My Birth Story: Part II

14 Aug

Continued from Part I

On December 28, we were scheduled to induce labor. We went in at 5:30 a.m. and I was given a Pitocin drip. After about an hour of regular, strengthening contractions, the nurse came in and turned off the Pitocin. She said the doctor would be in to explain. Turned out that MY OB had a family emergency and was not available. The OB in charge did not agree with inducing labor until he did another amniocentesis to check on Jenna’s lung development. We were wheeled down for another amniocentesis and reduction, and this doctor said that he did not feel her lungs were developed enough to deliver. We were totally confused at this point, since so many things were conflicting with what MY OB (who I love and trust) had told us. We requested multiple opinions and the OB on duty called in a pediatric surgeon and a neonatologist, who both agreed with what the OB said. We weren’t sure if they truly did, or just felt pressured to not disagree since he was standing in the room with them. It was all horribly confusing and disappointing. They put me back on bedrest, re-started the meds to stop the contractions (because they wanted me to carry her to term), and gave me another injection of steroids for her lungs. I had some sort of reaction to the steroid injection that sent my blood sugar all goofy, so they kept me in the hospital overnight. Hubby and I were both confused, exhausted, worried and upset. AND… WE had to pay for the 2 days in the hospital and the “foiled” induction that was basically due to doctor disagreement. Ugh.

When my OB returned to town, she was NOT well pleased. She apologized profusely, saw me in her office to monitor the contractions (still going strong) and fully examine me. I was still miserable and not sleeping, and she decided to induce on January 6. She promised she would be there, no matter what. On January 6, we were scheduled to induce at 7 a.m., but at 4.m., we went into the hospital due to the increasing frequency of contractions that we figured was natural labor. It looked like Jenna was finally on the way! Alas, even though the contractions were stronger and closer together, I was not dilating. At 7 a.m., they again started Pitocin. Mid-day, they gave me an epidural and I literally felt better than I had for months. FINALLY! Some relief from constant contractions! I could have kissed that anesthesiologist right on the mouth. Labor lasted 23 hours and I remember thinking that I simply could not push anymore toward the end. Hubby held up one leg, while the nurse held up the other (I don’t remember why we weren’t using stirrups….) and I would push through contractions and sleep for 30-60 seconds in between. Bizarre.

I remember being horrified that I frequently farted when I would push, and I think I said, “I’m so sorry” about a million times to the people on the “wrong” end. (I had been terrified that I would poop during labor, so I guess I should just be glad THAT didn’t happen). I pushed for 4 hours and 45 minutes. The nurses joked that it was a new hospital record. The doctor would occasionally check in, observe my exhaustion and desperation and announce that if I didn’t progress in the next half hour, we were going to C-section. Then, he would return in 45 minutes or an hour (to my great frustration) and announce I had progressed a tiny bit and to keep up the good work. Repeat that whole process 3 times. Because Jenna took so stinkin’ long to decide to make her entry, my OB went off duty and a stranger delivered Jenna at 5:41 a.m. on January 7, 2006. She was not breathing and looked a frightening shade of pale gray. As the doctor stitched me up, the nurses and PA worked on Jenna at my bedside. My eyes never left her as I clutched Hubby’s hand, and I just kept repeating, “She’s not breathing. She’s not breathing.”

It was the longest seven minutes of my life. I remember considering what I would do if they told me she didn’t survive, and my brain could not wrap around it. My heart felt like it was ripping out of my chest, and I wondered how I would go on if she was gone. I remember thinking that even though I had never held her in my arms, I didn’t know how I could keep on living if she died. For those seven minutes that felt like an eternity, I think I held MY breath until she took her first. Here’s what those moments looked like:

They drained off one pound of fluid from her lungs and abdomen, and she never cried, our little trooper. She took a breath and simply opened her eyes to check out what all the fuss was about. Here she is being weighed in (that tube is still draining fluid from her stomach) at 6 pounds .04 ounces and 21 inches long:

They laid her on my belly and let us have a few precious moments of snuggle time, then they whisked her away to the NICU. Her initial Apgar scores were horrible, and they immediately “tubed her up.” She had one tube down her throat to drain excess fluid from her stomach, another tube to help her breathe, two tubes through her belly button for IV feeding, and she was hooked to multiple wires to monitor heart rate and breathing. I was terrified of what those seven minutes without oxygen would mean to her tiny brain.

Her follow up Apgar tests improved dramatically though, and she began showing her spunk and courage. She was alert and looking around and immediately curious about her tubes. By the evening of her first day, she had had enough of those tubes and decided to (literally) take matters into her own hands. She pulled out her respirator tube and let out a scream of indignation. The nurses all commented on her spunk and spirit. She had improved enough that they took her off the respirator and she did just fine breathing on her own. She was scheduled for surgery for her intestine in two days as long as she continued to improve. Little did we know, our medical journey was just beginning in so many ways. Her NICU stay grew into three months of ups and downs, and the hospital became our home. It just seems like yesterday, but two and a half years have already flown by.

Little One, you’ve come so far from those first few days, and you’ve been through more than most of us can even imagine. I am constantly amazed by your spunk, courage and tender heart. On that first day, as I watched you struggle for your first breath, I didn’t think I could love anyone more. But you know what? I love you more every single day that I spend with you, and my heart just keeps growing bigger. Hugs and kisses from your mommy, who says all of that pregnancy stuff was totally worth it. I just don’t want to do it again.


Posted by on August 14, 2008 in Jenna, Special Needs


11 responses to “My Birth Story: Part II

  1. Awake

    August 14, 2008 at 1:33 am

    I think it is so great that you took the time to write this down. Add to it from time to time, if more memory comes your way. I’m sure Jenna will enjoy reading it someday.

  2. iMommy

    August 14, 2008 at 3:04 am

    Great story, thank you for sharing. That must have been very difficult to go through. My birth with Boopie was so uneventful, and yet stressful nonetheless – I can’t imagine going through all that. I freaked out about a little irregular heartbeat!

    You’re a brave and strong woman, PsychMama. Your daughter, when she becomes a mom, will be so proud of this story.

  3. psychmamma

    August 14, 2008 at 3:48 am

    Awake –

    Great suggestion! I’ll definitely keep adding to the story as I think of things. Maybe I’ll even make something up, just to make it more interesting. Hmm…my wheels are turning…

    iMommy –

    Thanks so much for your wonderful compliments, but I want to make sure that I say that what I went through with Jenna does not diminish what you or anyone else went through with their own worries, fears, stress about an irregular heartbeat, etc. I’ve often had other moms quickly stop or amend their own stories to say something like, “Oh, but it’s not nearly as bad as what you went through.” That always bothers me, because I really don’t think I’m any more brave, strong or special than every other mommy who loves her baby. I truly think that we’re all brave and strong in our own unique ways, and we’re each dealing with different issues that don’t diminish the others.

    I would have “freaked” about an irregular heartbeat too. That you did just goes to show that you’re already in love with that baby and hoping for all the best things for him/her. I think Boopie’s a pretty lucky little girl too! And I think you should go eat some cake with her. 🙂

  4. Laura

    August 14, 2008 at 4:06 am

    I so hear you about a S-L-O-W labor, I was in active labor with my son for 58 hours, and I really don’t think I could have done it without the epidural. ..hmm, maybe I’ll have to post my birthing stories too.

  5. anymommy

    August 14, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Amazing. I cried over that picture of her poor little self with the tube draining fluid. And then, I cried again at the end reading your beautiful words. That last paragraph is what I love about birth stories so much. No matter the ups and downs, the terror or joy, the final words are universal.

    I’d love to read more about her first few months. Maybe you’ll decide to journal and share the rest of the story, in parts? Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed your story and your writing – thank you!

  6. denise @ EatPlayLove

    August 15, 2008 at 2:13 am

    I agree, thanks for sharing. Stories are so powerful and beautiful and unique.

  7. psychmamma

    August 15, 2008 at 2:44 am

    AnyMommy –

    You just have to wonder what’s going through their little heads when all those tubes are being thrust upon them. What a harsh welcome to the world. Jenna’s always taken it in stride. Often more gracefully than me.

    I agree with your statement about the final words of birth stories. There’s something beautiful and almost magical in that part of the journey of parenthood that ties us all together. (I started to type “motherhood,” but I think it goes for daddies too. I’ll never forget the look on Hubby’s face when Jenna made her appearance. Sheer joy and wonder).

    Thanks for the suggestion about blogging her first few months in the NICU. I’m already working on it!

    Congrats on your awesome awards, you super-star, you!

  8. Christy

    August 15, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    This is super sweet and quite inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Whitney @ Baby Tunnel Exodus

    September 2, 2008 at 3:47 am

    Wow, thanks for sharing your beautiful story! Our eldest son was in the NICU for 2 weeks which felt like ever, but I knew when I looked around how blessed we were. Who would’ve thought our 6 pounder was a heavyweight? Only in the NICU. You have to wonder where those nurses keep their wings, huh? Godsends, each and every one of them. Stay Blessed! ~Whitney

  10. Jaded Perspective

    September 14, 2009 at 5:53 am

    Hey it’s me @masmom. Just wanted to let you know I was here poking around. What an incredible story and struggle you all have/are going through. Thank you for sharing. Tons of hugs.

  11. Heather

    March 23, 2010 at 1:27 am

    OK, so I was reading about Abby and clicked over to read more about Jenna—you know, cause I’m nosy like that. Anyway, I had never read your birthstory.

    It’s eerily familiar—Janson’s went pretty much the same way (only she had a tumor in her belly, not atresia).

    You’re an amazing momma. I am so proud to call you friend. Every single day. Truly.



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