Sunday, November 20, 2016

Evan's Birth Story Part 1.

It's a miracle we're all healthy and alive. 

An intense sentence, but one that couldn't be more true. 

My whole pregnancy I would express concern to the specialist and to my OB that I was scared to get preeclampsia. I had seen both my sisters and sister in law get it and have very scary deliveries and something in my heart just knew that that was how Evan was going to get here. 

About 10 days before Evan was born the specialist found protein in my urine. It wasn't too high yet, so they ordered another test that would take about a week to get results. On Halloween the specialist called to say my levels were high and they wanted to do some more tests and monitoring. That afternoon I went to a previously scheduled OB appointment where my Dr. assured me that I had still had time and because my blood pressure was so good I didn't have any reason to worry about getting preeclampsia. The next morning I went to our MFM specialist. Something in my heart just felt off. Truthfully every time we would go to the specialist I would get anxiety thinking that one of these times they were going to say it's go time and wheel me next door to the hospital and deliver Evan. At the specialist the routine was to do vitals, a urine sample, monitor the baby, and then the ultrasound. I don't remember what my first blood pressure was when we walked in that day, but during the ultrasound a frantic nurse came in and rechecked my blood pressure three times. I knew something was wrong. The specialist being the specialist compared my blood pressure with my blood pressure from the first trimester and I was up about 20points. Little did we know the race against the clock to give Evan as much time as possible while still protecting me had just started. The specialist decided to do a 24hr urine test and sent me over to OB triage in the hospital to get monitored. After about an hour baby looked good and we went home. Wednesday was a scary day. I was sleeping a lot and had a miserable headache. I was feeling nauseous so I went downstairs to make some lunch. I was standing by the sink thankfully when I started throwing up. My vision blurred and I was seeing spots. I called Scott and told him to come home now. We were supposed to drop off the 24hr urine test at 2:00pm at the hospital anyway, so I called my OB and told him all my symptoms and asked if I should get monitored again. Definite yes. I definitely knew I wouldn't be home for awhile because as we're rushing to leave the house I grabbed the stack of thank you cards off the counter and told Scott I needed to mail these on the way to the hospital. He promptly took them out of my hand and said they could wait.

Can't see straight or walk,  but needs to mail out thank you notes. 

At the hospital they got me all hooked up to the monitors while they rushed the 24hr test. Evan was looking great and we really thought that we were going to get sent home on stricter bed rest.  Urine test came back and I got 1800. 300 is the threshold for preeclampsia. We got admitted to antepartum immediately. More bloodwork, and they put a saline lock in my arm as a precaution. We decided to do another 24hr urine test and my Dr. ordered steroid shots. Usually they give the steroid shots every 24hrs, but he ordered them for every 12hrs. The goal was to stay pregnant for at least 48hrs to give the steroids time to work completely. Later I found out that they don't typically give steroids past 35weeks. I was 34 weeks 6 days when I got them. They help the baby's lungs mature faster. Total blessing. 

Thursday was spent mostly watching Friends, relaxing, fighting anxiety, waiting on the results of the next 24hr test, and getting my blood pressure taken every 15mins. The specialist and my OB came to monitor me as well. We decided I was doing okay enough to stay pregnant longer. I got the second round of steroids and slept as much as I could. Our friends Rick and Julie came up to visit us and bring us dinner. It was so calming to visit with them. Before they left Scott and Rick gave me the sweetest blessing. Little did we know how perfect the timing would be. It was calm and peaceful and there was such a sweet spirit in the room. Things would escalate quickly very soon and we had no idea. There would be no time for a blessing after that. I held onto that blessing for so much strength the next few days. That night they put me in compression boots "space boots" that would inflate and deflate every few minutes to prevent blood clots. We finished the next 24hr test at about 9pm so we wouldn't know til Friday morning what our next move was. The nurse came in and said that my Dr. had ordered me an ambien to help me sleep. I turned on my Harry Potter audio book and was able to sleep about four hours. Friday morning came and we got the news that my kidneys were in overdrive spilling protein into my urine. I was now up to 3300. Nearly doubling in 24hrs. And that's when the Specialist and the OB decided it was time to get Evan here. 

My Dr. gave me a 40% chance of delivering naturally with induction. He upped it to 50% after checking and I was 1/2cm dilated. Delivering naturally would be better for me and for Evan in the long run and I knew I had to at least try. This whole pregnancy has been hard, so it only made sense that the delivery was going to be hard too. He told me I could choose the c-section now and he would be okay with it. My goal for delivery was to get Evan here safe and at the time the best decision was to go for it. Plus inducing would give those steroids even more time to work. 

I would be lying if I didn't say it broke my heart to realize that after months of monitoring complications Evan was up against, in the end it was my body's complication that was bringing him home early. 

Once we were admitted to Labor & Delivery it finally clicked that we were actually having a baby. I told the nurse we had been in Camp Denial for three days over in Antepartum. Things moved quickly in Labor & Delivery. We were racing the clock. Immediately I was hooked up to baby monitors, blood pressure cuff set to take my bp every 15mins, pulse ox, and about five different bags of fluid to my IV pole. This was the beginning of the magnesium. They also gave me cervadil to hopefully help my cervix dilate and they put in a catheter. To start the magnesium they give a very concentrated dose for the first 20mins and then you're on a continuous drop after that. The magnesium made my skin burn, my eyes burn, blurred my vision, made moving painful, and I shook uncontrollably often. Which was terrifying knowing I was on this to prevent seizures. We must have asked the nurse and doctors every time they came in if this was normal. The magnesium also slows down labor and can stop it completely. The cervadil also got contractions going and those combined with the magnesium/preeclampsia symptoms I was in a lot of pain. Anxiety was high and I needed Scott to keep a hand on me at all times to stay calm. He also fed me lots and lots of ice chips and only left my side to get a towel wet to put on my face.  After eight hours of this (9pm) they gave me torodol (sp?) for the pain. The shaking subsided and I was able to sleep for about an hour and a half before I felt a huge gush. At first I thought my catheter was broken, but after I woke up Scott and he told me there was a big puddle on the floor we knew my water broke. I was thrilled when the nurse confirmed it. My body was reacting like it was supposed to! I had a chance! At midnight the nurse checked me and I was 3cm dilated and 80% effaced. Because my water broke they had to take out the cervadil. Knowing the Pitocin was coming next I knew I wanted the epidural before the Pitocin got started. At 12:30 the anesthesiologist came to put in the epidural. She tried the first spot, but it was only working on my right side. While she was reassessing what to do she asked her nurse to get the 5in needle just in case the 3.5in needle didn’t work the second time. Scott and I both agreed afterward there should be a code name for 5in needles. Thankfully the second try at the epidural worked and I was actually comfortable enough to sleep from 1am-3am. At 3am they started the Pitocin. The Pitocin is the heavy hitting inducing drug and contractions were very consistent. 

At 7am the nurse came running into my room and strapped an oxygen mask onto me. Every contraction Evan’s heart rate was dropping. Aside from the preeclampsia this is what we were worried about for Evan. His umbilical cord attached at the very edge of the placenta and this is one of the reasons I was being seen by the specialist. They were watching the amniotic fluid levels because that’s what was supporting the cord. Lower fluid levels could cause his cord to “kink” and he wouldn’t get enough oxygen/nutrients. So my water breaking was definitely affecting that. 

I was so overwhelmed with all of the monitors and not being able to move, and being attached to countless things, a mask covering my nose and mouth put me over the edge and I was starting to have a panic attack. The magnesium was making my mouth dry and the oxygen tasted awful. I physically couldn’t handle it being strapped to my face. I was fighting tears knowing that I had to have that oxygen. Evan needed me to have that oxygen. Instead of strapping it to my face Scott watched the  contraction monitor and held the mask over my face for two hours. I was so exhausted I fell asleep. 

At 9am they came to check me again and I was still 3cm dilated. I was devastated. No progress in nearly 12hours, and they had increased the Pitocin twice. They told me my Dr. was going to come and check on me soon, and she said that they could maybe up the Pitocin again and put in internal monitors. I knew it was time to call it. I told Scott I couldn’t do another 12hours and have it end in a c-section. As soon as I said it out loud it felt right. I knew I was making the right choice as his Mother to do everything possible to get him here safe. That was my goal and this was how I was going to be able to accomplish it. Scott agreed completely.  

At 11:45am 23hrs after inducing started my Dr. calls it and we all decide a c-section is safest based on the magnesium battle, not progressing, and Evan’s heart rate continuing to drop with each contraction. 

As much as I thought I was prepared mentally for what happens during a c-section, I had no idea. A c-section is not the “easy way out” and I will throat punch anyone who wants to tell me it is. Things moved insanely fast. I told Scott I needed him to sprint to get dressed and get back to me. The anxiety was crippling, and things were no where near in my control. The c-section was really hard, they say that you shouldn’t be in pain, but you’ll feel tugging. Which is relatively true, but the ‘tugging’ was insanely painful. I was still on the magnesium or at least the affects were still in my system during the surgery. I’m not sure. It smelled terrible, and I really did feel them throwing my body back and forth on the table. I was still shaking uncontrollably from the magnesium and I thought I was going to fall off the table. We both cried and Scott made sure to keep his hands on me so I could calm down a little bit. I love him. Very very much. Dr. V worked very quickly, and our sweetheart Evan Thomas Daly was born at 12:34pm. He came out screaming which was such a relief to his Momma. I had done my job and held on long enough for those lungs to be strong. They whisked him over to the bassinet to get checked out and cleaned up. After checking to make sure I was okay, Scott went over to see our miracle boy. 

His poor little head was terribly bruised. We later found out Evan was trying to come out forehead first. 1/1000 births happen like that. Had we continued to pursue a natural delivery he wouldn't have made it. 
Sweet, sweet miracle boy

Scott brought him over to me so I could see him. We had a few minutes together as a family of three before Evan needed to go to the nursery. Scott went with him, and after they left I cried a lot and prayed someone would knock me out so the pain could stop. When we made the decision to have the c-section I told Scott to text Julie and tell her to come to the hospital. It was such a comfort to not be alone after the c-section while Scott was with Evan. She rubbed my feet and I cried some more. Scott came back to give the report on Evan. Evan’s glucose was low initially so they fed him formula and a supplement before testing again. His glucose still wasn’t high enough so they took him to the NICU. Scott and Julie watched them try five times to place an IV in Evan. Finally they were successful. 

Back in recovery they hung another bag of magnesium. I had to be on it for another 24hrs. The only cure for preeclampsia is to deliver the baby. Which we did successfully, but they wanted to be safe that I wasn’t going to have a seizure or a stroke postpartum and the magnesium as awful as it is protects from that. I was devastated to be told that because I was still a seizure risk I wouldn’t be allowed to go to the NICU to see or hold Evan until the magnesium was done. I was so brokenhearted. I had climbed the mountain. I had got him here safely and now I can’t even hold my baby? I’m the Mom. I don’t want anyone else taking care of him. I’m so grateful for the NICU team for taking care of him, but it was such a traumatic delivery, he needs his Mom! As physically painful as going through all of this was nothing matched how hard it was to not get to hold him. I sat empty in the hospital bed and Scott would go check on Evan every few hours and take pictures and hold him. At one point I felt okay for Scott to FaceTime me in from the NICU, but about thirty seconds in I started sobbing and saying I want a turn, it’s my turn to hold him. Scott immediately ran back down to me and we had a really good cry. It was just too much. 
We held hands a lot. To give you a gage on my swelling, by the time we left the hospital those bands could slip off my wrist. 

At this point my nurses had switched shifts and we got a spitfire of a girl named Tiffany. She was truly amazing. She was exactly what I needed. She read my Momma hormones just right and spent a lot of time telling me how amazing I was and getting me comfortable. I was so worried about my milk coming in because magnesium can slow that production as well and I had been on it for four days. She gave me the confidence to try and pump for Evan. I couldn’t hold him yet, but I could send him food. Feeding people gives me so much joy and I could send something for my baby. It was 1am and she got us set up pumping and I actually produced enough collostrum to fill several syringes. We sucked up every drop and Scott ran it up to the NICU. Scott fed Evan with the syringes at the 4am feeding. It was such a blessing for me to have something to feel like the Mom. Scott went back for the 7am and again at 10:30am where we found out Evan was doing amazing with his glucose levels and they were able to drop the glucose rate down to 2mg/hr. 

Holding my syringes full of food for Evan. So swollen from the preeclampsia.

I had realized it was daylight savings day and I begged my nurses to let me get off the magnesium an hour early. I didn’t want to wait another minute to get to hold Evan. They were on board with my plan and told me they would talk to my Dr. Dr. V came at 11am, and because my blood pressure was so stable he ended the magnesium drip 3hrs early. I could have kissed him. It was like finally coming up for air. They said that over the next few hours they would start to unhook everything and once I could stand up for 45seconds they would move me to postpartum and I would be allowed to go to the NICU. 

By noon they let me have broth and crackers, not exactly the meal I was picturing after two days of ice chips, but throwing up on top of everything else going on with me didn’t sound like fun. I was so determined to be able to stand. By 2pm they started to unhook me from everything which felt amazing. I’m sure I was surrounded by angels when I stood up for the first time in days. I was unsteady, but was able to do it on my first try. My baby needed his Momma! By 3pm they moved me over to postpartum. Very nice nurse Carol gets me settled and a wheelchair. She left to go get my medication and I have to pee. Scott helps me walk to the bathroom,and I have zero problems until I slip, catch myself on the guardrail and manage to break my saline lock/ IV port. So now my wrist is spraying blood all over the bathroom. Carol comes to the rescue and takes it out and gets things cleaned up, cheerfully without making me feel dumb. I just couldn’t catch a break.  But it didn't matter because that wheelchair had my name on it and I was going to hold my baby. 

Finally at 3:45pm, 27 hours after giving birth, I got to hold my baby. 

He knew who I was and calmed down immediately when we got to do skin to skin. 

I would do anything for you sweetheart. I'm so grateful you're ours.