Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jaren's Birth Story

I know that this is coming pretty late, but I finally sat down at wrote it out.

From week 20 I had started having Braxton Hicks contractions. I got them frequently until the very end. They were always sporadic and far enough apart to not worry me, however, or the doctor. Until Wednesday, December 15th.
That night I started feeling contractions every 5 minutes. It lasted for up to an hour and a half, and then they slowed down. They never really stopped, but they were far enough apart to not worry me. The next night, the 16th, they came every 3 minutes for nearly two hours. They eventually subsided and slowed down. I had a doctor’s appointment the next day, so I figured I’d mention it to her and see what she said.
So, the following day at my appointment, I met with the nurse practitioner who told me that I was more than likely going to go into labor early. She predicted in the next two to three weeks. At this point, on December 17th, I was 34 weeks and 4 days pregnant. She told me to take it easy, rest when I could, and drink a lot of water. So I did, but the contractions never really went away. Whether they be 5 to 20 minutes apart, they were there.
I was exhausted, my body hurt, I couldn’t sleep. I was getting to the point to where I was hoping these contractions would either quit or make me get it over with and go into labor. Lee asked me, “Is this normal to have so many contractions?” and I would just shrug it off and go about my day, thinking if I’m in labor, I’ll know. He told me I should go to the hospital several times, but, yet, my stubborn self stayed home.
Finally, on December 22nd, Lee told me again that I should go to figure out why I kept having so many contractions. At this point the contractions were, I thought, about 8 to 12 minutes apart. So I finally gave in and called the doctors office. I left a message for them to give to my doctor and was told they would call me back. I figured it would be a heck of a long wait, so I got in the bath with my book to relax. As soon as I got comfortable, the darn phone rings. I literally rolled my eyes knowing that they were going to tell me to go to labor and delivery. I dreaded the trip because I KNEW they were going to say, “Well, you’re crap out of luck and you’ll just have to continue to deal with the monstrosity of contractions at home,” in so many words. Sure enough, I was told to go to L&D.
I’m sure on the way to the hospital I looked like a crazy person to other drivers. I was talking to myself, praying out loud, crying… I was thinking about how embarrassing it was going to be because, at the moment, I hadn’t been feeling any contractions. I was thinking, ‘Of course, as soon as I get the call and go to the hospital, the stupid contractions would stop.” Each mile I got closer the more upset I was becoming because of my lack of contractions and my stupidity of actually calling and wasting these peoples time when they could be helping someone else. I almost turned around several dozen times.
I didn’t, though. When I got there, they took me into a nice room with a TV and they got me some apple juice, which was really yummy by the way. The nurse asked how I was doing and I told her that my husband made me come in and I’m not in labor. Then I told her about the contractions I’d been having. She hooked me up to the monitors and, sure enough, I was still having contractions, I just couldn’t feel them – though it wasn’t long after that I did start to feel them. My contractions weren’t 8-12 minutes apart, however, they were more like 2-3 minutes apart. She checked me and said I was only 1 centimeter dilated. The doctor decided to give me an hour and if I progressed more, then we were going to go ahead and perform the c-section. Ummmm, what?! I’m not having a baby today. Yep, I was still in denial. So I texted Lee the news, who was stuck in Portland without a car, and he asked me if he should call a taxi to drive him to the jeep in Salem. I told him that nothing was going to change and they were going to just send me home anyway, so it would be a wasted trip.
After an hour and half, she comes in to check me again. Well, from here, I could definitely feel my contractions, each and every one of them. They weren’t too painful, yet, but they were getting there. My tune was beginning to change that I may just very well be in labor. But, after she checked me, I hadn’t dilated any more and I feared she was about to send me home, just when I was getting scared. She told me that the contractions were definitely getting stronger and were now 1-2 minutes apart, so she wanted to tell the doctor. She came back and said the doctor wanted to give me another hour and we’d go from there. I tell Lee what’s going on and that my contractions were getting stronger. Now they’re making my eyes water and my back was killing me. Yep, I’m definitely in labor, but I was still in denial that I would be having a baby that day. So, I told Lee that he should come… just in case.
Lee actually makes it before the nurse comes back to check on me – her hours are more like an hour and a half to two hours. When she does, I’m dilated to 3 centimeters, which means that, if the doctor okays it, I’m having a baby. I’m still in denial, though. I mean, I knew that we were more than likely going to be welcoming Jaren into the world that day, but it didn’t really hit me yet. I was still surprised that I was in the hospital and not being sent home. When the nurse came back after telling the doctor my progression, she was joined with a few other people and announced that in an hour we were going to have a baby. It was 7:00 pm, so they predicted we would be ready for surgery by 8. WHAT?! was all I could think. Lee and I looked at each other and nervously giggled, I think, but I was still kinda out of it. REALLY?! We let the babysitter – love you, Wendy – know so she could tell the kids that their baby brother would be born very soon.
The prep team took longer than they predicted and Lee and I were getting anxious. I was scared to death and Lee was trying to console me and said that everything was going to be great. When they finally took me into surgery and we left Lee behind to wait while they finished prepping me, I got even more scared. I was shaking horribly. Poor nurse had to hold my legs down while they gave me the spinal because I was shaking uncontrollably. I mean, sure, I’d had a c-section before… but I was asleep for that one. Finally – and I really mean finally because they almost forgot to get Lee, I was already cut open when they remembered – Lee came in and held my hand through the entire surgery. There were ten people in the room with us. Everyone was extremely nice. There was a time I was so sure I was going to puke, and Lee grabbed my puke bag and was actually going to hold it out for me so I could puke in it. I kept trying to swallow it back down because of his gesture, because, if anyone really knows Lee, they know how weak of a stomach that man has. He must really love me to actually offer to hold the puke bag. Lucky for him, I didn’t puke.
I remembered reading that you didn’t feel the pain but you felt tugging and pulling in your stomach, but, man, did that tugging and pulling hurt. I felt as if a bus was crushing my chest. I only felt tugging in my abdomen, but my chest felt as if it was going to cave in. Lee was so wonderful, comforting me and loving me and saying sweet things that I really wish I could remember because I’m sure I’ll never get him to say or admit that he even said them again. =P
When Jaren was born, on December 22nd at 8:54pm, at 35 weeks and 2 days gestation, all we heard was a gurgle, like a murloc from World of Warcraft, before they actually got him to cry. It was the cutest sound ever – though not so much when you hear it in WOW. He didn’t cry long because he was having a hard time breathing. We were only able to see him for a few short seconds before he was rushed away to be put on oxygen. Luckily, he only needed oxygen for a little over an hour. They then put him on CPAP to help him to continue to breath.
I was put back together and moved to recovery. Lee was able to go and see Jaren in NICU while I had to stay in recovery. I was glad that one of us could be with him. After my time was up and I was able to wiggle my toes, they pushed my bed to NICU where I could see my little Jaren. I couldn’t reach him from my bed, so I didn’t get to touch him. His face was practically covered with tubes and wraps and I couldn’t even see what, or who, he looked like. When they took me to my room and told me that he would probably have to stay for a while in NICU I finally broke down. Lee was there to comfort me, again, and helped me to feel better.
The next day, on the 23rd, I was able to hold him. Holding him was a chore and I felt guilty for wanting to hold him so badly because they had to carefully move him with all his cords and we had to be really careful. I got over it, though, and held my baby. They fed him pumped breast milk through a tube that they put in his nose. I felt so useless. There was nothing I could do for him.
Christmas day was a great day. I was discharged, no longer a patient, but was moved to a boarding room so I could still be at the hospital with Jaren. The best part, though, was that was the day they took him off the CPAP and was the first day that I was able to attempt to breast feed him. It was so much easier to hold him and everything.
We didn’t have much progress on the feeding. He would latch and fall asleep. He’s was too exhausted to try to eat. Poor guy. He just wasn’t getting it. And, of course, since they filled his belly up for him, he didn’t realize that he actually had to do something to get a full belly. It took about a week of me getting up every 3 hours and trying to get him to eat, only for them to end up having to feed him through the tube. I was getting depressed, and lonely. Lee and the kids would come and visit and bring me dinner every night and every night that they left to go home I cried. I just didn’t feel like we were getting much progress and I was getting really frustrated and I was tired.
Finally, on December 31st, I decided that I was going to spend new years with the family and make it to the church activity that they were planning on having. After all, the nurses in NICU were always telling me how they wished all moms were as dedicated as I was to make it to all the feedings and they told me that if at any time I needed a break, to go home for a few hours, it was perfectly fine. So I was going to do that. When I went to see Jaren that morning, his doctor told me that I was being moved into a boarding room WITH Jaren. The feeding tube was coming off and the strict 3 hour schedule was being taken away and I could feed him whenever he wanted. Within 3 days, if he gained weight, we could go home! Yeah, I was not about to go anywhere. Lee and the kids came to our room and spent the New Year with us. It was perfect!
Jaren did great. Once he realized that he wasn’t going to be fed by the nurses, he started nursing like a champ. Finally, on January 3rd, 12 days in the hospital, we were sent home where Lee and the kids welcomed us and made us feel loved. =)