Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Birth-Day!!

Ready or not...here he comes!

As Dr. Schroeder predicted, around midnight my nurses Heather and Tara showed up to start my IV. Surprisingly, Scott and I had managed to get a little sleep prior to that. At this time I have had the needle in place in my wrist for about a week. This is the first time it has actually been hooked up to a drip bag. I also watched them throw away my cup of water. It’s amazing how when you can’t have anything to drink, you suddenly feel like you've been walking in the desert for days. I was able to fall back asleep once they got me drip bag hooked up. At 2 A.M. they returned to put me on the monitor and watch how baby was doing. I stayed awake for the entire hour watching and listening to the monitor. As much as I’ve disliked being hooked up to the monitor everyday for “x” amount of hours, I have enjoyed every second of hearing Paisley’s heartbeat. As I watched it for the final hour, I thought to myself this would be the last night I would be on the monitor with this baby. Surgery time was getting closer and closer and my brain just kept thinking “we’re about to have a baby.”

At 3 A.M. my nurses returned to take me off the monitor stating baby looked beautiful. They said they would return around 5 to finish getting me ready for my date with the operating room. As they left I decided to wheel my IV pole to the restroom. This is the moment my world stood still and yet everything went into overdrive all in an instant. I was bleeding. For the past 6 weeks, I have been in the hospital praying I wouldn’t start bleeding. The reason I was admitted was for my Dr. to have the ability to take the baby immediately should I start. Here it was 3.5 hours until our scheduled C-Section and I was bleeding. I hurried back to my bed as quick I could drag my IV across the room. I hit the call light and waited. I said to Scott, who was sleeping so peacefully at my feet on the air mattress, “Baby?” After saying it a few times he stirred and looked at me. “I’m bleeding,” I said. Within seconds he was at my side, eyes as wide as they would go. Tara answered my call light and once again I uttered those 2 words, “I’m bleeding.”

The nurses were there instantly, asking me about the amount of blood and putting me back on the monitor. One of the girls disappeared to call Dr. Schroeder and the other went to work finishing up my surgery prep. Tara told me that everything was going to happen the way we had previously discussed, only we were going to be doing everything a little sooner.

It seemed like seconds later the anesthesiologist was at my side. I had never met Dr. Boger but was completely at ease with him. He was very soft spoken and had a relaxed demeanor. He explained that since things were progressing in a different way than our original plan, he thought it would be best to completely knock me out, as opposed to giving me the spinal that had been part of the original plan.  Since we were unsure how bad the bleed is or where exactly it was coming from, he said the sooner they can get him out, the better.  He began explaining the process of putting a pipe down my throat and the potential of it chipping teeth. I wanted to assure him that I had a good dentist but didn’t think it was the time or place for humor.

By this time, Scott had dressed in his scrubs and anxiously hung on to every word the nurses and Dr. Boger were saying. I was trying to listen and quiet my brain which had went into a tailspin over the fact I was minutes away from having this baby out of me all while hoping it was not him that was bleeding. They began moving my bed towards the OR and Scott was at my side. I remember smelling coffee brewing in the hall and how silent the hospital was at this hour. They told Scott to kiss me bye because at this point, they didn’t figure he would be going into the room with me as spouses are not allowed in the operating room if the patient is completely sedated. It was a quick kiss good-bye but I remember seeing fear in his eyes. It was the first time I ever saw that look. We left him in a rocking chair outside the OR doors.

As we entered the OR, it was as if I was viewing the situation in a dream-like state. The room was stark white and the sounds seemed muted. It was cold. I was transferred from my bed onto the operating table. My arms were put on boards that went straight out to the side. I was hooked up to the monitor and was happy to hear that baby was still doing great. His little heartbeat showed he wasn’t being affected by the blood loss or whatever was happening inside my body. Warm blankets were quickly put on my chest and I remember thinking how good they felt. Dr. Schroeder appeared at my side and I was so happy to see her. She had told me from day one she would deliver this baby whenever he came, and here she was, scrubbed in and ready to go at 3 in the morning. She checked the amount of blood I was currently losing which was not a continuous or large amount and informed the anesthesiologist that we would administer the spinal as previously planned. I was grateful that I would not be knocked out and Scott would be allowed in the OR. I was sat up and told to lean over the side of the bed, into the arms of Nurse Heather. With my head on her shoulder, I was instructed to push my spine out as far as I could. It was not easy with a big belly, but the Dr. was able to insert the spinal. I felt the stick and a burning sensation. I was gently laid back on the table and they slowly begin poking me with a needle to see how numb I was. They had administered the highest dosage of the numbing agent as they were hoping it would work quickly. Naturally my body tried fighting it and the Dr. tilted my bed with my head towards the floor in an effort to make the medicine move through my system quicker. Eventually they said I was numb enough and Dr. Schroeder told one of the nurses to grab Scott because we were starting.

He is born!!

I was so happy to see Scott and he sat down right next to my head. The anesthesiologist was on the other side of me asking me how I was feeling and monitoring my vitals. Scott also would ask how I was feeling and would tell me how good I was doing. I felt no pain and then the Dr. told me I would feel some tugging and pulling. Sure enough I could feel my body being moved about but I never felt any pain. The Dr. announced she could see his face and Scott stood up to watch the finale. Soon after I heard this growl/scream sound and I asked if that was our baby. I heard someone say “yes,” and I let myself exhale for the first time in months. 90% of my body was numb but I remember smiling. It may have been the biggest smile I have ever had in my life. The Dr. brought him to me and I was able to kiss his face. It was the most beautiful sight. He scrunched his face up and pushed out his lips. The tiny face I had only seen in ultra sound pictures was right in front of me. There were a million things I wanted to say to him, but all I could do was breath, smile, and thank God that this moment was happening. I didn’t know if we would ever make it to this point, but here we were. My husband was standing next to me, and our son was inches from my face, acting like a perfect newborn. It was a moment and a feeling that I can’t put into words, nor will I ever forget it. It seems I only got to kiss him and stare into his face a few seconds before the nurse whisked him away to take care of him. As the nurse cleaned him off, I heard her laugh and say she just got peed on. That’s our son.

My first look at our son
Scott got to hold him a few minutes before Paisley was taken to the nursery for observation. The nurses and Dr. asked if we would finally say what Baby P’s name was and Scott and I happily announced “Paisley Andrew.” After 6 weeks of taking care of me and Baby P, the nurses were happy to finally know his name.

Dr. Schroeder went to work putting me back together and Scott stayed with me while that happened. He is writing his own account of the morning’s events. We both agreed that the entire surgery felt like an out of body experience. We feel like we were able to witness the surgery, but it was as though we were spectators and not an actual part of it. Once Humpty Dumpty was repaired, Scott headed to the nursery to check on our son. I was taken back to my room to recover.

At this point the day’s events are murky and spotty. I was coherent enough throughout the rest of the day that I remember seeing my parents and sister for the first time after they saw Paisley. My sister was crying and my parents were smiling ear to ear. Scott was going back and forth between the nursery and my recovery room. I wanted more than anything to be able to join him in the nursery, but I still couldn’t feel my legs at the time.

The nurses and Dr. Schroeder were continually checking my incision, take my blood pressure and temperature. After an hour or so in recovery, they moved us to our new post-partum room. The room had a hospital bed as well as a queen sized bed. I had to stay in the hospital bed for 24 hrs post surgery but I was so happy that Scott would be in a real bed and not on an air mattress.

Paisley was wheeled into our room a short time later. They couldn’t put him in my arms fast enough. I stared into his little face and covered him in kisses. The lactation consults showed up and assisted in teaching me how to get Paisley to latch and how nursing works in general.

Happy Birth Day baby!
Throughout the day we had visitors however I can’t recall what was said or who all showed up. I was still on a pain medication that kept me pain-free but also living in a bit of a fog. The baby was taken from our room to the nursery throughout the day to alternate between me feeding him and being monitored by the nursery. Each time they took him, I felt sad that he wasn’t with me. I remember telling Scott that I didn’t like my arms being empty. Each time he was wheeled back into our room, my heart would leap and all I could think about was hugging our boy.

I loved watching Scott hold our little man and at one point, the 3 of us were snuggled up in my bed together. It felt perfect and comfortable. Even though we had never held our baby until now, the 3 of us bonded as if we had all been together our entire lives. It had been a long hard road, but here we were standing at the end of this journey. I had not allowed myself to even imagine that it would end with such beauty, amazement, and more love than our hearts had known. 

My boys
That night, I watched my husband comfortably slip into his new role as Dad. When Paisley would cry, it was Scott that changed every diaper. When Paisley was hungry, Scott would bring him to my hospital bed so I could feed him. I wasn’t allowed out of bed for 24 hours, so Scott continued to carry the load of mobile parent, as he had for the past 12 weeks. I had always thought it would be impossible for me to love Scott anymore, but having Paisley has allowed my heart more room to love, both for him and his Daddy.

I closed my eyes listening to the sound of our newborn son cooing from his bed, the sound of my husband shuffling around the dark room taking care of his wife and baby, and I finally let myself relax. Paisley was here. The Fisher family was safe and sound and ready for the next chapter.


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The Day Before...


Monitor time with one of my favorites!!
As Scott got ready for work, it was hard not to notice the excitement and nervous energy in the room. This was our last “normal” day as we knew it. As 7:30 rolled around, I pointed out to Scott that within 24 hrs. we would have our baby. As he headed off to work, I began my day as I had the previous 6 weeks. My nurse showed up around 8 to take vitals and put me on the monitor. I ordered my breakfast of fruit loops with skim milk, pears, and apple juice. My Dr. came in for our daily chat and excitement was all over her face. After taking care of us, worrying about us, and praying for us (she told me the day before she had added our family to her prayer list), she was as excited to deliver this baby as we were. Having Dr. Schroeder in our lives has been miraculous. She is caring and compassionate and everything one could hope for in a Dr. She pulled up a chair and sat next to my bed, explaining everything that would happen tomorrow at 7:30a.m. She said that my night nurse would get an IV started around midnight tonight to get me hydrated. I was not to have anything to eat or drink after midnight, even sips of water. Around 5:30 a.m., the nurse would begin prepping me for surgery. By 7:30, I would be in the operating room and the anesthesiologist would administer the spinal. Once that was complete, Scott would be allowed in the O.R. We would both be dressed as meat packers complete with hair nets. With that, she said “see you in the morning” and she was off to do her rounds.

Various nurses stopped in throughout the day to wish me luck as did my favorite housekeeper Pat and food delivery workers Rose and Mary. It was nice to have so many people rooting for us and telling us they would miss us when we were gone. Scott sent me cute texts throughout the day saying things like, “tomorrow at this time we will be holding our son.” Reading that sentence was mind-blowing. Around 11:30 as Mid-Day with Mike came on the news Scott showed up to have lunch with me. I admitted to him that I would miss “this.” This being the uninterrupted quiet time that Scott and I have gotten to spend together over the past 12 weeks. Although we wish the circumstances were a little different we have been able to have some quality time together during this time frame.

After Scott returned to work, mom and dad came to visit and helped make the afternoon pass. Mom and I played cards, we took a final wheelchair ride, and discussed the events of the following day. Scott picked up dinner on his way home as we felt like celebrating my final night of hospital bed-rest. Since Turoni’s has a special meaning to us, we found it only fitting to have Turoni’s as our final pre-baby meal. As mom and dad were leaving, dad asked Scott if they should get a hotel room in town. Scott assured them that most likely nothing was going to happen, and even if it did, they wouldn’t even have time to get here from a hotel before I would already on the operating table. Momma was debating what time to come in the morning because she wanted to see me before they wheeled me back. She decided on 7am, kissed me good-bye, and her and poppa headed home.
Our final night in #3536.  The baby bed is ready to go!
Scott crawled into bed with me and our night nurses, Tara and Heather came in. Call it good fortune, but these two are a couple of my favorite nurses. They have been so sweet and caring to Scott, Paisley and I during the stay here. It only seems fitting that they are here for our last evening. After I have Paisley tomorrow, I will be moved to the post-partum section with different nurses. Of course I wish I could just stay here in Labor and Delivery, but that isn’t how the system works. Scott stepped out of the room to get a cup of ice and there was the baby bed outside our door. Scott looked back at me and we couldn’t help but smile. Tomorrow night at this time our son will be in that little bed. The bed was #10, which seemed perfect for our perfect “10” baby.

Scott and I wrote out our prayers to put in our prayer box. As we turned out the lights to go to sleep, we talked about this being the last night we would go to bed without a little one needing us. That was a very surreal feeling. I felt like it was Christmas Eve, the night before a big vacation, and the first day of school all rolled into one moment. The anticipation was indescribable. How many people get the opportunity to lie in bed at night and know that they will be holding their son in just a few hours.

Dear Baby-See you in the morning. Please have a safe trip.  Love, Mom
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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Long and Winding Road


Image courtesy of Google
This blog is as much a place for information for family and friends as it is a reminder to Scott and I of the places we’ve been and the experiences we’ve had. This pregnancy hasn’t been easy. There have been moments that have downright sucked, but after every dark night came a bright morning. My timeline below may be a week or so off, but I want to remember and to always be thankful for all that we have been through to get to where we are now.

The beginning of this pregnancy was a cake walk. My cravings were easy to satisfy and I never got sick. At our first ultrasound we saw our little gummy bear. The heartbeat was perfect and all was well. My Dr. said she didn’t see anything that caused concern, but due to our history if we wanted a follow-up 4D ultrasound with a specialist just to ease our fears, she would make it happen. We jumped at the chance.

While doing the 4D ultrasound there was an obvious black hole appearing in my uterus. The tech brought the specialist in and after silently moving the wand over my stomach; she admitted that she had never seen anything like it before. Her concern was that it was a cyst on the umbilical cord, which is fatal to the fetus. After further review, she determined that it wasn’t on the umbilical cord and that she needed to consult her medical books before giving us any additional information. While she consulted her books, Scott and I prepared ourselves for the worse. We prayed and tried to hold it together. When she returned, relief could physically be seen on her face. It was a secondary yolk sac. There weren’t signs that there was ever a second fetus in my stomach, but for whatever reason a secondary yolk sac was present. She said eventually it would be absorbed by my body and it would not affect our baby. Our first round of worry was over.

The specialist asked us to come back in 4 weeks to make sure the yolk sac was gone and follow-up on everything, so we returned. At that appointment the tech brought the Dr. in and while silently moving the wand over my belly, the Dr. told us the baby had an echogenic bowel. This means the intestines were showing up light colored as if they were bone, which is a soft marker for downs. This news was followed up with an offering of an amino. As Scott and I had previously agreed, we wanted to know as much information as possible about our baby, whether that information was good or bad. We agreed to the amino and within minutes the needle was inserted into my stomach. It didn’t hurt and it didn’t last long. The fear we felt overshadowed all other pain.

After 3 days of waiting, the results of our amino were returned. The baby was fine. We almost couldn’t believe it. We didn’t know if we should allow ourselves to feel relief and comfort or if we should keep our hearts guarded. With our chins held high, we continued on our journey. Our second round of worry was (temporarily) over.

Mother’s Day night the bleeding began. I called the hospital and they told me to come in quickly. It wasn’t just a spot or two of blood, but enough that I thought our baby was gone. The drive to the hospital was the longest drive of our lives. Scott and I held hands but couldn’t discuss what was happening. At the hospital, we had an ultra-sound and there dancing on the screen, healthy as can be, was our little guy. He was fine. After an examination, the blood was not coming from our baby and perhaps my uterus was just irritated. They could not give an exact reason for the bleeding. After 4-5 hours in the hospital I was released. A follow-up appointment was scheduled with the specialist later that week to make sure everything was still ok.

At this appointment the specialist officially diagnosed me with Vasa Previa. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this diagnoses is fatal to the fetus if it is not caught before the mother goes into labor. In the simplest terms, the baby’s blood supply/lifeline has planted itself right on top of the birthing canal. Should my water bust or the membranes rupture during labor, the baby would bleed out in a matter of minutes. If not treated immediately, the mother would also require a blood transfusion. Clearly not an ideal situation but we were assured that since this was caught, we have a 99% chance of delivering (via C-Section) a perfectly healthy baby.

At this point we knew hospitalization was imminent once we hit week 30. At week 28, we had a follow-up appointment with the specialist. It was at this appointment I was informed that not only was my cervix shortening but I was also having contractions. This led to immediate hospitalization because going into labor was not an option for me or baby. Steroids were immediately administered and then we waited. After 24 hours and orders of bedrest going forward, I was released to return home.

Roughly 6 weeks of bedrest at home followed. It was hard not to be in constant fear of going into labor and losing the baby before we had time to get to the hospital. But, we knew the road before us was already laid out and we just needed to continue walking down it. So we did.

On July 7, it was with relief and peace that we entered the hospital at 30 weeks. Under constant supervision by the Dr., we marked days off the calendar and celebrated each week. Constant monitoring is a blessing and a curse all at the same time. We have watched my blood pressure soar and dip. This led to the 24 urinalysis test for pre-eclampsia. Luckily, pre-e was not in the cards for us. We have also watched the heartbeat of our baby soar and dip. While the Dr. says for the most part it is normal, it is still cold-sweat inducing watching the baby’s heartbeat slow down.

We’ve cried tears of joy and tears of the unknown. At this point, we are in the homestretch. At 34 weeks, we have what the NICU considers an “easy baby.” Our Dr. told us yesterday we have roughly 2 weeks before she takes the baby. Two weeks. After everything that we have endured, taking this baby home and raising it feels like a piece of cake. Without everything we have been through, I’m not sure I would have fully recognized the miracle of creating a life. I didn’t expect pregnancy would be this difficult, but no one ever said it would be easy either. All I know is that every second has been worth it.

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