Tuesday, June 7, 2011

17 hours + 1 Scar = Emmarie

When Dr. Burroughs suggested an induction, I was a little apprehensive. I was not familiar with what all that would entail, and I did not want to do something that would hurt the baby or increase my recovery time. SO, I went home and did some research and presented the idea to Brad. He loved the idea. Since he was still working out on the rig, he would be able to tell them which day he was not coming. This would therefore squash some of my fears that I would go into labor, and Bradley would be two hours away unable to get to us. So we set up the induction for June 6, 2011.

For those people (like myself) that do not know the back story on being inducted, I will give you some of the information. You are required to check into the hospital the afternoon before your induction. You are hooked up to a bunch of machines so that they can monitor your heart rate and the baby's heart rate. They start you on fluids and......you wait. You wait until 3:00 A.M. Then they come in and check everything and give you the Pitocin. This is supposed to jump start labor. They come in and check on you every hour or so and after 5 hours if you haven't made any significant progress, they give you another dose of Pitocin. Then they break your water and the race is on. Supposedly.

We went through most of these steps. As we got to the hospital at 5:00 p.m., I was still scarfing down the last of my Panda Express. I was trying to stock up on carbs since they told me I would not be able to eat again until after the baby was born. Me and food kind of had a big time love affair my whole pregnancy so I was not sure how that little aspect of this whole charade was going to play out. Well it turns out that after you get hooked up to a bunch of machines and have fluids running through you, you aren't that hungry anymore! Until a day after Emmy was born, my stomach turned at the thought of food. Back to the story...So we got checked in and they got me all hooked up to the monitors. It took a long time for them to come in to hook me up once we got to the room because they lost my paperwork somehow on the computer (BUMMER!). It was so hot in the room, and I kept begging Brad to go get my fan out of the car. He told me he would ask the nurses, and finally a really nice nurse came in and brought me one of their fans (much more sterile). My outlook on life did a 180 once I had that air blowing my my face.

Once they finally got me all hooked up, my family was allowed to come in to see me. Although I told them that they did not have to come until the next day because Dr. Burroughs assured me that nothing would happen, they insisted on coming and staying in the area in case the baby decided to make an early exit. My Mom, Dad, Britt, Kari, Grannie, Uncle Steve, and a few other people hung out with us that night. They did not leave until close to midnight, and I assured them that I would call if anything started happening. I played on my laptop and we watched TV since neither Brad or I could sleep. I would start dozing off and then they would come to adjust my fetal monitor. Once I am awake it is really hard for me to go back to sleep so I started watching the NCIS marathon on USA. Bradley was up taking a test for a perspective job. At 3:00 A.M. the nurse came in to give me the Pitocin. This consisted of her switching the bag hooked up to my IV...nothing too exciting. Then we waited some more.

The next morning around 6:00 A.M. I had a surprise visitor. Dr. Burroughs had another patient go into labor on my floor so she came to check and make sure I was doing okay. I was only at 2 centimeters. This was a very disappointing moment for me. She said they would run another bag of Pitocin, and she would be back in a few hours to check on me. I tried to rest so that I would have strength later. Mostly I watched more old episodes of NCIS.

Around 8:30 or 9:00 the family started to show back up. They tried to distract me while Bradley went to the waiting room to eat breakfast. At that point, food was the furthest thing from my mind. I was having mild contractions, but nothing that I couldn't handle. The nurses were bringing me ice chips, and overall, I was enjoying my stay in the hospital. Even though I had planned on having an epidural, I started thinking that if this is all that was going to happen, I could totally handle that. The nurse just told me to let her know when I was ready for the epidural.

Not long after that, Dr. Burroughs showed up to check me and decided it was time to break my water. Things rapidly went downhill from there.

The light labor pains that I had been having now felt like little demonic monsters were trying to tear apart my lower abdomen. I squeezed the bed rails and Brad's hand, and I tried to remember all of the yoga breathing techniques that I had been practicing. Much to my surprise (and I think the astonishment of my family), I did not become a raving lunatic during labor. I was more of a silent sufferer. I think it had something to do with the fact that there were tons of people in my room. I would feel pretty bad about calling Brad some four letter word in front of my cute and prim little grandmother.

At one point, I told Brad that I wanted everyone to leave for a little while because the pain was just too bad. He ushered everyone out, and I almost started crying as the contractions got worse. In the back of my mind, I was hoping that this meant matters were moving along pretty smoothly so I did not rush to get the epidural. I thought that maybe if she was almost here, I would not need it. They checked me again, and I was at a 3. "THAT'S IT!?!," I thought.

Around 1:00, I broke down and told Bradley that I wanted the epidural now, and could he please go get the nurse so that she could have them get that going STAT. He came back with distressing news: It would take over an hour to get the epidural started! I felt like I was going to die. All along they had led me to believe that it would be a short process. I would tell them to give me the drugs, they would find the anesthesiologist, and viola! the pain would go away. They left a few steps out. First you have to have two-three bags of fluid run through your system. Then they will contact the drug guy to come to your room. Then everyone must leave except him and the nurse. They do not want someone else to scream and make you flinch as they stick the large needle into your spine.

These fluids took over an hour to make their way out of the bag into my system. I was almost at the point of standing up and squeezing the bag to make it go faster. I barely restrained myself. Then it took the man almost another hour to make his way to my room. I know I was not the only person at that hospital in pain, but in the moment, it sure felt like I should have been at the top of the list. I held really still and stretched down to elongate my spine the way they asked. Then I could feel this weird pressure in my back. The next thing I knew, he was done and he was handing me a button that I could push up to every 15 minutes to inject more pain medicine.

An epidural is magical.

If you are pregnant, don't let anyone try to guilt you into not getting the drugs.  They are hippies or sadists.  There is no other explanation for not wanting someone to have a drug that allows them to have an easier labor and be better equipped to meet their new baby afterward.  (I will now step down from my soap box).

Once the epidural was in place, I was tied to my bed and not allowed to get up and move around anymore.  Friends and family alike were allowed to come back in and bask in the awesomeness that is labor.  I am sure that I was a lot more fun to be around after that.

And we waited.   And waited.  And waited.

The nurses came back several times to check my progress on Dr. Burroughs' orders, but I wasn't making a lot of progress.  At around 5:30, they came to do a check to figure out why things weren't progressing fast enough.  Turns out Emmarie was a bit nosy from the get-go.  Her head was lodged facing upwards in the birth canal.  She was already trying to look-out and see what was happening. 

They tried to push on my stomach and see if they could "back her up" and "readjust," but they finally said that I was going to have to try to move her myself.  I had to get on my hands and knees (all the wires and tubes be darned), and sway back and forth for about 45 minutes.  I told the nurse that I did not want anyone in the room, so she shooed away any well meaning family members other than my mom and Bradley. This was a long process, and I was already so tired. So when the doctor came in after that to check my progress, I was deflated when she told me that nothing had changed.

She recommended that we do a C-Section.  She did not think that there was anything else that we could do to change the baby's head position, and it was apparent that I was very tired.  She told me she would give us some time to think it over and come back and check on us soon.

Bradley was visibly upset at this prospect.  He did not want us to have to go through with a C-Section.  I know that he was worried about me and the baby, but I also think he was worried about being in an operating room with us.  He advised me to talk with my mom (who had 3 C-Sections) and to call a close family friend that is a nurse.  My mom told me that I would be fine, and I needed to do whatever I thought would be best.  My friend said that based on what the doctor had said, she thought a C-Section was going to be what happened ultimately (the doctor wasn't pressuring us unnecessarily) and it was just a matter of it happening now or later that night.  Once we gave the doctor our answer, for the first time all day, things started happening very quickly.

It seemed like all at once, they were giving Bradley clothes to change into and prepping me for surgery.  The anesthesiologist was introducing himself (the night shift was in the house since it was shift change)  and telling me that everything was going to be okay. The nurses were putting these machines and tight pantyhose on my legs so that I owuld not lose circulation in my legs during the surgery.  Then in a whirlwind of motion, they were pushing me out of my room.

 Somewhere between my room and surgery, the medicine made me sick.  This apparently made me endearing to the anesthesiologist because he continued to tell me what a great job I was doing and to keep it up.

Bradley had to stay out of the room until that had me open and ready for the Cesarean.  So I made conversation with the anesthesiologist and he adjusted my medications.  There was a tall sheet separating my head from the rest of the room, so I could only hear Dr. Burroughs and the nurses talking.  I counted ceiling tiles and looked at all of the instruments lining the room.  When Bradley came into the room, he looked upset, but he didn't really tell me why when I asked. (I later found out that he walked in and saw everything where they had me opened for surgery...and he is not great with blood and such.)  It didn't seem to take long after that, and I heard a little cry.  Dr. Burroughs said, "He is perfect Ashley."  At this point, my heart jumped through my throat as I quickly asked her, "IS IT A BOY?"  She quickly corrected herself and apologized.  Bradley went over to the scale to take pictures.  It was 8:41 on June 6, 2011.  She weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces, and was 20.5 inches.


When they brought her over, I had my first embarrassing moment as a Mom.  I thought to myself, "This CANNOT be my baby!"  She had tan skin and a WHOLE HEAD FULL OF DARK HAIR!  My baby was supposed to be mostly bald.  My baby was going to have creamy skin and rosy cheeks.  This baby did not match the mental picture I had been walking around with for 9 months.  Brad leaned her down so that I could kiss her cheek, and the anesthesiologist asked if we wanted him to take our first family picture.  I of course said yes.  

After this, they needed to take the baby to the nursery, so they could clean her up.  I told Brad to go with her.  He wanted to stay with me, but I had this horrible feeling that if she left without one of us, somehting would happen, and they would give her to someone else by mistake.  After all that I had just been through, this COULD NOT be allowed to happen.  So he went with her, and I told him to be sure to take a million pictures so I could see everything later.

After he left, things started to get bad.  My body metabolizes medicine extremely quickly we learned.  It can't metablize fat or cheesecake for nothing, but expensive pain killers rush through my system like a redneck at Wal-Mart.  As Dr. Burroughs started to close, I whispered to the anesthegiologist, I can feel everything.  He looked at me mildy interested, and he assured me that I should be able to feel the pressure of them sewing me up.  I told him, "No, I can FEEL everything."  At this point he started to get worried, so he told Dr. Burroughs to hold on for a few minutes.  He asked me a bunch of questions about what exactly I could feel and I guess I described the actions happening on the other side of the sheet well enough that he was convinced that I was not making it up.

He gave me several pain killers by IV, but they were not doing anything to alleviate the pain.  I was gripping the metal bar holding my bag of fluids so that I wouldn't cry in front of them.  My toes were curling with pain, which worried them even more since I could still move them.  To make matters worse, my blood pressure started to plumet and got down to the 40s.  He told Dr. Burroughs that he did not want to add anything else to my IV because my blood pressure was worrying him.

At this point, we had a little "Come to Jesus" meeting.  He said I had two options: He had medicine that he felt he could safely give me to make the pain go away, but it would put me to sleep for several hours. OR I could suffer silently and he would hold my hand through the pain.  I weighed my options, and I decided that I really wanted to be able to spend time with Emmarie and not be knocked out during her first hours.

He let me squeeze his hand and walked me through what was happening.  He kept telling me, "We're almost done. Stay with me." "She's almost done.  You're doing great."  He was such a blessing.  When they were finally done, I was so happy and I told him several times, "Thank you so much for everything."  I thanked Dr. Burroughs and the nurses, and they wheeled me back to my room.

I was given an hour to rest and recuperate before they sent family back in.  When Bradley came in, I told him to bring me my make-up.  I was still cognizant of the fact that I wanted to try to look my best for the pictures that I knew would be coming.  Nothing like vanity to make a girl feel better.  My face was really swollen from all the fluids, but overall I felt good and ready to face our guests.  From the pictures to follow, you can see that it was a big group.




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