Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Well, That Was Unexpected

I think it all really started on Monday afternoon.  My mother and I were talking about movies that we would like to see in the movie theater.  When my mom learned that my girls had not seen Frozen yet, she decided that was something we needed to do.  I looked up show times, and saw that Tuesdays are $5 movie days with free popcorn and the theater is right by my midwife's office.  The only showing we could go to was just after my appointment with her, and everything seemed to be falling into place just perfectly.

We had a plan.  We were so excited about our movie date with the girls.

But things don't always go according to plan, do they?

Hanna got sick that night, and spent all day Tuesday asleep on the couch.  It seemed that our perfect plan was not going to happen.

Little did I know that there were going to be far greater reasons for us to miss that movie.

There we were, Tuesday afternoon, Hanna asleep on the couch, Heather asleep in her crib, my Grandpa knitting me a warm pair of booties, my mom in the car pickup line waiting to get Hallie from her early release day of school.  I was following Hanna and Heather's example, and was dozing on the couch.

My mom and Hallie came home, and I woke up a little, but mostly continued dozing.  I had been having tiny contractions all day.  They were nothing to get excited about, mostly just irritatations, reminders that I was still pregnant, and not feeling at all good about it.

And then, quite suddenly, I had a contraction.  It surprised me with its intensity.  Still, I dozed sleepily on the couch.

And then, quite suddenly, another contraction.  I sat up.  I looked at the clock.  2:24.  I tried to keep my voice light when I told my mom that possibly I was starting to have real labor contractions.

Another one.  I told my mom that it seemed like this baby was going to come the way Hanna did, in a hurry, because I could not believe how intense these contractions were.  We timed the next two contractions.  Seven minutes apart, and that is the amount of time my midwife had told me to look for to call her and go into the hospital.  I had an appointment with her for 3:30, and wasn't sure if I should just keep my appointment and have her tell me if I was in labor or not.

I thought I'd better call Devin for sure, though.  He was immediately on his way home.  I grabbed a few last minute things I wanted in my hospital bag, and then I began transitioning.  This baby was definitely coming.

I called Jill, my midwife, and she said she would meet me at the hospital.  I waited for Devin, still trying to rationalize that maybe I wasn't actually already transitioning.  I had only been having contractions for half an hour.

When we got to my labor and delivery room, the nurse of course wanted to check how far I had progressed.  I thought she would shout out a number to indicate how far I had dilated, but instead she said that she felt something, but it wasn't the head, and then she said "Cord!" and things got crazy.

Suddenly my room was swarmed with nurses and people scurrying around, and the main nurse kept saying things like, "I need all hands in here now," and "I need someone to do the... to the...with the..." and then she would lean over to me and say, "ok, we are going to need to do a lot of things really fast now, and we need you to stay calm.  The most important thing you can do right now is stay calm.  Can you do that for us?"

I had no idea what was going on, but I do know exactly what it feels like to be a deer caught in the headlights of a fast moving car.  Suddenly that first nurse was back by me, telling me that she needed to keep baby inside me, to keep her from pushing on the cord.  And that was how this nurse spent the next twenty minutes, and this is how I know that nurses are a special kind of people, when they are willing to do what she did to help keep my baby alive.

And then suddenly someone was jabbing me in the shoulder with a needle, and my world collapsed in fire and ice, and I heard her say that it something to help stop or at least slow my contractions.

And then someone was yelling about why didn't I have an iv in yet, and someone else was yelling back that it was because they were busy doing... to the... with the... and then suddenly I had an iv in my arm.

And then in the very next moment the anesthesiologist was introducing himself to me and asking me a series of questions about my height and my weight and my medical history of everything that I have ever gone through in my entire life, and then he said that I would be asleep in just a few minutees and I just needed to stay calm, that the best thing I could do for baby would be to stay calm.

I hadn't been able to see Devin in a few minutes, the cluster and flurry of people around me was too thick, but there was a break in the crowd and I could see him in the corner of the room, wearing scrubs and a mask and that funny little hat.  I think that was when it finally occurred to me what probably would have been obvious to anyone else: I was going to have a c-section.  Like, now.

They wheeled me out of the room, that blessed nurse still using her hand to keep my baby inside me and not pressing on the cord, and as we were wheeled down the hallway like that I couldn't help but think that I never thought I would find myself so exposed in a public area.  I prayed that there were no visitors wandering the hallway at that time, because poor souls I don't think the sight of me being wheeled in such a manner to the operating room was one that they would ever have wanted to see.

And then I was in the operating room and they were switching me from one bed to the other, and somehow everything became calmer and a lot more hectic all in one swift motion.  They asked me a few last minute questions that I tried to answer through the oxygen mask, and then they said they were putting me to sleep and I tried to count to five but I only made it to three and then

I was awake and shaking and my world was limited to a section of my belly that had exploded in fire, and just like with my hernia surgery I had no control over my neck muscles and couldn't stop spastically shaking my head.  I begged to see my baby, to see Devin.

They told me I was hypertensive and they couldn't move me until I had stopped shaking and they got better blood pressure numbers from me.  Over and over they took my blood pressure. I lay there, shaking and shaking and beginning to think I wouldn't get to see my baby before she left for college.  She was two hours old, my midwife Jill offered to go take a picture of her for me, so I could at least see that.

She was fine, and she was beautiful, and I was still trying to wrap my brain around everything that had happened.  She had been born at 4:13, less than two hours after my first contraction.

Since waking up and talking to the surgeon and anesthesiologist today, here is what I have learned about what was happening with me and my baby yesterday.

A week ago she was in perfect position, I had an ultrasound and she was down and happy and ready to go.  When I got to the hospital yesterday, however, she had gotten herself all twisted up.

She was breach.  The cord was beneath her and she was pinching it.  The cord was also wrapped around her neck.

When the surgeon tried to pull her out of me, only her feet would come out.  Her hands were above her head and both head and arms had gotten stuck in my uterus.  I was apparently having a contraction that wouldn't let up and she was stuck in the middle of it all.  My surgeon had to make an extra cut to get her head and arms loose.  Today he explained that I have both horizontal and vertical cuts on my uterus.

Because of the extra cut and the contractions that wouldn't stop I lost more blood than they generally like you to lose.  I find that I am awake one minute, and completely asleep the next.  I thought it was the morphine, but they tell me it is the anemia.

My uterus is pretty well done in, and I am warned that IF I were to get pregnant again it would be very difficult for me and I would have to have another c-section.

Every nurse and doctor I have talked to has told me how lucky I am that we got to the hospital when we did, and that they were able to keep the baby from coming until everything was ready.  Probably because this is a Catholic hospital, but they have all also mentioned miracles and divine intervention and that God was watching out for me and baby.

I still don't really understand all that happened yesterday, but I do know that I am very grateful to hold Hazel, and that she is healthy and well.

We didn't get to see our movie yesterday, and I certainly did not get the natural water birth that I had planned, but I do have a beautiful new daughter and that is good enough for me.

I'm drifting off to sleep now, but maybe pictures tomorrow?


  1. Amy! I'm so glad you and baby are OK. This is what makes me so so so so beyond grateful for modern medicine. I always thought my babies arrivals were crazy (always in a "rush" and always c-section), but holy smokes, I was always emotionally prepared for a c-section before the births. I can't even imagine...Sleep as much as a person can seep in the hospital.

  2. Some days it is just good to be alive. I am so glad you are. And I can't wait to meet sweet baby Hazel. What a wonderful nurse you had. And wow. Way to go out with a bang!

  3. Oh, and Frozen should totally still happen sometime. AWESOME movie.

  4. All so true! But Amy you forgot some things ... like "I can't move my legs?"

  5. Love you Amy. So glad that Hazel is doing well, and hippie you have a quick recovery.

  6. Love you Amy. So glad that Hazel is doing well, and hippie you have a quick recovery.

  7. Wow! Amy I had no idea from that picture on Facebook that you two went through that! I'm so happy to hear that everything is okay, what a blessing modern medicine and doctors are, so happy you were in good hands. And seriously I love her name! So adorable!

  8. Oh Amy!!! I love birth stories, but this one is terrifying. I'm so glad you and Hazel are..
    Alive! Wow. That is some crazy story. Miss you! Love you!

  9. Wow, Aimes, what an adventure. A similar thing happened to a friend of mine, who is a LandD nurse. She, of course, knew what was happening, but it was still immensely terrifying. You and your little girl are very blessed! Happy new baby to you!

  10. Soooo glad you and your little one are okay!!! Speedy recovery!!!

  11. Soooo glad you and your little one are okay!!! Speedy recovery!!!

  12. Oh Amy! I'm so glad you had wonderful people to take care of you and sweet Hazel. Take it easy and feel better soon!

  13. Holy cow. This made me so nervous and want to cry at the same time! How scary. I am so very glad that you are both okay.

  14. Congratulations on Hazel and I'm glad you are both healthy. How awesome to have access to well-trained nurses and doctors who can usually make sure such situations turn out okay. I hope your recovery goes well!

  15. This so brings back memories of my child number six. I too have a uterus that has been patched together every which way and a miracle baby that is the joy of my life. He just turned 12 so things must have worked out okay. Good luck to you and baby Hazel. What a delightful family you have!

  16. Oh my word... I am seriously sooooooooooo glad that you and Hazel are doing well now. A further testament that God plays a role in our lives. Congratulations on your new addition! Much love,

  17. Congratulations! I am so happy that everything turned out alright. Hazel's birth was actually more crazy than my dream about it! :) I hope you are both feeling well!

  18. Ames, how did I get so behind on your blog? We believe in a God of Miracles, that's for sure. Way to be a champion through it all.