I know it has been awhile since my last update, I have been an extremely busy mommy. I wanted to share in more detail about the experience we went through while at Vanderbilt Hospital. I am going to break in down into different blogs because it is a big story to tell.
To start the journey off, will be his birth story.
November 7th was my last day in Knoxville; I was packing my bags to move in with my mother-in-law for almost 2 weeks before I was scheduled to be induced on November 17th. I choose option vs. being induced at 37 weeks because I wanted Baby Z to be as big and as healthy as he could possibly be. My husband was only going to be able to stay with me until Sunday, a week before the big day, because he had to go back to work. What a long week it was without him. I have never been away from him that long plus being 39 weeks pregnant did not help the situation. I was worried out of my mind! I was hoping I would not go into labor early with him being 3 hours away; plus, I did not know what to expect with Baby Z. Would he be big enough, healthy enough, and strong enough for surgery? I honestly did not know even if he would survive. I had no guarantees about anything. That was the worst part, the unknown.
Husband in hand, the big day finally arrived. We packed the car and headed to the hospital ready to meet our sweet Baby Z. The drive was slow due to the weather. It was pouring down rain and extremely hard to see. It also happened to be a full moon that night. We stopped along the way for pizza. My “last meal” as my family called it before heading to the hospital. Once we arrived at the hospital, I was admitted in labor and delivery at 8:00 pm. I was in my room at set up about 10:00 pm. The room was nice and large. It had a big window, bathroom, rocking chair, fold out beds, and a flat screen TV. The nurse came in and gave me a medicine that would thin out my cervix. I was told, once that worked (in about 4 hours) that I would be given another medicine named pitocin to start my labor. The nurse informed me that it could take 24 hours before Baby Z would arrive. We were ready to settle in for a lengthy stay.
Later in the night, the nurse came in the room to check my progress. The medicine had done its job but they wanted to make me dilate faster, I was only at 2 cm. They decided to help me along with the balloon catheter procedure. This is where they insert a catheter into your cervix and fill it with water. Once filled, they will tug on it to help your cervix dilate faster. This is better for baby, as it doesn’t seem to cause any fetal distress like pitocin can. I still had not had any pain medicine at this point and that was PAINFUL! I could not even describe how bad that hurt. After it was all over, I had to get up to use the bathroom. I was trying to be so careful. I didn’t want to have to go through that again, but in the end it fell out anyways. The husbands calls the nurse and tells them what happen and they said that was good and we should be on our way into active labor. That worked fast. I was having contractions steady now, every few minutes. I was trying to be quite and let my husband sleep because he had also had a long day. My mother set up with me and helped me with the pain until it become too much and we woke him up.
The contractions were growing fast and becoming very painful. My husband got concerned when I was having contractions back-to-back, not even a minute apart, and paged the nurse. My “birth plan” was to have a natural labor without any pain medicine; however, once I asked the nurse about the room with the birthing tub and was told that would not be an option for me since the baby had to be monitored at all times, my plans changed fast. I gave it an honest go, about 6 hours, but since I was not able move due to the monitors, I needed the epidural. The doctors came in and they were much welcomed. They made my mother and my friend leave the room and only the husband was allowed to stay. They told me to sit on the edge of the bed and to lend forward into my husband. I had to sit still. There was a nurse was on my right side holding me down to make sure I did not move. I was informed that some people feel a zing that runs down their right leg but most the time it is painless. Well, if you know me then you know my luck. The doctor started the procedure and ZING right down my leg. It felt like I was electrocuted; try to stay still during that, sure thing. The doctor had to start all over. Second time around, ZING right down my leg again. I was not in a good mood by this time. I was having contractions back-to-back while being electrocuted down my leg along with people holding me down; I was so ready for some relief. Finally, they got it in place and the epidural kicked in. Sweet relief! They gave me a button to press if I thought I needed a boost of medicine but I never pushed it. I could still feel my legs and even move them some. It felt like when your legs “fell asleep.” The best part was there was no more labor pain.
The nurse came in again to check me after the epidural was in place and working. She asked me how far along I thought I was. I guessed maybe 4 cm. I knew the past few hours were very painful but I had never done this before so I wanted to set myself failure. Nope, I was very wrong. She made my mom, husband and friend all guess. Everyone was too low. Shockingly she said told us that I was 8 cm! I had gone from 2 cm to 8 cm in the matter of a few hours. That explains why I was in so much pain. Finally, I able to get some rest and gain some of my strength back. When I feel asleep the sun was rising outside my window so I knew morning had came. I did not look at the clock much but I knew they came in to check me again a few hours later. I was told I was at 10 cm but he was still high so they just let me rest more and let him move down on his own. I think it was around 10:00 am and the nurse came in and said it was time to push. I was so tried by this time but I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me.
I wasn’t really sure how to push. I know that sounds odd but I thought I was going to do it wrong. The nurse reassured me that I was doing a great job. She told me when I was having a contraction and push for 10 seconds, breath, push for 10 more seconds. I thought labor would be a lot more exciting than it really was. It honestly was very calming. The TV had the relaxation channel on and it was super quiet in the room. The nurse even made a comment that I was so composed to be having a baby. That is the one thing we really wanted, a stress-free labor. We knew after he was here we would be stressed to the max thus we wanted the calm before the storm. 11:00am, his head was crowning and it was time for the doctors to enter the room. That is right doctors, many, many doctors. Then in came the large NICU team. Vanderbilt has large delivery rooms but by the time everyone was in the room (12 people) there was not room to move. I could not even see him being born because a doctor had to stand in front of my mirror. After and 1.5 hours of pushing out he came, 11:18am. I was told that my husband would be able to cut the cord and I would be able to hold him for 15 minutes before they took him to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital but sadly this did not happen. Out he came, doctor cut the cord, they held him up said “baby boy” and took him to the NICU team at the warmer. This is when he started crying and that made me feel better. Mr. Z had to push his way to be able to see him and to get some pictures. Once they got his IV’s started they let me hold him for about 30 seconds and out of the room he went.
We agreed the Mr. Z would go with him to Children’s Hospital while my friend would stay with me. All of our family was able to greet him in the labor and delivery hallway. Once they did the footprint and the grandparents got some pictures, they rushed him down the long hallway that connected the two hospitals.
Mr. Z told me, that his room in the NICU was lined wall-to-wall with sterile equipment. The room and once again was full with doctors and nurses. Everyone had a job to do; some were getting an echo of his heart, others taking his vitals, and some putting in his IV lines. You could cut the tension with a knife. Everything was going to plan then a nurse yelled “oh, he got me.” She said she had been a NICU nurse 22 years and never once been peed on until now. That loosened the tension and made everyone feel more relaxed. I was getting text updates with pictures, which made me feel better but I wish I could have been there for him.
With Daddy in the NICU while Baby Z is getting an ECHO
After 5 hours I was able to go see him for the first time. My husband wheeled me into his little NICU pod. He looked much better than I pictured. He looked “normal” with just a few lines coming from him. He was breathing room air and heart was beating well. All vitals were normal and he even scored a 9 on his APGAR. We even got to hold him that night. This goes to show that many people get home from the hospital with “normal” babies and then after a day or 2 they turn blue. We were very thankful we knew prenatal that he was going to be special heart baby, but many do not.
I was with almost everything that day. I was a little upset that the labor did not go as planned once he arrived. There was no reason to rush him off like they did and my husband should have been able to cut his cord. All the doctors and nurses kept saying “he is so pink.” I guess there miss communication among the doctors and the NICU team. Still, I will never get that back but I am just so thankful for my little man.
8lbs 5oz and 19 inches long
That was the end of day one, 11/18.