On Friday August 25th, I was desperate for little Miss Stella Rose to finally make her appearance into the world. I had tried all the old wives tales- eat spicy food, pineapple, walk stairs, clean the house, I even walked around Disneyland & the mall for a few hours. It seemed like it was finally going to happen! That evening for 2 hours my contractions were coming every 5 to 7 minutes. I was hanging out with all my family as they timed my contractions. I was so excited, I called my Dr. and they said I should go to labor and delivery. Trevor and I both walked to the L&D floor, scared out of our minds. Before they admit you to have your baby they assess how far along you are by checking your dialation & effacement. They hooked me up to the screen for two hours monitoring our heart rates, and the intensity of contractions. Sure enough they were coming every 5 minutes and some of them were quite uncomfortable. Then some nurse came in with some silver clamp to check me for dialation and effacement. This hurt tremendously!! I screamed and grabbed Trevor's hand so tight. I had just been checked by my Dr. 5 days earlier and he didn't use a horrible silver clamp. The nurse told me I was dialated 3 cm and 80% effaced. After 3 hours in the hospital a nurse came in , and said "Sorry, you are in pre-labor. You are not going to be admitted at this time." WHAT?!!!! If this isn't it, then how will I know. I was in pain, and the contractions were coming in the time frame my Dr. had said. We were so disappointed. As we packed up our things to go home the nurse said, "I have a feeling I may be seeing you before the weekend is over." This gave me hope!
So the crazy thing was my contractions were still coming every 5 minutes for 3 hours when I got home, and then out of nowhere they just stopped. I was so sad, when was I going to meet my Stella?! I was determined to go into labor. That afternoon, I took my sister for a 2 mile walk. By the time I got back home the contracations were back and coming on strong coming every 5 minutes again. I walked up and down the stairs for two hours, taking small
breaks in between. It was time for Stella to come out! The nurse did say I will know its time to come back becasue I will be in so much pain I cant talk. By 11pm, they were still coming every 5 minutes. This had been going on since 4:30 pm, so about 6.5 hours. I decided I needed to try and sleep because if this was it, I might have a long day/night ahead of me. So I went to sleep however the contractions kept waking me up. I was still
able to talk so I did not wake Trevor up.
Then about 4am on the 26th I woke up screaming. These contractions were different. I couldn't talk, in fact I could only scream in agony. Every 3 minutes I would scream in pain, and then I would be fine for another two minutes until another contraction started again. I could barely walk they hurt so much. It felt as if the baby was going to fall out of me. I grabbed my stop watch. This went on every 3 to 4 minutes until 6am. I knew then THIS WAS IT!
So again, Trevor and I took off to the hospital. They took me again to the assessment room. There was no way they were going to send me back this time! I had never in my life felt this kind of pain before. After an hour of being assessed a nurse came in and said I'm sorry sweetie but we are going to have to send you home. I looked at Trevor like WTF she has to be kidding right?! Then she started laughing, just kidding we are getting your labor room ready now, and will get you an epidural as soon as we get you in. By the time I got to the room, and all set up I got the epidural about 11am, I had been in HARD labor for 7 hours, and pre-labor 10 hours, for a total of 17 hours. Little did I know I wasn't even close. Once I got my epidural, I couldn't believe how fast the pain went away. I was having extremely strong contractions and not feeling a thing. At this point I was dilated to a 4, and was 90% effaced. With these stats the nurse estimated she would be here by 7pm.
Have you ever seen Knocked up where the Dr. promised he never goes on vacation and would be there to deliver Katherine Higel's baby? Well that was my story. I have been going to the same Gyno for over 10 years, and he promised me he would be there to deliver Stella. It turns out he went on a weekend getaway with his wife, so he had his on call Dr. come to deliver me. Thank goodness she was amazing, but I was a little nervous delivering my baby with a Dr. I had never met before. I do trust my Dr. very much however, and knew I had to be in good hands.
Next came the cathiter which freaking hurts by the way! It took about 2 hours for me to get used to it. They also added a monitor inside me, and placed it on the babies head to measure the intensity of the contractions. At this point I am wondering how many more cords they could fit up there??
By late afternoon, our entire family was at the hospital in the waiting room. Anybody who knows our families knows this doesn't just mean the grandparents. We couldn't believe how much support we received when thirty of our closest family members from parents, to sisters and brothers, nieces, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents filled the waiting room. They all came in a few at a time to wish us luck, and give their love and support for what would be the most amazing (and horrible) day of our lives.
So the thing about epidurals is they are heaven. I do not know how anybody could go through labor without it. For anybdoy who has, you are a rockstar in my book, but I am all for the juice! All day I seemed to stay at 4 cm, however I had reached 100% effacement, which gave me hope. All I kept thinking is lets get to the pushing. I did not want a c-section, because I knew how much harder the recovery would be. Unfortunately by 7pm, Stella did not know it was time because I was only at 5cm (just half way there).
By 9pm, I started to get really sick. My nieces Christina & Gianna happened to be in the room at that point, and just held a little throw up bucket in front of me as I was vomiting. This just proves how much love and support we received from our family. Ice chips, warm washcloths, massages, everybody was doing what they could to keep me comfortable.Then by 11pm, I had reached 9 cm. That means I only needed 1 more cm to start pushing. The bad news was, my effacement had changed back to an 85%. I'm thinking, what the heck how does that happen?
The Dr then explained to me that my cervix had swollen, which is why the effacement went backwards. At this point they were putting me in all kinds of crazy positions to try and calm the babies heart rate which was spiking above the normal region. I had also developed a high fever. By 11:45 the Dr came in with the awful news. She told me they were going to have to give me a c-section because they think I may have an infection. This was causing my high fever and distress to the baby, which was making her heart rate spike. Now not only did I just go through 20 hours of hard labor, (27 hours if you count the pre-labor), I was going to have to have major surgery, and I was scared that something might be wrong with Stella.
It all happened within seconds. A team of around twelve surgeons came into the room, and wheeled me into the operating room. I had no idea what kind of drugs they have me on at this point, but I was balling my eyes out, scared out of my mind. I remember glancing at Trevor and he was as white as a ghost. Once I was in the operating room, I started to get sick. I was throwing up, while some nurse kept putting some little yellow pan in front of me. I think I filled it up about 7 times. I was sick, scared, and confused.
Then Trevor came in, and I felt so much better. Just holding his hand, I knew I wasn't alone, but I was frightened. My whole body was shaking out of control. The surgery took just a few minutes. Its amazing to me that women can be in labor for hours and hours, but a surgical labor just takes a few minutes. I felt a little pressure and then all of a sudden I heard her cry. Stella was here. Trevor just looked at each other so happy, when we heard them yell. "Whoah, she is a big baby!".
Then I started to worry. On all the baby shows, they lift the baby over the curtain so the parents could see. They didn't show me Stella. Then a surgeon came over to me and Trevor, and told us the horrifying news. He said that Trevor could go see her but she needed to be taken to the NICU RIGHT AWAY AND BE TREATED FOR AN INFECTION. Trevor left and I was all by myself just saying out loud "I want to see my daughter", "how much does she weigh?", although nobody seemed to hear me. My Dr. brought her by my face for literally two seconds. Here is your little girl, ok bye Mom... and that was that. What about the Golden hour? What about the skin on skin I knew was so important? How was I going to breastfeed when I wasn't allowed to see her? I was so sad. Would she recognize me and know me? These were all questions that kept me up for hours. I guess that's why they say birth "plans" are jokes. The Dr. later told me it was a blessing we decided to do the C-section. Not only did she weight 8lbs and 13 ounces, which my Dr said would have taken hours to push her out, but the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice, and she was facing sunny side up, which could have caused more medical issues. On top of that Stella pooped right when they cut me open so they had to make sure she didn't swallow any merconium. (thank goodness she didn't).
After I was stitched back up, I was taken to my recovery room with Trevor but with no baby. :( The nurse told me I would be able to see her tomorrow morning at 11am, after she was given the medication and rest she needs. Stella ended up weighing 8lbs, 13 ounces, and measured 20.75 inches and was born on August 27th at 12:12am. The nurses had given Trevor two photos they had taken of her seconds after she was born. I stared and held those pictures all night, until I got to hold her the first time the next morning at 11am (11 hours after she was born). I can't explain to you what it felt like to go through that long of a labor, then surgery, and not be able to hold your baby. I just wanted her to be healthy and ok, but I wanted her in my arms.
The photos I was given to look at Stella. <3
The nurse came in that morning, at 8am and helped me to the restroom to clean me. I wont go into details but you have no pride left after that type of a surgery. You cant really walk, you cant pull yourself out of bed, you cant sit, and you are bleeding so terribly you are basically wearing diapers. I didnt care about the pain I was in, I just was ready to meet Stella. So after a few more hours, I was wheeled to the Nicu to finally meet her. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I'll never forget that moment and how perfect she was. A Dr. came and spoke with me and Trevor and told us they were treating her for an infection and ran some tests. Hopefully she doesn't have anything and she would be back with us in 48 hours. If she did in fact have an infection she would have to stay in the Nicu for a 7 day antibiotic treatment and if it is clear at that point then she would get to go home with us. There is no way I could even fathom the second option. I just knew she would be back with us in 48 hours.
Mommy and Daddy holding our precious daughter for the first time. (I look like I just got put through the ringer)
The next day the tests came back. I was wrong. Stella had shown signs of an infection. They had tested my placenta and it had an infection. They say it happens often to healthy moms with no symptoms. The Dr. said it was probably only in my system for a few days, and assured me everything would be fine. At that point all I heard was infection, baby had to stay in the nicu for a week, and she needed medicine. I fell apart right there in front of all the doctors and people in the nicu. I didn't understand. I was in so much pain from the surgery, yet the only way for me to visit and feed my daughter was to go to the Nicu every 3 hours attached to a million cords. But this is what we had to do, so we did it. My family thinks that this is what forced me to recover so quickly. Anytime it was time for me to go visit Stella I would hop out of bed no matter what kind of pain I was in. Nothing could keep me from her.
After being in the hospital for 5 days it was my turn to be discharged. Most people get out of the hospital as soon as they can, but I didn't want to leave Stella and go home without her. My Dr, said I could have my room as long as I wanted on that last day. We also had received some great news that day. They had run another test on Stella, and her infection was completely gone so she was going to be discharged on Sunday after her last treatment at 6pm. We stayed until 11pm that night, after the last scheduled feeding of the day. That was the longest night ever. It felt nice being in my own bed, but leaving her in the hospital was one of the worst emotional pains ever. You go through 9 months of pregnancy, days of labor, and you go home without your baby. Its just a very strange and empty feeling.
The one thing I tried to remember was how blessed we were that she only had to stay two more days, and was going to come home. All the little 2-3 lb baby that Stella shared a room with had no date to come home. Their parents would have to wait months, even years for their little babies to become healthy if they ever would.
That Saturday and Sunday, we got there at the earliest feeding and stayed all day by Stella's nicu bed in these horrid wooden rocking chairs, leaving only to eat or go to the restroom. When we came in that Sunday, Trevor and I were so ecstatic. We would be able to take Stella home at the end of that day. When we walked into her room, Stella's nurse approached me with a worry some look. "I am sorry to tell you this but I was reviewing Stella's chart today and it looks as though a treatment was not logged, which means she may need to stay for another dosage which would be at 2am, so you will not be able to take her home until tomorrow." I just couldn't believe how a hospital could be so irresponsible of a medical dosage for a nicu baby. She said they were in contact with the nurse who was scheduled to give that dosage to see if she gave it and just forgot to log it. If that is the case Stella would still be able to go home today.
I was so not only disappointed but livid. I collected my thoughts and asked to speak to a supervisor. Not only did I want answers but I wanted to make sure that she indeed received all her treatments and that the nurse just wasn't going to say that she gave it to her so she wouldn't get in trouble. The supervisor assured me they would ask questions to see how she remembered giving her the dosage. After two excruciating hours, the head supervisor met with me, and said after review they have come to the conclusion she did receive that dosage and that it was an error in the chart log, so she would be able to go home that evening.
Once 6pm hit we got to remove all the cords Stella was connected to, and hold her without any machine connected. They removed her IV from her hand, and we were off to our home sweet home. We were surprised by our families who held a sweet welcome home get together for us. After all the heartache, and challenges our dream had finally come true. We were a family.
First Car ride, on our way home.
...and then there were 3.
Now that Stella will be turning two in few months, I look back and just think of how far she has come. I am so proud to be her Mama.
I hope all of you ave a beautiful Mothers Day!!