11 October 2012

The Birth Story

The week before my due date is when the pains started. They weren't anything major, but they were cramp-like and pretty uncomfortable. A few calls to the doctor led us to find out that I was experiencing an irritable uterus, and my body was simply getting prepared to give birth. I could also feel that the baby had dropped significantly. I had a feeling that this meant I was getting very close to finally meeting my daughter, even though I had many people that believed I would go past my due date. I felt this wasn't the case.

On Saturday, September 22nd, I woke up early to some very painful cramps. With a little help from the internet I found out that I was most likely having contractions. I woke up Clayton and let him know that things were getting serious. We were supposed to go out and celebrate our anniversary that day by going to the Oquirrh Mountain temple and then Clayton was planning something for later. We decided to cancel our plans just in case today was finally baby day. We called our parents to let them know what was going on. We spent the day timing contractions and getting everything ready. The take home outfits were selected, the diaper bag was packed, and our hospital bags were ready to go. I was so excited and felt so ready. My contractions never got close enough or consistent enough as the day progressed, so we decided to risk it and go out to dinner at Red Lobster. Our anniversary is on September 25th, but we were too busy on our actual anniversary so we figured that we would take our (hopefully) last Saturday without a baby to celebrate.

We couldn't help to be somewhat hopeful that maybe something exciting would happen that night. The wait time to be seated at Red Lobster was 45 min, so we decided to egg on the baby by walking around like crazy. We walked over to Kohl's across the street and looked around while we waited. When we finally got seated at our table, we told our waitress to not be surprised if we suddenly up and left cause we might be having our baby that night. She was very excited for us and always asked how I was doing every time she came to check on our table. I had more contractions during dinner, but none of them were close enough together to cause anymore hopefulness.

The next day was Sunday, and instead of church we got to attend the Brigham City Temple dedication at our stake center. Once again, I was feeling contractions but never had the consistency to signify labor. The dedication was wonderful, although I will admit it was a little hard to concentrate on the dedication when all I could think about was BABY BABY BABY BABY. Afterwards, we came home and took naps due to an unrestful night. After our naps we went over to my family's house for family dinner and to feed the ducks at a local pond. While we were at the pond it began to rain and the sky was dark and stormy. We said goodbye to my family and I jokingly told them that was probably the last time they would see me pregnant. Since I wasn't due for another five days, they didn't really believe me. Little did we know... 

It continued to storm and rain that night. Later during night when I was in bed my contractions grew progressively stronger. I was in a lot of pain and was able to time them closer together, but they still were not close enough to signify actual labor. I tried sleeping through the night couldn't sleep for more than a few hours at a time. At 3:00 am I woke up to the worst contractions I had felt so far. Some contractions were 3 mins apart, some were 5, and some were 10 mins. Three minutes was the closest they had ever been, and I knew that 5 mins was a sign of early labor. I timed them at five mins apart for half an hour straight. I couldn't believe it. This was finally it! I decided to wake Clayton up. He immediately awoke when I told him the news.

We starting timing my contractions together for the next two hours. They were so bad that I would have to crouch over and pant heavily to deal with the pain. It was very glamorous. We called our parents to inform them of my condition. Since my doctor's office didn't open until 9:00 am, I called the hospital at 6:00 am to see if I should go in. We were told that we should come in when my contractions were consistently 5 minutes apart, but we could come in now and the worst thing that could happen is that they would send me home. We decided to go in. This was taken right before we left for the hospital.

 We arrived at the hospital around 7:00 am. We left our things in the car and headed up to the fifth floor -- labor and delivery. We checked in and sat in the waiting area for about 15 minutes. I continued to have contractions in the waiting area and felt pretty grateful that we were only joined by one other man. They called us up to the reception desk and then a nurse took us to a delivery room where I would get checked. Feelings of nervousness washed over me as I got dressed in my gown and took my place on the hospital bed. This might be the room where my baby is born. This could be it.

Ten minutes later a nurse came in and checked me. She said that I was at a 4 and 80% effaced. My heart sank because I knew that wasn't a high enough number for them to keep me. She told me that they would keep me for another hour and check to see if I progressed. If I didn't, they would send me home. If I did, they would keep me. She brought us some orange juice while we waited. I tried to sleep but couldn't. Clayton found a cartoon channel on TV, so he was happily entertained for the hour. My mind was busy entertaining the thought of bringing our baby girl into the world that day. It was September 24th and NOT our anniversary, which was the only day that I preferred our baby not be born on, so I was definitely okay if she was born today. I had Clayton email my teachers and call my work to let them know I wasn't coming in today.

After the hour had passed, the nurse came in again and checked my progress. I was still dilated to a 4, so they decided to send us home. We were pretty disappointed. The car ride back home was depressing. Coming home without a baby is not what we were hoping for. We sat at home in anxious anticipation, timing contractions and keeping family members updated. Clayton convinced me to take a shower to try to help relieve some of the pain, and I did so -- best idea ever. I was able to calm down and it actually did help with the pain while I was in there.

The contractions never ceased. They only got worse. We went to the hospital again at 7:00 pm. It was much harder for us to find a parking spot this time. But I knew that this time was it -- we were going to have our baby soon. I could feel it. We checked in and went into a different delivery room this time. I was checked by a nurse and she said that I was at a 7 and was 90% effaced. The nurse said that they were definitely going to keep us and she would notify my obstetrician immediately. FINALLY! I was elated! It was all so real now. This was the day I had waited so long for. Clayton called both sets of parents to let them know the exciting news.

I got pricked and prodded and strapped up. They hooked me up to an IV and strapped a monitoring device on my stomach. The device was monitoring the baby's heartbeat and my contractions. Hearing my baby's heartbeat was one of my favorite things while I was in labor. I wasn't allowed to eat anything  so I sucked on flavored ice chips. I was exhausted from not sleeping all night and day, but I still couldn't fall asleep. I was too excited.

My family and sisters-in-law arrived shortly after they received the news. Our room was flooded with visitors. The company was great even though I didn't have much energy to socialize. Around 9:00 pm, the nurse came in and checked me and asked if I wanted an epidural. My birth plan was to go without an epidural if I thought that I could handle it, but at this point all I wanted was relief from being in pain since 3:00 am. I said yes to the epidural and they called in the anesthesiologist. I was nervous to be administered the drug, but everything went very smoothly. He numbed my back and prepped and then had me lean on Clayton's chest while he stuck the needle in. I felt cold pressure but that was it. I couldn't believe it was so painless. After awhile the medicine started to kick in and my body slowly became numb from my waist down. I could still feel the pressure of the contractions but not the pain -- I was in heaven. It felt so wonderful.

My contractions still weren't getting close enough together so they decided to give me Pitocin to help move the labor along. Not after long I started to get really shaky and nauseous. I threw up several times and continued to shake. Turns out the shaking and queasiness was from the drugs and my body being in labor. That was the worst part of the labor aside from the contractions. As the hours of the day slowly started disappearing, we were less and less hopeful that she would be born on the 24th. It was looking more like she would be born on our anniversary for sure! We couldn't help but just laugh at the odds. She wasn't even due until the 28th, so she was coming early just to spite us. ;)

At 11:30 pm they broke my water and then checked me. I was at a 9! We were so incredibly close. She said the baby was low enough that she could see her head. Clayton asked the nurse if she could tell if our baby had hair. The nurse checked again and said yes, she did have hair! She couldn't tell what color it was though. The mood in our hospital room automatically changed as we realized how close we were to meeting our baby girl. I noticed that my epidural dosage was wearing off and I began to panic. I told the nurse that the epidural was wearing off and she said that I could give myself another dose every half hour. Best news ever! I gave myself doses every half hour religiously and felt much better. I continued to throw up so they gave me some Zofran to help with the nausea. Around 1:30 am is when my contractions really started to get close enough together

A little after 2:00 am Dr. Nance came in and checked me. "Well, you are at a 10 and 100% effaced -- let's have this baby!" I couldn't believe it. Once those magical words came out of his mouth I started to mentally and physically prepare for delivery. I had read earlier that week that a friend of mine had pushed her baby out in four pushes. That was very appealing to me compared to the two hours that my mom spent pushing me out. All I knew is that I was so ready to meet my daughter and I wanted it to be quick.

Dr. Nance geared up for delivery and then I was moved into the birthing position because I was completely numb. Dr. Nance instructed me to push and I did with all my might. I knew which muscles to use and even though I couldn't feel anything, I was doing it right. I was completely in the zone.

Eight minutes and three pushes later, at 2:36 am, Zaydree Lyn was born.

The feelings that overcame me at that moment are indescribable. Never had I felt such a unique, sweet, warm, joyous, spiritual feeling before. It overcame me. Her first cry was so sweet - but short. The nurse immediately placed Zaydree on my chest and I was in complete awe. The first thing I noticed was that she had my eyes - I felt like I was looking at a baby picture of myself. She was so beautiful.

The nurse then took her and weighed and measured her. I remember looking over at her and noticed how dark and curly her hair was. She was 6 pounds 5 ounces and 18 inches long. Just a tiny little thing. Since she was under 8 pounds, I lost the bet that Clayton and I had made prior to her birth. Whoever won got to choose the spelling of her name - Clayton wanted Zaydree and I wanted Zaydrie, but he won the bet, so she was officially Zaydree.

 I then overheard some concerned murmurings from the nurses about her short cries. They kept saying she was having a hard time transitioning to breathing oxygen. Before I knew it, they told me they were taking her to NICU to help her transition to oxygen. Clayton went with them. I felt like a part of me left when they whisked her away. I was going crazy and just wanted to hold my baby again. I didn't get to see her at all in the NICU, but these are the pictures that Clayton took of her.

My heart broke when I saw these pictures afterward. I felt awful that I couldn't be with my baby at that time. Meanwhile while she was still in the NICU, a nurse came and helped move me onto a different bed to take us to our new room. When I tried to hoist myself up, I had the immediate urge to throw up so I quickly grabbed a bag and threw up for about two minutes straight. "I'm so sorry!" I kept telling the nurse between heaves. I wasn't sure why I was so nauseous but I felt so embarrassed that I was puking my guts out in front of her.

Finally the puking ceased and I was able to get helped onto the portable bed. I kept laughing at how numb my legs were. I had zero control. Once I got to my new room, I guess I passed out. I found out later that my nurse came in and tried to explain everything to me but I fell asleep on her. Oops.

Clayton spent all night with his little girl in the NICU and in the nursery.

Many hours later around 6:00 am they finally brought Zaydree back and I got to hold her again (after being woken up). It felt absolutely incredible to be a mommy. I was so humbled. I loved every moment with her.

At 7:00 am, Zaydree's pediatrician came and checked her out to make sure everything was okay. Everything was fine except that he was concerned that he couldn't hear her heartbeat very well. He had her sent to the radiologist so he could get an x-ray of her heart. We didn't hear the results until a few hours later.

Our room phone rang while a nurse was in checking up on us. Clayton answered the phone and then handed it to me. It was Z's doctor, calling with the results of the earlier check up. His voice was serious.

"Malae, I just got the results back from Zaydree's x-ray. It appears that her heart is on the wrong side of her body, and the radiologist believes that also might mean that her liver and kidneys are on the wrong side and possibly may be backwards."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Backwards? On the wrong side of her body? What did this all mean? It seemed like Zaydree was so perfect. How could this have happened????

He continued. "I don't want to worry you, and we aren't sure that this is the case. I am going to have a cardiologist come and look at her condition to find out more and then we can go from there."

I wanted to cry. I thanked him and hung up in shock. I waited until the nurse left to relay the news to Clayton. We were both shocked. We decided not to tell any of our family and visitors about the news until we knew for sure what was going on. It was so hard to keep a smiling face for everyone that came and visited us that day. The uncertainty of the condition of Zaydree was killing us. Zaydree also wasn't eating well, and so we had a lot of concern on our plate.

For most of the day, we didn't know what was going on. Later that evening we finally were visited by the cardiologist. He told us that the radiologist was incorrect about her organs being backwards and on the wrong side of her body, but he was right about her heart. Her heart was not on the left side but rather in the center of her chest under her sternum. He assured us that the placement of her heart would not affect any aspect of her life. However, she did have an atrial septum defect, which means she has a hole between two chambers of her heart. This defect is very common among newborns, especially with girls. He said that the chances were very high that the hole will close on its own in a couple of years. If not, she would have to undergo surgery to fix the hole.

Zaydree's doctor came in later to further explain what everything meant. He said another contributor as to why he couldn't hear her heartbeat very well is that she had fluid in front of her heart that was making it harder to hear, which is normal. He reassured that Zaydree was going to be able to be involved with any physical activities and that she wouldn't be hindered by the placement of her heart or the defect. She would be fine.

This was all music to our ears. We were soooooo relieved.  Everything was going to be fine. The next day our biggest goal was to get Zaydree breastfeeding. I had a lactation specialist come in a few times to help us figure out what we were doing. After awhile, we realized the problem was that Z just wasn't interested in eating. We worked hard that day to get her interested by using glucose water and other methods. Late that afternoon we finally got her to eat. It was wonderful. That meant we finally got to go home as a family!

Here are some more pictures from our stay in the hospital.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your story, Malae. Zaydree is so sweet. I am so glad that she is alright. You must have had so much anxiety waiting to hear more about her heart and organs. You did amazing. I love reading birth stories. She is beautiful. Congratulations!