Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A year late...

Tomorrow at 1:24am, Kyler will officially be one year old. I never posted about it on here, and I regret not writing about it. Those details are ones that I'd like to remember, so I'll do my best to relay it.
Getting pregnant with Ky was a total surprise. It took a long, long time to get pregnant with Baker and I expected the same struggle with future pregnancies, so after we had Baker, we never really used birth control. Then one day, I was folding clothes and thought, "Man, my boobs are killing me!....Wait a minute...." and ran upstairs to take a pregnancy test. It immediately turned positive and I started bawling. A doctor visit a few weeks later confirmed it, and immediately knew I really , really, really wanted to try to have a v-bac (aka vaginal birth after a c-section).

Call me crazy, but I also wanted to try to have him naturally, so I began seeing a midwife who came highly recommended, and began doing all the research I could to mentally prepare myself. The two weeks leading up to his birth, I tried every damn thing I could think of to get him out. I was taking evening primrose oil capsules, drinking cups and cups of red raspberry leaf tea, walking, bouncing on a big ol' exercise ball, using oils and reflexology massages, and even sex! Nothing was working. Because I had had a previous c-section with Baker (less than two years prior), they wouldn't induce me with pitocin, so when my due date of December 27th approached, we decided we'd try to do a natural induction, if I didn't have him by the 30th, and if that didn't work, we'd just do a c-section.

The morning of the 30th, my sister in law came down to our house to stay with Baker and we drove up to the hospital. I checked in at 7am, got into my hospital gown, and they started an IV of antibiotics (since I tested positive for strep b). Then my midwife came in and we started the "natural" inductions (which is where they place a bulb catheter in your cervix and fill the bulb up, so your cervix starts to dilate). She said it could take awhile, and of course 30 minutes after she inserted it, I had to use the bathroom. Andrew helped me manuver all the wires and such, and while I was sitting down, the catheter fell out into the toilet. I thought it was my fault, so when I got back into bed, we called my midwife. She came in, checked me, and said it had fallen out because I had gone from a 1 to a 4 in 30 minutes! The natural induction worked! I thought for sure we'd have a baby in a few hours, so we started walking the hall to get things moving. I could feel the contractions and thought they were pretty intense, but I had no idea what was waiting for me. A few hours later, I was only at a 5, so my midwife decided to break my water to help things move along. I remember when she broke my water, her face changed and she looked concerned. She told me there was quite a bit of maconium in the water, and I didn't realize how much there was, until they took the soaked towel away and it was literally all green/blackish. Then things got crazy. One minute, I was laying in bed and the next minute, there were literally 6 nurses in the room, calmly, yet frantically (total oxymoron) placing oxygen on my face, moving me from side to side, pushing my belly, etc. I guess when they broke my water, Ky's heartbeat dropped dramatically and he was pushing on the umbilical cord. It was so scary not knowing what was going on.

The contractions were getting more and more intense and my mom and Andrew were coaching  me through them. Natural labor is such a mental game. It's not just about dealing with the pain, but preparing yourself for the next wave of pain, and finding what works for you to get through it. For me, I had Andrew push back on my legs. There were a few times (ok more than a few) where I got pretty snappy and told him to push harder. The more pressure on my legs, the better the contraction felt. At about 8:00pm, my midwife checked me again and I was at a 7. More water came gushing out and suddenly, I was surrounded my a dozen nurses. His heartbeat dropped again and the same uncertainty/feeling helpless came.

At 11:00, I was in the worst pain of my life. The contractions were so intense and I didn't know if I could keep going. When my midwife checked me again, I was at an 8 and 100% effaced, going into transition, but she could feel that Ky had moved. He wasn't where he was supposed to be. When she told me, my heart sank and my anxiety spiked. Suddenly, I was right back where I was, less than 2 years before, with Baker. Laboring for hours and hours, feeling exhausted, and learning that my baby was stuck. We tried the same old tricks, having me lay on my left side, and then my right, hoping the baby inside me would straighten back out and we'd get things rolling again, but he was stuck. And I knew it.

I sat there, trying to concentrate on my contractions, shaking from the pain, while silent tears streamed down my face. I remember looking at Andrew and then looking at my mom and when we met eyes, I could see she was crying too. She gave me a knowing look and shook her head as if to say, "Shan, you've been through the've done your best, but I think you know what you need to do."

I told Andrew I wanted an epidural. The pain was too much and I wanted to rest before I had the c-section. The anesthesiologist came in, did his thing, and within minutes, I was physically pain free. At midnight, my midwife checked me again and nothing had changed. He was still sideways, and I was still at an 8. They started preparing me for surgery and wave of calm came over me. I had given it my all, and this was just how it was meant to be.

The rest is a blur. I remember telling the anastesiologist that I was scared of feeling pain, since I had felt them cut into me with Baker. He made sure I was good and numb, and then I laid there, freezing in the operating room (why is it so cold in there?) and waiting to hear my baby cry. After what felt like forever, I heard him. At 1:24am, he was born. He was crying and crying and I also started crying. I could semi see them cleaning him up, and when I heard them say "He's 10lbs 2 oz" I was said "Well, no wonder he got stuck!"

They got him cleaned up and got me put back together and stitched up, and we headed back to our recovery room. He latched on right away, which was a huge relief and everything was great, until later that night (on the 30th) when I noticed that he was breathing fast. I remember telling the nurse that it seemed like he was breathing faster than normal, so she took him to the nursery to check things out. They realized he had an infection from aspirating maconium and had developed pneumonia, and to treat it, had an IV placed in the vein of his foot where antibiotics were given daily. Because infant veins are so fragile, we had to be really careful with the IV and 2 days after having it placed, the vein clotted and was no longer able to sustain an IV. The NICU team at Lone Peak is a level 2 and tried all they could to find another vein that would sustain an IV, however each vein they tried blew out and wouldn't work. Their options were running low and after speaking with the pediatrician and head neonatal guy, they decided that if the night nurse, who was very experienced with infant IV's couldn't place a good IV, Kyler would have to be transferred to St. Mark's Hospital, as their NICU is a higher level and they have a team there that would place a picc-line for his IV. 

I could see the seriousness and concern in the nurses faces as they explained the situation to me. My nurses were great and tried to reassure me that everything would be fine, but I knew that if Kyler was transferred, I wouldn't be able to board with him at St. Marks and he would be admitted so they could monitor him. I really wanted to be able to nurse him, as I can't pump that much milk, and also worried about how I'd get to and from St. Marks multiple times a day to continue to nurse. It was such a stressful situation and I was so worried about my little guy. 

We text our families and asked everyone to pray for Kyler and pray that someone at Lone Peak would be able to place an IV. One of my nurses started making calls to other nurse friends who were highly experienced in placing neonatal IV's. A few hours later, my nurse told me that a nurse at St. Marks had heard about the situation. She specialized in neonatal picc-lines and said that she lived near Lone Peak. She'd stop by on her way home from work to see if she could give it a try.
Immediately I broke down in tears. Here was a woman, who after working a long, 12 hour day, volunteered to help a stranger. She could have easily thought, "Hey, a transfer isn't that big of a deal. He'll get help either way..." but out of the goodness of her heart, she decided to stop by.
Soon, it was time for Kyler to go back and have the IV placed. It wasn't guaranteed to work, but I was grateful for her to try. I sat in my room waiting, and soon, they brought him back to my room. The minute I saw the IV on his little head, I broke down and started bawling. The nurse who placed it came to my room and I thanked her profusely. She brushed it off and said, "Oh, I was just on my way home! I'm happy to help!" It may have been just a small act of kindness to her, but it was a HUGE miracle to me and my family, and I'll be forever grateful. It reminded me that, no act of kindness, however small is ever wasted! 
One of the nurses who took care of me was off her shift, and stuck around to see how Kyler would do during the IV placement and captured the photo of the nurses. She said it was silent in the NICU and each of those women had a hand placed on Ky to keep him calm and still. Truly a spiritual experience! 
Throughout the whole experience, I learned so much. The birth, Kylers condition- it changed me. 
My mom said it best in a text she sent me- "You seem so much more centered, confident... You were always those things but...I think natural childbirth, is really empowering, you went through the gauntlet and you wrestled it and won. Yes, you had to make a decision once you knew the rules had changed, but you did it! And somewhere, even subconciosly, you know you faced something terrifying and you didn't shrink from it." 

I did try to do it naturally. And it was damn hard. At the time, I felt like I had failed. I wanted a vbac so bad, but my body had other plans. Some might say I should have just scheduled the csection and avoided all of the pain, but had I done that, I would have never known. Never known how far I could push myself, how my body just can't support a vaginal birth, and how much I'd learn and grow from all of this. My faith increased tenfold. I felt Gods hand in mine throughout this whole journey. He is good. He answers prayers and offers comfort and strength to all who seek it. It was really, really hard, but I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. 

Happy Birthday Ky

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