Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thomas's Arrival

Well, I apologize for taking so long to get to the story, most of you will have already heard it in person by now. But still I must blog it, because as you may or may not know my memory is dreadful, and it is an experience of eternal nature, one that deserves remembering.
As pregnant as I can get!
Expecting the 5th child, Daddy decided it was time to do some learnin'.

I was to be induced on the 16th, at 7 in the morning. I was to call at 6 am, and ensure there was room at the "inn", a mere formality.

Or not. There was no room. My children had all spent the night at my mother's, as we thought we would be leaving at 6 am. Turns out we went back to bed, and were told to call around 11, some women and babies were scheduled to go home, and with fast labors they would still consider doing it then.

Feeling optimistic, we left home around 9 and went to brunch, Bill, me, and Melissa, who was planning to attend to me during labor. As we finished brunch around 11, we called the hospital. The midwife was unavailable to answer. So, we killed time at the mall, which for those of you who don't know, is dying a slow, painful death. At 1, with an awful back ache and a heavy heart, I said to heck with it, and we headed home. Upon checking our messages, the midwife had called to say let's try again tomorrow.

We opted to have the boys stay with my mother. Bill kept telling me not to be depressed, and I finally replied, "I'm not depressed, I feel like I had my head ready to go to the hospital and have this baby, and now someone has hit a pause button. i don't want to do other things, i don't want to talk about anything else, I want to just wait for time to pass and go to the hospital and HAVE the baby."

So, the next morning we were up at 6 and called the hospital. They said to come on down, we would try it again. We got there just after 7, and decided we would begin with pitocin. Pitocin doesn't scare me as it does other women, because with Zachary we used it, and it was begun so slowly and gradually it was a lot like natural labor. The problem we faced was that to be on pitocin the baby's heartbeat must be monitored. Thomas was apparently very excited at the idea of being born, and feeling his oats he wanted to play hide and seek. We spent until 9 doing paperwork (which is actually all on computer in the room now) and trying to keep the heart monitor over him. Every time we found the heart rate again I would be as still as I could in hopes of not losing track of it, but sure enough he would know, and move around anyway!

So the pitocin wasn't begun until almost 11, I think. As a side note, the IV that they put in was begun earlier, around 8, and the nurse literally said, "Well, let's get the IV in as soon as we can so ten they won't send you home." The maternity ward was still extremely busy. Our nurse's name was Alita, and she was wonderful. Can you believe one of the questions they ask was what number (on a scale of 1 to 10) pain level do you think is acceptable during labor? Bill and I laughed about it, and the nurse told us the sad part is they have to ask that question even of first time moms, as though they are supposed to know what to expect!

When they started the pitocin, I had two contractions, and with the second one Thomas's heart rate dropped to around 120. Normal for him had been around150 when he was awake, and in the 130s when he was sleeping. So, the nurse stopped the pitocin, and had me shift positions, and in a moment or two it came back up. She then said we would wait for the midwife to come in before doing anything else, and explained to me that if his heart rate was to drop again, there were 4 things she would do. the first was stop the pitocin, the second was to increase fluids through the IV, then give me an oxygen mask to send added oxygen to the baby, and fourth have me shift positions. The theory at the time was that perhaps he had grabbed onto the cord, or maybe was laying against it, in which case by having me move positions might take the pressure off.

It took awhile for the midwife to come in (I may have mentioned they were crazy busy) and when she did she suggested that she break my water to put an internal monitor on Thomas's head. Trying to be still during the whole morning had really stunk, so the idea of the internal monitor sounded great at that point. So, turning the pitocin back on, she broke my water, and put the monitor on. The contraction I had his heart rate plummeted, I heard the nurse tell me it was 90, but later I found out it had dropped as low as 60. As it began to drop, the midwife said she was calling in her friend the doctor, and the nurse had me start shifting positions. I had enough time to ask if this meant a C-section, and hear her say I think so, before the doctor walked in seconds later, and said something to the effect of, "OK, let's go." Dr. Burkley told me later that she took one glance at the situation and made her decision, but later went back to look at what had gone on with the heart monitor record and it just confirmed to her she had made the right decision.

I found myself being wheeled out in the hall and around to the operating room that was right there on the other end of the floor. It took them awhile to get a sheet over me, but I wasn't at all concerned with that, though I remember thinking any pregnant woman in the hallway would probably have been terrified by the sight of me. Later I learned someone was handing Bill plastic stuff to wear, and Melissa was helping him put it on.
The doctor told me as she wheeled the bed she was sorry we wouldn't have time to talk about this, and I said, "I don't care, I'm totally fine with this, just do what you need to." I remember thinking as we went into the room, "Hm, so this is what this is like. I thought we could end up here, it's not so bad. At least I'm not hyperventilating."

When they got Thomas's monitor hooked back up his heart rate had come back. I found out that instead of putting me to sleep and getting right to it, they now had time to give me a spinal and prepare me for a few minutes. Again, the heart rate came back because with no pitocin the contractions stopped, and the pressure on the cord was relieved. The anaesthesiologist told me to round my back as much as I could, and I remember being annoyed he kept saying to bend my head down more, and I finally removed the oxygen mask and said, "I can't bend because of the mask, if you need me to bend more I have to take it off!" And they said no, leave it on, but they stopped telling me my head wasn't down enough!

Laid back down, my feet started to tingle, and they waited until I couldn't feel anything below my head. I kept asking where my husband was, and they kept saying they were getting him, which I knew wasn't true, because I could hear him laughing nervously outside the door. I also remember briefly thinking that my children would be really ticked off if we came home with no baby, and pushing that thought right out of my head, because I knew we were meant to have him in our family. I had asked if Melissa could come in, and a nurse said it was up to the anaesthesiologist, who politely ignored me.

After they had the curtain up so I couldn't see anything, they brought Bill in, and no, he couldn't see anything either. The doctor had said getting the baby out didn't take long, putting me back together was the time consuming part. Sure enough he was out in moments, and they called the time as 1:43. I remember thinking, "Oh thank you God, he's alive. Is it really 1:43?" Bill asked if he should go get him, and I said "Absolutely." A minute later he brought him where I could see him, and I remarked about his hair, and his ears! He was beautiful!

I asked Alita if anyone had told Melissa we were ok, and she said no. I asked her to let her know the baby was fine, and so was I. I was asked if I wanted Thomas to stay in the room while they sewed me up, or should they take him and get him cleaned up and weighed and stuff since I couldn't hold him anyway. I opted for Bill to go with him to the nursery, which was just as well, because they then proceeded to knead my lungs like bread dough for 20 minutes, or so it felt. I was actually floored that the incision is so low, I thought they were working much higher. And I was very glad my husband wasn't there to see me throwing up laying down, it was horrible!

While they were sewing me up, Chris (my midwife assisted) was telling the doctor that I must have had some kind of mother's intuition, because I had been telling her how nervous I was about labor and delivery. She told her I had even said in her office one day that if it ended up as a cesarean I was alright with that. I thought to myself that the Lord must have been preparing me for this for awhile. The cord was not only around his neck once, but more importantly it was also between his head and my cervix, so every time I contracted it was squeezed. A cesarean was unavoidable.
I also remember my back hurting awfully, and desperately wishing I could turn onto my side! For someone who couldn't lay on her back for months, I was NOT interested in doing it now!
Finally I was moved onto a different bed and brought back to the room. I had these funky things put on my legs that squeezed them to aid in circulation, which meant they didn't tingle awful as they woke up. And there was a recovery room nurse that came in who I REALLY didn't like, she was curt and put a narcotic in my IV without telling me, because I would have said no, I don't want to be sleepy. Fortunately it didn't make me drowsy, so I was able to see Thomas when they brought him in! Melissa had gone to the nursery with Bill and Thomas and her camera, so she took pictures for me... I was a bit disappointed to learn that way that he had already had his first bath...

but he probably needed it, and was so wonderful when he finally showed up. The one thing we didn't get was Melissa's picture with him,
and I think we still haven't, which is a little insane. Something about photographers hiding BEHIND the camera. It didn't work out that she helped me through labor, but I was extremely glad she was there anyway, and not just because she took pictures! I'm also grateful it timed just so that Nicki arrived moments after they took me to the OR, so that Melissa wasn't alone. They were able to keep my mom posted, and my husband wasn't alone through it all.

I have said, and will continue to say, for something that went so wrong, it couldn't have gone more right.

Tiny ears, huh?

Ten toes!
Holding Daddy's hand for comfort.
The pediatrician commented no more jump roping for him. I guess the cord was all kinked and twisted, even with a due date of the 20th, the 17th was the right day for him to come. Daddy says he can still play with fire hoses though, when he gets bigger that is.
Minutes old and he was already entertaining Mommy!
For those of you who have been wondering, they are very happy with him! It took Michael a litle while to get over the fact that we were in the hospital longer than planned, but now he has agreed that it's good to have Thomas!


Tara said...

Glad it all worked out. Must have been nerve racking - at least for some. I'm so grateful for modern medicine - and he's so beautiful! Congrats to the whole family!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...


What a story you have to tell him.

Nicki said...

I can't get over how "old" he looks in that picture at the very top of your blog. I am so glad that he is here. Mel and I were VERY worried and even saw a few tears while we waited. I am so glad that I was there for her, even though we were supposed to be there for you. Oh, and by the way, I took a few of those pics, even if it was Mel's camera. :)

Stinson Family said...

Thanks for sharing your story! Congrats on everything going well.

Alyson said...

yay for you. congratulations. I have been waiting for the update!!