Friday, November 18, 2011

Conner

Four days after I wrote my last post, I awoke at 4 am to the worst, most uncomfortable pain I have ever experienced in my life. Thirteen hours later, at 5:01 pm, my sweet baby boy entered this world...

At 7:00 my contractions were becoming stronger, and closer together so Derek and I decided it was time to go to the hospital. We arrived to the hospital on our base to a triage nurse who could clearly see that my visit wasn't a question of "could this be labor?"...it was a matter of how much progress was my body making, and when is this baby going to arrive? The sweet nurse immediately escorted Derek and I into a triage room where they monitored my contractions and Conner's heartbeat. During each contraction, Derek held my hand and this amazing nurse talked me through the pain. Telling me to imagine my happy place (which, ironically ended up being an image of swimming in the pool at the Grand Floridian at Walt Disney World...where Derek and I had been honeymooning almost a year ago to the date), breathe, and keep "soft hands", this nurse had a calming voice and a demeanor about her that was beyond comforting. I have to say that having such a wonderful triage nurse should have been my first clue that while my labor didn't end up exactly as I had hoped and prayed, my experience was still equally as beautiful and wonderful as I had wanted it to be.

Thirty minutes into triage, I was being given an IV, as I appeared a bit dehydrated and was planning to receive an epidural, being put into a gown and robe and being escorted to the cozy (yes, it really was cozy and nice!) labor and delivery room where I would spend the rest of the day. To give you a good idea of my room, the walls were a warm brown color, the bed (believe it or not) was comfy with warm blankets and soft pillows, the lights were adjustable, the TV was new and there was a comfy chair for Derek. It really was more than I was expecting.

I was met in my L&D room by another amazing nurse who ended up reminding me very much of one of my best friends, who also happens to be a nurse. Again, I found this to be comforting. She was friendly and not in the least bit overbearing, and she had no problems talking to Derek and I and answering any of the questions I had. I couldn't have been happier to have such a great nurse that day.

Around 10:30, I was in some pretty severe pain and was luckily ready enough to have my epidural. I wanted to be able to relax and be calm and enjoy experiencing my little boy's birth and with the nasty contractions I was having, it wouldn't have been possible. The anesthesiologist, Kelly, was wonderful. She gave me what's called a "walking epidural" where I still had muscle control in my lower half, legs included, and was still able to feel the pressure of contractions, just not the pain. Let me tell you, it was wonderful...and any fears I had of that damn needle went straight out the window. I'm now standing firm with the allegation that the IV was more painful than the epidural.

About thirty minutes later, some concerns were raised about Conner's heart rate. The base line reading was a bit high, as was my blood pressure, and it didn't decrease when I had received the epidural...which sent up a red flag that something may have been wrong, rather than everything being elevated because of my pain. At that point the doctors decided to have me try laying in different positions to get more oxygen to the baby. Laying on my side, I decided to take a nap and rest. I was already feeling exhausted, and was hoping that by allowing myself to rest, it would help Conner's heart rate lower as well as my blood pressure.

After a few hours of cat napping and changing positions, I was given an oxygen mask. The baby's heart rate still hadn't lowered it's baseline reading...instead it would raise a bit before a contraction and drop during. The hope was that by giving me extra oxygen, it would help regulate Conner....but things never really go as planned....

At about 2 o'clock I awoke from a nap uncontrollably shivering, and hot as a maniac. I was now running a fairly high fever, and Conner's heart rate hadn't changed. The doctors determined that I had developed an infection called chorioamnionitis, or chorio for short. A chorio infection, in my case, meant that my placenta had contracted the infection and this was causing a lack of oxygen flow to the baby. Essentially my placenta was becoming a toxic piece of the environment my little boy was surviving in. This lack of oxygen was the cause of Conner's heart rate being so wonky. As a contraction would start, it would begin to stress out the baby which would shoot up his rate. As it dropped and Conner relaxed, his heart rate would dramatically drop because of the lack of oxygen. Unfortunately, my infection was a bit of a mindbender to the docs and nurses because most women who develop chorio have had their water break...and mine was still completely in tact.

At that time a staff midwife came in as a consultant to the doctors and nurses who were taking care of me. The doctors and nurses wanted to do to everything they could to help me progress so that Conner could be born quickly, sans C-section if possible. Her suggestion was to continue monitoring Conner's heart rate, start me on antibiotics, administer Tylenol and have ice packs under my arms to try and regulate my temperature, and she broke my water to try and get things moving a little faster. They needed me to start dilating faster before it became too dangerous for the baby to continue in the stress of my laboring body, and they wanted to avoid a C-section at all costs.

After a few hours though, it was becoming unsafe for both the baby and myself to continue on in labor. They needed to get Conner out, and my body just wasn't cooperating. The doctors and midwives did all they could to try and avoid a C-section...but Conner's little heart was just working too hard for too long and he needed to be born. Around 4:30, I was being prepped, comforted and wheeled into the operating room. Lying on an operating table, surrounded by my loving husband, the caring anesthiseologist and the gentle midwife at my head, I breathed deep. Thirty one minutes later, the sound of a newborn baby boy filled the room and my eyes filled with tears. He was finally here. And he was ok. Ten fingers, ten toes, LOTS of hair, the sweetest little cry I had ever heard and big beautiful eyes. He was perfect. He is perfect.

Conner was immediately taken to the NICU where he spent the first few days of his life. Because of my chorio infection, he needed to be on antibiotics...and his heart was still a bit wonky after he was born, probably because of the infection, so he needed to be monitored as a precaution. The nurses there were beyond wonderful with him and me, and Conner spent our recovering days snuggled in a NICU rocking chair, learning to nurse :)


I'll never ever forget it.

It was truly the best day (and few days in the NICU) of my life...even if it didn't go the way I had really wanted it to...




2 comments:

  1. I remember reading your post on Facebook and thinking to myself "That little boy has the coolest birthday on the face of the earth! My birthday!! I am honored to share a birthday with such a wonderful woman's little boy!

    It was such a joy seeing that he was brought into the world safe, happy, and BEAUTIFUL! I'm so happy you had a great birth experience even if it wasn't what you had planned, and I agree those L & D rooms are AMAZING! Mine was great too, even though I was only in there for about an hour!! =)

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  2. Congrats Val!
    I can't wait to see some pics of the little guy. Such an amazing experience :-)

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