Sunday, March 8, 2020

2nd Birth Story - Part 2

The feeling after giving birth without an epidural was amazing. I was on a high and I couldn't believe I'd done it! It was a goal of mine that I wasn't sure I could accomplish, and I did it. I'm still super pumped about it.

We were able to do do immediate skin-to-skin, delayed cord clamping, etc. I remember delivering the placenta, and David cutting the cord. About an hour or so after the doctor left, I started feeling pain down there. The nurses thought it may be from the stitches, but I knew it was something beyond that. Finally, they took a look and discovered I'd developed a large (and painful) hematoma. Most likely it was caused by how fast the baby came, and the fact that I was on aspirin. They were able to get me on some pain medication, which helped, and then they had to put in a folley catheter since I couldn't urinate.

It was so nice being able to stay in the same room and have the baby with us. I was able to try breastfeeding and work with the lactation consultants from the comfort of the room. The only concerns we had this time with the baby was getting him to gain weight. His jaundice levels seemed ok. The more pressing concern was the pain from my hematoma and my inability to urinate. The doctor wanted to remove the catheter after 24 hours so as to prevent infection, but even after removing it, I was unable to urinate on my own. The nurse (and a student) set up a sitz bath for me, which felt good. Finally, the nurses had to straight cath me since I really had to pee. The relief didn't last long though, and I was afraid they'd have to cath me again, but finally, I was able to urinate a little (the pain meds helped), which was a big relief. Since the baby was born after midnight, we were able to stay an extra night, and we opted to leave that Thursday. 

As far as the hematoma goes, the plan was to keep an eye on it and see if my body would absorb it, while also managing pain with medication. The OB wanted to follow up with me in a week. 

We checked out around 2 in the afternoon, stopped to get diapers, and then headed back to the house where we were planning to meet the birth photographer so she could take pictures of the toddler (and my mom) meeting the new baby. It was absolutely the sweetest thing to see my daughter meet and love on her baby brother; it brought me to tears.

The past (nearly) four weeks have been a whirlwind full of appointments with the pediatrician, blood draws (and a few jaundice scares that turned out to be ok), appointments with lactation consultants, the chiropractor, a cranio sacral therapist, etc. At my one week follow up with the OB, she said part of my hematoma had gone down, but another part may have swelled more, so she wanted to see me in another week and then possibly surgically evacuate it. The following week, I went back in and we went ahead with the procedure. Unfortunately, that meant that the wound had to be packed (by someone else) twice a day, which was a painful and tedious process. Luckily, after a week, I went back, and she said the wound had healed/closed, and I no longer had to pack it. Right now, I am (mainly) off pain medication, which is a big step for me, though I'm still in pain.

He is such a good baby. He sleeps really well, and really only cries when he's hungry. I often have to wake him just to feed him every few hours. The toddler has been adjusting well. She loves her baby brother and constantly comments about how "cute" he is or says he's "sad" when he cries. It's a big of an adjustment with her getting used to my mom being here and helping to care for her, and also shuttling her to and from daycare. I'm honestly a little worried about how I'll handle things when my mom leaves and I need to care for both of them by myself while David's at work, but I think we will slowly get into a routine. 

Right now, I'm just going to soak in the time left we have with my mom here, enjoy my naptime snuggles with the baby, and continue recovering.

I just love my little family.

2nd Birth Story - Part 1

On Friday, February 7, 2020, at 9:40am, I went in for my 37 week appointment at my OB's office. I had had a couple borderline high blood pressure readings, but ok bloodwork, but that morning, my blood pressure was at 140/80 and I was 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. She had me do an in-house urine culture and then go get my blood drawn. She wanted me to move my following week's appointment up earlier (since she'd be going out of town over the weekend) and if I had another high blood pressure, she'd induce.

At this point, I was ok with being induced, since we'd already made it past my first baby's birth date, and we were at a safe time to only concern was who would watch my toddler, since my mom wasn't planning on coming until a couple weeks later. I talked to my parents and my mom was able to change her flight to come a week early, that Sunday, February 9, 2020. I went through the weekend feeling a little nervous about my blood pressure and urine protein level, and kept wondering if I should go to the hospital or just wait things out. Ultimately, I decided to wait until Monday morning, February 10, 2010...but before I could even call the OB office, I got a call from the nurse with blood test and urine results; I was trending toward preeclampsia so the doctor wanted me to go in at 1:30pm, and if I had a high blood pressure, I'd go to the hospital and be induced. The reading ended up being 148/100, one of my highest, and I was diagnosed with "gestational hypertension" and was sent to the hospital. David and I had planned for this, so we'd brought our bags and had my mom and the toddler all set and taken care of at home.

I was immediately admitted and we got settled into our room (2511). To my relief, I was reassured that since I was not in the preeclampsia stage yet (just gestational hypertension), that I would not need to be on magnesium this time. My amazing doula, Kristen, arrived shortly after I was admitted. The first induction gel was administered at 3:25pm (3 cm, 70% effaced, soft anterior). After waiting an hour for it to kick in, we went to walk around for an hour. We talked to Kristen and agreed for her to go home for a short time before coming back for the night. They administered the second gel at 5:50pm (same stats), and we repeated the process. I developed a headache at 6:36pm and started to feel the start/stop of contractions at 6:39pm (though they'd been going on for awhile). The third gel was administered at 8:26 pm (3 cm, 80% effaced, -2). At this point I was wondering if they were going to have to administer pitocin (which I didn't want for various reasons), but by 10:55pm, I was really starting to feel the contractions and I was 5 cm dilated.

At 11:11pm, I was between 8-9 cm and at this point, things were very intense and painful. I used my "code word" several times with Kristen and David (which meant I wanted pain relief), but thankfully, Kristen and the nurse (Kerissa) were able to talk me through things, and suggested I get into the tub. (This is when the birth photographer arrived too, just in time!) I immediately felt better in the warm water, though I was told I'd need to get out of the tub sooner than later since I was progressing so quickly. (When I got into the tub, I felt the need to push already.) By the time I got out at 11:23pm and they checked me again, I was 10 cm dilated!

At this point, the doctor had arrived, and it was show time. I couldn't believe I'd made it to this point without an epidural. I was lying on my side, clutching the side of the bed in the fetal position with my legs clamped shut. I didn't want to move, but finally I willed myself to lie on my back, which was a better position for delivering. It was time to push, and I could only manage to get myself to push for short counts of time. I kept thinking to myself, "why can't I push for longer? I feel like if I can just hold out for longer, he will come on that last count." I remember being super annoyed with the fetal monitor around my belly, and wanting it to be removed. The doctor tried to help me with pushing, telling me to hold my breath, push, and then breathe out. She told me to curl my body over the baby. Finally, things clicked. I realized I needed to continue holding my breath when pushing, rather than breathe out on the push. After the second time, to everyone (including the doctor's) surprise, he was here! After about 30 minutes of pushing, he was born at 12:08am, and he was absolutely perfect.