Monday, February 17, 2014

My children are so impatient.

It's snowing outside.  A lot.  So much so, that unlike the last few days, Eli has chosen to stay at the hospital and nap instead of going home.  For those of you familiar with Eli's sleeping habits, you realize how big of a deal that is.  He needs special circumstances to actually sleep involving complete dark, silence (or the sound of rainfall), and some kind of sleep voodoo that lets him feel refreshed after a one-hour nap.  There's a picture below that shows how bad the visibility got.  We couldn't even see the trees on the other side of the parking lot from our window (please be jealous of our awesome view of a brick wall and a parking lot).

This is our second room.  We've been at the hospital now since 8am Friday morning, that's three and a half days for those of you counting along at home.  I've been officially discharged since 8pm last night, so they moved us to a generic room (as opposed to a birthing suite, no detachable bed and bright lights, but everything else the same) on the same floor.  I'm happy with both rooms since it allows me easy access to Caden in the special care nursery (that's the name of the NICU here).  I'm going to use Cade's real name for this post, but in subsequent posts, he'll be known as Baby C.  Yes, he's still in the NICU, but allow me to start from the beginning.

My water broke much like the last time at around 4:30am.  There was a bit of squirting, and I just thought I'd wet myself.  The bed appeared unharmed, but my undies needed changing, so I got up, switched them out, and hit the bathroom since I was standing around anyway.  To my surprise, there was a steady stream of liquid coming out of me despite the fact that I was done peeing.  It was not a gush.  It did not feel like the last time.  It felt like I was involuntarily peeing myself...again.  After it eased up, I did the usual flush and wash, but I noticed a bit of blood in the toilet.  Again unusual, but not unexpected at just under 36 weeks pregnant.  I didn't make it back to the bedroom before I soaked the new pair of undies.  That woke me up a bit more and made me wonder if I'd woken up to my water breaking after all.  It seemed so far-fetched that I shrugged it off, changed my undies again, and went back to bed.  Apparently, that's my go-to reaction to my water breaking.  Denial followed by sleep.

I woke up again about an hour later with the urge to pee again.  Let me stress once more that this was not out of the ordinary.  It was common for me to get up every hour or so to pee if I'd had a lot to drink the night before.  No soaking of the undies this time, but there was a lot of fluid again even after the urge to pee had subsided.  I was also getting mild crampy feelings in my intestinal region.  They weren't regular, and it truly just felt like I had gas.  I'd eaten beans for lunch the day before, and I was still unwilling to believe that my water had broken a full month early.  I finished up and went back to bed again.  I couldn't fall back asleep though, and my tossing and turning woke Eli up enough to ask me if everything was okay.  I explained to him what was happening, and finished with "but I'm sure it's just gas and the inability to control my bladder.  It couldn't have been my water breaking.  It's too early."  Eli suggested calling the doctor just in case.  I said I wanted to wait and see if the crampy feelings were actual contractions.  Eli suggested timing them in that case, so I finally gave in and downloaded an app (a continuing theme here is how woefully unprepared we were to go into labor a month early).  Eli got up to shower and call in to his first meeting just in case.  I played around on my phone and timed my gas.  It was happening anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes apart and lasted 30 to 45 seconds.  I was still in denial.  Around 6:30 the gas got a little more painful, so I got up to shower and pack a bag just in case.  I had planned on packing the hospital bag on Monday when I officially hit 36 weeks, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to have it ready just in case.  I still hadn't called the doctor.

Shortly after my shower started, I had to admit that the gas was not gas.  The cramps ramped up in pain level and started coming a lot closer together.  I had forgotten that hot showers were supposed to help encourage labor to progress.  I finished up while panting every little bit, and immediately called the doctor afterward.  They said it sounded like my water had broken and I should come in right away.  This time, I listened.  I packed a bag while Eli talked to the Man-Boy and got D ready to go.  We hadn't intended to take him to the hospital with us, but there wasn't really another option.

Let me back up here a minute and explain what we thought we'd be doing that day.  It was Friday, February 14th, and Eli had to work late on Valentine's Day.  We had plans that night for a double date, and the Man-Boy had plans for a date at home (I know, exciting!  More on that later).  The hybrid battery on Eli's car had stopped working the day before, so we'd dropped it off at the dealer's to get it fixed.  He was supposed to take my car to work that day.  The movers had plans to drop off our last shipment that morning, and the Man-Boy had to go to class for a couple of hours.  I was going to spend the day cleaning, unpacking, and making baby sheets if I had time.  So you can see that the unexpected rush to the hospital caused some problems.  We had to find someone to come be at our house so the movers could unload everything, and luckily, we have amazing friends who rallied around to help.  With everything covered at home and Eli okay with watching D at the hospital for a while, we left.

The contractions were bad enough that I clenched up and cried through them at this point.  They were fairly close together, but I'm not sure how long exactly since I had stopped timing them at that point.  The drive was fine, but every bump made things worse.  On the way to the hospital, the car dealer called.  I answered because Eli was driving, but I could only talk for about 10 seconds before I had to hand the phone over in favor of clenching in pain.  The guy on the other end was surprised to hear that we were on the way to the hospital and that the nice woman who answered the phone was in labor.  He assured us that he would take care of the car and give us a call later.  It was all very reassuring, and I just wanted Eli to get off the damn phone and get us to the hospital faster. He dropped me off at the entrance then went to park the car.  I headed up to the Labor and Delivery floor, but the elevators were being slow, so he caught up to me there.  Several of the nurses recognized us as we got off the elevator and everyone was super nice.  I was obviously having contractions, so they rushed us into the room.  They confirmed I was in labor and got me in a gown and in bed with monitors.  Despite the ever increasing pain and frequency of my contractions, I was extremely relieved when the nurse didn't start running down the hallway calling for help.  Apparently, this baby was dealing with labor just fine.  I was not.

She checked me and said I was 1 cm dilated and 80% effaced.  I asked for an epidural right away.  They were more than willing, but there were a few problems.  Since I was so early, we hadn't done the Group B Strep test yet during my prenatal visits.  That made it officially unknown, so they had to put me on antibiotics just in case.  That meant an IV.  I didn't really care since I knew getting an epidural meant getting an IV anyway, but it delayed things a bit.  I believe the nurses got things done as fast as they could, but it was a good hour and a half before the epidural guy got there.  My contractions were extremely strong, lasting a minute to a minute and a half, and only about 30 seconds apart.  I was in constant pain, and I was unprepared for how to deal with it.  There was a lot of weird noises and squeezing of various nurse's hands and tensing every muscle in my body.  Planking had nothing on this.  I should recommend contractions as a muscle-toning technique.  Despite my fear of the needles involved in the epidural, I was willing to do anything to make the pain stop.  Epidural guy was a pro (as one would hope).  He got it in and working within two contractions.  Three contractions after that, I could relax.  That's the point where the drama ended and my blissful day of comfort began.

I'd been increasingly uncomfortable since the beginning of the pregnancy, so being able to lay in bed without pain, contraction or otherwise, was amazing.  I don't know why anyone would choose pain over that comfort.  Eli, D, and I hung out for the rest of the day.  Everything went the way labor is supposed to go, and by 7pm, the nurses had me start pushing.  I'll spare you the gory details of the next hour and a half, but Caden was born at 8:23.  Two things stick out in my mind about the actual delivery: childbirth is very, very painful even with an epidural, and everyone is right that the memory of the pain fades.  When I think back on the moment of birth, the sensation I remember is the push and the baby, not the pain.  Thank goodness. 

Cade was working a little to hard to breathe, so they took him to the NICU to put him on oxygen and make sure all his parts were working.  Unfortunately, since he had to go to the NICU and I was Group B Strep unknown, they had to put him on 48 hours of antibiotics through an IV.  That meant he had to stay in the NICU for at least 48 hours.  Turned out that he had a little fluid in his lungs, but they were fully formed and everything.  He worked that fluid out in the first couple of hours.  Since then, he's passed all his tests with good results until late this afternoon.  They took his IV out, but true to form, he got a little too yellow (very mild jaundice) and we have to do photo-therapy tonight.  We're hoping he'll be released from the NICU tomorrow morning, and we can all go home tomorrow evening. 

Oh, and Eli's car is ready to be picked up any time.  Apparently, having your battery die at less than 1000 miles pass the warranty while your wife is in labor encourages the car dealership to give you a free hybrid battery.  Who knew?  We still have to pay for installation, but it saves us several thousand dollars.  Good deal, all in all.  I told Eli we should buy a lottery ticket since we're getting so lucky the last few days.  All in all, much less drama than last time.  I was discharged Sunday night, but the hospital is letting me stay in a patient room until Cade is discharged since we're breastfeeding every three hours.  We're getting pictures taken tomorrow, so hopefully, I'll have some nice baby pics for the next blog installment.  Until then, live with the ones I could get.



The view from our window during the storm today.
Eli feeding Cade for a little extra calcium.

Don't be fooled by the wires, he's doing great.

1 comment:

The Nutshell Librarian said...

I can't imagine how intense it must have felt to know you were going into labor a full month early! Glad you got that epidural. At least you know the little guy will know what he wants and when he wants it. He is beautiful. That last picture reminds me of Little A. You can see the family connection. :)