Thursday, July 21, 2011

Welcome to the World, Baby Kylie!

Disclaimer: if you have never had a baby, or are squeamish about such things, you may want to skip the following post and just browse the pictures.

As we waited at the hospital Wednesday evening, we ordered dinner and brought out the Canasta cards to pass some time. We had registered for the cards for our wedding but hadn't ever pulled them out until I was put on bed rest a few weeks before Kylie was born. Then suddenly Bryan and I had lots of fun competition with them. We reintroduced his mom to the game also, so while we were at the hospital waiting we decided it was a great way to focus on something other than the clock.

I was supposed to have my third & final dose of cytotec at 7pm, but because I was having a lot more cramping than contractions, they decided to wait one additional hour and gave it to me at 8pm instead. This was in the hope of calming things down a bit and hopefully getting some actual contractions started. Unfortunately waiting the extra hour seemed to do the opposite, and on the monitor we could see that everything had slowed down to almost nothing. Around 9pm the nurse came in and explained that they had scheduled for an obstetrician to come and break my water at midnight, which would hopefully get things going. She said that I would probably start on pitocin after that, and that we would probably be having a baby later on the next morning.

We settled back into our very serious game of Canasta, and I was enjoying the competition and feeling really comfortable. While we played, we kept our eyes on the StorkBytes monitor, which monitors both the baby's heartbeat and also mama's contractions. As we periodically kept our eyes on the monitor, everything still seemed pretty quiet and uneventful. Around 9:45, just as Bryan was about to "go out" and win the hand of Canasta, (remember his winning hand?) I happened to sneeze. Bryan remarked that we should check out the monitor to see if it picked up the sneeze, and it had. Just as we were looking at the monitor I felt a gush of fluid and blurted out that I thought my water had just broken. Halfway through that sentence, I felt another huge gush and told Bryan to call the nurse.

He did call the nurse, who answered the call button saying something like, "I'll bet you're wondering where your baby is...I'll be right in." Bryan didn't even get a chance to tell her that my water had broken. It just so happened that when I sneezed the monitor must have moved off the baby, so it couldn't pick up the heartbeat anymore. In the midst of everything going on, we hadn't noticed that but the nurse had and thought that was why we were calling. When she came in Bryan told her that my water had broken, and I think at first she didn't believe it, telling us that a lot of women think their water has broken but they are disappointed to discover that it's actually still intact. As I climbed out of bed and she saw the puddle I had left behind she was surprised. This was about the point that I started getting really nervous, since I had always heard that breaking the water is generally what really gets labor going.

Turns out that was what really got my labor going, since by 10pm I was having pretty serious contractions that were coming very quickly. The card game was forgotten about, and as I tried to get comfortable Bryan put on my Pride & Prejudice DVD, which I had packed thinking that the 5-hour A & E version of the movie would take up a lot of time and give me something else to focus on. But within 20 minutes of my water breaking I was uncomfortable enough that the nurse asked me if I was ready for an epidural, and I said YES PLEASE! Turns out the anesthesiologist was really quick, and in what seemed to me another 10 minutes he was in the room placing it for me. Incidentally, Pride & Prejudice never made it past the main fact the music was really getting on my nerves as I tried to sit still while the anesthesiologist placed my epidural. After it was in, I had Bryan turn the movie off, since I just really had no desire to pay any kind of attention to a movie at that point. I think placing the epidural was the hardest part of my labor (besides the pushing) but not because of the needles. I don't have any problem with needles. It was just very difficult to sit still through the intense contractions while he got everything placed. Once it was over, I was thinking what a wonderful thing pain meds are! I know there are a lot of women out there who have done natural childbirth -- but I have always maintained that it's 2011, and I have nothing to prove to anyone! It was really wonderful to be able to just lay in bed and be comfortable. I felt pressure with the contractions, but not one bit of was fantastic.

Right after I had the epidural, the nurse checked me and I was dilated to a 4. My body was making progress, but still had a ways to go. By midnight Bryan and I had decided that perhaps I should try to get some rest right now, since it was going to be a long morning. We told his mom to head home and try to get some sleep, and that we would call her if anything happened. We turned the lights down, and tried to settle in for a little nap. No sooner had Bryan laid down, than I felt the sensation of something leaving my body. I told him he needed to check and see what had just happened, since because of the epidural I had no real sensation from the waist down. He jokingly asked me if I thought it was the baby. Hahaha. He called the nurse immediately when he realized it was a huge blood clot. When the nurse came in she said, "Oh my heavens!" She checked me again and said I was dilated to an 8. None of us could believe it. When she disappeared into a closet and reemerged with a cart full of tools and dressings, Bryan asked her if I was going to have the baby soon. Um, yeah. She explained that she was going to call the midwife, because I was just about ready to go. As soon as the nurse left, I asked Bryan to call his mom to come back. It had been less than 45 minutes since she had left the hospital, and we felt bad that we had sent her home but we had no idea that things would progress so quickly.

My midwife Gretchen arrived around 1:30am and I started pushing. This phase of labor was a bit of a blur and remembering it makes it seem a little like a dream. The lights of the room were turned down, and since it was the middle of the night it was dark outside, so all of this contrasted with the bright lights they had set up at the end of the bed. After the first few pushes, I was exhausted. Bryan and I had talked previously with the midwife about our concerns with my ongoing fatigue and how that might affect labor. Bryan was particularly concerned about it, and his concerns turned out to be valid, as I had a really hard time with pushing. As each contraction would finish up and I was finished with pushing for a minute, I was totally exhausted. All I could do was lay my head back with my eyes closed and try to breathe the oxygen slowly. It was really hard for me and got really scary as Kylie started to have trouble. Each time I would have a contraction, her heart rate began to drop dramatically and she was in distress. They kept telling me that we needed to get the baby out, and that I needed to try as hard as I could. This of course scared me and I was praying for the strength to keep going. When we weren't making significant progress, and OB was called in so that if they needed to use suction they could. When the doctor got there, she had some suggestions that seemed to help make the baby more comfortable and luckily within a short time she was able to be delivered at 3:03am on July 21st, 2011. I've always heard people talk about what a spiritual experience the birth of a baby is, but I'll be honest. I was so exhausted all I remember feeling was relief that she was out and that she was OK. I heard the doctor ask Bryan if he was ready to cut the cord, but I was too tired to lift my head up and watch. I was just really glad that she was out now and would get the help she needed.

As soon as Kylie was born, the NICU team started working on her at the little station in our room. I'm really glad that Bryan was there and was able to stay with her the whole time. He also got some amazing pictures of the baby and some of her first expressions as her sweet little face looks shocked, confused, and just plain mad. Bryan and I were talking about what a baby must think of the entire labor & delivery process after spending months and months in a warm, comfortable bath of amniotic fluid. Kylie looked like she was pretty ticked.

While the NICU team was working on her, I was trying to listen to what was being said, but I couldn't hear very well. There were a total of seven medical personnel in our room at this point, so there was a lot going on. I was worried, but I think the fact that I was so tired took some of the edge off. After they had worked on her for awhile, Bryan asked them if they could bring the baby over to me before they took her to the NICU. Good job, daddy! I was glad he asked about that, because I was anxious to see her!

I had no idea what was happening, but after they had been gone for about an hour, Bryan called me from the NICU saying that everything had gone really well, and that they had cleared the baby to come back and spend the night with us in our room. I was really excited because I wanted to see the little munchkin and of course, finally be able to hold her! I had really hoped to be able to do skin to skin right after she was born, but it didn't work out with the trouble that she had breathing. Obviously, I'm glad that the team was there to take care of her - I had just imagined things happening differently and so I was a bit disappointed about that side of things. But not to worry! I got to have my moment as soon as Bryan brought Kylie back...then we were finally able to snuggle and snap our first pictures together as a family.

Welcome to the world, Kylie LaRee! Life holds so much happiness, so many wonderful experiences and so much love for you...we are overjoyed that you came to our family, and that we get to be your parents. We can't wait for all the amazing experiences we will be able to share together! We love you, baby Kylie, you have made our family feel complete!

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