Saturday morning, August 28th, EARLY morning, 1:30 am early, I awoke because I had to use the facilities. As any pregnant woman knows, this is NOT a rare occurrence. The nightly potty runs. So, I use the facilities, and as soon as I stand up, GUSH. Water! Holy crap! I’m not due until SEPTEMBER 17th! I get very giddy, very quickly. Technically, I am EXACTLY 37 weeks along, which is, according to my midwife, full term. So we’re good. I get myself cleaned up, and I crawl into the bed to wake Sam and tell him. “Sam” I say, “you’re not going to work tomorrow” and he of course, questions my logic. “My water broke” I say, trying to not scream it. He doubts me again. “Really?!!?” He jumps out of bed and runs into the living room where I had thrown all of our “how do I know if I’m in labor” information that we had gotten at the birthing class LAST WEEK (yes, we were very lazy). He starts looking for the section with the water breaking… and he asks me, “Okay, COAT… what color was it? What did it smell like, how much was there, and how long has it been?” As I answer him, I am getting my phone and calling the midwife on call. I tell her that my water broke, she asks how far along I am, and am I having contractions. No, no contractions. She tells me to drink a glass of juice, make sure baby is still moving around (yes, he’s moving around like crazy) and get back in bed, go to sleep because I’m going to have a long day tomorrow. She also told me that I should call the midwife in the morning and figure out what I need to do. GREAT!
Well, at least I know we’re having a baby this weekend. So, Sam hops back into bed (and of course is asleep in seconds) while I proceed to go into the kitchen to get some juice like she instructed me. As I am walking to the refrigerator to get the juice; WOOSH! Not kidding, it WAS like something out of the movies. It just kept coming and coming. Two towels later, I get out the DEPENDS my sister in law had given me (she had just had her baby in June) and pray a silent thank you to her. I try to get into bed to sleep, to no avail. Ever try to sleep while peeing all over yourself constantly? Yes, that’s what it felt like. Nonstop. Anyway— 4 am comes along, with some seriously mild contractions. As I explained to my sister, these “mild” contractions were similar to having your period, and feeling like you’re going to throw up at the same time. Not fun. And yes, those were mild. I wait as patiently as I can before I call the midwife at 7 and we make plans to meet at the birth center at 8:30 am.
Come 7:30 AM, I couldn’t wait any longer and I called my parents. They live in Georgia, and I wanted to let them know that they should get their hineys on the road because I’m going to have a baby this weekend!! They were ecstatic, and wanted me to call them after I went to the birth center (to make sure my water DID actually break). At the birth center, the midwife tells me that because my water broke, AND that I tested positive for Group B Strep, we have two options. The first option is to head directly to the hospital and have them basically induce me (as I was still only having very mild contractions) or to come back at 7 pm (if not before) and get on antibiotics (necessary because of the Group B Strep) and wait it out. Sam and I decided that we wanted to wait it out, and agreed to meet her back at the birth center at 7 pm. Then we went to breakfast… which was a bit awkward because some of the contractions were getting stronger, and then headed home.
I “relaxed” all day between very random and relatively easy contractions and stronger, regular contractions while Sam painted our deck. At 6:00, Sam wanted to go to our friends’ softball game before we headed to the birthing center. We did, and while driving there, my contractions were getting stronger and stronger, requiring hand holding by this time. When we finally got to the birth center (seemed like it took forever) she hooked me up to an IV of antibiotics and a slight dose of pitocin. All I know is that from there things got a little hazy. At some point, I was begging the midwife to check me because I just “knew” I was at least THIS CLOSE to being 10 centimeters. I was 3-4. Go figure. Now that she checked me, I needed to have the baby within a certain amount of hours (because checking introduces bacteria). I have no concept of what time anything took place other than Finnegan’s arrival time. But I do know that every time after that initial check, when she checked me again, I felt a little bit crushed that I hadn’t dilated more… each time, I was 5-6, 6-7, 7-8, 8-9. FINALLY I was 10 CENTIMETERS, and I could officially push.
Let’s not rush this. The entire time during labor I was back and forth between the tub, the bed, walking, tub, bed, walking, etc. At one point, the midwife said, you know we DO have a mild pain concoction to take the edge off. I enthusiastically said “YES!” Keep in mind, this was LATE evening on Saturday night, and I had not slept since 1 am that morning. As soon as she added that little concoction to my IV, I was out like a light. I ‘slept’ for a good two hours. Sam said that my contractions during that time made me groan a little, but that was the extent of it. I must have needed that sleep, but then when I came out of the meds, the contractions were back on in full force. *SIGH*
Finally we get to 10 centimeters. She tells me I can push now. I try a couple of times to no avail. Then my contractions stopped. Completely. Can’t push without contractions. Talk about disheartening. We started doing every trick to get things going… the new nurse on call was mixing up a ton of herbal remedies to give me energy, get contractions going, we tried walking (which worked a couple of times) and finally we got things going. Push push push, Finn was crowning, and then his heart rate dropped from 140 (happy baby) to 110 (trouble) and the midwife said “Mary, we need to get this baby out RIGHT NOW, I am going to give you an emergency episiotomy.” Ouch. Poor Sam was laying next to me, saw him give me the local, saw and heard him cut me, and heard me scream (local doesn’t work too quickly, or just not quickly enough in this situation). Then I needed to push Finn out, and when we got his head out, they saw the reason for the dropped heart rate. Of course this kid had gotten the cord wrapped around his neck and it had tightened in the last couple of pushes. They got the cord from around his neck and were cleaning out his airways. He was breathing, but wasn’t breathing strong enough. The nurse aspirated him three times and got a cry out of him, but still wasn’t great. She put my blue little baby on my chest and had me hold the oxygen line right by his nose while they cut the umbilical cord (Sam wanted nothing to do with it). I was apparently hemorrhaging at this point, but I had no idea. They decided that Finn wasn’t breathing the way they wanted to, and they wanted to get him transferred to the hospital. They took my poor blue baby away from me, and put him in a warmer and Sam, the nurse, and Finnegan headed to the hospital. The midwife took care of me while they headed out. I got a dose of something to help me stop bleeding and fluids, as I had lost a lot of blood, and I got some stitches. Again, that local anesthesia is not great.
After a while, I heard from Sam. He said that as soon as they started the trip to the hospital in the ambulance, Finn started to breath better, pink up, and started sucking on his fist. When they got to the hospital, they wondered why they were bringing in a healthy baby. The hospital changed its mind several times along the remaining course of the day on when Finn could be released. First it was within a couple of hours, and then it was the next day. The nurse came back to me and said that because I had hemorrhaged, I could technically be transferred to the hospital with Finnegan. We decided that would be best for all of us. I was transferred to the hospital and got settled in around 7. They wouldn’t bring Finn down until 9:30. I spent 9 hours of my baby’s first day away from him.
He slept in our room that night, and the next morning the NICU doctor came to visit. He said that Finn hadn’t been pulling good glucose levels (normal is 50 or above, he had been pulling high 20’s to low 40’s) and they wanted to test him again, and if he didn’t pull a better number they wanted to put him on a glucose drip and monitor him. Of course, he only pulled a 44 when she tested him again. They put him on a glucose drip which helped him pull high numbers, but only because of the drip. Oh, I hated seeing them try to put an IV in his tiny little hands and feet. Once he was on the drip and getting good levels, they wanted to continue testing him and letting me breast feed him. I had to go to the NICU to spend any time with my baby.
He continued to get good levels all through Monday night, and on Tuesday they said that with every two good levels (he got tested each time before I fed him) that they would turn the glucose down one level. The glucose was on level 5. Do the math- he wouldn’t be getting out that day. I was discharged on Tuesday afternoon, and had to go home for the NICU’s shift change from 6-8pm. It was very odd to go home without my baby. Sam and I went back at 8. At that point, they had already turned the glucose down a level or two. He had another good reading while we were there- then another. They turned it down. We were finally down to Level 1 and they would be testing him over night without the glucose. Sam and I had to leave him in the NICU and go home, without our little boy. That was incredibly hard and my heart goes out to any parents who have to leave their babies in the NICU for ANY amount of time. All I could do was pray that he would pull good numbers and best guess bring him home tomorrow night. When we got there at 8 am the next morning, he had pulled 77’s EACH TIME that night. 77 was Finnegan’s magic number. He was off of the glucose and as long as he had two more tests with good levels, we could be discharged. Thank the Lord; he pulled 77’s again, on just breast milk. I could officially say he was doing great. The doctor agreed that he did great, and we were discharged on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010.
I know a lot of people were thoroughly confused as to what went down. They knew we had had Finnegan, but didn’t know where we were or why we were in the hospital (as we had intended to have him at the Birthing Center and be home within 8 hours after having him).
As I’ve been finding out more and more, not all things go as planned. The Lord has a different idea of what needs to happen. If Finnegan had not had breathing issues, we would not have been transferred to the hospital and would not have known about the glucose issue. Who knows what would have transpired then. But Praise the Lord, everything happened as it did, and we have a perfectly healthy and happy little boy at home with us.