Monday, May 10, 2010

The Birth Story

A friend asked me the other day if I was going to share June's birth story, and I realized I had never even though of that! It seems like there was no time for rejoicing in her birth since it was so difficult. Anyway, I had some extra time tonight and decided to share. WARNING -- TMI!

Michael, Sara, and I had left Smiths Station, AL (near Columbus, GA or Auburn, AL -- we're stationed at Fort Benning, GA) on 4/17 to vacation in Orlando, FL with my mother-in-law, Kelly. I had my 24 week appointment about a week and a half before we left, and my midwife said everything was fine and gave me the OK to go -- even though I had mentioned to her several times that I thought I might be losing my mucous plug and that I seemed to be having a large amount of discharge. She didn't see any reason for concern and didn't even check me (how I love Army physicians).

Fast forward to the 20th. We had a great day, saw my MIL off to her flight, then spent the afternoon in the lazy river at the hotel. Went for supper at Planet Hollywood in downtown Disney, and on the walk back to the car I mentioned to Michael that I was going to be walking slowly because I felt really sore. Not painful at all, just sore. We drove back to the hotel and watched the fireworks at 9 pm. I probably got in bed a little before 10. We were planning to leave out about 8 am on the 21st, and Michael says he just felt like he should get all of our bags packed up and put together by the door so we wouldn't have to worry about them in the morning. He came to bed about 12:30.

I woke up about 1:15 with cramps. I seriously thought I had gas, so I ran a hot bath and got in to soak for a while. The pains were very consistent but labor had not even crossed my mind -- so I didn't time them or anything. I got out of the bath, drank some water, walked around, sat down, even took another bath....and NOTHING made the pains stop. I started to get worried at this point. I had sent my mom a text about 1:45 (I think) that said something along the lines of, "Hey, I'm having pretty regular pains, if they don't stop I'm going to the local hospital" and she just replied back to rest and hopefully they would ease off. At 3 I had had enough and was getting scared. I decided to call the hospital, but wanted to pee first. When I went to wipe (I told ya'll this was going to be TMI!) I got blood. I FREAKED out. I've always heard blood comes near the end. I called the OB floor at Martin Army Community Hospital (where I was being seen back home) and the nurse who answered the phone told me, after I explained what was going on, that it was likely gas and I should just rest. I said, "Are you SURE? Can you please ask the OB? I'm bleeding!" to which the OB said for me to go as quickly as possible to the local hospital. At this point it was about 3:15, so I woke up Michael (I'd been trying to let him sleep for as long as possible) and said, "I'm having regular pains (still couldn't make myself say I was having contractions) and the OB clinic said for me to go to the hospital NOW." Just before this I had timed the contractions and they were 30 seconds long and about 60 seconds apart. As soon as I realized how fast they really were coming, I got very nervous. I went in the kitchen and threw up in the sink (lovely parting gift, right?) as Michael was getting Sara up and us ready to go out the door. We stopped by the front desk to get directions to the hospital, then about 4:00 we were out the door.

And the car ride. I'm pretty sure I was hitting transition in the car. I have never felt such intense pain. I could not even open my eyes for fear the baby would slide right on out. I'm pretty sure I broke several laws -- no seatbelt, on my knees crouching backwards in the seat -- at one point I thought I might even bust the window out I was hitting it so hard to get through a contraction!

By 4:30 we had arrived at Florida Hospital at Celebrations and was on the OB floor. I walked into the ER entrance and said..."If this isn't labor, I don't want to feel the real thing. I'm about to push this baby out NOW." She immediately called for someone to take me up to OB. A very nice man came around the corner and offered a wheelchair, to which I promptly snapped "NO! I need to walk!" Unfortunately, he forced me to sit down after taking 4 steps and nearly falling over during a contraction. In a very firm (but kind) voice I was told he was just an orderly and had no desire to deliver a baby in front of the elevator. I sat down and was whisked upstairs to the triage room. At this point I was shaking and my teeth were chattering because I was alternately hot and cold, and I really felt I was about to push her out and I was straining so hard not to do it. They wanted me to pee in a cup so I went to the bathroom, then as I was coming out I coughed and I was like, "OMG, no. I just peed myself." The nurse wasn't in there to hear me...but apparently my water had broken. I just didn't know it.

They got me into a room and informed me the doctor was on his way. He was there in 3 minutes (great person, great doctor -- definitely recommend Dr. Mark Palazzolo if you're in the Orlando/Kissimmee area) and he checked me. This was about 4:45. I was 6 cm.

From this point everything gets a little hazy. I was given a shot to stop labor and a shot of steroids. OUCH to both, let me just tell you. I was being hooked up too all sorts of monitors. They had trouble finding JC's heartbeat. I was given a second shot to stop contractions, and a second shot of steroids. Then I was checked again about 5:00. 7 cm. I remember being asked if I felt a gush of fluid at any point, and I realized that when I thought I peed really wasn't pee. Once they found out my water had broken everything kicked into high gear. There was no putting off labor. Dr. Palazzolo made the decision too call the NICU team from Florida Hosiptal at Orlando (30-45 minutes away) because they were not equipped to handle a 27 week old baby.

When we were told the NICU team was on their way, it hit me: we were having a 13-week premature daughter in a few minutes. We were 9 hours away from home. My husband was at my side and my 2 year old daughter was asleep on the chair. I looked in my husbands eyes for the first time since I was put in the room and I could feel the fear in his eyes. I tried not to start crying and I asked him to call my mama.

Then I started feeling some intense pressure. I asked to be checked and I was at a 9. This was about 5:15 or so. I had to push so bad but I knew I couldn't because we needed to wait for the NICU team. I asked for an epidural because I knew from previous experience that sometimes it stalled labor, and at the very least it would take the edge off the intense need to push, which hopefully would mean I could hold back until the team arrived. I felt like the biggest failure ever getting an epidural -- I did NOT want it, but I felt like it was the right decision to make faced with our circumstances. The epidural was placed around 5:30-5:40.

About 5:50, they started having trouble with June's stats. It continued for a while and before long, they lost her heartbeat completely and could not find it. I remember the doctor screaming for an OR, screaming "Where is the NICU team?", and telling me I needed to push NOW if I wanted my baby to live. Well, what more inspiration could you get?! One push and June was born at 6:05 am on April 21, 2010. Literally, as the doctor grabbed a hold of her, the team walked in the door. God's timing is perfect!

And I heard nothing. I think that will haunt me forever. June had little heartbeat and was not breathing at all. Of course, that meant no cry. I looked at Michael as if to ask if she was alive. I couldn't bring myself to say the words. We just looked at each other in the eyes for a moment and then he bowed his head to pray. I was teary, but I think I held it together pretty well. I had such a sense of peace.

And now June will be three weeks old in a couple of days. I have a variety of mixed emotions that tend to change with each passing hour, more on that later. But there you are -- the story of the birth of my sweet, feisty June Claire. :)


Lora said...

Thank you for sharing. Thank goodness the OB on the phone told you to go in!! I look forward to reading post after post of her growing stronger and healthier each day. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Lee Anna said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful heart felt story. You and your husband are amazing and strong people. I am so glad that moving to Fort Benning and being in the Air Force has brought us together. We look forward to you and your entire family coming home. You will all be in our prayers!