Monday, June 15, 2009

Kellen's Birth Story

Where to start…

My pregnancy continued to go really well in the fall. It took us awhile to adjust to the idea that we were having a boy, but it was a wonderful surprise in a pregnancy that was one big surprise beginning to end.

I started having fairly regular contractions in December though which started to make everyone a little nervous. I also seemed to be getting bigger faster, but in the end, I was about the same size I was with Larkin. In early January, I had a little excitement…I lost my mucus plug in the bathroom at work. I called the dr. to ask about it but because I was having an active contraction day and there was blood tinged mucus, I had to go into the hospital to get checked out. I was about 32 weeks at that point. They hooked me up to the monitors and of course, contractions every 3-5 min, but they didn’t feel like the “real thing”. Anyway, got stuck with 3 shots of terbutaline (sound familiar? LOL!) and that stopped it. Dr. Swaim then agreed to not put me on total bedrest but to put me on as limited activity as possible.

My wonderful boss agreed to let me work from home most days, so I ended up only going in 1 day a week. My due date was March 9th, but we had a tentative induction date of Feb. 24th. With restricted activity, we figured we could make it until then. I had lots of contractions though, some days worse than others…I had a feeling I wasn’t going to make it.

On Thursday, Feb 5th, I had an especially active day. That evening, I felt really bad. I remember telling Patrick that I was starting to think I wouldn’t make it to induction day, that something just felt “off”. When I woke up the next morning, Larkin was still in her room and Patrick had gone downstairs to make her bottle. I had slept really miserably and when I walked to the bathroom, I felt achy…I remember sitting on the toilet and thinking to my groggy self “I feel like I’m on my period”…then the realization came to me that beyond the crampiness, I was having the familiar “blood flow” feeling…I shocked myself awake when I looked into a toilet full of blood.

Somehow I managed to go into crisis mode and head straight for my phone. I called my doctor’s answering service and let them know what had happened. By the time I got downstairs and told Patrick, the dr. on call was calling me back and telling me to head straight to the hospital. If the bleeding started soaking through then we were to stop at the nearest ER. Patrick hurried to get Larkin ready to go to school, I helped and tried not to move much. Strangely, I had packed my hospital bag the NIGHT BEFORE! How crazy is that?

We knew we were looking at two options. #1 (best option) I was ripping through my cerclage #2 (bad option) I was having a placental abruption. The end story is actually kind of interesting…you’ll see.

So we head off to drop Larkin off at school, all the while I’m keying into my trusty contraction timer on my IPhone…yep, contractions are 3-5 min apart, and these do feel like “real” ones…complete with the downward know the "being squeezed like a tube of toothpaste" feeling. All the way there, I’m trying to explain it all away and say that I’m sure it will be nothing, but I was in total denial and was in total labor! Patrick meanwhile proceeded to make jokes and get stuck in traffic. I told him to put on the flashers and drive on the shoulder…he refused, at which point I told him that if he didn’t hurry I was going to kick him out of the car, leave him there, and drive the rest of the way myself…he laughed.

I never thought I’d be the woman walking into the hospital having contractions. My labor was to be carefully planned and coordinated…not a mad dash on a Friday morning…I didn’t even get to shower or put on make-up! So I make it all the way up to L&D where they are expecting me. Multiple tests ensue, and I’m asking how long they think I’ll be there…hah! Once they get me hooked up to the monitor, they say that I’ll be there “awhile”.

The doctor on call (which coincidentally was the same doctor on call my very first visit to Woman's Hospital...for my emergency ectopic...) comes by and says that I’m only 1cm dilated but that she can see blood and thinks I’m ripping through my cerclage. Contractions were also very regular and at 35.5 weeks, they weren’t going to stop them. We’d have to see if they stopped on their own. She calls Dr. Swaim while they draw my blood, we fill out paperwork etc. I remember asking the nurse if she thought this was it and she just said that my contractions were very regular…but I could see in her eyes that I was in trouble. I had to fill out more paperwork for a “premature delivery”, and panic started to set in.

Then comes Dr. Swaim, walks in joking. They’ve decided they have to cut my cerclage. It takes two doctors, a nurse, Patrick, and about 20 minutes of torture to get it done. Those 20 minutes were easily the most painful of my life, and you all know how much crap I've been through. I remember the first cerclage removal being really uncomfortable, but this took probably 4 times as long and was done WHILE I was in labor and having major pressure and contractions…I hadn’t even had a Tylenol, it was fairly brutal. I made it through though, not a single tear/yell/whine (just a few owowowowow, are you done yets). The minute they finally cut it, Dr. Swaim said I immediately dilated from 1cm to 3cm. That’s when she said we’re having a baby today…and before I could process that info, she broke my water…

…THAT'S when I started crying. They were concerned I was in pain, but I was only terrified that it was too early…that I hadn’t done my job and kept him in longer. I was so worried that he wasn’t going to be okay.

To be honest, the next few hours are a blur. There was some debate as to whether I could have an epidural because I had taken my last heparin injection about 12 hours prior. The funny thing is, that was the first time I had switched from the Lovenox. If I’d taken the Lovenox, an epidural would have been a big NO. They decided to run some bloodwork to check my clotting/platelets and then consult the anesthesiologist. This was around 9am. In the meantime, we’re filling out paperwork, calling parents, they’re explaining how things will be different with a preemie, I’m panicking and still in denial that it’s happening.

The contractions were very regular, very strong, and there was A LOT of pressure. Finally a little after 10am, I get “approved” for my epidural. My nurse walked out for a second, and I told Patrick that I thought I was in trouble…I felt the urge to push, but I didn’t want to tell the nurse because I knew if she checked me, she’d say no epidural. About 10 min later, the anesthesiologist walked in and placed my epidural…a few minutes later, they checked me and I was complete…oh really, what a surprise! The epidural this time was interesting…I never lost feeling in my legs at all, I had complete control of them and could have walked myself to the bathroom….weird. So now I know that I "could" have made it through birth with no pain meds...but the epidural allowed me a few minutes to calm down a little before I had to push.

Anyway, considering that it took me 4 pushes to get Larkin out, they moved pretty quickly to get everyone ready. Kellen took 2 pushes…that’s right…2. I still tore though, oh well! The other interesting thing was that there was blood in the amniotic fluid...a placental abruption had started! For once, my body may have actually done something right and forced him out before it got too dangerous for both of us...the possibilities terrify me.

I heard him cry right away so that was comforting, but in less than 30 seconds, he was whisked out of the room. Apparently, for infants under 36 weeks, they have to take them to a stabilization area where they are seen by the neonatologist. Then they have to be monitored in the NICU for a minimum of 6 hours. So where Larkin was placed on my chest immediately and left there for an hour, I barely got a glimpse of my son.

They came and got Patrick a few minutes later, so at least someone was with him…but I felt very detached. A few more minutes later, they brought him in and let me see him briefly…and then away he went to the NICU.

The next few hours were very rough…I just couldn’t quite accept what had happened. I hadn’t even gotten to hold my son…

Patrick and my mom quickly recognized how disconnected I was and became really worried. The nurse was sweet enough to wheel me over in my bed to see Kellen on my way to my post-partum room. It almost made it worse…I got to touch his foot, but to see this tiny baby in the NICU just upset me even more because it reminded me of Larkin’s time there. I was a mess.

So once my epidural wore off, Patrick ran off to get a wheelchair and take me (force me) to see my son. Finally, I got to hold him…and then the tears came…and things started to get better.

Kellen Patrick was born at 11:17am on February 6, 2009 weighing 5lbs 9oz and measuring 18 inches long.

He was so small, and I was terrified that something was going to happen to him. But he did wonderfully. After his 6 hour NICU stay, he graduated to my room, and I kept him with me as much as possible. He didn’t have a single problem with jaundice…always in the absolute normal range. I credit this to our immediate formula supplementing! I did not want a repeat of Larkin’s issue although I was sure it would happen since it’s common in siblings and he was so much earlier. But we just kept bottle feeding and I started pumping the same day…he avoided jaundice, started gaining weight, and my milk came in terrific! Lessons learned from last time!

So here’s the first picture…LOTS more to come!!

1 comment:

Christina said...

What an amazing story. It kind of hurt just reading that! I'm glad everything turned out ok. He's beautiful. :))