Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lena's Birth Story

Friday night, (June 28th) I spent in the tub not feeling so hot. All night. My lower back was cramped up and my stomach was in knots. I assumed it was the not so healthy food I ate the night prior at Red Robin (oops). The whole time, I was waiting for a contraction to start. I did have a couple Braxton Hicks contractions, but nothing that was increasing in pain or longevity. I ended up crawling into bed sometime around 4am, and sleeping for a few hours.

Saturday morning I woke up still feeling ill.  The discomfort was so bad, that we spent the morning at my in laws, soaking in their pool. Thankfully it helped to relieve some of the back pain, but I still felt awful. I ended up calling my chiropractor and snuck in a quick adjustment to hopefully help the knot in my neck and release my back. And although my neck felt a million times better, my back would not stop cramping. I was also worried that I was leaking cervical fluid, so I called our OB. We ended up stopping by the hospital for a quick check. All clear, no fluid. Everything seemed to be fine.

Sunday morning I felt a lot better. The back cramping was easing up and my stomach was finally able to handle some food and fluids. Chris and I headed back to his parent's house to lounge in the pool for the day. As the day continued, I began to feel better and better. And Monday day was exactly the same. Monday night however, is a whole other story.

Around 9pm, I started to get the same cramping in my back and complete all over discomfort. My stomach was so upset and I ended up vomiting several times. I had heard that some women's bodies start to clean themselves out before they go into labor. So I waited like last time, for contractions to start. There were none. The entire evening though was spent in the tub or in the bathroom. When it hit 4am and the tub soaking no longer seemed to help, I knew I need to call the doctor. Our 38 week appt was scheduled for that morning at 9am. I made it until 6am, and called the OB. She suggested heading to Labor and Delivery to be examined. I felt like the neurotic first time expectant mom, yet again calling the doc. But she assured me something was up and it might just be a GI bug.

So at 6am, I went to go wake Chris, who was sound asleep. "Hunny, we need to go to the hospital." His response: "Now? Do I have time to shower?" I gave him probably the dirtiest look and said very calmly "Yes, NOW! And no you can't shower." So off we went to Emerson. I had taken out my hospital bag in hopes to write a post of it's contents for you all. So we grabbed the bag just in case and made our way to the hospital. One of the best things about Emerson, is that they take you in immediately. We walked through the doors and right into a room in Labor and Delivery.

The nurse began taking my vitals and asked for a urine sample. I barely had any to spare since I couldn't keep anything down all night. A little while later she came back and drew some blood. On her third return, about 45 mins into our stay, she handed me a johnny and said to put it on. At this point we weren't really sure what was going on, but my blood pressure was elevated higher than before. So I assumed they might induce me. So I asked if we should get my hospital bag since I had my own gown I had hoped to wear. Her response was "No, you have to wear a johnny." Being half awake from the lack of sleep, I didn't think too much of it. Just assumed I was told wrong about being able to wear your own gown. She also said my doctor was going to be heading down to talk to us. Again, didn't think too much of it, just assumed they'd start inducing me, or wanted to chat since we would be missing our 38 week appointment.

Dr. H walked in about 10 mins later and informed us that I had developed preeclampsia, and more so HELLP Syndrome. Which stands for Hemolysis, elevated Liver Enzymes, Low Platelet count. I encourage you to click the link for further explanation. Basically my liver was spitting proteins into my urine, my blood pressure was elevated and my platelets were half of what they should be (usual is 150k). His exact words "Things are going to move quickly. You unfortunately need to go in for a csection. Dr. K is calling the pediatrician, anesthesiologist and booking the OR. You're having a baby today." Thank goodness we didn't know what HELLP Syndrome was at the time or how severe it could potentially become, because I would have lost my shit.

At that point both Chris and I were a little in shock. I had been so uncomfortable that the thought of having her, and finally feeling well was definitely welcome. At that moment I truly did not care how she was coming out, but that she and I would both be okay. The nurse made Chris order breakfast before going into the OR and gave him a pair of scrubs to put on.

I had to put on a johnny and prepare for surgery. This was taken about 5 mins after being told what was about to happen. Smiling because there's an end in sight!

Still giantly puffy with water retention
At about 9:30am, the anesthesiologist came in and thoroughly explained how everything would go. I thankfully had enough platelets still so that I could have a spinal instead of local anesthesia. Between him and Dr. H I felt very confident in how the procedure would pan out. It helped that Chris and I understood the importance of having the csection and why it was needed.

Around 10am, I walked into the OR and they began prepping me for surgery. Within 10 mins I was laying down, numb from my chest down, waiting for Chris to join us. Dr. H began cutting a few minutes before he entered, which to be honest, I thought Chris might hit the floor once he saw me. Instead he walked in smiling and said "I'm going to cut the cord!" I looked at him shocked, since the entire pregnancy he said he didn't want to see a thing "down there" nor cut the cord. But he was happy and confident and determined to be part of it. 

At 10:39am our beautiful little girl entered the world! Her little squeaky cries were immediate. 

The pediatrician called Chris over to be with her as they checked her out. She was still crying softly until she heard his voice. She started to settle down and focus in on him. It's amazing that for 9 months she's been listening to us, and as soon as she comes out, she knows who Daddy is. 

They didn't bath her right away, but instead rubbed the vernex in (the white substance covering her little body) and wrapped her up so Chris could hold her and I could finally see her. And of course I immediately started crying. 4.5 very long years and we finally had our family! 

They did take her down to the nursery for some further monitoring after I got to see her. Chris was able to be with her the entire time. I however was stuck sprawled out on the table being stitched up. 

After she was bathed, which Chris got to help with, they brought her back all swaddled up so we could spend our first hour as a family. I began skin to skin time as well. It seemed to keep her calm and peaceful as she spent her first day adjusting to the outside world. I was also able to breastfeed right away, which she immediately took to. 

For the next 24 hours I was on a magnesium drip to help keep me from developing any seizures. My blood was drawn every 3 hours and as they continued to monitor my platelet count, they continued to fall. All the way down to 38k. (Had I reached 30k, I would have had general anesthesia.) I was stuck in bed that entire first day. Chris was amazing, helping with all diaper changes, burping after each feeding and even snuck in some skin to skin time. 

Healing was slow and the first 2 days were really difficult. Moving around was slow and cautious. The second day we were finally moved from Labor and Delivery to the Postpartum floor. All the nurses in both departments were beyond amazing. Our night time nurse on the second night was by far my favorite. She was able to get me positioned to sleep more comfortably and gave us so many helpful suggestions with Lena. We ended up requesting her for the rest of the stay! Our daytime nurses were just as fabulous. We were given plenty of privacy and time alone to get to know our little girl. Many of the nurses from Labor and Delivery continued to check in on us even after we were moved. Apparently my HELLP Syndrome had everyone extremely concerned.

We spent a total of 5 days at Emerson. Each day got a little better, and a little less painful. Not to gross anyone out, but I don't think I showered until Thursday. Between the csection and the magnesium drip, I was spent. Never mind trying to care for our latest addition. Hubby however managed to sneak in a shave and removed the beard. Finally.

So that's how our little Lena entered the world. She of course was perfectly healthy. Mom, not so much, but I quickly healed.


  1. I loved following you through your pregnancy since we were so close in due date. I lost my baby at 13 weeks. Thank you for writing this blog. It does give me hope that I will have my rainbow baby.

    1. Thank you Jessi and I'm so sorry for your loss. Our first pregnancy (that ended in miscarriage), the due date was 1 week apart from Lena's. It was quite scary to be going through everything again around the same time. I will be thinking of you and hoping you get our miracle. Don't give up! Xoxo