Saturday, October 10, 2015

Kate's Birth

A little background- Josh and I have been married for almost 5 years- 9/4/10. We always knew we wanted kids, and motherhood was more than a dream for me- it was like a life requirement. I never expected to deal with infertility because I am extremely healthy and have always had regular periods. After about 2 years of trying, we discovered that I had a uterine anomaly- a huge muscular septum. I also had very poor quality eggs. This was all extremely devastating. We looked into adoption and actually got packets from a couple of agencies. Our very good friends (small group leaders, actually) also went through infertility and had adopted their son and were in the process to adopt their daughter, but adoption just didn't feel right to us at the time. Because my husband and I are both in the medical field, Pershing fertility treatments just felt more right- especially after lots of prayer. I also had an extreme desire to experience pregnancy and childbirth since I have been an L&D nurse for over 8 years. In February 2014, I had surgery to resect the septum. They couldn't quite get the whole thing, but my doctor felt that it was a success. After healing and then attempting to try to get pregnant on our own and pursuing less invasive fertility help, we eventually turned to IVF, and Kate was conceived after a 3 year struggle with infertility. We also conceived 2 other embryos that we hope will become a sibling or siblings for Kate. Because of the uterine septum, I had an extremely complicated pregnancy. I had lots of preterm labor and a short cervix. I lived at the perinatologists office. When my cervix started shortening, I was only 20.6, so Kate was not yet viable. It was probably the scariest thing we had ever gone through knowing we could lose this precious baby that we already loved so much. Because of this and my infertility history, truly every day, moment, second of my pregnancy was a gift. By a miracle (the doctors still don't know why my cervix stopped shortening- they attribute it to prayer- no exaggeration at all), I made it to 36 weeks.

Before infertility, I knew exactly what type of birth I wanted and had everything planned out. After infertility and going through a high risk pregnancy, I just wanted a healthy baby and didn't care how she got here.

The doctor let us go on a "babymoon" as long as we were sort of close by, so we got a hotel room in midtown. We had dinner reservations, a couples massage, we were going to the dogwood festival, and then my water broke in the bed at the hotel on Sunday morning at 4:50! My husband was ready to go to the hospital right away, but my cervix had only been a fingertip at my 36 week checkup and I didn't feel painful contractions. I didn't feel in a hurry to go to the hospital at all, plus my fluid was clear and baby was moving well. We didn't find out the gender of our baby beforehand, so it was very exciting to know we would find out that day!

We slowly showered, packed up and checked out of the hotel. They were really nice about letting us cancel the second night. I knew I wouldn't be allowed to eat in labor at the hospital, so I insisted on stopping for breakfast. We went and got bagels at an Einstein brothers near the hotel. It was there that I started having painful contractions. Josh wanted to go in, but between the contractions and the thought of leaking fluid at a restaurant, we just went through the drive through and ate in the car. I also wanted to go home. My suitcase was in the car, but there were a couple of things I wanted to grab. I also needed to see my house for some reason. I contracted all the way home in the car and at the house. I had called the midwife from the hotel, but I called the hospital and spoke with the nurse who would be taking care of me (perks of being an l&d nurse). She asked if I was sure I was ruptured and I told her that there was a puddle in my driveway!! We then went to the hospital, which is about 5 miles from our house. We checked in, and my practice was not on, so the OB hospitalist took care of me. This was kind of a "full circle" moment because he also took care of me for a preterm labor episode at 23 weeks when we weren't sure if we would end up with a living baby at all. I told him that he would probably need to induce me because I was a fingertip that Friday in the office and my contractions weren't that close together. They hooked me up to the monitor and I was contracting more than I was feeling- every 2-5 min and I was 4-5 cm/90% effaced and 0 station! That was a big surprise! I refused to let my coworker give me an enema, and I knew I needed one, so I made everyone leave and I did it myself. Afterwards, they checked me again and I was a good 5 cm. I knew I was going to get the epidural no matter what because of my history of uterine surgery. If there was an emergency like a uterine rupture, I wanted to be awake for my c-section! I got the epidural at that point. During the epidural, my contractions got super painful. I was actually in tears. After that, we actually had a nice day. I am normally a very anxious person, but felt surprisingly chilled out. I munched on ice chips and played on my phone, and we watched the masters. I remember being incredibly thirsty!! I was determined not to make plans or be upset no matter how the labor went. I progressed rapidly until 9 cm, and then things just stopped. I was 9 cm for over 3 hours. My doctor gave me the c section talk and even the "1 more hour." At that point, I was really disappointed. My main prayer about the labor (besides of course the safety of baby and myself) was that I would have a scheduled, planned c-section OR an easy delivery. I didn't want to be one of those people who labored forever and then got cut. So, I did actually start to pray there. After my hour was up, I was still 9 cm. I felt like the baby's head was crooked because I had this hip pain everyone gets when their baby's head was crooked. No one believed me! ( she was crooked and now is in physical therapy for torticollis for being crooked in my pelvis the whole time). The doctor suggested that I try to push, which I thought was ridiculous because I was 9 cm and the baby was at a 0 station. I gave a little half push, and she shot all the way down!! I didn't realize how low she was, but the doctor said "wow, you are a great pusher" and everyone scrambled to get the room set up.

At the time, I was thinking they were wasting a set up! I spent this time explaining to my husband that I would push about 2 hours since I had an epidural and this was my first baby. The next contraction came, and I actually pushed for real, and she just came out- in that one single contraction!! Total pushing time was maybe 90 seconds. The doctor opened Kate's legs and asked my husband to announce the gender. He was so stunned by the quick birth, and he was so convinced that she had been a boy that he just stood there stammering. Later on, he said I kept looking for the penis and didn't see one, so I wondered if there was someone wrong with the baby!! I finally took over and looked and announced. It was a girl!!

Kate was screaming and pink. I just can't even express in words how thankful we were. She was super tiny and covered in vernix as well.

The team left because Kate was doing so well, and I was able to keep her on my chest. I nursed her right away and she fed for 20 minutes each side! She has been a champion nurser from the start- not at all like a 36 weeker. We are still going strong at almost 5 months old! The next couple of hours was a blur of discomfort! Because Kate was born so quickly, my perineum didn't stretch so I tore pretty badly. I am still healing up. I got stitches. My placenta refused to budge because it was stuck to my lovely uterine septum. The cord evulsed off the placenta and the doctor had to do a manual removal. He thought he got the whole thing, and he did an ultrasound after, which seemed clear. I bled A LOT! Right after that we called the parents (remember no one knew I was in labor or had delivered). They were so excited and shocked it was a girl! Everyone thought I was having a boy because of the shape of my belly. If people didn't like the name- Emma Katherine- I didn't really care because we loved it, and it was our daughter's name, not just some arbitrary name we were considering at that point. I was so incredibly thirsty. I drank about 72 of those little apple juices and of course started throwing up. My night shift nurse came in shortly after I delivered (Kate was born at 6:40 pm) and gave me some Zofran, which really helped. By the time the parents arrived, I was eating a gross hospital sandwich, but it tasted like a gourmet meal. I seriously scarfed down the whole thing. By the time everyone left, and Kate had her bath and assessment finished, it was super late- maybe 10:30 pm, and we were all exhausted. I was so thankful to get to my postpartum room. Josh saw us to our room, and then he had to go home to take care of the pets and because he had to work the next day. I was alone with Kate. This was the first time I really got to inspect her, and I was shocked at the amount of hair she had and how cute she was. It was really special to be just the two of us.

We had a super rough recovery. Kate ended up at Scottish rite for unstable blood sugars and temps for 4 days related to her prematurity and low birth weight. We were sent to the ER 8 hours after our discharge from Northside, and that was super scary. Also, at 5 weeks postpartum, I had a major hemorrhage due to a piece of placenta that was retained. I had a 2 am d&c, a blood transfusion and nearly lost my uterus. Whether I will be able to have more children is still up in the air, and I go back to the fertility specialist this winter to see if I need additional surgery on my uterus. Overall, we just have so much to be thankful for- from the perfect little girl we got to the fact that we are both okay. Kate is the greatest gift I have ever received and I pray daily that I can bless her with a brother or sister someday.

~Shared by Allison W.

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