Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I found out at my 20-week scan that I had a bicornuate uterus. Basically, my uterus is "heart-shaped." My OB said it was rare, but not a big deal. LO would most likely be breech and try to come a little early (around 36 or 37 weeks). He told me to Google it. Bad idea. I DID Google it and I got all kinds of horrific stories about 2nd trimester losses and recurrent miscarriages. I felt like a ticking time-bomb and spent the next 7 weeks worried that LO's heart would stop beating or I would go into labor. My doppler got a lot of use in this time.

When I began feeling crampy around 27 weeks, I felt like my worst fears were realized. I developed a pain in my stomach, right above my belly button that was excruciating. My mom took me to L&D, where we found out I was 1cm dilated and slightly effaced.
My OB referred me to a perinatologist who discovered that my cervix was only about 2.5cm. He put me on strict bedrest and I went back to him every week for measurements.
I watched with anxiety as my cervix measured shorter and shorter every visit. 2.1...1.1... .5 ... then too short to be measured. I was 30 weeks when my cervix was so effaced that we were all sure LO would be arriving soon. I got steroid shots for his lungs, and began taking procardia to control contractions and progesterone to help keep my cervix strong.
Bed rest was the hardest experience of my life. People went about their lives and days turned to nights, then nights back into days over and over. But time stood still for me. I didn't notice my belly getting bigger, but every trip to the doctor, to the bathroom, and every (treasured) shower, I felt my muscles get weaker. Standing for more than a few minutes began to make me ache; feel much older and much more worse for wear than I was.
I crossed days off of the calendar next to my bed. Every day at midnight. I had ultrasounds tacked up, too. Right at eye-level. I was keeping my eyes on the prize, and focusing all of my energy just keeping him in. Keeping him safe.
Around 33 weeks, I had another L&D visit (how many had it been now? 6 or 7? 8?). I had contractions that wouldn't stop. I was monitored overnight and they finally went away, right after I'd made my peace with delivering and did a bit of mourning for it. Life is funny that way. I received my 3rd round of steroid shots for LO's lungs. I was 4cm dilated. They sent me home.
Maybe this baby would stay put afterall. He'd lasted through so many weeks above a cervix that clearly couldn't support him. Maybe he was some kind of super-baby.
I got used to feeling mild contractions every day. They never got more intense or regular, so I just learned to live with them, just trying not to think about them. If I didn't think about them, or the precarious situation in my stomach, maybe nothing bad would happen. But it was different this time,
The night of August 7th I was dealing with contractions that were stronger than normal. Still on the mild side and easy to deal with, but unyielding. I'd just taken my progesterone suppository and was supposed to stay horizontal and not move afterward, but I couldn't. I kept feeling like I needed to pee, but trip after trip to the bathroom, nothing would happen. I figured I would just lay down until it passed. So I settled down on my side and fell into an uneasy half-sleep when I felt something really low in my belly pop.
I woke up, startled, and looked around.
POP.
Water gushed out of me. A LOT of water. There was no mistaking it. Frantic, I called my mom and told her I needed a ride to the hospital. My husband was at work, but I called him, too. I tried to forget about him telling me he didn't think he could get out of work to be there for the birth of his son, as he works alone overnight. I didn't want to think that our son would be born too early, without even his father there.
I was somehow overcome with tranquility as I finished packing my hospital bag. Maybe it was out of necessity. It was 4 AM. So far, labor really wasn't too bad.
Wrong.
When that first contraction hit me, it took my breath away. I was mid-step but found myself rooted to the spot. I couldn't move if I tried. My entire lower back and uterus was in agony, tightening from the inside and feeling like it was being squeezed from the outside at the same time. Luckily, my mom arrived, finished my packing, and got me out to the car and to the hospital quicker than I thought possible.
Because I wasn't preregistered, we needed to go through the ER first. My mom filled out paperwork on my behalf as I tried not to scream through my contractions. I bit my lip, tongue, fingers. Anything to be inconspicuous, because there were people in the lobby behind me and, even in labor, I didn't want to attract attention.
Before we turned away from the counter, the nurse said "Oh, honey, if you can't handle it now, just you wait. It gets a lot worse." If I weren't in labor, I might have slapped that woman.
I got into a room, got dressed and got an IV started. A nurse checked me.
"8 centimeters." She sounded so matter-of-fact.
I was floored. My water had broken not 30 minutes before. I went 4cm in 30 minutes? I asked how much longer we had.
"My bet would be within an hour or so."
Not the answer I wanted to hear. My husband was still working, and wouldn't be off until 7 AM. It was only about 4:45 AM. I texted him and told him to do anything possible to leave. He said he would try.
I was breathing hard through my contractions and asked the nurse to please get the anesthesiologist to give me an epidural. She said if I didn't start managing my contractions better, she wouldn't call for an epi for me.
I was shocked. But I was getting used to the nurses being rude at this point. It took a lot of effort to appear in control of my contractions, but once I did, the nurse ordered my epi.
The epi itself wasn't bad at all. I didn't feel the needle (and I was between contractions at that point), just weird vibrating/knocking feelings between my vertebrae. But the pain of the contractions was gone immediately. I was so relieved, and got to rest for a while.
It was about 6 AM when my husband, Gabriel texted me that he found a replacement at his job, so I sent my mom to go pick him up as quick as she could.
I was in the room alone. it was a weird feeling, knowing that my baby was going to be here so soon and I was just left to reflect. I can still remember how strange it felt to have the air around me so electric, in such a dull hospital room. Every cell in my body was straining in anticipation.
That's when my OB and a bunch of nurses came in and started setting up. I asked if they could wait until my husband got there, but they didn't indulge me.
The nurse who bullied me earlier got my legs into stirrups and was telling me to push. Stalling for time, I faked it. She and my OB realized immediately what I was doing.
"I'm turning off your epidural. If you want to deliver without pain, I suggest you push before it runs out."
She turned off my epidural. Now I was on a time limit. Didn't plan for that. I was fighting tears; I didn't want them to see how disappointed I was. With every passing second, I could feel the pressure more and more, and my fake pushes soon became real pushes. I was terrified to give birth with no family anywhere around, but I was scared of what would happen if I stalled for too long. Would it hurt him? I couldn't risk that.
It was music to my ears when a knock came from the door and I heard my name. It was my husband's voice. He was still in work uniform and covered in sweat, but he was here. 6:30 AM.
He took my left leg and I pushed for real now.
6:35 AM. Now my mom was back from parking her car. Everyone was here now.
The pressure got more and more intense, and happened more and more frequently. The nurses were telling me to push, my mom was chanting in my ear and I was pushing as hard as I could. I said "I can't, I can't" more times than I could count. Truth be told, I could. I knew I could. I was just scared. As badly as I wanted to meet the person I'd been dreaming of for months, I didn't know what would come out. Would he be breathing? Would he need help?

6:41 AM. Out came LO, screaming. His cord was short, so my husband needed to cut it before they could put him on my stomach. He was gorgeous, and so blonde! We were shocked! I was holding his little fingers as the pain fell away.
 
As I was being stitched up (I had needed an episiotomy), the NICU team evaluated him. 6lb1oz, 19 3/4 inches long. He was smaller than we thought he'd be, when we used to imagine his birth early on in my pregnancy. Small, but healthy! His APGARs were 8 and 9. My 35-week preemie was healthy! I'd never been so grateful! They handed him back to me and I was just in love and in awe at this tiny, beautiful creature.
I heard my OB ask, "What's his name?"
"He's Benjamin." I answered.
 


 


0 comments:

Precious and priceless so lovable too, the world’s sweetest littlest miracle is, a baby like you.

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