Friday, August 30, 2013

7/31/2013- 39 weeks 1 day- Ella arrives!

On 7/30/2013 I saw Dr. Deprez for my 39 week check up. Everything was looking good, I had actually lost 2 pounds (strange considering all the ice cream I was eating) and my blood pressure was still good. My cervix was 3cm dilated and I was 50% effaced. This excited me because this was exactly what I was 2 days prior to having Maddie. Dr. Deprez surprised me by starting to talk about inducing me, even as soon as the end of that week. He didn't seem particularly concerned about anything but I think he figured it might be better to get me into labor under more controlled circumstances given how quickly I progressed with my first experience. The talk of induction caught me completely off guard and I felt really hesitant to commit to it. I didn't even expect to talk about it until I was 40 weeks. At the end of the appointment he had me agreeing to having him call to see if there was any availability for planned induction on the following Monday, he said if I was really opposed to it that I could call him by Friday and he could cancel it.

I had left work a bit early that day to make my appointment. When I got home I was still feeling anxious thinking about a possible induction and excited knowing my cervix was changing. I got an overwhelming feeling that I better finish the long progress note I was working before I left work. Turns out it was a good thing I did!

Around 8:30pm (the same day, 7/30/13) I started timing some contractions. I had been having somewhat regular contractions for several nights in a row but this time they were truly regular, coming every 7 minutes apart. They also felt a little more painful than regular braxton hicks contractions. Once I saw the contractions were around 7 minutes apart for an hour I suspected that I was really might be starting labor. I sent Paul up to take a shower while I finished my sign outs for work and sent my final emails. I then finished packing my bags, took a shower and we called Nana to come and stay with Maddie. I knew I wanted to get to the hospital in plenty of time because I was having visions of having the baby on the kitchen floor, even if this meant risking being sent home if I wasn't dilated enough. Around 11:00pm I called Dr. Deprez, at that time my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart, I seemed to skip over 5 minutes apart and went right from 7 min to 3-4 min quickly. The contractions were not overly painful but felt "real," I was still in good spirits. Dr. Deprez told me to go ahead into the hospital for a labor check.

By the time I was checked into the hospital it was around midnight. The resident came in to check me and to my chagrin I was still 3cm (acutally she said 2-3cm!) and 50% effaced, no change from earlier in the day. The doctors and nurse had reviewed my records from Maddie and agreed that since I had progressed so quickly the first time, it was probably best if I stuck around for a bit to see if I made any progress. The ironic thing was that Grammy had agreed to work overtime which meant coming into work at 3am that morning.  She was even assigned to draw blood on the maternity ward that day. She was able to work for a couple of hours while checking in on me and was there for the delivery as planned!

My nurse suggested that we walk around for an hour to see if that might help my cervix dilate. We did just that, around and around we went. After about an hour to an hour and a half the resident came back to check me again. To my surprise I was still only 3cm and not much more effaced. She said she was going to call Dr. Deprez to let him know but she thought, based on her previous conversation with him, that he would have me go home if I was "comfortable enough." The nurse was surprised that they would send me home considering my history and thought maybe they would wait  a little longer and check my cervix again.

I decided to close my eyes for a few minutes so I turned on my side and started to rest. All of the sudden I heard a monitor alarm in the distance and suddenly the curtains were whipped open and about 8 nurses and doctors came running in. I heard the nurse say "that was real, I heard it" as she adjusted the monitor on my stomach. It turns out that Ella had 2 hear rate decelerations, one right after the other. One they let you "get away with" one but two in a row is cause for alarm. Thankfully after I changed my position her heart rate recovered quickly. They told me it was probably because she was positioned on the cord and that this probably happens a lot but you're not on the monitor to see it! The head doctor said, "well the good news is you just bought yourself a bed!" We all joked that baby Ella wasn't going to let those mean doctors send her mother home! She had to cause some excitement.

We moved over to the delivery room where I met my nurse, Moira. She was FANTASTIC. Dr. Deprez arrived around 5am and checked me, my cervix had dilated to 6cm, hooray! He decided to break my water to "get things going" even more. The baby's head was still at +2 station (high up) so he also said if the head didn't start coming down he would give me a small amount of pitocin to help strengthen the contractions. At that point my contractions were moderately painful but tolerable. I was breathing through them and able to relax for a few moments in between.  For some reason I was more comfortable on my back even though I was having lower back pain with each contraction. Moira was very supportive and reassuring. She taught Paul how to rub my back and she even rubbed my feet/legs with lotion to help distract the pain. The best thing was she brought me an orange popsicle. It honestly tasted like a million bucks! We talked about pain management. Since I was considering an epidural she suggested I have anesthesiology come and consent me just in case I decided I wanted and epidural. I was feeling conflicted about it because I knew I could do it without it because I had last time. She offered her opinion that she thought I could do it as well. She felt I was tolerating the pain well to begin with plus she suspected I would progress quickly again and push for less time then with Maddie. Soon after Dr. Deprez came in she did suggest that now might be the time for the epidural if I wanted it but I wasn't really feeling like I needed it at that moment (should have listened to her!) After about an hour Dr. Deprez came in to check on me again, my cervix was about 7cm dilated. Around 6am he started the pitocin at the lowest rate possible. I can't say I felt a whole lot of difference in the contractions until all of sudden, I did. I started shaking and the contractions started becoming unbearable (maybe around 7am?) I knew in my head I was probably going through the transition stage. I threw in the towel and told Moira I wanted the epidural. In retrospect I think I panicked because all the memories of the pain involved with Maddie's delivery came rushing back to me. Moira quickly checked my cervix to be sure "there was some cervix left," she said I was still 7-8cm dilated. She called anesthesiology immediately and when they hadn't arrived after about 10 minutes she went to hunt them down, as she did they walked in the door. As I sat up to get positioned for the epidural I started getting severe pressure and urges to push. Once again it seemed I was progressing from 6-7cm to 10cm in lightening speed. I was torture trying to sit and stay still through the contractions and pressure! Things got a bit tense because it was apparent baby Ella wasn't waiting for the epidural to be put in. Moira started calmly walking Paul through calling Dr. Deprez at various numbers while she helped me stay in position for the epidural. It turns out the reason he didn't answer  the phone was that he was on his way to my room. The anesthesiologist got the catheter in my spinal canal, I heard her say she hit a blood vessel but then seemed to think that she was able to move it into the correct position. It was becoming more and more apparent that there was no time for them to set up the medication pump, I had to start pushing, there was no denying it even though I was trying to. She did give me a "bolus" of medication, unfortunately I did not feel one iota of effect from it, not even a tingle of a foot. It was almost worse to be so close to pain relief with the epidural catheter in my back, it didn't seem fair. I now know it was my fault for waiting to long, oh well, once again I survived. I had a few moments of panic when Moira was trying to get me to lay down, I was feeling like I couldn't do it but she was so calm and direct, she was able to get me to listen to her and do what she was saying. Dr. Deprez was certainly hustling to prep his tray and equipment. I saw him repeatedly raising his eyes to check me, no doubt to be sure he wasn't going to miss the baby popping out! After maybe 2 pushes I could feel the baby crown, after that contraction was over I felt the head go back in. I said something to the effect of "what just happened, did she just go back in?" Dr. Deprez responded in his usual fashion "yes, but only temporarily." I think even I laughed a little....well maybe not, but I did afterwards thinking about it. Once I started pushing it only took about 5 minutes (4-5 pushes) for my beautiful baby to be born! After a little suctioning she started crying immediately and was put up on my chest. She looked so little to me, I couldn't believe it when they said she weighed 7 lbs 5.8oz. Almost exactly Maddie's weight, actually 0.8oz more! She was 20.75inches, 0.75inches longer than her sister. Apgar scores were 8 and 9. Nobody could say for sure who Ella looked liked so we kept saying she just looks like Ella! As the days went on she started to have moments where she would look a little like one of us or Maddie. Everyone agreed she was a content and happy little baby. Those were the most popular adjectives used to describe her in those first days, even by the pediatrician.  The first thing daddy said was "she is so beautiful!" I agreed and we were both in love, it is amazing how your heart doubles in size once you have another child to love.  

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