Saturday, January 10, 2015

Our Birth Story: Claire Louise

Imagine this...

Planning, wishing and being completely ready to have your first child. Getting pregnant the very first try and feeling incredibly lucky that everything was going as "planned." For an anal, OCD, anxiety-ridden planner, it's a storybook beginning. 

And then ... things start to happen. 

Five months of severe nausea and vomiting and no weight gain. Finding out that you have a heart-shaped uterus (which sounds cool but can cause "issues"). Growing a magical micro-wisdom tooth out of no where and having it pulled during your 8th week of pregnancy. Bleeding throughout the first trimester and having more than a couple ultrasounds to verify that the baby's heart is still beating. Having a hemorrhage at the beginning of the 2nd trimester and feeling like you've lost the baby you prayed for. Finding out you were having a baby girl in week 19 and everything was "perfect," all is right in the world and you're ecstatic. And then in week 24 you're sent to the high risk doctor because your baby isn't growing on par, and in fact, is under the first percentile on the growth chart. Getting blood tests done to see if you have a bleeding disorder. Getting genetic tests done to verify that nothing is "wrong" with the baby causing the slow growth. Your baby is labeled IUGR. You prepare for your baby to be born any week. You prepare for your baby to be put in the NICU for months. You prepare that your baby may not make it. 

That was our 8 months. It was a solid 8 months of praying to my loyal set of saints and grandmother. A solid 8 months of being scared and worried and hating the unkown.

But now Claire is here, at home with us and we can let everyone know how she got here. Which is even more dramatic than what we'd already been through. 

Let me remind you that Claire's due date was January 27th. But, once we knew that she was IUGR, that date was thrown out the window. Instead, we knew we'd get lucky to make it to full-term. And, before Christmas, we had a date set. On the evening of January 6th we would go into the hospital to be induced and coax our little Claire out before dinnertime on the 7th. But that wasn't exactly what happened.


On December 30th I had two doctor's appointments. The first was the high risk doctor to measure how much Claire had grown. They estimated that she was 4 lbs. 15 ounces and they gave me the all clear in the blood pressure department (it was 128/68) and urine check. 

After we were done at the HR office, we headed over to my OBGYN, although I had to see one of her partners since she was out of town. Unfortunately we got the most obnoxious and uncomfortable nurse in the world (the type that shouts out your weight in the hallway where everyone can hear). She informed us that the doctor was in delivery so we would have to wait anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, that was not good for my nerves or my blood pressure. Which, she took my blood pressure and it was on the high side (130/90). She wanted to give me 15 minutes and check it again. She came back and it was higher (140/95). So, she made me give a urine sample, even though I did tell her that I JUST had it checked at the previous doctor's office within the hour. 

Fortunately the doctor showed up, checked my cervix and made me have my blood pressure taken, yet again. It was still high and then we were informed that my urine had a "good amount" of protein in it - which is a sign of kidney damage and preeclampsia. Then the doctor said it was time for me to go over to triage and be "monitored" for a couple of hours. At this point I just wanted to run away. This was what I was scared of happening all along. Preeclampsia is known to take the lives of both mother and baby. I wasn't prepared to not get to live with Claire or Claire to not get to have her mommy. 

I called Justin and told him to get a move on it.We were taken to a room, I was told to slip into a butt-less gown, asked a zillion questions and then watched as my blood pressure was taken every 15 minutes, rising with each reading. They drew blood and found that my uric acid level was a bit wonky as well, which points to the liver and acts as another sign of preeclampsia. And then, we saw the doctor that put me there and she said it was time to go to labor and delivery. We were having the baby and getting induced. And despite popular belief that wasn't exciting for us. It was scary. She wasn't ready. I wasn't ready and she wasn't full-term yet. She was little and we wanted her to be able to stay inside and grow as long as possible - she was already getting gypped 3 weeks for heaven's sake.

Then I was wheeled into a L&D room. My dad was called to bring down our bags and my mom's tote filled with some things to get her through the night as well - I wasn't doing this without both my husband and my mom there with me. 

As soon as I got into the bed they started an IV, with someone who didn't have the most delicate of touches. I was to start getting magnesium which was to help keep me from seizing as my blood pressure rose. Seizure and stroke were constantly referred to since my bp was getting so high at times. 

They tell you before that the magnesium may make you feel very hot and give you blurry vision, but they don't really relay to you how, for lack of a better and more eloquent word, shitty you will feel. They also didn't tell me I'd be on it for 48 hours. In the meantime, I needed more blood work done and no one could get me to bleed. Not only did I have my IV done twice, but I was poked 4 times by 3 different people.

Then it was catheter time. I'm sure a lot of you have had a catheter. But most of you had that catheter put it after your epidural was given to you. I got to experience getting a catheter put in and feeling EVERY single bit of the adventure and it's not an adventure I'd ever want to take again. No sir, no way. 

So, I'm in bed. A catherter down below. Pricks, pokes and a blood pressure cuff on my right. An IV with at least 3 cords and an oxygen finger-taker (that's the one name I missed) on my left. Two bands around my belly monitoring the baby. And three sticky pads on my chest and two sticky pads on my back. Then they tell me to rest for the night. 


We all stared on the monitors checking on Claire's heart rate and watching my blood pressure go from the 190's/100's down to 119/60 within 15 minutes. Trust me, that's not a high you want to try. Once the magnesium kicked in I couldn't keep my eyes opened even when I was awake. I literally apologized to people who came in to talk to me for keeping my eyes closed as they spoke. My legs had some pretty severe shakes and I was praying constantly that we would at least get to experience a natural delivery. It all depended on how baby was going to take to the pitocin, because little babies have a tendency to not do well with it. 

Nighttime was awful. With your blood pressure being taken four times an hour and the paranoia that you may have a seizure without realizing it, there's just no way one can truly rest. 

By New Year's Eve morning, I was starting to feel some contractions. The doctor that decided it was time to have the baby came in to break my water. And, FYI, she said it wasn't going to hurt. But it hurt, and I also had to sit in the wetness for two more days. After she was done, she then informed me that another doctor would be the one delivering Claire. Cue more panic.

And here's an idea of how much the magnesium was making me feel completely out of it. I allowed a student to place my epidural. A STUDENT!! I would have never in my right mind let that happen. Although, the student that performed it was really great and didn't miss a beat - thank goodness. 

Once I started dilating, everything moved really fast. I went from a 4 to a 6 in no time and once we got to a 6 it was maybe 30 minutes until I was leaning on Justin telling him that if he didn't go get the doctor Claire was gonna come walking out herself. 

As the room was being set up with tables and tools, with every contraction, Claire was closer to arriving without a push to be had. And once we were all set up, two rounds of pushing ensued, about five minutes all together, and our little, bitty bundle came out with a strong kitty-cat cry. They sat her on my chest, she grabbed my thumb, I cried, if I looked up I'm sure I would have seen my mom crying too. She was - is - gorgeous. I heard Justin say he was going to cut the cord but I didn't see it happen (apparently, it took him a couple of tries).

They took her from me pretty quickly to get cleaned up. She was 4 lbs. 11 ounces, 17 1/2 inches long with a light brown pixie cut and frosted golden tips all over. Like one of the nurses said, she must have went to the beauty parlor behind our backs. 

I got one more quick snuggle before she was off to the nursery. All the while, the doctor who delivered her (absolutely fabulous by the way, so happy she was the one who got us through this experience), was "rummaging" down below giving me a good amount of stitches to deal with later. I felt every bit of those stitches too since the epidural had worn off - fun times. 

I'll spare you the details of my mini meltdowns and the 3 days spent in the post-partum   rooms that were filled with more scariness. I'll also spare you the dizzy spells and scares I had my first week home. What's important now is that we are home, Claire is doing fabulous and I'm on the slow mend. 

But is there a phobia "word" for being scared of blood pressure machines? Because I have that now.

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  1. I had to be put on magnesium when jett tried to come at 30 weeks and I didn't open my eyes for 3 days it felt like!!

  2. Wow, what a scary time you had of it. I'm so pleased you and your beautiful baby girl are doing well now. Popped over from #MaternityMatters

  3. What a story! Your baby girl is beautiful, a yrue fighter and I am sure she will continue to be too. Thanks for raiding awareness of IUGR, and for allowing me to link this post to #MaternityMatters x x


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