I’m still in disbelief that our Baby Girl is here with us and that she was born on Christmas Day! Her birth story is anything but simple and easy, as if we expected any less after our journey to get her here?!
It started out the weekend before my 40 week doctor appt, my “bloody show” started that Saturday morning, followed by contractions for the rest of the weekend. I timed them out and while they were consistent, they weren’t consistent enough to trek over to the hospital. I figured I’d wait until my appointment on Monday with my doctor to see if anything had progressed.
Monday morning arrived and I ate a small piece of toast (I note that because I didn’t realize I wouldn’t be able to eat after this!) before heading out to see our doctor. I honestly, figured he’d say I progressed a little bit and then send us home to wait a few more days before being induced. I know he mentioned cervical ripening if I hadn’t dilated but I just knew I had to have at least dilated to a half a cm!
At my appointment, we went over everything; my contractions, bloody show, rib pain and HUGE feet/ankles. He checked me and said I was 1 cm (finally) and that he was going to strip my membranes. Wow, does that ever hurt?! While stripping them, a huge gush of water went all over followed by “… and your water just broke! You’re going to have a baby today!” which was surreal! He let us know that there was Meconium in my fluid and that the doctors will just keep their eye on the baby when he/she comes but everything should be ok!
The nurse wheeled me over to the hospital and got me admitted (around 8 am Christmas Eve) while Logan parked the car and brought in my hospital bag(s). Random but I totally thought that when your water broke, it was just the one gush and it stopped. I was not aware that it kept gushing throughout the WHOLE labor process. Who knew?! And so gross everytime I got up to walk or move… not the most comfortable!
I got situated in my labor room and Logan ran home quick for his own stuff and to get anything else that I forgot to pack; my makeup (yeah, totally thought I needed that….) and hair stuff (again, thought I would need that!). They let my contractions continue on their own to see how I would progress before starting the Pitocin. Finally, after a few hours of bouncing on a ball and watching every Office Christmas episode on TV – they started the Pitocin since I had not progressed AT ALL and was still at a 1 cm. The contractions were beginning to be painful and honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better partner than Logan. He held my hand and told me how to breathe through EVERY single contraction. I have never been more in love with him than I was during this painful time.
Finally, around 6:30 pm, I decided it was time for an epidural. They nurses checked me again and I couldn’t believe I was only 2 cm! After 10.5 hours of labor and the weekend before of contractions. I felt like a failure getting the epidural so early but after 10.5 hours, I knew I needed some relief and was hoping the epidural would help me relax and let my body do it’s work.
After a few hours, the epidural started to wear off and I could suddenly feel EVERY contraction – it was insanely painful (props to you Mama’s who do this all natural!) and the nurses kept having the Anesthesiologist come back in and do another flush for the epidural to try to help me get some relief. I could feel the contractions in between my butt and vagina and the pain was beyond anything I could have imagined. The contractions were about thirty seconds a part and Logan was so sweet, holding my hand and telling me to breathe everytime I felt them coming. I could tell it was hard for him to see me in that amount of pain and while I kept crying and trying to hold it together, I couldn’t even begin to describe how I felt in that situation towards Logan. It was such an overwhelming amount of LOVE.
Around midnight, after throwing up, shaking profusely and running a fever of 103-104, the nurses informed me that they thought there was an infection and they needed to have my blood drawn to see what was going on. Before this, they thought I was transitioning to active labor and that was the reason I was vomiting. There were two things it could have been and if I tested positive for one then that meant that Baby would need to be taken to the NICU right after birth. As luck would have it, I tested positive for Correo (sp?) and Baby G would need to be taken immediately to the NICU after birth. At that point, the doctor advised the nurses that they needed to stop EVERYTHING to allow my body to rest and get some antibiotics in my system. My symptoms continued throughout the “stop” and Logan kept putting cold wash cloths all over me to try to help break my fever.
After about 4 hours, my fever broke and around 5 am, the nurses came in and let me know that they needed to start everything up again and to get me back in active labor. They started the Pitocin full force and again, I began to feel all the contractions. They were about 30 seconds apart still and something I did not think my body could truly handle! They brought the anesthesiologist in again (there was a shift change so a new doc came in) and he continued to try to do another flush to try to ease some of the pain. He noted that the epidural needle might be pointing up versus down and that could be the reason I was feeling it all. But decided to do a flush versus try to fix that in hopes that he wouldn’t need to adjust the needle. Unfortunately, the pain only subsided for minutes before starting up again. Around 7:30 am, there was a shift change again and one of the nurses checked me and let me know she thought I was around a 7-8 cm. I was ecstatic to hear that and told Logan, if I’m that far along, I can do this! I felt like there was a light to the end of my tunnel and that I could get our Baby here safely on my own! I felt like I was almost there or so I thought…
The new doctor came in to check on me and after checking again, she said I was actually only a 5-5.5 cm… which meant I didn’t progress at all throughout those 2.5 hours of “active” labor. After hearing that, I broke down because I knew in my heart that I couldn’t go another 5-10 hours in the pain I was in and it had already been almost 24 hours. I told Logan and the doctor that I thought a C-Section would be the best answer for me and this baby because I already knew the baby was in distress from my infection and the last few hours of labor (her heart rate had risen to 180 from 130 and was staying pretty high). The doctor agreed that she thought that was the best plan of action and that even though the baby is down there (Baby G was at a +1 and crowning is +3 so it was impossible not to push as well with the pressure from Baby. They kept telling me to “breathe” through it versus pushing but I knew I couldn’t do that with her all the way down there and knew the risk of pushing at a 5) she prepped the OR and they got Logan a pair of scrubs.
They brought me into the OR very quickly and immediately called an Emergency C-Section and started cutting me open before Logan was even in the room. Once he came in and sat next to me, he asked if I cared if he looked above the curtain (which shocked me since he didn’t even think he could watch the Baby being born natural!) and after the anesthesiologist and myself said yes, he peered over to see our Baby coming out. I heard the sweetest cry and knew Baby G was OK from the meconium and that it was one less thing for Baby to overcome.
I waited for someone to tell me the gender but as they lowered the curtain, no one said anything! I looked immediately at her genitals and said “She’s a girl?!?!?!?!” I think I said it about 15 times because I couldn’t believe that this whole time Baby G was a GIRL! I looked over at Logan and said it again and he just looked at me with tears in his eyes because with everything we’ve been through, our baby girl was here!
Logan cut the umbilical cord and after weighing her (8 pounds 12 ounces and 20 inches long!) they put her close to me so I could see her. If you’ve ever had a C-Section, it’s impossible to actually see baby since you’re laying flat and it’s hard to lift your head (or at least that was my experience! SoI didn’t feel like I saw saw her until later!). Logan asked if I could do skin to skin or at least have her on my chest for a little bit while they sewed me up and before taking her to NICU but they said I couldn’t. While they were stitching me up, they whisked her away and Logan followed to start her on antibiotics and get her checked out.
This is when things really took a turn for the worst and was completely unexpected. I got back to my room after I was sewn up and couldn’t stop convulsing – they say some people do have that reaction to anesthetics but the nurse was concerned for how long it lasted and kept saying that my lips were white and my skin was gray. They had to put me on 4 liters of oxygen just to get me breathing at a “normal” rate and they couldn’t understand what was going on. My fever came back and I couldn’t even keep my eyes open. Logan came back into the room a little bit later (when he left, I was perfectly fine and wanted him to be with Magnolia) and finally after what felt like hours, I stopped shaking. He was showing me pictures and videos of Baby but I just couldn’t focus or see what he was showing me and I knew something more was wrong. I kept trying to grab and hold the phone but I just couldn’t get it. It was like I was grabbing into thin air. And once I had it with both hands, I couldn’t swipe to see anything and finally just had to put it down. I couldn’t even look at pictures of our new Baby Girl. I felt like I was having a stroke (based on the symptoms and what other people have described) and I kept thinking “I finally have my little baby and I don’t even know if I’m going to make it long enough to see her again”. It was SO hard, scary and discouraging.
Thankfully, after a few hours, my fever broke and they had Internal Medicine come in (along with respiratory and critical care) to check me out because no one understood what was going on. They did a CT Scan, Echo and ultrasound of my lungs and heart because they didn’t know how someone my age and as healthy as I was could be on 4 liters of oxygen and still not able to breathe all of a sudden! The tests showed two pocket like items in my lungs and after many many hours, they decided it was an excess of fluid that my body didn’t understand how to disperse so it was being stored in my lungs. They said it would work it’s way out with walking and a breathing exercise machine and they’d follow up the next day.
Hours later and I could finally go see our Baby Girl (who remained unnamed until the morning we left the hospital! We really thought she was a boy and so we hadn’t 100% agreed on a girls name!). They wheeled me down, oxygen and IVs and all, and I could stay there for only 30 minutes because of my condition. Our poor baby girl had an IV in her head and in her hands and feet so between her IVs and mine, it was hard holding her and snuggling. We tried to do skin to skin but it wasn’t the most comfortable for either of us since I was in a wheelchair (and again, those darn IVs). It was magical seeing her but nothing like I imagined. I know everyone says that but the whole 48 hours, was just plain hard!
I had imagined having her and doing skin to skin for hours and just having such a special connection with her immediately so it broke my heart that I couldn’t even comfort her when she was in the NICU.
I had to go back to my room shortly after seeing her but Logan was able to stay and do some skin to skin again with her and feed her (he also did this right when she was taken to the NICU and was situated). I’m so thankful he loves her more than anything and I heard from the NICU nurses so many times, just how wonderful he really was with her 🙂
She was finally able to come to our room about 36 hours later but then spiked a fever and was experiencing weird breathing patterns so after monitoring her for a few hours, they had the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner come up and look at her again. She was concerned because she wasn’t having these issues when she was with them but said she knew we just got her in our room and she’d let her stay with us as long as her breathing remained consistent and her fever broke. Thankfully, after being monitored for a few hours, her fever broke and she got to stay with us until we were discharged the next afternoon.
Our birth story is nothing but crazy (and a bit scary!) but our little Magnolia Kate is here and healthy and that’s all that truly matters.
Magnolia Kate, as hard as those days were, I would do it all again to have you here with us! I can’t wait to see what BIG things you do in this world and can’t believe that we’re officially parents!