Friday, April 22, 2016

Birth Story Baby LeMonte #2

He is here! Our sweet baby boy's much anticipated arrival has come and he is now sleeping peacefully (for the time being) next to me. It is surreal that he is here and he is ok. Before too much time goes by, however, I want to record his birth story.

Baby boy had been head down in all of our weekly appointments until March 18 at 36 weeks. We had our appointment with my midwife and we made a plan to be induced at 37 weeks 3 days and I was for once starting to feel optimistic and hopeful that he would make it safely to us. Immediately after this appointment, we had our biophysical profile, where the ultrasound tech informed us that he was transverse with his head by my upper right ribs. We went back to my midwife to relay the information. This would obviously change the plan to be induced. If he continued to be transverse, we could schedule a version to manually flip him head down, followed by immediate induction. Or, we could opt for a C-section, but this would have to wait until 39 weeks. Neither option was ideal, so we left feeling discouraged. On top of the disappointment in change of birth plans was the added worry that he was flipping around, which made me think he could be getting tangled up in his umbilical cord.

We made it another week in anxious anticipation until our next appointment with my midwife. We looked at the ultrasound and he was head down again! We thanked God for answered prayers and continued forward with the plan to be induced just a few days following the appointment. At the biophysical profile the next morning, he continued to be head down. Emotions continued to be raw however, evidenced by my meltdown when the ultrasound tech wouldn't check to make sure his cord wasn't tangled. I went to the car and broke down in tears, while Josh went back in and got mad at her for being a jerk. But, we were happy and had to focus on the facts that he was healthy and we would hopefully get to meet him in a few days.

After knowing that the plan for induction was in place for just a few days' time, we spent the weekend hurriedly doing many of the things we had put off for so long. Deep cleaning, putting the stroller together, putting the mamaroo together, putting the car seat in the car, buying diapers and wipes, etc. It was exhausting and exciting and terrifying!

Tuesday, induction day, came and it was weird. We packed our bags and it felt like we were going to check into a hotel. I did surprisingly well with my anxiety level, I think because it was a very different situation than with Sloane. I wasn't in labor, it was at night, and we didn't have to go to triage. We went up to labor and delivery and were promptly greeted by our favorite nurse who helped deliver Sloane. After about 1.5 hours, the doctor came to check baby boy's position before giving me a foley bulb catheter to dilate me. This is where the journey began: he was no longer head down!!! So rather than starting the induction, we got to stay an extra night in the hospital and wait until my doctor came in the morning to make a new plan.

In the morning, the doctor from my practice came to check on him. He had moved again from the night before, but still wasn't head down. She put two fingers on my belly and gave a gentle but firm nudge and he was head down! It was crazy. To help keep him in place, they put a belly binder on me. Then we started the foley bulb. This was all incredibly uncomfortable. The nurses told us the foley bulb typically takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 4-5 hours to dilate you to 3 cm. It took 8 hours for me. It was a long day of waiting and we knew this was only the first step. I finally got to 3 cm around 5pm and they started giving me pitocin right away. They increased the pitocin every half hour until I was up to the highest amount that night. They kept it going all night, and when they checked me in the morning, I was still 3 cm.

So now it was Thursday morning. I had thought maybe we would have a baby by now, but we still had so far to go! They broke my water hoping that this would be the jump start my body would need. Everyone kept saying, "your body will remember what to do" and reassuring me that the next procedure would be the reminder my body needed to start labor. But breaking my water didn't do anything. Everyone commented on the large amount of amniotic fluid I had, which likely contributed to how easily he moved around. An hour after they broke my water, they re-started the pitocin. By the end of Thursday, I was again getting the highest level of pitocin, my water had been broken, and I was still only at 3 cm. It had been another long day of waiting without much action. I had some contractions, but they were irregular and not very strong. They decided to take me off the pitocin until midnight to try and "clear the receptors." I had a minor panic about this because it felt like so long to stop and re-start the pitocin and it felt like nothing was ever going to happen at this rate. But this allowed me to eat dinner which was desperately needed.

At midnight on Thursday night/Friday morning, they started the pitocin again. Around 2am, I started having contractions, this time stronger and more regular. This really felt like it could be it! We called my doula and she got in around 5am. I labored from about 3am-8am, when they checked me again, and I was still only at 3 cm! We remained hopeful that the contractions would start to do their job however, and kept going. Until the contractions started getting weaker and less which point I asked when we would need to consider a C-section. All of the doctors and midwives from my practice were utterly perplexed at my situation. I had come in being a great candidate for the induction having previously had a successful vaginal delivery, and no one could explain why nothing was helping my body progress.

While  C-section was obviously not my first choice, nothing was happening otherwise. Josh and I started to worry about my water being broken and baby getting infections. It was pretty much a unanimous decision between us, my doula, and the medical team that a C-section was the best route at this point. Within about an hour of making this decision, I was in the OR! I got really emotional before going in, not because I had to have a C-section, but because the end of my PAL was about to be over and the beginning of a whole new journey was about to begin. Even though everything had always come back normal and healthy for baby, I still felt like when he came out, we would find something was wrong with him. So while I was excited to be able to meet him soon, I was so worried that we would meet him and my fears would come to pass.

The C-section was weird. It was all pretty much fine, it's just a strange experience to be able to feel something happening to you, but not feel what it is. It felt like an eternity before I heard baby cry, but when I did, it was the best sound in the world! Josh helped clean him and cut the cord and I just looked at them and cried. He was ok! He didn't have to be whisked away from us! They brought him over to my face and then before we left, he laid on my chest while we went to the recovery. I immediately thought that Lewis was the right name for him, which was a relief because we didn't really have any back-ups.

In recovery, he started trying to nurse right away. This was another relief because I was also hugely worried that being a few weeks early, he might not get this. It was stressful because everyone kept trying to tell me how to feed him, and I was so out of it and he was so tiny, but I was so happy. Two doctors from the NICU came and told us that he was breathing too fast and they wanted to take him to the NICU observation area to monitor him for a few hours. This was not ideal, but I was happy they were keeping a close on him to make sure he was ok, because I was so worried something was wrong. Josh went with Lewis to the NICU observation and then returned to me to go to our room in the general maternity area.

Lewis ended up being admitted to the NICU because he was still breathing fast after his few hours of observation. They did a chest X-ray and blood tests, which showed fluid in his lungs and low levels of white blood cells. Both of these could either be normal results of a C-section, or they could mean he had an infection. Still, I was relieved he was being monitored and felt ok with all of this. He stayed in the NICU Friday night, Saturday, and Saturday night. He showed progress Saturday and came off the IV, so I was able to nurse him. This was exhausting, because Josh had to wheel me down to the floor below whenever they called, but it was also amazing because I felt like my baby needed me and I was helping him and I loved being able to see him and hold him. They did an updated X-ray, which showed clear lungs, and the blood work showed higher levels of white blood cells. All of this meant he was released to our room Sunday morning!
Josh's parents and my mom came to visit him in the hospital on Sunday. On Saturday, our friends Heather and Jessica came to visit, although they couldn't see him because he was in the NICU still.

It was pretty exhausting in the hospital because I couldn't move a lot, but again, we were so happy.

We got released to come home Monday. I was relieved that despite his NICU stay, he got to come with us because I didn't think I could leave the hospital again without my baby. But he got to come with us and it was awesome.

I'll do another post on the first few weeksof life, because that has been another journey. But we are so happy he is here and he is healthy! Although we tried our best to avoid having him born on April Fools' day, he already showed we are the fools by thinking we could plan that. It was a long and hard journey, but it was all worth it :)

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