Oh my God! It’s time!!!
For first time parents that initial*pop* and rush of water (water breaking) is the start of a very exciting time. I, personally, didn’t know what to do with myself! I just stood there for a moment and then waddled through the house, leaving a trail, to tell Brian… thank God we have wooden floors! (Hey, I know it’s gross but this is a blog about baby making so I’m going to give you all the gory details!)
Everyone’s labor story is different. Here’s my version:
I actually didn’t feel any contractions until long after my water had broken. My water broke around 2:45pm on Sunday, October 2, and we were at the hospital around 4:30pm. I was leaking SO much water… constantly. I would find out later why there seemed to be so much…
At the hospital (big ups to New Hanover Medical Center and the new Betty H. Cameron Women and Children’s Hospital), I was admitted and sent to the first of three rooms I would visit during my labor. Here I was hooked up to monitors to track contractions and the baby’s heart rate and given an IV for later use. The IV is not something I look forward to having again. I could see on the monitor that I was having contractions but still couldn’t feel anything (hence the smile on my face).
Next, I was brought to the Labor Room. This was the size of a nice hotel room and had all the bells and whistles. It was NICE! I got comfy and turned on the TV… little did I know I’d be here for another 16 hours or so! After several hours I was starting to feel the contractions a little bit but I was still not dilated at all! That’s when my doctor decided it was time for Pitocin. My dosage of Pitocin was upped every 30 minutes. I’m not sure of the actual dosage measurements but they told me I start at 1 and could go to 20. The Pitocin did its job and eventually my contractions were more regular and I slowly but surely started to dilate. At about 3cm I was ready for the Epidural. My nurse and anesthesiologist warned me against getting the Epi so early (usually recommend you wait until 6cm) but I was ready! I’m so glad I got it when I did because I was able to rest for the next several hours that it took for me to actually get to the 7cm mark. They were right though… I started feeling “break through” pain around that time and asked the nurse if there was anything she could do to help with the pain. Little did I know but they can up the dosage in the Epidural… YAY! I was reeeeally contracting at this point and was so relieved when the Epidural started to take affect because it was time to PUSH! I went from 7cm to “complete” (10 cm dilated and fully effaced) in 30 minutes… that’s crazy fast and pretty painful! Ladies be warned… any time a muscle (the Cervix, in this case) stretches or contracts that quickly you are at risk for some “break through pain.”
Kelly, my nurse, was amazing! She was so comforting and seemed to be sincerely concerned with me and the baby through the whole ordeal. She was older than my prior nurse and I liked the “mother hen” role that she played when I was laboring. I’m not sure if I dazed out during this part of my Child Birth Class but I would have really liked to have known how the whole “pushing” part works. I had to grip my knees to my chest, chin to chest, and hold my breath WHILE PUSHING for 10 seconds 4 times PER contraction. That’s alot of breath holding and pushing, folks! They tell you to push like you’re pooping and that’s exactly what you need to do. Kelly told me after the first round of pushes that “we will be doing this for the next hour” and she was dead on the money. After about exactly an hour I finally had that little sprout pushed out.
Harrison Wade Kronengold
Born 10/3/11 at 9:11am
6 lbs. 13 oz.
They handed me him and then whisked him away to be examined and cleaned up a bit. When I got him back he was nothing less than beautiful. All the grandparents were there and we played Pass the Baby for about an hour. Then everyone decided to head out when he was obviously hungry and we were going to nurse for the first time…
That’s When We Got the Surprise of a Lifetime…
He was on a roll and nursing GREAT when he started to spit up and gurgle. We thought this was normal and used the bulb to suck out mucus but that wasn’t doing the job. He kept gurgling and we were concerned so Brian called a nurse in to help out. She didn’t have sufficient luck with the bulb either so took him to the examination table again to use the suction tube. She was having issues inserting the tube fully into the esophagus so called in another nurse to have a look. Then, as luck would have it, a doctor from our pediatrics office showed up to examine the baby and took over. She almost instantly knew there was a problem and had the nurses call the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) to come up and take Harrison down for further examinations. Brian went with Harrison downstairs for this… I was bed ridden still. As you can imagine stress levels were high and we were both emotional wrecks.
Harrison turned out to have an Esosphageal Atresia. This is a specific type of TE Fistula (Tracheoesophageal Fistula). Basically, long story short, his throat didn’t connect to his stomach so he couldn’t swallow any food (or amniotic fluid so that’s why I had so much fluid leaking out when my water broke!). Click on the links to learn more about the deformity and repair. You have two “pipes” in your throat… the trachea (wind pipe) and the esophagus (connects to stomach). Harrison’s esophagus fused with his trachea in the womb instead of connecting to the pipe coming from the stomach so to correct this they had to do two things: 1) detach the esophagus from the trachea and then 2 ) connect the top of the esophagus to the bottom part by stretching it and then suturing them together. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the feeling of dread I felt when the surgeon, PA, and NICU doctor on duty came up to the Mother/Baby Room (my third and final room at the hospital) explained to me what they suspected and how they planned to treat it. They, of course, have to tell you all the “risks” involved and that was the awful part. Sometimes with this deformity there can be a battery of issues associated with it that involve the heart, kidney, rectum, liver, etc. so they were testing for this as well. Luckily, all those tests came back with no concerns so the fistula seemed to be an isolated issue. Thank God they told me that this is just a random occurrence and not anything that I did while carrying him in the womb. I tried to be so healthy! I like to think that he came out as healthy as he did and was able to recover as well as he did because of this. Apparently, 1 in 4,400 babies are born with this… or so they say. I had never heard of this and was surprised to hear of how “common” it was. Our surgeon, Dr. Albert, was amazing! She really explained everything to us so we understood it and did a phenomenal job on the procedure.
Harrison got scheduled for surgery the next day, 10/4/11 at 9am. He got a late start but was out of surgery around 1:30pm. The procedure took around 3 hours.
Bless his little heart. He had a breathing tube in (because babies can’t breath on their own while under anesthesia) and IVs everywhere it seemed. Seeing him those first few days was heart breaking. He also had a chest tube in that constantly suctioned out any excess fluids that drained into his chest cavity. This would also show us later if there was any leakage from the surgery…
Every removal of a tube or IV felt like such an accomplishment and relief.
No more breathing tube but puffy from anesthesia (above)
No more nose tube (above)
Now, we had to work on the normal baby stuff… eating, peeing, pooping, weight gain, etc.
Daddy feeding him milk for one of the first times (was getting everything through the IV)
“Look Ma, no tubes!”
Everything went well and after 2.5 weeks total in the NICU Harrison was ready to go home! He’s home and doing GREAT!
More on Harrison to come…