Labor Day weekend was pretty uneventful in our household. We were recovering from our first week back at work and preparing for a busy upcoming week of moving in to our brand new school. The husband had a soccer tournament in Orange County, so I spent the weekend nesting and preparing for our maternity pictures that we were scheduled to take on Labor Day. We had a nice dinner on Sunday night and celebrated the husband’s victory in the tournament. As usual, we fell asleep on the couch, woke up to have my bedtime snack and headed off to bed.
At about 3am I woke up to use the restroom and then climbed back in bed. A short time after I awoke to a gush of fluids. I stumbled to the bathroom half asleep as fluid gushed from me. I immediately knew something was not right, but was too scared to come to terms with the fact that my water had just broken. I turned on the lights and woke up the husband. I told him “something’s wrong.” After falling out of bed still half asleep, he instructed me to call Labor and Delivery. I told them what had happened and they said I needed to come in. The husband grabbed me some fresh clothes and we climbed in the car. Our poor furbabies definitely sensed something was wrong and I felt so bad leaving them so worried.
The car ride to the hospital was pretty awful. I was so scared to move and lose more fluid. I also was worried because I hadn’t felt our baby girl move since I woke up. I prayed and prayed the whole way there. Luckily, a short while in to our 45 minute drive, I felt some movement. When we arrived at the hospital, I thought I could walk since I felt fine. However, as soon as I started towards the hospital, more fluid came out. So we grabbed a wheelchair, were sent past the emergency room and straight up to Labor and Delivery where they were awaiting our arrival. As soon as the nurses saw the soaked wheelchair, they broke the news. My water had officially ruptured and the next time I left the hospital I would no longer be pregnant. Cue panic. Not only were we not prepared (we didn’t even have a car seat yet, we still had two baby showers planned and of course our maternity pictures were scheduled for later that day). But we were also scared to death to bring a 33 week old baby in to this world. It didn’t help that it was the middle of the night and we couldn’t get a hold of our families. I also despise hospitals and could feel myself getting claustrophobic, like I would be stuck in Room 22 forever.
The doctor came in and went over the plan. They would start me on magnesium to help with brain bleeds and hopefully slow down labor. They also gave me a steroid shot to help with the lungs and they started me on antibiotics to prevent infection. Their goal was to keep this baby in until Friday. It was short enough to hopefully avoid infection, but long enough for me to reach 34 weeks. The doctor was quite the weirdo (she actually told me it was too bad I wasn’t having a black baby girl....). The nurses started to insert the IV. Four tries later it was determined that I had “tough skin” and luckily the two of them finally found a vein in my forearm they could use. They all warned me that the magnesium would make me feel pretty awful. They said “it will feel like you have been in the sun all day.” Um clearly they have never actually been on magnesium. It actually makes you feel like your insides are burning up. Seriously. Plus, the warmer I got the more claustrophobic I became. I started saying I couldn’t do it and I honestly believed I could not get through this. After finding out it would get better after the initial dose (which took about 20 minutes) and having the nurse turn it down slightly, I calmed down some. I also asked for some wet washcloths to help cool myself down. Eventually, the next shift of nurses came on and I was offered ice packs, which really helped. They had to test my blood sugar every few hours even though I wasn’t eating (they were so much better at poking my finger than I ever was!) because of the IV fluids and steroid shot.
Finally, we were able to get a hold of my parents. They were able to go pick up our poor furbabies and grab some things from our house since we had obviously not packed a hospital bag. About this time, the neonatal doctor came in and told us what to expect delivering a premature baby. It was very scary to say the least. Then the doctor decided to take a sample of my amniotic fluid to send off to the lab for a lung maturity test. She had a hard time remembering how much fluid she was supposed to take, and she actually said I haven’t done this in so long I can’t really remember....weirdo I tell you! She also visually checked my cervix, which she said was still closed.
Anyways, all day long the nurses and doctors told us not to expect anything from the test. 33 weeks was way too early for the lungs to show maturity, especially with gestational diabetes. Some of them actually told us it was a waste of a test. At this point, the magnesium had calmed down some and prayer chains had started. When my parents arrived we decided to send the husband home to get things together and get some sleep. My mom would stay the night with me and he would come back first thing in the morning.
|Our "maternity pictures"|
At about 10pm, the doctor came in with great news. By the grace of God and despite all the doubts, our baby girl’s lungs were ready to go. They wanted to start inducing me immediately. Cue panic again. My husband was an hour away getting ready to climb in bed and I had already come to terms with Friday. I was so scared the baby wasn’t ready to come out and I was so scared I would not have the energy to get through labor. I still felt awful from the magnesium and I hadn’t eaten or slept in 24 hours. My whole pregnancy I tried to be flexible about a birth plan. Pretty much the only thing I really wanted to avoid was being induced. Now here I was, almost 7 weeks early about to get induced. Once again, God reminds me His plans, not mine. I begged the doctor to let me wait until morning. I was hoping some sleep would give me more energy and I could also have a little more time to process everything. She initially told me yes, we could wait until morning. However, 30 minutes later she came in and said the specialist would not approve the wait. So we settled on one hour. The husband gathered his things and I had some toast with peanut butter. At about 11pm I took my first dose of induction pills.
The doctor told me labor could take multiple days especially since I was still on the magnesium. I started feeling contractions pretty soon after that, but they were at least ten minutes apart and not that strong. They told me to get some sleep, but it was not easy. I felt like I had to go to the bathroom pretty often because of my IV, and it was quite the process to get me in to the bathroom. By the middle of the night, I was too weak to make it to the bathroom and had to start using a bedpan (ew!). Once again panic set in as I wondered how on earth I would push out a baby when I couldn’t even walk in to the bathroom.
As the early morning came, my contractions got a lot stronger. I would wake up my mom so she could watch the screen and tell me when they were almost over (the husband was snoring away on the couch....). The rest of the day was kind of a blur. I took another dose of pills and received my flu shot and Tdap vaccine. As the contractions got stronger and closer together, I started to wonder when I could have anything for the pain. They told me I had to wait until they were closer together and I was hopefully dilated some. At this point, I almost slapped a nurse who reminded me I would be doing all of this at home if I wasn’t being induced. She also said “that’s why it’s called labor!”. Finally, a few hours later, they checked my cervix again and I was 4cm dilated. At this point, they decided I was ready for pitocin (scary!) and I could have some pain medication through the IV (yay!). This is where things start getting really fuzzy. The pain medication made me so loopy!
I was so out of it, I actually would daydream about a contraction and then have a contraction. It was very strange. I vaguely remember them checking my cervix again and I was 7 cm dilated. I think at this point they paged the anesthesiologist and my mom and husband started making the calls. I do clearly remember walking out of the restroom and looking at everyone hurrying around. I felt like I had no idea what was going on or what the plan was, so I asked (or slurred), “What’s going on?”. The husband later told me this made everyone kind of nervous because they thought I literally did not know what was going on. What I really meant was, when is this baby coming out?! It seemed like everyone knew the plan, but me! The anesthesiologist came in and I remember thinking she was so young and cute, she must just be the assistant! She actually ended up being amazing! She took her time and was very careful because she said I was almost too small for it to work. It was hard holding still during contractions, but eventually it was in and we were ready to go. After that, a few visitors came in and I did my best to act like I wasn’t completely loopy :)
Don’t ask me how long later, but shortly after my epidural, I was about 10 cm and ready to start pushing. At this point, every time I had a contraction the baby’s heart rate would drop. I was also still feeling pain in my lower left side. The nurse said the baby was probably putting pressure in that spot and no matter how many times I pushed the epidural button, nothing would change. They gave me an oxygen mask to hopefully help maintain her heart rate. Then it was officially time to start pushing! Let me just say, it took much longer than I ever imagined it would. Part of the problem was the oxygen mask. It was making me super claustrophobic and my mouth was so dry. I felt like I needed to clear my throat and it didn’t help with my endurance. I also felt a little discouraged and nervous about pushing. From the moment we arrived, they told us a whole team of specialists would be in the room for delivery in anticipation of our early arrival. At this point, there was only our nurse in the room. I was half worried that I would push her out and no one would be there to help and half realizing that I must not be very close (despite everyone telling me what a great job I was doing....) if no one was in the room yet. Finally, the nurse called in the doctor and everyone started trickling in. Five minutes later, our baby girl made her appearance. She shocked us all with her full head of hair and her plump weight of 4lbs. 15 ounces. We were able to snap a few pictures and the husband cut the cord. Then she was off to the NICU. The husband was able to go with her and they were able to pass by all of our family waiting in the hall.
Meanwhile, they had turned off everything in my IV and I felt like a new person. I immediately started asking when I could go and see her. They kept telling me I had to wait, but I had no idea why! I seriously felt perfectly fine and had hardly any numbness from the epidural. Finally they wheeled me over. We weren’t able to hold her though for almost 24 hours. That was so hard!
|Our first family photo!|
We stayed in the hospital for the next two days and visited her as often as we could. Every time I pumped, we would walk the milk right over even in the middle of the night. Then reality set in, that we would have to leave without her and we lived an hour away. Once again, God had it taken care of. One of the husband’s sisters paid for a hotel room for two nights. And then a lady from my mom’s work offered her RV for us to stay in. By that Saturday, we were officially moved in to the hospital parking lot. We are planning to stay here until our baby girl goes home. Keep your fingers crossed that it happens very soon, mommy is not a camper!
Although her birth was a complete shock and almost daily we have to deal with our ever-changing emotions, I know we would do it all again for our sweet baby girl.