Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Year Later

A year ago today, I started writing this blog. I remember sitting on the floor sobbing as I typed my first few words. I had no idea the journey I would go on. The journey I am still on. I smile more now, cry less and still miss my little boy. I guess that's really the best I can hope for.

* Today we finally got the results we have been waiting for- after six long weeks, Eden has a normal platelet count. And now, I can exhale.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Born and Reborn

They came and drew blood for my twice daily platelet count around 7:30 pm on the night of August 13th, and as soon as they left, J., who had been my night nurse for the past few nights, started placing bets on what the results would be. She was hoping for anything above 30,000, but I had a feeling and said I thought it would be 40,000. About an hour or so later, as I was watching the Olympics, she came back with a big grin on her face. 47,000. More than either of us had thought. You know what that means? she said. I knew.

As long as I reached 50,000 by morning, then tomorrow would be the big day. I called JD and told him not to count on it but to be prepared. Then I sat and talked to the baby. It was a pep talk for both of us. I was frightened but excited. I got ready for bed early thinking it might be a good plan to try and get some extra rest. Nurse J. promised not wake me for vitals if I was sleeping. I tried to sleep.

The morning of August 14th came early. They brought my medication around 6:00 am as usual, but 7:30 am came and went and no one had come to draw my blood. I was getting kind of anxious. Of course, the one day I wanted them to be on time, they were late. JD called around 8 to see what the results were and still no one had come to draw. Finally, the tech rushed in around 9:30 am. I spent the next hour watching the clock and wondering. At 10:30, a new nurse came in. She introduced herself as K. and said the she worked over in Labor & Delivery. Then I knew.

"Your platelets are above 60,000. We're having a baby today."

I could do nothing but grin. "I should warn you though," she continued, "its a little crazy over there right now. We'll get you over as soon as we can."

I called JD and told him to come up to the hospital. Then I took a nice long shower. I tried to memorize my pregnant body. I tried to enjoy it, knowing that this was all coming to an end. I promised the baby to do my very best to bring him or her here safely. I begged him/her to stay with me. I cried for Owen who had not.

Then I busied myself packing up my room. JD arrived around noon. Sometime around then K. came back and told me it would be a little while longer. As I was beta strep positive, I needed to have antibiotics prior to beginning the induction. Of course, nothing had gone easily for this pregnancy and this was not straight forward either. I am allergic to penicillin and the strain of beta strep that I carry is resistant to clindamycin (the usual alternative for those with penicillin allergies) so they had to get the antibiotic they were planning to use cleared by Infectious Diseases. JD and I just laughed. It seemed like for par for the course at this point.

JD and I sat and chatted for awhile. We both had a ton of nervous energy. Around 1:30 pm, K. came back and asked if we were ready to move over to L&D. We pretty much ran out the door. As we walked away, JD said "Just think when we come back, it will be with a new baby." I held my breath.

K. got us settled in Room 3, which happened to be the one L&D room I hadn't been in yet. Some time after that, she came in, started my antibiotic and put me on the monitors. JD and I watched and listened to the baby's heartbeat on the monitor. I was feeling some contractions already. Around 4:30, Dr M. came by. She explained that because of the potential for complications, I was not going to be allowed to eat other than clear fluids and would have to stay on the monitors for my labor. I was not thrilled and joked that perhaps watching was not the best choice. She checked me and said I was around 3 cm dilated. She asked about when I wanted my doula to come. JD and I had discussed it and decided that because we knew the doulas' shift changed at 6 and I wasn't uncomfortable yet, we would wait until after 6. Dr. M was fine with that and said then she would come by after 6 and see where we were.

She started the pitocin at the lowest level possible because I was already contracting fairly regularly. Then everyone left us alone. I was contracting about every 2-3 minutes and needed to breath a bit through them, but still following what was going on around me. The next hour or so passed this way and our doula, G. arrived around 6:30 or so. She was wonderful, a grandmotherly type and she actually reminded me of my mom some. Especially, when she told us a slightly off color joked and then proceeded to blush and apologize for it. We chatted with her for awhile and my contractions started picking up. Around this time, I asked JD to turn off the TV as I was started to be really annoyed by P.aula De.en's voice. He put on some music and he and G. started helping work through contractions.

Between 7:30 and 8:00, Dr M. came back and checked me again. She said I was 4 cm (which disappointed me some), but that my cervix had moved all the way forward and was "melting away" under her fingers. She didn't think it would be a long induction and didn't see the need to turn up the pitocin. My water broke then and there was a ton if it. Immediately the contractions became very difficult to get through. I was starting to have to moan through them and not just breathe. During the contractions, I had no idea what was going on around me. In between I could still talk with JD and G. but I wasn't in the mood for joking anymore. Time got pretty fuzzy around then and I remember hearing Bob M.arley singing. After a trip to the bathroom, I remember sitting in the rocking chair and being hit by a contraction unlike any other. In hindsight, I must have been entering transition. I started shaking all over. I opened my eyes and said to G. "I cannot possibly do this without some drugs." She half-smiled then and said "I'll get Dr. M." I remember thinking that she was nuts and possibly evil for smiling at me just then. JD told me later that she knew that I was almost there at that point and was getting Dr M. in preparation to deliver, not for medication. Dr. M came in and checked me and said there was just a lip left and she would hold it back and I could push past it.

At the mention of pushing, I was terrified. Up until this point, everything still felt unreal to me. Pushing was real and I was sure that it would be like with Owen. I was sure that all my efforts would be met with terrible silence.

"I don't want to do this I said." I started to cry some then. JD grabbed my hand and Dr. M held my face in her hands.

"You can do this," she said. "You are the strongest woman I know."

In that moment, I believed her and let my body take over. I pushed and heard K. calling for a baby nurse. As the baby's head emerged, Dr M. said "Well look at those cheeks, this is not a small baby."

"Its eyes are opening." JD whispered.

I knew that meant this baby was alive.

The baby slid the rest of the way out and JD said "Its a girl!"

"Eden, you're here." They placed on my belly and she looked at me. "Is she ok, is she ok?" That's all I could say. She wasn't crying.

"She's fine." The nurse said. "Let me take her and warm her up."

As she took Eden from me, Eden began to scream. "Shhh don't cry baby," the baby nurse murmured.

"You keep screaming, little one," I whispered. "You have no idea how long I've waited to hear that."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Just a quick note to let you all know that the cardiologist appointment went really well this morning. He thought that at least one of her defects appears to be closing on its own already. He feels fairly confident that she will not require surgery. She currently does not require any medication and has no restrictions. I am breathing much easier today. Perhaps things are finally turning around for us.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Closing the Door

I'm finding that I don't want to finish writing Eden's birth story. Once I do, I'll have to acknowledge that my baby-making days are over. I'm not ready to do that. In spite of everything that I said during my pregnancy about it being my last, and all the trauma that led up to the delivery, it makes me very sad to think I will never do it again.

I think part of the reason I'm having such a hard time with this is because the decision has pretty much been taken out of my hands. One of things that I haven't mentioned here yet is that, over my hospital stay, both before and after Eden's birth, each of the doctors (OB, hematologist, perinatalogist, neonatalogist, midwife, etc.) in turn sat down with me and, gently (or not so gently in some cases) suggested that I not do this again. Before Eden was born, Dr. C., my perinatalogist, reminded me of my promise I was all done and, then by her bedside in the NICU, he again suggested that considering our family complete would be the wisest decision and made me promise if I were to get pregnant I would come and see him immediately.

I think part of me is still hoping that someday I would have that perfect birth. I just feel sad to be closing the door to this part of my life.

* Eden is doing very well. She is just a doll. We see the cardiologist tomorrow. I am very nervous. I really want him to give us an answer to what lies ahead and know that will probably not happen.