I’m really hoping this is the last part of Nadia’s birth story! I’m in the middle of scalding milk, washing pump parts and dishes, and dreaming of the 50 million other things I should be doing though, so hopefully I can focus long enough to write the rest of this… We did get Nadia’s crib and dresser up and into her room today. Although the room in general is still a disaster and nowhere near ready to be called complete. I still need to order a rocker and a small table too. And crib bedding. And most everything else. So basically I just have a crib, dresser, and area rug ;). You know, the important stuff! I’m still feeling so overwhelmed with everything there is to do. How long are my hormones all messed up? Eric told me a couple of weeks, and then added, it’s been a couple of weeks, as if I should be all ‘normal’ now. I don’t feel normal…
So I’m in the ambulance, the sirens are on, but surprisingly, it’s not all that loud inside, believe it or not. One of the nurses was timing my contractions, which were about three minutes apart at that point. I was still receiving the IV magnesium, but they don’t take the baby monitors along, which I thought was odd…
The critical care nurse with the ambulance team was really, really sweet. I wish I could remember her name and somehow send her a thank you. She talked to me throughout the entire ride, told me all about her SIX children, two sets of twins, how one set came early, etc. The nurse who came from Allen Hospital with me wasn’t nearly that sweet! I mean, she was polite, but certainly was just doing her job. The conversation on the ride was nice, took my mind off the contractions somewhat. Wait, no, that’s not really true. I know I stopped talking during the contractions. It was so difficult not being able to really move on the stretcher.
We arrived in record time at the University. I remember feeling embarrassed as I was wheeled out of the ambulance and up the elevators to labor and delivery on the 6th floor. There were a lot of people just hanging out around the labor and delivery entrance, and for some reason, I feel really silly all strapped to the stretcher… Eric wasn’t with me yet as he followed in our vehicle. As soon as we got to L&D I was wheeled to a room and the ambulance team helped move me off the stretcher and onto a bed. All my IV tubing was removed, as apparently hospitals have different tubing, so my IV was left in, but my meds were stopped. (And I swear this is why my contractions progressed, but thus, I am not a doctor, so what do I know.) The very sweet critical care nurse gave me a hug before she left and wished me all good things for my delivery.
I remember two nurses specifically asking me a ton of questions, all the same I had been asked this morning. I really wanted to scream, it’s all in my chart, just open it! I tried to be nice, but I was in pain and moody, of course.
I think it was around 5:45pm when I arrived at the University, but I could be a little off, my mind wasn’t really with me. As the nurses were starting fluids and magnesium a familiar face popped in, the head of the NICU, Dr. Bell, who is also the father of Eric’s best friend. I think I mentioned him before, as we’ve gotten to know him well over the years through Eric’s friend and also because of our NICU stay with Nora. He asked where the heck Eric was and if I wanted him to hold my hand until he arrived. I did, and I didn’t. I mean, I know him, and a familiar face was nice, but I wasn’t sure I felt all that comfortable with him in the room. So I politely told him I was okay…
Clearly I was not okay though… I asked the nurses again for pain meds, and they said they would see if I could have something after the doctor checked me. I was like, okay, where the hell is this doctor, as I know there are at least 30 OB/GYNs plus residents here at the hospital right now. No idea how long I waited, several painful contractions, I know that, and finally a doctor, I’m pretty sure a resident, came in and introduced herself. I don’t remember her name, but she was super nice, I have to admit. She checked me, I was 6 cm, so at that point their plan was still to stop my contractions, and thus they said I could have a little of something in my IV for pain. But they had to order it, and wait for it to arrive from the pharmacy. Like seriously people??
So lots of people were in and out of my room at this point, the resident who checked me was setting set up a table at the end of my bed with lots of scary looking tools, which she swore were not for torture. Yes, I asked her that. There were maybe five or six people around what looked like a NICU incubator in the corner of the room, the two original nurses were still there, plus a few more, and I also remember a random old guy, who I was later told was the actual OB on my case. Funny how he didn’t actually do anything!
Eric finally arrived…
One of my original nurses walked in carrying my pain meds! I was so happy. For all of about 5 seconds. She said they had to check me again before I could have it. What??? I was at 7 cm, and they decided at that point they couldn’t stop my labor and I was having the baby. And therefore I couldn’t have the pain meds. I shit you not people, I begged her to give it to me. And she very sweetly put her arm around me and explained how it would harm the baby’s respiratory system, and since my baby was a preemie, I just couldn’t have it. I think she was trying to make me understand it was best for baby, and I know that now, but at the time, I certainly wasn’t thinking clearly! I’m fairly certain I told her I’d pay extra for the pain meds…
I asked what else I could have, and they said an epidural… Great, wonderful, that sounds wonderful. They went to get anesthesia. Several more contractions. Eric was asking me how he could make me feel better. I think I said to knock me out. All the sudden I tell Eric I feel like I need to throw up. He grabbed me a random container, I tried to throw up, but since I hadn’t eaten all day, well, I was throwing up nothing but spit really, which I think is actually worse than really throwing up. Then, I felt a strange sort of gush. My water broke. Not sure if it would have on its own, or if it was somehow the pressure of me throwing up…
The resident checked me again and I was at 10 cm, no time for an epidural. I. WANTED. TO. CRY. No way was I having another baby without pain meds. I am weak, I’ll be the first to admit that!
Oh, did I forget to mention they did a quick bedside ultrasound when I arrived at the University and confirmed baby was head-down. Otherwise I think they would have been prepping me for a c-section.
So the very sweet resident tells me I can push whenever I feel the need. Okay… I really only pushed twice with Nora, so this part of the birth process was somewhat new to me. But surprisingly, pushing was a relief from the pain of the contractions. I’m sure many of you understand, and for those of you who don’t, I’m not sure how to explain it. I mean, it was still painful, but somewhat better. I think I pushed for maybe 30 minutes, and I’m quite certain between each contraction I told Eric and the entire team that I was giving up and couldn’t do it. Of course they were all very sweet and encouraging and told me what an awesome job I was doing.
Finally, at 7:13pm, so not all that long after arriving at the University, Nadia Louise was born, all 3 lbs. 13 oz. of her, 16.75 inches long. She was taken by the NICU team immediately for them to access. The very sweet resident did let Eric cut the cord this time though!
I remember instant relief once Nadia was out. They did give me pitocin to help get the placenta out… Do they give that to everyone?? There must have been several students in the room at that point as well, as I remember the resident who delivered Nadia explaining about how you never pull on the cord for the placenta, or something like that.
The neonatologist very quickly brought Nadia over so we could see her, we snapped one picture, and then they took her to the NICU.
I remember telling the resident this was the second baby I delivered without cute toenails! Next time I will be prepared. Well, if there is a next time.
I needed some stitches, and I tell you, it seemed like they stitched FOREVER. The resident was really funny though, she said she was making everything ‘pretty’ so I kept telling her to carry on and take her time!
Once me, and the room were all cleaned up the nurse brought me some food, I think a sandwich, potato chips and a chocolate chip cookie. Doesn’t sound all that interesting, but I was starving, and I hadn’t had real food, because of the gestational diabetes, in weeks. So yes, it tasted amazing! I ate while I texted a few family members and friends, Eric was calling some family I think. About an hour later Nadia was stable in the NICU and Eric and I were allowed to see her.
I don’t think it had hit me yet at that point, that we had another baby in the NICU. Walking in there, again, felt surreal. Maybe I was in shock, or denial, I don’t know… I hadn’t been to bay 1 since Nora was very sick the second time during her stay. Even the smell of the place brought back (bad) memories. Even washing our hands upon entering gave me flashbacks of our days there with Nora.
When we walked into Nadia’s room I could have sworn it was Nora. Maybe it was just the setting, all the same cords, the familiar sounds, etc. Or maybe they really do look a lot alike. Nadia was almost a pound more than Nora at birth, but I swear she looked just as tiny in her warmer bed. Her eyes were closed, greasy with whatever it is they apply at birth, she was intubated, although breathing over it for the most part, had several lines into her umbilical cord, and I think an IV in one of her hands, although I can’t remember now. She looked very sweet and as I placed my finger in her hand she tightened her tiny fist, just as I remember Nora doing the first time we met.
Nadia’s nurse gave us an update on her, basically that she was doing awesome. Which scared the heck out of both Eric and me. That’s exactly what they told us with Nora, and then a week later Nora was diagnosed with meningitis. Neither Eric nor I really wanted to get too excited about Nadia doing so well, really for fear we’d be disappointed later… And like all NICU stays, we’ve had our ups and downs so far, and still aren’t out of the water.
I’ll share more later, details of my stay before being discharged, and also more on my feelings regarding the NICU and bonding with Nadia. I need to pump soon and finish the dishes, and the million other things on my list 🙂