Charlie’s Birth Story: Part II – Birthday!!!

I’ve lived 800 lifetimes in the 5 days since I gave birth to my peanut. I know I’ll live 800 more over the next few weeks as we navigate our new normal of being parents, especially being parents of a NICU baby. If I don’t get his birth story down on a paper now, I’m afraid it’ll be way too much of a blur!

This is the long story :).

So, I left off on early Monday morning (the 28th). My water had broken, I went into labor, they stopped it. They stopped it with some nasty shot that I had to get twice in an hour because it didn’t initially work. It made my heart race and I was insanely nauseous. I was terrified of throwing up. Anything that jostled my stomach made me so nervous – not only was my belly tender since there was very little fluid to cushion (any move Charlie made was painful), I was also petrified of a cord accident. (With little fluid it makes it easier for the cord to compress or choke him.)
Despite all attempts to hold it in, I ended up barfing over the side of the bed. Thank goodness He Who Shall Not Be Named held it together and was able to call the nurse and also grab me a bucket and washcloths. That little episode got me some Zofran in my IV and I felt much better. But, low and behold, my contractions started up again.
So, that meant more drugs. This time, I got some sort of pill. It didn’t make me nauseous, but gave me a terrible headache. It would only stop contractions for a few hours until they started again, so I was given that pill almost around the clock Monday and Tuesday. I had such a severe headache I was in tears and bargaining with the nurses to just let Charlie come.
By Tuesday, we had a good chat with my OB and a perinatologist. We all agreed goal was to, ideally, keep Charlie in another 10 days to hit the 34 week mark. (That is the next major milestone in utero, where he’d be that much more mature and have less obstacles to face when he came out.) However, they couldn’t just keep pumping me with labor halting drugs for that entire time should my body continue to go back into labor. Often labor is the first indicator there is a problem before the problem starts, so putting it off could have also meant infection or something dangerous to both baby and me.
It was definitely a very fine line we were treading . . . balancing Charlie’s needs to remain in utero and grow versus the possibility of something going wrong and needing to get him out in an emergent situation.
Anyway, so the long term goal was 34 weeks if we could make it, and the short term goal was 48 hours from the time I was administered my first dose of steroids to develop his lungs and antibiotics to protect us both from possible infections.
He Who Shall Not Be Named and I mentally prepared ourselves for the 10 days. I had a really hard time on Tuesday accepted that time I might have in the hospital. I knew it was best for Charlie, but every day he spent in there with low fluid made me extremely anxious. (I should add I wasn’t even allowed to get up to walk to the bathroom. I had to go in a pot by my bedside because anytime I walked, Charlie’s heart rate would drop.) I was on 24/7 monitoring, but even with that I was constantly in fear of if he was okay or not.
That meant we just needed to make it until Wednesday (the 30th) at 12:00 AM for the best possible early outcome we could strive for. After that, my OB and also the high risk perinatologist who came to consult with us advised no measures should be taken past that if my body continued to go into labor.
Well, at what felt like just minutes past midnight on April 30th . . . my labor kicked back up. The night nurses we had that night weren’t our biggest fans (He Who Shall Not Be Named had tried to convince them to go get me another bed, because the labor bed I was in wasn’t conducive for 10 days of possible bed rest an they didn’t take too kindly to that). They also hadn’t worked with me yet and didn’t read our entire file . . . all they saw was, “Keep pregnant until 34 weeks.” So, when the labor kicked in they were trying to give me the nasty headache pills to stop it.
I refused to take them. While I wanted Charlie to wait and grow, I just also KNEW he wasn’t going to wait. We knew he was a good size estimated by u/s on Tuesday to be 4lbs 9oz (the peri asked if we were sure on dates, because in his opinion based on some head/brain measurement he was really a 34 weeker) and I just felt strongly about the fact if he wanted out, it must be for a good darn reason.
And by this point, my body had been trying to go into labor now for three days. I didn’t think it should be ignored or medically managed anymore since the steroids were in effect.
So, I’m contracting again after the 48 hour mark and the night nurses tried to convince me if it was “real” labor, the contractions would end up coming back anyway and to just take the pills. But, I still refused and He Who Shall Not Be Named told them to stop offering them to me and that if they wanted to get me to take anything that night they’d need to call and speak to my OB.
They finally left us alone for the night, but the day shift nurse showed up in my room right at shift change to come talk to us . . . and again offered me the pill. She tried to convince me I wasn’t really in labor. I told her I disagreed, that while I had never been in labor ever before, I KNEW it was real. And based on my OBs recommendation, real labor after 48 hours meant getting Charlie out.
I had a contraction monitor on, but it wasn’t picking everything up. I was starting to labor in my back. The nurse thought my uterus was being irritable based on what she saw on the monitor.
She hesitated at my bedside for a long while, and I kept telling her when a contraction would start and stop. She FINALLY gave in after number 3 or 4 rolled around, and when I was having one she examined me. THEN, she said, “oh, yup, ok that’s a contraction, let me go call your OB.”
(Lesson here – LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!!)
About 10 minutes later my OB was there. She did an internal exam and confirmed I was dilating (I was 2 CM). She said we did the right thing refusing the drugs. She didn’t know why the nurses were trying to push them so hard, but that if I was really in labor she didn’t want to ignore it and wanted to go ahead and get baby out.
Charlie was breech, so he bought us a guaranteed ticket for a c-section.
My OB stepped out to check the surgery schedule and five minutes later was a flurry of activity as we learned we were going to be taken back in just 1.5 hours!!!!!!!!
We had all sorts of people filtering through the room to talk to us. The most important being the NICU practitioner who walked us through what to expect in the delivery room. She told us to not worry if we didn’t hear him cry. That we wouldn’t know what we were facing with him until he was out and at 32 weeks the odds were great that he’d do well, but we had to prepare for the event that he didn’t.
Before I knew it, I was being wheeled back to the OR.
I just remember shaking uncontrollably as I was sat up on the bed to get my spinal. (Which getting was a cake walk and not bad at all, thankfully.)
I made small talk with the nurses.
In minutes, I was on the table and everything chest down started going numb. It was the worst feeling in the world – I tried to wiggle my toes and couldn’t. It made me want to panic, so I had to keep focus on anything but the fact I couldn’t feel my toes.
They brought He Who Shall Not Be Named in.
I didn’t even know it, but they started the surgery and were already in. I didn’t feel a thing, not even the pressure they warn you about.
In a minute, they announced he was out! That’s when the small talk ceased as they focused on accessing his condition.
They announced they were delaying the cord clamping (so he could get every last bit of blood from the placenta) and started to count out loud. It felt like the world stood still . . . when the nurse called out “45” we heard a squeak and then a huge WAIL!!! Charlie was breathing!!!!! I started shaking and crying and laughing uncontrollably.
Everyone let out a collective deep breathe and they called He Who Shall Not Be Named over to the warmer while they checked Charlie out. It was quiet over there and to distract me, the nurse at my head described Charlie to me and said he looked just like me.
After an eternity, they announced he was stable and that they were going to bring him back to the NICU to get settled. They said he had stopped breathing on the warmer and was being assisted with a CPAP machine, but that they could walk him to my bedside to say hello before they left.
I couldn’t see his sweet face, but they lowered him so I could kiss cheek.
It was warm and squishy and the best little cheek I’ve kissed in my entire life!!!! It was a totally surreal moment!!!!!
Then, he was taken back to the NICU and He Who Shall Not Be Named went with him. While in recovery, He Who Shall Not Be Named took pics, learned all about his condition, and was running back and forth between Charlie and me to fill me in.
It wasn’t for another 6 hours before I could feel me legs enough to be taken out of bed to be wheeled down to see him.
It was really scary seeing him with the mask and tubes and not being able to snatch him right up.
We couldn’t hold him that first day. But, we could rest easy knowing he was in amazing hands, in great health and feeling like the luckiest parents in the world!
More on our postpartum hospital stay coming up next . . .

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