Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Songs About Rainbows

Here it is: The birth story of Mr. Liam Francis:

Tuesday 1/7/14+: I have to admit, despite the lesson of my work-friend Ray, I didn't actually think I would be having Take Two anytime soon, regardless of the talk about a possible induction and the glaring fact that I was overdue. The day between appointments, I worked from home, cleaned up a little (stress the 'a little' part), and generally hung out. I started taking the heartburn medication and was feeling up to eating dinner so Hub and I went to our favorite Thai place. I still threw up after, but I got dinner down and it tasted so good.. and spicy! I missed spicy food.  I stayed up late puttering around and playing on my phone even knowing I had an 8:30 appointment the next morning, and potential labor after that.

Not such a good move.

Wednesday Morning 1/8/14: As I mentioned in a previous post, my BP had been much higher than my normal for 2 weeks prior to my Monday appointment. That triggered Wednesday's extra appointment with the midwife. Because I was overdue, we planned an ultrasound to check in on the baby. The ultrasound was first and I was nervous. Lucky for us, we were the first appointment of the day so we didn't wait long. Once we got into the room, we were happy and relieved to see that our favorite ultrasound tech would be doing our scan. She has been very compassionate with us, knowing our history, and always lets us know what she is seeing. Right away she said the baby looked great, lots of fluid, he was in great (low) position and moving up a storm. He "did everything they needed to see" in the first few minutes of the scan. All in all things were perfect and I was sure I would be sent home to wait for labor to start. I think I said as much to hub.

After the scan we went down to see the midwife. There was a bit of waiting and hub and I were totally relaxed. I was called back and they did the usual weight, temp and BP check.. and things took their turn. I was high (for me) again, still borderline for actual hypertension. I think it was around 141/86 at both readings. Hub was watching the machine and I saw the concern on his face. Once again, the nurse waited in the room so she could check my urine right away. Once again, it was fine. The midwife came in and we talked over the ultrasound, BP and options. Essentially, I could come back every other day until I gave birth for BP and urine checks or we could induce. I was very uneasy with BOTH options and my midwife knew it. She asked "what were you hoping I would say when you came in today". So I told her honestly "I wanted you to say 'in my best medical opinion the option that will give you the best possibility of healthy mom/healthy baby is..' and then tell me what to do.". So she told us, we'll induce. She was on-call that night so she could see me through the first stage of the induction. I was visibly nervous and mentioned that I was anxious about an induction because I tend to get whatever rare non-deadly side-effect there is. The midwife assured me that there is no allergic side-effects (all my examples of "when I take X I get Y were allergies) to speak of and that I would be closely watched. With that, I consented to be induced.

As for the actual induction, we planned on watching me on the monitors for an hour and then using misoprostol up to 3 doses at 4 hour intervals. We would start pitocin once the cervix was ready- most likely the morning of 1/9/14. I was told that it would be very unlikely that I would deliver that day in fact that she would be flabbergasted- but that there are rare occasions that the misoprostol sends people into labor. The plan for us was we would go home, grab a few things, have breakfast and get back to the hospital before noon. We did bring our hospital bags with us, but we wanted some other things, given that an induction can take 3 days (Though since I was already dilating and Take Two was dropping, she anticipated it would be 1/9/14). So off we went.

We stopped by hub's mom's work (which is 5 minutes from the hospital) and let her know what was going on. Then we went home and grabbed some things, cleaned up a bit and hub and I had a few moments of pure amazement, we were about to go and have a baby! Then we went to our favorite local breakfast place for a last meal of sorts. I had my most favorite breakfast of tea, apple juice (small- even medicated the heartburn from apple juice is a nightmare) and a fried egg sandwich with bacon and cheese on an english muffin. I ate the whole thing despite my nerves. We made it to the hospital just before 11:30. It was surreal, knowing I was in the car for the last time before delivering my baby. Knowing that the odds were crazy high that the next time I was in my car it would be with my baby. I had a few crying moments while we were home and then in the car. We took this last picture for my pregnancy progression:

10 weeks
40 weeks 5 days

Wednesday Afternoon 1/8/14- At noon I was in a room on the Labor and Delivery floor. I lasted 5 minutes before hub told me that I had a "I need my mom" face on and suggested I call her over. (I married the most understanding and wonderful man on the planet). Luckily, she also works just a few minutes from the hospital- as does my dad, and they came together by 1. I was so happy hub understood that I needed them there for me, even though we were delivering our baby, I was still about to go through something that scared the daylights out of me.

I was changed into a johnny and hooked up to monitors by the time they arrived. The monitor in the room was turned to the wrong setting and I could see the status of the other patients on the floor- there were 3 in labor, 1 in pre-term labor, and 3 in observation- not including me. The mid-wife came in and let me know the population of the unit had "exploded" since I had left. She told me she would let the monitors run and be back in ASAP. My parents went to the hospital store and bought a deck of cards. We started playing a game of backalley (a derivative of whist) which takes about an hour and a half. I would estimate we started playing at about 2pm.

Very few hands had been played (may be 2:20) when I started feeling rhythmically uncomfortable. Contractions were starting all on their own! At about this time, a nurse came in, apologized for my wait and adjusted the monitors slightly. She told me once they had an hour's worth of solid trace on the baby they would administer the medication. We were waiting for 3:45 ish.  By 3:30 the contractions were strong and regular. I would have come into the hospital all on my own. Judging by the monitor, they were strong enough I would have been kept, though I can't say for certain. As it turns out, I got it both ways. I was admitted for an induction, so I could stop worrying AND I went into labor on my own. Just before 4, I was dosed with misoprostol, it was put between cheek and gum, one on each side, and dissolved away. At this point the contractions are painful enough we have to stop playing every time one comes along. I really wish I had them check me before I took the medication. I think I could have done without it.

My parents decided to go home to grab some things- including dinner for themselves and hub. Hub planned on going down with them to grab the things we left in the car. We had 3 hands left of our game and then they would be leaving.  We were finishing up as the medication fully dissolved. I was hit by intense nausea. I told my family I was feeling sick and minutes later was rushing for something to vomit in. This is now about 4:30. I called the nurse, a new nurse was on duty- Kate- she was great. She unhooked the monitors and let me go clean up in the bathroom where I was sick again and was hit with the first "holy crap this hurts" contraction. I sent my family on their ways so they could be back before things got worse.

I came out of the bathroom and was hit by contractions one on top of the other. Most of them, I would vomit starting at the height of the contraction and continuing until just after it ended- giving me about 30 seconds where I wasn't contracting and/or vomiting. Kate was watching me and suggested we think about an epidural. I agreed to meet with the anesthesiologist and continued to vomit and contract throughout the meeting. I accepted an IV dose of Zofran that helped for may be 3 contractions- then I was back to walking around with a bucket and vomiting through contractions. The anesthesiologist had been gone all of 20 minutes when I started getting contractions I couldn't move through anymore- I just leaned against a table and cried- then threw up. I started getting tunnel vision and really dizzy. Hub came back in at this point and was totally weird-ed out that I had gone from zero to sixty so quickly. When I told hub and Kate about the tunnel vision I was told I needed to be in bed. Again, Kate suggested an epidural. She told me I seemed to be in a lot of pain and it would make things much more pleasant. I agreed, and hub confirmed that this was really what I wanted to do.

Kate told me that she would get the midwife to check me and then I could have a pain pill to "take the edge off" until I was at 4cm or above. Once I reached a 4, I could get the epi. The midwife was by my side in one contraction. She expressed surprise I was already having contractions and needing to be checked. She expressed even more surprise when she checked me and proclaimed I was at a 7. The color sort of drained from Kate's face. No wonder I was in such pain, I was transitioning! I was given a second dose of Zofran and after one last vomiting spell, i ended my 9 months of vomiting, sweet relief!! Kate found her personal favorite anesthesiologist to help me out with the epi. From the time I consented to the time she walked in the room it couldn't have been more then 10 minutes. I think it was only 3 contractions. As it turns out she was heading into a (non-emergent) c-section and Kate pulled her in with me because I "really needed it". Hub was sent out of the room (sterile procedure) and Kate told me what would need to be done. She warned me I was right on the edge of where they stop doing epis since contractions are so intense as you're more dilated it is too hard to sit still for them. I promised to be good and still. She set up a table next to the bed and arranged a bunch of pillows for me to lean on. She knelt on the floor on the other side of the table and held my hands and talked me though the contractions. The anesthesiologist got me prepped between contractions and then started the procedure. I had 2.5 contractions during the placement. It was BRUTAL. The epi itself wasn't noticeably painful, but trying to stay still through the contractions was really hard. It made them feel even worse.

One thing I will say about my magic knack of medication is that in addition to always getting the random, rare side effect, meds also work really, really well on me. The epi was like magic. I don't regret it at all! Within 2-3 contractions I was numbed up and blissed out. There was a bit of pooling on my left side that made that foot totally immobile, which was annoying but fine. I had to have hub put my foot in a better place on the bed, I was aware enough of it that it bothered me that it was on the edge of the mattress, but it wasn't so in control I could actually move it. Overall, I didn't want the epi, but because of the vomiting and dizziness, I'm reasonably certain I would have passed out in labor. Not cool.

So, numbed up we were just waiting on me to feel like I needed to have a bowel movement. Hub and I started playing rummy and joking around. Twice the midwife came in and laughed at us proclaiming us a very strange labor. Since I was now in active labor I was technically only allowed 2 people, but they let both hub's parents to come in and say hi. Once they left we let them know my mom could come in for the duration. I didn't let her know through the pregnancy that i would want her in the room. I just didn't know how i would feel, but when the time came it was a no-brainer. She stayed in the waiting room for a bit with my dad and hub's parents.

At this point it was probably about 10pm. I still felt great, once in a blue moon I would feel the twinge of a contraction, but it didn't hurt it was just a pulling sensation. Hub and I kept playing cards. I felt something odd under the sheets at one point and reached down there to find I was in a bit of blood. Obviously, I panicked and called Kate. She and the midwife came and proclaimed it was the "real bloody show" and that I must be close to labor. They checked me and.... I was at a 10!!!

They proclaimed I had the best epi they had ever seen. I didn't feel a thing. Baby's head was at a 0 station so they wanted to give him a little time to descend, which was fine with me. At this point, my water had not broken, the midwife asked it I wanted it broken, saying it is best to check for mecuoniom since I was overdue, but we didn't have to. I consented, which was good because mecuoniom was present :( the birth now needed to be attended by the NICU team.

Throughout all of this, I am in close text communication with my closest group of friends. We were discussing who was born on 1/8 and who on 1/9 to see which day I should shoot for. As it turns out Elvis was the 8th and Richard Nixon the 9th. 8th was the goal. Haha My friend, who messaged "if you're still texting my money is on tomorrow" about 25 minutes before Liam was born sent this meme:

Hub and I were about to finish our last hand of rummy when Kate came in and asked if we wanted to practice pushing, I told her once I finished beating hub- haha. In my defense I was about to go out.

We called my mom back in the room and got ready to practice. Kate had one leg, mom the other and hub helped me roll up into a weird sit up position. Apparently, I am excellent at giving birth because in the middle of the first practice push Kate yelled to stop and told my baby's head was "right there". She called the midwife. Who came in within a few minutes and asked for another practice since I did seem to be close just a little but before. There again was baby's head and I was told to stop so NICU could be called, but not before both mom and hub took a peek.... Not going to lie, that was NOT on the list of things I wanted to happen during birth, but in the moment I was fine with it. Also not on the list? Saying yes when they asked if I wanted a mirror so I could see. I did that too, but only looked for a moment. Yes, it was interesting, but in a "how is that even possible" sort or way it a "I want to cry at the beauty an miracle of life" way.

So the NICU team enters the room at about 11:05. 2 contractions later, out shot the baby! I didn't feel a thing, but I did see as they pulled him out. He was slick and squirmy. He waited a few seconds to try and breathe, which was a little scary, but good since we were dealing with the mecuoniom. I told hub to tell me the sex, I was looking at his back when he was delivered and then he was blocked from my view. Hub said:

"It's a- oh it's a boy," he was very shocked and happy. I asked him was we were going to call him. Since we had agreed on a short list of names, I let hub have the final say.

Liam, because we like the name. Francis after Liam's (still living) great-grandfather on his dad's side. It is also the maiden name of my dad's mom and the middle name (female spelling) of my mom's mom. It just feels right.

After hub cut the cord, Liam was placed on me, just a few moments after birth,

I just marveled that such a perfect little man was now suddenly in my world. I'm not really sure of the sequence of events at this point I was too enthralled with Liam. I know I delivered the placenta in one push. I was torn up due to the fast, explosive birth and there was a lot of sewing. One of the needles was dropped and caused a bit of a panic, and delayed the rest of the grandparents from meeting my boy. Liam was weighed and measured- 7 pounds 2 ounces, 20 inches long-  and hub took pictures. Liam nursed for the first time and we cuddled. I fell in love hard and fast.

Eventually, I was sewn up and the rest of the grandparents came in. Everyone passed him around and proclaimed him the cutest baby they had ever seen. By 12:30am my closest friends had been told of the newest member of our group. It was such a joy to send text messages of this great news after needing to share such awful news up with them just two years ago.

By 3am, I was moved downstairs to the postpartum floor. While moving down they took Liam from me to wash and dress- he had been wiped down, but there were still specks of blood on him- one on his hairline that I kept going to kiss - ick. Once we were downstairs and settled, the wheeled in a bed for hub and then brought me my son. I spent the night peering in his bassinet which I put as close to my bed as possible. Hub caught me and laughed.

All in all, it was wonderful.

Why are there so many
songs about rainbows
and what's on the other side?

Writer's Note: This is my 200th post. Liam was born on my 2 year blog-aversary. Isn't that crazy?


  1. Love the fun connections at the end! I'm so glad you wrote out the whole story. He's so adorable! Congrats again! :-)

  2. Great birth story! So glad that you have sweet Liam in your arms. Gorgeous! Congratulations!!!!!!

  3. What a great story! Welcome, little man!

  4. What a beautiful story. I'm glad it went so well for you,