Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Birth Story: A week ago today

I love reading other people's birth stories but I realize others may think it's TMI so if you are one of those people then you should stop reading at this point....just look at all the cute pictures towards the bottom of the post :)

the last "pregnancy pose" photo at 40 weeks

Let's hope Olivia's birth story isn't a precursor for how she will live the rest of her life....stubborn and dramatic! It all started with my weekly Dr. appt. on Wed. I had been up since 4 am with a terrible backache...not contraction-like but sacrum-joint-like. You will recall that I was "overdue" (overdue here means past 40 weeks but keep in mind that technically overdue isn't until after 42 weeks) by a few days so my Dr. wanted to do a non-stress test to monitor her heart beat. I drove to the appt. at 9:30 not even remotely thinking that I wouldn't be coming home. I got hooked up to the monitors and after about 2o min. the Dr. came in and was NOT happy with the reading.Olivia's heart dropped as low as 60 in some points, but then would return to normal. I'm not a huge fan of electronic fetal monitoring (especially after the crazy reading during my car wreck) and wasn't too concerned since I had been feeling her move and knew I hadn't eaten anything for breakfast that morning. She told me I needed to have the baby that day and was 90% sure I would be having a cesearean in a few minutes. I was totally unprepared and shocked and just started crying. I asked if I could go home to get our bags and she said I could not even leave without signing tons of paperwork saying it would be against her medical judgement etc. She said to call my husband asap and they would get a wheelchair for me and wheel me over to the 6th floor at Mercy. I called Ryan right away and was crying and shaking uncontrollably. Things were just not going according to my birth plan, I wanted to labor at home as long as possible and I wanted a birth with no drugs and already I knew those 2 things would NOT be happening but I kept trying to think positively that maybe I could still have a vaginal birth. Of course the health of my child was MOST important to me, I just wasn't sure that 15 min test was enough to say she was in danger. My blood pressure then rose to 190 and it stayed up high throughout most of my labor.

I was wheeled to the hospital and checked in and did paperwork and was hooked up to the EFM machines and started on an IV all before Ryan even arrived. The monitors showed then that her heartbeat was steady and normal, so that was enough for my Dr. to not schedule a C-section right then, but she still did not want me to leave the hospital. It was a day of hard decisions and we decided to stay and start pitocin (yet another thing I was 100% against in my birth plan). If you don't know anything about pitocin, it is a synthetic hormone that makes your uterus contract to bring about a labor pattern. Different people react differently to the drug and they start you out on a low dose and gradually increase. It makes labor pains stronger than they would normally be and does not allow for as much movement during labor since you have to be hooked up to an IV and EFM. As my nurse said "it makes you run the marathon without allowing for a warm up session."Hanging out hooked up to a bunch of machines...not my best photo

At 11:00 am I was 80% effaced and still only 1 cm dilated when Ryan arrived and they started the pitocin. Our doula Karen was on standby and we kept her posted. I kept thinking I would feel something soon but nothing. Ryan and I played skip-bo and watched TV and they kept upping the pitocin level and still nothing. I could feel minor cramping but nothing like what I thought labor should be like. They wanted to break my water but after talking with Ryan and my nurse we decided to wait it out because I still really wanted as natural of a birthing experience as I could have and if they broke my water that was most likely the last straw before things got intense. So they kept upping the drugs and went from level 2-22 (it only goes to 32 I believe) and my Dr. said she won't go any further without breaking my water so they could get an internal monitor on Olivia and on my uterus to accurately measure contractions since I still wasn't feeling anything after 7 hours of pitocin. I was still 1 cm and 80%.

All I could think was that the drugs weren't working because she wasn't ready to come out. Her heartbeat on the monitor was still steady and strong, so all of it was stressing me out (my blood pressure was through the roof and they put me on meds for it) and I was torn between doing what I thought was best and what the medical professionals were telling me. Karen arrived and at 6:00 pm we decided since I wasn't progressing on the drugs to go ahead and break my water. Yet another thing that went against my birth plan but at this point I needed some progress. I was shaking uncontrollably the whole time. My Dr. broke my water and......nothing. Olivia's head was so far down that nothing came out. Awesome. The pitocin wasn't working and now my water wouldn't even break. Do you see where the stubborn and drama is coming in? The Dr. was frustrated, I was frustrated, but they were able to put the monitors in place that showed I was in fact having contractions every 2 minutes or so. They upped the pitocin gradually to a 26 and after a few hours I actually started feeling them and wasn't too comfortable. I was able to move and change positions and that helped. I thought if this is as bad as it gets I can do this.

At 10pm my parents arrived and I was struggling to talk to them. I had to pause at every contraction to lean against Ryan. They didn't stay long and we told them to go back to our house because it was going to be a long night. Then I threw up for awhile, which was impressive since I'd only had 2 granola bars the whole day. I was still only 1 cm and 80%. They asked me if I wanted an epidural. Of course I didn't, it was the last thing that I was holding on to, but by midnight I had been awake for 20 hours, had nothing to eat, had 13 hours of pitocin, 13 hours of contractions that gradually got painful but were not productive since I was still at 1cm. At this point I'm just feeling like my body isn't made to give birth or that I should've signed all those papers because my daughter was not ready to come and she was proving it to me by going against all the medical things you can do to induce labor. There wasn't much turning back now though so I thought if I want to try to have a vaginal birth then I have to relax and I am NOT relaxed so at midnight the anesthesiologist gave me an edpidural. I was a bit afraid since it was hard to be still during contractions but he was fast and patient and I honestly didn't feel a thing.

My legs became dead weights and it immediately annoyed me. I could no longer move and as much as I wanted to sleep I did not think that was possible. Somehow though Ryan calmed me down and I slept on and off for a few hours. The nurses came in about every hour to help me roll over and every time they did Olivia's heartbeat would go off the monitor. This has been happening every time I changed positions even before the epidural and the nurses were not concerned. They just told the next nurse on duty about it and after I changed positions we would watch her heartbeat go back up to steady and strong. Every hour they checked me and I would progress 1 cm just about every hour. It was slow but I was getting rest and I was seeing a light at the end of the tunnel so I felt better!! For the next 9 hours all I did was watch TV, roll from my left to my right side (with much assistance from others), and get checked for progress. I could still feel contractions every now and then but they weren't painful at all. The numbness in my legs increased and became so annoying I thought I wouldn't be able to feel anything to push her out.

At 10:45am the nurse came in to check and I was 90% and 9 cm dilated! I was so excited! It had been 24 hours but we were at the end. She told me that my cervix was swollen and to get the last bit out of the way she wanted to see if I could push once or twice and progress to a full 10. She showed me how to push since I couldn't feel much and I pushed two times. Then I noticed 2 or 3 nurses run in the room and start unplugging things. No one said anything to me. They put an oxygen mask on my face and I looked at Ryan and the nurse and asked what was going on. About 10 more nurses ran in the room and were scurrying around me. They were saying there was no heartbeat and they had to get her out now. I was so confused and scared. Ryan kept saying it would all be ok. I had so many thoughts in my head. I thought that I should'nt have tried for a natural birth because my body couldn't do it. I thought they should wait a second to see if her heartbeat would come back like it had every other time I changed positions. I thought I should've had a c-section when my Dr. wanted to give me one. But really I just wanted Olivia to be ok. I had all those thoughts in like 2 seconds because that's how long it took them to run my bed out of the room, down the hall, past my parents in the waiting room (who didn't know it was me in the bed. My dad said he thought in his head "uh oh someone's in trouble" and had no idea it was his daughter in trouble), and into surgery.

Ryan and my mom in the waiting room.

I kept asking for Ryan and they assured me he was coming. They scurried around and prepped me for surgery all the while I shook uncontrollably and was muttering prayers to God and good thoughts to Olivia. Her heartbeat came back on and I could hear it and they told me she was still alive and would be out in a minute as soon as the Dr. got there. I kept telling them I could still feel my stomach and was afraid I would feel the whole thing. The anesthesiologist assured me if I could still feel it in a minute they would put me completely under. Ryan finally came in all suited up in his scrubs and sat by me trying to calm me down. I don't think he was ever nervous, which is good because I was freaked out enough for the both of us! He was so awesome throughout the whole 24 hours and even when they were cutting me open he told me to just pretend I was on Grey's Anatomy. :)Watching them clean my daughter up while doped up on meds on the operating table.

I felt immense pressure and tugging and asked what they were doing. They told me getting my daughter out. It didn't feel good but it didn't really hurt either. Of course I couldn't see anything because they had the sheet up. While they pulled and tugged we discussed who would be the first to spank her since at this point the Dr., nurses, and I knew what a stubborn and dramatic 24 hours it had been and that Olivia for whatever reason did NOT want to be born that day. At 10:51 am Ryan peeked over the curtain while they pulled Olivia out and laughed and told me she had really chubby cheeks. They held her up over the curtain and I just cried tears of joy. I was so shocked to finally see the little one who had been squirming inside me for 9 months. I couldn't wrap my brain around the fact that there was a really baby in there until I saw her!! They took her over to check her out and I could turn my head and see her. She's been giving us the stink eye ever since this moment.

I couldn't believe how much hair she had and the nurses kept saying how pretty she was. The doctor told me the cord was wrapped tightly around her leg so apparently when I pushed, her foot or leg pushed down on the cord which made the monitor drop which caused my c-section.Ryan getting to hang out with her in the nursery.

I was doped up on so many drugs at this point it's a bit blurry but they did bring her over to me and Ryan caught our first moment together on video. The nurse here is telling me that she'll have to go to the NICU for further tests but they changed their mind once she started perking up.

Ryan stood by while they checked her out and I got sewn up...which also did not feel that great, but once again the drugs make it all a blur. My family got to see her through the nursery window while they wheeled me to a postpartum room where I was in and out of a drug induced stupor for awhile. The rest of the day and night were pretty hard for me. I was so very thankful that my daughter was ok but still confused and unsure about my whole "labor experience." I am grateful that I got to experience labor in just about every way there is, and please don't get me wrong I am so so grateful for my healthy daughter and the doctors and nurses who were there if things really were that serious. I'll never know though and at this point it doesn't matter. I'm just glad she is here and everyday I learn more about her and love her even more. I truly could stare at her for hours and wonder when the day will come when it doesn't feel so surreal. She is a dream come true and I can't believe I've been a mom for a whole week now! Most likely the week went by so fast because 5 days in a hospital seems like one REALLY long day.So that was the birth story and no it was NOTHING that I had in my plans but one of my favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." If that was the way God wanted to bring her into the world, then so be it and I will thank Him everyday for the precious gift He gave us a week ago today: our daughter.First family photo taken Sunday, the day we went home.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad she is safely here, too, but I am sorry it didn't go exactly how you had planned. I'm so happy for the three of you, and can't wait to actually meet her. Until then, though, just give her a hug and kiss from me and tell her that cousin Rachel loves her! :)


p.s.-I love you, too! :)

lauren and brad said...

Thank you so much for sharing...she is just so beautiful Kate and I love her to pieces.

And I don't think it ever stops being least it hasn't for me and Ben is 22 months! It will always amaze you that she is YOUR DAUGHTER...

Shawn and Becky said...

Wow - that almost made me cry. Even though it was frustrating, scary and not according to plan I'm so happy everyone is healthy. Olivia is so cute and Lauren is right it doesn’t stop being surreal - Shawn and I still say to each other ‘can you believe that little guy is ours?!’ I remember all the details of labor vividly, but that will always seem like a dream. Enjoy your first few weeks - it's amazing how it just keeps getting better!

Oma Hagen said...

Glad she's here and well. That staring at her thing - you'll be doing that for a long, long time. And as far as how you planned labor and it was so different, that's pretty much how life is with kids - rarely goes as planned, but still fun and full of adventure!

The Moses Family said...

That is so true what was said above-like with kids rarely goes as planned! My little Zachary didn't want to come out either! Thankfully, we didn't have an emergency C-sec, but I never dialted one bit, even after inducing. So, I totally don't know what labor feels like either.

The video made me cry. Nothing like seeing your baby for the first time, even if you are drugged up. =)

Anonymous said...

She is so adorable! I love her chubby cheeks!!

Kayla said...

That sounded very similar to mine. Except pitocin did hurt me and were very strong! After 12 hours of pitocin and breaking my water (which hurt like crazy), I was still at a 1! So I got an epidural and relaxed! However, several hours later I still wasn't progressing at all. I never got past a dern 1. So I had a c-section as well. Probably because the doctor wanted to go home and sleep. Oh well, I was ready to see her! I sure do love her cute cheeks!

Carrie M said...

I remember that moment with all 3 of mine. That surreal moment when there is all of the sudden someone there who wasn't there just a second ago. And they came from you! And you can't take your eyes off of them because they are just so amazingly beautiful.
We are so greatful that you and Olivia are safe and healthy.


Natural or not so natural you still carried her and gave birth to her, and you did an amazing job! It sounds like you and Ryan made an incredible team! I am still in awe of the fact that I created to the 2 beautiful children I did, even when they start trying to talk back and have opinions! =) I wish I could just sit and stare at her with you, she is beautiful and wonderful. I love you guys so much.

The McDowells said...

Glad everything is okay!

Macy too was as last minute c-section after I was dialated to a 10, but thankfully I was drugged up enough, they just shot a little bit more medicince in my epidurial line and I was good to go into surgery. I seriously would of freaked if they told me they might of had to knock me out. Yikes.

Hope your recovery continues to go well and people from Mayfair are bringing you lots of food!

Anonymous said...

Well well well. My little cousin Katie is a mommy!! WOW!! Oh btw. If that didn't scare me out of wanting to have 4 (yeah, you heard me right, 4) kids, then I don't know what will! I am so excited for you both. She is gorgeous. She looks just like you. I just read the whole story to Randall and he had a smile on his face the whole time. He thinks she is really cute and both of us are so excited to meet her. Don't keep her away from Henderson too long. Love you both and miss you tons.

lizcannon said...

katie, she is absolutely gorgeous! i am so sorry you had to go through all that, it sounds AWFUL, but you got the greatest gift in the whole world! God is so good!

Tamra said...

What a beautiful little girl! Those cheeks are fantastic!!! I'm glad you finally had her, and sorry it didn't go as planned. As a doula on 17 births, I've seen a lot and it never yet always surprises me how different each birth turns out. Congrats!

Miranda said...

This sounds like a total story of love, faith and mommyhood! Congrats! I'm so glad that everything turned out wonderful and that you and little sweet Olivia are healthy and happy. This made me remember when I was giving birth to Philip...I was in the same place you were...nothing went according to plan...and I was helpless on a table just waiting to hear something...I had to let go and Let God...I realized that even though he was our baby, that Philip and any other life we would be blessed with is really His and we are taking care of them for Him. My heart is so happy for you and Ryan and your new little family!

Walt & Saundra said...

Wow! What a story. It is amazing the way these little bundles turn our best laid plans upside down, isn't it? I'm so glad she's here safe and healthy...I have a feeling the next 20 years in your house are going to be pretty dramatic!! ;)
Love you all!

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