The Arrival Part II

When last we left, it was 8 am and I had consented to being given Pitocin as my membranes had been ruptured for 12 hours. I was finally allowed to labor out of bed (hallelujah for being allowed to pee a la toilette), in efforts to alleviate the pain of contractions as well as get the baby to drop (and thus eliminate the risk of cord prolapse).

My friend, S, arrived a little while later.  She is a doula and offered her service to us free of charge. I’m very glad we accepted her offer as she helped us get through the next 5 hours. The pitocin kicked in and the contractions along with it. We used all of the props that we brought as we got through them one at a time. Birthing ball, stool, heat (we weren’t allowed to heat the rice sock in the microwave as someone at one time in history had burned himself by doing that), breathing, humming, swaying, counting, drinking tea, etc. We did it all. And by 1 pm, we were ready to find out how far along I was.

A doctor came in and checked me and found out I was now a whopping 4 cm dilated. I mean, I came in at 3, so this was no great shakes. I started to panic and meltdown, thinking there’s no way I could get through this if it took me 5 hours to open up 1 lousy centimeter.

We got through the next hour, as was our goal, and got checked again. Still 4. GAH! Give me some drugs, STAT.

As the nurse prepared the fentanyl pain pump for me, the doctors (not mine, if you recall, as he was dealing with a “family emergency” and was not present or even reachable for this whole situation) came in to tell me we needed to get a lead on the baby’s head as his heart rate kept dropping and they wanted to get a better picture of his health. They would need to rupture my membranes all the way (there was only a leak up until now) and I freaked as I knew that would mean more pain and stronger contractions and I was not ready.

This of course, was the exact moment my friend S had chosen to go make a phone call. She missed the drama that followed. Baby Fish was still pretty high up and so the doctor had to go in up to her elbow to get the lead on his head. And when she ruptured the bag, of course meconium came flooding out. Shit. Literally.

At that point, doctor staged an intervention and told me it was time for an epidural. I was so reluctant because I had endured 2 failed epis with my first birth experience and it made the experience traumatizing, what with the dead legs and plenty of pain and no mobility and all. But she talked me into it and sent anesthesiology into my room. I’ve got wires coming out of every hole (and some going into skin where holes don’t exist), and the anesthesiologist scolds me for not looking at him while he’s giving me directions. Excuse me if I am physically unable to turn my head you moron, but if you care to move the oxygen tubes, I’d be happy to look you right in the eye as you tell me how I have to remain still as a statue while you poke me in the spinal column.

Yes, in went epidural #1. It gave me some relief, but I still had to breathe consciously through contractions, so my kick ass nurse (who just came on the shift) came in to tell me she was going to get me a new epidural.

Enter Anesthesiologist #2, Dr. R. He does a better job than #1 and gives me complete coverage. Unfortunately, I now feel like I have no legs. Creepiest feeling ever. I just prayed I would be able to walk again some day.

I am able to relax a bit without the pain of contractions, but before they pump up the pitocin dose, I am told we still need to address the baby’s heart rate, which is still dropping during contractions. The doctors feel either he needs more fluid to be more comfortable, or more fluid to float the cord, which may be compressed. So they give me an intrauterine catheter to put sterile fluid into the uterus (and of course it just drips right out). Since the epi is good, this is not an issue and I feel nothing.

Now I really have cords coming out of everywhere. But I get some rest.

Until my mom comes back into the room to tell me she knows where the doctor really is. Oh yes, he’s in jail.

WHAT? What’s that you say? In jail? Like on the monopoly board? Hmm. Interesting. We’ll come back to that later.

A few hours later (1 hour later? Who the hell knows? I lost track of time), I begin to feel the contractions again. I mean, it started small, but the pain increased rather quickly. I told the nurse I could feel the contractions again and she advised me to press a little pain pump button once every 5 minutes to give the epidural a little boost. I could press it more often, but it would only give the actual dose every 5 minutes. Yeah, that did nothing. But 15 minutes later, I was pissed and still in pain. When my mom piped up from the corner of the room asking me if I’d pressed the button, I answered with my only yell of the day, “SHUT UP!” And she did.

Eventually, I drew enough attention with my complaints that a doc came in to check me and it turned out I was finally at 9 cm! But I started to feel like I needed to push (I never had this feeling with Jasper). I told everyone this and they told me I could not push as I wasn’t fully dilated yet. I insisted I had to push and I would be pooping on the table if they didn’t watch out. The nurse said that was fine, there was paper on the bed. Clearly my threats meant nothing.

I was now at the yelling part, as no breathing was helping me get through this pain and pressure. The doctor came back to check me and discovered (I swear it was no more than 4 contractions after she checked me at 9) I was at 10 cm. HALLELUJAH! I could push, right?

No. Since there had been meconium, I had to wait for NICU to arrive before he could come. It felt like forever that I was literally holding him in, when finally I got the green light to push.

1/2 a push later and he shot out like a torpedo! Much different than J, who took 3 hours of pushing to emerge.

He came out screaming and waving his little creature arms and legs and he was just perfection. 7 lbs. 2 oz., which explains why he didn’t get stuck. I tore where I had an episiotomy 8 years ago, but I did not care. They took forever getting him suctioned (even though he didn’t need it, thank goodness) and bringing him to me, with amniotic fluid bubbling up on his little lips.

And at last, I was happy.

ps. I keep trying to upload an actual photo and wordpress is not allowing it. I’ll try again later.

Birth Story Intermission

We interrupt Little Fish’s birth story to complain about cancer.

Turns out, because my chest was radiated, my milk production is a FRACTION of what it was when J was born. 8 years ago, I had milk coming out of my ears. This time, I have 1/2 oz in my left boob (the side where I had a grapefruit sized tumor), and 1 1/2 on the right. Not enough to sustain my growing baby.

Today I returned to the lactation consultant for a weight check and follow up to find out that LF has gained, but not enough since 10 days ago. Cue the tears and me feeling overwhelming guilt and disappointment in my body yet again.

I got suckered into buying this feeding tube contraption thing that I will fill with a few oz of formula at each feed and TAPE TO MY BOOB so that LF can simultaneously suck (no need for the pump at least) and also get an extra 1/2 oz at each feeding.

On the plus side, he will be happier and full. On the minus side, operating every feeding with this thing 8-12 times a day is not sustainable for me. I’m going to work on one day at a time and start researching bottles that may not lead to nipple confusion for him. I’m setting one week as my goal to get through with this cockamamie thing and then we will reevaluate. Not sure how it’s going to work at 2 am.

Did I mention that I FUCKING HATE CANCER? I’m having myself a little pity party this afternoon, feeling all hormonal and grief stricken that not one damn thing can be easy.

The Arrival (part I)

LONG story, short, the baby is here! We all made it to the other side, alive and well (ish). Of course, not without plenty of drama along the way.

I will write this story in parts since I am limited in time and energy. But I really feel like telling it has been healing for me, so I do promise to come back and continue working on it…

Tuesday I had acupuncture and an induction massage. Tuesday evening I began having mild contractions. And at around 8 pm, I stood up from the couch and had a bit of a non-pee wetness in my pants. Hmm. I was fairly certain I didn’t wet myself, so the next possibility was amniotic fluid. I called my doctor and my mom. Mom came over to sleep with J in case we needed to go to the hospital in the middle of the night. Doctor did not return my phone call.

We watched last week’s episode of Downton Abbey and I tried to keep distracted from the contractions (which weren’t very strong, but definitely noticeable). I also kept changing my undies (sorry for TMI but it’s part of the story), as the leak kept on leaking. Eventually, we decided to get some sleep, hoping the contractions would eventually pick up and active labor would begin. I texted my friend S, who is a doula and planned to help with the birth, and she agreed getting some sleep was smart. So I put a towel down in bed and tried to rest. I got up an hour later to pee. And an hour after that. And by 4:30, there was definitely blood in the fluid that was getting darker. After googling this (and calling my doctor for a 3rd time with no response), I woke up Z and told him it was time to head to the hospital.

We gathered all of our props (birthing ball, stool, rice sock, etc.) and got in the car. I was thinking they would probably send me home. Dumb. No way they’ll send you home with ruptured membranes. If I had spoken to my doctor at any point, I might have known this.

We arrived at the hosp around 4:45 am, where it was confirmed that my waters had broken and I was all of 3 cm dilated. Baby Fish was still very high, so that put me at risk of a cord prolapse and I was told I couldn’t get out of bed for any reason until he dropped a bit, or I dilated a bit more (whichever came first). This was enraging because how was I supposed to get him to drop if I couldn’t get up and walk around?? They made me pee in a bedpan for the next few hours GRR, until eventually a doctor with some common sense (Dr. Tori) said it was ridiculous and I could get up.

Now, they also wanted to start the pitocin drip, which I was vehemently opposed to since I was thinking I couldn’t have an epi (last birth had 2 epis that did not give me good relief AT ALL and caused me to be chained to the bed, baby got stuck in the birth canal, etc.). Since my doctor was STILL unreachable – I was being told it was a family emergency – I had no choice but to consent at 8 am, when they said my waters had been broken for 12 hours and the risk of infection would start to rise.

To Be Continued…

A Fish is Born!

Apologies for my absence – I’m sure any of you who still read this blog can imagine why I’ve been M.I.A.! Yes, the little fish has at long last arrived. And of course I have absolutely ZERO minutes to blog about the whole ordeal!

I will elaborate later on the birth story, but I wanted to at least update the blog for curious minds, that he came into the world 12 days ago and that we both survived labor and delivery! Weighing in at a lovely 7 lbs 2 oz, he did NOT get stuck during delivery as J did, however, the labor took 25 hours, multiple bedpans, a pitocin drip, a cranial lead, 2 epidurals, an intrauterine catheter (to add fluid), a manual membrane rupture, meconium (!), and probably some other drama I can’t remember at this uber sleep deprived moment.  Oh, yeah – my doctor was absent the entire time. Why, you might be wondering? He was in jail. To be elaborated on at a later time. Baby Fish did come shooting out with 1/2 a push at the end (unlike his big brother who was stuck in the birth canal for 3 hours), and I promptly declared I will never be doing that again.

He’s a lovely baby, calm once well fed, though his nighttime habits leave something to be desired. Hopefully in a few weeks, he’ll have his days and nights sorted out. I’ve decided to stop waking him to feed in the nighttime, as he’s back to his birth weight. I’m still force feeding him throughout the day (every 2-3 hours), but I’ve got to take a stand and give the boobs a rest at night.

I am sorry that I’m missing from many of your comment sections – I’m hoping I’ll have a chance in the next few days to catch up for a few minutes here and there.

Little Fish (edited)

Our dear sweet little salmon has turned back head down! This is great news because we could cancel tomorrow’s c-section! I’m still wearing my bracelet from the pre-admissions bloodwork in case I go into labor and they need my blood for any reason in the next 48 hours (apparently your blood is good for 72 hours after drawn).

We threw the entire internet at this kid and I’m so grateful that he found the space to turn himself around (seriously, how did he turn twice in the last week?!). I went to acupuncture and had an “induction” massage today to try to get things moving. So far, I’m just having little mini-contractions, if you can even call them that (they only last 10-15 seconds and then go away). Sometimes, it’s even hard to tell if I just have to pee really badly.

I am SO ready to meet this kid, as are J and Z. I woke up with some chest pains this morning, which gave me a bit of extra anxiety, but they went away, and all of my therapy helped me relax today. Tomorrow I will be 40 weeks. AGH! J was born exactly on his due date, so there’s still hope that LF (little fish) won’t be *too* late. I’m just hoping for a February baby!!

Sending warm and sunny wishes out there. If you already live somewhere warm, please send some of that to the East Coast. This single digit temperature thing is OLD. Thanks.

******************************************

PS. I can’t believe I forgot to share this before. I was leaving my therapist’s office this afternoon and entered the elevator with another woman I didn’t know. Here was our exchange:

Stranger: Oh, I was just about to ask you what you were carrying, but then I realized what you’re carrying! Ha ha ha.

Me: Ha ha.

Stranger: When are you due? Tonight?

Me: Tomorrow.

Stranger: What are you having?

Me (thinking – Um, A BABY?): A boy.

Stranger: Oh, I had three boys!

Me: Yes, I have a boy at home.

Stranger: How old is he?

Me: Almost 8.

Stranger: Oh, I did it better than that (WTF?), I had mine all within 3 and 1/2 years of each other.

Me: Well, we started trying for this baby 6 years ago.

Stranger (ignoring me): One of my sons has an 8 1/2 yo and a 3 1/2 yo. It’s bad because they have different interests. One wants to play baseball while the other one wants to color.

Me: You can have that with any 2 children.

Stranger: Hmm. Well, good luck!

Please excuse the all caps but SERIOUSLY, LADY?? WHO SAYS THIS TO SOMEONE THEY’VE NEVER MET? THE DAY BEFORE THEIR DUE DATE? HOW DO YOU TIE YOUR SHOES IN THE MORNING??

Thanks for listening.

Taking Control

The skinny version (AS IF!):

Today I’m 39 weeks. I have cancelled the ECV that was scheduled for tomorrow, and decided to plan for a c-section next week. That gives us a few more days to try to get him to turn back head down on his own. Visited the chiro last night, tried the moxa sticks, and leaving for acupuncture in 5 minutes. After that, I’m going back to the chiro, and then to the pool to attempt handstands in the pool. Good times!

Thanks for all of your good wishes and ideas. Hope to have good news soon.

Plot Twist

You guys are not going to believe this. At 38w 5d, I found out that this dear baby boy is now in a frank breech position. This means head up, butt down. I know exactly when he flipped, though I didn’t realize it at the time that he was doing a friggin somersault in there.

Two nights ago, Z and I were having some business time (my agenda was two fold – still have that third trimester sex drive happening and I was hoping to get labor going). Turns out my legs were too swollen and crampy to enjoy it. And afterwards, the baby was going nuts. He thinks he is a salmon and is supposed to swim upstream. WRONG.

So… I’m scheduled for an external version on Thursday at 1pm. I’ve got 2 days to get him to flip on our own before we have to resort to attempting a manual flip. Aside from the pain this is going to cause, I can’t eat or drink after midnight on Wednesday. SERIOUSLY?! Didn’t we do this already with the 3 hour GD test? I barely can make it to 8 am without going into low blood sugar meltdown.

And even getting through this is risky. It’s only a 50/50 shot at actually turning him, and in the process I can go into labor, my water can break, his heart rate can drop, etc. This would put me at risk for an emergency c section. DO NOT WANT.

I am trying to process this information and I’m visualizing him turning and swimming downwards like the other 97% of babies are at this point.

Oh yeah, also, it’s the coldest weather in a century. AND I was supposed to have an amazing work meeting tomorrow morning when it’s supposed to be snowing 8 inches. GRRR. Not enough brownies in the house.

Disbelief and shock.

Acupuncture scheduled for Wednesday, thus my next stop: spinning babies website.

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