Sunday, July 31, 2011

Journey to Abby: Part 3

     Tuesday evening, 6:30pm. Dr. Pandya just told me I would need to get a c-section. He explained that since it seemed that Abby was not being able to handle my mild contractions as it was, she probably wouldn't be able to handle my contractions once they were stronger on the pitocin. He was really worried. I didn't object much because I knew that he knew my stance on intervention, and because he and Dr. Cohen had really tried to make a natural birth happen for me, and they had compromised with me when I wanted to leave the hospital earlier. I knew that they felt this was really necessary. I sat there in shock, tears running down my face, heartbroken.
     My husband was there beside me holding my hand as we heard this news. I just looked at him and cried. I felt upset. Upset that we had taken classes that we would not be able to use after all. Upset that we had done all this preparation for a natural birth for nothing, b/c I never had a chance. Upset that we weren't even sure what was going on, was the cord around Abby's neck, or was she just grabbing it when she moved. Upset that I was going to have to go through pitocin and then still get through birth without an epidural. Upset that even that option was taken from me, and I would be bypassing all of that straight to a c-section.
     But, there was no time to dwell on any of that. Nurses came in to prep me right away. I had already been pumped full of a bag of saline solution. The nurses put a hair net on me, and shaved me (which was so not pleasant). Then I was transferred to a wheel chair and the anesthesiologist got ready to wheel me to the operating room. As he was wheeling me out, my MIL arrived at the door and I was able to get a much needed hug from her. It was a sad moment as I could tell she was trying not to cry for me, and I had just finished my crying, but seeing her made me start all over again. Thankfully the anesthesiologist cracked some joke and made me feel better. Now I've heard that most people do not enjoy the doctors making jokes bedside; they find it inappropriate. However, it was exactly what I needed! 

Getting admitted to the hospital finally
All ready for surgery
Getting ready to be wheeled to the operation room
     We got in the operating room and they sat me on the table. I told them I had to pee SO badly, and the anesthesiologist said that they could put in the catheter right then so I could relieve myself, but that I would probably want to wait the few minutes it took to give me the Spinal; I opted to wait! My friend Nurse Jackie stood in front of me and held me up while the anesthesiologist prepped my back and gave me the numbing shot first, then the Spinal. The numbing shot made me jolt a bit, but let me tell you how NOT as bad it was as the stupid IV that they gave me earlier; it was like getting your blood drawn, which I also don't like, but it's much better than getting a huge needle stuck in your arm for an IV. After he gave me the Spinal I told Nurse Jackie, "Uh oh, I think I might have just peed everywhere!" because I was beginning to feel a very warm sensation. I was worried that once I was numbed, I didn't have complete control over those muscles anymore, and my body decided to relieve itself right there. But she checked and said I was fine. They said it was just the numbness kicking in.
     They quickly got me onto my back, spread my arms out, and started hooking me up to all these little wires, etc. Then the doctors came in (both Dr. Cohen and Dr. Pandya were going to perform the surgery for me!). And Dr. Cohen began singing... that's right.... I forgot to mention, they had Dr. Cohen's iPod hooked up and playing through the sound system in the room so the mood in the room right when I got in there was so light and fun. I enjoyed some Beach Boys, Queen (I think), Disney, Classic Rock, and I can't even remember everything else, but it was all great music, and therefore Dr. Cohen would occasionally sing along; again, this didn't bother me either, I actually found it quite entertaining.
     They put the little blue shield up to block me. Now this was the sorta scary part. The paper, I always envisioned, was near the chest. Nope. It's RIGHT in front of your face. So I have the oxygen mask on still, which is drying my eyes out, I need to cough desperately, but I'm having a difficult time b/c I'm on my back, and half of my body is numb and the muscles needed to cough are therefore numb, those numb muscles are also making it quite difficult to breath, and now this stupid blue paper is right in front of my face, rubbing against the oxygen mask, making me quite claustrophobic. Great!

     Tuesday evening, 7pm. Finally, G was able to come in and he stood next to my head the whole 15 minutes it took to open me up. I knew they opened me up, not because I felt anything, but because I could tell when one of their hands moved across my belly. I just knew that they had to have just sliced me open. Very weird to feel it and yet not feel it at all. Anywho, those were the quickest 15 minutes of my life, I don't really remember much. Just a lot of tugging and moving around of my belly. All the sudden Dr. Cohen says, "We have a lot of meconium here guys." This freaked me out some because I know that can be a serious issue. Babies are usually taken to the NICU and have some kind of infection from swallowing their first poo. But he didn't say anything else about it and just kept on going.
     Finally G stands up for some reason and then says, "I see her!" Except... I can't hear her. I start to panic immediately. I think that something happened; the dips in her heart rate earlier were really a big issue and we should have gone in for the c-section earlier because something was wrong. I started to shout as calmly as possible (through tears): "Is she alive? Is she alive?" But no one was answering me. Of course this only served to terrify me even more. Thankfully, G finally answered me and said that she was alive, and she screamed at the same time. It was the most beautiful sound in that moment (now, however, that is to be questioned!)
     The doctor told me then that Abby's umbilical cord was very very short, and that it was a great thing that we had done the c-section. Her short cord is what was causing the decelerations in her heart rate earlier that day. Had we gone through with natural birth, she wouldn't have been able to make it all the way through because her cord wouldn't have reached. We most likely would have had a still birth. Praise the Lord that we chose to stay and then agreed to the c-section!
     They took her to the other side of the room to begin cleaning her up, and G was able to go over to her and be with her while I was to get sewn up. Thankfully the anesthesiologist stayed right there with me the whole time, so I wasn't alone. So, I began asking him all kinds of questions, "What is that number mean? What is that splatter I just felt? What are these little wires? What is the combination of drugs that is in the Spinal that you gave me? etc etc" Before the surgery, I asked Nurse Jackie if they were going to put me out for the surgery, and she said not unless I get too anxious and freak out. Once I started asking all kinds of questions that the anesthesiologist said he's never been asked before, he jokingly said he might have to put me out for talking too much! hahahah! Of course, I'd be the one that is threatened with that type of action during major surgery! 
     Shortly thereafter, the nurse brought my precious daughter to me and I was able to see Abby for the first time! She was absolutely gorgeous! No lies! I've always stated that I do believe there are ugly babies, and that I've prayed that the Lord would give us a cute baby. Because while I would love my child no matter what, I would still be able to tell if my precious sweet baby was ugly! Thankfully the baby in front of me was so adorable! The nurse held her to my face for a few minutes and I got to stare at her sweet face and cry tears of joy that I finally was able to meet this little human that had been growing inside me for the past 9 months. Abby was then taken to the recovery room, and G went with her, while I finished in surgery.
     The doctor, anesthesiologist, and I began chatting and cracking jokes at that point. It got me through the rest of the surgery, which lasted another 30 minutes (the whole surgery was 1 hour total). Finally, I was all sewn up and ready to be taken to recovery to be reunited with the new addition to my precious family. They wheeled me into the recovery room, and G says I was loopy from the drugs because I started telling him all about the Disney Cruise trip that my anesthesiologist was taking with his family soon. I remember this because I was NOT loopy. I felt perfectly fine... too fine I guess! ahahah! But I really did feel completely sane mentally speaking.
     And then there we were, just me and my baby, and G. It was the most beautiful sight when I was wheeled into the recovery room. G was hovering over the little plastic hospital bed Abby was in, and he was just staring at her in silence. It was wonderful; I wish I could have captured that moment with a picture. I knew right then and there that she had captured his heart and our lives would never be the same.

Nomi Sarah with Abby
Gdad Randy and G and baby Abby
Gma Carol and Abby
Dad with Abby
First Family photo... sorta

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Journey to Abby: Part 2

     Tuesday morning, 8am, my mothers took me for another slow but long walk around the block. The walking by this point was becoming a bit more difficult as my back was starting to hurt some, and the menstrual cramps were still slight but present. When we got back to the house I had a piece of toast and 2 hard boiled eggs and we headed off to the hospital.

     Tuesday morning, 10am, we arrive at the hospital and I tell them that my BOG broke and I think I'm going to have a baby today! They escort me to a room, and I slightly freak out. I mean, they are just casually taking me to any random room, and all I can think about is how THIS is the room that I will have my baby in, and my life will forever change... all in this one room.
     We get into the room and G and my mom begin unpacking our bag and setting our things up. The nurse brings in the awful gown and tells me to get undressed and put it on. I tell her that I was hoping I could just wear the bathing suit cover up I was currently wearing. She told me it would get dirty, and I told her that I knew that and I got it specifically for this. Surprisingly enough, she didn't argue with me, she just said, "okay." Phew, Potential Fight #1: Avoided!

     I was worried, however, b/c I was still leaking and didn't want to NOT wear any underwear, but she told me I wouldn't be able to and that there was a piddle pad on the hospital bed for just that reason. EW! I was definitely NOT pleased by this piddle pad situation. It was awful! I wanted it changed constantly.
     Once I got settled in, my nurse Melissa came in and introduced herself and set me up on the monitors to see if I was having any contractions; she also gave me a little button to push whenever I felt little Abby move. Turns out my doctor was the one on call that day and when he came to see me they decided they would do a test to see if my BOG had, in fact, broken. While this test was being done, it would take an hour, I continued to be monitored, and we found that I was in fact having contractions. So those cramps that I was having earlier were in fact contractions, proving that you can have contractions and NOT know that you're having contractions.
     During this time, we played a short game of Farkle, and Melissa would occasionally come in and look at the findings from the monitors. She told me that they were slightly worried because they were seeing decreases in Abby's heart rate. We didnt' think too much of it at that time, however. Then the doctor came back and said that the results were that my BOG did not actually break. WHAT?! Then what on earth am I leaking?! I never actually got a specific answer as to what it was. They said that pregnant women tend to pee themselves and that's probably what happened to me. Um... I went and stuck my head in that spot on the bed the morning before, and it did NOT smell like pee. I KNOW what pee smells like. It was NOT pee. Plus, when I got up to go to the bathroom, and I was finished peeing, I was still leaking... that's NOT pee. Whatever, they didn't seem to care much. Someone mentioned something about how it might be meconium. But, if my BOG hadn't broken, then why would I be leaking meconium. It didn't make any sense to me, and no one ever ended up giving me a hard answer as to what it was, so whatever. We move on.
     We move on to the fact that Abby's heart rate is continuing to have slight decelerations, and that is beginning to seriously worry my doctor. I asked if it was because of my contractions, but he said that the decelerations were not coinciding with my contractions, so it's not because of that (If they were coinciding with my contractions, it's completely normal for baby's heart rate to go down slightly, and then it goes back up).
     My doctor knew my feelings about any medical intervention, and knew that I wanted to go natural. When we found out that my water did not actually break, we talked about going home and waiting it out a little longer and trying to get labor going naturally. I contacted my birth instructor again for advice, and she was pleased that I had listened to my body b/c my BOG hadn't actually broken. And that the next step was up to me, but she did mention going home and trying to get things going naturally as an option. G and my mom began to pack everything up in preparation for leaving. If my BOG hadn't broken, then there was no reason for me to be sitting in the hospital. My contractions were starting, so I would probably be back late that evening or the next day and having Abby anyways, why wait around the hospital that whole time and have them certainly suggest intervention b/c I had been there for so long.
     We waited for the doctor to come back in to let him know our decision. We asked him what time he would like us to come back later that evening so we could be monitored again (to ease their minds). He said that he could not give us a time b/c he did not advise us going home and thought it was a very bad idea since Abby's heart rate was still decelerating. Plus, even if it wasn't, today was my 10th day and they would want to induce labor anyway. I didn't care about that, I wasn't going to let them do that, especially since my contractions had clearly already started, it was just a matter of time before I would be back in there having Abby. But what did concern me was the decelerations in her heart rate. The doctor said that it could be that she's just tugging on the umbilical cord, or pressing against it every so often and that's causing it, or maybe the cord is wrapped around her head. But they said they couldn't find out exactly which it was, which made me opt for going home.
     Before the doctor came in I was super set to walk right out of that hospital and go back to G's parents and wait it out and let nature takes its course. Melissa told me I would have to sign a form saying that I was leaving against the doctor's wishes, and that if anything happened, that basically, it was all on me. But as I was talking to the doctor, one thing continued to tug at me. That little button they handed to me and asked me to press every time I felt Abby move... I had pressed it maybe 3 times in the 6 hours I had been there so far. This was beginning to really worry me. I knew that I would not be able to live with myself if we had gone home and something happened to Abby. I would be to blame for my stupid decision to go home instead of staying at the hospital. Only I knew how I was feeling and what was going on in my body. And I was getting this feeling that I needed to stay.
     Thankfully the doctor, knowing how set I was on a natural birth, compromised with me. He said he would prefer to have me stay and allow me to be off the monitors for short periods of time to walk around the halls to try to get things going, as long as I would not leave. This also made me realize that he was very serious about me not leaving. So, I changed my mind and decided to stay. G walked me around the hallway a few times and we came back and hooked the monitors up to check her heart rate. Being up and able to walk around made things much better. Firstly, I put underwear back on no matter what they said b/c I was NOT going to leave a leaky trail throughout the hospital. Second, when a contraction came, I was able to practice some of the standing up positions I learned in my class, and it made dealing with the contractions much more manageable. After a few rounds of this, however, my back began to hurt and I decided to take a break and lay down for a while before starting it up again.
     We turned the lights off and I turned on my left side (what is supposed to be best for baby) and proceeded to take a nap. All the sudden a new nurse came in and began to put an oxygen mask on me, waking me up. She said that Abby's heart rate was going down again and this should help. It got me slightly worried, but she seemed calm so I decided not to freak out too much. That oxygen mask was super irritating. It didn't rest flat against my nose so the oxygen would come up the top and dry my eyes out.
On the dreaded Oxygen

     Tuesday evening, 6pm, my other doctor came in to talk to me. This is the same doctor from my appointment a few weeks prior that I had a great experience with. I was super excited to see him. He also knew how important it was to me to have a natural birth and both he and my doctor seemed to be trying very hard the whole day to make that happen for me, which I really respected. My new nurse, Jackie came in with him as well. Jackie is my friend from high school, actually Jr. High as well. I borrowed her school cheer uniform for Halloween in Jr. High. Good memories. Anywho, Jackie wasn't actually working that day, but was called in b/c they were so busy, so Melissa let Jackie be my nurse, or however it worked out. I was very grateful to have Jackie with me through this process.
     Dr. Pandya said I needed to make a decision about what I wanted to do very quickly; whether I was going to go home, or get things started with pitocin. He was suggesting Pitocin b/c of Abby's heart rate. They felt that it was time to get her out. I asked if it would be possible to stop the pitocin once contractions became stronger and formed a good pattern, to which he said yes. But, if the pitocin didn't work, they would try another medicine to get my contractions going. Because I still was not feeling Abby move, I decided that I would just have to deal with it, and hope for the best. I agreed to the pitocin.
     A nurse came in to hook me up to an IV and get me started on the bag of saline solution before they could start me on the pitocin. As the nurse was trying to find my vein and stick me with the ridiculously huge needle, I turned my head so I wouldn't have to look and all the sudden saw several nurses from the nurses station in my room. I jokingly asked what was wrong since they were all in the room, and one responded that Abby's heart rate had just fallen again, obviously quite dramatically this time, if it caused 3 nurses to come in. While they are all scrambling around me and pressing buttons, and doing what not, the nurse hooking up my IV is having a difficult time. More nurses come in, Melissa and Jackie as well, and by now there are over 10 people in the room, including my husband, mom, and FIL. Melissa proceeds to go help the nurse putting my IV in, and I hear her say, "this vein is not working," and she starts to take it out.... WHAT?! I was already crying from her shoving it inside my arm and now she was taking it out and starting over somewhere else. Thankfully Melissa took over and quickly got me hooked up. She picked the vein right at the wrist, at the base of the thumb... how awfully painful people! Let me tell you! That is NOT a fun spot.
     I'm also crying b/c there are now many people in my room and I am hurting from the IV, and I am starting to really freak out. After a few minutes they all leave, and I am sitting there in shambles.
     Then, Dr. Pandya comes in with Jackie again. He sits down on his little swivel stool and looks at me. And at that moment I knew. I knew what he was about to tell me. He said, "Meghan, we need to do a c-section." And I broke down.

Getting my Saline Solution hooked up

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Journey to Abby: Part 1

     Sorry for the super long delay here.
     Obviously I have good reason, but still, I know you're all anxious to hear how we welcomed our little girl into the world. Since the story is super long (and well, let's be honest... I'm long winded, so I'm going to give you all the details), it's going to be posted in parts. So, you'll have to stay tuned for the rest of the story. 

     Also, because this blog is also for Abby to look at in the future, as well as myself, for when times passes and I remember nothing on my own and need the help of technology, this story is going to include all the details, whether they be nice and neat, or ugly and dirty. Please use this as forewarning that if you do not care to know all the details, including the not so pretty ones, you might choose to stop reading now. 

Journey to Abby

     Monday morning, 2am, I suddenly awaken. It takes me a few moments to realize that I'm wet. Yup, I'm wet. Crap! I'm WET! I jump out of bed and race to the restroom! I'm too old to be peeing my pants, so I'm slightly freaking out that this is the moment... my water has broken. I'm also panicking because I know that once your water breaks you are supposed to haul booty to the hospital. This was, of course, NOT in our plans. Ideally, labor would start, we would labor mostly at home (G's parents house in Bako), and then towards the very end, we would haul booty to the hospital for the actual delivery. This approach would help us to avoid as much intervention as possible (yes, our plan was to deliver naturally using the Bradley Method).  
     Needless to say, I started worrying. What should I do? G was still sleeping soundly, and I didn't want to wake him until I had taken time to think things through and come up with some options. I went back to the room to check the bed, and sure enough there was a small spot on the bed. I bent to smell it to see if it was in fact pee, and I could stop worrying that it might be my BOG (bag of waters). But nope, it did NOT smell like pee, it didn't smell like anything in fact. I immediately went to the computer and began researching what to do when your water breaks prematurely. Of course, many and most suggest going to the hospital right away, simply because this is what the doctor's and nurse's suggest doing because of the risk of infection. However, I found a lot of research that supports waiting a while, and not rushing to the hospital, especially if you do not want any kind of intervention.
     In fact, everything I read said that 95% of women whose BOG breaks prematurely will naturally start labor within 48 hours. Being careful not to put anything up the vagina will help ensure that you do not get an infection. Of course if you run to the hospital, the doctor's will do a vaginal check, therefore creating a greater risk of infection. They tell you that because they are using a sterile glove, there is no risk. But think about it, whether they use a sterile glove or not, the problem is anything going back up into the vagina; THAT is what creates the risk of infection, and when they do that check, that is just what they are doing, moving anything outside the vagina back up into the canal. So what wasn't a problem initially has now become a problem, and therefore you definitely need to stay at the hospital because your risk of infection has just gone up. 
     I even read a story about a gal who waited 3 WEEKS after her BOG broke before her labor started. She did not go to the hospital, but waited for her labor to start naturally, and ultimately she had a healthy baby girl. Let me tell you, I would not have waited that long, that seems a bit extreme to me. 
     Knowing that we wanted to avoid as much intervention as possible, I confidently opted to go back to bed and hope that my labor would begin while I slept so that we could go to the hospital in the morning, or at least later that day once contractions got close together. So, around 4:30am, I put a towel on the bed, hopped in, and succumbed to my dreams once again. Oh, I forgot, as I was getting into bed G rolled over and asked what was going on, I told him that I thought my BOG had broken, but to go back to bed, we'd discuss it in the morning. 

     Monday morning, 9 am. G and I both wake up, slightly freaked out, still. As we're sitting in bed trying to figure out what to do, I suggest contacting my Bradley instructor and asking her for advice. I sort of remember her saying that if your BOG broke first, to go straight to the hospital, so I figured I knew what advice she would give me, but I decided to call anyway. Of course, she did in fact suggest going to the hospital right away. I told her about all the research I had done and that I felt confident waiting. Because my BOG had not gushed out, but rather it was just slowly leaking; and because it was clear and not yellow/green to brown/black in color (which could suggest that there was meconium: baby's first stool), she felt slightly better about me waiting and gave me some suggestions about how to get my labor started. 
  • Go to the store and get some castor oil and make a shake. One part ice cream, one part orange juice (or something acidic), and 2 tbsp of castor oil. Because I was nervous about the use of castor oil, she had me use just 1 tbsp. 
  • After I drank this concoction, I was to take a very brisk walk. Up some hills maybe, and definitely do some curb walking. 
  • Then come home and rest for 10 - 30 minutes concentrating on seeing if any contractions were beginning. 
  • Take a shower 
  • Then go straight to the hospital whether or not labor had started, because by then it would be 12 hours since my BOG broke. She told me that she was not comfortable with me waiting at all, but that I knew my body and should pray and do what I felt that God was telling me to do. 
     None of this happened in this way. I failed. 
     Knowing that we were going to be heading down the Bako either way, we decided to pack up and get our things ready. We put all the last minute things into the Hospital bag and packed all our things in the car. We stopped by the church so that G could drop some things off and give the girls some instructions about the rest of the week, since he wouldn't be there. Then we stopped by the drug store for some castor oil, but we didn't want to buy a whole gallon of ice cream and orange juice and go back home. So we went to the coffee shop next door and asked them to make the shake for me. It was actually super good! They didn't have vanilla, so they used Pineapple coconut with the orange juice, super yum! I couldn't even taste the castor oil. We had lunch there and after that, it was time to head to Bako, no time for any brisk walk. 
     We got to G's parents house and decided that we would try to get things started naturally by doing the brisk walk, the curb walking; I also decided to have another castor oil shake since I had previously only had half the amount that my instructor typically suggested. We decided that we would not go to the hospital that night, but rather we would wait and go the next morning whether labor had begun or not. So, in the 100 degree weather, I ventured outside for my brisk walk. This resulted in nothing other than me becoming ridiculously sweaty and having painful leg muscles. Upon returning back to the house, my lovely husband was feeling a little better (I completely forgot to mention that he got sick the day before, on Sunday. He thinks he had food poisoning. Needless to say, I was praying Sunday night that nothing would happen until he felt better.... and of course, my BOG broke! So, in the midst of all this, my poor husband is trying to keep up his energy and spirits while feeling like he needs to puke). He had an umbrella in hand and took me out for another walk. This time I did all curb walks, it sucked! We came back, took a shower, and then went out for another walk with my mom. This walk around the block was much slower since my legs still hurt from the initial walk. 
     When we got back we settled in for the night and watched UP with all the parentals. At that point I started having different feelings in my belly, but I wasn't sure what they were. They mostly just felt like menstrual cramps. It made me realize that I was feeling them during the walk earlier and that they were coming every 10 minutes or so. But since I'd never had a contraction before, I wasn't comfortable labeling it as so; especially since everyone says that if you're not sure if it's a contraction, it's probably not a contraction, because... you'll KNOW! 

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