Happy September 17th! Today was Adalyn’s official due date, so it’s crazy to think what the last four weeks would have been like if we didn’t need to induce and deliver her early…
It’s also CRAZY to think about what we were doing four weeks ago today. And tomorrow. And the next day. Haha… (It’s not really funny, but like my mom has always said, “Sometimes we laugh to keep from crying…”)
Peter and I checked into the hospital at 6:45am on Thursday, August 20th. They took us up to the labor unit and we were given the exact same labor room that we saw when we toured the hospital! It was much larger than the other rooms, so I felt like we were VIP’s! Maybe they just knew we would be there awhile and needed to settle in and get comfortable…
Our nurse went through all the questions and everything on their computer chart system, and the doctor on call that day came around to discuss the plan. At 9:00, I was given a pill to get contractions started and to try to get my body started toward labor… I ended up feeling like I had cramps, but otherwise Peter and I just rested and watched a movie while we waited four hours until the next check.
During that time, my parents arrived!!! They drove up from Alabama on Wednesday and Thursday, and I am SO THANKFUL they were there for all that would take place over the next 48 hours.
For the rest of the day, I was checked every four hours and given more doses of the medication because I was not making any progress. That afternoon I got emotional and cried when a nurse checked me again and said there was no change. I was having cramping, soreness, and small contractions that they called “irritability,” and I was extremely frustrated that I could be so uncomfortable for hours without seeing any results.
That night, my parents went home to my house to sleep, and the doctor switched me to a different medication. Unfortunately, this was supposed to be administered around 10:00, but our nurse had been pulled into a c-section and did not come back until almost midnight. We were exhausted and just wanted to try to go to sleep! They finally gave me the medicine that would need twelve hours to see if it worked, and they also gave me Ambien to help me sleep. I think Peter and I slept from about 12:00-5:30am.
My doctor was scheduled on call starting Friday morning at 7:00, and I couldn’t believe how encouraged and comforted I felt by the familiarity when she came in to check on me and make the plan for the rest of the day. We had to wait until about 11:30 for the twelve hour dose to run its course, and then she checked me again.
So we did another four hours of meds…
And we waited.
So at 3:30, she came in and manually broke my water and started me on Pitocin. I was pretty excited at this point because I really wanted to start moving toward delivery. My doctor estimated that I would want my epidural in about two hours, so I accepted that as a challenge and walked and rocked on the birthing ball for three and a half hours before calling the anesthesiologist. Haha! I wanted to be tough and try to take advantage of gravity while I could.
My epidural went smoothly at 7:00, and they continued to increase my Pitocin. Around 10:30, we had only made it to 1.5 or maybe 2cm, so Peter went out to tell our parents to go home and sleep and we would call them if anything changed during the night. We had reached the maximum dose of Pitocin, and the doctor had given the orders to go even higher.
While Peter was out of the labor room for only about five or ten minutes, the nurse noticed that the monitor on Adalyn’s heart rate had stopped. She tried to reposition it but still couldn’t find her. I just laid there trying to stay calm but truly panicking inside.
In just a matter of a couple of minutes, another nurse and my doctor came in to help. They flipped me over and put an oxygen mask on me to make sure she was getting enough oxygen, and then they turned the Pitocin completely off in order to let my uterus relax. They realized that instead of causing large contractions with breaks in between, basically my uterus just clamped down and was putting stress on Adalyn. As soon as they stopped the contraction, she was fine.
Of course, Peter was in for quite a shock when he came back into the room and found me wearing an oxygen mask and crying.
I was was so shaken up and scared that I asked my parents to stay, so they spent the night in my room and in the waiting room.
They restarted me on Pitocin and were increasing it again little by little through the night. I was feeling nauseous and woozy so I couldn’t relax and sleep. Peter and I slept for about 30 minutes total Friday night, and each time my doctor came in to check me, I had made little to no progress.
I just wanted to be done.
By Saturday morning, my epidural was wearing off in a few spots, and I was exhausted and miserable. None of the meds had ever successfully put me in active labor. At 8:30am, my doctor came in and said we could either do a c-section then or try higher Pitocin for one more hour before ultimately moving to the operating room. Looking back, I guess I was crazy, but I wanted to know that I did absolutely everything I could to avoid the surgery. My epidural continued to wear off, and the contractions got a lot more intense. It was one of the longest hours of my life, and still – my uterus wanted to have longer contractions with fewer breaks but not the large mountains on the monitor like we needed.
My doctor came back at 9:30 and we all just conceded. My body knew we were only at 36 weeks. It was doing everything it could to keep the baby in. We had to do a c-section.
At this point, I was so desperate for it all to be over that I really wasn’t scared about the surgery. It was FREEZING in the OR, and the process of the surgery was intense because they used my epidural for the anesthesia. This meant that I could feel most of the movements, tugging, and pressure while the doctor operated, but I couldn’t feel much of the pain. Peter was right beside me and was so strong and supportive. He was amazing.
I remember the anesthesiologist saying, “Okay, Daddy, get your camera ready. Here comes the baby!” There was a lot of pushing and pulling, and then I heard a small cry! I was so relieved! My doctor exclaimed, “Oh, she’s beautiful!!!” and held her up above the curtain like a Lion King moment.
It was funny because I didn’t instantly feel a strong emotional connection. (Please don’t think I’m a horrible mom!) I was worn out and extremely drowsy from the extra meds that they had been putting in my IV. They said Adalyn was mine, but since then, the best way I have been able to describe it is to say she basically didn’t look familiar. Haha… (I finally felt an unbelievable bonding connection a couple of days later when I was finally able to nurse her and she opened her eyes and looked straight at me for the first time.)
There was a NICU team in the OR, and they instantly whisked her over to a warming table to check on her. I thought she was fine since I had heard her cry. Peter went over to take pictures and watch her while my doctor sewed me up, and I kept hearing him cheering for her…
“I’m your daddy!”
“Fight, Addy, fight!”
“You can do it!”
There was a TV next to me that allowed me to watch them cleaning her up, and I just thought he was saying all of that because he was so proud of her for being out and breathing on her own. I didn’t realize that he was having another scary moment and was truly concerned that she wasn’t doing well. The doctor came over to tell me she had fluid in her lungs and would need to go to the NICU for a little while. I had known all along that this was a possibility, so I wasn’t really afraid. Before they took her away, the nurse practitioner came and laid her in one of my outstretched hands and let me see her. I just kept saying, “Hey baby… Hey baby…” It was a really special moment.
The rest of the day was challenging, and I could barely keep my eyes open. It was pretty difficult to go through recovery alone, but I wanted Peter and our families to be with Adalyn. She needed them more.
Unfortunately, my temperature kept jumping around, and my heart rate was higher than normal. Everyone acted like it was no big deal and they were just keeping tabs on it, but I learned later that it really was a bad sign. When the NICU doctors found out about my symptoms, they instantly started Addy on antibiotics through her IV and began running tests. Although her lungs were very healthy and she only needed help from their machines for about a day, her blood tested positive for a bacteria. Most likely, a common bacteria that lives in many of us and doesn’t affect us as adults had crossed over through the placenta to her during the time after my water was broken and before she was delivered. This would require quite a bit more testing and antibiotics for ten days.
The next few days almost got worse before they got better… Adalyn has really small veins that just couldn’t hold an IV for her antibiotics. She was poked time and time again, and for about a day, they even tried a catheter through her umbilical cord. Peter is extremely observant, and he kept noticing problems and pointing them out to the nurses. We were at our wit’s end… Finally on Tuesday night, they were able to successfully put in something called a PICC line and we started to settle in and just wait for the full round of antibiotics in order to go home.
I can’t imagine what it must be like to spend weeks and months with a baby in the NICU, especially when they keep getting negative test results or having different procedures done. After only a few days, we felt like we couldn’t take it anymore, and ten days of antibiotics felt extremely long.
Thankfully, we were finally able to come home on Tuesday, September 1st – twelve days since we had started the whole process…
It definitely didn’t go as smoothly as we had hoped, but she is now a very content and healthy baby! I’ve joked that the NICU did the hard part for us. They put her on a schedule, trained her to sleep in her crib in her room, taught her to both nurse and take bottles, and taught us to do things like change diapers and give baths… With the exception of crying through diaper changes or when she wakes up really hungry, she has been a VERY GOOD baby, and we are captivated!
Before I close, I will also share something I feel like God has been showing me through her. Especially during the first week of nursing her at home, it would often take us a while to get latched and started. She would cry and fight and strive and constantly try to reach in the wrong direction or try to suck on her hands and fingers to no avail. Every time I saw this and when I see it every once in a while now, all I can think about is how this is such a perfect picture of our relationship with and dependence on God. He has everything we need, and all we have to do is relax and receive it. Yet when our nature leads us to try to help ourselves, we are really fighting aimlessly for things that will never satisfy or fulfill. Just the first of many things I know He will show me through this new journey of parenthood…
Also, it’s hard to wake up in the middle of the night and be instantly conscious, alert, aware, and responsible for someone else! But she sure is cute and cuddly! :)