Monday, September 7, 2015

Avery's Birth Story

One year after the birth of my first daughter, I still get questions about the circumstances of the emergency c-section to deliver her. I decided there was no better time to finally share that story. Buckle in though, this is a long one!

My water broke at 10:30 am on the morning of September 6th, two days after my due date. I had been crying to my fella that morning because my sister had been there for two weeks and was going to leave the next morning to get my niece to school. My mom had come into town the day before but was only going to be able to stay for a few days. After crying to Sean, he suggested joining him for a walk to Starbucks. During the walk, I started to have that leaky feeling. I called the doctor and they told us it sounded like my water had broken, to come on in.

Since the bags broke before labor started, they put me on Pitocin to get the contractions going. By late afternoon and one showing of Forrest Gump I was only 3 cms (though 100% effaced -1 station) and I was in quite a bit of pain so I asked for my epidural then. I felt 100% better so they were going to kick up the Pitocin but then the baby started having late decels so they actually backed it off.

Then started this cycle through the night where she'd be doing really well and just as they were going to turn the Pitocin back on, her heart rate would drop so they'd have to monitor her again.

The other issue we dealt with was I got a fever from an infection in my uterus due to the bags being broken for so long. The fever eventually broke early in the morning.

They started talking to me about the possibility of having an emergency c-section around 3 in the morning. Something to note about the hospital I delivered at is that they pride themselves on having a very low emergency c-section rate. However their goal is first a healthy baby and second a vaginal delivery.

I was absolutely terrified because prior to this, I've never had any sort of surgery. Additionally, I had completely ruled out the possibility of a c-section, even in an emergency. My pregnancy was so smooth that I was sure the labor and delivery would be the same. Plus I was thinking if I thought positive, it could effect the outcome. I did zero research or prep for this type of delivery so I was pretty naive about all things c-section.

I had my stepdad and brother in law to come give me a blessing and as soon as they did, I knew it was going to result in a c-section. I tried to mentally prepare myself as they continued to let me aim for a vaginal delivery. I got up to six centimeters but they said the baby wasn't handling the contractions well at all and that they were going to have to proceed with the c-section.

Our Avery was born at 9:15 am on September 7th, 2014. She weighed 8 lbs. 3.2 oz.

I'm afraid I did not contain my fright during the surgery at all. I was moaning from the feeling as they delivered Avery. The poor aesthetician was such a sweet guy, asking me all sorts of questions to try and keep my calm and distracted. They ended up having to give me something to calm me down and was so loopy from drugs that I could barely keep my eyes open to look at my baby once she was on my chest.

They did a complete blood count test on her that afternoon, which she slept right through when they pricked her, and the doctor was concerned with the results, said they indicated an infection. Since I had had an infection during labor, she was lethargic, and she wasn't eating, they decided to admit her to the NICU for more tests. They decided to start a five day course of antibiotics and tracking her CRP or C-reactive protein levels. This helps track the inflammation which can be an indicator of the status of the infection she has. They don't really know for sure what caused her infection, but it's not unusual given the circumstances of the labor.

They did a five day course of antibiotics and have been monitoring her vitals, input/output, and CRP levels, aka C-reactive protein, which is used to track the level of inflammation from the infection. After the first round, her CRP levels had improved, but the doctor wanted to see something a bit better so they kept her for another two days.

It was so hard to hold my girl and see how many wires she had attached to her, but the worst was that wretched IV. They said she was a hard stick so she had so many holes poked in her. They had to move the IV site two times. First it washer arm, then her leg, and finally her head. When I first came in and saw that, I was completely caught off guard and started bawling. But then my sister reminded me there could be even scarier places such as the jugular or femoral artery. I came around to the head IV because she can't really mess that one up since it's the biggest part of her body, but they really ought to warn a mom about that!

Though it frustrating, scary, and disappointing, the circumstances of her being in the NICU are not as devastating as they could have been. I just had to look around at all the teeny tiny babies and somber families around me to know that. However, it is definitely hard to not be able to be the one in control of your baby, to not be able to be with her all the time, to not put her in her own clothes, to not have her at home.

I chose to focus on the positive side of things. They had a parent room available so we were able to stay at the hospital with Avery to breastfeed on demand and see her as much as we want even after I was discharged. That makes things a lot easier. We were in some ways also kind of given an easier transition into parenthood because we had a lot of expert help. We had one on one training from nurses on everything from diaper changes, burping, breast feeding, to baths and more. 

And finally, after one week in the hospital, Avery was discharged and our little three person family finally got to go home!

I wrote a lot of these details down while Avery was still brand new and as I'm going through it again now, it's crazy to think of how many of the details had already become distant memories. When I look at my big, happy girl now, it's easy to forget how scary the first week of her life was and I'm truly grateful that Avery ended up on the other side a healthy little girl who I get to squeeze and kiss whenever I want. 

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