Just a forewarning... this may possibly be the longest post in the history of the world, and includes lots of too much information, long ramblings, pictures galore, and other baby-havin' stuff!
Don't make me say I told you so!
It had been a very productive week in the Petersen household. After a long week of sleepless nights getting the livingroom emptied, painted, carpet ripped up, all we needed to do was lay the new flooring, which we had planned to have done Saturday, March 5th. I had plans to keep busy and out of they way, which included running erands and 2 different birthday parties to attend. I was woken up that morning at 9:00am to my husband, Dave, telling me I had to get up because his cousin-in-law was going to be at our house in a half hour and I needed to get dressed and keep our son, Elliott, busy until we left. I stumble into the bathroom for my morning pee, do my thing, and when I went to wipe I noticed was still trickling. After trying to wipe about 5 times, I felt comfortable enough to get off the toilet and was near tears because how was I going to go through the day with an uncontrolable bladder?! How embarassing!! I continued to trickle as I delt with Elliott, and every once in a while I felt little gushes. At this point I was still dead-set convinced that I was still peeing myself uncontrolably, and skipped a pad and went straight to a washcloth. After going through 3 washcloths in less than a half hour, it started to hit me that this was not pee.
Dave was busy with his cousin discovering that they were 5 boxes short of flooring that we bought this summer, and that they had discontinued the line in the store. My husband was in freak-out mode and had to run to every Menards in northwest Indiana in hopes of finding those last few boxes on the clearance rack. In the meantime I called over my best friend Sam, Dave's parents to come get E, and proceeded to run around the house in a disbelief state trying to gather enough focus to pack bags for both Elliott and myself. I also forgot to call my midwife until 1.5 hours after I realized it was my waters breaking, and they told me to get to the hospital as soon as possible. I was still in shock and decided there was no rush since it was only my waters, and I wasn't contracting so I took my time. I hopped in the shower after my inlaws left with Elliott, double-checked the house about 10 different times to make sure I had everything I needed, installed the carseat carrier into my vehicle, and continued to gush fluid all over the place. My best friend, Sam, drove me to the hospital, in which we took a pit stop to McDonalds because I wasn't sure when the next time they would let me eat would be, and answered a million calls and texts since I had posted on Facebook that I was offically having a baby. On the way I got a call from the on-call midwife who was waiting at the hospital for me for the last 2 hours wondering what happened to me, oops!
It was nearly 2pm when I arried at the hospital SOAKED, everyone seemed annoyed with my lateness, and was immediately admitted. I told the story of my morning to the midwife, Bernie, who did the fluid swab test to see if it really was my waters or not. There was alot of clear runny mucus as well which surprised me. They did a quick ultrasound (where I saw a definate glimpse of what was most certainly girl parts) to check fluid levels around the baby, and told me my story sounded about right. About 10 minutes later she walks in and says that my sack had definately ruptured and explained the game plan. They would give me 24 hours to go into labor on my own, and if not they would start me on a low dose of pitocin to get things started. So we waited. And waited. And walked. And slept. And waited some more. I even used a breast pump a few times for nipple stimulation, but nothing really worked.
In the meantime, there was buzz around the L&D of their brand new NICU department opening first thing Monday morning. I didn't think too much about it until I was offered a tour during one of my walks, and I stood in this huge, beautiful room full of isolettes and the smell of fresh paint and it hit me like a ton of bricks.. My daughter was going to be the first patient. It never once crossed my mind that she was going to be 6 weeks premature and may be born with so many issues, I was still in shock that I was having a baby, and really never grasped the full reality of it all until afterwards.
24 hours passed with no signs of labor, it was now 1pm on Sunday March 6th, and it was time to start pitocin. Once contractions picked up, they were worried that they couldn't get a good reading on my contraction monitor or on the baby's heartbeat and decided to use internal monitors, especially since I was a VBAC and they required monitoring at all times. I will be forever traumatized from this next part. They first check my dialation and determined that I am about 1cm, and still very thick (also known as, my waters breaking when my body is no where near ready for labor) and decided it was enough room for the internal contraction monitor. As they tried to get this thing to fit in me, I was holding back screams from the pain. When it was time for the heartbeat monitor to be attached to the baby's head, they couldn't get the device to fit through the small opening in my cervix as well, and was actually FORCING my cervix open to make it fit, but kept missing the her head attaching it to my cervix. It was one of the most painful experiences of my life. They gave me a rest on trying to attach the head monitor, but my other monitor kept slipping out. They tried 3 different times in the course of 2 hours to get the monitor to stay in place in me, and at the last attempt, they must have hit something because I was suddenly gushing blood. The tone in the room changed and they worked diligently to get the head monitor attached to the baby, ignoring my screams and cries of pain as my body tried to fight them out. It finally worked and I was then dialated to 3cm by 3:00pm after everything was done and said. Once the monitors were in, there were no issues, and I felt free from having the belly monitors off. The bleeding lightened, thank goodness since everyone was really worried they hit the placenta or I was hemoraging.
Since they were able to accurately watch the contractions now with the monitor in place, they started to up pitocin as needed. Right away my body fell into a pattern. They contractions were painful but managable, I was able to stand and bounce on a birthing ball without issues. 3 hours later at 6pm, there was a turning point to the pain. It was so intense that it took everything in me to focus on my grandma and midwife who were trying to keep me calm. I decided to opt for Stadol in my IV since I remember the happy-go-lucky feeling it gave me when it came to Elliott's birth, and that I was only sticking to the less invasive pain medications, also known as NO epidurals, even though everyone in the room (except my best friend and midwife) were pushing for one. Once the Stadol was injected, things got really bad. I completely lost my focus and was in hysterics. I was screaming and crying, the stress of having a baby unexpectedly was hitting home and all I could do is cry so hard I couldn't breathe. Instead of taking the edge off the pain, it infact amplified the pain I felt, and I continued to slip even further into this crazed state I was in, and started to feel sick and lightheaded. I was in hysterics, like a hole I was slipping further and futher in...
An hour later, the drugs started to wear off and Bernie the midwife was able to gain my focus and help me do some deep moaning through the super intense contractions. I had to put myself in some kind of hypnotic state of mind because the pain was so incredible that I started to worry if this was normal. I knew childbirth was going to hurt, but this hurt was NOTHING like I had read about or watched on TV or in movies. I felt like I was trying to give birth to a sharpened knife, cutting me open, deeper, with every contraction that was brought on. I found myself moaning so loud and so deep that I could feel the vibration all the way down to my cervix, it was the only thing that gave me any kind of relief, but still I felt like I was honestly getting ready to die. I gave it my all to just release and ride with the pain instead of fighting it, but I was growing exhaused and slowing loosing focus. The contractions were so strong that they were shooting up over the 100 mark on the monitors, and coming every 1-2 minutes.
Around 9pm I found myself having to poop, or push. With the next few contractions I tried to push with them and it felt alot better, and realized it was almost over. I didn't push hard, just enough of relieve the pain, and tried my hardest to give into the pain I was feeling and ride with it, but nothing I could do could help. I was on the boarderline of passing out and vomiting after each horrid contraction, and suddenly I started to loose my grip on the pain and started into the hysterics again.. Then Bernie checked me, and I was still only 3cm dialated after already 6 hours in of the most pain I had ever felt in my life. Seriously, pain isn't even the right word for what I was feeling, it was much stronger and deeper than any pain I had ever experienced. They couldn't explain the urge to push I had and helped me adjust to a new position to ease the feeling.
Suddenly this horrid pain went from my bottom to my abdomen, and felt like I needed to push this baby out from my stomach. The pain was THE WORST pain I had ever felt in my entire life, and completely different that what I had been feeling the last 6 hours, almost like a ripping sensation. I had this voice SREAMING in my head that something is not right, and they had to get her out, NOW, before something happened to me. For the next 5 contractions, I felt my uterus start to give, and I started screaming at the midwife that something's not right, my old scar, it hurt so bad... It suddenly hit me from what I read back when I had my OB, who kindly scared the shit out of me when I saw her back in the begining of my pregnancy about uterus rupture and about the statistics. I asked about it in my pregnancy community and pretty much got the response that if it starts to happen to you, you will know. In that second, I knew what was happening to me. My uterus had reached it's limit.
I started screaming that I needed a C-section IMMEDIATELY, that I thought I was rupturing and was going to happen SOON. You never seen a team of doctors move so fast to get me into surgery and get that baby out. I laid on that table and cried in relief once I got my spinal. That pain was over. That pain, that I could not even describe with words in this story was completely over and I had tried my very best. I gave up that dream I had of a beautiful, easy, uncomplicated, natural, unmedicated VBAC for a C-section, something I swore I would never have again, and I was completely at peace with my decision. I tried my hardest to have that dream come true, but with the situation I was handed, it would have led to a C-section anyways. I would have endured 10 more hours of undescribable pain and god knows what else would have happened, before my 48 hours were up and they would have cut me open anyways. I still really think something was wrong. I know childbirth is supposed to be hard labor, but deep inside, that pain was not right.
Surgery was amazing. I had the best of everything, the head of nearly every department was in the OR. I literally laid on the table SO happy that the pain was over and that my daughter was going to be there in a matter of minutes. I remember wanting so badly to scream how much I loved everyone in the room right now, mostly for making the pain stop. Things were still intense in the OR, everyone worked diligently, and they paused for a quick second, enough for my husband to come in. In less than 15 minutes, Avery Linette made her way into the world with a few shreeks and happy tears flowed from Dave and I. She was here, she was healthy, and I was over the moon.
They assessed her and shouted over that she scored a 9/9 on her Apgar which thrilled everyone. They walked her over and then I moved the blanket from her face, little fingers reached up and grabbed mine, and I was giddy over how much she looked like Elliott! I sent Dave to be with her, and the head of Neonatal never left her side and she continued to get the best care during her time in the nursery, barely left unattended. Nearly 12 hours later, she was wisked away to the brand new NICU unit and became the star of the hospital. Avery was their first NICU patient.
Healing this time around has been extreemely difficult. More so than I remember with Elliott. I wonder if the pain I had during labor did infact have something to do with my old scar because the pain seems to be in two different places, and I think it's making healing very hard and painful. It's been well over a week and I still can't lay in bed.
Avery is doing spectacular for her being only 34 weeks. She started out on the right foot, but as the week progressed her feedings took longer and she grew more tired during them, and they came to the conclusion that she was spending too much energy trying to keep her body warm that she didn't have any left to feed. They put her on a feeding tube and turned her bed back on and she's been on the mend, doing better but not out of the woods just yet. I've been an emotional wreck over the whole thing. I just want her home, I want to nurse her every feeding, it kills me that I can't do that for her. So I pump, and pump, and pump my days away. Then traveling to see her is hard on the mind and the wallet. It's a 45 minute drive that I make once a day, usually getting there for her 6pm feeding so that we can nurse, then I hang around as long as possible before heading home in time to put Elliott to bed. And with the gas prices the way they are right now.. it's just been hard, but we're making it though.
My heart hurts, I just want her home...