Monday, March 7, 2011

Jackson comes to our family March 7, 2011 Birth Story

Sunday my crampy Braxton Hicks returned. They had begun the previous Sunday but stopped completely by Tuesday. Jacks had gone from engaged in my pelvis to floating. At the time I was annoyed; but after Friday, I was praising the Lord's wisdom and timing! How amazing it is that he is so aware of us; even the position of a child in the womb. I got home from visiting Eric Sunday March 6th at about 8pm. While in the hospital, the warm March rain had begun to turn to ice and hail. I made it home safely but was amazed at how quickly everything was being covered in glistening, freezing drops. "This is not good," was my thought. My mom was on her way up from Virginia and was going right through the worst part of the storm - going via Binghamton. My brother and sister-in-laws left with their kids - how amazing they've been during this time!! Chrissy was nervous about leaving me alone, but we were all hopeful my mom would make it safely - and soon. The hail and freezing rain continued through the night. I could hear it beating against the windows. Mom called at 12 midnight - she was stranded (slid off the road - thank goodness for AAA!) and wouldn't be able to proceed until morning. The signs started at 4:30am. I woke up and knew I was having a baby that day. It was a mix of emotional feeling. I was hoping he'd hang in until Wednesday when we were hoping Eric would be released from the hospital. Yet there is an excitement in knowing the baby is coming soon. But I was alone with my kids and the roads were terrible - what if no one could get to me or the storm got worse? But the irony is that the ice storm made it so Chrissy (my sister-in-law) didn't have to work and her kids didn't have school so she left as soon as she could - making amazing time on angel's wings. Then there was the fact that I hadn't decided if I was going to switch hospitals at the last minute to be with Eric or not. I know many would see this as a no-brainer but when you are planning a non-medicated birth, it MATTERS big time. After Chrissy arrived, I felt better just knowing I wasn't by myself. It was still very early in my birth time. Things were coming on gradually and spaced apart nicely. Chrissy believed me but - the only sign I was going through a birth wave was that I swayed my hips. Like I said, it was still early. I was supposed to have my 40 wk check up that morning. So I called and said I wasn't coming in for two reasons. A) nasty weather B) I was having the baby that day anyway. I spoke with my midwife about the situation with the hospital dilemma. She said I would just have to go in to Albany Med strong and knowing my rights. Oh so not what I want to deal with in such a state. Besides the obvious, the last couple of days had been so exhausting. I hadn't slept and had been a bag of extreme emotions. I asked her who was on the floor at St. Mary's and she said it was her. Ultimately that was what swayed me. Margaret is my favorite. She attended Ty's birth and I really like her style. I felt like the worst wife on the planet, but felt reassured that at least we have Skype. I just really didn't want to walk into a hospital and staff to whom I was unfamiliar with and who are not natural childbirth friendly. Not to mention it is a HUGE teaching hospital while St.Mary's in small and intimate (however if you ever had a problem, Albany Med is where you would want to be). I have heard there are a couple OBs who practice there who are excellent with allowing choices during birth, but not only did I not know them, but it was more of the other staff I was worried about. At St. Mary's everyone is on board and excited when a mother wants natural childbirth. It seems to excite everyone. Plus midwives attend the whole birth while OBs are often called in at the very end. My mom arrived around 11am; safe thank Heavens! I felt so bad that she had been through such an ordeal, but I was incredibly grateful to have her arrive! I took a short rest and listened to my Hypnobabies Birthing Day Affirmations track. During that 45 minutes I had 4 birth waves that seemed a little more intense then they had been. I was in a debate about when to leave. Chrissy was a little nervous :) she kept asking me if I was sure I wasn't ready. Love her. I didn't want to arrive at a 10 like with Ty, but I also didn't want to hang around the hospital all day either. But by the time I got Ty "rocked" and put down for a nap, they were strong and frequent enough (about 5 minutes and beyond bad period cramps) that I felt like it was a good time to go over to the hospital. I was still skeptical, but hopefully I was at least a 6. Chrissy kept saying she thought I was further. We arrived some time after 2pm. The staff looked skeptically at me - could I really be in labor? I don't think they thought I was. Every couple of minutes I just got quite. I don't think anyone but Chrissy even noticed (she'd caught on by now). They put me in a room, but covered the bed with a linen until my progress was assessed. I had a heart rate strip done. Then the midwife came in - it was Debbie, not Margaret. This made me a little sad since I hadn't yet met Debbie. She checked me - she took forever. She had a look of confusion and slight disbelief. She looked up at me and said, "Well, you're an 8 with a stretchy cervix and intact (water hadn't broken)." The change was so funny - everyone became much more excited. I was given a saline lock as a precaution since I had hemorrhaged last time. They were able to get it in my forearm instead of my hand which I appreciated. I was given a lovely plastic ID bracelet and then got into the jacuzzi sometime after 3pm. I had been wanting to get into the water all morning but was afraid it would speed things up too quickly. Chrissy hooked up Eric on Skype so the wheelie table with the laptop followed me around. It was like the bionic husband. Anyway, Caroline and Chad had taken their and our kids to see Eric so I got to watch them with him while I relaxed in the tub (I had a tank top on). The birth waves kept coming and were intensifying. I'm not sure how long I was in the water; it was awhile though. It was nice. I did start to get hot so Chrissy, bless her heart, was draping cold wash clothes over me. I part way drained the tub to help cool off, but I knew what the hot meant (hormonal shift) and I knew what was coming so I was a little nervous about getting out. I also noticed my breathing change - although up to this point I still hadn't made any noise which actually surprised me. They were strong enough where it felt hard to breath and I had to focus on getting enough air and not hyperventilating. Finally I had two waves that felt a little pushy. Before things picked up too much, I figured I better get out and dried off. Chrissy helped me since I couldn't dry my legs very well and she got me my other tank top. Then it begun. My least favorite part with this birth - transition. With Ty I had gone through transition at home and it wasn't too bad. I finally thought real labor was starting. Ha! With him it was pushing that almost did me in. With Jackson, it was transition. Holy Moly. I hope I didn't scar Chrissy too much with this experience :) My Ahhhhhs and Ohhhhhhs came uncontrollably and something I'd never felt before. My uterus doubling up at the end - it would feel like the birth wave was going to be over and then - SQUEEZE - my uterus would contract - hard. Oh man! It would push all the air out it was so strong and hard to breath; I could see it pull up on its own. Crazy feeling - so powerful! I also couldn't get comfortable. I was so exhausted from the weekend that standing, which was most comfortable, was not safe. My body was too weak from lack of sleep and too much stress. So I knelt on the bed with the back raised so I could rest but still be up-right. Almost every natural birth reaches a - what the h*** am I doing? Where are my pain meds? And I swear I will NEVER do this again! - moment. This was it for me. The nurses, Chrissy, and Eric lovingly reassured me it would be over very soon and that I was strong and doing great. I was so very tired I couldn't kneel any more. Debbie suggested we break the water so transition would end soon. I consented. I flopped over on my back and just sat in the bed, totally zoned while she broke my water. Then I heard a familiar voice - it was Margaret! She had switched shifts with Deb but when she saw that I had come in, she made her husband bring her over and wait in the car while she went to - as she put it - "catch a baby." I felt re-newed strength from her presence and loved the way she took over. Plus this allowed Debbie to hold the computer so my bionic husband could watch from an angle Chrissy didn't want to see :) I started pushing shortly after. That dang stretchy cervix had a lip hanging on to Jackson's head so Margaret had me lay on my side while she pushed it out of the way. It took a little bit, but he got around it. From this point on, it felt good - I mean not like chocolate cake good - but working with pushing feels so much better than waiting to get the baby down to position. Margaret knew I was tired. She looked up at me and showed me about an inch with her finger. "His head is this far, hun. You can do this no problem. You are almost done." YES! At that point she also told me that some people and equipment from the respiratory department were going to come in and just set up just in case because there was meconium in the water when they broke it (I think my not breathing well had made him go into distress). I pushed and it felt so great to feel the progress, but I was still having a hard time getting a deep breath. Although the nurse was monitoring the heart beat which was hard because my whole hips and uterus were sooo sensitive! They had also but a pulse oximeter on my finger due to my shallow breathing. Can I tell you, that little rubber pulse ox was so annoying for some reason. I ripped it off my finger and threw it - "I can't stand this thing!" is all I remember saying. I was at the last push before he crowned so I don't think they minded too much. No one made me put it back on, thankfully. Then the ring of fire which really isn't as bad as it sounds. Plus then you know the baby is coming NOW! Of course it seemed to last forever. Chrissy said he had a really big cone head that just kept coming and coming. I could tell that something was not right because as I pushed the head out (I didn't wait for a contraction - I was too impatient and powered him out on my own), I noticed his body didn't slide out like it usually does and there seemed to be a lot of people suddenly around him. The nurse started pushing on top of my pelvic area - his shoulder was stuck and his face was purple. They got him out and usually the cord isn't clamped right away and baby is put skin to skin, but he was clamped and rushed over to the corner to the respiratory team. They didn't let me or Eric see him; on purpose I think. Chrissy said he looked... Well, not good. Gratefully he started to breath on his own shortly after. He quickly recovered and started to cry - thank Heavens. I started to shake uncontrollably from the hormone rush, so I didn't mind not being able to hold him at first. They stabilized him and then I told them to go ahead and take his weight and measurements. He was big and you could tell! Jackson Robert was born on March 7, 2011 at 5:37pm and was 8Lbs 10.5oz and 21 inches. That is 1 LBS, 2 inches bigger than Ty and almost 3 LBS, 3 inches bigger than Noel at birth. No wonder my body was working so dang hard to get him out! He is beautiful and I am so grateful for modern technology allowing Eric and I to share the moment even though we couldn't be together. What a crazy last couple of days!! ******PS- I can't believe I forgot this. So what Eric choked on was a piece of chicken nugget. After Jacks was born they had food trays brought to Chrissy and I.... Chicken Tenders. Talk about full circle!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Up-date

We're not out of the woods but we can see the light. Eric and I were both ready to tell the doctor to go ahead with the surgery this morning. But when he and another doctor looked over his most recent chest xray, they said it looked great. His fever is gone. He said he was very encouraged and said he feels that we are on the right track. Yesterday was the scary day because he could have gone either way. It was risky to wait and not do surgery, but the doctor said the longer he did well, the greater the chances he will continue to do well. It something we were stressing over all day and night (at least I was!! Eric was confident in his body's ability to heal - what faith). It seems he was correct. We are still in the Cardiac Pulmonary Surgery Unit and will be for the rest of the day (we are here so he can be monitored constantly as it is very intensive care and any changes will be reported immediately to the doc as opposed to a couple hours if he were on the regular floor). But tomorrow if nothing has changed, he can go upstairs to the "regular" recovery floor. And if things remain good, he can possibly have liquids by mouth by Tuesday! Yea! So we ALL (doctor included) feel very relieved, although we are still being diligent and prayerful since like I said we aren't totally out of the woods YET.

I know there was more but I can't remember what it was... My brain is fuzzy. Jackson is moving around a lot more today. I'm just hoping he hangs in there a couple more days. But gratefully my mom is on her way up, which is SUCH a relief.

Thank you everyone for your prayers, fasts, and well wishes. We can't thank you enough!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Proceed with caution

This afternoon his blood work was done at 2pm and everything looked great. However, at 4:30 his temperature elevated. It went down but is up again (6:30pm) and now his blood pressure is low - but not scary low 98/50. They are going to send him for another chest xray and the doctor is going to stop by and talk to us again. Will post again when we know more....

Eric Up-date

Oh my. So we just had a chat with the doc. The CT scan this morning showed air is leaking into his chest cavity. Strictly looking at that, the doc would do surgery right away. However, looking at Eric, he has improved since yesterday. He looks so much better - vitals are good. The doc was telling us that Eric's case is difficult. Usually either the patient is doing well and the scan comes out showing no problems, OR the patient is sick and the CT looks bad. With either case the option of what to do is clear. Eric is somewhere in the middle which makes it hard to know what to do. Now mind you, the surgery is very serious but if the hole doesn't heal he will die. A patient's chance of, well, a positive outcome (aka not dying) is better if the surgery is done within 24-48 hours. However, you will also know within that time if surgery is necessary. As for now he will remain in critical care so that his vitals can be constantly monitored and he basically has a personal nurse keeping an eye on him. IF a problem arises - temp increases, urine output decreases, heart rate drops - the doc can be informed immediately and he can be sent to the OR right away. If by Monday he is still doing well, they will repeat the barium swallow test that would show how well the hole is healing. If it is healing well, he can have liquids and sent to regular care for two more days. That is pretty much what we're hoping for. End of it, he will for surely be in the hospital until Wednesday. From there, it just depends.

I can't say talking to the doctor made me feel better. Actually, I'm pretty sure it made it worse for me. On the one hand, he's looking so good you'd like to think he's doing well and will continue to heal. However, the possibility of a fatal outcome increases with time. Talk about stress. On the one hand, if he heals he could be home by the end of the week with no further problems. If we do surgery, he will be in the hospital for 7 days and will be then have recovery time of ??? at home.

AND at some point Jackson is going to come. We have pretty much come to the conclusion that there is a high chance he will watch the birth via Skype. Unless he heals and comes home and Jackson holds out until the end of the week.

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers.

Esophageal Perforation

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why Eric is in the ICU

First of all Eric has a condition that has a technical term but basically means he has a small esophagus that get inflamed easily. We discovered this 5 years ago when I graduated college with a big incidence at dinner with my dad and step mom where he got something lodged for the first time.

Well it happened again today. Ironically we were going to go out to lunch and had our amazing friend Jen already over to watch the kids. He knew it was really stuck so we set off to the emergency room at St.Mary's. Since it happened before we went over to ER and were sent over to the GI department where they set him up for an endoscopy - like last time. WELL unlike last time where everything went smoothly and he was out with a "healing purple pill" regiment for a couple days and no solid foods... THIS time he convulsed during the procedure and the instrument pierced his esophagus. So they did a CAT to confirm and sent him over to Albany Med where they have more advanced technology.

There is good and bad news. The tear is contained and is not leaking as of right now so that is good - the bad is that if it leaks it is a huge deal and he will be rushed to surgery to repair it. PRAY we don't have to have surgery because that has a 5 day in hospital stay attached and yes I am "due" Sunday. He is stable and doing much better now. He was really out of it for a while.

So that's that and I am sorry to my dad, Judy, and Glenn and Martha who have been calling. I have to leave to answer the phone and it is a pain to get in and out because of the security.