Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Evelyn Elizabeth

Bear with me.  This will be long and detailed, but I want to have it for myself so I am not going to leave things out of edit it down to an easy read.

When I went to a friend's New Years Eve party and stayed up until 1am, I had no idea I was going to be woken up at 5am with my first contraction.  Well, the first one strong enough to wake me up.  A big part of me thought the contractions would stop.  They were irregular and uncomfortable but not out of control.  I fell back asleep between each one just to be re-awoken 10-15 minutes later by the next one.  I did time them, even though I was sleeping in between, just so I would know.  I didn't have the heart to wake Ben.  After all, we had gone to bed at 1am!  And my living room was full of company, also sleeping, so I just stayed in bed.  At 6 I figured my mom was up so I started texting her.  I was hungry so I snuck out to the kitchen to get yogurt and then ran a warm bath.  I stayed in there, re-warming the water, reading, texting and breathing through contractions until Ben eventually woke up at 8 or so.  Once I decided I was pruney enough from floating I got out and insisted Ben pack his hospital bag.  Mine had been packed for a couple weeks, but I added things to it, like make-up and a few more shirts.

My mom dropped by with a latte and a scone as an early labor pick me up and eventually the company sleeping in our living room woke up (it really was wonderful to have Kathleen and Amir here visiting!!) and we all sipped on early morning tea and coffee and discussed the day.  There was a whole list of stuff I had planned to get done on January 1st, so we got started on some of that.  They helped us un-decorate and take down the tree and even helped Ben get it all back up in the attic.  I sat on the couch during all this, wrapping ornaments individually.  Kathleen commented that I was the calmest person in labor she'd ever seen.  (How many have you really seen though, Kathleen??)  At this point I was still reminding people that it was entirely possible the contractions would stop.  They were still irregular and only slightly uncomfortable.  I was sad that the contractions meant I couldn't go to the aquarium with Kathleen and Amir as I had planned to, but at least I got to see them during their visit.  There were lots of hugs and well wishes as they headed on their way.

My mom came back with a big sack of groceries, including lots of things for me to 'snack' on during labor.  Who knew how long it was going to go on the way it was and we weren't supposed to head to the hospital unless they got to 5 minutes apart for at least an hour.  She brought kefir, saltines, greek yogurt, oyster crackers, etc.  It was great to have these things to keep me going, I could not have gone all day with out eating anything, but I also didn't want to eat anything that would sit heavy in my stomach and possibly come back up again in a very bad way.  Mom helped us clean the kitchen and get some things organized while I mostly sat in my glider/recliner and waited out the contractions.  I did manage to go take a nice warm shower at one point, which felt great but definitely took a while because I had to stop what I was doing every time a contraction hit.  At about 3 in the afternoon the contractions had become much stronger and I was pretty sure they weren't going to stop.  For the next hour the contractions were 4.5 - 5 minutes apart and became strong enough that I did get nauseous and throw up. We decided then that it was time to go to the hospital.  We fed the dogs and packed up the car.

The ride to the hospital was one of the worst parts.  The contractions were strong and the road was bumpy.  There was really no way to change position to ease the discomfort and I pretty much just had to hold on and not go crazy.  At least it wasn't a long drive.  About 15 minutes or so.  Once we arrived at the hospital Ben dropped me off at the ER, as we had been instructed by the nurse from our OB.  He parked and came back and wheeled me up to labor and delivery.  There was this odd pause between us checking in and being put in a room where they made us go sit in the waiting room and I was dry heaving and very uncomfortable.  I totally under estimated this whole labor thing.  I used to have a seriously high pain threshold, I totally thought I could handle it but the dry heaving was the straw that broke the camel's back.  The whole time waiting and even once they put us in a delivery room I would dry heave with every contraction.  Ug.

I'm not going to put a pretty spin on it.  I was crying occasionally with the contractions and I finally looked at Ben and asked if he cared if I asked for an epidural.  After all, I hadn't planned on having one, but I had pre-registered just in case and I am glad I did because apparently I am a wuss.  The lab apparently lost my blood, so there was a bit of a hold up on actually getting it.  The anesthesiologist was great and quick though once she got there and got everything placed perfectly and over the next half hour or so after she came in the contractions just melted away.  (Although while we were waiting on her I almost succeeded in crushing Ben's hand.  Or at least smashing his wedding ring in to it really, really bad with all my squeezing)  Once things were getting better and they let my mom back in the room (you can apparently only have one person in the room with you while they poke stuff in to your spine) I was downright hungry again.  The nurse, Bethany, was awesome and set me up with some orange jell-o and a lime double popsicle.  I devoured both, yum.  Then I worked my way through part of a half sprite half cranberry juice but eventually decided that was too sweet and just drank water like we were in the desert.

Eventually the hospitalist came in and broke my water.  The doc had the nurse ask if they could give me petocin to move things along but I said no.  I only wanted to use that as a last resort.  There was some debate as to whether or not my labor was progressing because the monitors weren't picking up much but when they went to try and put in an internal monitor the baby's head was already too well engaged and during all of that I jumped from being at a 5 or 6 to a 9.  Did I mention that during much of this time I was either dozing or playing on my phone?  It was lovely.

When I started pushing, just before midnight, I regained just enough feeling that I could totally tell where I was pushing and it was uncomfortable, but not screaming agony.  Eventually the doc (it wasn't my actual doctor on call from her practice that night.  There are 3 of them and I ended up really liking the one who was there) got there and after much pushing at 2:48AM Evelyn Elizabeth was born!  (My mother would probably like me to mention that I was still dozing between pushes for quite a while.  I was tired, you know?  Oh, and was I ever thirsty!   I had to have a drink of water between each push, almost right up until the end.  I felt constantly parched)  I only got to hold her for a few minutes while Ben cut the cord and then they took her away to be cleaned up and examined.  There was mucus in her lungs so they took her even farther away to work on her and Ben went with her and I have never been so worried in my life.  Tired and worried.  I had planned to try and breast feed immediately after deliver but that wasn't an option.  Apparently her O2 wasn't what it should have been so they put her on oxygen.  They only brought her back in to see me for another couple minutes before they took her away to the NICU.  Ben went with her again and I had to just wait and do all those other post delivery things.  They brought me food right away (peanut butter, crackers, and apple sauce) so I ate and I slept some, just waiting.  They didn't move me to a post partum room until 5am (and then they proceeded to wake me at 6 and 7 for different things).

I finally met Evelyn's NICU doctor at about 7:45.  She told me that Evelyn had a nasal cannula in but that they were no longer putting any more oxygen in it than one would find in normal room air.  They also put her on antibiotics because I had fever during deliver.  A fever of all of 99 degrees.  Very low grade and it disappeared immediately after deliver.  Because of the nasal cannula, I couldn't breast feed for at least the first day.  Because of the antibiotics she was going to be in the NICU at least 48 hours.  It was upsetting and hard, even though the doctor said she was doing well.  At least I was able to go down to the NICU and sit with her and hold her and rock her.  I had a few visitors throughout the day and went down to see Evelyn a number of times.  Only 2 people could be in with her at any given time and one of the two had to be Ben or I, so when family came to see her we traded off.  We also both tried to get some rest between visitors.

On Tuesday they took out the nasal cannula and we were finally able to try breast feeding!  (I had been pumping the day before)  It wasn't easy and they wanted her to eat on a strict schedule of 2, 5, 8 & 11, both am and pm.  She still had her IV in and they said they couldn't take it out until they were sure she was getting at least 15ccs at each feeding.  We had to weigh her before and after every time and the threat of delaying her release an extra day bullied me in to supplementing with some formula.  I really didn't want to, but I also wanted to take my little girl home.  That day and night were all about her feeding schedule.  I set an alarm to get up and go feed her at night.  I got to know the NICU nurses really well.  It wasn't easy, but we pushed through it and Ben was wonderful the whole time.

On wednesday I was hoping I'd get to take her home, but no luck.  Now she was jaundiced and they wanted to wrap her up with billi lights.  So while they had removed her IV, now I could only take her out of her crib for feeding and then she had to go straight back in to be wrapped up with the lights.  Once again both day and night were about her feeding schedule.  I was also discharged on wednesday.  We were able to stay in the room until midnight so we figured out what we would need for the night and Ben took everything else out to the car.  We grabbed up everything that was left and at just shy of 11pm trudged down to the NICU to settle in for the night.  At least they have recliners to sleep in.  It was a long night and not a very restful one.  During the 6:30am - 7:30am time when we were required to be out of the NICU we hung out in the l&d waiting room and cleaned up and brushed our teeth.  I felt kinda like a bum, trying to clean up in a public restroom.  And I was really, really tired.

Her billi count hadn't come down far enough, so once again we didn't get to go home.  They added a top light to her photo-therapy and we made sure after each feeding to get her back under the light as quick as possible.  We were required to go over to the Children's Hospital and take an infant CPR class that morning and then had a great 2nd appointment with a lactation consultant (we had seen the same one the day before).  In the afternoon Ben practically dragged me out of the hospital to go home and take a shower.  It was so hard for me to walk out those doors without my baby girl.  It was the first time I had breathed outside air since Sunday.  I refused to miss a feeding so we weren't gone more than two hours.  I planned to stay the night again but the doctor, the nurses and Ben all kept saying I needed to sleep so we went home at about 1am and came back Friday morning in time for her 8am feeding.  I felt so guilty leaving her there but I was tired and had a horrible hacking cough that I had been trying to hide for a few days at that point.

It seemed like a forever wait for the doctor that morning, but I was extremely hopeful.  I could tell they had bathed her the night before while we were gone and she had a little white t-shirt on when we got back in the morning.  That was her very first piece of clothing.  They had always kept her in just a diaper and a swaddle blanket.  The billi lights were gone and I got to feed her and rock her and just hold on to her.  From the time we got the news that she was being discharged (9ish or so) until the time we actually go out of the hospital (after 1 sometime) seemed to take forever!  There was a hearing test and a photographer to distract us while waiting on all the paperwork but the waiting still seemed to go on forever.  It was such a relief when they finally wheeled our little wagon full of stuff and our baby girl downstairs and we got in the car to go home, tired and happy.

So there you have our little story.  I know it was long and quite detailed (trust me, it could have been worse, I am brimming with details) but that was how our first days at as a family of 3 went.  We are glad to be home now.  We love our precious little baby girl, Evelyn Elizabeth.


jenthegreat said...

I love it. Thank you for not just typing it up and saving it away somewhere. I'm very happy to know how things went. I, too, am a wuss. I loved my epidural, my anesthesiologist, and my L&D nurse. :) I figured I had enough anxiety that I didn't need to add pain management and have a miserable experience. Take away my pain, give me a job to do (pushing, etc.), and I'm golden. :)

She's beautiful, and I can't wait to cuddle her. I'm so very happy for you all!!

Briana Shepley said...

I'm so happy she's home! That you're all home and well! Thank you for sharing your story :) Can't wait to meet her!

L said...

Thank you for sharing your story. As we get closer to "D" day (delivery day), it's interesting to hear other people's stories. Congrats again on your little one!

Holly said...

I am actually thankful for all the details, because I had a billion questions but I didn't want to bug you. Is she settling in nicely? Does she cry a lot? Oh gosh, I guess I still have a lot of questions. I was worried about you, and I'm so glad everyone's okay now. I can't wait to see her!

CWL said...

I am so happy for you guys! She is just beautiful (we all knew she would be) and I can't wait to meet her. I'm sorry there were so many obstacles to you wanted to do and changes to your vision of the birth, but I hope that you are feeling better now and more like you are doing exactly what you want now. You guys are just going to be fantastic parents.

shelley said...

Ooh, thanks for sharing! So glad baby Evelyn is home with you =)xoxo

ERICA said...

Congrats on bringing your baby girl into the world! Sorry it wasn't exactly the way you'd hoped it would be, but it sounds like you've focused on Evelyn being here and being healthy and that's what's important. (And the car ride was the worst for me with Dylan, too...)

Amanda K said...

I'm so happy for you! You and Ben and Evelyn are a great team! Congratulations to you all. xoxo.

Anonymous said...


So, so, so glad Evelyn is home, that you are both healthy and safe!

You're going to be such a good mom.

Renee said...

What an amazing story! Im so glad you posted this. I can only imagine how hard it was at first, seeing your sweet baby girl go through so much, but now your are home and that has gotta be the best part! You're a strong lady (definitely not a wuss!) And I'm so happy for you and the hubby. I'm excited to watch her grow. You guys will make wonderful parents.

Oh, how are the dogs reacting?