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Britton's Birth Story, Part III


After my c-section, I had to lay in the recovery room with my nurse, Kim, for an hour. I still hadn't seen my new baby, and Landon was all the way on the other side of the labor and delivery ward with Britton as the nursery staff attempted to make her more stable after her difficult delivery. As I lay there, all I could do was sob and shake uncontrollably. My delivery had been anything but expected, and I was terrified about what was going on with my hour-old baby. 

At eleven o'clock that night (an hour after I came out of surgery), the neonatalogist who was directing Britton's treatment came into the recovery room and told me that Britton had been stabilized in the level II nursery. Britton was having trouble breathing because of the meconium that she'd aspirated, but the nursing staff had gotten her breathing under control enough to have me visit quickly.

Landon took this picture while I was in recovery and brought them to me so I could see our daughter.
Landon came down to escort me to the nursery, and I was wheeled in on my gurney to meet my daughter. Because of the epidural, I couldn't do much more than touch her little foot, but the nurses did get my gurney as close to her tiny bed so I could see her. She was so small and beautiful, and she looked exactly as I had imagined: she had a swatch of dark hair and my nose. I hated that I couldn't pick her up and hold her, but I knew that she and I had both gone through a difficult time, and we needed to rest. 

The nurses pushed me back to my room, and I saw my parents, Landon's parents, my sister, and Landon's brother for a few minutes before I passed out from exhaustion and my pain medication. 

The next day, Thursday, Landon took me to the nursery so I could interact with Britton more. I even got to hold her for the first time!




I hated seeing all of the medical stuff that she had on her, but her breathing and oxygen saturation had to be monitored. She was doing really well until Thursday afternoon when my sister and mom came to visit; they both held her and her blood oxygen level plummeted. Because of that, Landon and I had to be very careful about overstimulating her during our nursery visits. 

By Friday, she was still having trouble regulating her breathing and oxygen level, and the nurses talked with us about the possibility of her staying in the hospital for several more days until those issues had been taken care of. I couldn't be discharged until late Saturday or Sunday, but the nursing staff ran us through their "Rest Easy" program, which would be available to us if Britton did have to stay extra days--through that program, Landon and I would have a room to ourselves for the duration of Britton's hospital stay for free. We were feeling optimistic that her medical issues would soon be over, and that we would be able to stay near her until the nursing staff was ready to send her home. 

Around four p.m. on Friday, I lay down for nap. Landon told me he was going to spend my nap time in the nursery with Britton, and I fell asleep comforted by the fact that Britton wouldn't be by herself for a little while.

I hadn't been asleep even an hour when I woke up to Landon shaking me. I knew as soon as I looked at him that something was very, very wrong. Landon choked back tears as he told me that Britton had taken a turn for the worse, and the neonatalogist on call was recommending an immediate transfer to a level III nursery at a local research hospital. Britton had been throwing up in the last hour, and the nursing staff was concerned because the vomit was green, which can be a sign of intestinal obstruction.

The neonatalogist came into my room to explain what needed to be done: Britton needed x-rays and tests done to determine if she had an obstruction. If she did, then she would be rushed into surgery to correct the obstruction, or she could risk dying. Needless to say, Landon and I were an absolute wreck.

In less than an hour, the pediatric ambulance from MUSC came to pick up Britton. She was wheeled into my room so that I could see her again before she was transferred. She looked so small in the transport incubator that they had her in, and I cried as I was allowed to hold her little hand. I gave Landon one more hug, and the two of them were rushed out of the room by the transport team.

Part IV here.

Britton's Birth Story, Part II

Read part I here.

Around 6 p.m. on June 5, the midwife in charge of my labor and delivery announced that I was completed dilated and effaced and ready to push. Just about this time, the nurse that had been with me all day, Rachel, had to trade off with our night nurse, Kim, because of the shift change. I was sad to see Rachel go, but Kim ended up being an awesome part of our delivery team as well!

The midwife, Gene, and Kim coached me through a few practice pushes so that I would know what a helpful push would feel like. I figured that out quickly and started pushing through the contractions. Landon, Gene and Kim were awesome at keeping me positive through each of the contractions, and the two and a half hours went by surprisingly quickly. At one point, I even thought, "Wow, this part is way easier than earlier" (but that may have had to do with the fact that my epidural was working extremely well, and my contractions were under control). 

So, I began to push. 

And push.

And push. 

For nearly three hours. 

Britton had actively been descending for much of this time, but in the last half an hour or so, she stopped moving down and essentially became stuck. No matter how hard I pushed, she couldn't make the turn around my pelvic bone. Her heart rate started going up, and my temperature went up. 

Gene the midwife told me that I had chorioamnionitis, which can occur when a birth goes on too long. At this point, I had been in labor almost 14 hours, and I could feel myself getting very weak. She had me rest for about ten minutes and then push one more time. I knew as soon as I looked at her after that series of pushes that things were going from bad to worse very quickly. 

This complication was putting too much stress on myself and the baby, so Gene ordered an emergency c-section. Gene and the nurses were also worried that Britton would aspirate the meconium in her amniotic fluid because of the stress and prolonged birthing process, so it was essential that I go into surgery right away. 

As soon as I heard that I had to have a c-section, I started crying. Everything that I'd wanted in this birth had gone completely in the other direction. I'd wanted a completely natural birth, but ended up getting an epidural and an induction. I'd wanted to avoid a c-section, but now had to get one to keep my baby and myself safe. Looking back, I know that all of these decisions were absolutely the right ones for myself and Britton, but it was so hard to wrap my mind around the sudden changes after preparing for a particular birth experience for nine months. 

Kim, the nurse, quickly explained what would happen in surgery: the doctor would make my incision and the baby would be delivered in less than ten minutes. As soon as the baby was delivered, she would be quickly assessed and cleaned, and then she'd be brought around to the side of the surgery curtain where Landon and I were. The entire surgery would take around 45 minutes, then I would go to the recovery room for about an hour before going back to my room to rest. 

I cried as the midwife notified the doctor on call to prepare for surgery and the anesthesiologist to up my medication.

I cried as Landon put on his surgery scrubs.

I cried as I was wheeled into the operating room. I cried as I was prepped for surgery.

And then I cried all the way through the surgery. On top of all of that, I shook the entire time, which is apparently normal for that stage of labor. 

The surgery was scary--I've never had anything worse done than my wisdom teeth taken out, so I was completely unprepared for the experience. The worst part was when the doctor had to take Britton out. There was a huge amount of pressure where the midwife had to press on my stomach while the doctor pulled Britton out because Britton was stuck under my pelvic bone. 

The surgery started at 9:05, and at 9:13 p.m., the doctor announced that Britton was born. Landon and I looked at each other and were so, so happy. We heard Britton cry just once, and then there was complete silence, which scared both of us. We could hear the nurses scurrying around, but other than that, nothing. 

Kim (who was amazing during and after the surgery) told us that Britton was having trouble breathing, and they strongly suspected that she had aspirated meconium during the birthing process. Because of this, the nurses were trying to keep her from crying and, thus, from swallowing or breathing in more of the toxic liquid. She explained that a neonatologist had been called in to assess Britton. 

When that doctor came in, he recommended that Britton go to the Level II nursery immediately for tests and monitoring. Landon and I had to make a snap decision about where he'd go; I told him to go with the baby and make sure she was okay. While I was still on the operating table, Landon had to follow Britton to the other side of the labor and delivery ward to accompany her during her procedures. 

I lay helpless on the table as my brand new baby was wheeled past me in an incubator. I could only see her tiny leg as she went by. Neither Landon nor I knew what she looked like yet. 

For the next thirty minutes, I clung to the anesthesiologist's hand while my surgery was finished up. Kim stayed with me the entire time and sat with me in the recovery room: she kept trying to find out what was going on in the nursery with Landon and the baby, but no one had any definite answers. 

Stay tuned for part III...

Britton's Birth Story, Part I

I had known for several weeks that Britton had grown faster than we'd all expected. By week 38, she was measuring like a 42 week baby, which presented some issues for her upcoming birth: the major ones being that she might be too big for me to birth naturally, or she might have expelled meconium into her amniotic fluid. I also had tested positive for Group B Strep, which--if left untreated during delivery--could have devastating effects on Britton. Because of these risks, we went ahead and scheduled an induction for her 39th week.

On Wednesday, June 5, Landon and I woke up bright and early at 4:30 a.m. so that we could be at the hospital by 6 a.m. After I had settled into my labor and delivery room, and a TON of paperwork had been completed at the hospital, my doctor broke my water (weirdest feeling ever) and I was encouraged to walk around to start the contractions. The nurse noticed that my amniotic fluid was slightly tinged with meconium, so the medical staff was careful to keep an eye on that while I labored.

In the hospital waiting for the doctor to come break my water and get this party started.
Landon and I took several laps around the labor and delivery ward to no avail. My contractions had started, but were erratic. The nurse started me on pitocin at a very low dose (about 4 milliunits per minute) to see if that would start things along. The contractions started to even out and get closer together, but, as the doctor wanted them to be two to three minutes apart, they still weren't doing what they needed to. The pitocin got slowly increased over the course of seven hours.

The nursing staff encouraged me to do whatever I wanted to in order to stay comfortable--I used a birthing ball, walked around, leaned on the bed, and sat in a hot shower. The shower really helped me focused through the increasing discomfort. Throughout all of that, Landon coached me using our Hypnobabies techniques; he kept me calm and focused through each of the contractions, and I wouldn't have been able to deal with the contractions as well as I did without him.

By two thirty, the contractions were coming less than two minutes apart, and I had little to no recovery time between some of them because of the way that Britton was positioned. I was exhausted after over seven hours of completely natural labor; the final straw was learning that (in those seven hours) I had only dilated another 1.5 cm to 6.5 cm total. At that point, I really didn't think I would be able to continue to labor for additional hours without some sort of pain relief, so I asked for an epidural.

I had originally been against an epidural because 1) I have a super sensitive back and I hate people touching it, and 2) I detest needles. By the time I'd been through those hours of pitocin-labor, I was ready for help wherever it came from, even if it meant I had to deal with the 1-2 punch of back touching and needles.

The anesthesiologist came almost immediately to administer the epidural (during which I tried to hit the doctor, but that's another issue all together) and my contractions were reduced within just one or two waves.

I don't remember much about the next few hours, other than I tried to relax and recover some of my strength so that I could push when it was time. I could still feel the contractions a little bit, but the pain was much, much more tolerable. During this time, I also found out that my doctor who had seen me through my pregnancy had gone home with strep throat, so she was being replaced with a midwife from the same OB group.

Around six p.m. the midwife told me that I had completely dilated and it was time to push!

On to Part II...

She's Here!


Britton arrived Wednesday, June 5 at 9:13 p.m.
Mom, Dad and baby are loving their new family! :)

Birth story to come soon!



39 Weeks!

This will definitely be my last weekly update, as baby Britton will be making her debut tomorrow! I'm 39 weeks and 1 day according to my original due date, and Britton is measuring like a 42 week old baby or so. She'll be induced tomorrow morning beginning at the horrendous hour of 6 a.m.

We thought long and hard about the decision to be induced. I was originally completely opposed to any sort of medical intervention and wanted a natural birth through and through. Babies, however, have a mind of their own, and I've decided that a slightly-less-than-natural-birth is the best thing for me and for Britton.

For one thing, I tested positive for Group B Strep, which I wasn't expecting. It can be passed to the baby during delivery and can have some horrendous effects on a newborn if the mom hasn't had antibiotics to treat it during the birthing process. That, coupled with the fact that I am over halfway dilated at this point, made me nervous that my birthing process might go too quickly to administer the necessary medications to protect my baby girl if we weren't already at the hospital when my labor began.

Britton is big and healthy and ready to rumble, so it only made sense to schedule an induction. I'm covering all of my bases, and I am protecting my daughter as best as I can.

My doctor is going to try every possible natural method of inducing me before recommending Pitocin or other invasive labor-starting techniques, so I'm still getting the birth experience I wanted (close to it, anyway). At least I will have my baby with me very, very soon!

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow. It's going to be monumental for our family! :)




The Weekly Stats:

How far along? 39 weeks and 1 day.
Total weight gain: No comment.
Maternity clothes: I have been living in some soft cotton maternity shorts and Landon's t-shirts. Everything else just feels tight and binding at this point.
Sleep: I am officially in baby sleep mode: I don't sleep more than an hour and a half at a time (thanks, tiny bladder), and false contractions often wake me up in the middle of the night.
Best moment this week: Seeing Britton on the final ultrasound. She looks healthy and amazing!
Miss anything? Eating sugar without getting pummeled by my baby afterwards (she's strong!). Being able to stand up and sit down without my knees hurting. Wearing normal clothes. [I could go on and on but I won't bring the post down with lots of complaining.]
Movement: For someone whose house is so snug, she still moves around all the time. Landon and I joke that she has cardio class at 1:30 p.m., kickboxing at 3:00, and dance around 4:30. She's especially active after I eat something sugary, and particularly loved my cookies and cream milkshake I had before the ultrasound last Thursday. 
Food cravings: Anything cold, like ice lollies or ice cream. Fruit is also a big draw (watermelon and strawberries, especially). And oh, what I would do for a sub sandwich! (Guess what Landon's mom and dad are bringing me tomorrow when they come to the hospital?!?!)
Anything making you queasy or sick?  Still a little heartburn here and there, but nothing I can't cure with a Tums or two.
Gender: Girl! Her name is Britton.
Labor signs: Being 5 cm dilated. Having insane amounts of false labor contractions. 

Symptoms: Hugeness in the stomach area. Swollen feet and hands. 
Belly button in or out? STILL an innie! It is clinging to that status within an inch of its life, but I think I can safely say that I will not ever have an outie during this pregnancy.
Wedding rings on or off? Off. I'm glad I took them off when I did because they would be super uncomfortable right about now.
Happy or moody most of the time: Moody. I am so uncomfortable that so many things annoy me (see: every song on the radio, things being repeating more than once, moving).
Looking forward to: Holding Britton for the first time. I am going to be an emotional wreck in the best way!


Dear Britton,

Daddy and I are so excited to meet you and make you a part of our family. You are so loved and treasured already, and I know that those feelings will only intensify once you're here.

I need you to be brave and strong tomorrow because it's going to be a tough day--but don't worry because I will be strong and brave right along side you.

Only about twelve more hours before we start the process of getting you here.

I love you!

Mama

37 Weeks

How far along? 37 weeks and 6 days. 
I started the usual weekly questions, but gave up after only a minute or two. Those questions don't seem to deal with the root of how I'm actually feeling at this point. Rather than go through those questions, I will tell you how I really feel (beware: there is a lot of complaining below): 
1) Huge. Even turning over on the couch at this point requires careful planning and uncomfortableness. My feet and hands are puffy and tight no matter how much water I drink or how long I put my feet up on the couch. 
2) Frustrated. I had a membrane sweep at my 37 week appointment last Tuesday, and I was TOTALLY sure that would give Britton the kick start she needed to get going. It did get the contractions started, and I've had two separate times where Landon and I just knew we were in labor (alas, we have been terribly wrong both times). For some reason, I knew Britton was coming this weekend. I have no clue why I thought this, but I completely had myself convinced. But, here it is, Sunday night and no baby. I haven't even had that many contractions today. 
3) Moody. In the last seventy-two hours, I have cried (in all seriousness!) for all of the following reasons: 
  • I wasn't in actual labor but rather just having contractions that go nowhere.
  • Britton was ignoring me (because she was refusing to come out). 
  • The dog doesn't love me anymore. 
  • No one else thought it was a great idea for me to pour water on myself and go to the hospital and tell them that my water broke and to take the baby out.
  • My dad asked if I was still pregnant and I was snippy with him. So, I cried because I thought I hurt his feelings.
  • I don't know. I have started bawling several times for no apparent reason at all. 
The worst part is that I KNOW I sound completely ridiculous when I say these things, but, in the moment, my normal, rational, logical self goes off somewhere without the rest of me.
4) Impatient. It is no secret that I hate waiting on things. The idea that I could have days and days or even weeks before my baby arrives is driving me crazy. I want to be un-pregnant, and I want to meet her SO BADLY.

I know all of this will be completely worth it once Britton is here, cuddling with me. I try to keep that in mind above all things when I get worried or frustrated. She will be here soon, and she will be perfect and amazing and healthy and worth every moment of annoyance on my part.
I also have to remember to cut myself a little slack--Britton and I have been together for eight-and-a-half long months at this point, and we have been awesome together. This next step will be tough work for both of us, but I am ready to undertake it. Britton, we are ready when you are, little girl!

36 Weeks (in Which I Turn into a Giant Beachball with Limbs)

These last two weeks have thrown me for a loop. Landon and I were slowly chipping away at our checklist of things to do pre-baby, all while thinking we still had about four more weeks to go. I knew I was getting bigger--my doctor had been telling me that I had been measuring ahead for weeks now--but I chalked it up to being almost full-term. 

Until last Thursday when we had an OB appointment and ultrasound to evaluate Britton's growth. To our shock, 36 week and 4 day old Britton is (on overage) measuring more like 38 weeks. Her head is measuring 39 weeks!! 

Our due date was moved from June 10 to May 29, and there was discussion of induction because Britton is already so big (about 7.5 pounds and completely full-term-sized). Now, our weeks have been cut in HALF and, realistically, Britton could show up any day now. I go back to the doctor's office on Tuesday for a re-evaluation, and we'll talk more to the doctor about our birth plan options then (I want to go completely natural with my Hypnobabies program, but, if necessary, I will consider induction). 


Me and my friends Anna and Brittany at my baby shower on Sunday.
(stolen from Anna's Facebook page--thanks, Anna!!)
How far along? 36 weeks and 6 days (according to my original due date). Britton is full-term tomorrow!
Total weight gain: 28 pounds. 
Maternity clothes: I'm so big that my maternity clothes aren't even fitting anymore. Can't I just wear a muu-muu and slippers until she gets here?
Sleep: It's all uncomfortable. I get up constantly to pee at night (like every hour and a half), and I am fully ready for our baby to get here so that I have a more exciting reason to get up at night. 
Best moment this week: Our second baby shower hosted by Landon's siblings. We had such a wonderful time with our friends and family!
Miss anything? I usually put something about how I miss sub sandwiches or being able to bend at the waist (which I do), but right now I'm getting into the super heavy, kind of miserable stage. So, most of all, I miss looking like a normal person rather than a walrus or beachball. 
Movement: I can tell that she's getting ready to make her debut because she's stopped moving as much as in past weeks. She's still a mover and shaker, but her space is quickly running out in there. As I type,  my stomach is moving slightly side to side as she makes herself comfy. 
Food cravings: Watermelon(!!) times a million. Strawberries are a close second. 
Anything making you queasy or sick?  Not so much anymore. Since Britton has dropped, I don't get heartburn as much as I have in the past weeks. Usually, I can make it through the day with only a Tums or two. 
Gender: Girl! Her name is Britton.
Labor signs: Braxton-Hicks on and off--they've gotten more substantial in the last week or so. Britton has also dropped in preparation for the big day!

Symptoms: I'm huge. If you can't tell I'm pregnant at this point, you are blind. 
Belly button in or out? STILL an innie! I really thought it would have popped by now, but (though it's smaller than before) it's still in. 
Wedding rings on or off? Oh gosh, my hands and feet have started to swell something serious. I'm glad I took my rings off when I did because they would be stuck at this point. 
Happy or moody most of the time: Still happy, but tired. 
Looking forward to: Meeting our baby!! She's soooo close to being here now. :)