Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Birth Story of My Seventh Child: A Routine Ultrasound, Surprise Induction, and Teeny Tiny Baby

Moms remember every "birth story", regardless of the amount of children they have. They can tell you the time that they went into labor, the number of centimeters that they were dilated on which date and at what time. They can tell you every detail of every matter how many years pass and how many other children come afterwards...because the experience is one that will never be easily forgotten. It's an experience that ends in a precious little person that comes in a teeny weeny little package that will continuously bring stories and memories throughout its life.

I can tell you all of the details of each one of my children's births, too. All seven of them...where I was, how I felt when I went into labor, how early they came - or how on-time, in comparison to their due date. I can tell you what I had planned...and how my plans were sidetracked by the new addition. I can recite, moment by moment, a plethora of thoughts and feelings that came with each of my children...

Lucky Number Seven

The birth story of my newest and littlest addition to the family is one that I have told many many times already. It's one that I, once again, will definitely not forget!

Friday morning, 9/9/11, I had a routine ultrasound at the highly boasted Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo. (The same facility that I had just taken Dylan for surgery three days earlier.) It was a busy first morning, sending four children off to school and running out the door to drive 45 minutes to my appointment. By the time I arrived at the hospital, I was late and worried that they may make me reschedule the appointment. However, they said that they were still able to see me.

I was first put on the fetal monitor for 20 minutes, then I was walked to the ultrasound room. Unfortunately, there was only one monitor in the ultrasound room, as I patiently awaited the technician to tell me something. She took measurements and told me that the baby wasn't cooperating, and finally, after about a half hour, she turned the monitor and showed me that my little man had hair! You could see the little bits of hair on his head and I couldn't wait to see him and hold him!

To my surprise, I would be holding him a lot sooner than I thought...according to the due date, I still had a little under two more weeks to prepare. But, in the world of newborns, we all know to expect the unexpected...

At the end of the ultrasound, the technician nonchalantly told me that she was going to run the ultrasound by the doctor and she would be right back. Within 5 minutes, two nurses returned to the room to tell me, "Try not to be alarmed, but you most likely will not be going home today."

My immediate reaction was confusion, mixed with "what in the world is going on???". "Why, what's going on? You mean I'm going to be hospitalized?" I couldn't possibly stay in the hospital for two weeks! My children need me at home with them! I mean, I was prepared to stay for a couple of days when the baby was born, but...

Cutting into my thoughts, one of the nurses said, "Your amniotic fluid is low and the baby is measuring small. In addition, he wasn't moving around as much as we would like to see when you were on the fetal monitor. Sometimes, it's better to deliver the baby early...the doctor is on her way to talk to you. Let's wait and see what she says." Now, it had been a very hectic, stressful morning, so the baby had been moving the whole way to the hospital, but he slowed down while I was sitting hooked up to the fetal monitor (and those reclining chairs were so relaxing!), so that wasn't of concern to me. All of my babies have been between 5 lbs and 14 ounces and 7 lbs and 12 ounces, so the fact that he measured small didn't faze me very much at first, either, but the amniotic fluid being low...I wasn't sure exactly what that meant.

I Needed To Call My Husband

It just so happened that, in the middle of the morning mess, I couldn't find my cell phone, so I had left without it, and this was the moment when I started panicking and wishing I had the cell phone to call my husband with. I told the nurses that I needed to move my car, as I had parked in two hour parking - and that time was up. In addition, I needed to call my husband...was there a phone I could use?

They told me to go ahead and move my car, were nice enough to tell me where I should park, and told me to get back as fast as I could, because the doctor was on her way. So, I ran to the car (yes, 9 months pregnant!), moved it and went back upstairs where I was able to use a phone to call my husband. My first words were, "Don't be alarmed, because I haven't talked to the doctor yet, but I might be having this baby this weekend." I proceeded to tell him what little information the nurses had told me and we agreed that I should come home so we could make arrangements for the children, I could pack a bag (no, I didn't have my bag packed, as I didn't plan to go into labor for two more weeks!) and get as prepared as I could before I went back to the hospital.

Discussion With the Doctor

When the doctor finally came and we went into the ultrasound room, she and the nurses held a dialog that was full of medical lingo that I could barely understand. The more I listened, the more I started to get worked up. Finally, the doctor told me to come over and look at the graphs that she had on the computer screen. She showed me that my little guy was only measuring in the 10th percentile for his fetal age, asked me if I had been leaking any fluids (not that I recalled), and also wanted to know how often the baby moved.

Here is where I become extremely alarmed...what is wrong with my baby and what aren't they telling me??? The doctor wasn't quite sure, just by looking at the ultrasound, what exactly could be wrong, but there were enough signs for her to want to proceed with induction.

When the doctor told me that she recommended that I be induced immediately, I explained to her that I needed to go home and get things squared away and then come back in a few hours. Was that going to be okay?

She agreed that it would be okay for me to go home and come back, as long as I promised to come back. I told her, "This is my baby we're talking about. If you say he needs to come out to be cared for, then it would be awful if I didn't come back."

Fear and Worry

If you've ever been told that something might be wrong with your unborn child, you understand how I felt all the way home. I was somewhere between panicked, scared and worried. You will rarely see me cry - that's just how I'm built, but I was unable to hold back some tears as I drove home.

At Home

After fighting mid-day traffic all the way home (a 35 minute drive that took almost an hour), I was met with my husband who was in "baby name mode". We still hadn't come up with a name, so he was searching through baby boy names on the Internet and writing down the ones that he liked the most. He didn't seem worried about the baby - or maybe he just didn't want to let me know, but his forward-thinking was exactly what I needed at that moment.

I hurriedly packed my bag, trying to remember all of the little things that I would need, still a bit cloudy and confused. I have a list of What I Packed in My Bag For the Hospital, if you're interested in knowing. :)

The children arrived home from school and we told them that I was going to go to the hospital to have their baby brother. They were ecstatic, ready to welcome their new baby brother into the home. I still couldn't be too excited, stuck between worried and a bit of shock.

It was shortly after the children arrived home that my husband brought me back to the hospital. We knew that the process of induction wasn't going to go very fast, so we agreed that he would drop me off and I would get started in the hospital and when things were "in motion", I would call him.

It just so happened that it wasn't going to happen that fast...

The Induction

After checking in, I was taken to a room where I was asked the 101 questions for registration. My nerves started to calm down drastically as I watched the nurses struggle with and complain about the new computer system. (This computer system would be a major topic of conversation throughout the duration of my stay at the hospital, as everyone seemed to be frustrated with it).

A lovely nurse by the name of Dawn was so very sweet to me. She told me not to worry too much, as it was possible that the amniotic fluid being low was only because I was dehydrated and that the fact that I always had smaller babies would be a good indication that this one would be small, too. So, she didn't see anything to be alarmed about. I seriously needed to hear that. She also scrambled to get me into the computer before the hospital kitchen closed, because she wanted me to eat before we started - I hadn't eaten much all day.

It turned out that I was dehydrated, as it took 3 different people before they could get a good IV stick in me. Next, they inserted this thing called Cervidil - it is supposed to thin out the cervix. This was supposed to stay put for 12 hours, and Dawn told me that I could have an Ambien a little later to help me sleep. She recommended that I take them up on the Ambien, as I wasn't used to sleeping away from my kids.

It wasn't until 11 pm that I requested the Ambien...and within 30 minutes, I was knocked out cold. Around 7 in the morning, I was awoken by a nurse to check my stats and realized that I was having contractions 4 minutes apart, but I was only 2 centimeters dilated at that point in time.

Nobody told me I could get the epidural at 2 centimeters because I was being induced...I was just told that they would order it when I started to get uncomfortable. So, I waited...and when the nurse checked on me around noon and noticed that I was having some pretty heavy contractions, she said she would order the epidural. I asked her if she needed to check to see how far I was dilated first, and that's when she told me I could get an epidural at any time if I was getting induced (NOW, you tell me!...LOL)

Did I mention that I was keeping friends and family updated on my laptop on Facebook? Yes, through most of the process, I was updating my status on Facebook and communicating with family. One of my cousins even insisted that I "Put that thing away"..."that thing" being my laptop.

Shortly after I got the epidural, the nurse told me that they were going to break my water soon. I called my husband, because I knew that once the water was broken, things could move pretty fast. He was on his way already, it just so happened. When checked, I was about 4-5 centimeters dilated.

My husband arrived and my water was broken and I spent some time talking to my kids and answering a million questions. My 2 year old buddy wasn't sure what to think of me, with cords and tubes attached to my arms. He wasn't sure what to make of everything and sure didn't want to get too close to me. I felt a little sting of sadness mixed with hurt, knowing that he was accustomed to having mommy all of the time and that the night before was his first night going to bed without me...was he mad at me for leaving him? He wouldn't offer me any consolation...

It didn't seem like much was happening, as I was fairly relaxed with the epidural - and the children were being the best that they could be for a whole three hours. At about 3:30 PM, my husband decided he would take the children home, call the babysitter and head back to the hospital...I could just call him if he needed to come back faster.

He Didn't Make It Far

The nurse came in within moments of my husband's departure, went to check to see how much I had dilated and said, "The baby's head is right there!" So, I started dialing the cell phone frantically, and told my husband, "Get back here now! The baby's head is right there!" Fortunately, he had taken the kids to the cafeteria to get some drinks, so he was still in the hospital. The hospital didn't allow children in the room during delivery, but they were kind enough to allow my husband in the room while the children sat in the waiting room.

It took about 15 minutes for the delivery team to come in and get set up, as they were in another room when the nurse started calling for them. And the pushing started and ended within 5 minutes.  At 4:08 PM, our little Chase Alexander entered the world at a mere 4 lbs, 15 ounces (as opposed as the ultrasound's guess-timate of 5 lbs, 7 ounces).

I wasn't able to see much of what was happening across the room, in the warming bin where they whisked the baby to. I remember my husband was snapping pictures and videotaping our new little guy and I could hear crying - a good sign. There was a bunch of suctioning - my husband later told me that the nurse was working hard to suction him and that his breathing was not so good - or so it seemed.

I was able to hold and feed little Chase for about a half an hour before they once again whisked him away and told me that they would bring him to me after I was moved to another room, where I would stay for the remainder of my time in the hospital. It wasn't until 9:30 PM that he was brought to me, but I was delivered amazing news along with him...he was released from what they called "recovery" and seemed to be healthy as can be. They said he was a feisty little guy!


I find it truly amazing how a little guy who weighs less than a 5 lb bag of sugar could have so much spunk! Even the nurses and pediatricians were in awe of how feisty and lively our little Chase was. I wondered if they were going to release him, though, as small as he was.

He and I were released Monday morning, to my surprise, two days after his arrival. Thank goodness, because I was definitely ready to go home to my children! Chase was eating well and seemed to be doing just fine, so homeward bound we were.

My Recovery

My recovery was (is still, two plus weeks later) extraordinarily rough. Maybe it's due to the fact that I have been through 6 epidurals (with Wes, I did not have the option) or maybe it's because I'm getting "older"...and it could even be because I have given birth 8 times (which included one very sad birth story of our son who did not survive...I will share that one, too, one day).

I'm betting on a combination of the factors creating such havoc on my body...and hoping that I will be back on my feet, running around like "normal" soon enough. For now, I will welcome the break and continue to count my blessings on a daily basis. Each day, I live in awe of how much my children are learning, doing and speaking. They never cease to amaze me! My heart bursts with love for them, even on the "bad days".

Do You Have An Amazing Birth Story?

If you have an amazing or unique birth story that you would like to share, Mommy Rantings is a guest-post friendly place - you are welcome to submit your story!

I appreciate the staff at Women and Children's Hospital and can now testify, in my own words, why they are boasted as one of the best hospital facilities for Women and experience with them was wonderful and as comfortable as they could make it (no, it's not home, but they try very hard to accommodate their patients). Both my experience with my son, Dylan, who had surgery there and my own experience, earns them a perfect 10! (Oh, I might need to take off a fraction of a point for the missing dessert at one meal and the missing coffee at another, but other than that, they were awesome!)

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