Saturday, December 10, 2011

My High (and Low) of 2011

write (paint, draw, photograph, record, etc.) about your best experience this year. If that's not your cup of joe, write about your worst experience. Feeling chatty? Share both your best and worst moments.

How will you resound?

Today's is kind of my high and low all rolled into one. I know I have shared this all before, but this is my high/low so I'm going to share it all again :) This story is still hard for me to write without getting all emotional. I had been dreaming of this day and it turned out perfect and yet was also the most difficult time of my life all rolled into one.

So at 9:30 PM on Feb 3rd 2011 my water broke at 35 weeks 6 days. I immediately went into a state of shock. I had kind of expected to go into labor early, but I never anticipated it being quite this early. I kind of went into a panicked state and Peter and I just sort of stared at each other in shock for a second. When I say my water broke, I mean my water BROKE! We quickly went into a frenzy, called my mom to come get Malachi, ran around packing the last minute things (fortunately I had packed most of the stuff that very day!) and called my doctor who was already at the hospital waiting for another woman to deliver.

And away we went. As we drove to the hospital I couldn't believe that I would be expected to give birth this very day! I all of a sudden felt very not ready for what was to come! We got to the hospital, checked all in, they confirmed that my water had indeed broke, which I think the towel in my pants should have given that one away! I got asked a million questions by my nurse. I had to hang out in triage while they kicked a woman who had already delivered out of her room since the maternity ward was full. I still feel bad that this woman had to move rooms after 10:00 at night. My doctor came in and explained that there would be a 50/50 chance that the baby may need to be transported out of the hospital after delivery, but we would hope for the best. She checked me and I was 1cm with no contractions. It was going to be a long night!

We finally were able to get settled into a room. By this time I was having very mild contractions. My doctor decided it would be good to let me rest for the night and induce me in the morning if we needed to. So she set me up with some snacks and a sleeping pill and we settled in for the night. the nurses and my doctor came in throughout the night to see how things were going. I was making very slow progress, so at 5:00AM they brought in the pitocin. Things got rough, very fast after this. My contractions started lasting longer and coming within 20 seconds of each other, leaving me no time to recover. I was no longer having fun :) My doctor came back at 7:30 to see how things were going I was 3cm and 100% effaced. She decided I was progressing enough for an epidural and by 8:00 I was resting very comfortably! It was time to rest up for the grand finale! After my epidural, things started moving faster. They let me rest until 11:00 and found I had made it to 6cm! By 11;45, I had started feeling a different sensation and they checked me and I was complete. I couldn't believe it was time to start pushing! They quickly called my doctor and that news finally woke Peter up :)

By noon I was pushing and laughing so hard at my doctor! She had us laughing so hard. When we did the hospital tour I was told to expect 2 nurses and the doctor in the room, but do to the circumstances my room filled up rather fast! A pediatrician and a respiratory therapist came in and I also had several more nurses coming in and out. I barely noticed the full house though!

At 12:36 PM my precious baby boy #2 made his way into the world. The pediatrician said I could hold him on my chest right away, as long as he was crying. It all happened so fast though, and unfortunately he was not crying and had an awful looking purple/blue color to him. But I was instantly in love with him!

I still had such high hopes that he would be fine after a little help. Everything seemed to be happening so fast around me. Eventually they made the decision to take him down to another room to work on him further. I was still not thinking to clearly. I had told Peter before the birth, that if anything happened I wanted him to focus on the baby. That was not hard for him to do. Once that boy was born, Peter was glued to him!

Eventually I was all fixed up and they just needed me to get some feeling back in my legs before I could go down to see him. My nurses were sooo awesome. They were all so caring about the emotional state I was in. One of Eli's nurses made sure to come in every 15 minutes or so and give me an update on how things were going. It didn't seem to take long before the nurses decided it was time to get me down to him. One nurse got on each side of me and pretty much lifted me into a wheelchair since my legs were still completely worthless!

The wheeled me down to see him and as soon as I got in the room, they remember they hadn't played the lullaby yet that they do for all babies born in the hospital. So between seeing him in this state and hearing that stupid song, I pretty much lost it. I got to hold his hand for a little while, and this was about the time they decided he was not going to stabilize and would need to leave. They were having a very difficult time getting an IV in him, so after about 10 minutes with him they made me leave. They were going to try and place an IV in his belly button and I guess they didn't think I could handle it.

So I kept getting updates in my room, as far as when the transfer team arrived and stuff like that. I did my best to stay strong through it all. The nurses kept telling me I needed to eat, but I was not feeling like it. The nurses were so comforting to me! Peter was with Eli the whole time. I found out after all of this that his lung started bleeding out. The NICU doctors said that only happens in about 3% of cases, so that tells us how hard he was having to work to breath.

Finally the team had him stabilized and had a breathing tube down him. They brought him in to say goodbye to me and that was when things became very hard for me! I couldn't believe this was happening. I would not be bringing my son home with me. I said my goodbyes to Peter and my little boy and then was left all alone. Honestly, I just wanted to be left alone. I had chaplains stopping by and my nurses kept checking up on me, encouraging me to eat or offering to find me a movie to watch. I was holding it all together pretty good and finally got some food.

The most comforting thing for me was a lady from the church unexpectedly dropped by. She was so excited and in such high spirits that it really encouraged me and made me forget about the hard parts of the day. A little while after that, my parents brought Malachi in to see me and that made me feel all better.

Later that night Peter came back from the NICU. He brought me more pictures, which I was dying to see! He was all settled into the NICU for the night and looked so much pinker already. It still felt so unnatural to not get to be with him though.

That night, my doctor set me up with a really strong sleeping pill since she knew I would have trouble sleeping. I was all set for discharge in the morning! Once morning came, we got all packed up and headed home! We got quick showers at home and were on our way up to see our little guy.

It was hard to prepare myself to walk into the NICU. I was already in a really emotional state and didn't know what to expect. We found our little guy and I had to fight really hard to not cry when I first saw him in this state:

They had taken him off the breathing tube during the night and got him set up on C-Pap. He looked awful to me! Over the course of the next few days though, we got used to all the instruments on him and they didn't seem quite so scary anymore.

It didn't take long before the nurses decided he needed some mommy loving (which I really needed too) and I got to spend a couple hours Kangaroo cuddling him! 25 hours had passed since he was born, and I could finally hold him!

The next few days passed quickly! We got in the swing of how the NICU did things. Every night I had to choke back tears though, as I had to leave him. It just didn't feel right! But he was making progress!

After 4 days in the NICU, our awesome nurse Carmen let us know that she was feeling pretty confident that our boy would be off C-Pap by the time we saw him again. I was so thrilled to hear that news! We had to get one last picture of him on C-Pap. He was letting us know what he thought of C-Pap!
That night our nurse called us to let us know that he was indeed off C-Pap and that they had also moved him out of the Level 3 NICU and put him in the Level 2 NICU. All fantastic news!

The next day we went to the other NICU to see him. The whole atmosphere in Level 2 was so different and so much more relaxed! I walked in and was talking to him and the nurse informed me that I could pick him up! I was so excited! I could?!? In the other NICU, they required a respiratory therapist and a nurse to help maneuver the baby to be held.

It felt so wonderful to have him in my arms and to have him off the machines where I could see his face!

He spent 2 days in the Level 2 NICU. It almost felt more unnatural to leave him over there. He seemed like such a normal baby now and I hated having to put him down and leave every night.

Finally, it was the 11th! It had been one week since our little man was born and he finally had the okay to come home! We got up to the NICU as fast we could that morning (which wasn't very fast for me!) By the time we got there, he was discharged by the doctors and all the monitors were turned off of him and he was unplugged :) He was literally just sitting there waiting for us! We quickly got him dressed, filled out some paperwork and got some last minute instructions.

Then we were free and clear! We loaded all 5 1/2 lbs of him in his car seat and it was time to get him home and get all 4 of us back under one roof!

It was kind of emotional for me (love those postpartum hormones) to walk out of the NICU WITH my baby. It also felt a little bit terrifying!

Whew, okay I KNOW that was a super long story. But that week was filled with so many highs and lows for my year. I am so thankful it all worked out so well and that he only had to spend a week in the NICU and that he has been so strong ever since and not had any problems. He's gained weight and caught up developmentally and is just perfect in every way!