amnihook, childbirth, labor, miracle baby, multiple bags of water, natural childbirth, parenting, PItocin, pregnancy, pregnancy drama, premature labor, short cervix, Simon, split umbilical cord, velamentous cord insertion
This morning I was driving to the hospital to feed my little nugget (he’s in the NICU for jaundice) and was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion because of how lucky my little family is that he is here and he’s fine. There were so many things that could have gone wrong, more than we even knew until the actual delivery, and yet here he is with nothing more than a little jaundice. I cried a lot.
Anyway, if you’re interested, here is his story.
Sunday morning we decided to buy a car. Really, it all started a few months ago because the only two cars we had were a Hyundai Accent – the hatchback model (one of the smallest cars ever) and some sort of truck. The truck was free – Jason’s parents knew a guy who couldn’t drive anymore and wanted to give it to them, they decided it would be a great vehicle to put a carseat in (hint: it wasn’t, but we took it with gratitude because that’s what you do). The Hyundai is a vehicle made for single people which, in my defense, I was when I bought it. I had just gotten out of a relationship wherein I did not get custody of the only car and I desperately needed something. The Hyundai was the cheapest thing on the market so there you have it. Fast forward eight years and I’m married with a toddler and pregnant with baby number two. We knew we needed something bigger and would have done something about it sooner but, you know, I was in the bloody hospital for two months – not a lot of opportunity for car shopping. Plus, we needed to sell the truck first. As soon as I got out of the hospital Jason put the truck on Craigslist. There wasn’t a lot of action for a couple of weeks and then suddenly last weekend he had a couple of interested parties, and then someone bought the damn thing. There was much rejoicing because just the day before we had found the car we wanted to buy but couldn’t do it without the cash from the truck. So, Sunday morning, woman buys truck, we immediately call and go look at the car. Great, it’s great, we want it, let’s get it, yay. One problem: we only have half of the money in cash. The rest is in our bank account and the dealership doesn’t take personal checks – only cashier’s checks or cash. And it’s Sunday. And we bank with USAA – they don’t have local branches so we can’t just walk in and get a cashier’s check. Solution: go to a casino where you can pull out lots of money from ATMs (they have a sneaky system to circumvent your daily withdrawal limit, in case you were wondering. Vegas is a dangerous place.) for a small fee. Jason dropped me and Louisa at home and ran to the casino down the street to get the money. And I went to the bathroom. And my water broke…
At least, I thought it had, but couldn’t really tell. It was such a small amount. And I was peeing at the time! And, if you have ever had a baby you know this, most of the time when your water breaks it is nothing like the gushing amounts in the movies. It’s a ridiculous little trickle. So anyway, I think I knew deep in my heart that the time had come but we needed to get the car. I am ridiculous. Aren’t I.
So I told Jason that I wasn’t sure if my water had broken so hey, let’s just go towards the car lot because the hospital is in the same direction and if I start having crazy contractions like I had when Louisa was born we can just take the other turn and be there in 10 minutes. I was having contractions but they were nothing big (the same kind I had been having on and off for weeks both in and out of the hospital) and they were not ever regular. I had one, then another at 18 minutes, then at 3 minutes, then at 12… you get the idea. They tell you not to go to the hospital until the contractions are regular (occurring at the same interval) and fairly close together. So we went and got the car. And headed home. By that time it was time to eat dinner and get Louisa in bed. So we did. And then I started wondering why I wasn’t feeling the baby move nearly as much as usual. And it freaked me out. So I decided to go to the hospital.
Yes, you read that right, I drove myself to the hospital. Don’t worry, I know how ludicrous it sounds. My mother was like WHAT?! You drove yourself to the hospital WHILE IN LABOR?!?! But really, I didn’t really know if I was in labor or not and after all of the false starts I’ve had I didn’t want to wake up Louisa and drag her to the hospital where she would have to try to behave in a waiting room for who knows how long if they were just going to send me home. So I showed up, told them my water may or may not have broken and that I was concerned about the baby’s movements. Honestly, I had only felt one flutter in an hour and this dude was usually a nighttime karate kicker. Not to mention I was pretty paranoid after all of the pregnancy drama (can you blame me?). The nurse hooked me up to a monitor and the sound of his heartbeat was the sweetest sound in all of ever. She asked what the “water breaking” had felt like and assured me that it sounded like it probably hadn’t but she would do some tests to make sure. And they were positive. Yes, I was ruptured (that word makes it sound so much more violent than it actually is but whatevs). And had been for about 8 hours at that point.
If you have had babies any time recently you know that once you are ruptured you have to give birth within 24 hours. There’s an increased risk of infection for the baby so if you don’t deliver quickly they’ll C-section that baby out of you. So, when the nurse discovered that I had indeed ruptured she paged the on-call midwife, I called my husband to tell him that actually and truly this time, it was the baby’s birthday. Then I called my Dad to ask him to come down and be with Louisa so Jason could come and be there for the birth. Luckily this kid was nothing like Louisa who, if you remember anything about my labor and delivery with her, was greased lightning. My Dad lives about two hours away and by the time he got to my apartment I was still languishing in labor. Irregular, not-very-strong contractions. So the on-call midwife decided it was time to introduce Pitocin. Things got a little more regular and slightly more intense but nothing earth shattering. My husband showed up. They upped the Pitocin. And then shit got real.
The contractions turned into the kind I remember having with Louisa from the very beginning. With her I was in the car on the way to the hospital watching the dashboard clock and realizing they were coming every minute on the nose, and wondering if I’d be delivering in the car. That was scary. This time I was in an uncomfortable hospital bed where the nurse kept forcing me to change positions because she wasn’t picking the contractions up on the monitor. Really? Hang out here for a second, beeyotch, you’ll know when I’m having one. About that time it was shift change time, 7 am, and I was still in labor. The new nurse was much lovelier. After a bit she did a cervical check and figured out that I was still only dilated 7 cm and that there was a second bag of water between the baby’s head and the out-hole (yes, my water had broken the day before but apparently it was just a high leak in the first water bag- hence the tiny trickle) and it was probably impeding me. She went to call my midwife who, luckily, was now in charge of me since it was morning. The midwife said to just leave me to do my thing (meaning she wasn’t going to come in and pop the bag yet) and that it would eventually break.
After another bit of pretty intense contractions the nurse did another cervical check and could still feel the bag. She decided to keep her fingers in my while I was contracting because it might cause the water to break and thus speed things up a bit. Nurses can’t use instruments to break the water, see, but if it happens “accidentally” while they’re doing a check it’s all good. Well, it broke all right and boy was THAT weird. Imagine a giant river rushing out of your lady parts (if you have them). A warm, gooey river. It was actually sort of relieving. At this point it was 8:40 am. The nurse went to call the midwife to come on over and predicted that we’d have a baby by 9. This was music, magical magical music, to my ears. My husband ran out to the car to get his inhaler that he had forgotten to bring in because he didn’t want to have an asthma attack in the middle of everything. I know, right? Impeccable timing, dude.
Everything got really fast. The contractions were hard and closer together. The midwife showed up and checked me. And announced that there was yet ANOTHER bag of water hanging around and impeding things (if you’re keeping track that’s three water bags at this point (I didn’t even know that was possible, did you?), which my midwife thinks is what kept me pregnant all those weeks in the hospital because even when I started having contractions those bags impeded my labor, just like they were doing now)
She asked if I wanted to push a little while she stuck a knitting needle (okay, it’s actually called an amnihook) up there to see if that would break it. And luckily my husband came back at that point because after two of those little pushes the water DID break and then shit REALLY GOT REAL. I started feeling the urge to push, like, wicked but they needed me to wait for a minute while they did something to the bed to convert it into baby-catching mode. Have you ever gone through natural childbirth and tried to resist the urge to push? It’s nearly impossible. For real. Anyway, they got their shit together, I pushed three times and, at 9:01 am, little dude was here. Finally. They handed him to me and I got to marvel at the miracle that he was only 3 days earlier than Louisa had been. And then…
And then the cord came out, as it does, and the midwife was speechless. And asked if anyone had ever seen anything like it. I’m still not sure what the scientific explanation is but I guess most cords are thick and attach at one place, the proper place, on the placenta. My cord apparently was split. SPLIT IN TWO and attached to two different places on the placenta. And the two different cords were very thin and barely covered and not as thick as a cord should be. Which can apparently be life threatening to the baby. And then when the placenta came out they discovered that I had a velamentous cord insertion. Again, life threatening. Like LITERALLY my baby could have been stillborn because of either or both of those problems. Are you kidding me with this? On top of the freakishly incompetent cervix/premature labor drama, I also had an incompetent and freakish cord AND placenta? Can I just say that I am so glad they didn’t discover any of this beforehand so I didn’t have the pleasure of panicking about either of those things along with all of the other stuff I was panicking about for the past three months? GEEZ. While I marveled at my baby all of the nurses and the midwife marveled about the cord and the placenta. Like, they took pictures to document the shit because they had never seen anything like it. Then they invited all of the nursing students in to look at them because, and I quote, “they will never see anything like that again in their careers”. Do I always have to be such a circus freak?
Anyway, the take-away message is that after all of those things, Simon is totally fine. His CRP was elevated so they put him in the NICU because that can signal an infection, but after one day of antibiotics it came down, which is good. They have to do a few more tests but if they’re negative he may come home tomorrow or Sunday. His bilirubin was also elevated but after two days of phototherapy the jaundice has apparently cleared up enough to not be a problem. It sucks that I got released yesterday and he is still in the hospital but he is alert and looking around, breathing on his own, and breastfeeding like a champion. Plus, had he been born 10 weeks ago like the docs thought he would, he could have been in the NICU this whole time which would have been awful. And really, of all of the things that could have gone wrong, he’s totally fine. TOTALLY FINE, YOU GUYS. There is some kind of powerful guarding angel looking over this kid, and my family, and for that I cannot express how grateful I am. The first night I was in the hospital way back in January the neonatologist came in to tell me all of the awful things that could and/or would go wrong with my baby if he was born that early and I cried so hard after he left. And then he stayed in until 36 weeks. AND HE IS TOTALLY FINE.
So I guess what I’m saying is, he was worth all of the trouble and I am the world’s most grateful Mama right now. And totally in love with my little dude. Once he gets home and we get a little more settled I’ll put up some more pics.