I did it! I had a baby! Yeah!!! But, it certainly wasn't how we thought it would be. It was actually much better.
When I saw my doctor on Thursday, October, 29, I was dilated to 2 1/2 cm and she swept the membranes. Not the most pleasant experience, but it was worth a shot. She told us we were on the schedule to be induced Friday morning. We were instructed to present ourselves at the ER entrance at 6 am to start things. We went to our friends' house, where the children were during our appointment, and had a wonderful meal. After we left their house, we took the children to another friends' house where the children were to spend the night and stay until we came home from the hospital. Seeing that we needed to leave our house around 5 am, we thought it would be easier to have to not wake the children to take them somewhere or have someone come to our house that early. The children were excited (well, Malachi and Nathaniel weren't that keen on it, but that's because of the dogs), and we left for home.
It was our intention to get up early enough to have breakfast before we left in the morning. But that wasn't to be. I woke around 1 am to use the bathroom and I was feeling VERY crampy. Around 3 am I began to notice that they weren't cramps anymore, they were regular contractions. But I didn't look at the clock, for I had done this many times before and figured they would stop just like the other ones. I laid in bed for about 30 minutes, then decided to get up and walk around, for they were getting too uncomfortable to be in bed. I was sitting in my rocking chair in the boys' room when I realized that they were getting heavy enough for me to have to breathe through them and they were relatively close together. I sat there through about 5 of them, then after the fifth one stopped, I went into our room to look at the clock. Just about 1 minute after coming into the room, the alarm went off. Two minutes after that, I had another contraction. I waited through one more contraction, then I let Adam know that they were 3 minutes apart and were quite heavy. I never did get that breakfast.
Soon enough, we were in the van and let me tell you, laboring in the car is horrible! We got to the ER just before 5 am and told them that I was in labor. We were admitted to the labor and delivery floor and I got strapped down with the monitors. The contractions were still coming 2 - 3 minutes apart and soon after we got there, I told the nurse I needed something for the pain. I could feel my body tense up and I just couldn't control it enough to relax. She said okay to that, but I first needed to get the IV in to get the antibiotic going (I am Group B Strep positive). Getting the IV in wasn't an easy task and I think it took about 45 minutes to finally get it going. The plan was for them to give me a shot of Nubain once the IV was going and that would take enough of the edge off while the epidural guy got his stuff ready for me.
Well, since it took so long just to get the IV in, I was on the monitors long enough that they could see the baby's heart rate wasn't all that great. The doctor didn't want to give me the Nubain just yet, for the medicine could cause the baby to be sleepy and decrease the heart rate even more. I was still 2 1/2 cm at 6 am and Adam decided to call his mother. The doctor checked me again at 6:40 am and I was at 5 cm. Adam's mother got there just before 6:50 am. The nurse wanted me to get some oxygen, thinking it might help the baby's heart rate. She told me it might make me a bit nauseous and about 10 seconds after she put the mask on me, I was throwing up. At the same time, I felt my water break. It took me a few minutes to tell her, for I was a bit busy emptying my stomach to talk. At this point, the doctor came in and the nurse told her that the oxygen probably made me throw up. I knew better, and so did Adam and his mother. I had done this before with Grace. I was dilating very quickly.
About 7:10 am, the doctor put an internal monitor on the baby's head and said I had just a lip of the cervix left to go. That's 5 cm in 30 minutes. I was lying on my right side and I said I need to push and I begged the doctor to let me. She said I still have a bit of a cervix left and that pushing at that moment wasn't a good idea. My body didn't listen. The nurses began to scramble to get things in order, for they didn't think it would be that quick. Nobody did, including the mother! I pushed during the next contraction on my side. Someone (I think it was Adam), pushed/pulled me onto my back. As the nurse was trying to break apart the bed, she said I needed to pull myself up. I'm not sure how that got accomplished, but it was. With the next contraction, I was pushing again. Oh my word, did that hurt! The burning sensation was like nothing I have experienced before. After that, my body wasn't waiting anymore and just took over. I kept pushing and little Damaris McKay Dewing was born at 7:18 am, October 30, 2009. It took four hours and 18 minutes with three pushes. Four hours! That's amazing when you consider my history! And no drugs!
Adam, for the sixth time in a row, was right: we have another girl. There was meconium in the bag of waters and it turns out that she aspirated some of it. I got to hold her for about 30 seconds and they took her to the nursery. Her oxygen levels were not that good, so the doctor was keeping a close eye on her. In the meantime, it took about six hours for my heavy bleeding to stop. There were blood clots that couldn't come out of the uterus and was causing my uterus to keep contracting. The doctor had to get them out by hand. Now that hurt!! Once they were out, the bleeding slowed way down and I felt much better.
Later in the afternoon, we were told that Damaris' vitals weren't keeping steady and that she was being transferred to the Marshfield NICU. Having gone through stuff when Nathaniel was born, that was not what I wanted to hear. She left in the helicopter around 5:30 pm, with Adam and I arriving around 10 pm. Since I had lost more blood than was normal (a normal birth looses about 400 cc. I lost 1000 cc), it was against my doctor's judgment as a doctor to discharge me. But as a mother herself, she said she'd want to go with her baby too. So she signed me out.
We went home quickly, to get clothes and other things. When we got there, we learned that around 8:30 pm it was decided to intubate her. She was on the ventilator and getting Nitric Oxide to make the capillaries open and absorb oxygen. The meconium in her lungs are causing her to not absorb the oxygen very well. Her condition is called Pulmonary Hypertension. Basically, it's when the blood pressure is greater in the lungs than it is in the rest of the body. Apparently, while the child is in utero, the blood vessels clamp shut so that the blood flow goes around the lungs, not through them. When the child is born, there is something that triggers the blood vessels to unclasp and allow blood to flow through the lungs. In a child with Pulmonary Hypertension, the blood vessels don't unclasp and the lungs don't work, so the blood doesn't get the oxygen. This is a very basic explanation and there is far more to it than I'm saying here.
We are home now and she is doing very well. Her doctor and all the nurses kept saying how sick she was and how fast she was healing. When we got home, we looked up what Pulmonary Hypertension is and I'm really glad that I didn't think to look it up while we were there. I would have been far more stressed than I was. She is nursing like a pro and every one can't stop snuggling with her. The doctor said that there shouldn't be any long lasting effects from this, which is good to hear. Adam goes back to work on Monday, so that gives me a few days to adjust with another adult in the house.
Thank you all for following this adventure of ours and for all the sweet e-mails I have received over the duration of this journal. I have enjoyed this immensely and it is a great way to document things for my children for later years. I hope for the best for the rest of you ladies and for your children.
Take care all!
7 lbs. 2 oz
19 1/2" long
October 30, 2009, 7:18 AM