In the words of Paul Harvey ~ most of you know how the story ends, but did you get the details in the middle?!? Get comfy!
Thursday, July 10th
40weeks and 3days pregnant.......heading to the hospital!
My doctor called us early Thursday and said she wanted to get me in to the hospital before the re-scheduled 7pm. She wanted to do two rounds of Cervidil thinking that would help speed up my induction the next day. We were anxious to get anything started in the right direction, so we agreed. We got to the hospital around 1pm. We were officially admitted and in our labor room by 1:30. I had all my bloodwork and IV stuff done.....pretty standard stuff. The first round of Cervidil (to help me dilate and prepare for labor) began at 3pm. It would continue until 11pm. Not much to report really. It made me a little crampy but other than that ~ I felt normal.....anxious but normal. Charlie's Mom and brother brought us dinner at around 6pm. This was my last meal for a while!
At 11pm, my nurse came in and checked me. Still no progress so she started my second round of Cervidil. This dose was supposed to run from 11pm - 6am. She said at 6am, she would wake me up and I could take a shower/brush my teeth/etc before they started the Pitocin at 7am. She gave me two Ambien to try and sleep and we settled in for the night. Apparently my body does not like Ambien!! I don't remember much about the following event....but I'll tell you what I know. As Charlie was climbing into his cot for the night, I started crying. I have no idea why! I asked him to get me a tissue from the bathroom. When he stood up to walk to the bathroom, I started crying even more. He asked me what was wrong and I told him he had a lot of eyes and I couldn't tell which ones were his. Seriously...that's why I was crying! As he came closer to give me my tissues, his face became even more contorted and blurry. There were at least 3 sets of eyes/glasses/ears/etc and it seriously freaked me out. That's all I remember. I'm pretty sure I passed out after that.
My 6am shower was never to be! My water broke on it's own at 3:30am. My nurse came in and verified that it was in fact my water (at first I was pretty sure I had peed myself!) and got my IV ready for the Pitocin - this is the medicine that would begin my contractions. My Pitocin was started at 4am and by 5:45am I was VERY uncomfortable. The thing about having your labor induced is that you don't get that natural progression of contractions. You don't start off having them 10 or so minutes apart. Mine started almost right away at 5 minutes apart. Every hour they would crank up my meds and the contractions would come a little more frequently. At 6am (when I should have been showering) I was asking for my epidural.
The epidural scared me the most going into this whole process. I mean, a needle in the back.....how can that NOT scare you?!?? But it really wasn't anywhere near as bad as I had imagined. And even better yet, I had near immediate relief after it was done. I was able to get a little bit of sleep on/off after the epidural. I'm not sure if Charlie was able to sleep at all after I woke him up in a panic at 3:30.
Friday, July 11th
My labor was progressing pretty quickly after the epidural and everyone was pretty sure we would have a baby by mid-afternoon. I had to have my epidural re-dosed a few times during labor when my contractions became stronger and closer together.
At around 1pm I was at 8cm. All the nurses and even my doctor kept saying that this baby was coming very soon. Not so.......... I got stuck at 8cm for about 2 hours. I finally got to 9cm by 3pm and then got stuck again. In an effort to get our little one moving along, I had to flip from one side to the other about every 15-30 mins. That was an interesting feat I can promise you! Remember, I have absolutely no feeling below my belly button!! So between Charlie and my nurse, they just sortof grabbed me and flipped me like a pancake every so often. It wasn't comfortable but I was VERY ready to meet this little one and was willing to do whatever was needed to get him out!!
By about 5:30pm I had finally reached 10cm and we could start pushing. We did some practice pushes to see if baby would make his way down. Not much moving on his part, but a little each time so we kept at it. By 6:30 when he was not moving at all, they called in the doctor to check on me. One contraction and one push later and the doctor said "This baby is not moving. It is no longer safe for you or the baby to continue to labor. We need to just go in and get him out."
It is safe to say I was devastated. :o( I had worked so hard all day only to be told that I was going to end up with a c-section anyway. But after hearing the words "not safe for baby" there was no decision needed. Off we go to the OR to finally meet this little critter that had been kicking me in the ribs for months and months!
I wont lie. The c-section was very scary and very uncomfortable. I was numbed from my toes all the way up to my fingertips. Even my chin was a bit tingly. The lights in the OR, together with the meds, made me sick to my stomach so they ended up putting a cold, wet washcloth over my eyes. But every moment was worth it when they pulled out our baby and told Charlie and I we had a son!! Even with no feeling in any part of my body, there was an amazing feeling right then that words can't even describe. He was here, and he was healthy, and he was ours! Our son!!
Happy Birthday Ethan Thomas!! 7lbs, 13oz 18inches 7:57pm
Safe and comfy in Daddy's arms!!
Meeting Mommy for the first time!
Charlie went off with Ethan while the doctors put me back together again. I remember hearing him talking to Ethan and I remember hearing Ethan crying. The nurses were really good about telling me what was happening with my baby since my eyes were still covered and closed. After they weighed him and stamped his big ol' baby feet, they wrapped him up and gave him to Charlie to bring to me! Poor little guy. He looked like he had been in a horrible bar fight. The doctor and nurses said that his little head was wedged sideways in my pelvic bone. He had a knot on the top of his head and his eye was really puffy and purple. His first black eye and he was only minutes old.
We got to our room around 11:30pm and needless to say were EXHAUSTED. Sleep was very interrupted all through the night as I had to be checked every 2 hours since I was considered a post-op patient and not just a maternity patient.
Saturday, July 12th
The day started off normal enough. Ethan has slept pretty good during the night. He was a good little eater every few hours and we were so excited to have him with us! A few friends came by to visit, and we just enjoyed our little guy.
Until about noonish.........Ethan quite eating all together and started spitting up mucus. We were told this was very normal for c-section babies because they don't have the trip through the birth canal to help them clean out their tummy. They took him to the nursery and emptied out his belly of a LOT of mucus. We were told this would help him feel better. By 3pm, when our next round of visitors arrived, Ethan still wasn't eating very good at all. The nurse was really good about helping me try and coax him into eating but he was not having any part of that food. She tested his blood sugar and it was only 27, very very low. She said she needed to take him to the well-baby nursery and try to get him to eat some formula and then retest his sugars until they came back up to a safer level - around 50ish. We were told he would be back in about 30 minutes.
An hour later, we still hadn't seen our baby. I was still completely numb from the waist down and stuck in bed. In a panic, I sent Charlie to find out what was going on. He later admitted to me that as he left the room he ran into our nurse and she told him what was happening. He did not tell me when he got back to the room. He only said that the nurse was coming in to update us. And then we got the news no parent wants. Ethan spit up all his formula and his sugars were still way too low. An IV had been started and he was admitted to the NICU. He wasn't in any danger at this point, but as soon as an IV is started on a baby they become NICU patients for monitoring. They promised to get me in a wheelchair very soon and down to see my baby.
Saturday, July 12th (pm) - Wednesday, July 16th
I'm lumping all of these days together because they all ended up being an absolute blur. We got to the NICU on Saturday night to visit Ethan. It was so very hard to look at him all hooked up to the tubes and in the warmer. He looked so helpless and it just broke my heart. But the good news is that the IV was working. His fluid levels were coming back up and his sugars were getting more stable. We were able to hold him and feed him.
Cuddle time in the NICU
We spent the next days going back and forth to the NICU every 3 hours for his feedings. He was put on formula to make sure that his blood sugar stayed in a safe range. Charlie went to visit him as much as possible and I was there as often as I could drag myself down the hallway. Walking was a serious challenge, but I had quite a bit of motivation! We were told that if everything continued to go well, he would probably be released with me on Monday. That didn't happen.
By Sunday night, his sugars were doing good but his body temperature wouldn't stay up on its own. He would not be released on Monday. Fortunately, my insurance would allow me to stay another night because of the c-section so we didn't have to leave Ethan at the hospital. We were hopeful that he would be ready to go home with us on Tuesday. He needed to be able to maintain his own temperature in an open-air crib for 24 hours.
Daddy read to Ethan almost every day
Monday went very well and we were almost sure he would be coming home. Then Monday afternoon, his body temp took another nose dive and we had to start the 24-hour time frame all over again. I had no choice but to be discharged on Tuesday. My insurance would not allow me to stay. Fortunately for us, the hospital has a program where as long as they have an available room, they will allow you to "board" at the hospital. Basically, I was no longer a patient but they would give us a room to sleep in so we didn't have to leave our baby at the hospital. We would have to wait until late in the evening to find out if this would be possible.
At around 10pm, I was officially discharged and they moved us to a room over on the labor side. Ethan had been doing well all day with his temps and at midnight he was allowed to come and stay in our room with us. His NICU nurse came by every 2 - 3 hours to check his temps and his vitals. If his temp fell below 98, he would have to go back to his isolette and we started all over again. But he did a great job!!! His temp was perfect all night long.
Daddy feeding Ethan in the hospital room
Ethan's pediatrician came by around 7:30 Wednesday morning to see him. She said he was doing fantastic and would be discharged that day! Finally we would be home, all together!! They took him off to the nursery for his circumcision and then to the NICU to be checked over one last time. We started getting things together and in the car to go home.
Ready to go home!!
Ethan was discharged at noon on Wednesday, July 16th and we got to come home! It has been a rough couple of days (and nights!!) as we all get used to each other and work on some kind of schedule. But we wouldn't trade the lack of sleep for anything in the world. We are so in love with our little guy!!
Napping with his new baby gnome!!!
A little grin while sleeping in his boppy pillow