Monday, April 18, 2011

And Then There Were Four

We’ve been waiting for Honor for a long time. Yet it seems surreal that she’s already here. We all love her and she’s the perfect fit for our little family. Here’s her (birth) story.

At my 36-week appointment, Dr. P told me I needed to finish my checklist and be prepared for Honor to arrive early. I thought, “Yeah, that’s exactly what I was told with Caedmon. For four long weeks I jumped at every thing that might be “it” until he arrived the day before his due date. I’ll just go right along, and she’ll come when she comes.” She instructed me to come to the hospital when my contractions were 5 minutes apart.

At my 37-week appointment, Dr. P told me she didn’t think I’d make it to my 38-week appointment. She told me to toss the “5-minute rule” out the window and come to the hospital if anything started happening. Again, I thought, “Yeah, I’ll see you next Wednesday.”

Only I didn’t.

Sunday afternoon while I was doing some work on the computer, I noticed I’d been having quite a few contractions, but I wasn’t really paying much attention to them. By the time I decided to pay a bit more attention, it was about 3:30 in the afternoon and the contractions were every 3 minutes. They weren’t painful, but they were “more” than the contractions I’d been having. I drank some water, moved around a bit, then laid down to rest. The contractions stayed 3 minutes apart but got gradually stronger.

Following Dr. P’s instructions, we called Mom to come stay with Caedmon and headed up to the women’s hospital ER. We got there a little after 5pm. Once we jumped through all their hoops and the nurse checked me out, she determined that I was less dilated than the doctor had said the previous Wednesday. Um…no. First of all, I think the doctor knows what she’s talking about. And with the contractions I’d been having since Wednesday, there was no way I’d gone backwards. The doctor that was in the ER took my history and I explained that my previous labor had been quick and I was following the doctor’s instructions to come to the hospital.

They hooked me up to the monitors and we waited for an hour. During that time, shifts changed and a different ER doctor and nurse came on. My contractions also changed. They were short, but strong. However, when the new nurse (who was approximately 14 years old) checked me, she said I hadn’t progressed at all. I disagreed. But when the new doctor came in and told me I should go home, I wasn’t able to convince her that I really was supposed to be there. The too-young-to-be-out-of-highschool nurse instructed me to come back when my contractions were 4 minutes apart and I couldn’t talk through them. I didn’t understand how we were so off that mark at the moment, but as we’d already tried to talk the doctor into letting us stay with no luck, home we went, arriving about 8:30pm.

(In the parking lot, we ran into some friends who’d had a similar experience just the week before. They’d insisted upon the ER staff calling their doctor and that move saved the lives of their premature twin girls. If we’d known that beforehand, we would’ve been more insistent that the ER call Dr. P or the other OB on call.)

I think the shift change killed us. The first doctor was ready to admit me due to my history and instructions from Dr. P. I’m convinced that if they’d called my doctor (or the other OB on call) while I was at the ER, we would’ve stayed at the hospital. And maybe even had a baby Sunday night. But they didn’t. And we didn’t.

Mom went home and we put Caedmon to bed. We tried to send him home with Mom to spend the night, but he was kind of upset about the whole thing. He’d expected us to not come back that night and when we did, it threw a kink in his whole detailed thinking process. Since Mom was willing to come back whenever we needed her and Caedmon was completely exhausted, we decided not to force the issue and let him sleep in his own bed.

My contractions continued all night, about 3 –4 minutes apart, and I chugged raspberry leaf tea (delicious). At about 11:00pm, I laid down to rest and was able to doze until about 1:30am Monday. After I got up, I started drinking raspberry leaf tea again and the contractions started getting stronger, but ended up farther apart. By 4am, contractions were 6 minutes apart, but very strong. We called Mom to come over, but told her not to rush since it was storming like crazy. The minute we hung up the phone, my contractions jumped to 3 minutes apart and continued getting stronger, to the point where I could hardly move.

Husband put a few things in the car (we’d left pretty much everything there the night before), and I managed to get in eventually. Mom called us as she was turning down our street and we were literally backing out of the driveway when she was pulling in. I’m thankful Caedmon was asleep at that point. He would’ve been pretty freaked out.

Husband drove through the blackness and pouring rain as fast and as gently as he could. And you’d think that at 4:30 on a Monday morning wouldn’t be a high traffic time. But because Husband was driving, we somehow ended up stuck behind the slowest person in the universe, and quite possibly the only other person crazy enough to be on the road during a storm at 4:30 in the morning. We arrived back at the women’s hospital ER about 4:50…a trip that only takes 15 minutes during the day with traffic.

I could barely walk. I could hardly talk. I shuffled in and the same two faces that sent us home were the ones to greet us. The less-than-cheerful check-in lady and the looks-like-she-just-got-her-driving-permit nurse. I made it to the desk and sat down. The nurse didn’t get up. The check-in lady told me I needed to fill out “this paperwork,” which I was clearly unable to do, as my head was laying on the desk and I was doing my best not to yell, scream, and generally sound like someone was killing me. Husband did his best with the paperwork. Meanwhile, Miss Too-Young-To-See-A-Rated-R-Movie asked me if my contractions were any different than when we’d left the night before.

I actually laughed at her. In an evil way. It was either that or reach across the desk and smack her upside the head, and as I was physically incapacitated by a contraction, laughing seemed like the better option.

As soon as I was able, I looked up at them and said, “You’re going to need to call the doctor. Now.” But that was brushed aside, taken as a suggestion from a person who clearly didn’t know what she was talking about.

They wanted me to jump through all the same hoops again. I did my best. And told them again they needed to put that call in to the doctor, which was smugly ignored. By the time I was ready to change into my glamorous hospital attire, I could hardly stand. And I couldn’t even get up on the bed. In fact, I weathered one contraction standing in my little curtain area, bent over, with my head leaning against the wall. I declared the need to puke, and Miss Thang must’ve in fact, been glued to her chair because she didn’t move. And I know it wasn’t because she didn’t hear me, because we were no more than 20 feet apart, separated only by a thin hospital curtain. Thankfully, Husband grabbed a nearby trash can and shoved it underneath me in time. I knew we were getting close. I’d puked when I was in labor with Caedmon, and he was delivered not long afterward.

Somehow, Husband managed to help me crawl halfway onto the bed. And once she was able to pry herself loose from her chair, Miss I-Still-Need-A-Permission-Slip-For-Fieldtrips came to check me. “Ah, I think you’re a 6 or 7.”

I had thoughts. And they were not nice. I knew there was no way I was a “6 or 7.” But there really wasn’t a way to prove it.

“Do you want an epidural?” she asked.

Thinking that anything that might light a fire under her rear was a good thing, I said, “YES!” although I was pretty sure at that point it was a wasted breath and an idea quite in vain. She told her spectacularly friendly cohort to make the call and came to start an IV.

“I’m going to need you to turn over so I can start your IV.” I did nothing of the sort. I moved my arm so she could reach it and pretty much ignored her. It was either that, or reach up and strangle her.

And then my favorite line of the night/morning…“You’re going to feel a pinch.”

Yes, she did. And no, I really didn’t. I will give her credit, though. She started that IV quicker than she did anything else the entire time we were there.

Miss I-Have-Justin-Bieber-Posters-In-My-Bedroom left to go back to her desk that drew her in with some sort of invisible magnetism. Husband was sitting beside me as I was weathering very strong and fast contractions, less than gracefully, I might add. I didn’t care anymore, and if I was to be miserable, everyone else could know about it.

The very next contraction after the nurse was settled back at her desk, I felt the urge to push. It’s an unmistakable feeling, especially if you’ve had a baby before. I thought, “I will not let that girl deliver my baby” and I told Husband to tell them I needed to push. He stepped out of our curtain area and said, “She said she needs to push. Have you called the doctor yet?” Surely that would bring some sort of urgent response, right?

Wrong.

“Well, I’ve called them. They’ll be here in a minute” was the answer. She didn’t move from her desk.

Thank goodness for the Labor & Delivery nurse that came quickly to get me. For the life of me, I cannot remember her name. But she was a sight for sore eyes. Or she would’ve been, if I could’ve opened my eyes at that point.

L&D Nurse knew right away that I had progressed further than the two enthusiastic ER girls had indicated. As she wheeled my bed out of the room, she asked, “Is she complete?” The response was one of disgust, “No, just 6 or 7.”

Again…thoughts.

But I didn’t have time for many thoughts because on the way down the hallway, my water broke. We were quickly in our room and L&D Nurse and Husband helped me switch beds. Before she did anything else, L&D Nurse checked me to see what was up. She immediately pressed the call button. “We’re about to have a baby. Get me the doctor, the resident, nursery…get me everybody.”

Bless her.

Within a couple of moments, the room was full of hospital staff and humming with quiet activity. Dr. H appeared quickly and let me know we were ready to go. (I would’ve loved it if Dr. P could’ve been there to deliver. But Dr. H is her husband…so at least we kept it in the family.)

My patient Husband was on my right, my observant and proactive L&D Nurse on my left. And at the next contraction, I began to push. Between contractions, I heard Dr. H engage Husband in small talk. It’s probably weird that I remember that, even the details of their conversation. But that’s how my brain works and I will not apologize for it. I am thankful for Dr. H and his ability to help put Husband a bit more at ease and then gently but firmly instruct and encourage me at the right time.

I wasn’t exactly counting, but it was 4 – 5 contractions later and we met Honor Elyse for the first time at 5:52am on April 11, 2011, almost exactly 1 hour after we arrived at the hospital. Dr. H held her in his lap and said, “You have a beautiful little girl” before he laid her on my chest.

Honor Elyse was welcomed by her Daddy and me, then whisked over to the little baby area for weight and measurements. In fact, here is her very first picture.

Honor 1st picture

She was not happy.

But she got that way soon after. Honor hung out with us for a while before heading to the nursery for a bath and check-up from the Pediatrician.

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Text messages started flying to family and friends, and the Twitterverse and Facebook were notified of her arrival. We were blessed by the love we received (and still are) from our family and friends upon Honor’s birth.

Dr. P came to visit me while Honor was in the nursery. “You just couldn’t wait for me to get here, could you,” she laughed. (She started her on-call shift at 7am.) “You really are speedy at birthing those babies!”

I laughed and said, “Yeah…well, after they decided I was really in labor, anyway.” I gave her a brief recap of our ER visits.

She suddenly got serious and said, “Yes, well, R (Dr. H, her husband) was not happy about that. They didn’t even tell him you were here last night. That will be taken care of.” I felt better. At least I knew I wasn’t the moron.

**Edited to add: during our stay in the hospital, we were well cared for by the doctors, nurses, and staff. They went above and beyond to care for Honor and me, and we appreciate everything they did for us. **

When Caedmon woke up and got ready, Mom brought him to the hospital to meet his Little Sister, whose name was finally being shared with the world.

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Honor has been a great baby and has fit into our family just like she’s always been here. She is one week old today. It’s weird to think that it’s only been a week. And that technically, she shouldn’t even be here yet.

We are thankful to God for the gift He’s given our family in Honor Elyse. She is precious to us in so many ways.

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5 comments:

  1. Ohmygosh, that is so crazy! And I think I've met your favorite nurse...pretty sure she's the one that left one of my c-section staple in and almost caused me to have an infection. Yeah. Nice.

    Miss Honor is just gorgeous. Brayden was looking at her and saying "Dat's Honnnnnnor" so I think he's excited to meet her soon!

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  2. Congrats girl! What a great little family.

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  3. I found your blog a few months ago and have enjoyed reading it. I can totally relate to this last post. I have delivered all 4 of my kids fast (the first by our labor nurse because no one believed that I had to push after less than 1 hour of labor). When we had our 4th 8 months ago - they didn't even check me when we came into the hospital to be induced and he was born before they said the medicine should have started working. Oh to see the look on those nurses' faces. You would think that the nurses would get a move on things wouldn't you? Congratulations on your new addition!

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  4. Congratulations! She's beautiful.
    Having my 3rd, I was sent home from the hospital (required to go in for a bleed by my dr) at 5 cm and contracting so much but wasn't in enough pain. Hmm, a few hours later my child arrived after barely making it to the hospital (for another bleed not labor contractions). I had no iv (group b strep positive), not my doctor and barely anybody to deliver that little fast and furious child (as my dr named her). I guess we're both just very good at derailing what real pain looks like!

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