Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Eleanora's birth story

I beat the odds and made it to 34 weeks.  So I was started on pitocin at 34 weeks, October 16, around 7:45 am.  I expected it to take an hour or so for the pitocin to make any contractions start.  We started at 4, increased to 8, 12, 16, and finally 20.  I was shocked to be that high.  Nothing impressive happened.  So I went walking.  Dave wasn't being helpful at all, so I called my sister-in-law Brooke to come help me.  She was like my doula.  My nurse was also extremely helpful.  Contractions started showing up while I walked, but still weren't painful.  Finally at about 11:30 my dr showed up, and for the first time in my pregnancy, checked my cervix.  I was almost a 2, 80% effaced, and -1 station.  Not that great.  So we kept going.   

I sat on the ball, but baby had some dips in her heart rate, so I laid on my left side for awhile.  Contractions appeared decent, but I fell asleep, so not that hard.  I sat on the ball for awhile, but the contractions disappeared.  We got permission to go as high as 30 on the pitocin.  I laid back down to see if the contractions came back.  They did.  Dr. didn't want to raise the pitocin higher than 30 without seeing the true strength of the contractions.  So they inserted an internal contraction monitor.  It must have been between 2-3:00 at this point.  Still no pain.  I again fell asleep.  My nurse walked in and said she was shocked I was sleeping as these contractions were plenty strong based on the pressure on the internal monitor.  I guess that was my hypnobirthing techniques making themselves useful.  So no increase of the pitocin.  I was totally pain free.   

The contractions were only 2 minutes apart which scared me.  That is a short break, I was worried about wearing out.  After awhile in bed, I was kind of bored, and I was feeling the contractions a tad bit more, so I decided to get in the shower to mix things up.  I sat in the shower, in heaven with hot water running on me.  I was seriously loving life then.  I had some bloody show, and actually quite a bit of it, but baby was doing great.  Some time around 5:00 I think, the comfort was disappearing.  I was making the deep noises with my contractions, or doing long breaths.  I wanted to be checked to see if I had made any progress, and if it was safe to get comfy again in the shower.  I was a 3+ and still 80%.  I was pretty disappointed.  I got back in the shower, and we started doing some back counterpressure.  That helped a lot, but I was wondering if I was too tense sitting on the shower chair, so I filled up the tub.  I laid in this tub for awhile, and felt like it was better for relaxing my pelvic muscles, but I couldn't get the counterpressure on my back.  So I went back and forth from sitting and laying.  I was pretty uncomfortable at this point, and definitely wearing out from the frequency of those contractions.  So I asked for some fentanyl.  

 I got a half dose of fentanyl put in my iv, and I was in a happy place.  I ate a popsicle, and relaxed in the bath.  My vocalizations were quieter, I was much more comfortable.  At 20 minutes from the half dose, I asked for the second half.  I never made it to my happy place the second time.  I got out of the bath about 20 minutes after that second dose to be checked.  I said if I wasn't 6, I wanted an epidural.  I had contractions very close together, so it took awhile before she checked me.  She finally got me down and checked and I was 6+ (she called it 7 because my husband told her to round up) and 100% effaced.  I was thrilled, I knew it was extremely close and I would make it.  I told her to call the dr.  With the next contraction, I cried and declared that the dr wouldn't make it.  I was panicking.  He lives 10 minutes away.  By the time she called the dr and the pediatrician (attending the birth because of the prematurity), the NICU nurse, and the Respiratory therapist, she walked back in the room and I told her the drs wouldn't make it.  It had been about 3 minutes since the cervix check at 7 cm. She turned around to call the dr and tell him to speed a little.  I flipped out.  I had to push!  She tells me not to push and to "hee hee hoo".  There was just no way.  I thrashed back and forth and screamed "I can't!" during that contraction, I tried so hard not to push, but I finally lost it.  I pushed once, took a breath, and pushed again.  Nurse turned around to get gloves on and the baby fell out on the bed.  Getting that head out is the best feeling for me.  Pushing doesn't hurt, it relieves the pain!  The pain was in trying to hold back.  The nicu nurse had gloves on, so she came over to guide the baby out, onto the bed (the bed wasn't broken down, and I was still completely flat on my back from being checked.  So I couldn't see a thing over my knees.   

The first thing I did was apologize to my nurse.  I felt so bad, but I just couldn't help it.  The labor and delivery nurse was now gloved up, and took over clamping the cord.  Dad cut the cord, and baby had even cried a few times during the process.  She was taken right over and oxygen was put over her face.  Her apgars were 4 and 8 I think.  She weighed 5 lbs 8 oz and was 19 inches long.  It was 7:53 pm.  When she was all cleaned up they bundled her up in her special blanket, and told me to snap a quick picture and then she was out of there.  She wasn't breathing well, so she couldn't stay in my room. The dr came running in, and I told him to hurry cause I was about to push out the placenta and it was hurting.  It felt so good to get that out.  I had no tearing, and since I wasn't numb at all, I was able to get into the NICU to see the baby pretty quickly.  She had a cpap on, but by morning she graduated to a nasal canula, and by 24 hours old she was breathing on her own.  She was nursing every other feeding, and doing great.   

The last pregnant selfie I'll ever take.
My 20 seconds to hold her in the delivery room

First time holding her in the NICU
The next day

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Impending delivery

The induction was scheduled for 10/16. A Wednesday. But I was allowed to go off bedrest on Tuesday. On Monday I sat up for the first time. It felt so good. I had a lot of contractions, so I tried to take it easy. On Tuesday I was fully off of bedrest, and nothing that I did brought any contractions. I had a fun day though. I got my own drinks and chatted out at the nurses station. 

I didn't sleep well my whole stay at the hospital, and the night before my induction was no exception. But I thought it was great to be able to plan the day!  I woke up and showered and curled my hair. I even put on a little makeup. I expected to have a baby by noon, and we discussed options for pulling the boys out of school if she didn't get rushed to the nicu. Dave arrived at 8:30ish, but was relatively no help this time, so Brooke was my labor coach as well as my awesome nurse Tricia. Labor story to come. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014


I spent two weeks on hospital bedrest as a Pprom. Preterm premature rupture of membranes. Many people are surprised by the fact that you can stay pregnant with ruptured membranes. It can only happen in the hospital, as it can be life threatening to both the baby and the mom. But it can go on for a long time as long as 

1. No infection has developed. My temperature was taken every 2 hours to be sure that I didn't have a fever. I was never given a cervical exam so as to keep bacteria out. Basically it's an open path to the placenta, so any bacteria could very quickly infect both mom and baby. I was also given a fierce antibiotic treatment of 3 days of iv antibiotic and 4 days oral. 

2. The baby doesn't have the protection of fluid anymore. So I had ultrasounds about every other day to see the fluid levels and make sure they were adequate. Under 5, probably would have scored me an induction. I got as low as 6, but was frequently around 9 or 10 which is within the normal fluid range. I was constantly monitored to be sure that the baby was tolerating everything well. Without the protection of the fluid, the cord can get kinked or compressed and cut off the blood flow and oxygen to the baby. The baby will respond by the heart rate dropping. My baby only had that happen a few times. She did remarkably well. 

3. Don't go into labor. They would have given me some medication to stop contractions, but they wouldn't have fought it for very long. So I laid very very still in bed to try to prevent contractions. I only sat up to go to the bathroom. 

Although it isn't unheard of, the odds of making it 2 weeks aren't terribly high. I consider it a miracle that I made it so long with none of the three issues listed above. And that miracle was greatly assisted by my OB, who is amazing. I've been blessed with the best doctors. 

Friday, January 3, 2014


On October 1st my Facebook status said this: "I love October! I've had two babies in October. And in May I really wasn't sure I would live to see October...... But here I am! Soon to be happy birthday to my boys Henry and Walker. Inching ever closer to meeting baby girl too. Wish I knew when it would happen."

That day I took Isaac to Brigham City to get his teeth pulled.  I dropped him off, and went to hang out with Brooke while I waited.  Jesse told me later that his nurses seemed to think I was due any day.  They weren't the only ones.  "When are you due?"  I would answer, "Tomorrow?"  I couldn't handle telling people when I was actually due because they looked like they wanted to barf at the thought of me growing for 8-10 more weeks.  "Are you sure there isn't twins in there?"  "Could your due date be off?"  And just the Saturday before Dave said, "There comes a point in your pregnancy, where maybe you don't leave the house anymore."  

These comments didn't hurt my feelings, because I knew it was true.  I WAS huge.  I just wanted to scream, "I KNOW.  I HAVE A MIRROR.  AND I'M THE ONE WALKING AROUND LIKE THIS, I'M QUITE AWARE."  

I declared right then and there that October 16th, 2013 would be the last day anyone would ever see me pregnant.  October 16th was the last football game for the boys, and I figured I could hibernate for the rest of my pregnancy after that.  

The next morning, I went to the bathroom at 3:45 am (not unusual) and laid back in bed.  A few minutes later I "woke up" (I wasn't really asleep) to a gush of fluid.  I jumped out of bed and shouted, "NO!"  I ran to the bathroom saying, "No, no, why, no, no." Over and over.  I sat on the toilet and more fluid came out.  I put my head in my hands.  Dave asked what was going on, and I told him my water broke.  He told me to stop lying.  You can imagine the frantic scene that followed as we decided what to do, and tried to get out of the house as quickly as possible.  We left the kids alone in order to get to the hospital quickly, and didn't bring a thing with us.  

This little girl is the only one of my babies to actually sleep when it's night time.  So naturally, I freaked out on the way there because she didn't move at all.  I put my legs in the air and prayed.  We got to the hospital and I made Dave wheel me up.  When he told the clerk that my water broke she smiled and started asking for information.  He told her I was only 31 weeks, and they took me right back in.  I wheeled past Aubrey, my L&D nurse from the past.  I cried harder when I saw her.  It was a tremendous blessing that she was there, she delivered preterm twins that were life flighted to McKay Dee.  I was able to get some insight from her on the process as we made the decision whether I should be transferred or not.  

McKay Dee was full, and I was going to be shipped to IMC.  2 hours away.  32 weeks is the earliest they will keep you at LRH.  I told my doctor I would do whatever was best for the baby, but I really believed myself to be 32 weeks.  Based on my OPKs, other signs of fertility, early pregnancy test, and every ultrasound, I believed I was 32 instead of 31 and 3.  My dr consulted with MFM and my pediatrician.  My pediatrician said he was comfortable taking care of the baby either way.  Based on the ultrasounds, my due date was changed, and I was able to stay.  This was such a wonderful blessing as I stayed in the hospital with nurses I knew, my family close by, and the ability to have many wonderful visitors throughout my stay.  

The decision was made to attempt to remain pregnant until 34 weeks, or October 16th.  Just the day before I declared no one would ever see me pregnant again after October 16th, but I did NOT mean I wanted to deliver then.  

The very day after the Facebook status I began this post with,  I posted this picture with the caption:
Good morning view. Not what I expected. Water broke overnight. This will be my view for awhile unless I get transferred. Waiting on the perinatologist to make the decision if I go down south to IMC or stay here. No belly shot this week. #32 weeks.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Team Green

My plan was to be on team green. You know there is the pink team, the blue team, and the green team. This seemed to be the perfect way to shield myself from the intolerant things people have to say. Contrary to what most people assumed, I was excited about the idea of a 6th boy. Really excited. Of course I thought a girl would be really fun too. I had my little buddy system with isaac and dawson, and henry and G. So Walker needed his buddy. He also needed a bunk mate. I pictured 3 bunks downstairs in our 3 bedrooms. I had plans for both upstairs bedrooms: a guest room and a study. So I knew I would be thrilled with either gender, but I also knew that most of the world was hoping I would have a girl. 

Imagine the comments either way:

I'm so sorry
Will you try again for a girl?  
Not another boy!
There is a book on how to pick the gender of your baby you know. 

It only took you six tries
I bet you're so relieved
EVERY mother deserves both genders 
Oh phew!

Either way, people's comments, with good intentions, are hard to respond to, awkward, and sometimes kind of upsetting. Really a simple, "congratulations, that is so exciting!"  Is best. So team green would shield me from the uncomfortable situation. 

I had people question my ability to wait, and that made me want to do it more. I had people beg me not to wait, and that made me want to more. And mostly I fantasized about my last few weeks, my labor, and my big moment of anticipation, and that made me so excited. 

I had always been so anxious to find out what gender our babies were. But I didn't care at all this time. As ultrasound day was approaching I started having anxiety about actually finding out. I'm pretty good at recognizing ultrasounds by now, so I was worried I would spot the gender accidentally. I considered not having a scan at all. And I had a nightmare that the ultrasound accidentally said, "the way HE is sitting....."  

I told Dave he wasn't invited to the ultrasound. Dave loves to read people. He couldn't be there without making everyone crazy. I showed up to the ultrasound as calm as can be. I told the tech I was not interested in finding out the gender, that this was my last chance for a surprise. She respected that and had done that with one of her children. She was so sweet to have me close my eyes EVERY time she moved the wand. My heart was pounding, I was so worried my eyes would wander. I settled down about halfway through and really stopped looking for the most part, so I knew I wouldn't see. 

About 15ish minutes into the scan, the tech saw a good angle of the cord that she wanted to document. She said quietly to herself, "Let me just look at HER umbilical cord really fast."  My heart sank. I couldn't believe it. It was like I was psychic!  I just knew that would happen. I said nothing. I knew if I said something she would try to cover it up. But I knew in my heart it was true. She had surely seen the gender at that point. And I had found that up to 80% of hospitalized hyperemesis patients were carrying girls, so it seemed likely that was why I was so sick. On the way out she handed me a disk and told me not to watch the end because I might see the gender. 

I called some friends on the way home and asked them what to do. Everyone said it was a mistake and I still had a surprise. My friend offered to come pick up the disk so I wasn't tempted. I wanted her to, but she didn't. But Dave felt like me. He felt certain that the slip was accurate. He tormented me for a few days. It ALL tormented me. I felt like I was lying to the world by saying I didn't know. I realized that I would spend the rest of the pregnancy thinking it was a girl, and then if it came out a boy I would be disappointed. I finally gave into Dave's requests and let him watch the DVD. 

Now the deal was that if he could see clearly what it was, we would find out, if not, maybe we wouldn't. Well he took it to work and watched the video. But of course he couldn't tell, he had no idea what he was looking for. But at the end of the DVD he saw the word "female" written, so he thought he cheated. He acted weird. He didn't tell me. He said he couldn't tell from the video. He said he wanted me to have my surprise anyway. But then when I said I was buying boy clothes AND girl clothes he told me that was silly. I knew he knew so I made him tell me finally. 

He said, "your dream was right."  So I asked if it was a boy. He said no. It's a girl. (More later on the dream). We had a quick moment of celebration , but we were headed out the door with our family, so it didn't last long. 

That night I watched the DVD myself and it was very clear to me that she was a girl.  There were actually glimpses of that throughout the scan. He was right. But he was also wrong. The "female" was written in my medical information. "I" was the female. Oh well, we knew for sure now anyway. 

But I had told everyone we weren't finding out, and I told everyone I didn't see (which was true at the time). So we decided to keep it to ourselves, but after lying to some friends, we realized we couldn't do that for 3 more months. 

We sat the boys down and told them the news. (Video coming). They didn't even move a muscle. They were not impressed. We told our parents that night, and texted our siblings. I got up the courage to tell the world after another day or two. 

I struggled with this news unlike I would have expected. If G had been a girl I would have thrown a party!  But after 5 boys, and thinking I would get a 6th boy, it was more shocking and hard to believe or comprehend. It didn't feel right. I also was really sad that the surprise was ruined, and stressed about getting ready for this girl with how sick I was. 

The next month I had a follow up ultrasound. I told the tech what had happened, and she felt terrible. I asked her to double check between the legs and when she did, I cried. I sobbed a little. It was the fun, exciting moment I had dreamed of. I brought home my girly pictures and looked at them every day. (Kind of creepy right?). But it was the only connection I had to her being a girl. It helped train my brain to believe I was having a girl. 

In the end, I feel like it was best that I found out. Preparing for my little girl was fun, and it was really great to have a pretty nursery and clothes and blankets ready for her. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My mentality through hyperemesis

I wanted to die. Not kidding. I hoped to spontaneously die. I didn't have energy to take my own life. But I didn't want to live to see another day. It was a dark time. I had this mental image that I was drowning. And up above the water I could see the faces of family and friends looking at each other, shrugging, shaking their heads, and not being able to save me. No one can help you feel better with hyperemesis. There was no relief in baths or medication or food. I laid on my stomach to keep from heaving every second of every day. If I was upright, I was fighting/choking down the vomit. It took all my energy. I missed church, I slept in and woke up to the boys already gone to school, I missed end of the year performances, and anything and everything else. I hired a house cleaner, but fired her because it was too much work to tell her what to do. THAT is pathetic. Family and friends did cooking, cleaning, and laundry if Dave didn't have time. I did nothing. 

Every once in awhile I would feel a little hope break through. Maybe once a day. I would say, "I will do this for you baby. I CAN do this for you."  Then I would cry with guilt for how poorly I was handling my sickness. I cried all the time. It was truly the hardest time of my life. 

The evolution of my treatment.

My desire to pretend I wasn't pregnant was shattered with the beginning of hyperemesis. I had to tell my mom right away because I had become entirely non functional. We had been planning a surprise 40th birthday for Dave on Friday, and it was at my moms clubhouse. I needed so much of her help!  She was so kind to help and encourage me to lay down. I doubled my dose of zofran for the party and not every person had to know I was pregnant that night as I was standing and smiling. (But not eating or drinking). 

 Looking back and recording the timing of all this is crazy. That week seemed so long. I have checked the calendar twice to be sure it was only a week!  

I couldn't drink coke or club soda. I found that I could keep down 1 can of San pellegrino grapefruit soda per day. Small sips. Duh!  You need more than a can of soda per day in fluids. Within a week or so I found I couldn't even keep a sip down. I found myself with all the symptoms of a UTI, even a fever. On April 22 I went for my first IV. I was so dehydrated that my body was shutting down. There was no infection, just burning, fever, fatigue, and delusion from dehydration They told me I had to drink something before I left after my two bags of fluid. I flat out refused. There was no point in drinking. Nothing would stay down. I told them the fluid made me sicker. Suddenly with fluid in my body, my stomach had acid again. That felt awful. But overall, the life was coming back into me, and that was a good sign. 

A few days went by and I knew I needed another IV. Ugh. It was such a pain to go up to the hospital. By May 1st (again, seemed like two months, but was only a few days) I realized I needed home healthcare. I needed daily iv fluids as I kept absolutely no fluids down. The bonus in that was getting zofran in my iv, so no more pin cushion hips. 

I started my home healthcare and got my peripheral lines switched out twice a week. I found that hospice nurses are terrible at Ivs, but I found one nurse, Melissa, who was awesome at Ivs. I only let her come, and she was my angel. She became my friend. I lived because of her!  Every Friday, my huge box of supplies came, and I was relieved to have supplies for keeping myself alive. 

During this time I took a drink only once every two weeks or so. It would immediately come up. I couldn't keep down soup or cereal or anything liquid. I could keep down dry food and somehow jello worked. 

Mid June, I had a little miracle as I could keep down liquid. I pulled out the iv finally. Woohoo!  I was still throwing up plenty, but just not everything I drank or ate.