January 18, 2010

32 Hours

It all started Sunday afternoon, 38 wks, 3 days. I had suspected that I was leaking amniotic fluid so I gave the hospital a call at about 2:30. After giving the nurse some info, she told me to try laying down for about a half an hour and call her back to let her know how I was feeling. So I laid down on the couch and after a half an hour nothing had changed, so I got the go ahead to come in to be checked. My husband was at work and I didn't see any sense in having him come home if my water hadn't actually broken, so I called my best friend. She came right over and started our journey to the hospital, an hour away. Everything was ok; until we got out of the car. I suddenly felt a huge gush of water. The whole ride to the hospital I had the feeling that I had to go to the bathroom. So when I felt the water I looked at Chelsey and said " I don't know if I just peed my pants or if my water broke, but something is going on here." We quickly made it into the hospital and to the nearest restroom. I went in and I definitly knew my water had broken, cause my bladder was still full.

Once I got up to the room it was about 5:00 p.m. The nurse brought me to my room and gave me a little speech about what was going to be happening and them she showed my my beautiful wardrobe. A gown, slipper socks, nylon underwear, and of course, the diaper-sized pad! So I got in my gown I called my husband and parents to let them know that my water had broke and things were in progress. The doctor came into check me and at that point I was only 1/2 cm dialated. Boy did I have a ways to go.

My husband arrived at about 7:30 and my parents around 10:30 p.m. and we were set, now all we had to do was wait for the baby. The first night was horrible, I wasn't really feeling any contractions until probably about 2:00 a.m. and it was all in my back. Just as I would fall asleep a contraction would hit, then I would just fall asleep and another would come, it was a never ending cycle. I didn't really feel any pain in my abdomen at all throughout the whole labor. Finally the night passed and I couldn't take it anymore. The doctor came in and checked me and I had only progressed to about a 3. I got an epidural at about 11:30 a.m. on Monday as well as pitocin to get things moving. Things were ok for a while and then my epidural started to wear off, so I got another dose of that and we waited. Around 2:30 p.m. I would say is when things started to get harder. We were closing in on 24 hours since my water had broke and I was not progressing very much at all. I had always been under the impression that the doctors don't want to let you go past 24 hours after your water broke for fear of infection. That theory went down the drain.

By this point the idea of a c-section had been thrown around a couple times but my doctor wanted to wait it out and see what would happened. However, I was not so thrilled. The pitocin wasn't doing so well. If they had the pitocin flowing then the baby's heart rate would drop and if they didn't have it going then my contractions weren't very strong at all. It was a lose-lose situation. At about 5 p.m. the doctor came in and said that were going to wait about a couple more hours and see how I was progressing. I would say it was close to 7 when she came back. My contractions had barely changed, maybe only closer by about 20 to 30 seconds, still staying about 2 1/2 to 3 mins apart. But it was still progress which meant that the waiting would continue. I was miserable; my epidural was barely working at this point, I was seeing no major progress and I just wanted this baby out. At about 9:30 p.m. the doctor came back to my room to see how things were going. I was about 7 cm dialated and didn't really have any progress occurring with my contractions. I just wanted the doctor to say we were going to do a c-section, but she didn't she said that she would be back to two hours and if nothing had changed then we would get ready for the OR and get this baby out.

Luckily she came early, about an hour had passed she came to my room. There were no changes in my contractions or cervix so we were headed for the operating room. I was so excited and relieved but also a little nervous. Mostly about the fact the the epidural medication wasn't really doing anything for me and now they were going to cut me open. By the time they put the drape up and were waiting for my medication to set in completely I was shaking like crazy, my bottom lip was quivering and my teeth were chattering. My husband came in dressed in his beautiful white jumpsuit and sat by my head and held my hand. I couldn't feel anything, thankfully, only some tugging and some major pressure when they actually pulled Owen out. He didn't really cry at first, he just kinda squawked. Owen Andrew was born at 12:30 a.m., after only 32 hours of labor, weighing 6 lbs 5 oz and measuring 19 inches long. Tears came to my eyes when I actually saw our precious son that we had waited 9 months to see, he was beautiful.

January 09, 2010

Let's Play Catch-Up: The Pregnancy

My pregnancy was completely normal up until my 20 week ultrasound. I went to my usual doctor and had my ultrasound done. We found out we were having a boy and we were so excited. Nothing was mentioned to us about any abnormalities. We thought that Owen was healthy and everything was normal, until the doctor called us. She said that she needed some more pictures of Owen's heart. I automatically thought the worst, I had no idea was was going on. She reassured me that everything looked fine, but she needed some more detailed pictures and she wanted me to go see a high-risks OB/GYN in another town.

Were we ever in for a surprise? We went in thinking that everything was OK; nothing to worry about, but we came out devastated. The doctor started asking questions like if I had had any prenatal screening done or if my regular doctor had talked to me about anything of these concerns. My answers were all no, I didn't think I was at a high risk for any genetic problems, considering my age. As the doc continued through the ultrasound my stomach turned. We couldn't believe this was happening to us. He started to proceed through all of the abnormalities he was seeing. He said it appeared that Owen has some sort of heart defect, a thicken nuchal fold, an increased amount of amniotic fluid, one clubbed foot; possibly two, and something abnormal about his hand. As he threw around words like soft markers and genetic problems, my world turned upside down. He gave us two options, wait until Owen was born for a diagnosis or have an amniocentesis done. When the doctor left the room both my husband and I broke down. It was so overwhelming and we couldn't imagine wondering and waiting for 20 more weeks so opted for the amnio.

After having the amnio done, my husband and I went and talked with a genetic counselor. He informed us that we were probably dealing with one of two syndromes; either trisomy 18 or 21. I didn't know very much about either syndrome although i was somewhat familiar with Down Syndrome. Well it turned out that T18 is a more severe syndrome that is fatal. At this point we were hoping that it was T21. The genetic counselor gave us some information and we went home to wait for the results, which would be back in a few days. We got the call the following Monday that Owen did in deed have Down Syndrome. At that point we were relieved. We had come to accept that our son had some sort of genetic problem and we were going to love him no matter what.

We did our research and learned as much as we could about DS. We set up an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist for a fetal echocardiagram. We learned that Owen had an atrial ventricular septal defect, which meant that he had two holes in his heart. One between the upper two chamber, known as the atriums, and one between the lower chambers, known as the ventricals. The cardiologist informed us that this type of defect would require surgery around the age of 6 months. She reassured us that although the surgery is somewhat complex, it is considered to be a easy problem to fix.

We followed up with the cardiologist two more times before Owen was born to track any changes in his heart condition. Although we had come to terms with everything, we still wondered "why us?", "why couldn't we just have a healthy baby?" Sometime I would see other mothers with their young babies and just admire them. Admire the fact that they didn't have to deal with the challenges or worries of having a baby with special needs. As time went on the hurt and the resentment, for lack of a better word, went away and we awaited the arrival of our precious baby boy.