Tiny judging baby 👶🏼

It’s funny how you can miss someone you just met, all I want is to see her and hold her but I’m also scared.

I know she is fragile and super tiny and I just want her to stay in the NICU forever with people who are able to take care of her (well, maybe not forever but long enough to be more durable… eh, well strong and healthy).

The next morning (after some more well needed hours of sleep) I finally get the chance to see her. Instead of rolling in on a huge bed, I get rolled down in a wheel chair this time. There are “guards” outside the NICU (they seem to check everyone rolling in without a bed underneath them). This seems to be the other side of the NICU where they actually check that you have a baby in there and you also have to fill out a form, promising that you haven’t been any kind of sick in the last week. The door is locked and can only be opened by the guards/staff pressing a button from the inside of their isolated little cubicle (much like at a prison I would assume despite having been to one…or one of those night opened gas stations where the employees are sitting inside a little plastic window where you can’t get in).

Anyways, this time, I’m prepared, I stand up tall (well, sit up in the wheel chair) and armed with my hospital bracelet (matching the baby’s), the baby’s bed number and a pen to sign all the necessary papers.

Next step is to wash your hands. The sinks (water facets), soap dispensers and paper towel dispenser are all automatic so you don’t have to touch anything (no germs allowed) and the water is steaming hot.

I appreciate all of these precautions to keep my baby safe (and all the other babies in here of course). My nurse wheels me through the hand washing station and the sinks are in perfect height for the chair. I get slightly nervous before we round the corner to her bed- number 54-to see her.

What if she is not going to like me? An absurd thought crosses my mind where I actually think that my baby is going to judge me.

She didn’t ask to be born yet after all, and here I let the doctors decide to literally rip her out of me six weeks before she was good and ready. Will she point her impossibly tiny finger at me and let me know that I’m already a bad mama?

And then I see her, shake my head and smile. How could we have ever created something so beautiful? So perfect? How come she looks so yummy while being so premature? I’m really not just saying this, boosting, being proud momma here, she really is a gorgeous baby. She opens hers eyes and kind of blinks a little bit, stretches and yawn, isn’t that amazingly advanced for not even being “supposed” to be born yet? (Okay here some kooky mommy hormones might have taken over).

I get to hold her (and I feel sorry for mothers all around me who can’t, but I decide to relish in the moment).

It is a precious moment and it is scary. She has so many cords attached and the monitor is huge and blinking with all sorts of colors and beeping heart rate and lungs and oxygen intake information. She also has two IV needles in her little arm and her foot and alarm keeps going off which makes me panic each and every time.

I read up about this though, google said not to get scared unless the nurses did. The nurses are also reassuring me that the monitors are just extremely sensitive and that it is totally normal for preemies to have dips-to slow- and accelerated heart rates (just like she did inside my tummy).

I can’t believe she is out, I can’t believe she is here and I can’t believe she is mine I think for the millionth time, and I can’t help smiling as I slowly and gently stroke her tiny head of dark hair. The nurse informs me that she won’t break (oh really? I think glancing at the many cords, the monitor, the needles and my tiny preemie).  

The nurse suggests that I try to breastfed her (which I really want but seems ridiculous because I know that I have zero milk). I do try and I listen to the nurse’s advice, suddenly feeling like this time the nurse will judge me for everything from not having milk yet to not knowing how to breastfed or hold my baby in the right position to do so. I’m feeling more comfortable though as my baby snuggles in to the football hold position, opens her mouth and takes a few tentative nibbles.

Visiting my baby in the NICU …

And there she is, amongst cords and monitors, hooked up to a tiny IV; our daughter- my daughter.

I thought it was impossible to love your second child like your first but as I look at her my heart swells.

I know right now in this moment that there is nothing I wouldn’t do for this child; this tiny princess. I would do anything and everything for you.

Mother’s hearts are funny things; they grow and expand and mother’s hearts are capable of loving all their children equally and unconditionally.

I know now that my mom was right, but it is something that you have to feel for yourself, you do love your second child just as much as your first.

I can’t believe we almost lost her.

I can’t believe you are here, my little baby girl.

My whole bed is taking up a lot of space in the NICU where tiny babies (much tinier than mine) are being taken care of by nurses.

The sickest babies are isolated in rooms of their own and some can’t even be touched by hand but have beds where parents have to stick their hands through little tunnels wearing gloves when touching them. It strikes me again how very lucky and truly blessed we are. My mom is telling me how incredible it is and how amazing she looks, tears in her eyes, she is saying that she looks like me!

Once back in my room, I get to hug my big baby again, telling him I love him very much. My family soon leaves and again the exhaustion hits me. I finally get to sleep after my vitals are being checked again and my stomach is being brutally pushed on. I only wake to another Vicodin and then sleep some more.

It feels wonderful. When I wake the next time I am disoriented and probably confused as to the change of rooms, thinking I’m still on the 5th floor in my “bed rest bed”. I locate my cell phone with its pink “lifeproof” case, to see what time it is. I’m not sure its twelve noon or midnight.

A thought suddenly occurs to me that I should check on my baby; the number for the NICU is right there up on the white board in this new hospital room. When I call them on the big white hospital phone, dialing the 4 digit extension only, I momentarily feel guilty because I can’t remember her bed number.

They are quickly able to find her though and I sigh in relief. For a moment I thought that maybe it was all a dream, maybe she wasn’t real, wasn’t born yet, wasn’t mine. A voice tells me that Madeleine is awake and she is hungry; do I want to come down and feed her?

That is her name, Madeleine with the Swedish spelling. Madeleine Pia (after my mom) Elisabet (after my grandma and me).

The newest member to our family!

Feed her, sure! Do I even have milk yet? I quickly recall that I am not supposed to get out of bed without the nurse present. But I can do this right?

She already accompanied me ones and she was very sweet, holding me and talked to me in a calm soothing voice, showing me all the relief sprays and witch hazel pads and wipes to relieve any pain and discomfort while using the bathroom.

I remember peeing after the 4th degree tear and a crazy amount of stitches was pure agony after my son was born but this time around it really wasn’t half as bad. Maybe it was the pain killers talking (the real deal pills and “they are not messing around” as my husband likes to say). As I swing my feet over the bed (getting use to these hospital beds by now), I suddenly feel dizzy and nauseous.

Ignoring the feeling, I stand up discovering that my legs will not carry me. I literary sink down to the floor and have to press the alarm for help. There is no way around it. The concerned nurse comes back, immediately telling me that I should have called for her before I got out of bed.

We only make it to the bathroom before the room spins and everything turns black. I’m only out for seconds but coming to, I feel shaken up and scared. The nurse has put me on the toilet seat and she is kneeling in front of me, carrying my weight. She is telling me that I lost a little bit more blood than usual and that I am very weak since I have been on bed rest with ruptured water for so long, adding the traumatic labor and delivery and there you go.

She tells me to tell her when I’m okay to be walked back to my bed. It takes a long time before I’m steady enough and I soon realize that I won’t be able to go feed my baby after all and feel disappointed.

 

 

After Glow ✨

As I’m waiting for news on the baby and the food, I call my mom to marvel over our brand new miracle, telling her that yes, she does look good, hands and feet are indeed attached and she has an adorable little face.

I did cry the seconds I got to hold her and am now just waiting for my husband to come back.

I receive my first Vicodin (yay) with the food (no cheeseburger, baked potato or au gratin but quesadilla with bad chicken; but on the bright side, there is cheesecake!). I get apple cider in a champagne looking bottle (convinced it is champagne for all about 5 seconds. I know, I know, that wouldn’t have made sense but I sure could have used some after the whole ordeal).

After a couple of hours of pure exhaustion I am still riding on the wave of euphoria and totally unable to relax. Nurses come and go with their blood pressure cuffs and thermometers.

The nurse comes to clean me up again (I forgot how much blood is really involved in this) and take the catheter out (I would have preferred if she had left it in for a while). She completely ignored that just hours ago she had told everyone in this very room that my baby wouldn’t make it.

Everything seems totally fine and normal right now. How is that even possible?  

Okay, I’m so happy right now that two can play that game. We chit chat about completely nothing (like the all-time favorite; the weather; has it been nice? I wouldn’t know anything about that now would I…) I tell her that my family will be here (as in this room) as soon as my husband can pick them up and come back.

I ask her when I can see the baby and ask her if we can time it so my mom can come down to the NICU with me. This question has her grunting something about needing the room (again, really? after all we have just been though).

Finally she agrees as my husband comes running in the room (high on the moment as well, mixed with always being in a hurry, he is telling me that everything looks good, that she is pretty yellow (jaundice) and she might have some typical preemie issues. They even told him that she probably won’t have to stay very long in the NICU either!!!

This feels so unbelievably great, I immediately want to cry again. As my husband leaves to pick up my mom and son I relish in the fact that I did it!!!!

I survived my bed rest, I kept her inside, I avoided infection, I got induced, I struggled through a 34+ hour labor, baby ‘s heart rate dipped, she was in distress, she stopped breathing, she could have died, she made it, she pooped during delivery, the placenta ruptured and the umbilical cord tore (deep sigh, breathe in and out…).

Six stiches later and baby doing great in the NICU, I’m more than satisfied, I realize I am so so lucky and so so blessed!

I’m so excited to see my son, I miss him so much! I haven’t forgotten about my big boy!!!

When my family comes, I finally get to hug him…and MY mom. Just seeing her brings me great comfort.

I think that they will wheel me down to the NICU in a wheelchair but they actually bring me down in a bed. They switch me from the bed I’m in (not a small task since I’m still shaky, sore and not much help) to another one. It’s big and awkward and doesn’t take corners easily (getting it in the elevator is…interesting). My mom and the nurse are both running after the giant rolling bed while I’m being wheeled off by a very efficient, tall black haired man (he has probably done this before).

Things feel surreal.

I just want to see my daughter! See for myself, with my own eyes that she is doing well! I can’t wait.

 

 

 

And finally, finally Delivery 💝👶🏼💖

I lay there as my world stops, everything seems to be happening in slow motion and my vision blurs, my body goes numb and still, even my shakes stop as well as my heart it feels like.

“Now here we are”, I have time to think; “the worst has really happened”, “she is not going to make it” echoes in my brain.

For a couple of seconds I try to prepare, but how do you prepare for this? I try to think that this is better than if she was hurt or in pain or seriously ill…

After all these weeks, after a complicated pregnancy and a long and painful labor, this is the end result.

We won’t get to have our baby girl after all?

The doctor tells me that I have to push her out, looking determined.

I manage to muster up my last ounce of strength and with it a glimmer of hope. I have beaten the odds before and I will again and so will my baby girl.

The doctor does not look devastated; she must think that this baby has a chance after all!!

And so I push, I push one last time as her tiny body glides out of me and I feel it; the whole sensation (not at all like last time when I was numb down below; even if that time the epi stopped working by the time they had to repair my awful tear).

All I want is a cry, a cry from my newborn, I lock eyes with my husband and pray for a miracle in my mind, and after a horrifying second where the whole room seems to hold a collective breathe and the nurse gasps again “she is not breathing”, there is something…

Not quite a cry but a sound, not at all a cry actually, more like a whimper, the sweetest sound…

She is truly a miracle, what a complete and total blessing and as far as I can see, she looks absolutely perfect!

Not wanting to quite believe that she is here and she is alive and whole and ours, I just want to hold her and stare at her.

Everybody seems to sigh in relief and looking at the doctor and nurses they seem satisfied. I sink back into my pillows but not before I grab my husband by the collar to ask him to make sure she has hands and feet.

He sure surprises the medical team that takes care of her when he comes running, looking for hands and feet…but she sure has them…and a headful of dark hair, big wide open eyes and a mouth like a little rosebud.

She is just so beautiful, but scary tiny. That is not the opinion of the NICU doctors and nurses though, at 5 lbs., she is big for being only 34 weeks, they even ask me if I somehow miscalculated her due date. Nop, she was very planned!

They tell me that she looks great and I couldn’t be happier.

I quickly thank God as my husband gives me a kiss and says “good job” (I’ll say). I finally get to hold her for a sweet minute and we pose for our very first picture together (photo opt!).

My doctor is working feverishly in between my legs and as the NICU doctor tells me that all seems well with our baby and asks my husband to come with them down to the NICU, I finally pay attention to what is happening to me.

The core blood team is on standby but apparently the placenta has decided to rupture inside me…

Dr. Jenny is fishing around for all the pieces of the placenta only to discover as my husband cuts the umbilical cord (finding it difficult and scary) that it is broken as well, in several places. She has to go “back in” multiple times and ask for a second opinion before she is satisfied that she got it all.

I have read about this happening and the doctors have also told me that the worst scenarios that can happen are the placenta rupturing, the umbilical cord breaking and that the newborn in distress poops its very first poop in the water.

They also told me that they are aware of these dangers and that they know how to take care of them.

That is reassuring somewhat, especially since I later find out that our baby girl also was in so much distress coming out that she DID poop in the water which could lead to sepsis, is extremely dangerous and what women and newborns died from years ago.

They tell me that they are able to clean me up however and retrieve all the pieces that are not to be left behind inside me…

The core blood people are disappointed as they can’t use the blood with the destroyed placenta looking “horrible and useless” (whatever that means). 

And after all I did with the signature and willpower to give it to them.

Dr. Jenny is starting to sound cheerful again talking about “only a couple of stitches” (which ended up being 5 or 6) and she is counting bloody towels, double checking with the nurses.

The motherly nurse (I decide to forgive her outbursts in a moment of euphoria) comes to clean me up (she is anything but gentle…and she is starting to upset me again…hello a 5 pounder just came through there, she might be small but big enough to hurt; trust me).

She is telling me that she wants me to recover in this bed for a couple hours before she takes the catheter out and can send me down to recovery.

I ask when I can see my brand new daughter. She is telling me that they can’t move me yet but that food is on its way.

Mmm, food, I had forgotten about you! Before I can concentrate on my yet again rumbling stomach though, I wait for my husband to hear that our baby girl is okay.

I send the obligatory texts “we just had a daughter” to close family and attach her very first picture and say another little prayer that she is healthy and that everything will be okay.

 

32 HOURS in labor…

Since they had already prepped me for the possibility of a C-section (both my mind and my body; mind not so ready…)

I am according to the nurses all ready to go.

I ask somebody to get my husband but nobody seems to listen, they are all glued to my baby’s heart rate monitor and that makes me even more nervous. “Wait, she will make it, right?

There is no possibility that she wouldn’t…right?”

Then the thought hits me that my pain meds might have caused her sudden drop in heart rate. I am beside myself with guilt; the timeline fits.

It is now early afternoon and the bright sun is shining in from the large hospital windows. I ask the nurse, trembling with anxiety. She is telling me that the pain meds have no effect on the baby whatsoever, this kind won’t even reach her at all and I am trying to convince myself that she is right and that she wouldn’t lie to me.

They are trying different things with me and switching out some stuff on my IV, moving me into different positions on the bed.

The pressure is building up and I really do feel the urge to push.

The baby is stabilizing for a couple of minutes and it is then the doctor comes in with a big smile asking me if I’m ready to push? Again, I’m confused; “what about the OR?”.

Luckily my husband comes in right then asking the doctor what is going on. She tells him to get ready for the baby; she will be coming very soon!

What; I panic yet again, I’m not ready. I want to scream that she is only 34 weeks and my body has been trying to refuse this delivery all along. This is not right, but Dr. Jenny just smiles while she is checking me (this time I am barely flinching). “I knew it” she says, “knew what?” I ask “that I’m not progressing?” (almost hopeful now). “You are 10 plus one” she replies (whatever that means, 11?).

The pressure is crazy now and I almost can’t help but push involuntarily. The doctor leaves with an order to the nurse to hold off on the OR and that she will be back shortly, she then turns to me, telling me that she will be watching in the lounge (I think about that for a second: what will she be watching? Me in this bed? Me pushing? And where, in some comfy, plushy lounge?

After the doctor leaves, the motherly nurse gets right down to business, telling my husband to grab my left leg “up, out and back” as she grabs my other. I get a strong and vivid flashback to the birth of my son as she tells me to push like my life depends on it (and maybe the baby’s).

She counts to ten (rather slowly) and then tells me to rest (for about a second).

Wow, this is hard work, after the almost 32 hours in labor I’m exhausted.

What they say is true though, something else kicks in, adrenaline is flowing and it takes me over, as I grunt and push and breathe; not really conscious to the rest of the world or what is going on around me.

After four rounds of pushes she is suddenly telling me not to push anymore.  I am stunned at this information; am I not supposed to push her out as fast as possible?

The social worker (the one that was impressed that I was a licensed MFT) comes in to tell me not to get scared about the team of people that will soon crowd our hospital room. “They are only here to make sure the baby is okay and to whisk her away to the neonatal intensive care unit”. She is telling me not to get sad if I don’t get to hold her and to listen and trust the medical professionals. Ehum.. okay, and when can I push again?

Nobody tells me anything and again the urge to push is intense. My husband is still holding my leg and my body feels shaky and weak.

The nurse warns me yet again not to push and I’m really trying not to; not sure what is going on.

Two young girls come in to ask if we want to donate our baby’s core blood. The nurse tells me that I don’t have to talk or listen to these girls right now but I’m feeling gracious. If my baby’s blood can save lives; why not?  But then they ask me to sign some paperwork and I’m like; are they kidding me? I’m in the pushing phase of active labor and shaking like a madwoman, they want me to sign documents? Now?

Actually hold a pen and sign my name?  We ask if my husband can do it but no, it has to be me. Somehow I hold the pen close enough to the paper and I’m not sure what kind of signature I produce but they seem satisfied.

The nurse tells me that my baby is not doing too well. Oh no, not again, I can’t handle more of this. She says that maybe the surgery can’t be avoided after all…

She then calls the doctor to ask her, instead Dr. Jenny comes running. She has a brief, intense conversation with the nurse and I understand enough to know that they are concerned; very concerned. Seconds later the room fills with people; what is going on here?

The doctor pulls up a chair and sits right in between my legs. She pulls the stirrups out and tells me to put my feet in them and move my bottom close. She locks eyes with me and tells me to push like I have never pushed before.

In my peripheral vision I see the nurse shake her head. I do a couple of rounds of pushes until the nurse screams that they have to roll me away to the operating room after all.

But the doctor’s face is grim, with clenched teeth she informs us all that the baby is already in the birth canal, it’s too late for surgery now. I’m not sure my husband is aware of what is going on but I am terrified. “Jenny, you are going to have to push her out” Dr. Jenny says.

The nurse tells her that baby is not doing well. The doctor tells me “One more push, you got this!” (No pressure) “This is the one push where you will have to get her out” (eh…okay, let me get on that).

I feel her head coming out, I feel it. The burning sensation is out of this world.

And then I hear the nurse gasp; “she is not going to make it”…

 

STILL laboring…

I said it before and I’ll say it again: I am sooo over THIS!!!

The night is officially over and it has been the longest night of my life, days long, weeks long.

My contractions knew what they were doing on the induction drug. They sure got stronger and closer together, yay!. My cervix didn’t get the memo however; neither did the dilation process on the ground floor.

Hello, aren’t they supposed to communicate?  

It is Tuesday morning on March 25th, 2014 and baby is officially 34 weeks today and I have now been in labor for 24 hours.

I’m dying for some pain medicine, I just don’t care anymore. I know that sounds really, really bad.

Bad mama!

But I am too weak to care. My body is just done.

My husband who “only” slept for 3 hours (probably because my loud moans and screams…) is trying to be there for me but there is nothing, literally nothing he can do for me now…

He tries to hold my hand and if I had the energy to get annoyed, I would, “seriously, like that is going to help”, and stroke my forehead… “ladida that made the evil contraction go away”.

I know that sounds harsh but like in all the bad movies where women blame their husbands for putting them in the position they are in during childbirth, this is how I feel.

So, we really had to try for a second one huh? “Yeah, you were right there too mister, how come you are in no pain whatsoever?”

The nurses are if possible even more confused by now, “how come she is not dilating?” …

The drugs should make me dilate and the contraction should as well, and I sure feel those…

By ten am I’m in my own little bubble of pain, curled up in a ball, chanting; not wanting or letting anyone touch me.

I’m no longer in contact with the outside world.

No more status updates on social media, no more texting with my mom and sister and no more questions for the nurses, and I won’t even look at my husband.

The doctor whose name is Jenny also; the one I had seen in my doctor’s office and then again at the hospital while on bed rest comes by.

I hear her whispering with the nurses outside of my bubble of pain.

I don’t care though; I just want this to be over and the pain to stop.

Gently she smiles and asks how I’m doing (how do you think?) I would put stronger words in there but again, no energy.

She is asking if anyone has checked my water. Water? …

Yes, that would be the water that was ruptured and put me on a four week bed rest, thank you very much! I ignore her question, squinting at her from my weird pretzel like position on the bed (only position I can kinda sorta tolerate).

She is sticking her fingers inside me, actually separating my legs (hello; a little warning would have been great but I guess she doesn’t believe in that).

She digs around for a while but somehow it doesn’t hurt as much as before maybe I’m just numb by now or my tolerance is just through the roof or it could be the absence of the metal object that is making this bearable.

“Yep”, she announces, “there is the rest of the water”, “is it okay if I break it?”

She doesn’t really wait for a response but I have time to think to myself “whatever will help get this show on the road…I’m also pretty confused, why haven’t anybody broken it before and why wasn’t it already broken, wasn’t that the reason I was in this place and in this situation to begin with?

My water broke, right?

I strongly recommend all pregnant mamas out there with their waters having ruptured-early or otherwise- to have their doctors check that ALL water is out of the “bag”- that it’s completely empty- games changer if labor won’t progress. I SOO wish I would have known (understatement of the century…)

I feel the sensation of liquid running down my legs and pooling in between them. “Yes” Dr. Jenny says, that would be the rest of the water!

Wow, finally things start to happen, I can’t believe it. They pick up in a matter of MINUTES!

The doctor is telling me that just breaking the water opened me up another centimeter and thinned out my cervix.

What?? Finally!!

Two hours later with the pain somehow more manageable now that things are happening and I am actually progressing, I’m six centimeters and I feel pressure, a lot of pressure.

I send my husband out to eat again since the nurse is saying something might happen soon; music to my ears.

Another hour goes by and the nurse tells me to tell her when I start to feel shaky as that will probably be a sign that I will be ready to push.

Wait, what? Suddenly I don’t feel ready at all, I feel all the pressure and then the shaking starts.

I’m not sure I can do this, but again I know that I am stuck.

I’m back to worrying and I stop being so self absorbed wrapped up in my pain bubble…

What if there is something wrong with the baby, what if I can’t do this?

What if I tear up again and what about the pain, can I handle more?

And then my thinking circles right back to “what if there is something wrong with the baby”.

Another level of contraction brings another level of pain and finally, finally I am offered some pain medicine.

It is heavenly. I can still feel all the pressure and the tightness of the very uncomfortable contractions and the shakes but they are definitely subdued.

Suddenly the baby’s heart rate drops though and several nurses come running into the room, they look concerned and the plump motherly one (back for the day shift) is telling the others (which I obviously overhear, hey; I’m right here) that it doesn’t look good.

I do ask what that means; more aware now that the pain fog has somewhat lifted.

They do tell me that baby’s heart rate is dropping and that she needs to come out: NOW.

I start crying again, my husband isn’t even there and I’m terrified as the nurse makes the call to prep an OR (this happened with my son too but I was luckily able to push him out right before they sent me to the OR-doesn’t seem like they will happen a second time).

This clearly means: C-section. I had been trying to avoid that, hoping that my baby could handle a vaginal delivery; I had also hoped that I wouldn’t have to go through both the agony and pain of a labor and then still have to get cut open.

This labor sucks big time…

 

Labor…continues…

Monday night on March 24th is the worst night ever, full of pain, disappointment and raw emotions. I am so worried about the baby and I am incredibly uncomfortable.

Even if the contractions are getting stronger and the baby seems to be hanging on, the pill doesn’t seem to be working.

The next time I’m being checked (4 hours after the last time) is the most painful. It is a nurse this time and even if I realize somewhere deep, deep inside that she is probably just trying to do her job, I instantly hate her.

What is she trying to do? Kill me? This is attempted murder by forcefully opening up an innocent pregnant woman.  Murder weapon: purple gloved fingers and a small but lethal metal object.

This time I scream, I cry, I kick and I actually sound like some badly wounded animal; not recognizing my own reactions or my own voice.

This must be scary for my husband. Forget rating my contractions from 1-10, this is easily a 10+…

It is interesting how they ask you to rate your pain level from 1-10, 10 being hit by a car and being left for dead by the side of the road…

How would you know what that feels like?

I haven’t had much experience with pain; I guess I’ve been lucky that way. I have never broken a bone in my body, I have never had to go to the emergency room and the one time I thought I had appendicitis it was probably just a stomach ache due to all the popcorn I ate earlier in the night (and I was a kid and can’t exactly remember).

I am a very careful person who takes major precautions not to get hurt or sick, somehow I have managed not to get seriously injured (my parents should thank me, I must have been an easy child whom they didn’t have to worry about; I mean my own son worries me constantly and has already gotten more hurt in his less than 3 years of life than me in 34 years).

My life has been far from drama free thought, I do not seek out drama, I promise, it just sort of happens to me. I get into sticky situations all the time; situations bordering scary and sometimes terrifying and I am a firm believer that drama seeks me out, not the other way around. 

Crazy people also tend to gravitate towards me…hence my profession. Actually that has nothing to do with my profession but it would make sense if it did, I just like the idea of being able to help people and to really listen to them, actually hearing what they have to say.

I’m not very good with staying healthy either, I tend to get sick a lot and when I do, I do it right, with sky high fevers and the longest possible recovery and I sometimes have bad luck with smaller things (like not healing properly after illness or minor procedures).

Anyways, the longest hospital stay I have been through before this was during and after the delivery of my son. I did have a bit of drama with my first pregnancy and delivery (with the preeclampsia, baby’s heart rate going down, his broken clavicle and my 4 degree tear and 18 stitches) but nothing like this…

This drawn out pain and waiting and worry is about to drive me nuts. When they deliver the news (the news, NOT the baby) that I haven’t progressed AT ALL, I’m devastated. I actually turn into an incoherent, sobbing mess.

My husband (just) might be scared of me and no spy show or enticement is going to help right now.  I just want my pain meds and call it a day. Sleep, rest, food, things I cared about, fantasized about and looked forward to mere hours ago are gone from my mind, there is nothing I can do now to escape these intense cramps shaking me down to my core, tensing my whole entire body with their uncontrollable intensity. I am officially over it.

“Pain meds over here please!” but baby might not be able to handle it, so of course we can’t risk it (again, lucky me)…

Since baby is doing okay but I haven’t progressed whatsoever they decide to risk putting the Pitocin into my IV to induce labor that way. That is a sure and known way to start intense contractions and speed things right along so that the baby will come way faster and sooner. 

Well…in everyone but me…

My baby apparently has another plan.

 

 

 

Still Laboring; hang in there baby girl!

Four hours later after steady contractions, four popsicles (can’t have anything else), two ice chips and two and a half episodes of “the Americans” they come to check me again.

Did I say it was painful last time? Forget about it, I must have been delusional. This is PAIN, this is what they talk about when they talk about pain, I actually scream (so unlike me) as I try to get away from that metal object and the nurse’s fingers.

The large pad they put underneath me in the bed fill with blood, even I can see that (and feel it).  

I had told my husband to go eat again since I didn’t think that he wanted to be part of this and I didn’t know how I was going to react. I expected pain and PAIN I got.

Luckily its over quickly and I fill with a sense of pride “I am really doing this for my baby, I will be a lot more “open” and effaced now and baby will be coming soon”.

I anxiously wait for the nurses to tell me my prognosis, 4 cm? 6? More? I catch them glancing at each other with confused looks and my hope turns into worry. “How much?” do I ask, “How many?” …

The main, very maternal mom slowly shakes her head and manages not to look me in the eye “Still barely 2 cm and cervix about the same” she mumbles. WHAT??? 

Great, just great, they won’t answer my questions why, but instead they leave the room to go find out if they are allowed to give me another pill.

My contractions are steady and bearable but very uncomfortable.

As my husband comes back I yell at him that I thought contractions would actually do something. Aren’t they supposed to open you up? (Like this is somehow his fault…and you know- I’m not exactly alone in this-but sometimes that’s the way I feel).

I’m only 6 hours into labor after all and things might start progressing soon and quickly, so I settle down as we finish another episode of the Russian 80’s spies in America. I can still somewhat concentrate on the show and hold an intelligible (if not very smart) conversation with my husband.

After some more TV, it is late afternoon and we briefly discuss what will happen during and after the birth of our daughter. It is difficult to know what to expect and it’s hard not to worry but we are trying to keep a positive outlook. My husband tries to reassure me that everything will be fine, she will be fine, I will be fine, delivery will be fine and it will all probably happen soon!

I’m am about ten hours into labor when we call my mom to explain that my husband probably won’t be home tonight, the baby will most likely come during the evening and night and the only good thing about that is that she will be considered 34 weeks (not 33).

I am dreading the next step in this process as much as I am looking forward to it. Since I haven’t advanced at all with one pill and since the baby’s heart rate has been dipping, my doctor doesn’t feel safe ordering another pill for me.

My contractions are kind of stuck and nothing is really happening. I am very uncomfortable and since I’m on the monitor the whole time, they don’t like me getting up at all and trips to the bathroom are very limited (I did mention that I am pregnant still right…? Very pregnant with a baby resting on my bladder…? Yeah…)

I can’t read or sleep, talk or watch TV, I’m too uncomfortable for that and all I can do is kind of be…

I channel my yoga breaths again and try to think about other things, my son, the ocean, my friends, vacations…

After 12 hours into labor it is Monday evening and time to check me again (yay, lucky me). It is the doctor this time. She seems worried about the baby and she is telling us that if we don’t progress here (with another pill to thin out my cervix), the baby might not “hang on” for very much longer (whatever that means; I’m too scared to ask).

This time, I really try to brace myself, holding onto the edges of the bed and trying not to put my legs together and kick my doctor in the face.

I am so raw and so sore and even though the bleeding has subsided this will sure make it start again. I’m crying and I know my husband must feel really bad for me.

My doctor is saying that she has to make a judgment call about the pill but again that it’s ultimately up to us (here we go again, I’m a doctor in psychology, psychology not medicine). She recommends the pill and what choice do we have? The pill is inserted and again I’m terrified.

Another 4 hours of waiting, here we go. I silently pray that this will work and that the baby will be able to hang on!

 

 

Laboring this hard better give me some (good) results…

So my doctor comes to my room to let me know that the baby might react negatively to these cervix thinning pills. She will have to see if the hospital even recommends putting this pill inside me since I’m only barely 34 weeks pregnant and these pills are usually given to moms whose cervixes won’t thin naturally when they are past their due date (week 41-43).

Past due date babies can handle these pills as well as the induction drug Pitocin but my baby might not.

The doctor will make sure this is a good idea, asking the hospital and her colleagues but it’s ultimately up to me.

Is she kidding? How would I possibly know?

Of course I don’t want to harm my baby in any way but what alternatives do I have?

A C-section? Is that really better and is that the only other way?

Again the unnatural feeling of what is about is to happen strike me.

I go into the bathroom to pee and change as I call my mom to tell her what is going on. We quickly discuss if a C-section really would be better? I don’t want to put any stress on my baby that a vaginal delivery could cause but at the same time I know a vaginal delivery might be good for her very underdeveloped lungs and there is also the long recovery after the surgery to think about.

I have to consider the threats of the placenta rupturing during surgery (it is also high in the front of my stomach and the fear of them cutting in to it as they open me up), the meconium (baby’s first poop) coming into the water (fear of infection and sepsis) and the umbilical cord twisting.

All these situations are real and serious threats to both me and baby.

I know that the doctors are used to these threats though and are prepared if anything should happen.

I have a whole team of high risk doctors on standby.

I’m already in tears and this process hasn’t even started yet. My doctor comes back to tell me that one pill should be fine and that my baby should be able to handle it (should?).

I am already in my gown (the same ugly green one) with nothing underneath feeling vulnerable – under the control of the medical staff.

My doctor uses a metal tool to help open me up manually after she has put the pill in and stretched me with her fingers. She can barely get two fingers in and I’m only 50% effaced and the cervix is still thick and still barely 2 cm dilated. The tool reminds me of the tool you use when you change a car to get the car off the ground before you can get the new tire in, it stretches my skin in my most fragile area and I can feel as well as hear the skin breaking and I feel blood leaking out…

To say that it hurts is an understatement. I am holding it together however as my husband looks the other way, I cry silent tears and my doctor is telling me I’m doing great, “a little bit of blood”.

I hear in her voice that she thinks I should be more dilated and thinned out but she is telling the nurse that she really hopes this pill will help since she really doesn’t feel comfortable giving me another one.

The pill will (should) work it’s “magic” for four hours and the nurse explains that they will re-evaluate everything then, seeing if I will be ready for the induction drug.

Everything mostly depends on how the baby reacts and I’m back on the monitor; monitoring my baby’s heart beat and my contractions.

Again, I’m stuck in bed and I can’t move. I have my IV with so many different bags attached I don’t even want to know what they all are and my whole stomach is strapped in and wrapped tight.

I am also not allowed to move or switch positions at all and I’m really in an awkward side position. Of course I have to pee and am already starving but not allowed to do either for a while (peeing scares me because I’m hurting so much and there is no eating until baby is born).

My husband asks the nurse when the baby will come, she laughs at him telling him that we are on baby’s schedule now, it could be hours, and it could be days…

Days? I feel dizzy as the first contraction hits, “oh I remember you” I’m thinking, “welcome back!” Since we surely have time (even if my son came very fast after those first contractions it still took about five hours), my husband runs out to have dinner (jealous) and pick up the new TV series, “The Americans” on DVD (I had heard it was supposed to be good). As I see him leave after a quick kiss and an “I’m sorry babe; hang in there”, I feel very alone again and stuck as my contractions keep getting stronger.

Four hours, sure I can do this but it better give me some results!

 

 

Against Nature and biology…

It is finally Monday morning at about 5 am and of course I haven’t been able to sleep all night.

I know that I really needed to sleep and that it would be a really long, tough day but that made it even harder to relax.

I also know that this will most likely be the day we will meet our little preemie girl.

I am beyond nervous, worried about labor and delivery and terrified that something will be wrong with our baby.

I feel unprepared and scared and I still feel like I could keep her in longer and that we would all be better off by that.

That is apparently not an option though and as I lie awake in the hospital room that has been my home now for 4 weeks.

I dread the day ahead at the same time as I realize that I have to “get with the program” and fight for the best possible outcome.

Even though there is not a whole lot I can do but following the doctor’s and nurse’s orders and suggestions I CAN have a positive attitude and continue to believe that everything will be okay. My positive attitude and outlook on my situation has helped me so far, I made it the four weeks+ until 34 week of pregnancy even though nobody thought I could and I surprised and amazed everyone.

I can do it again; I can have an uncomplicated labor and deliver a baby who will be fine!!!

This is what I have to visualize; a baby that will be healthy and unharmed in the end.

The end result is what I’m still dwelling on as my doctor comes in the room at 7 am (she is late). She is telling me it’s “go time” and asks me if I’m ready, and even though I couldn’t wait to get out of this room just yesterday I longingly look back at it as I’m being wheeled off to the ultrasound room. As usual, not much information is being provided during the ultrasound.

I keep asking if she looks okay, if they can see everything clearly, what the water level is and how about her hands and feet?

My doctor tells me that the fluid level is acceptable but still very low (whatever that means) and after that, I have to suffer through a very uncomfortable gynecological exam to check my cervix and dilation (still 1-1.5 cm).

As I’m being rolled back to my room one last time, the nurse (the Swedish one) preps me for a possible C-section and tells me to pack all the rest of my belongings.

Nostalgia sets in (can you believe it?) – it washes over me and I feel like I will somehow miss this room, this safe little cocoon of predictability and just waiting. As long as nothing happened, I was safe in this room and there were people watching over me and my baby inside 24/7.

I am a person who loves a schedule and routines after all and even though I was bored crazy and sick and tired of being stuck in a hospital alone and scared, there were also times I cherished the peace and quiet and the time to rest, read, write, eat and just be, bonding with the baby in the belly; telling her not to come out yet but stay; stay inside!

I call my husband to come and give him my new room number up on the 5th floor of labor and delivery. “I’m not ready” my insides scream, “we are not ready” but there is no turning back now.

Up on the 5th floor, everything is happening very fast. I get an IV put in right away. As usual they have a difficult time finding a good vein but they do better than last time.

They pump me full of antibiotics because of the extremely high infection risk which is a huge threat to both me and the baby. The nurses seem efficient and ready to get started.

I however, not so much!

I know they will stick a pill up inside me to try to thin my cervix and that they will manually try to open me up, which doesn’t sound like a lot of fun.

As usual against everyone’s advice I have googled this type of induction in the 30-34th week of pregnancy and my conclusion is: pain.

My body is not ready for this, this baby is not ready for this, this is not natural and this is not biology, this is medical intervention where they have to trick my body to go into labor.

I want to feel more ready, I want to do this, if not for myself then for my baby.

Silently I say a little prayer and try to tell myself to believe that is the very best thing after all.

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