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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Birth Story 3(Jennifer & Vivian)

As you all know, yesterday was LABOR DAY and this is "Empowered Birth Awareness Week". So, in honor of that, we present "BIRTH STORY WEEK" here at The Mom: Informed.  Remember, some of these are happy, some are sad, some are typical and some are intense. Please use tact when commenting. 

This post is from Jennifer it is the birth of Vivian...

On March 8, 2011 I woke up feeling super dizzy and feeling kind of feverish but went about my day as normal.  I dropped off my youngest son around 8:15 a.m. and headed to the office and thought I should probably contact my doctor and let them know what was going on, I had some shortening of my cervix already and at 23 weeks pregnant they may want to see me.  It was at that point I realized I left my phone at home so I waited to call the doctor from my office.  I got to the office around 8:30 and felt okay but still a little weak, I called the front desk of my OBGYN and left word for the nurse to call me back.  I received a call back around 10:00 a.m. and when I told the nurse what was happening (some mild cramping, lightheaded and a little dizziness) she and I both agreed that I was probably just dehydrated so I went home and drank a ton of Gatorade and laid down with my feet up.  I had just started to fall asleep but was awakened around 12:00 or 12:30 in the afternoon by some mild cramping, very low in my abdomen so I kept an eye on them for approximately 45 minutes and noticed that they were getting a little more intense and seemed to come about every 2-3 minutes.  I called the doctor again around 1:15 and the office told me to get to Beaches Baptist Medical Center Labor and Delivery to get checked out. 

I was home alone since my husband was out of town working so I called my mom to run me over since I did not want to drive myself, just in case.  At this point I told her I probably just had a bladder infection or UTI so take your time and finish up what she was doing at work.  I called my husband to let him know what was going on and jumped in the shower since I knew it would take my mom about 25 minutes to get to my house. 

The ride to labor and delivery was pretty intense.  It kept getting more and more uncomfortable just sitting in the car and the cramping got worse with every mile we drove.  I could see in my mom's face she was scared and of course there was construction right in front of the hospital so we had to take what seemed like a million back roads with 50 different turns, each turn made the pain more intense and hard to breath.   I knew it was early labor I had no idea then just how much my family would be changed forever.

We arrived in the L&D triage at approximately 2:15 and by that time my cramps had turned into what I knew where full blown contractions and they had started coming a lot faster then before.  The nurse hooked up the monitor and found the baby's heart beat right away which instantly made me feel so much better.  She could not find any contractions at all which strangely made me feel worse about the whole situation because I knew it was happening.  The triage nurse, Diane (who happened to be the same L&D nurse who had delivered my youngest son almost 3 years prior) decided to do a FFN test on me to see if they could tell if I was really in early labor.  After she took a swab and handed off the test to another nurse she decided to check my cervix. 

I remember seeing her face go flush, immediately the mood in the room changed she looked down and me her exact words where "Uh Oh" she could feel the babies sac and "parts", which we later learned must have been her feet, already in the birth canal and she could not feel any cervix.  I was already fully dilated and Vivian was in the birth canal. 

I was taken from triage to a L&D suite and my doctor was on her way, the transport team was alerted and they began preparing the room, this was approximately 2:55 p.m.  They laid basically upside down in the bed and started me on Magnesium Sulfate to try to stop everything and just keep me pregnant even if only for one more day.  They also gave me a steroid injection to help with the babies lungs, this was at approximately 3:15 p.m.  the next ten minutes happened so fast but I promise you it felt like forever and I can remember it so detailed like it happened yesterday.  My contractions were coming right on top of each other and she was coming and there was nothing anyone could do about it.  I remember my doctor telling me I need to make a decision right now as to what I wanted them to do after delivery, chances are that this baby would not make it and my options are to hold her a let her go or they try to intubate here and wait for transport to get her to the NICU.  I don't ever remember really answering the question only asking questions and being confused.  I told the doctor that she was coming NOW so she got down there and ready for business.  I felt the sac break, well actually explode, it almost hurt when it happened and my fluid went flying everywhere the doctor actually got a nice taste of it as it exploded (later my mom told me she actually had to rinse her mouth out several times).  The pain was intense.  The doctor and the nurses had to tell me to push it was our only option there was no time for a C-section, there was not even enough time to get the bed upright.  Here I was laying upside down delivering my baby feet first at only 23 weeks pregnant (I later learned I was actually 24 weeks which believe it or not there is a huge difference).  I was pushing as hard as I could and knew nothing was happening cause I was still upside down gravity was working against us.  Two of the nurses and my mom grabbed me up and lifted me as much as they could so I was not upside down anymore.  I remember the doctor saying she is almost out we just need to get that head out.  I looked over at my mom and I had never seen her so panicked before in my whole 32 years.  I gave as hard of a push as I could the doctor was contemplating pulling her out but was worried because the baby was so small and a vaginal delivery would be damaging enough with the added force.  Finally at 3:25 Vivian Marie was here.

I caught a very quick glimpse of a very purple, tiny baby doll who appeared to have dark hair, I remember thinking there is no way that she was going to survive, this hospital is not equipped for preemies they did not even have a step up nursery.  Somehow they were able to intubate her and get her stable for the transport team to take her by ambulance to Wolfson Children's Hospital, almost 45 minutes away.  The nurse snuck in my mom's cell phone and snapped a few pictures for us since we had not planned on being there long when we left for L&D neither of us had a camera, she brought them back and I finally got to see her face.  She was so beautiful. 

I remember looking at my mom and just bawling.  She asked me if I wanted her to call my husband and I remember telling her that I had to do it.  It was the hardest phone call I ever made.  I remember my husband answering the phone and I could not speak, all I could do was cry.  Somehow, I made out the words "She's here."  He was very confused and asked me what I had just said, I remember the phone going silent for a long time.  Finally I said to him that the nurse told me they had gotten her intubated and that for now she was stable and they were still waiting for the transport team to arrive.  I could not even begin to imagine the feelings he must have been having that day.  He was 1,200 miles away in Indiana, working. 

It was almost an hour before anyone had told me anything else about her, eventually the nurse came and told me the transport team had arrived and they were preparing her for transport, they asked if I wanted to see her before they rushed her off.  They brought her in just after 5 p.m.  She was so very tiny weighing in at only 600 grams (listed as 1 pound 5 ounces on her birth certificate) and 12 inches long.  She had a little hat on her head and was wrapped tightly in a blanket.  I was told I could touch her if I wanted but I could not, I was to scared.  The only part of her I could see was her eyes the rest of her was tubes, wires and probes.  They told me that once they had her admitted to Wolfson's they would call me and let me know her status.  It was 3 hours before I heard anything from them. 

Just after 8:00 p.m. the phone in my room rang and it was the nurse's station telling me that they had Wolfson's on the line.  I was terrified that they were going to tell me that my baby did not survive transport and there I would be stuck 45 minutes away and I did not even touch my baby before she left.  To my surprise I was told that she was stable and admitted.  They had started her on antibiotics and medication to help lubricate her lungs.  She was the smallest one at the NICU but was doing well so far. 

I did not sleep at all that night.  I was released from the hospital the next morning at 7:45 a.m.  I went to see my son for a few minutes who had been staying with my mother and step father and went to my house to let out the dog.  I jumped in the shower and went to the NICU to truly see my daughter for the first time.  I don't know if I could even explain the feelings I had going into the NICU.  My mother had to go with me, I knew I could not do this alone.  The nurse there brought us to the scrub room and told us to remove all jewelry and handed us a scrub sponge and set a timer where we were told to scrub to our elbows for the entire three minutes and showed us a door we were to go through once we were done.  It was the longest three minutes of my life, scrubbing was almost therapeutic though.  I remember wondering what she would look like. Would I be able to touch her now?, could I hold back emotion and be strong for her?  When we went through the door the nurse told us to follow the hall and we would make a right and she was in the first isolette on the left.  That hallway seemed so long at the time, I felt a huge lump in my throat and honestly wanted to be sick.  Seeing her laying in the isolette with all the equipment was rough, her body was shaking for the oscillator vent she was on and she had so many i.v.'s and probes and wires.  The vent tube seemed to be bigger then her.  Somehow through all of this I managed to stay calm and very matter of fact.  I remember upon finally seeing her knowing that she would be okay and that she was going to make it through this.  We spent 115 days in the NICU with many trials and bumps and still have a long way to go but that is the story of how it all started.  Sometimes I wonder if I had known what I know now if my decisions would have been the same that day although I am sure they would as Vivian has changed our lives forever in more ways then I am sure I could ever imagine.

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