Friday, April 15, 2016

**Meeting our girl**

I apologize for the delay, but as you can imagine, we have been quite busy!! Our sweet girl, Anne Douglas, was born on March 4th at 9 am.  She was 8 pounds, 7 ounces and 21 inches long - and she has the most beautiful head full of hair.  We are smitten and so thankful for this little gift.

I am not a big "birth story" person.  I think sometimes they are way more descriptive than they should be for social media.  So, I will give you a "clean" version of our birth story - no talk of centimeters!

If you know me well, you know that my biggest birth fear was not a c section -- my biggest fear was an induction.  I trust doctors and knew that sometimes a section is the healthiest way for the baby to arrive so I was prepared for a planned section if needed. But, having heard so many horror stories of inductions being painful and unproductive and resulting in a section, my prayer throughout my 3rd trimester was not to be induced. However, in the end, that's the path God had in plan for us -- I still can't say I am happy about it, but I am grateful that it was His plan and not mine.

Anne Douglas was measuring average and maybe even a little small until third trimester.  At 36 weeks, they warned us she could be large - and at 39.5, they believed she was already nearing 9 pounds.  I was showing signs of progress so we hoped I would go into labor already.  Also, I was a good candidate for a successful induction (according to my doctors), so we scheduled an induction for 40.5 weeks and prayed that it wasn't needed and/or that it would be successful. I shared this date with a few friends and family - but didn't announce it to the world.  Additionally, since we were full term and had experienced losses in the past, one of my doctors phrased it well: "let's not risk it. let's get a healthy baby here." Every day she was in there was a chance something could happen - and we wanted to bring home a happy healthy baby.

I did everything to induce labor- eat pineapple, walk long distances for weeks before labor, run stairs, bounce on the birthing ball, eat eggplant, foot massages, etc. A lot of these caused contractions but did not lead to labor.   Meanwhile, I had spent the last several weeks of pregnancy getting bigger and bigger - and not in the "traditional" sense.  My legs and feet looked like they belonged on a 400 pound woman. None of my shoes fit but I managed to "stuff" my feet into one pair of shoes.  There were weeks where I "gained" 4 pounds (of water weight). I also had dizziness and fatigue. My doctors checked me for pre-eclampsia which I did not have and we chalked it up to just being incredibly unlucky to have such extreme swelling and fatigue. WELL --  It turns out that I had pretty severe anemia that we didn't catch.  This anemia ended up causing some complications with labor, breastfeeding, etc.  If I could do this over again, the main thing I would do differently is treat the anemia and see if labor went differently.

We checked into the hospital on a Wednesday night -- I made the mistake of not eating before we went in, assuming that we could pick up subway at the hospital since I wasn't starting pitocin until 4 am the next morning. (which meant I started labor famished and didn't get to eat until Friday evening, this is a big deal when you are almost 41 weeks preggo haha)  In my gut, I felt induction might fail but I tried to go in hopeful, arming myself with other women's success stories and the fact that I was such a "good candidate".

On Thursday, we started Pitocin - and I walked around the delivery ward, bounced on the ball and eventually had my water broken.  We upped the Pitocin - then backed off - then upped it again twice, hoping to get my body into labor.  I definitely labored -- but my body never actually went into labor. It just did not respond to the pitocin.  Anne Douglas did not struggle with the Pitocin like some babies do -- no dropped heart rate - in fact, it was the opposite: I could tell a contraction was coming by watching her heart rate on the monitor. It always got a little higher right before a contraction hit.  I held off on the epidural in hopes of speeding up labor - but finally after I was in a lot of pain at midnight, I opted for the epidural so I could sleep until the morning - all while having regular contractions.  This was our last shot at getting into labor - and I knew there was a chance that it would not work.  But, in the morning I would either be pushing or having surgery, so I needed rest.  When I woke up the next morning, my doctor checked me again and there had been no more progress over the night.  I didn't even question her - it was clear at this point that labor was not working, so I looked at her and said "So I guess this means that we need to prep for a c section."  If I had progressed at all, I would have wanted to continue with labor - but no progress overnight made it pretty clear for me.

The doctor turned off the medicine and gave me time to cry, pray, talk to Dave and call my mom and sister who were at home for the night.  We let my body rest for a couple hours before surgery- but two hours is not quite enough time to come to terms with things going so differently than you had hoped.  I always knew a failed induction was a real possibility but I think to get through labor, I had to always tell myself that it was going to succeed. Everyone kept trying to cheer me up, asking me if I was so excited to meet my daughter, and my response was "Yes- but I am kindof irritated with her." And that was the truth - she wouldn't drop and I was PISSED.  All that work and Miss Stubborn just wanted to chill inside me a bit longer.

After receiving some more medicine, they wheeled me back. I was crying and shaking (yay medicine) and nervous. I was so grateful that Dave was in the room with me, able to sit by me and hold my hand and calm me down. The c-section didn't take long - and before long, they were handing over a beautiful baby with a head full of dark hair. Dave says that my demeanor completely changed then - I had been so upset, but now I was just so happy and grateful she was here. After she was weighed and measured and checked by the doctors and nurses, Dave was able to bring her over to me and I finally was able to meet my daughter. Sadly, I couldn't really "hold her" due to my constant shaking - so Dave held her next to me and we were able to spend a few minutes together before being wheeled to recovery. Also, one of my favorite things is that one of the sweet nurses grabbed our camera and started taking pictures. I love those pictures- they show the moment we became a family, even if it didn't happen as I hoped.

Once we were in the room, I had to quit shaking and then was finally able to hold her and nurse her.  My rule was that no one but Dave could hold her before I did - and my mom and sister were kind enough to wait.  Meeting her was hands down, one of the best moments of my life - even if it didn't go as planned. She was amazingly alert and was eager to look at us and nurse.

The rest of the day and the next morning, I was very dizzy, shaky and weak.  I was often nervous to hold AD because I didn't want to drop her.  I thought this was a result of the medicine-  but it turns out I had a large blood loss during the surgery (probably as a result of the 24+ worth hours of pitocin) which took anemia and made it even more severe.  We discussed transfusion to help fix the levels more quickly and decided against it (a decision I sometimes still regret as I later struggled with milk supply issues resulting from anemia). Because of my tendency to dizziness and weakness, I was nervous to be home alone with baby girl for awhile - but thankfully I had my mother with me and then my mother in law, so by the time it was just AD and me, I was no longer so weak. I am thankful for their help - and although my levels are still low, they are the high end of low (thanks to the very HIGH IRON diet my mom put me on).

This birth - and honestly, this entire journey to have Anne Douglas went so differently than I would have planned in several ways. But, after having lost a baby last February, I am just grateful she is here and healthy.  Birth is just one day (or 2 in my case) - and being a mom is a lifetime!

Due to the long induction and a few complications for both AD and me, we stayed in the hospital for 5 days but finally took our baby girl home in grand fashion -wearing a new daygown with mommy's baby bonnet and booties made by her great great grandmother. We are loving life as a family of three!

1 comment:

  1. What a trooper you are, Katy! I am so elated for you! I appreciated reading your story, and I am so delighted that you have recovered and you delivered a healthy, precious baby girl! Congratulations to you and Dave! I am taking note! Before I ever leave for the hospital to have a baby, I'll have a full meal! I felt for you when you said you went practically 48 hours with no sustenance! :)