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."


k@lakly said...

Reborn, indeed. Have to go wipe my eyes now.

CLC said...

Your story just gives me the chills and so much hope. I am so happy for you!

Sue said...

I'll admit it, I skipped to the end to get to the good stuff. I'm totally crying. What a beautiful, beautiful post.

Thank you for sharing it, Ashleigh.

Anonymous said...

Love it. Crying now. Going to link this in my own blog for my stillborn mama friends to read for hope and inspiration :) I just can't stop crying.

Choofy Mama said...

Beautiful post, congrats, our 2nd daughter was stillborn @ 41w last year too, and we are also pregnant with our afterwards baby...I'm so scared your story gave me hope and joy.

Congrats on hearing that beautiful sweet cry. <3


Ange said...

Oh i love this birth story..and of course I am having a cry. What a wonderful happy ending..amd thrilled for you.

Anonymous said...

I'm a mrsmaynard reader and only she has been able to make me cry like this. What a wonderful, soul renewing story - that I sincerely hope happens to all of you stillborn momma's out there.
Congrats new Momma!!