It was a very crazy, stressful, exhausting and exhilarating journey.
Short story and stats: He was born at noon exactly on March 31. He weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces, and was 19.5 inches long.
I went into the hospital Sunday night to be induced, and I was 10 days overdue. They started Cervadil at 6:30 that night, and I started having contractions at 8 pm. Monday morning, I was still not dilated and still hard and tight, so instead of pitocin, they gave me Cytodex at 8 and again at 12. My contractions were coming every 3-5 minutes and they HURT! By the afternoon, I was finally getting soft, but still only fingertip dilated. In the evening, I hurt so much that I asked for a painkiller, and got a shot of Staydol, a narcotic. It let me sleep between contractions, but I woke up in pain for each contraction. It didn't seem like it really gave much pain relief. The only thing I could eat was ice chips.
Monday morning, the doctor finally started the pitocin and broke my water. I got on a birthing ball to try and ease the pain, but it didn't help much either. The very next contraction, all my water broke onto the floor. It looked just like in the movies with this huge gush of water. (this was between contractions, when I actually paid attention to the world around me)
Once the pit kicked in and the water broke, the contractions got even more painful, and it felt like my abdomen was being ripped apart. They gave me another narcotic shot at 8, but again, it didn't do much.
At 9 am, I had reached 3 cm, and they finally let me have an epidural. After 36 hours of labor, I'd had enough pain, and I only wanted some relief. Usually they wait until you reach 4 cm, but they let me have it early. The hardest part was having to stay completely still and relaxed through a contraction as the anesthesiologst put in the epidural. It worked for a few minutes, then the pain came back worse than ever before. I think at this point, I was screaming for them to do something about the pain, and what the hell was wrong with the g**-d**med epidural. The anesthesiologist came back and doubled the dosage and FINALLY I got some relief. I couldn't move my legs at all, but I didn't feel anything, and I went to sleep for a couple of hours.
At 11:30, I woke up to a whole bunch of people running around my room and telling me his heart rate was dropping too low, and the baby was in too much distress to last until I reached 10 cm. At this point, I was still only 4 cm dilated, and I wasn't making any progress. They needed the pit to increase the dilation, but the pit was slowing down his heart rate.
I was still groggy from the narcotics, and it took me a couple minutes to understand that an emergency c-section wasn't an option. They were taking me to the OR right now. They threw some scrubs at Daniel, who was scared to death, and wheeled me into the OR.
The c/s wasn't as bad as I was afraid of. I was completely numb and paralyzed from the chest down. All I could see was the blue sheet in front of my face, and I was shaking uncontrollably from the epi. They were good at telling me to expect pressure, where and when. Declan was born exactly at noon on Tuesday, 15 minutes after we got into the OR. I got to kiss his cheek before they took him away.
It took them about 45 minutes to stitch me up and get me back to my room. I didn't realize for a couple of hours that they'd had to take him to the NICU, though. He wasn't breathing well on his own, and his oxygen saturation levels were really low, like 40 percent. So they took him to NICU and put him on a CPAP, a forced air, oxygen enriched flow, to push his O2 levels up. I felt so bad for him, and I couldn't even get out of my room to see him.
He was only on the CPAP for 24 hours, then he graduated to a nasal canula, or regular O2 line. He had to get an IV, and a feeding tube because it would have been too much work for him to try and breathe and eat from a bottle at the same time. On Wed morning, I was allowed out of bed, and they took me to the NICU in a wheelchair so I could finally see him. I got to hold him for a little bit.
I finally got to eat (a clear liquid diet), and it tasted so good, even if it was fruit juice, tea and a protein drink. I did well enough that I got to go to a regular diet by Wed evening. My parents arrived on Wednesday, and they got to spend some time with Declan too. Here's grandma: and grandpa:
By Wed evening, I was even able to walk myself down to the NICU to see him. It's terrible to see your little baby with all those tubes and wires, but I know he was getting great care. The NICU nurses all loved him and spoiled him rotten. I went in one night, and the nurse had him out of his bassinet and on her shoulder while she was reading a book.
Here's our family picture. Not quite your typical newborn pictures.
Many thanks to my office mates for the beautiful flowers and chocolates.
On Thursday, they took all his tubes and IVs out to give him a bath, so Daniel got this picture. I love it. He looks like he's saying, "Peace out."
They took him off his O2 line Thursday at noon, but he didn't keep his oxygen levels up on his own, so they had to put it back in a couple of hours later. When I went down that evening, they were doing an EKG on him because his heart rate was on the slow end of normal. I didn't know that, or the fact that they were giving him an EKG, so I got really upset and depressed Thursday night. I went down there just to hold him for an hour or so that night, and the NICU nurse was really sweet and talked to me for a long time.
Friday morning, I got discharged after 5 days in the hospital. I was so ready to go home, but it was very hard to leave my baby in the NICU. We got home and it felt weird. I was expecting to come home to a house turned upside down, and instead, it was almost...normal. I kept pumping all evening so I could take breastmilk in for him to use in his feedings. Friday at noon, they took the O2 line out again, and this time he kept his oxygen saturation levels up on his own! I also got to try a non-nutrative breast feeding to teach him how to nurse.
The lactation consultant, Lori, was fabulous. I never could have managed without her. She showed me how to hold him and position him. I had just pumped and he had just eaten, so it was supposed to be just a teaching experience for both of us, but by the end, he was actually eating. It was very hard, though. He kept screaming, and she'd jam his mouth up against me anyway. I never could have been so forceful on my own. He's got a lot of nipple confusion because they've given him a pacifier while they fed him through the tube, then a bottle, where he got his milk right away. Breast feeding takes longer, and he gets frustrated very easily when he can't eat right away.
But by the end, we had some success, and it was a great feeling.
Here's Lori, who was so helpful.
Saturday morning, we went back to drop off his milk for the morning and to give him a bath. The pedi on duty shocked us when he said that he thought Declan could go home today. His O2 levels had been fine for 24 hours, his heart rate was holding steady, and he was eating like a champ from the bottle, so the pedi said there was no need for him to stay in the NICU!
We stayed long enough to practice breastfeeding again with the nurse, to change his diaper and to give him a bath. Wow, he did not like his bath. He streamed bloody murder the entire time, but he quited right down when Daniel washed his hair.
When the nurse asked us what we wanted him to wear for the trip home, Daniel and I looked at each other and laughed. We didn't expect to take him home today, so we didn't have any clothes or blankets for him. The nurse gave us a hospital shirt and blanket, helped us get him in the car seat and took us downstairs. She had to verify that we had a car seat and it was installed correctly before we could leave.
We spent longer at the hospital than we planned, and we were hungry. so we stopped at McD's on the way home. We laughed because we'd not had a kid in the car for 2 minutes and we were already eating fast food drive through. This parenting thing could be tough.
But he's home now, and he loves sleeping on Granddad's chest. The breastfeeding is still difficult, but getting better. I'm taking everyone's advice and sleeping when he sleeps, and so far it's managable, but I'm still confused, tired and worried about every little thing. I need to write down when to take my pain pills because I can never remember which one I took last.