Friday, December 20, 2013

Scarlet Rose's Birth Story

Scarlet is almost 5 months old now, so I suppose it's high time I write her birth story.

It had been weeks since I'd had a decent night of sleep. My belly was enormous and made it impossible to get comfortable. Most nights I had such bad heart burn I couldn't lay down and I was up to the bathroom no less than 5 times a night. Still, no matter how miserable I felt, I refused to wish she come early. Through sheer force of will, I was going to keep her safe inside me until it was her time. Scarlet had other ideas. It was early the morning of August 7th. I was already awake but there was a terrible storm blowing through. The thunder was so loud it shook the whole house and woke Charlie. Scared, he came to our bedroom and climbed into bed with us but he was restless. I couldn't get him back to sleep and I was beginning to get really uncomfortable. A steady tension had taken over my belly and made it even more difficult to get comfortable. The tension persisted so long, I began to worry something was wrong. When it was time for Micha to start getting up to get ready for work, I told him I thought I was in labor. I was only 35 weeks, I didn't even have a bag packed. We called my Mom, our doctor and I showered and threw some things in a bag. Micha had to go into work. We had no idea whether they would allow him to take off to be with me as he was still in training. Our neighbor took me to the hospital. Micha finally got a hold of someone who could approve him taking off so he met us there.

When we arrived at the hospital, I wasn't sure what would happen. I wasn't even entirely certain I was in labor. I kept saying "I'm going to feel real dumb if I'm not. This is my 3rd time and I still haven't got it figured out!" If it was true labor, I thought they might try to stop it. They admitted me and hooked me to the monitors and confirmed I was in fact in labor. The nurse wanted me to stay in a reclined seated position, hooked to the monitor until Dr. McFarlane arrived and decided whether we'd proceed or try to halt labor. I remembered how hard it was for me to communicate what I needed or wanted during my labor with Charlie. I repeated "I can't stay like this" until the nurse agreed to let me sit up more. The doctor arrived and said it probably wouldn't do much good to try and stop things at this point. Our nurse remarked that I must have some power over the notoriously controlling Dr. McFarlane. I told her that had never been our experience with him, in fact that was why I'd chosen him again. I'd even considered a home birth but he was so cool with Charlie, we went back to him. I spent the majority of the rest of my labor in the giant tub in our birthing suite. My Mom arrived. I was not hooked to a monitor again nor was I "checked" again until it was time to break my water. The hospital called a neonatalogist to come and arrangements were made for the transport team to come and take Scarlet to Children's Mercy as soon as she was stable.

Dr McFarlane thought things would progress faster if he tried to release my water. What was supposed to be a small leak turned into a flash flood. I had hydramnios which was why my belly was so huge. Now there was so much fluid coming out at each contraction, a janitor had to be called into mop the floor. Transition came on quickly and I'm not ashamed to say, I am a yeller. I had been moaning through the contractions in an effort to keep my jaw from tightening but as the contractions became more intense, the moaning got louder and grew to yelling. I remember distinctly telling my mother she was crazy. I also remember wanting to not swear and mar an otherwise beautiful event. I didn't want to, but I did. I was having trouble saying the things I really wanted to say like "I need to move" came out "I can't do this". I felt like sitting was blocking her path but I couldn't move on my own and I couldn't tell anyone what I wanted. I decided that transition was not working for me and I was going to start pushing whether it was time or not. "I'm done with this" I said. Then I started to feel her moving and she was right there. The doctor wasn't in the room, the janitor was still mopping, my Mom was helping the nurse put pads and towels down. I needed to tell them but I couldn't make my mouth say the words. I pointed but no one understood. I finally blurted out "She's coming!"

The doctor arrived. I remember him saying "Give me 2 seconds, just 2 seconds." I thought to myself, "Are you talking to her or to me? Because she is not listening and I am not in control of this ride, buddy." I was still yelling. My Mom told me to pant. I thought "Panting. Right. I know that. How do I pant? Dogs pant. How do they do that?" I think I even stuck my tongue out. I couldn't make my body do what my Mom was now demanding that I do. "Forget it" I said to myself. You can't hold your breath if your yelling. You can't yell through clenched teeth. The yelling was working for me.  It took no time at all. A couple of pushes and she was out. "I did it!" They tried to put her on my chest but her cord was so short she barely reached. Mom and I decided later, that was why I'd never really felt her drop. It was only a few seconds before the neonatal team took her. They worked on her in the corner of the room while Micha watched over them and my Mom stayed with me. Was her color good? Did she cry? I couldn't tell. It happened too fast and I was so tired. Was she ok? I think they said she was but I couldn't see her. There must have been 8 people in gowns standing over her. I couldn't hear them. I think I started to have a panic attack. It felt like something was squeezing my lungs shut and the harder I tried to fill them, the more it hurt and the tighter they closed up. 

Once I was able to sit up more, it became easier to breath. My Mom and Micha reassured me that Scarlet was ok. How big was she? That was my next worry. She had to be a certain size in order to have her surgery endoscopically, the least invasive way to perform the procedure she needed. I began to shake. No one told me that after natural labor my body would shake uncontrollably. It hadn't happened after Tay and Charlie. I was freezing and shaking for what seemed like an hour. My lips turned blue and I couldn't feel my fingers. Even my Mom got a little worried. They brought me extra blankets and I rolled to my side and finally fell asleep.

After a few minutes, the neonatalogist came in to talk to me about Scarlet. She was a healthy weight, 6 lbs 6 oz and was 19" long. She'd needed oxygen but she was otherwise looking very good. The transport team would get her ready for her trip to Children's Mercy. I was able to rest a little more before my doctor came back to tell me that as long as I was careful and promised to take it easy, he would release me. I could chose to stay overnight or I could go home. The nurse wheeled me to the nursery to see Scarlet off. The transport team moved her into the mobile isolette and went through their check list. I started to cry. All I wanted to do was hold her close to me. To take her home and cuddle her in our bed. It would be 7 long weeks before we would be able to.

Scarlet is most likely our last baby as Micha and I feel our family is complete. I had such a hard time feeling connected to her, even before her diagnosis, but her amazing birth made up for it. We worked perfectly together and from the moment I looked at Scarlet, I knew I needed her as much as she needed me.