Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ari's Birth Story - Part II

Part I here

So we arrived in Labor and Delivery Saturday evening around 7:00.  I didn't really know what to expect and was anxious to see how far I had dilated since my last check  earlier that week.  My husband and I were both very excited to finally be at this point.  The feeling was surreal and I kept asking myself was it really happening? We were all checked in and ready to go!

The nurse checked me and I was only about 1.5 cm dilated.  I was having fairly nice contractions on my own, so the doctor decided to let me labor naturally for awhile and see what would happen.  So that is how my night continued for the next few hours.  My husband was amazing  (as I knew he would be) and was there for me through every single contraction.  Having him was my only comfort.

I knew I was going to be checked again at 11:00 p.m. and we started discussing when I would get my epidural.  I knew I was going to have one, so it was just a matter of when did I want it.  At my next check, I was 2 cm dilated and at that point we decided to go ahead with the epidural.  I told myself why continue to put myself through that pain when getting the epidural was inevitable for me anyways.

So the  anesthesiologist came in and gave me my first push of the epidural.  He had me lay on my right side for this, which was different from what I had seen on all the Labor & Delivery shows on TV.  I was very  nervous and asked the nurse, "What happens if I am having a contraction when he administers the epidural?" She told me that happens all the time and to just try and remain still and breathe through it.  This was something again I wasn't used to from what I had read about and seen on TV.  I always thought the body should be relaxed when administering it.  The epidural did not hurt as much as I had expected it to.  I felt a good pinch and towards the end a jolt down the right side of my leg.

Minutes after he left, we had one of thee biggest scares of our life.  The baby's heart rate disappeared and the nurse on duty could not find it for the life of her.  I could tell she was starting to freak out and kept quickly moving the monitor all over my stomach looking for it.  She had me move to my left side and did the same thing.  I seriously felt like I was in the middle of a nightmare and just unable to wake myself. up.  I remember that I started pleading for my  husband crying out "".  I looked across the room to where he was sitting and he was literally unable to move.  Him and my sister looked like ghosts.  My husband couldn't move, speak, or breathe.  Seeing him in that state freaked me out even more, as he usually is the calm one. The nurse called her team in and about 3 other nurses walked calmly in the room.  They had me change positions in the bed.  I remember asking the nurse, is there a heart beat at all? She told me they had found it but it was very low.  My husband remembers seeing "64" on the screen when they first found it again.   The team then began internal fetal heart rate monitoring by connecting an electronic transducer directly to the fetal skin.  A wire electrode was attached to the baby's scalp through the cervix.  They did this to get a more accurate and consistent heart rate.

Once the nurses got that in place his heart rate came back up and the nurses continued to monitor it closely.  I cannot express to you how hard this was on my husband and I.  I felt as though I was losing everything - like all my hopes and dreams for a life with this little guy were being torn away from me - straight out of my heart. I've never felt a hurt like that before.

After the scare, they checked me again and I was dilated 4 cm. I couldn't help but thinking that we lost his heart rate as a response to the epidural.  I remembered feeling that jolt and how tense my body was during the administration of it since I was contracting. The nursing staff felt it was a combination of the epidural along with how quickly my body had transitioned to active labor/the transition stage.  I had went from 2 to 4 cm very quickly.  I'm still not convinced either way what it was. The epidural, the way I was laying, transitioning to active labor, or ...?

At this point, it was time to rest.  I slept on and off for the next six hours.  My next check I was 6 cm dilated and the check after that I was still 6 cm dilated.  This is when we started the pitocin. We started at a very low dose and my nurse kept coming in and increasing the dosage throughout the day.  When I was 9 cm the doctor told me she really didn't want me to have anymore boluses of the epidural, so I would be able to properly feel when to push.  By about 2:30 p.m. I was 10 cm dilated and ready to push.  I pushed for 3 hours straight after being in labor for hours upon hours.  They set up a mirror for me so I could watch too.  We could see our lil boys head, but he didn't ever make it to crowning.  In between contractions, his heart rate continuously accelerated and was in between 160 and 170 bpm.  When I was pushing, it would dip all the way down to 100 bpm.  At 5:30 p.m., my doctor gave us three options: 1- keep pushing, 2- use the vacuum to assist, or 3- move on to a c-section.

I really felt as though I had given my all and I hadn't made any progress pushing for the past hour.  Hubby and I went back and forth between the vacuum option and c-section.  The doctor informed us of the risks of each and pointed out that the vacuum may not even work and we could potentially end up with a c-section anyways.  We weren't comfortable with the risks of the vacuum and decided to move forward with the c-section.  At the time, we didn't know if we were making the right decision and it was an extremely emotional time for us.

As soon as we decided on the c-section, the team worked fast.  The anesthesiologist was back and prepping me.  Nurses were in and out preparing for surgery.  I was shaking uncontrollably from the meds.  Our parents came in to wish us well.  It was really hard being wheeled out of that room leaving my family behind.  I was supposed to have given birth right then and there.  I was supposed to have been able to hold my son after birth.  I felt let down and that I was letting everyone I loved down too.  I know I had tried my best and given it my all, but I couldn't fight the feelings I was having.   I was terrified being wheeled back into surgery.

 Me while they were prepping for surgery

Hubby waiting to be called back ...we were both very scared

Once I got back there, they had to make sure I was fully responding to the medication/s before hubby could come back by me.  I remember just asking over and over "Can my husband come in yet? When will someone go get my husband?" After numerous ups in medication, I finally couldn't feel her poking on my stomach anymore and they were ready to get started.  Hubby arrived and it was a matter of minutes before it was time to pull him out. While my doctor was performing the surgery, she assured me that we had made the right choice by having the c-section.  She told me that his very large head was tilted in the birth canal and most likely wouldn't have come out with the vacuum.   Our son miraculously came into this world on August 19th at 6:10 p.m.  

MAJOR scare #2 ...he had a really rough start.  Instantly, when they pulled him out there were 4 women working on him.  He needed help breathing and they were also working on getting the meconium out of his system as he had a bowel movement while still in the womb.  I couldn't breathe!!! My husband was videoing the whole thing and I just kept asking him, "Is he okay? Is he breathing? What are they doing?".  I felt SO helpless laying there and not being able to do anything to help my son.  One of the nurses asked the doctor, "How's his heart rate?" and the doctor replied "Not good."  I heard the nurses say someone should call the NICU to inform them he would be coming.  After the longest 4 1/2 minutes of our lives, our son let out his first cry.  It was not a very powerful cry - more of a whimper, but indeed a cry. 

At that point, he was considered more stable and they let my husband come over and take pictures.  I was still crying and pleading across the room to my husband asking if he was okay.  

His condition was improving, but it was now time to take him to the NICU for further testing, monitoring, etc. I was able to see him for the first time - a moment that will forever be engraved in my heart.

After an hour of being in a recovery room, I was able to visit him in the NICU.  He was doing so well there that the nurse said he could leave the NICU and come up to my room in about an hour or so.  What a relief!     Ari joined my husband and I and our entire family in our room about an hour later.  What an amazing moment to have our son with us and be surrounded by the ones we love most.  My birthing experience was nothing like what I had imagined.  I look back and it's really actually difficult for me to re-live what happened.  It was very traumatic emotionally & physically.  All in all, I am so incredibly happy though.  What did I always pray for? I prayed that Ari would get here safe.  And....sure enough...God answered my prayers and he is here safe and sound and that is ALL that matters to me.

Hubby with Ari in the NICU

Ari receiving his security band in our room



A.r.i.s.t.a.e.u.s J.a.c.e was 8 lbs, 13.8 ounces and 21.5 inches long when he was born.  His name is of Greek origin (hubby is Greek) and means "the best healer".  We chose this name because Ari IS the best thing that has ever happened to us and healed all the pain we went through over the past 7 years trying to have a child.  He was SO worth the wait and I wouldn't change a thing about what we've been through.  Ari was God's plan for us all along.  Looking back, I just wish I would have trusted in Him sooner.    I still can't get over what a miracle this whole experience has been.  I look at Ari and am just amazed that he is really ours.  Dreams DO come true!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Birth Story - Days Prior

First of all ...thank you SO much for all of your prayers and congratulations.  Ari is here safe and sound and we are so in love with our miracle.

As I sat down this morning, I had to re-group and try to even think of where to start.

Friday, the 17th:

This was the day of our scheduled induction.  It was also my husband's 30th birthday.  We decided to go out for our final dinner before heading to the hospital that night. We went with my sister Shelley and our friend Jessie. It was really nice to get out one last time and enjoy a good dinner.
What a nice waitress! She surprised me with a treat too. 

While at dinner we received a phone call from Labor & Delivery.  They were calling to inform us that they weren't going to be ready for us at 8:00 p.m., like originally planned.  They were going to call us back later to let us know when to come in.  By 10:00 p.m. that night, I was pretty antsy and called back myself.  That is when one of the nurses told me they didn't have room for us that night and that our induction was being pushed back 24 hours.  Sigh. We were all very disappointed as the anticipation had been building all day. 

Saturday, the 18th:

I woke up at 5 a.m. with contractions!  They were about 5-8 minutes apart and lasted for about 30-40 seconds each.  I kept saying to myself maybe this was the reason our induction was pushed back, so I could go into labor on my own.  The contractions were steady and lasted for about 5 hours.  Then they dissipated and eventually flat out stopped.  Hubby and I had already ran all of our last minute errands the day before, so we just relaxed at home and ended up spending most of the afternoon on the front porch.  I soaked up a few last rays and he was able to take a much needed nap.  In a way I look at it as our "calm before the storm".  (storm being what my labor would turn into) We were a little bummed the contractions stopped, but also content since we knew we were going into the hospital that night.  

Still waiting...

After a few hours hanging on the front porch, we decided to head inside and watch some episodes of Parenthood to try and help pass the time. While watching, the contractions returned.  They started out far apart and progressively grew closer together.  Before I knew it, we were back to timing the contractions and relieved my body had started up again.  
Spent a lot of time on the birthing ball

The contractions were now coming about every 7 minutes apart and really starting to intensify.  Around 5:15 p.m. my sister decided to go and get us our last dinner.  I had received so much advice about eating before going to the hospital.  We knew we would be leaving the house by about 7:30 to go to the hospital for the induction.  So she left and hubby and I continued to try and watch Parenthood in between contractions.  The contractions were getting so bad I started to let out a few cuss words.  Around 6:15 p.m. I was leaning over the couch having a contraction.  Hubby was behind me rubbing my back and I suddenly felt a warm rush.  I grabbed my favorite blanky and put it in between my legs and waddled into the kitchen.  My water had broke!! My sister literally walked in the door a couple minutes later to find me hunched over in the kitchen watching the mess unraveling between my legs.  Hubby was running around the house grabbing our bags and packing them in the car.  I grabbed two pieces of bread from the Italian take out my sister had brought home and we were in the truck on the way to the hospital.  

On the way to the hospital we called our family members to let them know what had happened.  We were both SO excited.  I was really pleased that my body had went into labor on its own and that we might be able to stay away from any induction methods. 

We arrived at the hospital at about 7:00 p.m.  I was in a lot of pain, but wanted a last belly shot before heading upstairs to Labor & Delivery.  
41 weeks 3 days 

(to be continued)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Home :)

I just wanted to let everyone know we made it home yesterday.

I'm trying hard to write my birth story (before I forget anything), but this lil guy is keeping me pretty busy! :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

He's Really Here!

Meet my son born August 19th at 6:10 p.m. His nickname is "Ari" (pronounced Ahr-eee). Ari was 8lbs, 13oz and 21.5 inches when he was born.

I will post the whole birth story when I get some strength and energy back. The most important thing is that he did indeed get here safe!!!! Thank you God and thanks to everyone who prayed for us.

We cannot stop pinching ourselves!!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Labor Update

No induction necessary. My contractions came back yesterday afternoon and my water broke at home around 6.

When I arrived at the hospital around 7 last night I was 1.5 cm. No pitocin as of yet. Now I'm 6 cm.

I took my epidural a tad after midnight.

We had two scares so far with the heart rate dropping. One of those scares happened during a 5 minute contraction.

Please send your prayers!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

No Room in the Inn

So last night we were supposed to check into labor and delivery to start our induction. However, it turns out everyone and their mother decided to go into labor yesterday and there were not any birthing rooms available for inductions. Therefore our induction was pushed back 24 hours. Hoping there is room for me tonight!

I woke up this morning at 5 with contractions. They were coming regularly every 5-7 minutes for a good four hours lasting 40-50 seconds each. I also had my "bloody show" this am. Unfortunately it looks like they are stalling now and coming every 20 minutes or so with much less intensity. Hopefully they did something progress wise though for when we go in tonight.

We did all our last minute errands yesterday - so today is going pretty slow ...more waiting - the anticipation continues to build.

Thanks for everyone's well wishes. Hope to have some good updates soon.

Hubby and I before his 30th birthday dinner last night. :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

41 weeks & 1 day appointment

Yup - I'm still here and still very pregnant...8 days past due.

I had an NST done today and baby boy did well - lots of movement w/appropriate heart rate accelerations.

1 cm dilated, 75% effaced, 0 station.

Since there is still very little progress, I feel a bit more at ease with the induction Saturday.  Looks like this lil guy needs some help!

So tonight is my last sleep at home. We will be going in tomorrow after my husband's 30th birthday dinner.  Most likely they will start me on cervadil through the night and then start pitocin in the morning.

I'm finding myself very emotional. I keep talking to our little guy and trying to fully embrace every last moment I have with him inside of me.  At the same time, I can't wait to hold him in my arms in a matter of a couple of days.

I still just feel so lucky and so blessed to have had the opportunity to experience each and EVERY day of this pregnancy.  I'm tearing up just thinking about this next chapter in our lives.  As always, I would appreciate any prayers or well wishes you're willing to send our way.  Thank you!

Monday, August 13, 2012

40 weeks & 5 days appointment


A little bit.

I had a Biophysical Profile test (ultrasound) done today since I am past due.  They checked his amniotic fluid levels, muscle tone, body movement, and breathing movement.  He passed with flying colors!

Then afterwards, I met with my favorite doctor and she checked my cervix.  Remember last week, I was not "open" enough for her to strip the membranes.  Well, today I was! I'm finally a full centimeter dilated and she was able to get her finger where it needed to be to do the "sweep".  She said this works for about 50% of her patients, within 24-48 hours.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it puts things into motion with us.

On to Plan B...  What if he doesn't come on his own? We decided on an induction date - Saturday, the 18th.   I will be 10 days past due.  I'm still nervous about an induction, but feel a lot better about our decision after discussing all the options with my doctor today.

Physically, I'm still feeling pretty good.  I've been feeling crampy from time to time, along with some lower back pain.  A new thing this week is shooting pains from my pelvic region all the way into my upper thighs.  Ouch!

Emotionally, I am in a daze.  I can't wrap my head around that this is actually happening.  I spend most of my day staring at all the kicks, punches, and rolls going on in my belly and smiling.  I love this little boy so much.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us.  I can't tell you how grateful I am to have each and every one of you in our life.

And the Week 40 belly pic:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

40 weeks & 1 day Appointment



I am still not quite a cm dilated and 50-75% effaced.  We were not able to strip the membranes because I wasn't "open" enough.  Baby boy did real well on his non-stress test though and I even had 3 decent sized contractions while they were monitoring me.  Too bad these contractions aren't helping labor along at all.

So we go back on Monday.  We will have a BPP (biophysical profile test) including a NST (non-stress test) and another cervical check.  Based on how baby is doing we will set an induction date.  The doctor I saw today recommends an induction 7-10 days past the due date.  She doesn't like for her patients to go past 10 days, although ultimately she said if baby is doing well, it is up to us how long we want to wait (max 14 days past due date).  Seven days past our due date would be Wednesday the 15th and 10 days past due date would be Saturday the 18th.  I asked why she doesn't recommend going longer than that and she said in her experience going past 10 days results in more issues with meconium and infections.

On Monday we meet with my favorite doctor, so it will be interesting to see what she suggests after reviewing the results of the BPP and does another cervical check.

I definitely am nervous/scared about a possible induction, especially if my cervix is still considered "unfavorable" by then.  I would love feedback and/or advice from any of you that have had inductions in the past.

Maybe, just maybe, baby boy will make his grand entrance on his own... soon!  :)

I'll leave you today with a pic of an adorable gown my sister bought for baby boy last weekend.  It's made by Magnificent Baby and it doesn't have any snaps or zippers - -  instead it closes through the use of enclosed magnetic fasteners.  How cool! I saw it in one of my "Pregnancy and Newborn" magazines.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Best Bloggy Friend Ever & 39 weeks

First of all - what a surprise in the mail today.  My dear friend Andrea from Palm Trees & Rainy Days sent me a beautiful baby blanket that she hand knit.  I'm amazed - it is absolutely gorgeous.  I'm so glad that this journey brought us together.  We have been friends now for over a year and talk mostly every day.  We "get" each other and honestly her support has really kept me afloat.  Thank you Andrea for the adorable blanket and for being such a great friend to me! Love you!

In other news...there isn't too much to report.  I've been continuing to have my bi-weekly NST's, which I really appreciate.  It's nice to check in on baby and be reassured that he is doing well.  The line on the left shows his heart rate and the lil arrows are when I feel movement.  They are checking to make sure the heart rate accelerates when he moves.  The line on the right shows contractions - which you can see here are pretty much non-existent at this point.

I did have a great meeting with the doctor last Friday.  She checked me and I'm not quite a full cm dilated and about 75% effaced.  She started to talk about the big picture and discussed our options with us if I don't make any progress soon.  My official due date is Wednesday, the 8th.  I have an appt on the 9th and she said if I'm a little more "open" down there, we could strip the membranes to see if we could get things moving.  The earliest she would induce would be the 15th (41 weeks) and the latest she would induce would be the 22nd (42 weeks).  *This is assuming that baby and I are still doing great, which they will continue to monitor through NST's and ultrasounds.  I definitely have some fears/concerns about being induced - so I'm praying this little guy decides to get things going on his own.  My doctor was sensing my anxiety, so she snuck us in (literally) and gave us an ultrasound that day.  She checked his amniotic fluid levels which were great, so that helped calm some of the anxiety I've been having about that.  It was so wonderful to see the little guy again.  I left teared up that she did that for us...I'm in love with this doctor.

I'm really trying to embrace the days I have remaining in my pregnancy.  I am fully aware of what a blessing this has been and it's bittersweet to think that my time being pregnant is coming to an end.  I realize this may be the only pregnancy I experience and I've been really blessed so far to have a happy and healthy 9+ months with this miracle inside of me.  I wake up every morning and thank God for giving me another day to enjoy this.  Of course I'm anxious to meet our lil guy, but I don't want to wish away these last days with him inside of me.

Physically I'm feeling great! I've been trying to stay active as I want to do anything on my part to help this guy make his way on his own.  Here's a pic from our evening walk tonight.  Feeling good & still smiling.
39 weeks & 5 days 

My next appointment is Thursday.  I'll be sure to keep ya'll posted.  Please continue to pray for our little one --that he makes it into our arms safely.  Thank-you!!!