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Heather's Pregnancy Journal

Birth Story
~ A Surprise Occurrence

Sam and parentsI remember sitting around this time last week wondering, "How am I supposed to turn a scheduled c-section into an entertaining birth story?" I mean, how can one possibly take some scheduled event and turn it into a story full of surprises?

Sam said, "Easy enough Mom, I'll do it for you."

Future writer, that Sam.

Last Saturday Steve and I decided to make a day for us. We would wake up late, eat breakfast in bed, and mosey around the bookstore. We would drink expensive coffee, eat at expensive restaurants, and pamper ourselves profusely. And we did just that. We woke up after 9am and ate breakfast. After breakfast, I began moving around the house, and I felt like I was having contractions, or something similar. I didn't notice any regularity, and the pain was mostly in my back. I would take a few steps, and my lower back would just grip me tightly. I'd sit down for a few minutes, the pain would subside, and I'd be up moving again. It took me about 2 hours to get showered and dressed, but once I did we were on our way out the door. We first decided to go to our favorite Asian restaurant to eat, and then to the bookstore in the mall. I really felt fine once I got in the car-I was able to eat a nice lunch and collect at least 20 potential book purchases in the store. (Fortunately, I only walked out with six!) We thought maybe we'd walk slowly around the mall, as every 10 feet there are benches strategically located for aged and ailing individuals. We'd walk a few steps, and then sit and talk. All in all, we had a good time.

We arrived home at 8:30pm, and I was desperate to use the bathroom. I ran into the house as quickly as possible, almost wetting my pants. After I finished, I fed the dog and began brushing him. About halfway into brushing him, my back began aching so I sat down on the couch. And I wet my pants! I couldn't believe it! I hadn't really had problems with incontinence, but sure enough, my pants were wet. No way was it my water breaking, I thought, as Sam's birth was scheduled and it would be way too freaky to go into labor. So, I pulled myself off the couch, laughing all the way to the bathroom. Once I got in there and pulled my pants down, I realized that maybe it wasn't urine.

Super. I called Steve into the bathroom, and told him that I wondered if my water had broken. Steve asked me if it was supposed to smell like urine. I described the difference between urine and amniotic fluid, but couldn't smell the fluid since my nose was stopped up (red level pollution day in the Metroplex). So I asked Steve to do the unthinkable-smell my pants. He did, grudgingly, and said it smelled like urine. "Whew, false alarm," I thought. So I changed pants and went back out to the living room. I sat on the couch again. And darn it all if I didn't wet my pants again. Now this time I knew something was up. I mean, what kind of person wets her pants twice without realizing she'd wet her pants? So I very calmly called the OB. My doctor was not on call, but I did receive a call from the on-call OB-a very nice man. He told me to come on it to the hospital, but to not really expect to stay. So, we went ahead and packed some things, but we didn't really pack seriously. I mean, we'd be home soon enough, right?

Then we wondered what we could possibly do with Max. So I called my girlfriend and asked if we could bring the dog over, but I told her I was sure we'd be picking him up tomorrow. Current time: 9:30pm.

We loaded everything into the car, including the dog, and we were on our way to my friend's house. The dog acted a bit strangely though-he was trying to climb his way into the front seat-not usual for Max. By the time we were 10 minutes out from our house and 15 to 20 minutes away from my friend's house, I felt my first "no mistaking what this could be" contraction. Four minutes later, I felt another, and another and another. I was in labor. Not little labor-big labor! Steve was really wondering if we should be worried about the dog, but it was too late at this point. We had to get him to someone's house, as obviously we wouldn't be returning home that evening.

We dropped the dog off, and as we turned in the direction of the hospital, my contractions started coming at earlier intervals. By the time we arrived, they were two minutes apart. But, I still questioned how far along I was, as they weren't the kind of contractions that made me feel like I should drop down on the floor, writhing in pain and screaming in agony. Since labor and delivery was expecting us, I told Steve I absolutely wanted to park and walk into the hospital. Steve was very dismayed, but he knew better to mess with a soon-to-be-not-pregnant woman. We made it to the third floor, and the action begun.

We were place into a room immediately, and the nurse checked my fluid with litmus paper, which didn't turn the appropriate color for amniotic fluid. She then palpated me, and my water gushed all over her hand and me. She grabbed another litmus paper, and it turned blue. But one little glitch-the nurse thought she palpated Sam's head! Well, I knew she couldn't have, as his head was still very obviously jammed into my ribs. So they pulled the sonogram machine in, and the OB on-call, Dr. N, did a quick sonogram and said, "We are doing a c-section." So in came the nurse anesthetist to describe the procedure while our labor nurse shaved me down for a c-section. (Word of caution-if you are getting a c-section, make sure the nurse shaves you GENTLY, because I've got the worst razor burn of my life, on top of swelling!) Then came the anesthesiologist, armed with large needles. My epidural took three, yes, three, tries. On the second try, he got a wet tap, and he very calmly explained what happened and said he could try again, with me in another position, or he could do a spinal block. I opted for another epidural, and the third time was obviously the charm. (I did have to get a blood patch the next day, which involved the anesthesiologist drawing blood from my arm and injecting it into the epidural catheter, which placed blood in my spinal column to clot over the tiny hole that leaked spinal fluid.)

So off we went to the OR. I was thrilled to see that Dr. F had made it in and would be performing my c-section. I can't describe how I was feeling at this point. I had uncontrollable shivers (something to do with IV fluids and the epidural?); I was scared; I was happy; and I just wanted to see little Sam. The surgery didn't take too long, and next thing I knew I heard Sam screaming! I looked over to his bassinet, and I saw legs and arms flying! He was kicking, screaming and carrying on! (And there was my husband, snapping pictures left and right-he abandoned me for Sam!!! Can you believe it?) So, Sam was born on September 15, 2002 at 2:12am.

Happy birthday Sam!! My little bundle of joy (I know, another cliche) was 7 lbs 1 oz and 18.3 inches long. He looked so tiny! I just can't believe how big he felt inside of me, yet on the outside he was so small, so helpless.

So today is Thursday, September 19, 2002, and we've just arrived home from the hospital-without our baby. Don't panic yet-he's fine, but we did experience a little setback. On Monday morning, our pediatrician came in to tell us that his white blood cell count was doing some funky stuffy. It had been elevated on Sunday, but it had increased dramatically in just 24 hours. I was group B strep positive, and since my water broke and I had 5 hours before delivery, it is suspected that some little bacterial bugs crawled up and attacked sweet Sam. So we loaded our guns, climbed in our tanks, and attacked. Sam had an IV catheter placed, and he is now getting IV antibiotics twice daily for seven days. Yuck. The worst part of it is that Sam's catheter was placed in a vein on his scalp. He looks like he's wearing an antenna. I wonder if we brought him home like this if we'd get better reception on our television?

Leaving the hospital without him was terrible. I felt like I had abandoned my baby! We were wheeled out this morning, and I cried all the way home. As we were leaving the parking lot, we were blocked by some family taking their baby home for the first time. They were smiling, taking pictures, and lingering around the car. I wanted to jump out and scream, "Get the hell out of here-who are you to rub your happiness in my face?" But my incision hurt too much to move. So I cried harder-not an easy feat after major surgery.

But I take comfort in the fact that he is getting excellent care and receiving the best course of treatment. His white blood cell count has lowered dramatically since the antibiotics were started, and he looks like the healthiest little guy in the hospital. Oh, and the most handsome!

Today is September 21, 2002, and we just received news that Sam can come home tomorrow! I am so thrilled, but so tired. We've spent the last few days running back and forth-home then hospital; hospital then home. I know I need to get some rest, but how can I? And breastfeeding has become so much more difficult. Sam is used to getting some bottles, and when I try to get him to latch he looks up at me like, "Are you crazy lady? I haven't had to work for food so far, and I'm sure not going to begin now!" I know we'll get the hang of it all, but it will just take a little time at home.

Tomorrow is a big day. Amnesia has already set in; as a matter of fact, I'm not even sure if I remember what heartburn feels like. I can now understand why women have multiple children-the magic of the end product overrides any ill feelings.

Pregnancy has been a roller coaster. But with the support of many, many StorkNet readers, it has been a roller coaster ride worth repeating. I'm so thankful for all the encouraging words and bed rest buddies. Steve, Sam and I wish you all the best-the best of pregnancies, the best of health, and the best life has to offer.

Oh, and keep in touch.

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