With my first pregnancy my water broke 10 days before my due date. It was sudden and unexpected. I sat on the toilet, alone, for several hours in disbelief….and in fear. It was a whole new ball game scheduling a time to start the process to meet your baby. I went back and forth from liking it to not, as still do. It’s so exciting but also just plain scary. Labor is scary and hard and a lot of work. However it was nice to plan a sitter for the toddler instead of having people on call. I still don’t know which I prefer, although I think I’m leaning to the surprise birth way than the knowing your about to go through hell way!
Late October, when I was seven months pregnant, we received word that Josh was accepted for a new position in Kansas City. We weren’t necessarily ready/excited to return home, but we had such a rough go in California, I was just ready to leave. It was so hard for me to make friends. I went to EVERYTHING! I would hear something randomly and just show up. I did finally find a bible study I had great hopes for the week before we got news on the new job. I just wanted to connect. You know-a girls heart- to feel known. So, overall, when I look back it was a really lonely time and I struggled with depression. When we got word on the new job, I was ready to leave immediately! Seriously, I packed what I could and left my husband to fend for himself, moving all our treasures across the country…again.
We celebrated Digsby’s second birthday on November 3rd as a family and I found a cheap one way ticket the week after. Digs did great on the plane, although I don’t think he really got the fact that we were in the sky.
We stayed with my family, secluded and without a car in the country. I was alone, but I had hope and didn’t feel as lonely as before. My dad who lives a couple hours from our California condo went and helped Josh move all our stuff across country. We spent Thanksgiving apart. They arrived in the first week of December.
We started the hunt for a home when he arrived and after him working his new job for a week, we finally moved out into our amazing home that we found. It has a Kansas City address and is five minutes away from a major shopping area, but our house sits on 2.5 acres! It’s a dream and felt like….’Finally! A win!’ We move in a couple weeks before Christmas. I was unable to do much at this point because I was parenting a toddler and eight months pregnant. My leg goes numb during my pregnancies so I’m not able to stand or walk for more than a few minutes during the end. That time was a blur with all the holiday festivities and the move. We didn’t really get time to rest…or unpack.
I returned to my favorite Dr. in the whole wide world. (If you’re in KC and need a stellar OBGYN, I’ll give you his name. He’s older, carries peace and works with high risk patients, although you don’t need to be high risk to see him. I wasn’t.)
After an ultrasound, It’s determined that I had extra fluid that the baby is sitting in. This is called Polyhydramnios and happens in about 1% of pregnancies. That really explained why I felt him move ALL THE TIME! He had way more space to do so. I was informed that the biggest problem is that when my water breaks, the baby will slosh around and most likely not land in the optimal birthing position. There were also a lot of other scary facts that went along with this diagnosis, like a greater chance for a still birth. At first that didn’t really affect me….but then when you’re alone and you don’t feel the baby move, your mind starts to wonder. It was a constant battle of my mind for that last week. The excessive fluid also could give him room to float into a breech position, instead of remaining head down. The Dr.’s advice: schedule an induction.
Step 1: Cervidil, to soften/ripen the cervix. Sometimes this induces labor.
Step 2: Start a small dose of Pitocin to manually push the baby down to prepare for step three.
Step 3. Insert a syringe into the baby bag and manually pull out the amniotic fluid and then break the bag like normal.
The goal: A vaginal birth.
The induction gets scheduled after one last sonogram to insure the baby is still head down. He is indeed head down but the amniotic fluid has majorly increased. He really did need to get out of there. I’m just under 38-weeks when I get induced.
We go in Thursday, January 12th, at 6 or 7pm. I can’t remember now. It was pretty uneventful. They start the gel. I had been having contractions for months but nothing more with the gel doing it’s work.
The next morning we start the Pitocin. (I HATE Pitocin. I had it with my first kid and you feel like you’re falling off a rocky cliff, hitting every single rock and tree stump along the way) The Pitocin nurse was awesome. She didn’t up it to move things quickly along. She did it sloooow. Which is exactly what I wanted. Then a couple hours after the drug from hell started, the sound of a bubbling brook starts. I am not even joking or exaggerating. It was a freaking brook. Free flowing from between my legs. My water had broke on it’s own and there was SO much of it. This was not the plan. At the time it really freaked me out. It feels like you’re uncontrollably peeing your pants in front of people. (Josh, my bestie-Jestyn and the nurse were all in witness if you want to ask) So with just that little bit of Pitocin my water broke and we didn’t even make it to ‘step 2!’ Little did I know the feeling of peeing your pants in front of people would be the least of all of the shit storm that was about to occur.
All this happens in the morning. I got an epidural (that really worked this time) in the afternoon. Josh developed a man crush on the anesthesiologist. I’m not sure if it’s because they guy was awesome of because he was coming up on almost 24-hours of a total estrogen fest. My amazing epidural is really all credited to Jestyn. She works at the hospital I delivered at and secured the best. He was the best. I also feel very confident in claiming my first delivery as a natural birth. Because it was. That day was C H I L L. So the opposite from my first. We just hung out and laughed. I didn’t bust any music out, but we did feel like we should do some good Netflix binging. We never got around to it, but that’s how chill the day was. Now, I call it the calm before the storm of my life.
On Friday, January 13th, at 10pm I start feeling more pressure when I contracted (which was a miracle because I wasn’t feeling much!). The nurse was monitoring me outside and came in about 30 minutes later. I tell her I can feel it’s changing. They call the Dr. and start busting out everything. By 11pm the Dr. is in the room and were ready to start pushing! I remember looking at the clock. It’s this thing that I do when crazy things happen to me. I don’t know why, but I’ve done it since childhood. And when that time comes around I think about that major life event, more than I do when the date comes.
I start pushing. My usually cool, calm, collected, grandpa-crush doctor is all the sudden looking horrified. He can’t find the heart rate. Then when he does it’s low. He puts his whole hand…up to his elbow in me to feel the baby causing a 4th degree tear. (That’s hole to hole people.) (Thank God for the epidural of a life time!) The cord is around his neck (damn that Polyhydramnios, that’s another thing that can happen). He also spins the baby so that he is facing down more. My water breaking verses it being broke is what’s causing all this to happen. The baby’s vitals are not good. He gets stuck in the birth canal. The Dr. busts out the vacuum and starts sucking him out of me. Each time he does this I felt a bit of relief, thinking that maybe the baby was out. He vacuums him a few times and pulls so hard that blood is flinging. It’s flinging EVERYWHERE. It looked like a freaking war room. Blood was all over his face, all over his clothing, all over the ceiling, all over the hanging ceiling lights. I kept thinking, a housekeeping job in the hospital has to be the worst job ever. The Dr. looks frantic. The baby was stuck. There wasn’t enough time to move me to the C-section room. The new goal: avoid brain damage; birth a live baby.
The room fills up with NICU staff. A C-section staff is waiting outside. The Dr. looks at me and tells me I HAVE to do this. All I could think is that I’m going to lose my baby. If I have to have a C-section he’ll be without oxygen too long and will have brain damage. It was up to me to fight. It was the uttermost scariest moment of my life. I had so much fear he would be dead when I delivered him. It was know in that room: whatever was about to happen wasn’t going to be good. All I could do was push. Pushing F-hard. Like my life…like his life depended on it. It did. With each contraction I pushed three times. Good Lord.
At 11:30 (ish) after being vacuumed seven times, he came into the world. Born January 13th, 2017. They rushed him to his station. He wasn’t crying. Josh and Jestyn stayed by my side. All I kept asking, with tears, was is, “Is he OK?”. No one could tell me. The nurse finally said his vitals are good. Josh was afraid to go over to see him. I told him, he needed to go see him. He needed him. He was afraid of what he would see. That time felt like hours. They wheeled him over to me. He was in a NICU contraption with holes for you to stick your hands in to touch him. I touched him. Bawling my eyes out I got to touch him. He had oxygen mask over his face and an IV on the top of his head, near his forehead. He looked scary. Alive…but so scary. No full term baby is supposed to be in the NICU, I thought. But that’s where they wheeled him to. In the meantime, my blood pressure drops so low that I pass out. I’m not quite sure why this happened because each time I go over this story more questions and realizations occur. And with all that happened, this question just slips my mind when I write my questions for the doctor.
At 4:30am, I get wheeled to my room. On the way down we stopped by the NICU. They made us stop, go over all this information with us, wash our hands in a very strict fashion. My nurse, Josh and I were all three pissed. The nurse said, “Can we go over this later?! They haven’t even seen their baby!” Oh God I was pissed. Just let me see my baby! He’s been here for hours and I haven’t even held him. Josh and I both cried the whole way from the delivery room and the tears wouldn’t stop flowing for at least a day. We get into Winston’s room. He had already been x-rayed to see if there was a skull fracture. His oxygen was being monitored. He was sleepy. They kept referring to the birth as traumatic. That was the word. Traumatic. He slept so much because of his own traumatic experience. Him being in what looks like a clear baby coffin made us afraid to touch him. His nurse asked if we wanted to hold him. We started bawling…”YES!!” His head was misshaped because of the vacuum, he was all tubed up, but he was perfect. Just a perfect angel.
I finally get to my room. We could barely sleep. We were grieving. There were so many questions. After a day and a half of fun waiting for t he baby, the last 30 minutes were a whirlwind. At least he is alive, we kept reassuring ourselves. What about his skull? What about brain damage? What about his oxygen? Time. That’s what he needed was time. Time moved too slow. I sleep for about an hour or so.
I wake up crying. Josh finally passed out on his dad couch. I get up around 6/7am and call for the nurse. Through tears, I tell her I want to see my baby. She wheels me to the NICU. I see him. They had taken him off the oxygen. I hold him. I nurse him. He was SO sleepy, more than a normal newborn. He just fell asleep on me as I cried and cried. We didn’t get our skin-to-skin time. I didn’t get to let him latch on right when he came into the world. So many questions. So thankful. So much grief. That day was a blur. I’m not even sure what or if we told our friends and family. We didn’t accept any visitors that day. We couldn’t. We didn’t have answers. We were grieving. So many unknowns. At some point we get the x-ray results back. He did not have a skull fracture! He needed to be nursed every three hours. This was HARD!! I needed help to the bathroom. That whole process took about 30 minutes. I was starving. That took time. I had to call for a nurse to take me to see him. That took 30 minutes. Nursing him took almost an hour. Plus, I had to have my own vitals checked. More time. There really was no time to host guests. We weren’t physically or emotionally able to. When Josh and I had time together we would just cry. Cry and cry more. It was grief. It was fear. It was so scary. I forgot that I even had another kid. We could only focus on Winston. In the late afternoon, they started talking about releasing him from the NICU! The requirement was that he nursed every three hours and had the right amount of dirty diapers. His nurse was a freaking Nazi about this. She would stand over me, making sure he wasn’t sleeping and actually eating. I was so annoyed because I have NO problem feeding my babies. I have the most confidence and the ability to make healthy children. I told her I nursed my other until he was almost two-years-old. She kept telling me to quit comparing the two. I didn’t quit. I know they are not the same, but I can feed my kids. So I started lying. Telling her he nursed longer than he did to get him the heck out of their and into my room! I get that she was doing her job and I don’t still hold this against her. In that moment though, I was pissed. It’s discovered he’s jaundice so he’s put under the lights throughout that day.
He is really getting released today! We let our family and friends know. He gets out of the NICU early afternoon. He’s scabbed up from the vacuuming, but the IV is off his head, no more jaundice lights, no oxygen. Just a baby! We get him to ourselves for about 30 minutes and the family arrives. It was packed. It was nice to see everyone, but I was in SO much pain. Plus, I was emotionally spent. And as I looked at my babe, I realized others had got to enjoy him and hold him longer than I had. He was coming on 48 hours of life and others were noticing things about him that I hadn’t. I hadn’t really seen him. The focus was so much on feeding him and his health. I didn’t know what his feet looked like, what parent he took after. It was so hard not to break down crying and kick everyone out. I wanted to get to know my baby! I wanted to already know the things people were commenting on. But…I really didn’t feel good.
I’m tough. I have a high pain tolerance. I was in pain. My abdomen was in pain. I kept talking about it but all the nurses said that your contractions are worse the second time around. I would agree. But this was pain when I wasn’t contracting. I could barely get out of bed. I was so overwhelmed by the health of my baby I didn’t have the capacity to really speak up for myself or even to communicate what my body was feeling. Not feeling confident in my health nor the baby’s I ask the Dr. if we could stay one more night since this was technically day two and per insurance, you leave. He agreed he thought it would be best to let us stay a third night. The KC Chiefs were playing, what would be their final game of the season. I felt like shit. Everyone had left. I made Josh keep the game on mute. He wasn’t paying attention to me I wasn’t even enjoying the baby because I couldn’t. Something was wrong. The nurse came in and I told her I had a fever, I could feel it and asked her to check my temperature. It was a low fever, but there. (Around 99.9) About an hour later, when she came back I asked her to check it again. It was almost 104 degrees.
I can’t quite remember the process, but I get a special IV inserted. One that can draw blood and give meds. They wheel me to get a CT scan on the way to the ICU. They start me on several antibiotics because there is an infection. It’s in my blood. They won’t know what kind of medicine I’ll need, so they take their best guess and give me four different ones until lab results come back. I was getting bad…very quick. I get to the ICU and they inform me that there is a 2 cm (.08 inches) tear in my uterus (from when the Dr. turned the baby) and that the blood in my uterus is leaking into the abyss of my stomach. They talk back and forth about performing surgery or inserting a JP drain. They decide to go with the JP drain. I can not remember the order of events for the next few days. I was in and out of consciousness. I received two units of blood on my first night. They decided that they would insert the JP drain. A JP drain is a tube that is inserted near the unwanted fluid, the tubes comes out of your body and the fluid drains into this handheld size of a plastic bag. There is a valve on the tube that you utilize to flush the drain. It had to be drained twice a day. During my stay in the ICU, Winston had a tongue tie and it was clipped and he got circumcised. He had so much going on that Josh really spearheaded his well being. I tried pumping as much as I could. Winston couldn’t be brought to the ICU (or the floor of death as I like to call it). I was wheeled down once to spend one-hour with him. I just cried. I still didn’t know my child! I had to take pics so I could look at them to get to know him. It was awful. I was in the ICU for a couple days. My abdomen hurt so bad that I couldn’t even wipe my own ass. Literally. It was just awful. Talk about thinking my water breaking was embarrassing, it was nothing compared to what was about to happen. When I thought it couldn’t get any worse. I had to poop. Out of my 4th degree tear…but I couldn’t. I was impacted. I had NO IDEA what this was…that it even happened. Well, when you’re on pain meds, it apparently common. I had to be manually, de-compacted. That means my sweet young twenty-something cute nurse had to glove up and literally dig poop out of my ass. On my hands and knees, sweating up a storm, Josh holds my hands and there was strangely a sort of comic relief in this scene of a literal shit storm. I’m sweating. Sweating bad. I ask for him to turn on the fan. BAD IDEA. The smell of shit is just wafting in our faces. Oh God. That poor nurse. Such a bad idea. It took at least an hour. I kept apologizing to the nurse. How embarrassing. My care was exceptional. None of them knew how to care for a post-partum undercarriage. Boy did they learn.
They also were keeping a close eye on my heart rate. My heart was beating super fast. The only thing I could do was remain calm, in peace and ask for help.
I finally get released from the ICU with a heart monitor that was attached to me with sticky pads and the JP drain that was coming out of my stomach. Winston gets discharged from the hospital late Wednesday afternoon. Therefore, I can’t be left alone with him because I am a patient and can’t care for my own self. BUT. We were together. Thankful for life. Thankful that Winston was alive, that there were no signs of internal or brain damage. Thankful for my life. Thankful my doctor let us stay that extra night so it didn’t happen at home. Thankful to be in KC, where we have support to take care of Digsby. We cried a lot during this time, but it was tears of joy. Thankful-tears of joy. Winston had got on formula even though I was trying to pump. It was SO hard to pump as often as I needed. With tests, Dr.’s consults, needing help to get the pump, needing help to use the restroom. There was just A LOT happening. He would nurse with a nursing shield, but he just wanted to sleep on me. It would take two hours to really feed him, and I just didn’t have that time when I was trying to get better myself. We did it. It sucked. Real bad. It was an emotional reminder of how this birth sucked so bad. How nothing went as planned. How I couldn’t do anymore than I did.
He turned a week old. I get the heart monitor removed. I’m feeling MUCH more free! I’m able to move around with only one attached medical device: the JP drain.
I had stayed to receive iron transfusions, because of the blood that was lost and replaced, my iron was low. I received two out of the three needed in the hospital. I would just have to come back for that third one. I was discharged with the JP drain and a home health nurse to help take care of it. The JP drain really messed with my head. I had to wear this “blood bag” on me. I never felt clean. It was coming out of my body. I had to hang it around my neck when I showered. It was much more emotionally hard for me than I felt like it should have been. It was gross. It stunk. It shouldn’t be there. Before I finally get discharged in the early afternoon, a doctor, from my doctor’s practice expressed how grateful they were with the drain’s success because if they had went in for surgery, they would of had to take my uterus. That was news. Even with knowing that, I still hated the thing. I resolved in that moment I needed to be here for my current kids and that if that takes away from any future kids, then I was OK with that. My babies need me. If I want more I can adopt. I want to do that anyway. We left the hospital and picked up Digsby. We missed him and wanted him right away. We needed our family…our family we were SO thankful for…all together. Oh God, we were so thankful. The tears of joy just continued to constantly flow.
Little did we know, we were only getting a break. We thought we couldn’t get any more thankful, we though it was over.