Friday, December 9, 2011

"A Baby Story" meets "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant!"

Ahhhh, the birth stories.  What mom can have a blog and NOT include their childbirth stories?  Those that had "normal" childbirths, that's who!  Up until almost 3 years ago, I was one of them!  The only exciting thing about my first one was that I was a wimp and asked for demanded two epidurals and then begged the doctor to just cut me and pull her out, because I didn't want to push anymore.  An hour was long enough for me! (Dislcaimer:  This post is not for people with weak stomachs.  Turn back now!  This is your warning!)

Then along came Gunner.  I was working for Best Buy, driving around the little Volkeswagon.  Yes, I was a Geek.  I did service calls and worked on people's computers in their home.  That morning, before work, I noticed that I had lost my mucous plug.  No biggie, it could happen weeks before actual labor, and I was 35 1/2 weeks.  I went to work and let my supervisor know what was going on, and she decided that (even though my only service call for the day was next door) I was going to stay in the store and she would do my service call.  So I pulled up a chair (my back was KILLING me that day), and started working on some computers.  A few cramps here and there throughout the day, but I figured they were just Braxton-Hicks.  

When I got off work, I went straight home to take a test for one of my online classes.  Since I had a clock handy, I was able to start timing these Braxton-Hicks contractions.  Irregular.  This is not labor, I still have a month to go.  After the test, I went to pick my daughter up from her afterschool childcare.  From where we lived at the time, it took about 10 minutes each way.  7 minutes, regular.  That's odd.  

I called my mom (a nurse) and mother-in-law on my way back home to let her know that we might end up going to the hospital just to get checked out, but that it was probably nothing.  The minute I got home, I let my husband know the situation on my way to the bathroom.  Blood.  REALLY not good.  I frantically searched for the phone book to call the "Call-A-Nurse" program at the hospital.  Pointless.  Got a recording that said they were only open Monday through Friday, 8 to 5, which I think is pretty pointless considering I could call my doctor's office during those hours!  

So reluctantly, I decided to call the clinic where my doctor worked.  I didn't want to be one of those women that called at every sign of false labor.  But there was blood...  my call was justified.  After the operator paged him at home, he told me to go ahead and go up to the hospital to get checked out, it was probably nothing.  At 8 o'clock at night, off we go to the hospital, Emma in tow.  

Once we were in triage, the nurse decided to start playing 20 questions.  

Nurse:  How many weeks are you?  
Me:  35 and a half.  
Nurse:  Have you had any complications?
Me:  Just the bleeding
Nurse:  How many times have you been pregnant?  
Me:  Twice.   
Nurse:  How many children have you had?  
Me:  One.  
Nurse:  Have you drank or used drugs at all during this pregnancy?  
Me:  No, although I smoked a little crack, is that ok?  
Nurse: chuckles.  (I wonder if anyone ever admits to really doing that, and what the nurse is supposed to do?)  Oh!  I guess we should get you checked out to see if you're dilated at all!

My daughter was sent out of the room for this, which is ok, I wasn't ready to traumatize her quite yet.  After a little poking and prodding, the nurse determined I was already dilated to 7 centimeters already, and said we weren't going home.  Great.  Just great.  I didn't bring a single thing, no camera, no clothes, NOTHING.

After a few calls and text messages to all the people on my "going to the hospital" list, I was finally settled in a room, and, since I didn't think to leave Emma with anyone, she was sprawled out on the couch in the delivery room watching cartoons.  A little before 10 o'clock, my visitors started showing up.  After a short time veryone was shoved out of the room while the anesthesiologist gave me my epidural, and I was soon relaxed and feeling good.

My doctor came in, checked to see how much further I had progressed, and said "Let's have a baby!"  And then this quaint little room that was almost like a hotel room suddenly turned into a hospital room.  Lights pulled out of hidden compartments in the ceiling, gowns, gloves and other equipment wheeled in from no where.  I asked my mom and mother-in-law to be in the room during the delivery.  Honestly, it was a little weird to have my MIL in there, but she hadn't witnessed any of her grandkids' births, and she didn't dare move down to where she could see anything, anyway.

I remember my doctor telling me to push.  Apparently it was a good one, because Gunner's head was already out!  Halfway through the second push, he's telling me to quit pushing (my husband says Doc was basically pushing Gunner back in because I couldn't NOT push)!  Next thing I knew, Gunner was being weighed and wisked off to the nursery.  My baby boy was 5 pounds, 13 ounces, almost 5 weeks early, and I hadn't even gotten to hold him yet. 

We spent a few days in the hospital, making sure his temperature was regulated well enough, and that he was eating well.  After 3 days, we were finally released.


Then along came Tanner.

Three weeks before I was due to have Tanner, my doctor went on vacation.  Imagine the movie "Knocked Up", and her reaction to finding out her doctor, who never took vacation, was out of town.  I freaked, and it was similar to the movie, except with more laughter.  (That's why I love my doctor, he's not all serious, all the time.  He loves to joke and kid around.)  But really, I was concerned, because Emma was a week early, and Gunner was a month early.  Me carrying a baby to 40 weeks just didn't seem possible.  

Almost halfway through his vacation, two weeks from my due date, I started having contractions around 1 in the morning.  They were irregular, some would last 30 seconds, some would last longer.  I decided to go ahead and call the clinic to talk to whichever OB/GYN was on call that night.  He told me to wait until they were 4-5 minutes apart and regular for an hour before I went to the hospital.  Around 5, they completely stopped.  Confused and exhausted, I went to bed.  The following week, we were due to have a bad snowstorm, so I called and scheduled an appointment to see if I should possibly get a hotel room close to the hospital so I wouldn't have to drive 20 miles in ice and snow in the event that Tanner decided to make her debut.  I was only dilated to a 2, but the doctor I saw (since mine was still on vacation) said it probably wouldn't be a bad idea.  We got a hotel room, but no Tanner.  

Then, on February 1st, my husband broke his right ankle... walking in snow...  that covered ice.  Awesome.  Nine months pregnant, a 23 month old monster who weighed 35 pounds, and a husband who had to keep his foot elevated at all times.

Monday morning, contractions started again.  It was 3:15, and all I could think about was how bad Monday was going to be if I was up several hours timing irregular contractions.  They were regular this time though.  Since everyone was in bed, I tried my hardest to get things together for the hospital.  I'm such a procrastinator, I didn't have a bag ready.  I take that back, I did have a bag that had an extra toothbrush and toothpaste and a few necessary toiletry items.  About 4:45, the bleeding started, like it did when I had Gunner.  I called the doctor on call, the same one that I saw before the snowstorm.  He said to go ahead an go to the hospital.  I woke my husband up, and he laid there until I got everything ready.  I wasn't in any rush, I assumed I had a couple hours before she would make her appearance.  Little did I know, I was wrong.  Dead wrong.

Between contractions, I carried my pillow, bag, the camera bag, and the infant seat to the car.  My husband was trying his hardest to get ready, and Emma was sitting on the couch in the living room, groggy.  I let one more contraction finish before I got Gunner up and picked him up over the edge of his crib.  That was fun.  Sat down during another contraction, and told TJ that we needed to get to the car quick before the next contraction started or I was going to drop Gunner.  

Everyone was finally in the car, and we were off.  Oh, I forgot to mention who was driving.  Me.  Remember, broken right ankle.  That's typically the one people use to drive.  I delegated him to making phone calls.  Since his mom ran the jail at the sheriff's department in our county, he asked her to call them and request that they NOT pull us over, and they called it in to the county we were heading to.  

Halfway to the hospital, the contractions were coming about a minute apart.  Why the hell did I have to take my time packing?  Every time a contraction started, my foot let off the gas a little.  I don't know why, because I needed to get to the hospital, FAST!  

As we got into town, I handed my husband my phone, told him to hit redial, ask to talk to the doctor on call, and tell him that he needed to be at the hospital like 5 minutes ago.  The contractions weren't letting up AT ALL.  The doctor told him something I was not expecting...  he said we needed to call my doctor, because he was back from vacation...  at 5:30 in the morning.  I'm not real sure what was going through my head at the time, but I was stopping at red lights and cursing as I neared the hospital.  

I pulled into the valet drive at the hospital, so they could park my car and we could go in.  As I started to get out of the car, I put one foot on the ground, and then sat back down.  I looked over at TJ and told him I wasn't going to make it inside, she was coming, NOW.  He tried his hardest to get around the car to my side, and I was doing all I could think of to not push, but the pressure was intense.  The poor lady working the valet station came around the car and quickly retreated, unsure of what to do.  I'm assuming she went to call for help.  I couldn't hold it any longer, I was pushing and couldn't stop.  By the time TJ made it around the car on his crutches, her head was out and between my legs.  He looked down and freaked!  I was yelling, Gunner was screaming and crying because his momma was yelling, Emma was trying to comfort Gunner, TJ was yelling for doctors, and the poor valet lady was absolutely stunned and unsure what to do...

Then he asked something I will NEVER forget.... "Do you want me to just pull her out?"  OMG!!!  NO!!!!!  He would've dislocated her shoulder and/or ripped me from one hole to the other with serious repercussions!  I told him to wait until another contraction started and I would push and he could just ease her out and make sure he didn't drop her!!  At 5:41, after one more push, out she came, and she was in my arms.  I was in shock.  I sat there and looked at her for a few seconds before my husband told me to put her on my chest and try to wrap her up in something... anything!!  Then he started screaming at the valet attendant and asking where the doctors were and said, "Isn't this the emergency room?!"  I had to calmly tell him no, that I had pulled up to valet, where they told me to go when I did my pre-admission...  It would have made too much sense for me to actually pull up to the emergency room for help!

About that time, the pediatric respiratory therapist was coming into work.  (I found out through talking to him during my clincals on the pediatric floor that he had parked in a different area of the hospital than he normally had, and was actually early for work!)  He pulled his jacket off and wrapped it around her.  About that time, the nurses from Labor and Delivery finally made it down to the front doors, without any equipment.  An emergency call was made across the hospital's paging system, but nothing was ever said about it being a delivery of a baby.  So one of the nurses rushed upstairs to get cord clamps and scissors to separate the two of us.  As the respiratory therapist was about to cut the cord, I stopped him and asked if TJ could cut it.  I know, silly request at the time, but it was important to TJ since the doctor did it so quick with Gunner to get him off to the nursery and into an incubator.  

That was the last I saw of Tanner for a few hours...  It was painful to be up in the delivery room, finishing the delivery of the placenta, and then transferred to the postpartum room, and still not see my baby girl.  Everyone else had been in the nursery checking her out, coming back and telling me how beautiful she was, and I couldn't see her with my own two eyes.  (She had to stay in the nursery because she was on oxygen due to her traumatic birth and the low temperatures she was brought into.)  Then the nurses brought me some pain medication.  Stadol.  My gosh, is that some good stuff, or what?!  Around 11, I finally got to go see Tanner.  She stayed in the nursery that day, and I had to feed her in there.  Finally, they let her come to my room.  It was such a joy to have her in there with us!

So now, this baby has some work to do if it's going to try to outdo Tanner.  I'm not exactly sure if it's possible, but I wouldn't doubt that God has something up his sleeve to test me even more!  He definitely has a sense of humor! 

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