Thursday October 22, 2009, Kris, my parents and I all woke up bright and early at 4:30am. Holy Crap, we're having a baby today!! The hospital bags were packed, but I hadn't gotten much sleep due to my cough that I have had for a week and a half. But I didn't really have a choice - I got out of bed, doubled checked the hospital bag yet again, ate two bowls of cereal - Honey Nut Cheerios and Frosted Mini Wheats. Got dressed in the only pants that fit me - my yoga pants, and a long sleeved t-shirt that could barely contain my belly any more. But I figured I just had to make it to the hospital, and we're good to go!
The car seat was installed for the new baby (holy crap!), my mom packed some food for her and Kris, and the three of us were off to the hospital at 5:10pm, with a last look at my dad, who was staying home till later. The traffic was sparse, and we made our way to the hospital. Went to the 2nd floor labor and delivery, where they had Room 234 ready for my induction. (holy crap!) 5 minutes later, I was in a hospital gown, answering a slew of medical questions. Have you had any heart diseases? No. Any siezures? No. And on and on it goes, while two nurses are putting an IV in my left wrist, which I'm trying my best to ignore. My right wrist is sporting hospital wrist bands. The night shift nurses wrapped up my induction, with pitocin dripping, all we had to do was wait.
I couldn't sleep. Kris pulled out the couch and was already asleep, and my mom was telling me to sleep to keep up my strength. But I couldn't sleep. Around 8:30am, Dr. Eisenhauer came in and broke my water. It didn't hurt at all, but it did feel really gross! I didn't have painful contractions yet, and they were upping my dose of pitocin very slowly. My new nurse came in - she had started the morning shift - her name was Kathy, and was very very nice and wonderful. (Don't take for granted the wonderful nurses during labor! It was such a blessing!)
And on and on time went... They upped my dose of pitocin slowly. I think by noon, I was having some back pain, and by 1:00pm, I was having SO much back pain, it felt like someone was sawing through my spine for a minute at a time! With a bulging belly hooked up to sensors and my arms connected to stuff... I was a prisoner on the hospital bed, and could barely move to get comfortable every time a contraction hit me. We turned on the TV for some distraction, but it just made me mad because Kris would laugh at something on TV while I was going through a contraction. Even though he was holding my hand, and encouraging me, it just really pissed me off that he found anything funny!!!
By 1:30pm, I was seriously considering my pain relief options. When I scheduled the induction, my doctor told me that I could take an epidural whenever I needed it. I thought I really could last a wee bit longer... But after talking through it with the nurse and Kris, we decided that if I'm going to get one later on anyway... Why not now??
I was terrified of the epidural needle, but in the end it was a very good decision for me. And really, the back labor was so intense and so painful, I figured the epidural couldn't be all that bad. And it wasn't! The anesthesiologist came in, and blah blah blah... told me all about the risks about epidurals, etc. (I wonder how long it took him to memorize the whole schpeal!) He wanted everyone out of the room, so I didn't have Kris to hold my hand. But a really nice tech stood in front of me on my bed, and held me tight while Dr. Walker gave me two numbing shots, which did NOT feel good. I did flinch... But the actual epidural shot didn't hurt, just some pressure. They got me to lay down afterward to make sure everything was fine. Lo and behold, less than 3 minutes later, my back pain was GONE. Even the pain that I've had for months from being pregnant - all GONE. It was such a relief I wanted to cry! I was completely pain free, and it was awesome. Granted, I was starting to feel the tingly numb sensation all over, but the absense of pain was SO worth it. :) (Also because of what happened later on, an epidural was a VERY good decision, as I didn't need extra anesthesia when I was getting patched up.)
I could still move my legs and hips, which was really good. I sent Kris and my mom off to the house to go grab some food and give my dad an update, while I dozed in painless stupor for a couple of hours. My nurse, Kathy, came in and checked on me once in a while, and Dr. Eisenhauer came in a couple of times. By 3:30pm, I think, I was 7cm dilated, and the baby's head had lined up correctly. (Her head had previously been cocked to the left, which wasn't letting me efface and could have resulted in Csection.) Kris and my mom were back around 4:30pm I think, and I was dilated about 9cm. They predicted that I would have a baby by dinner time!
We called Kris' parents and my dad to let them know that I might have the baby around 6. Things got delayed a bit, because we discovered that the baby was sunny side up, so we really needed her to turn. We tried pushing for a little bit to see if the doctor could turn her while I was pushing, but that didn't work. So I layed on my right side, with my left leg up, hoping she would turn. At this point, the doctor really wanted to get the baby out, because her heart rate was going well above 170, and wasn't coming down very easily. Also, I was running a low grade fever, which were all concerns for an infection. (At this point, Kathy came in to say she was sorry she couldn't stay for the birth - her shift had ended. I was really bummed! She said she had even ordered me dinner, and felt like she jinxed it by doing that. She was wonderful!) After 45 minutes, around 7:00pm, the doctor and the nurses came in for a real try at pushing. Thankfully, she had turned and the hard part had come. Pushing.
Never thought it would be so difficult, and I couldn't even feel anything! I pushed like my life depended on it. 3 pushes per contraction, 10 counts per push. It didn't help I still had a lingering cough, so I would take a deep breath for a push and just end up coughing. Dr. Eisenhauer had to perform an episiotomy because the baby's head was just too big to come through. (It was 14 1/4 inches.) I pushed and pushed, and she finally said she would use the vacuum to help the baby come out. So with an episiotomy, and the vacuum, Alaise Noelle was born at 7:50pm! (Although, at this point, Kris and I hadn't settled on a name yet.) I felt all the pressure disappear, and knew that the baby had been born. She had pooped meconium inutero, so they had to do some thorough cleaning. Kris cut the cord, and Baby was put on my chest! I always wondered how I would feel about the newborn "stuff" that they are born with... And honestly, I can say that I didn't see the blood, and the goo. I look at a picture of her right after birth and wonder how I didn't see it. But I didn't. I saw a baby, fruit of Kris and my love for each other. It was amazing.
Baby got whisked away for more cleaning, and Dr. Eisenhauer started working on delivering my placenta. She massaged my tummy, and did everything she could to get it to deliver but it wouldn't come - which was the beginning of my complications. She ended up having to manually deliver it... (I know, really gross.) I was more focused on the activity around the baby, so I just layed there and let them do whatever they were gonna do, so I don't really know when it got delivered, but the doctor started stitching me up. They were concerned that my uterus wasn't contracting back, so they gave me some shots, and did other stuff that I don't quite remember at this point. But I knew it would be over soon.
And it was. It was all over, and I had my decency back - I was covered up! :D I held the baby in my arms, and was soaked in bliss. The grandparents were ushered in, and I watched as the baby got handed around, watched my parents' faces bloom in huge smiles. Pictures were taken, and everything seemed perfect. Then we asked them to step out while I gave my shot at breastfeeding the baby for the first time. I just cradled her (as I couldn't really try anything fancy with all the IV stuff hooked on my arms) and started feeding her. It was an exiquisite experience... I didn't know if I was producing anything, and I didn't care - just the fact that I was there with my baby and my husband was absolutely amazing. Things were just perfect... when Kris and I noticed my blanket was being soaked with blood. Hmm, I knew a little bit of blood was expected, but just in case, Kris called in a nurse. We just expected the nurse to tell us it was normal, and give me a new blanket. Instead, she got real serious and a flurry of paging people started.
I found out that they had paged my doctor again, and there were several people in the room discussing what needed to happen, and who needed to be paged. Dr. Eisenhauer came in, and I apologized - I felt so bad she had to come back after a full day of work! After some time - you know, one of those times, where you're there, but you don't quite absorb what's going on, and can't remember later? Yeah, after one of those times - they decided that I needed to go into surgery for a D&C procedure to stop my bleeding, clean out whatever is in my uterus, which will hopefully solve the problem.
Before the surgery, Kris asked our nurse, "What's the worst case scenario?" She said, "Well, I don't want to scare you, but probably hysterectomy. But it's VERY rare. D&C should only take 15-20 minutes." Hysterectomy? Ha, funny. It's like one of those side affects you read on the side of a drug bottle, saying it could cause death. Anyway. Doctor also asked me if I was okay with blood transfusion, if it came down to it. Yep, if it will save my life - DUH! So with my daughter in my husband's arms, I was wheeled into the OR, fully expecting to be back soon.
I've never been in an OR - it was cold, I was nervous, there were those surgical lights above me, and they put an oxygen mask on me. All new experiences. Flurry of activity around me, with the anesthesiologist over my head talking... Dr. Eisenhauer encouragingly patting my legs... (later I found out she wanted me to not be scared, even though she was.) I was gone.
Whatever he drugged me up with, I NEVER EVER want to do ANYTHING with it. I remember distorted voices, and wondering who I was, where I was, wandering somewhere bright... You've seen pictures of distorted reality, where everything is bent, and it makes you dizzy and sick? Well, I felt like I was navigating "toward the light" through a swamp of thick distorted reality, and it made me so sick, and I didn't even know who I really was, I remember wondering if I was dead, or if I was close to it. It made me so sick I remember wishing I would die so whatever was happening would end.
I remember Kris' voice, crying and talking to me, and I remember thinking maybe he was praying. I tried to find my voice to tell him I could hear him, and I think I made some noises... (which I don't think were reassuring to him, as they were mostly groaning and moaning.)
I found out later that the surgery took close to 2 hours. Poor Kris, no one updated him on what was going on, so he was panicked, expecting me to be back within 30 minutes. Later he spoke to Dr. Eisehnauer and found out that my bleeding just wouldn't stop, so she spent most of that 2 hours scraping and patching up my uterus of anything that maybe causing the bleeding, and that if bleeding didn't subside within the next hour, they would have to take me back into surgery for a hysterectomy. (Dr. Eisenhauer tearfully told Kris that she would only resort to that as the last option to save my life.) I also had lost enough blood that they had hooked me up on a unit of blood when I was wheeled into the room around 11:40pm. I remember being SO cold, I shivered and could not stop. It was so cold, and I was in SO much pain, and all the violent shivering was adding to the pain. I felt all that through the fog of anesthesia. They put warm blankets on me, and I think I drifted off to sleep from shear exhaustion.
The first coherent thing I remember is asking Kris what happened. He patiently told me what happened. I sounded funny to myself, so every word I spoke, I tried to make it coherent with lots of effort. I think I asked him a second time what happened. And he told me again what happened. I remember being absolutely parched, I thought I was going to die of thirst. Kris says I asked for water, and he tried to give it to me, but I actually wanted ice chips. When he asked the nurses for some ice chips, they told him he couldn't give me anything, as I may be going back into surgery. They gave me an IV dose of Benadryl, and another unit of blood. Thankfully, this knocked me out, and I don't remember being so cold. Kris says I called Chris (he thinks I meant Chris Turner, his friend.) a pineapple... And jumped around topic to topic, making no sense. This was around 3:30am, and at this point, Kris went to sleep next to my bed.
I don't remember what happened next. I think Dr. Eisenhauer came in around 7am... I found out that Dr. Eisenhauer had stayed at the hospital all night for me. They came in and told us what had happened - basically, it was a fluke of a situation... There was no apparent cause for my bleeding. My water wasn't broken long enough for me to have had serious infection, my labor wasn't long enough to have tired my uterus out to the point of it giving out. They think my placenta may have grown into my uterus, which happens rarely. (which would explain why it didn't deliver on its own.) But my bleeding had slowed considerably, and Dr. Eisenhauer felt comfortable enough to leave for the weekend - it was her sister's birthday and she had been planning on leaving for it, until I happened... On a side note, she's the MOST AWESOME doctor EVER. She is so caring and dedicated, and Kris and I are so so grateful for her, and I thank God that he brought her to us as our doctor. She was even willing to cancel her weekend plans for me. She told us that when she got home afterwards, she found her dinner half open, the microwave door open, the TV on, because she came running to me when she got paged... Thank you so much, Dr. Eisenhauer, for everything you've done to keep me whole.
Anyway. So, that's that. I ate a whole bucket full of ice chips, and drank all the juice they brought for breakfast, and held my daughter in my arms again. We stayed at the hospital till Sunday. My husband was there for me every step of the way - he is the most loving and committed person, and I couldn't have asked for a better person to be my mate. Through all this, he has been steady, and strong, and exactly what I needed. I love him, and now I love my daughter. It's like my heart has doubled overnight. Capacity for love is a strange thing - it doesn't share what's already there, it just grows to be bigger. And with my Kris and my Alaise in my life, my capacity to love has doubled, and I can hardly believe I can contain that much love in my chest without it bursting to pieces.
The Lord has been so good to us. And He loves us so. And I can understand better than ever, His love for us in sending us His Son. It is truly amazing.
I am so thankful that you are hale & whole again-- your baby is adorable... amazing how much you can love such a tiny being. I am praising our Father for you and thanking Him with you!!!
Can't wait to see you sometime and let the two Drupal babes meet! Maybe San Francisco?
We're hoping to make it to SF for sure! Thanks for the words of encouragement, we DO appreciate them.
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I'm just glad that you and the baby are safe and sound now. Alaise is so adorable! Something special will be on its way to your place in a couple of weeks.