thinking "Holy crap! I could be having a baby any day now..."

After hearing that labor could be imminent, every little jab and cramp I felt the rest of the day evoked a mini panic attack. Not knowing for sure when everything would happen was a bit anxiety inducing, to say the least. That night, Pete and I sat around waiting for trick-or-treaters and joking about how we didn't want to have a Halloween baby. We talked to my belly saying, "Hang in there just a little bit longer, little one."


Much to her mom and dad's delight, our baby girl listened. November 1st rolled around with no baby and no signs of labor. That day I went out to pick up some groceries for dinner, all the while wondering what I would do if my water broke in the middle of Trader Joe's. Thankfully, I made it home with baby still happily inside my belly. That evening, I was feeling really uncomfortable. The baby was moving a lot. With little room to move, every kick, jab, and roll felt like she was going to come right through my belly. In bed that night, I struggled to find a comfortable position to sleep in. The baby was super active and I just prayed she would calm down a bit so I could get a good night's sleep.

I woke up at around 1:15 that next morning. I am still not sure what made me wake up. I didn't have to use the bathroom and the baby wasn't moving around at all. In retrospect, I think it was my body telling my brain that I needed to get up...that something was happening. As a habit, I reached down to check my pajama pants for wetness. After hearing that labor could happen at any time, I was constantly "checking" for signs of my water breaking. I really didn't expect to feel anything, so when my hand touched a huge wet spot on my pants I immediately freaked out. I quickly pulled my hand up to look at it, and I saw blood. I jumped out of bed and saw two huge pools of blood in the bed. I woke up Pete, told him I was bleeding, and we immediately went in to "get to the hospital quick" mode. Everything that happened after finding the blood is still a blur. I just remember shaking and trying to put a coherent sentence together to tell Pete how to contact my doctor and what needed to be put in the car. Since it was the middle of the night, my doctor's number rang at the hospital and we were told that the doctor on call would call us back shortly. When we didn't immediately hear back from the doctor, we decided to just jump in the car and head to the hospital. I somehow managed to get myself cleaned up enough to get in the car.  We threw our bags in the trunk and off we sped to the hospital.

When we got to the labor and delivery floor, we checked in at the desk and described to the nurse what had happened. It seemed like we were at that desk forever. There didn't seem to be any sense of urgency to get me in to a room and checked. I don't think anyone really understood just how much blood there had been. The whole time, all I could think about was if my baby was okay. I hadn't felt her move at all since waking up, and my mind of course went to the worst possible scenario.

After what seemed like an eternity, we were finally brought to a room where I changed into a gown and waited for the doctor to come in and check me. The nurse placed a sensor on my belly to monitor any contractions and I was also hooked up to a fetal heart monitor. I can't tell you the relief I felt when I heard that strong heartbeat. The doctor came in soon after and checked me to see if she could determine the cause of the bleeding. She used a speculum and when she inserted it a huge gush of blood came out. She looked at me and said, "That is definitely a good amount of blood." She then said that they were going to hook me up to an IV, get some fluids in me, and then go ahead and perform a C-section. I wasn't prepared at all for a C-section. I hadn't done any research on them. I don't have any close friends or family who have had one. But in that moment, my biggest concern was the health and safety of my child. I didn't even think twice before saying "OK".

I was immediately hooked up to an IV and was given a bunch of forms to sign. Pete then went and called our family to let them know what was going on. After getting the IV, all of the emotions that had been building inside finally overflowed. The triage nurse who was in the room with me was so sweet. She held my hand and kept reassuring me that everything was going to be okay. Once I was pumped full of fluids, they came in to wheel me to the OR. Pete put on his scrubs and went to a room to wait while they prepped me for surgery.


In the OR I was given the spinal anesthesia and my legs immediately began to go numb. They laid me back on the table, inserted a catheter, cleaned and prepped my belly, and brought Pete in. Everything happened very fast after that. Before I knew it, the doctor had made an incision, and within 10 minutes I heard the strong cry of our daughter. It was the most surreal moment! Equally surreal was finally sharing her name, Josephine Faye, for the first time. Josephine was immediately taken to the warmer where she was cleaned up a bit and weighed. Then, she was handed off to Pete who brought her over to me. After months of waiting and wondering what she would look like, we finally got to see our daughter's face for the first time. What a joyful moment that was!


The doctor stitched me up, and after examining my placenta, she still couldn't give us a definite cause for the bleeding. Our little girl just wanted to be born that night, and that was her way of letting us know!

Once the doctor closed up the incision, we were taken back to our recovery room where we stayed for a couple of hours before being moved to our long-term room. I was shaking pretty badly from all of the anesthesia, so it was a while before I was able to hold Josephine for the first time. Once I was finally able to hold her, I remember thinking how tiny she was! And, how unbelievable it was that Pete and I made this little person!


The next couple of days were spent recovering and getting to know our new little bundle. There were a bunch of "firsts"... the first diaper change, the first bath, the first sleepless night...


Because I had a C-section, we were supposed to stay in the hospital for 4 nights. Unfortunately, Josephine lost a lot of weight and was jaundiced after birth. She was born at 7lbs 3 oz and at her lowest weight was 6lbs 5 oz. So, we were forced to stay an additional night in the hospital to get her weight back up and get her bilirubin levels down. We supplemented her feedings with formula and she spent 24 hours undergoing photo therapy. Those 24 hours were tough. We could only take her out of the lights for feedings, and we couldn't keep her out for more than 30 minutes. She was such a champ, and barely fussed. She handled it much better than her parents!


Thankfully, those 24 hours did the trick and we were discharged the next day. While it was great to have all of the additional support of the nurses and doctors over those 5 days, we were so ready to get home and start our new adventure as a family of three!


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I try to put all of the scary moments from that night out of my head, and just focus on the wonderful miracle and blessing of our daughter. Flashes of memories from the start of that long night still creep in every now and then, though. I think a part of me is still trying to come to terms with all that happened, and with the fact that I still have no explanation for all of the bleeding. Regardless, what started out as a very scary ordeal had the happiest of endings. Josephine is happy and healthy...and we could not be more in love!

2 comments:

  1. Oh, Erin.That story is a treasure. So glad you took the time to write it down. And the pictures are great. Can't wait to see you in December. Love you guys.

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  2. Whenever I read a birth story, it always makes me cry. Every mom and baby has such a special, unique and memorable way in which they entered the world. One day Josephine is going to be so happy and proud to read about how brave her parents were... Congratulations again. Can't wait to see you all in April :)

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