Monday, September 10, 2012

Birth Story

Our Birth Story

At my 38 week appointment after I was checked for dilation, Dr. Duke noticed that I wasn't progressing any more. I had a low Bishop score and she said that my cervix wasn't as favorable as she would like it to be. She also said that she wasn't worried though and that if I wanted I could wait until 40 weeks to see if it would improve at all. With my cervical stenosis I wasn't thinking it wouldn't happen on its own. She also added that waiting every day after 39 weeks that your body starts to work against you and labor wouldn't be any easier just because I let myself go to 40 weeks. Bigger baby, lower fluid, etc. At the same appointment she measured Avery at already 8 pounds! She also mentioned that even though the chances were low (1% with each passing day after 39 weeks) the risk of fetal death goes up every three days after 39 weeks. Fetal Death? Are you kidding?! Even with all this new knowledge she said that everything was still looking good and that there was no pressure the choice was mine and she would support me in every way.

We discussed the risks and benefits to inducing and afterwards Nick and I went to dinner at The Fish house very nervous. It seemed to both of us that the benefits/risks to inducing really outweighed the risks of waiting to 40 weeks. I was to be induced on August 13th at midnight. Exciting yet horrifying that it was already here!

 Surprisingly I wasn't scared for labor. I was in a great deal of daily back pain, along with other late pregnancy pains that were pretty excruciating and was completely ready to be in control of my own body again. Not to mention that I have had many friends tell me that once they got the epidural everything was a breeze.

We went to walmart around 11 p.m. and got a goody basket for the nurses. Highly recommended on most baby websites as well as by our friends in the hopes of feeding the nurses helps you get prompt treatment as well as it just showing our appreciation. (Let me tell you, it worked tremendously. I wanted for absolutely nothing with those kind and sweet nurses) I got settled in and finished paperwork around 1 in the morning. Started fluids and pitocin by 2 a.m. I received some pain medicine for some issues I won't talk about on the blog haha and happily fell asleep until 7 in the morning. At 8 I started to feel minor contractions and my water was broken and epidural started promptly afterwards.

Having them break your water is the strangest feeling. How you can sit there and just feel like you are peeing all over yourself is beyond weird.

Here is how I thought my labor and delivery would go....

Nick and I would check in and be by ourselves until I got my epidural at which point I was supposed to be so happy and upbeat that I would allow family and visitors to come and frolic in the delivery room while I labored. (this is literally how some friends described the relief they got from the epidural) The baby would come out after pushing for no more than 20 minutes, they would hold her up, clean her off and give her to me. I would then spend a blissful two hours alone with Nick and our new little girl, feeding and bonding before allowing family in to see her.

Here is how my labor actually went...

Around 2 in the afternoon it was apparent that my epidural wasn't working in my lower back because I was having really bad dull back pain that wouldn't alleviate. I also noticed that I hated the feeling of the epidural because it made my legs feel like they weighed 200 lbs each, they kept falling off the bed on one side and were extremely swollen. Even with this annoyance I still allowed people in the room to visit. I don't know how much company I was however, because as the back pain got worse I had to close my eyes and imagine myself somewhere else because the minute I opened them the pain was worse. The nurses came in at four to redose my epidural thinking that would help but it did nothing.

At one point my Dad suggested that there was a study done with patients with severe burns and in chronic pain, had the pain centers in their brain light up with relief when they were playing hand held games. Basically they were distracting themselves without knowing it from the pain and got relief. Nick handed over his Ipad with a game he downloaded for me and it truly helped. I was pretty astonished. I also was exhausted because of how long my back had been hurting me and with the knowledge of how much longer I had to go (I was only to five centimeters then) I had a hard time concentrating on the game itself.

People came and went but I honestly don't remember who was there or what was said. I remember allowing people to come into the room but I had to focus so hard away from the pain with my eyes closed.

Finally at ten p.m. I remember the nurses coming in to check me, telling me I was ready to push and putting my legs in the stirrups. I was so tired I barely opened my eyes and wasn't even excited to push. It really didn't register that this meant my daughter would be here soon at that point. Once I started to push I knew something was wrong because every time I would push I could feel all of the pain in a spot the size of my hand above my left ovary area. It would cause me to yell and cry in pain with every push. My doctor said it was what was called an epidural "window". Where one part of your body just doesn't take the medicine and the epidural just has no effect there. GREAT!

Time was elapsing and even with the back pain and lower ovary pain I still pushed as hard as I could  and no baby. The nurses kept telling me to push harder, which honestly really made me angry because I was SO TIRED from laboring in horrible pain all day, but even still I was pushing as hard as I possibly could! I knew my face was red and felt every vein in my forehead and neck pop out when I was doing so. One of the nurses used a towel she held on to while I grabbed the other end and pulled against her which was more of an effective push then me holding the bed rails.

The towel though would cut into my fingers and make them red and hurt quickly so Nick jumped in and used the same method but with a bed sheet and I crossed my forearms in it against my chest and pushed and pulled that way. I remember talk of forceps and vacuum being used but also being warned of a possible brain bleed so I said no to those. My doctor also didn't want to use them because Avery wasn't in distress at all. (I knew I was a real mother at that point, sacrificing my own pain for her safety)

I was in a very dark place as more time elapsed with me pushing as hard as long as I could and even though they kept saying you are so close! I just kept thinking you have got to be lying to me because her head isn't even out!! I was scared that I would be too exhausted to push the more time passed but what gave me a second wind was the possibility of problems with Avery after she was born because I quit. Even though she wasn't in distress at the moment I knew that could change.

Nick said at one point the nurses came in from outside and said that the Operating room was set up and ready to go but I didn't hear it. (Which was a good thing because I knew I would have said, "Lets GO!" Nick was such an amazing partner during all of this, even though I had my eyes closed, trying to manage the pain the best way I knew how, not interacting with anyone including him, he was still 100% involved. All of my labor photos show me just that. I am so blessed to have a man who is that much in love with me, how lucky can can I be?

What was even more discouraging was that inbetween contractions when you are supposed to relax, I heard someone say that she was slipping back in. So basically when I would push she would start to come out but get stuck past a certain point and not progress anymore and when I would relax for five seconds inbetween contractions she would SLIP BACK IN! Are you kidding. That was completely disheartening to hear.

Finally a whopping two and a half hours after I started pushing I felt the biggest pressure of my life and I heard them say her head was out. The doctor told me not to push and I felt a huge twisting turning pain and she said to continue pushing. In one shove her body was out after that. I was so relieved that I nearly passed out from pain. I remember only opening my eyes every few seconds for at least five minutes trying not to surrender from exhaustion.

Nick was teary eyed and went over to watch them clean her up as Dr. Duke was attending to my needs. He came over hugged me and we cried together. I noticed we hadn't heard her cry yet and I was just now processing that this wasn't good. When I had my eyes closed the NICU had came rushing in to evaluate her because she was having breathing issues. Turns out she had the the cord wrapped around her neck twice, a fever of 102.5 and low blood pressure. The NICU doctor came straight to me and said that he thinks she will be fine so he wasn't going to take her to the NICU but rather watch her closely in the nursery because he suspected her issues were from her "traumatic delivery". I'll never forget those words.

Turns out, no one knew that Avery was face up (the wrong position for delivery and the cause of all of my back pain while in labor) until her head was out of me. The horrible twisty/turning pain I felt after her head was out was the doctor turning her body around so that the rest of her would deliver in the correct position. Not to mention Avery had her chin sticking straight up instead of tucked into her chest which was another reason she would slip back in in between contractions. Horribly misshapen head and swollen like the marshmellow man she was still the most beautiful little being I had ever seen.

We didn't get to spend any time with her after delivery because she had to go immediately to the nursery to be watched closely. Because of this and my sheer delusional exhaustion I allowed everyone in the waiting room into my room to see her before they wheeled her off. Nick and I did get to hold her each for about two minutes before they took her which was nice.

I think that about covers it, Avery is about to wake up from her nap and will be hungry so I'm going to run! <3

A rose by any other name

How miss Avery got her name.

As most of you know we decided to keep our little girls name a secret until she was born. The main reason was that we had a hard time deciding on a girls name and we didn't want to tell anyone and have it change at the last minute!

But another fun reason is that we thought it would be nice for the family to say, "This is your new granddaughter, Avery Cate." So, after she graced us with her presence, (taking her sweet time) we happily announced her beautiful name. I had a hint of a worry that her name wouldn't match her face but when I saw her in the little hospital bassinet blinking up at me, it completely fit her.

When we knew we were pregnant I went out and bought the essential baby name books and we scoured them for hours each night. Nick liked to quickly Veto any of my quirky favorites...(Valentina, Fiona, Quinn, Emory). We had a much easier time narrowing our boy list down for some reason, I think mainly due to the fact that every member of his family and mine were convinced that we were having a boy because of past history of the family tree. All except Nick. From day one he said he knew we were having a girl.

Two months from her due date we had our girl names narrowed down to five names.

In no particular order:

1.) Amelia - one of our old favorites from when we first started trying to have a baby but a year after we started trying, even though we hadn't shared our favorite girl name with anyone, Nicks cousin had a little girl and that is the name they chose for her. Funnily enough I became very close to his wife and Amelia is the cutest little bug so it doesn't bother us! Not to mention if we did choose this name it did make us think there is already another Amelia Ellwood and that was something we didn't care for, especially since the first one was so cute. :)

2.) Lilah Grace - This would be a first and a middle name but I frequently said them together. As much as I loved the combination of the two names it didn't work for many reasons, one of the biggest is that Nick said Lilah Ellwood sounded like a mouth full of marbles...Another is that a friend of mine who is also TTC said in a conversation one day that it was their chosen name for their yet to arrive miracle. And lastly as much as I liked the name the more I tried to picture my daughters face with that name it just wouldn't come into mind.

3.) Olivia - all of the names I wanted for my girl were perfectly princess kind of names and even though this one was an extremely late addition, (because it was so high on the social security website for names in popularity) Nick somehow attached himself to the name so much that he would tell my pregnant belly, "Goodbye Olivia!" when he was headed to work.... It was a pretty name but just too popular, I didn't want her to be Olivia E. More of a unique name called to us.

4.) Avery - Our big winner.

I grew up in East Hill in Pensacola and near Avery Street. My first introduction to the name was the first babysitting job I ever had at the age of 14. My neighbors one street up had two little girls, Jennifer and Avery. I thought Avery was such a cool and unique name for a little girl and I had never heard it before. Fast forward to us trying to have a baby of our own and it danced in the back of my mind but never came to the forefront because I thought it lacked the "Princess Quality" that the other three did. So I kept ignoring the signs that this would be the name for our girl.

The day after Christmas I had a major scare with our pregnancy. I started cramping in the early afternoon and it got pretty bad around the early evening. After heading to the bathroom I noticed I was bleeding quite a bit but not what was considered to be heavy. I called the doctor and he put me on bedrest. Because I was only five weeks pregnant he said there was nothing the ER could do if I went there and all of the coming and going to get there could cause more problems. I was to go to Urgent care in the morning and get an Ultrasound before going to my regular fertility appointment that Monday. Needless to say I was an horrible, anxiety filled wreck all night. I prayed we would see a heartbeat on the way to the clinic in the morning and was preparing myself for the disappointment of a loss.

When the doctor started the ultrasound I was holding my breath while she searched for the baby. Finally we saw a tiny little blinking light. She said, "Do you see that right there? Thats the baby's heart beat." After bleeding this early she said our chance of a loss was down to only 20% after seeing the heartbeat. She even let us hear it for a few seconds. The minute the little light of life came flashing on the screen my mouth produced the words, "Hi, Avery, hi baby." I didn't even know the baby was a girl! I should have known from that point on that it was meant to be her name.

Many months pass and I am in Pensacola awaiting Nicks move down her so we can get settled in our new duty station. My mom still lives in East Hill and every time I would drive to her house I would pass Avery street and my heart would just soar. It was a true physical reaction in me to seeing the name. I called Nick right away and said, "I feel like her name is Avery and I just keep ignoring the signs!" He replied that the whole week we were apart he was calling her Avery in his head and he didn't tell me till that moment!

Cate is a literary reference from Pride and Prejudice. And overall just a classic southern name.

Funny how we can't see things that are so clearly in front of our face at times. :)

We love you so much our sweet and perfect Avery Cate.