Saturday, July 21, 2007

Monday Memories: Claire's Birth Story

Dear Claire,

Well, it took me a little longer to get this down in writing than your sister's did, but that's what happens when you have two babies instead of one! You are already four months old - where does the time go? I'd better write down your birth story before I lose the details!

During the last month of my pregnancy I was diagnosed with Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy - which, roughly translated, means that my liver was broken and I itched a lot. This condition can cause some pretty serious complications, so Dr. Sinnott, your Dad, and I agreed to induce labor if you weren't born before March 21. On March 13, though, I had a headache that didn't go away, in spite of the fact that I had taken Tylenol. I remembered this from when I was pregnant with your sister, so I called the doctor's office and made an appointment to get a non-stress test and a blood pressure check that day. Meanwhile, since it was the first really nice day of the year, we played outside with your sister and did some yard work. I honestly didn't think it was a very big deal.

When I got to the doctor's office, the nurse, Linda, checked my blood pressure and it was 168/100. That is extremely high. She had me lie down on my left side on the exam table (not easy when you're 8 months pregnant!!) and went to call the doctor, who was not in the office that day. When she came back, her eyes were as big as grapefruits and she said, "He wants you to meet him at the hospital!" My mouth gaped open and shut like a goldfish for a minute, and then I burst into tears.

I was really afraid of being induced. While I was pregnant with your sister, I read a bunch of books that scared the socks off of me. Not only that, but your Grandma Denna was still on vacation in Spain, and I had really wanted her to be there for your birth. I called your Dad, who started to make arrangements for your sister, and then I called Grandma in Spain and cried a whole lot. She cried too. We were an international mess.

It turns out that I actually spent more time crying over being induced than I spent in labor, but we'll get to that...

So, I got home, and your Dad had arranged for our good friend Karen to come over to sit with Mary Grace until Grandma Diana could get to our house. We got everything ready. After the rush to get to the hospital when MG was born, it was weird to have enough time to remember things. What's ironic is that I had spent a large part of my pregnancy with you worrying that I would have you in the middle of the kitchen floor, because I had been in labor such a short time with your sister. I guess it's time for me to stop worrying - it seems that I always worry about the wrong things.

After I dragged my feet, hoping that I would go into natural labor, as long as I thought I could, we drove to the hospital. We checked in and were admitted to a labor and delivery room. The nurse was really nice. We filled out a ton of paperwork, and then we waited... and waited... and waited...

The doctor finally arrived at 6 to put in the Cytotec, which was the drug that he used to start my labor. Normally I would've been freaking out and asking him a thousand questions, but by that time I had resigned myself to the fact that we were going ahead with this, and I didn't really have a choice, so when your Dad started asking questions I said, "Let's just do this." I was so eager to meet you, but I was so frightened that you would have complications from being born 4 weeks early, or that I would have complications from being induced. Anyway, by that point I was over it, and if we were going to do it, I wanted to get the show on the road.

I had little, "cute" contractions with the Cytotec. It wasn't anything more than a menstrual cramp. I don't even count those first four hours as "labor" because it wasn't hard work. I would say things like, "I think that might have been a contraction." That's not labor. When you're in labor, you know! Or at least, I do, anyway.

So, we hung out for four hours. Your Grandpa Bob, Grandma Susan, and Aunt Megan came to the hospital. They helped me laugh and relax and not worry about things so much. Grandpa Bob and I went for a walk. Grandma Susan bought dinner for your Dad. We just hung out, really, talking and laughing and telling stories. I worried about you. I worried about your sister. I worried about me. I tried not to let any of it show. Having Megan and Grandpa and Grandma there helped, not only because they distracted me, but because I felt like I had to be brave for them.

The nice thing about being induced was that I knew that these were the last few times I was going to feel you moving inside me, so I got to cherish those memories. When your sister was born, I felt lonely in my own skin for a long time, until I felt you move. It was hard, after getting used to those little "hellos," to get used to not feeling them anymore. I enjoyed those little kicks, even pushing on my belly to make you wiggle, so that I could feel them one more time before you were born. When you give me grandbabies, you'll understand how special that feeling is.

I was beginning to think that the Cytotec wasn't working, when the doctor came back (at 10 pm) to break my water. When we started, I was at 3 cm, and the Cytotec had only helped me to dilate one more centimeter to 4. He said that was enough, though, and he broke my water. I didn't look at the instrument that he used or anything, I was too scared.

Immediately after he broke the waters I felt this huge rush of hormones that caused me to cry and shake and get really, really scared. It didn't help that I also had a huge contraction. It felt like about 3 hours of normal labor happened to me in about 3 seconds. The doctor told me that this was normal, and that I would be okay, and went to lie down. The nurses told me that they needed to monitor you for an hour before I could walk around, so I had to lie in the bed and try to keep the monitors on you (you kept moving around and we'd lose your heartbeat, which was terrifying, even though I knew what it was).

My memory gets pretty fuzzy after that. I know that Grandpa and Grandma and Megan were still there, but they kind of hung back. I really only remember your Dad's face. He was so wonderful and encouraging. I kept saying, "I want to go home!" and "I can't do this!" (that's how I do transition, I guess). He was like a rock, and I don't know how anyone has a baby without him there, because I know that I wouldn't want to!

After about 45 minutes I started to feel like I needed to push. I remembered from the first time that pushing felt really good, so I wanted that part to start right away, because my contractions were sharp and extremely painful. The nurse checked me and said that I was at 8 cm. I didn't believe her, I felt like I was at least at 13. I told Megan to go get the doctor for me, because it was time to PUSH! She didn't know what to do, so she just stayed put. I had the nurse check me again, a short time later, and I was at 10. Your Dad says that it was 15 minutes later, or so. It felt like 15 seconds to me. I had no concept of time. Everything was moving so quickly. The contractions took all of my attention. I would feel one start and I would say, "Here comes another!" and your wonderful Daddy would remind me to breathe, and he'd look into my eyes, and he'd hold my hand until I made it through. He was just incredible. If this rocket science business doesn't work out, we're going to rent him out as a labor coach.

Finally the nurse checked me and I was at 10. I wanted to push so badly, but they kept telling me to wait for the doctor. That's like trying to hold back a tsunami. When you have your babies, and you want to push, go ahead and push, don't listen to them... Anyway, I really tried not to push, but I had to, so I had two little pushes while we were waiting for the doctor.

Your dad and I didn't notice, but all three of our witnesses (who stayed for the whole thing, it happened so fast!) said that the lights and sirens on the labor ward came on at that time. Apparently I was going a little too fast, so they turned on the "uh oh" lights. That meant that everyone in scrubs in a 10 mile radius was suddenly in my room. I remember looking up and thinking, "There weren't this many people when I had Mary Grace!" But then I remembered that you were 4 weeks early, and I thought, "Well, maybe it's the NICU team, just in case there's a problem..." and I decided not to worry about it. Meanwhile, the doctor was running to my room. When he got there, he barely had time to get his gown on and sit down before I pushed you out into the world. I remember thinking, "Geez, I hope he doesn't spike her and yell, 'Touchdown!'"

When they laid you on my chest, I said, "She's purple and covered with mayonnaise!" You were the strangest color I'd ever seen - there has to be a picture of it somewhere (Grandpa Bob took a few pictures that were confiscated, but that's another story! Good thing he's a nurse and he's used to that sort of thing, or we'd both still be in therapy! :) ). The nurse rubbed you really hard with a towel, until you were a more normal color.

Thank God, you didn't have any problems that are normally associated with premature babies - your lungs were fully developed and everything. You were 7 lb. 3 oz (I only have one mold) and 18.5 inches long. You were born at 11:09 pm, so I was only in real labor for one hour and nine minutes! WOW! Talk about a rocket powered baby!

You are just the sweetest little baby in the world. You're so good, and you love to cuddle. I love being a mother of two. It's a lot easier the second time around - you are benefiting from all the things I learned the first time around.

I love you so much!


1 comment:

strwberrryjoy said...

I'm glad you posted your links onto Facebook! I haven't back-tracked on your blog since I started following it, and just enjoyed reading both of their birth stories. I love birth stories! :)