Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Avalyn’s Birth

Well, my beautiful baby girl is here! Avalyn Kay made her debut on my birthday (how awesome is that???) and she is the best present I have ever received. June 11, 2010 at 9:14 PM. She weighed in at 7 pounds 10.5 ounces and was 20 inches long. She is exactly 26 years and 15 hours my junior, I was born at 6:14 AM. Isn't that neat? Maybe it's not, but I think it is! :D

Okay, so I left off saying that on the evening of June 10 I was having really mild contractions that were dying down as the night progressed. Matt and I ended up going to bed at 11:00, and watched Family Guy… I fell asleep halfway through the 11:30 episode. Well I woke up at 1:31 to use the bathroom, nothing new there. My heart ached slightly that I hadn’t gone into labor yet, I was hoping through the whole pregnancy that Avalyn would share my birthday. After washing my hands I poked at my moving tummy and told her quietly that she needed to come out today! She stopped wiggling after that and I headed back to bed.

3:58 AM, up once again to use the bathroom. What fun! Except the feeling that woke me didn’t feel the same as usual. I felt a tugging sensation and sat down quickly, thank goodness because as soon as I sat down I felt a gush. I looked down, no it wasn’t pee. “Matt!” I called. Another gush. I touched myself with toilet paper and the color on it came back a sort of greenish brown. “Matt!” I called again, this time with more urgency. My water had broken, I knew it had, but the color I was seeing wasn’t normal. I had read about it in my pregnancy book, it meant the baby had her first bowel movement inside me. The amniotic fluid that was leaking was stained with meconium. Yuck! The one thing I asked her not to do, she does!

At this point Matt wanders into the bathroom and I tell him my water broke. He’s instantly in “Get Ready” mode. It’s 4:01 and I’m looking for something to wear. I settled for the only skirt I own and a black t-shirt and sandals. You know just in case there was more gushing I wouldn't ruin my pants or shoes, haha! I also filled my underwear with pads and sort of wrapped a garbage bag around myself. Stylish right??

Now what? I had the house cleaned, our bags were packed, the cord blood kit was on top of the bags and so were two pillows. All we had to do was make sure the animals had food and water and we could go. I’m panicking at this point, my whole body was shaking and I’m telling Matt I don’t know what to do. He told me we’re all ready to go and the only thing left to do is get to the hospital. Easy enough. The hospital is about twenty five to thirty five minutes from our house and we left around 4:15, now the contractions are starting again and they are not pleasant. I was really not looking forward to the ones that were coming next.

We parked the Jeep in the lot close to the main entrance and walk to the emergency room entrance (we got there thirteen minutes before the main doors unlocked, darn!!). The guy at the ER desk doesn’t look surprised to see a pregnant woman and points toward the hallway we need to go down. Matt gets security to open the door to the hospital and we head to the maternity ward. Once we go through those big double doors we head to the reception area, which was surprisingly busy! There were five nurses and two other staff members there all smiling at me. One asked how she can help us. I’m thinking “gee lady, why do you think I’m here at 4:47 AM?” I told them my water broke and they ask for my name and find my preregistration forms and I’m on my way.

Or so I thought. The nurse doesn’t seem to think my water broke… since I was lucky enough for it to break on the toilet I had no evidence of it anywhere but in the septic tank. Apparently she thought I just peed... unto-which I said, if that was true I need to be admitted somewhere in the hospital since it was green with brown particles in it! That's not normal! So, she put me in triage. Okay, fine it’s policy I understand… but I knew my water broke, just give me a room so I can get situated and start the process of having a baby! So she gives me a gown and has me sit on the bed. Thankfully as soon as I sat down on the bed, Avalyn shifted and more "evidence" made it’s appearance on the nice white sheets. Ew! It was also kind of funny because it seems my daughter already has my sense of humor, as if she’s saying: “You don’t believe that I’m coming huh? What’s this? A nice clean bed? Excellent! Just move a little bit to my right and… hah! Now you have another room to clean! That’s what you get for not listening to my mommy!”

Now the nurse knew I was in labor and she starts flipping through her chart. She asked me if I wanted room number seven or eight. My favorite number is seven but I ask her if there’s a difference. Apparently room seven had Jacuzzi tub and room eight didn’t. Now as tempting as a Jacuzzi tub sounds I told her that I’d take room eight. What if there was a mom who came in that planned to use that tub for pain management? I didn’t want to be the person who took that away from her just because I like the number seven.

So, we get ourselves set up in our room and before I know it, it’s six o’clock! Where had the time gone? At that point I started sending out texts to people to let them know where I was and how we were doing. The contractions were still coming and getting worse, not exactly a picnic, but not unbearable either.

I kept having to adujust the band that monitored the baby’s heartbeat so they decided to put a monitor directly on her head. It was comforting to be able to see/hear her heartbeat no matter what way I moved. Again, the time passed quite quickly and it’s 9:55 AM and my contractions are dying down, which means Pitocin! Not fun! My nurse lets me know that her shift will be over at noon and another nurse will be replacing her. So, I decided that it would be a good time for my epidural. I had been using an exercise ball for pain management and it was fine, but from what friends had told me, getting the epidural before the pain was unbearable was a good idea. I guess it's hard to sit still while they administer it when you're in an insane amount of pain. So, since my nurse was great I wanted her support (along with Matt’s) during the epidural process, I opted to get it before she left me!

It was another half an hour before the anesthesiologist showed up and I was freaked. I knew the procedure since I watched videos about it and read about it but it was still not fun to be poked in the back. Even more not fun when what he was doing kept making parts of my body hurt that weren’t supposed to hurt. I was bent forward like he told me to be and I wasn’t moving from that position and he kept yelling at me to push my back out when I already was! I have a short waist so apparently my back didn’t go out as far as most people’s did. It didn’t mean he had to yell at me. The nurse evidentially didn’t think I needed to be yelled at either because she told the guy I was doing exactly what he asked me to do. Then I kept hearing him muttering under his breath things like; “Oh, no…”, “This isn’t working…”, and my favorite, “It’s not supposed to do that.” Ugh! He poked me in seven different places before we were finally done. I was glad to see him go. Who yells at a woman in labor? Jerk.

After that I was only allowed to eat ice chips. No water or anything! Matt went out to refill my cup and there was no nurse in sight so I grabbed my bag to get a jolly rancher to pop in my mouth. As I was throwing away the wrapper my nurse walked in and scolded me. Whoops! It didn’t taste good at that point anyway. I was craving a salad and a watermelon flavored jolly rancher didn’t cut it so I spit it out in the trash. Matt came in with ice for me, followed by my new nurse.

The new nurse told me I needed a catheter (and I’m only writing about this because the outcome is funny) and started the process. Well, she wasn’t able to do whatever she had to do and had another nurse come in to help her. When the other nurse came in she sort of laughed and said, “You were trying to put it there?!” I looked at Matt, and whispered, “Where was she trying to put it?”

It was around 1:00 PM that the nurse had to up my pitocin again. Along with that they put up a new bag for my epidural. Little did I know that the nurse who was punching in the numbers got a little mixed up (yes, the same nurse who couldn’t figure out the catheter). At some point the monitor on the baby stopped picking up her heartbeat. That was pretty scary. Then her heart-rate kept dropping during contractions. I had to lie on my side for a while after that. My parents also visited for a while.

By this time everything is blurring together because my epidural wasn’t working and I was in a significant amount of pain. I looked at the bag a lot after that to see if it was still there! I asked the nurse several times why the epidural wasn’t working anymore, only to hear that some people have a tolerance for it. I didn’t think I was one of those people because it had been working fine until she switched the bag. So between 1:00 and 6:30 I can’t remember specific details. Also, during this time, the nurse tripped over the wire attached to my baby and ripped it off her poor little head and broke the machine in the process. So, they had to bring in a new machine and attach a new monitor to the baby. Somewhere around 5:00 I threw up because the pain was so awful. I know I also asked Matt a lot to make it stop hurting. I cried, but didn’t scream. I don’t know why women on TV always scream, how do they have that kind of energy?

Matt and I had asked a lot why the epidural wasn’t working, and the nurse kept saying she was going to get an anesthesiologist in to help me. Yeah right, she had been saying that since 2:00! A little after 6:00 the nurse messed with the settings of my epidural (according to Matt, I was too focused on getting through the contractions. Ouch!). She adjusted it from .18 milliliters to 18 milliliters. She had it on .18 for five hours when it was supposed to be 18! That's like having nothing helping my pain! Plus, since I was hooked up to all those machines I couldn't walk or change positions to help with labor pain. Grr!!

Then my savior came in. A wonderful woman, who’s name I can’t remember, arrived to give me drugs! Yey! She hooked up a new bag and almost instantly I felt the chill run down my spine. I was still pretty out of it, I was tired and sweaty and scared that the pain was going to start up again at any second. Matt asked me if I could feel any contractions, I told him I didn’t know. He smiled and said, “Well, you just had a big one so it must be working!” I turned looked at the anesthesiologist and told her that she was my new best friend and she gave me a hug and told me good luck and left.

A new doctor came in to greet me, so far there had been three that day and she was number four. I was now dilated 8 centimeters. She told me I would probably be having the baby tomorrow and asked if I was aware a c-section was a possibility. *Sigh* Not what I wanted to hear. I looked at the clock, it was 7:30PM. I wanted to scream, I had spent my entire birthday in labor and by God, I wanted to have a baby that day, and I didn't want a c-section! So, I watched the machine that monitored my contractions and gave a little push during each one. At 8:20 the doctor came back in to check me again and smiled at me, “Ten centimeters! Wow! Let’s start pushing.”

Thankfully, I was totally numb from the waist down. The stuff the anesthesiologist hooked up was the good stuff from the OR. I was blissful, pushing was the easiest part! I could feel that I was pushing but didn't feel pain. Avalyn made her debut at 9:14 PM. I didn’t use a mirror to see her arrive and Matt didn’t look either, but I did see the doctors lift her up and her little eyes locked on mine. It sounds ludicrous but time slowed down when we looked at each other. That memory will be with me forever. Of course time sped back up when they whisked her away.

The first doctor who we had seen that morning told us that they didn’t want Avalyn to cry because she could suck the meconium into her lungs and potentially get pneumonia. He also told us only ten percent of babies don’t cry so Avalyn might be facing significant health problems. It also meant that they would have to cut the cord and not let me hold her right away. Two pediatricians were in the room waiting for Avalyn along with a few nurses.

Guess what? Avalyn didn’t cry! They got all of the meconium out of her mouth, stomach and nose. I kept telling Matt to go look at her to see what she looks like and to see if she was okay but he wanted to stay by me until I was stitched up and until the pediatricians told him he could see her. I was so frustrated! Someone needed to hold or see our baby! I wanted it to be me, but he was the next beset thing! It's so heart wrenching not to be able to hold your baby right away. Granted, I only had to wait like twenty minutes but it felt like a lifetime!

Well, Matt got the go ahead to come over and see her so he hopped up and stood next to her and touched her and said, “Hello, Avalyn.” Then she turned to look at him! While that was happening I had Matt take a picture that I immediately posted to facebook. I also sent my parents a text to let them know Ava was here! Dad asked if we wanted anything and I requested a chicken caesar salad from Wendy’s and Matt wanted a burger.

** Note ** Mom said that when I texted her all she could do was stare at the picture. Evan and Dad were asking her what was happening and what she was looking at and she could only say, "It's a baby..." I thought that was funny and sweet! ** End Note **

After that the doctors swaddled Avalyn up and handed her to Matt and he brought her over to see me. She was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen, and I had seen some cute babies. Holding her was amazing, and feeding her was even more amazing. She caught on right away, and when the lactation specialist came in she smiled and said it looked like we didn’t need her help. My parents and brother showed up minutes later with food! Matt’s parents came by the next day and the day after that we went home with our bundle of joy.

So far things have been going well. Avalyn sleeps a lot and only cries when she’s hungry or tired. We’ll see if that changes! I'm sure it will!

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