December 16, 2014

Hattie's birth story . . . part 2

OK, so here's the 2nd part of Hattie's birth story.  You can read part 1 here.   I realize that I sound overdramatic and whiny in all of this.  Overall, I had a very healthy delivery experience and Hattie was healthy when she was born. I realize that this isn't the worst case scenario. The whole thing was just much different than what I had planned and wanted.

So where were we? Right. The midwife decided to admit me because of my low levels of amniotic fluid, and she thought that maybe my water HAD broken. But the contractions I'd been having all morning and afternoon had come to a halt.

It was storming outside, and warnings were coming over the intercom system. I wasn't even paying attention to them because I was so upset that I was being admitted and labor seemed to have come to a halt. It was maybe 3:00 or 3:30. I just kept thinking about everything I could be getting done at home . . . unpacking, cooking, putting the kids to bed, etc. We left triage and went to a labor and delivery room.

Once we got there, we decided to roam the halls. As we walked, I'd have to stop and breathe through a contraction every few minutes. When I'd stop walking, the contractions would stop. As we walked, we reminisced about walking the halls before Claire was born. The new hospital had only been open 2 or 3 weeks at that point.  The walls were bare, and it was Christmas day, so everything was empty.

Things were pretty busy that day, though.

We went back to our room and ordered dinner. We, of course, ordered the chocolate cake that I fell in love with way back after Jack was born. The chocolate cake from U of M's room service the best chocolate cake I've ever had . . . and now that I've had it prior to giving birth I can confirm that it's not just the post-labor hunger talking.

After we ate, I dozed in bed a little.  I hadn't been sleeping well for the few weeks before, so I figured if I was going to be stuck in the hospital, I should probably just try and rest.  At some point between 7 and 7:30, I shot up in bed with an intense contraction (I know the time because I remember Wheel of Fortune was on). From that point on, contractions started fast and furious.  I remember asking Kyle if they were 5 minutes apart yet and he said, "Uh, they're about 2 minutes apart."

A little bit later, the nurse came in and asked if I would like my epidural and I said I didn't think I'd be far enough along because I wasn't even at 1 cm when I came in.  She laughed and said, "We can give you an epidural any time you want!"  Well, I wish someone had mentioned THAT before.

The anesthesia team took about 20 minutes to get there, but it felt like 2 hours.  Contractions had escalated to the point where I couldn't even sit comfortably between them. I was writhing and I was, well . . . loud. Side note: When I hear about the birth stories of others, I become convinced that I do not handle pain well. I'm loud and not calm at all. I'm begging for relief and crying for someone to just help.

SO I'm hunched over the side of the bed with my legs braced on Kyle knees while they insert the epidural, having to stop every minute or so for a contraction. I'd never thrown up during labor before . . . something I can no longer say. I'm thankful for the nurse who was quick on her feet for that one.  Given that I was hunched over Kyle, I think he's probably even more thankful than I was. The chocolate cake is not as good coming up.  Just FYI.

In the middle of getting the epidural, an attending doctor came in. This is where everything started to go south. She was barking orders at the resident (who was doing just fine up until she came in) and asking me questions (um, why are you asking me things that are in my chart when I'm so obviously not in the frame of mind to be answering). To make a much longer story a little bit shorter, I ended up with a dural puncture during my epidural. This is a risk of an epidural, but I never thought it would happen.  It was the first time the resident had ever had that happen. (He later came back and apologized several times. I wanted to tell him that I blamed only the attending anesthesiologist, but I resisted.)

I didn't know what was going on, but I started to hear whispering and I kept asking what was going on. In the middle of that chaos, I started feeling very strongly like I needed to push. Please note that I've never been to this phase of labor before without an epidural.  I was freaking. out. I felt like I was coming off the bed because baby was trying to just push herself out of there. The nurse called the midwife (Anne) and got me set up to push, but I said I couldn't without the epidural. She told me it was my decision and we could wait until the epidural to take effect before I pushed, and I could see the attending kind of shake her head.

I was already confused, because I'd had 3 epidurals in the past and had almost immediate relief with each of them. Each of those times, my contractions had lessened in intensity by the time I was back laying down.

So after the attending kind of shook her head, the midwife said, "You know what? I think you should just go ahead and start pushing.  By the time that epidural works, you could have already delivered!"  I started shouting things about knowing how epidurals work and knowing that I should have relief by now (Kyle said he had to stifle laughs because of how out of character everything I was saying was) . . . and they broke the news to me that something went wrong with it. Anne took my hand and looked at me and said, "There are a lot of things that don't go the way you expect when you're a parent, right? This is just one more of those things."

And that was the moment that I realized I would be giving birth, without any pain relief.

So I started pushing and a few agonizing pushes later, at 10:00 PM, Hattie Lynne was born! They put her in my arms and I felt like I was holding Claire again because they looked so much alike. I just stared at her and she cried a little and looked at me a little. We love her so much and just couldn't stop looking at her. Was she worth it? Absolutely. 100% yes. Would I change everything about the experience if I could? Also, yes.

During recovery, everyone kept saying things like, "When your epidural wears off . . . " or "You shouldn't feel this because of the epidural . . . " and I kept having to remind them that I did and could still feel EVERYTHING.  Stitches included.

But I'm not to the worst part yet.

Apparently a very recent study shows that when you have a dural puncture, you can avoid a post dural puncture headache by leaving the catheter in your spine for 24 hours. Which meant that I pretty much couldn't move from my bed for 24 hours.  No bathroom, no shower, no walking. Just sitting in bed, or laying on my back. In retrospect it doesn't sound that bad, but all I wanted was to shower and to not use a bedpan. I spent a lot of time crying over the fear of the post dural puncture headache and the possibility of needing a blood patch.

Fortunately, I didn't get the headache (I had a pretty bad one a few days later, but I'll never know for sure if that's what it was).  No blood patches were required to fix it. Everything healed up well.

Hattie was born on Tuesday, August 26 (Kyle's 35th birthday) at 10 PM and we brought her home that Thursday morning.  We jumped right back into things . . . Jack's 2nd grade class open house was that night and Kyle took him to that. We still had boxes and boxes to unpack (still do, for that matter) and a new house to get used to.  Our lives are just now starting to find a "normal" again.

Hattie is the sweetest, most laid back baby ever. I've done this before, so I know that it might not last forever, but we are so enjoying her happy disposition for now!

December 10, 2014

Hattie at 3 months old

At 3 months old, Hattie . . .

. . . has a few nick names.  Claire calls her "Hatta Batta" and we've all started calling her that.  It's obnoxious, I know.  I call her Hattie Cat, too.  And then a friend sent us a book called "Hurray for Hattie Rabbit" so that's caught on a little.

. . . is so laid back.  I hesitate typing that because it'll all be over once it's out there for the Internet to see.  That's just how things work.

. . . has rolled over 3 times, but I've only seen it happen once.  The first two times I just found her laying on her back, even though I'd left her on her tummy.  My other kids all rolled from back to front first, so I was surprised.  She hasn't done it since, so I don't think it counts.

. . . had her first road trip to Chicago.  She was AWESOME.  She slept in the moby everywhere we went and slept 12 hours straight each night.  I was a little worried because, in general, she doesn't like to leave home.

. . . is super smiley.  All I have to do is look at her and her face lights up.

. . . loves her brothers and sister. I think she could just sit and watch them all day.

 . . . plays so well on her playmat and in her exersaucer that sometimes I forget where I left her.  Don't tell on me.

. . . is CHATTY.  She squeals and chats like crazy and will talk back when we talk to her.

. . . was a great sleeper until she got sick last week.  She's slowly returning to her good sleeping habits, though.  She naps in her crib but still sleeps in our room most nights.

. . . is WAY better in the car seat than she used to be.  She doesn't cry nearly as much.

. . . sits in a little high chair with us at dinner and just takes it all in.  She'll sometimes grab a toy and try to get it to her mouth, but she mostly just watches.

. . . is super drooly. I keep wondering if she'll get a tooth here soon.