Today is Jan. 25th. Delilah's due date. I figured it's time to go ahead and post her birth story. I've been meaning to put it together for awhile now, but am partly afraid to do it. I'm not sure why. Maybe because she's my last. Maybe because the heartache of it all is still there. Maybe because I'm just a big sissy. Who knows.
So, here it is. In all it's glory. I've saved all of the pregnancy feelings and the events leading up to her actual birth for the memoir I'm writing(you think I'm joking but I'm dead serious. Keep your fingers crossed that a publisher will give me the time of day with my lack of education or knowledge of writing).
Now, bear with me. I know it's only been 7 weeks and a few days since her arrival, but So many things have happened since then, I'm afraid I've forgotten things. I'm hoping that writing this out will help me to remember even the smallest details that don't really matter to most-but I really don't want to lose any of it for my own reasons.
December 4th, 2007
I was uncomfortable for most of the night while I was trying to sleep. But that's normal for me in the later months of pregnancy. I, unofficially, call it "Pregnancy Insomnia". I woke up around 3, if I'm remembering correctly, just not feeling all that hot. Not too long after waking up, I began having uncomfortable contractions. I would have painless ones, and then have ones that were a bit painful, but nothing ever became excruciating. It was very similar to when I'd gone into preterm labor earlier in November and spent a night in the hospital. In fact, I'd been taking Nifedipine again to ward away any contractions, but as usual, my 'half uterus' was still contracting, just not as much and not as intensely.
So I went about doing the normal thing that Heather has to do in her pregnancies. I laid down on my left side, drank a crapload of water, changed positions, drank more water, emptied my bladder(it's so funny to me how they say if you're at risk for preterm labor you should "drink, drink, drink"-water of course.. ya' alkie's- and yet letting your bladder get too full will cause contractions too... you can't win for losing, really) and even tried a heating pad on my back because it seemed to work a couple of days before I'd been admitted the last time. After a little while I finally got into the shower.. my safe haven when I think I'm going into labor. While I felt a bit better while I was in there, it didn't help me out in the long run. I got out and got dressed and tried to wait it out for a little while to see if it got better. I turned out the lights, turned off the T.V. and tried to just relax, hoping that if I chilled out a little bit that maybe things would calm down.
It didn't work.
So, around 5 am I finally woke Steve up. With all of my deliveries, he's been asleep everytime it's been "time". With Spencer he was half asleep for the entire drive to the Springs Center, with Josh I just had him drop me off because I figured they'd stop labor and that he could just go home and go back to sleep for a bit since he worked nights, with Trevor I was about ready to drive myself because he wasn't moving fast enough, and with Virgie he actually looked at me on the way to the hospital and asked me if I was faking it.
This time.. I walked in the bedroom, said his name quietly and he was up instantly. When I said we had to get the kids ready and go he was like "okay, I'm on it" with his apnea mask still strapped to his head. It only took until the 5th and final birth to have him trained on that part properly.
I called Granny in the meantime to see if we could bring the kids up and have the boys just walk to school from her house. She was fine with that and we got everyone ready and were out the door. The contractions weren't horrible still, but they were scaring me because they were steady and just not backing off or going away. We got to Granny's and took everyone inside. My Aunt Becky had gotten up early to help Granny out with the kids before she left for work. It was around 6 at that point, I believe.
We went to the hospital and the valet was open(when we went when I was 29 weeks we'd gone at after 10 at night and they were closed) so we got out and Steve got the wheelchair. Even with me being freaked out he still couldn't help but pretend that he was going to run me into the wall at the end of the ramp(that was his thing to do everytime we went to an appt. since I had to be wheeled up), and did try to hop on the back of the chair as usual and ride it down. He's a perpetual 15 year old.
We got up to the birth center, and checked in. I was put in the triage area and while no other mothers were up there when we got there, 2 more showed up within 20 minutes. I was on the monitors and almost instantly they were having me tilt and do different things because the baby's heart rate was going down with some of the contractions. Most of the contractions weren't registering on the machine, mind you, but her heart rate was showing that there Was most definitely something going on. They ran an IV and at one point I had 4 nurses crammed in that small little triage "room" with me and Steve. I could tell that there was something to be worried about, but no one was freaking out yet, and after about 30/45 minutes of being there, they took me to a room.
Once I was in the room things started getting more stressful. The baby's heart rate was dropping more frequently by that point and they put me on oxygen to try and help to bring her heart rate back up. After being in the room for about 20 minutes or so, Dr. K showed up. I remember thinking Thank Goodness it's her! She was by far my favorite doctor from maternal/fetal and the first doctor I'd met with at my first appointment. She's the one that I had my big sit-down talk with on the first visit... I was just glad to see that it was her that was on call that day.
She came over and talked to me for a minute about the steroid injections I'd had, how long ago I'd had them, and the issues with the baby's heart rate. She checked my cervix at that point since no one had done that since I'd gotten there. I was close to a 3 by then, and 75% effaced(when I'd been 50% and 1-2 the last time I'd been checked). I suddenly got this horrible, sinking feeling. I knew from my delivery with Spencer that a low heart rate like that isn't a good thing and that they usually have to act fast. Delilah's heart rate was dropping with EVERY contraction by that point. So part of me knew what she was about to say.
She came back around to the left side of the bed(since they had me on my left side and wouldn't let me turn over) and said how usually they'd give different drugs to try and stop labor, but considering the baby's heart rate, they didn't want to take chances of it not stopping my labor and them having to deliver regardless- only to be leaving D in there longer with her heart rate dropping constantly. Since I'd already had the steroids and been having preterm labor on and off for weeks already.. ....It was at that point that Dr. K said "we're looking at just delivering". I shook my head yes, as I figured it was coming, and I teared up instantly. My heart broke into a million pieces and I just felt like such an incredible failure for not being able to keep her safe for longer. I was 32 weeks and 4 days. 7.5 weeks early. I was visibly upset the instant she said that and she patted my leg and said she was sorry. I looked at her and said "I'm just really, really scared", to which she replied "I know".
Due to her also having been breech for the last several visits, there was No getting around a c-section at that point. She needed to be delivered as soon as possible. Dr. K came over with the consent forms and showed me everything she'd filled out and under the section for reasons for doing the surgery immediately, there was a whole list of reasons. When Dr. K had checked me, the baby was at a -3 station, so she said she "thought" it was the baby's butt that she'd felt. Either way, it didn't matter.. I was going in for surgery. And I was scared to death. My first c-section recovery wasn't any fun and I was terrified of going through it again.
I signed the consent form.
She asked me if I had any questions and I just looked her in the eye and said "Just don't leave anything in there that doesn't belong there".
I also wanted a tubal. She had to do her manditory speech about parents being in the NICU and what not, in case I wanted to change my mind about it. I was positive... DO the tubal I said.
So, the forms were signed and nurses were coming in and out of the room. I kept asking Steve to call my mom. Please call my mom. Have you called my mom yet? There was so much going on and the nurses were trying to get him ready to go into the OR as well, so he hadn't gotten a chance. Everytime I asked him, he'd turn around to pick up the phone and someone else would come up to him for something or to talk to him. It was around the time my nurse had come in to get me ready(aka.. the shave.. whooo hoo- insert rolley eyed smilie here) that I finally heard Steve on the phone saying "hey.. it's Steve.. your daughter's going in for emergency surgery". So I knew that my parents would be there soon.
Everything moved so fast. I remembered with Josh just how fast those docs and nurse move when it's an iffy situation and they need to get the baby out as soon as possible. But for some reason I was still surprised at how quick they had me in the operating room. Things were just moving SO fast, and I was so completely overwhelmed. Everything I didn't want to happen was happening at that very moment and there was nothing I could do to stop it. She was coming that day, whether I liked it or not.
And I most certainly did Not.
It was agreed that I would have a spinal, so they got me on the operating table and had me sit forward so the anesthesiologist could get that done. While I was sitting there, I was shaking uncontrollably because I was just so afraid. Afraid for my baby, afraid of the surgery, afraid of what it was all going to be like, and afraid of the things that I knew were to come with my baby being in the NICU. There was a nurse on either side of me and the one on the right saw me shaking and asked if I was ok. I started to say yes, and then the sobs started and I just shook my head and let out a long "noooooo" as the tears started rolling down my face. I was so heartbroken over Delilah coming early and so afraid... I just couldn't hold any of it back any longer. The nurse got a tissue and wiped the tears off of my face and tried to talk me down a little, telling me how good I did to have kept her in as long as I had. It meant nothing to me in that moment, because I just felt like a failure. Looking back now, I'd like to thank that nurse, but I hardly even remember what she looks like now.
So the spinal was in and they had me lay back really fast. There were people all over and I couldn't keep track at that point who was who. I was just so SCARED. I don't know how to convey how completely terrified I was at that moment. I wanted it all to just stop. I wanted to go home. I wanted to keep my baby inside for a few more weeks. Was that asking so much? I just kept saying that in my head. Is it asking so much for me to be able to just hold on a couple more weeks??
I felt tingling all over and was worrying that the medication wasn't going to work and that I'd feel everything. They brought Steve in right after they put the big blue sheet up. A male doctor stepped up to the sheet with his gloved hands in the praying position and introduced himself to me. All I saw was a pair of eyes, a blue cap, and a face mask. I don't even remember his name. I'd never met him before, didn't know what he looked like, and he was about to cut me open.
Steve sat down next to me and started talking to me. At first I just stared at him and didn't even respond. I was freaking out in my head so bad, but wasn't being vocal about it. He started telling me that he talked to Granny and let her know what was going on and he said that the boys had gotten off to school okay. We talked about a few other things and I asked him if they'd started yet. He said "Oh yeah, that's why I'm only looking at you right now". Ok.. great. Another freakout coming. In my head all I could think was "they're cutting me open they're cutting me open they're cutting me open they're cutting me open". Within a couple of minutes I could see the Mystery Docs elbow bobbing up and down in front of the curtain. I've watched enough baby shows on TV to know what he was doing. He was pushing Delilah out. Right after I saw that, Steve looked up and said "ohhh.. I see a little baby!" and then Mystery Doc was on my left side with Delilah in his hands, showing her to us saying "It's a little girl!".
This was about the time that I started to get really out of it. I knew enough to tell Steve to go take pictures of Delilah and he jumped up and got right on it. Then I heard her cry. I know now that it wasn't long from the time she was out, until the moment she cried, but while we were in there.. well.. for Me anyway.. it seemed like minutes and hours almost. Steve got to cut the cord.. which I didn't even know until just a couple of weeks ago when I finally thought to ask him.
My lungs started to feel really heavy after that. Like I couldn't breathe. I remember rolling my head from side to side- I was uncomfortable and just really felt like I couldn't get a good breath. Steve was walking back and forth between me and the baby and he was giving me little updates. He went on and on about how much hair she had(when, compared to most babies with "gobs of hair" she's practically bald haha!). I heard the nurse announce her weight and I was Sooo surprised to hear how big she was for being born so early. 4 lbs and 8 oz!!! A little brute! She was born at 8:14 am and was 17.5 inches long.
I'm really not sure at what point they tied my tubes. Or should I say Tube. I do know that Steve watched the whole procedure though. I'm sure they did it before he left the room with the baby, because he didn't come back in after he left with her. I heard Mystery doc say to one of the nurses something about something being congenitally absent. It could've been only one of 3 things.. my left ovary, my left fallopian tube, or the left side of my uterus that never developed. At that point though, I had no idea which. Come to find out later, it was the left half of my uterus. It just wasn't there. I'd understood after my first c-section that it Was there, but was withered up and non-functioning. But talking to Dr. K a couple days later I learned that I have a left ovary and fallopian tube, but they're not connected to anything. So during the tubal, only the right tube was "tied".
The nurse brought Delilah over so that I could see her, and that was about the time I started getting sick to my stomach. I was gagging, but had nothing to back it up with all of my muscles being dead from the spinal. I tried so hard to focus on my little girls face(with her eyes all wide open, checking everything out) but it was so hard and I'd been trying to tell the anesthesiologis that I didn't feel well, but he'd been on his frigging cell phone for forever it seemed, arguing with someone about the price of a machine. I was pretty ticked off at the time, but was just focusing on breathing and not choking on any stray vomit that decided to come up. I was trying to touch D's face but, again, was pretty out of it and I just looked at the nurse holding her and said "I'm going to throw up". She immediately got the anesthesiologists attention and told him and he came over and all that jerk did was prop one of those little kidney shaped plastic containers under my chin and then left me there to gag into it. I never did get "sick", as I didn't have anything in my stomach at all... but I gagged for several minutes.
Steve had taken off with the nurse and Delilah and I was left in there alone. Well, not ALONE, technically, but I felt very alone. It really didn't take long at all, although for me it seemed to drag on and on. Dr. K finished putting me back together and then Mystery Doc left. Dr. K was doing the finishing touches and then asked me about the mole on the inside of my right leg. The mole that I'd had a problem with during every pregnancy because it would grow. This last time it was Huge and Dr. R-another doc in the practice.. the main one I couldn't stand- never did anything about it when I talked to him and told him I wanted it taken care of. I told Dr. K as much from behind my oxygen mask and she looked up and said "want me to remove it for you?". Of course! I told her Yes, please and thank you and she took that annoying thing off. I would've kissed her if I could've sat up on my own and not fallen off of the OR table. For some reason I asked her if Delilah was, in fact, breech and she told me that she hadn't been! That little stinker had finally flipped around(and I think it was the day before, as she'd been doing all kinds of acrobatics in there). Figures lol.
After that I was off to recovery. My parents were out in the hallway and I almost immediately saw my mom and dad looking down on me as they wheeled me out, with big smiles talking about how beautiful Delilah was. I'd started coughing at that point. And, like the gagging I'd had, I had nothing to back the coughs up with and that sucked sooo bad. I was in recovery for a little while and Steve, mom and my dad were all able to come in- one at a time. At one point I heard the woman on the other side of the curtain from me, asking her nurse all about me and did I have a c-section and was I the reason her surgery was pushed back, etc, etc. After all I'd been through I wanted to scream at her but didn't have the energy to do it even if it HAD been appropriate.
Once my hour was up in recovery, they wheeled me through the NICU to go see Delilah. All I could really see was the top of her head from the way her and I were both angled. Her nurse asked me if I wanted to touch her and I said no, because my hands were Freezing-they were like Ice! Plus I'd been scratching my face and neck and chest because they'd been itching so bad after I'd been in recovery. Between my rubbing all over my eyes and face and my hands being so cold.. I didn't want to touch D unless I could at least wash my hands.
She was on the CPAP at that point and was doing good.
I spent a large part of that first day like I did after all of my other deliveries. In my room. Alone. In the quiet, with the TV off. Absorbing everything that had happened. Steve, mom and dad were there for a short time but then they all left. And I was alone. Just me and my thoughts.. going over everything that had happened. Over and over I went over the details I could remember. I dwelled on it a lot that day. And it was driving me crazy knowing that it would be several hours before I'd get to go see her.
One plus though, on the way into my room the nurse told my parents that I'd most likely be in the room by myself the whole time. I'm guessing because D was in the NICU. If nothing else they try to be considerate of your feelings when your baby is in there, and rooming you up with someone, let alone someone who gets to have their baby with them, is like digging the knife in deeper.
Later in the day Steve had brought all of the kids up to see Delilah and me. He stopped off to see her first with all the kids and that was a fiasco in itself. When he got upstairs he broke the news to me that Delilah was on the ventilator. I was upset to hear it, but really hoped that she wouldn't have to be on long.
I did really well that first day. The nurses even commented on how well I was doing. I just wanted to EAT... and get down there to see my baby. I did end up getting to eat dinner that night! I was so worried I'd be stuck on the broth diet for days like I was after Josh was born and I was NOT interested in that. I wanted real food! And I was doing good enough that by dinnertime I was allowed to order whatever I wanted, as long as I kept it light.
Around 9:45 or so that night, my tech came to get me and she wheeled me to the NICU. All I could really do was sit there and stare at D. And stare I did. I stayed down there for over an hour, sitting in my wheel chair, looking around at all of the familiar machines and hating the fact that we were there. Again. I wanted to pick Delilah up so badly... but I knew my chance would come soon. I'd had 2 Norco's before going down and started getting really drowsy, so the NICU nurse called back up to have my tech come get me.
I did have one small scare during the night when I went to go pee on my own for the first time. I had to go.. and the nurse took me in there (TMI.. sorry bout that) and Nothing happened. I was terrified that they broke my pisser lol, but it was all good as I was able to go later on in the night. After the 2nd attempt I was good to go and was on my own to go to the bathroom by myself from there on out.
I got my IV out the next morning. Steve came up to see me and wheeled me down to see Delilah. When we got down there they told us that she was off of the ventilator and when the nurse asked me if I wanted to hold her, I teared up and said "can I? really?". I didn't know how long it would be before I could hold her and I was trying to not get my hopes up over it. So we got 2 good surprises in one short visit.
The 2nd day was a bit more rough for me pain wise, but I just made sure to stay on top of my pain meds. They were bringing me motrin every 6 or 8 hours and I would request other pain meds in the meantime, as often as I could get them. That helped to keep me on my feet and I started walking as much as I was able to. Starting later that day- day 2- I was walking myself down to the NICU. I had to walk through the halls of the mother/baby unit, out the door, down a hallway, and then take the elevator from floor 6, to floor 2. Then I had another hallway to walk down and then would wash up, get let into the NICU and go to my baby. I wasn't very smart about it though.. I'd tend to take the pain meds before I'd go down there, so that I wouldn't be sore, of course... but then I'd start to fall asleep while I was down there. I did that for my entire stay there lol.
On the 2nd night, they took all of the tubes out of her belly button, as she was doing well enough and they'd been able to run an IV earlier that evening. I was down there while they started to do it(and the one nurse dude was on that night that I didn't like at ALL), so I went back to my room.
By day 3, I had my little routine going. I'd started pumping the first day, so by day 3 I was starting to finally get little amounts. I'd take it down to the NICU when I went down and I'd go down as often as I could. That day was mine and Steve's anniversary. He came up to see me with Trevor and Virgie and we just spent a little time together. Around 3 in the afternoon, I'd gone down and they were moving her over to the Teddy Bear nursery- which was the less critical nursery. After only 2 days! I was so happy for her! I held her, in fact, while her nurse got her little 'crib' together and moved the isolette out. When my parents came by around 6, they visited with me first and then went down to see her and they were moving her right when my parents got there, so mom got to hold her for the first time.
I was still feeling pretty good and that was the day I had my talk with Dr. K. She told me how amazed she was that I was able to get pregnant so easily, let alone at all, considering that my odds were cut in half to begin with. By that time, she was already pushing for me to stay until that Saturday(and it was Thursday at this point) with me walking all over the hospital. They wanted to make sure I wasn't wearing myself out.
I actually slept good that night.
Day 4.. it was the same old, same old by then. Delilah was on a feeding schedule by then, so I had set times I was going down to see her. In fact, they'd started her the night before. But by that day she was actually on a set schedule of every 3 hours, once they saw that she was tolerating her feedings well. I was getting 'Hella colostrum at that point, so she got lots of the good stuff from me. I held her as much as possible and just loved on her and enjoyed my time with her.
Steve brought all 4 kids to see me and my heart nearly exploded when Spencer and Josh brought me presents that they'd gotten from the Holiday store that their school had. Spencer got me a little trophy that says "Worlds Best Mom" (tearing up just thinking about it.. it was sooo sweet of both of them), and Joshie spent 5 of his $6 that Steve sent him there with, on a red, heart shaped ring with "diamonds" around it. I was so touched by that.. I don't think they'll ever truly know how much I loved those gifts from them. My favorite tech was on that day and she got to meet all of them. She was a nice lady.. her name was Lisa. I'll never forget her.. she truly made a difference to me and my experience there. And I told her as much that night before her shift was over.
I slept really well again that night.
Day 5.. I was ready to go home. Even though I didn't want to leave Delilah.. I missed Steve and my kids desperately. I'd gone down to see D in the NICU and her nurse that day had changed her feeding schedule. I was there in time for her feeding.. well.. the one that I was aware of, not knowing that this woman had bumped it back by an hour. So after her and I talked for a few minutes, I asked if I could hold her and she told me no, that D would grow the most when she slept(duh.. I knew this) and that I could hold her later. I think it was just the events of the week and the way she put it out there to me... but that's when the emotional flood gates opened and they didn't stop for about 40 minutes. I started crying and I couldn't stop. I ended up getting up and leaving the NICU and going back to my room. D wasn't eating for another hour and I didn't want that nurse to see me crying. When I got back upstairs, my nurse saw me in the hallway and came running over to see if I was ok. I let her know that I was fine, but having an emotional breakdown. I sat on my bed and looked out the window and just cried and cried and cried. I had cried a little off and on over the few days I'd been in there, but this was the big breakdown. And I just let it all out. I sobbed like I hadn't in a long time. Body jerking sobs. I wanted my baby with ME. ... NOT that nurse. I wanted her in my room with me. I wanted her back in my belly. I wanted it all to just stop and I wanted it to be right. None of this was right to me and I couldn't take it. I was completely, emotionally devistated.
I pulled myself together and went back down for her feeding. And I held her as long as I wanted after she was done. After I went back upstairs I got everything ready to go home and then went back down for her next feeding. After that it was just a hurry up and wait game, waiting on the doc to do her rounds. She finally showed up around a quarter to 6 that night. I didn't even order dinner that night because I thought I'd be out of there by then. She almost wasn't going to let me leave, because my BP had been "creeping up" that week she said. Yeah, well the nurse earlier on had said that the BP's run higher when they do them on the forearm, which they had done with me many times because they didn't bring along big enough cuffs for my big biker mama arms. But, according to the lab on my placenta, it came back showing that I had hypertension. Figures. But she let me go since I would be back in the following Tuesday to have my staples removed. She made me get one more lab done, so when Steve showed up I asked him to go down and sit with D for her 6 pm feeding while I waited for the lab tech to come. Once she showed up my nurse sat down and did my discharge paperwork with me while my blood was being drawn. After that, we were ready to go! I went down and got Steve and off we were.
I did good when I left the hospital this time. I didn't cry like I have every other time. In fact, I think I tried harder NOT to, because I knew STeve was waiting for it. Plus, I'd cried so much earlier, I think I ran out of tears.
It was devistating to leave her there and the weeks following were hard on me, as many already know. But she did great the whole time and progressed constantly. She was able to come home when she was 3 weeks and 1 day old, on December 26,2007. A slightly belated Christmas present ;).
You know.. I was so apprehensive about bringing another child into our lives. It was unexpected and we have had a lot of hardships over the months before she was born, and even now. But one thing that I knew I could count on, even while I was pregnant and not really wanting to be most of the time, was that I would love her. I knew it would consume me, even though I had a few times where I was afraid that it wouldn't happen again. But that love is always there. No matter how many children you have. It's there, and it's instant. I sit and stare at her all the time now. I'm not religous, so I'm not sure Who I'm thankful to, but I'm so, so, so incredibly thankful that she was given to me. She's beautiful and she's perfect, and she's an absolute miracle-whether I believe in them or not. Everything about her is so precious and I spent a lot of time feeling guilty about all of the feelings I had during my pregnancy. I've finally moved past all of it, for the most part. I wish that I would've just let myself enjoy was was definitely my last pregnancy, but it is what it is and I have to let it go. I've learned so much from this little girl. I thought I'd learned all the things I needed to know from my first 2 being early, but I still had much more to discover by being in the NICU a third time.
I'm just grateful that I was able to have my children at all. I don't think anyone out there truly knows just how grateful I am. Sure, pregnancy was hard on me and I griped all the time. Yes, my kids are a handfull and stress me out most of the time. But they are the one thing in my life that I know I've done right. Having them were some of the only "right" decisions I've made in my life. And the fact that my chances should've been cut in half and that I should've had all these problems getting pregnant... that only shows me that they were all truly meant to be here. I was meant to have them and they were meant to have me... even if they hate that fact when they're teenagers lol.
I love them. They're one thing I've done right. And I owe them so much. Not so much to spoil them rotten, mind you, but I owe them a good childhood and a loving mother. And I think I've done that part right so far.