Anna's Birth Story

Posted by  | Tuesday, June 21, 2011  at 4:02 PM  

Believe it or not, here is a shortened version of Anna's birth story. I left out the beginning where I documented the complications we experienced this pregnancy. They were all the same as before with Will and Adeline...high blood pressure and/or preeclampsia, meds, bedrest, non-stress tests, etc. 

By 36 weeks, we had added an additional blood pressure med (hydralazine) and Dr. A had decided to move my scheduled c-section (as if we would make it that far!) to 38 weeks. On Tuesday May 31st I saw Dr. Gray in the office. Anna failed the NST (with some heart decels, likely due to the bp meds) and got a BPP. Dr. G even wondered out loud if we were “pushing our luck” with waiting to deliver. So, that day my c-section date was changed to Monday June 13th with Dr. A. (I would have been 38w3d).

At this point, Jacob and I thought for sure that when we saw Dr. A on Friday (June 3rd, 37 weeks exactly), we would likely be delivering if she looked like she did on Tuesday. However…

That afternoon, Anna had different plans. After two (?) weeks on real bed rest, I was getting restless. Most days, we had babysitters watch Will and Adeline in the morning. They napped in the afternoon until Daddy came home at 4:15. This particular day, we were headed to Gigi’s for weekly dinner. Before that, I decided it was ok to make a quick trip with the fam to Target. So I walked around for 20 minutes or so as we got a few things. We then went on to dinner at Gigi’s.

That night, after the big kids were in bed, I started not feeling well. (In retrospect, I hadn’t felt well all day with some diarrhea and odd cravings…for coffee which I hadn’t had in months!) By 9:30, I realized I was having contractions, but thought they were due to the super HOT (upper 90’s!) weather and not drinking enough water. So I drank some water and lay down. They continued and I was questioning if they were really due to dehydration. (In the meantime, Jacob had already gone to bed...) I decided to get ready for bed and watch some tv from bed at 10pm. (Ok, I'll admit that I was watching 16 and Pregnant on MTV...)

From 10-10:30, I had contractions about every 8-10 minutes. They were definitely feeling different with LOTS of painful pressure very low. I was getting a little worried and thought about calling the doc, but hadn’t woken Jacob yet. At 10:30, I had a contraction that was my most painful yet and I instantly KNEW what was about to happen…

I felt the pop and jumped out of bed realizing that my water had broken! I was only 36 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I shouted to Jacob that my water had broken. He was confused at first and didn’t believe me until he saw the puddles in the bathroom! At this point, I’m panicking a little as I had never considered this scenario as the way things would happen. I was also worried something was wrong that had sent me into labor. (Remember, she failed the NST earlier that day.)

I called the doctor to let him know we were coming in and Dr. Zimmerman was a little confused. He obviously had forgotten that we were not planning to labor and needed a c-section asap! Once he realized that, he said he’d meet us at labor and delivery. (Gigi came over to stay with the big kids.)

I continued to have contractions over the next three hours leading up to the c-section. Riding in the car with contractions is NOT fun!! They were eventually 5 minutes apart. In addition, no one had ever warned me that if your water breaks you will continue to leak – or in my case, gush…flooding L&D triage – until the baby is out! I was so relieved when they finally got her heartbeat on the monitors! I was also relieved when we saw Dr. Z who reasurred me that it was the pressure (literally) from my high blood pressure that caused my water to break early and baby was still doing ok!

I cannot complain though about this part, as it was always my hope to experience “real” labor to some degree since I had not had the chance in the first two pregnancies. (This statement is documented in Adeline's birth story!) At some point during or after the c-section, Dr. Z told me that all that “labor” had only dilated my cervix to 1cm when he delivered. Ha!

They got me prepped for the c-section and wheeled down to the OR. Then it was time to get my spinal…and thus the worst 20 minutes of the whole ordeal. I’d gladly labor and deliver med-free over experiencing that spinal again! Ok, maybe not.

The anesthesiologist said my back was swollen (along with the rest of my body) and she had a hard time finding the right spot. The first two attempts ended in excruciating, shooting pain down my entire right side. I was literally screaming, uncontrollably, in pain. NEVER want to experience that again and will likely have a panic attack if someone tells me I need a spinal again. (Thankfully, Jacob was not in the room yet. I was so worried he’d hear me and worry.) FINALLY, she got it on the third try.

The difference in this spinal compared to the first two is that I literally felt every touch. I could not feel pain or temperature, so they said it was still “working.” But I felt every movement and it made me very anxious! The last two c-sections, I could feel NOTHING except pressure in my lungs when they pulled the baby out. Because of this, I did not let Jacob leave to go with Anna when they pulled her out. I was such a baby! But I said, “She’ll be fine, I want you HERE.” So he stayed while they sewed me up. (The nurse anesthetist did eventually give me something for the anxiety in my IV…)

Anna was born at 1:27am on June 1st; three hours after my water broke. She was 5lbs, 14oz and 19 inches long. When Dr. Z pulled her out he lifted her over the curtain and made her “wave” at me. When he did, her bloody goop dripped down on my face! This gave us a good laugh. She was cute and tiny, but didn’t cry right away. She did cry just before they took her out of the room.

Once Jacob left me, he went and took some pictures of Anna. They found out she had low blood sugar, so she had to go to the nursery to get some formula. Because her blood sugar was so low, she had to stay there until she had two results in the normal range. She was there until 5am when they brought her to my room.

Being 36w5d (since she was born on Wednesday morning) she was considered a “late preterm baby.” The only other problem aside from the low blood sugar was regulating her temp. She had to leave us once to go under the warmer when they found her temps too low. After that, we were sure to keep her good and bundled up. She was a little “pokey” in her eating for the first 48 hours or so, but they said that was normal for 36 weekers.

We spent our time relaxing in the hospital, learning to feed her and visiting with family. Our last day in the hospital was Saturday. This was actually the same day as Will’s 5th birthday party. Jacob left me and Anna to go be at his party. While he was gone, we found out that despite my slightly elevated blood pressure and incision not healing well, we were going home! Jacob got back to the hospital around 2pm and learned how to do “wound care” for my incision (it had opened up - I'll spare the details of this...). We were home by that afternoon and very glad to be there!

However, it didn’t last long. We knew my blood pressure had stayed a little high, so I restarted taking the procardia. In addition, the swelling in my feet, hands and face had not resolved yet. By Saturday night, I had a HUGE headache that lasted the entire first night we were at home. It continued all day Sunday. By Sunday afternoon, my blood pressure was 180/120 at home. So we called Dr. A who advised us to come back to Rex, via the ER – and with no Anna.

We headed back (kids with Gigi) and I was diagnosed with postpartum preeclampsia. My blood pressure spiked to 198/115 while in the ER. I felt awful, but I remember I was sitting up for that reading and I couldn’t see the monitor. Jacob and Dr. A could and both were just staring at the monitor with blank looks and nervously laughed when I asked, “Is it good?” Ha!

My reflexes were very brisk showing that my central nervous system was going haywire. My liver enzymes were also elevated indicating the same complication (HELLP) that I dealt with during my first pregnancy. All of these things earned me 24 hours on Magnesium Sulfate – a miserable drug used to prevent seizures. Monday, I was still on the mag and they also added another blood pressure medication, Lisinopril. Monday night they stopped the mag, but decided to keep me overnight to watch my bp and be sure we were headed in the right direction.

Tuesday, Jacob went home and brought Anna up to me since we were in a postpartum room at Rex. She resumed nursing like a champ after having bottles (of mostly formula) for two days! I hung around the hospital that day and discharged that afternoon. My blood pressures were still not normal, but mostly lower than the first time I was discharged.

I’m still on Lisinopril and Hydralazine for my pressures and may be on bp meds for good at this point. My wound is also still healing from the inside out (meaning its open) and we have to change the dressing twice a day. They say this is more likely to happen the more c-sections you have. It's made recovery pretty slow with a good bit more pain that previous recoveries. I’m also still going to the OB for weekly appointments to check on my bp and my incision. At my first weekly visit, my bp was 130/90 – much improved! Though not great considering I’m on two bp meds! We’re praying that it will continue to resolve the further I get along in my recovery. 

Throughout this last (truly, our final one!) pregnancy, we’ve seen several answered prayers. First of all, we prayed for a June baby (to hopefully avoid the NICU) and we got her by an hour and a half! We also got a healthy baby and avoided the NICU, despite her being a little early. Second, I really did pray that some day I would get to experience labor to some degree. I got that with this pregnancy!

Although this third delivery and recovery has been my hardest so far, we are so thankful for the way it all happened. The Lord protected me and Anna and she arrived safely!! We have always loved my doctors, LOVED them...but are even more thankful for them now that they've seen us through three difficult pregnancies and deliveries.

Here are the proud big brother and big sister:

Thanks for reading and rejoicing with us in Anna's birth! 

1 comment:

Stan and Dana said...

Wow, Christina!! Rough stuff! Those couple of days away from her after her birth must've been so hard. So glad you're both okay!!!

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