Thursday, December 18, 2014

Owen's Birth Story

I had been having pretty uncomfortable Braxton-Hicks contractions for a few months, and had learned that they were just "normal" for me and this pregnancy.  However, on Wednesday November 26th (the day before Thanksgiving), my contractions seemed to change.  I had always felt them up high on my belly, since that's where Owen tended to hang out.  These new ones were way down low, below my belly.  They also were much sharper and more intense.  After working a half day, I picked up Lane and we went to the grocery store for last-minute baking supplies.  I had to pause every 5 minutes or so in the store for a contraction, and decided to download a contraction timer app just in case.  I quickly noticed a pattern, and decided to go home and rest to see if they calmed down.  Luckily, Lane napped when we got home, and I did too.  By the end of my hour and a half nap, they had significantly slowed down, and I was having 1-2 an hour.  I never did mention what was going on to Josh, because I didn't want to make him worry for nothing.  

One thing I am glad I did, however, was pack a mini hospital just-in-case bag.  This had a change of clothes for both Josh and I, and my bathroom bag with toiletries.  This contraction pattern continued through Thanksgiving and Black Friday, into Saturday as well.  I still had to stop whatever I was doing and concentrate on getting through each contraction, but they stayed at only 1-2 an hour.  Friday morning however, I did have a little bit of spotting and some mucus, which was likely when I started dilating more.  

Saturday evening, we went to my parents' house for dinner.  I felt my usual discomfort all evening, but after eating pumpkin pie around 8pm, I started to just feel "off".  I was nauseous, and just felt really uncomfortable in general.  We drove home, and as soon as we walked in the door, I ran to the bathroom to throw up.  While still leaning over the toilet, I could feel my contractions pick up in frequency, but I figured that was just due to the effort of vomiting.  I then took a shower to try to relax and calm them down.  It didn't really work, but they were tolerable so I headed to bed.  

I slept off and on from 9:30 to midnight, when I decided to get up and shower again as I was feeling like the contractions were increasing.  I timed them while in the shower, and they were 5 minutes apart, lasting a minute.  After my shower, things got a lot more intense.  I slowly started gathering things around the house just in case we needed to head in to the hospital, like a change of clothes for Lane, my phone charger, Josh's wallet, etc.  Josh had plans for duck hunting early the next morning, and I woke him up at 12:30 to tell him I didn't think he should leave for hunting in the morning, just in case.  He went back to sleep, and I kept concentrating on my contractions.  The only way I could tolerate them was to either lean over my exercise ball, or be on my hands and knees.  

I quickly realized we needed to head in to the hospital, because I began to make moaning sounds and what I can only describe as teeth-chattering sounds during the contractions that I was no longer in control of (looking back, I was likely in transition at this time).  I woke Josh up again, and told him I thought we should head in.  He thought I was joking, and once he heard me during one contraction, jumped into action.  I couldn't really do anything else at that point as the contractions were 3-4 minutes apart, and a minute long.  He loaded up our dog and Lane, carried my stuff to the car and got it warmed up, etc.  We then headed out, and I started panicking that maybe I was just being a big baby and it wasn't really labor.  But we decided better to be safe than sorry.  

During the ride in, I couldn't really stay sitting during a contraction, and had to straighten my knees to lift my butt off the seat and pull on the handle above the door frame.  I started crying during the drive, because I was NOT ready for this to be happening.  I wasn't ready for a newborn (I had things left to do!), I hadn't yet really prepared Lane for what was happening, I wasn't ready to give up Lane being my baby, and I knew it was too early for this baby to be coming.  Josh basically just told me to suck it up because it was obviously happening! We planned to drop Lane off at Josh's mom's on the way, but about halfway to the hospital (which is about a 35 minute drive), we decided it would be better to just head straight to L&D.  She met us there, and I quickly hugged and kissed a sleepy and confused Lane goodbye and headed in through the ER entrance.  

We made our way down the hallway, with me dropping to my knees every 10 feet or so for a contraction.  Josh got a wheelchair, but I couldn't stand to sit in it during a contraction, so he would push me and run in between to try to make as much progress as possible.  We finally got to the L&D entrance, and there was no one at the desk to check-in.  So Josh used the phone on the wall, and the person on the other end told him we needed to check in at the ER first and they would transport us back over.  Josh told her he really thought they needed to come out to the waiting room as things were happening fast.  So one nurse came strolling out, and when she saw me on my hands and knees on the floor moaning, she quickly ran over.  She asked if this was my first baby, and when I told her it was my second and that I was only 32 weeks, she quickly called for help!  They got me into a chair again, and ran me to a triage room.  Two nurses helped strip me down between contractions and got me on the monitors while the doctor was called.  The doctor came in and did a quick exam, and told me I was 7cm with a bulging bag of water.  We were having a baby!  

They then ran me to a L&D room, and a whole team was assembled to draw blood, start an IV, get intake info from me, call an anesthesiologist, etc.  They also brought in the Special Care Nursery team and a respiratory therapist.  The anesthesiologist came in very quickly, and agreed to start my epidural without finishing the IV fluids and antibiotics (the antibiotics were because I never had a change to be tested for Group B strep, and there was talk of the possibility of an infection causing the pre-term labor).  The doctor checked me again right after the epidural was in place, and I was 9cm.  I was told to expect for the nurses to take Owen to the nursery right away without seeing him first, due to him being 7 weeks and 1 day early.  

My epidural started kicking in, and the relief was AMAZING.  Not only that, but it gave me a few minutes to wrap my head around what was about to happen.  I told Josh that he had to go with Owen no matter what- both to the nursery at our hospital, and to Tacoma General, where Owen would likely be transferred.  I was then 10cm and ready to start pushing.  I really couldn't feel the urge to push or the contractions any more, so the nurse told me when to push and when to stop.  The very first push, my water broke.  I pushed for about 10 minutes, but there were a few minutes of rest in between contractions.  I heard everyone say they could see a head full of hair, and very quickly he was born!  He was able to be placed on my belly right away because he came out bigger than expected and was crying very hard!  I was able to help wipe him off and kiss him, and then they took him to the isolette.  He had Apgars of 8 and 9, and they wrapped him up and brought him over to Josh and I to kiss before they went to the nursery.  The doctor finished up with me, and sent my placenta off to pathology to be examined.  Josh kept bringing updates back to me.  

Owen was doing really well, but they wanted him transferred to a different facility better equipped for him.  So, they sent a specialized transport team down from that hospital, and Josh followed them back up.  I was discharged 6 hours after he was born, and was able to go up to be with Owen.  And here we are!  Still staying with him at the other hospital, now in the ICN rather than the NICU, and just waiting for him to grow and develop more so he can come home!