Austin’s Birth Story: Part 2

As I was being loaded into the ambulance, I had been reconnected to the Magnesium Sulfate to be transported.  In reality, the drive ahead of us was a crazy curvy road that would last for about two and a half hours normally.  I don’t know how but we made it in just over an hour and a half.  The drive was beyond bumpy.  If you have never been in an ambulance before, they attach you to a gurney and then secure it to the side of the ambulance.  I am not a stick figure by any means but I am still a smaller person.  I can not even begin to imagine what it would be like to be big and be attached to that very tiny board.  With each turn I was thankful I was attached with straps or I knew I would go flying right off.

My Mother sat in the front seat and talked with the driver while one parametric sat in the back with me.  We chatted a bit, I was so thirsty which I was not allowed to drink but he offered me chewing gum.  The lights were on during our drive but the sirens were only used during the towns or cities.

I was beyond thankful when we arrived, it was crazy.  As soon as I was wheeled through the doors I was greeted by my Husband.  I was astonished he could have been there but my brother-in-law said he drove very quickly, just being sure they were safe.

The doctor’s and nurses moved around me in a frenzy.  Although I was asked a thousand questions it seemed like each question was being asked by someone new.  I was a bit intimated by the very large delivery room I was placed in with tons of equipment.  I was beyond happy that they agreed to stop all the medication and let me deliver Austin as he came naturally.  I was almost 34 weeks and UAMS delivers babies at 24 weeks so they were very equipped to handle a preemie baby in their various levels of the NICU.

They immediately started running scans on myself and the baby.  His heart rate had been fluctuating so much they put an internal monitor on his little head to get more accurate readings.  I hated the thought of something attached to his head but I wanted him to be safe.  Specialist after specialist came into the room and then left.  It was truly a blur.  Bryan and my Mother were both in the room with me and they were so frazzled.  They were tired also but just looked at me from across the room with a helpless look.

When I asked if I could stop all the medications, I don’t think they quite understood I wanted to stop everything!  The pain medication they had given me through the IV I wanted stopped as well.  I wanted to get my bearings back.  I just couldn’t quite think straight and I couldn’t handle the pain, or at least I couldn’t until that point because of the type of pain I was having.  Within a few hours though I realized just how drastic my pain levels had changed.

I was no longer having any type of contractions in my back.  Was I not in labor any more?

This was my first labor so I truly didn’t know.  I was still having contractions about every 12 minutes but they were nothing like I was having before.  My stomach would harden, I would want to tighten up but nothing I couldn’t handle.  My pain had gone from a 10 to about a 3-4.  I mean the difference was night and day!

After several doctors and nurses had come in and out I finally asked one of the head OBs what could be a reason my pain was so different.  He was the attending doctor so he had my information from the previous hospital he was reviewing to decide a game plan.  The baby had shifted positions and no his body was at a slightly different angle not putting pressure on my spine any longer.  He said I could probably thank the ambulance ride because of the type of terrain we had to drive over.  For whatever reason Austin had changed positions, I couldn’t have been more thankful.

As the room quieted down, for the first time since Wednesday (it was now Saturday night) I wanted to sleep.  I dosed between tests and examination a few minutes here and there.  I was monitored through the night and then it was morning.  For the next several days there were so many doctors in and out of the rooms.  I had several ultrasounds and other tests down to be sure his lungs, kidneys and heart were all doing well.  They were surprised at how far his development was since he started off so small and his growth had to be assisted with so many medications.  I was allowed to drink and eat in small quantities again, yay!  You don’t realize just how much you miss water in your mouth!

It was explained to me that I had been given so many medications to try to stop my delivery that it may take days or even a few weeks for my labor to really pick up again on its own.  Unless something were to go wrong with the baby, they were not going to aid it but let him come as they wore off.  I was happy and at the same time the thought of weeks in the hospital was a bit overwhelming.  I was moved to a wing with other Mamas that were also waiting to deliver or needed to be constantly monitored.  Some had been there 6 weeks.  It was sobering.  I had never even thought anything like this could happen to me.

The wing I was moved to was a women’s only floor but were co-sleeping rooms, so no one was allowed to stay in the room with you overnight.  I was crushed.  The staff was amazing but the thought of being without my Mother and Bryan was so hard.  Night time was my hardest time to deal with pain because I tended to focus on it more.  Bryan had to leave the floor at 11pm but my Mother, since she was a woman was allowed to stay in the waiting room, and she did.  There was not an option in her mind, she was not leaving the hospital, period.

That night my nurse was amazing.  He, yes he sat with me and talked for hours.  I had so many questions, I had no idea what to expect or really what the doctors expected.  He patiently answered all my questions and told me experiences about other moms that had delivered.  I was totally put at ease.  For the first time since Wednesday night, (it was now Monday night) I had the desire to sleep.  I slept about four hours and when I woke up Tuesday morning, I was all wet.  Because of his position, I had been leaking for days.  I just thought I had peed all over myself.  I knew the doctor’s would be in the room between 6:30-7am so I was allowed to get up and with my Mother’s help finally shower!  Oh, the water on my skin felt awesome!  Standing was beyond a challenge because it truly felt that I was swishing his head, but Mom helped and we laughed and laughed.

I felt better than I had all week.  I changed, they changed my bed sheets and the doctors walked through the doors.  They still were not quite sure what to do.  They explained that I hadn’t started dilating again, I was still at a 4 and he hadn’t dropped anymore, thankfully because he would be out if he had so they were going to let me walk around the floor a little to see if things progressed any.    Other than my shower that morning, I hadn’t been allowed to really move about at all since I was admitted to the hospital.  I was excited.

I didn’t realize just how much of a challenge it would be to walk.  It literally felt like I was swishing him between my legs.  I had been told I was waddling before, now even my Mother chuckled.  Bryan had slept at my Grandparent’s house and decided to sleep in.  Mom and I decided to walk down to see the NCIU.  I didn’t know what I was in for.  It was a challenge but we made it.  My heart was so sad at first to see all the tiny babies hooked up to machines and monitors.

Blue Collage baby

Then I realized, I shouldn’t be sad, these babies were survivors.  No, they couldn’t go home with their parents just yet, but they were fighters.   There were several Moms and Dads in holding their babies, feeding their babies or just visiting and touching them in their incubators.  I met a Mother from our small town who had to deliver her baby at only 26 weeks due to severe pre-eclampsia and although they had been there for almost two months, they were hoping to go home in the next week or two.

The Critical Care NICU was more heart wrenching.  The babies there were not allowed to be touched.  It was sobering.  I prayed our little one would be well enough for me to touch and hold.  I just kept praying.

My blood pressure was extremely high so they started having me collect my urine to test the protein.  Later that day we went into the computer lab and spent a little time cutting coupons.  It was good to be up and about.  Although my contractions had not stopped, they were 12-15 minutes apart and I was totally able to cope.  My sisters were talking about driving back down but they were talking about bad storms later that night.  I didn’t want them to drive in them so we encouraged them to stay home.   Nothing had changed and I really didn’t expect it to.

About 6pm I was getting excited to watch American Idol and the news took over as it always does when storms start to move in that are severe.  Tornados had started popping up all over Arkansas.  About that time my contractions starting changing.  They were starting to become a little more intense but still very manageable.  Mom wanted to have the nurses check me but I insisted we wait.  I had been checked and tested so often I wanted to make sure it was real and not going away.  Bryan was getting more uncomfortable with each contraction I was having.  They started keeping track of them and by 8pm they were only about 5 1/2 minutes apart coming very consistently.

They came in and checked me and told me they thought my water had broken.  I told them about waking up wet and thinking I had an accident.  I was immediately moved to another room and strapped to monitors.  Within that hour my contractions were slightly less than 4 minutes apart.  I was then moved to a trauma delivery room. Although I had truly wanted a natural delivery, I was beyond exhausted and so worried about being able to handle the pain.  We had decided that if I felt I needed an epidural I would take it.  I decided to ask.

The anesthesiologist came in to discuss the epidural and have me sign paperwork.   She was called out for an emergency c-section and assured me I had plenty of time and she would be back.  It was about 9:30pm and her words were, “Honey, this is your first.  You probably still have another 10-12 hours before you are ready.”  Boy was she wrong!

The storms were pounding Arkansas and there were storms right over us.  The TV in the delivery room I was in was showing the weather and there was a tornado ripping through the county we lived in.  Mom and Bryan were trying to call everyone, anyone, and not a single call would go through.

I was only dilated to a five when I was checked but my contractions were getting more and more intense.  At 10pm I was checked and dilated to almost a 10.  It looked like he would be natural after all.

My nurse called the doctor, and then there were five people in the room, two nurses and three doctors.  They started prepping me to push.  I pushed, and pushed, and pushed.  He was not in a good position.  They pulled and stretched me.  Pushed his head back and tried to reposition him, time and time again.  I was exhausted and began to panic inside.  What if I didn’t have the strength to push him out?

His heart rate started to go down so they reattached a monitor to his scalp.  It steadily declined.  I was praying.  The doctors were getting more and more urgent with their instructions for me to push.  The head OB kept saying we have to get him out, he has to come out.  Bryan and Mom were also encouraging me to really focus on pushing.  I was really trying but I was so, so tired.  The doctors were starting to panic.  They pressed a button to signal others to come in.  I was told it looked like I would have to have an emergency c-section.  He was getting critical.  I opened my eyes and the room was literally full of nurses and doctors.  There must have been twenty people.

My heart panicked even more.  I closed my eyes and they told me this was my last push or they would have to take him.  His head came out.  I sighed.  Two more pushes and the rest of his body was out.  It was a little after 11:30pm.  There was not a cry or a peep.  I started crying.  Mom saw him and started crying.

His head looked like it had a tumor on it and he was a purplish color.  His nose was almost flat and he had bruises on his forehead, upper lips and chin.  I was allowed to kiss his forehead and he was handed off to the pediatricians.  I tried to listen to everything they were saying but they worked so fast.  Finally the slightest cry came out and my heart wanted to beat out of my chest.  He was in the room about 10 minutes, I was able to give him one more kiss and he was ushered into the NICU.

I couldn’t think of anything else while they worked on me and treated me for my blood clots but Austin.  I wanted to be with my son!  My placenta was having difficulty coming.  It took almost an hour for my placenta to come and with my clotting they wouldn’t allow me to  get up.  I needed three or four stitches and then was given medication.  After two hours I was allowed to shower.  I just wanted to see my baby.

It was then I found out his apagar scores were only a 3 & 5.  I was told he was having difficulty breathing and his temperature was extremely low.  Finally a wheelchair was brought to me (I wasn’t allowed to walk due to the amount of clotting I had) and I was going to be able to see Austin.

I will share the rest of our story tomorrow!

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