July 17, 2005

The longer version about the big arrival

So you know the basics, Gloria Jean arrived on Saturday, July 9 at 1:36 am, weighing 8 pounds, 10 ounces and measuring 21 inches long. Here's the slightly longer version for everyone who is interested.

I went to the Perinatal Center on the morning of Friday, July 8 for some testing (Amniotic Fluid Index and Non-Stress Test). During these tests, it was determined that the amniotic fluid level around the baby was low and that her heart rate dropped a few times during the non-stress test. Taken separately, this may not have meant much, but the combination made my OB decide to have me admitted to Labor & Delivery.

So, Marc being on jury duty that day, I was with my dad who brought me over to the hospital (we walked--the buildings are connected), made some calls and walked with me to be admitted. It was weird because I never pictured myself walking calmly to labor and delivery like that.

I was admitted around noon and quickly settled in, got hooked up to an IV and started answering the millions of questions they have for you (none of which I think I could have handled if actually in labor).

Around 2:30 pm, the doctor on call attempted a short procedure to get me to dilate. My midwife came in to check on me during this time. Unfortunately, the procedure didn't work as well as it usually does (only got me to 2 cm), so my midwife and OB were consulted on what to do next. My OB asked them to get me started on Pitocin. The line was put in and the medication started around 3. I started having contractions almost immediately. They weren't too bad at first. I was talking, getting up to go to the bathroom and feeling pretty good. Then, every half hour or so, they would increase the dosage of the Pitocin and my contractions would strengthen.

Dr. Collerius, my OB, came on call at 5pm and was in to check on me. I was still only around 2-3 cm at this point. She attempted to break my water and then contractions got pretty bad. I was still trying to hang in there and breathe through everything, but it was getting intense. The contractions were coming closer together and lasting longer. My nurse asked if I might want an epidural. Since I was pretty sure that I did want one, I started a new IV bag around 6pm to stay hydrated enough to get an epidural in 20-30 minutes. Unfortunately, the anesthesiologist on call was in the middle of a c-section, so it would be an hour before I could get my epidural. I was offered something else for pain, but refused it and decided to wait the hour out.

A little before 7pm, the anesthesiologist came in to begin administering the epidural. It took about 30 minutes and was very difficult at times because of the continued contractions. But, with the help of a great nurse and nice doctor, the line went in and I started to feel good and numb by 7:20 pm.

When my doctor came in to examine me at 7:30, I had progressed to 5cm. She said that from that point on, the norm was to dilate 1 cm per hour and then to figure another 1-3 hours for the delivery itself. Well, unfortunately, the baby had other plans. At 9:50 pm, Dr. Collerius came in to examine mw again and I was stuck at 5cm! Plus, the contractions were becoming harder to track on the monitor, so an internal fetal monitor was inserted.

At 11:50, Dr. Collerius came in to examine me again. I had progressed to 7cm, but the baby's head wasn't dropping. She said that we might be looking at a c-section. I was really starting to get tired from the events of the day. So, I tried to rest as best as I could. While I was resting, my OB and my nurse stood and watched my contractions and the baby's heart rate on the monitor. The baby's heart rate was not reacting well to the contractions, so I was prepped for a c-section.

I don't remember a whole lot after that. I kissed some people "good-bye" and was wheeled into the operating room. The anesthesiologist, Dr. Rizzuto, was there to give me my new medicine for surgery. My nurse, Amy, and Dr. Collerius were with me the entire time and many new faces appeared. All were very nice and made sure to introduce themselves to me through their surgical masks. I got the chills really badly before the surgery. When everything was ready to start, they brought my mom in to sit next to me. I couldn't feel the pain of the surgery, but felt a lot of pressure as it progressed. Time stood still while I was in there.

After a while, they told me that the baby was coming out and Dr. Collerius announced that she was, in fact, a girl! A little bit later, I heard that reassuring first cry. Marc, my dad and my sister were outside of the OR and were able to hear it, too. After that, I really don't remember much. I dozed on and off while they closed the incision and cleaned up the baby. It was a little while before they brought her around for my mom and I to see--but she was so beautiful when I got to see her for the first time! She had a full head of brown hair, which I was not expecting, and she was incredibly alert.

We were wheeled into recovery after a while where she was able to meet her father and then later, her grandfather and aunt. I continued to doze on and off. We finally made our way to the Mother/Baby unit around 4 am, where she was able to meet her other grandmother and eat for the first time.

All in all, it was a crazy experience. Not bad, not at all what I anticipated, but with an incredible outcome.

We are home now. She is doing incredibly well and I am recovering from the surgery. I cannot begin to thank you all enough for the warm thoughts, wishes and prayers over this entire pregnancy and as we begin the parenting phase of our lives. We really appreciate it!

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