Monday, May 14, 2012

kate: delivery day

After church on Sunday, we took a family nap, as per our usual Sunday routine. When we woke up, Ryan made me a delicious Mother's Day dinner - salmon, cous cous and asparagus. It was all sorts of delicious and I gobbled it up. 

We ate around 4:30 {which is early for us} because Ryan had a group meeting up on campus at 5:30. When he left, he made me promise to not do the dishes, so I sat down on the couch with Leah to read some books. We were about 15 minutes in when I heard an audible pop and literally jumped off the couch and ran to the bathroom. My fears and excitement were confirmed - my water broke! And, of course, I took a picture to document {isn't is appropriate that Leah had checked out The Berenstain Bears' New Baby from the library!?}. 

I called Ryan and he didn't answer thanks to the cell phone abyss that is Tuck. I texted him and hoped he'd respond quickly. I also texted my neighbor to see if she was home. I then took Leah upstairs to get some things together. Ryan called back and said he was on his way home and my neighbor showed up at my door because I hadn't texted her back {I was on the phone with Ryan} and she was worried! She stayed until Ryan got home and we were ready to head to the hospital. This entire time, I was incredibly calm. I wasn't having contractions and I was actually just really excited that our new little one might be coming tonight! 

As my friend walked away with Leah in tow, I snapped a picture and tears welled up in my eyes. I knew Leah would be well cared for; but I was immediately overwhelmed with my love for her and hoped she'd be okay with all that was going to change in her life in the next few days. She looked so grown up to me as she walked away.

As soon as Ryan gathered his things, we were off. We called our parents on the way to the hospital {and wished our moms a Happy Mother's Day!} and entered through the emergency room. I had never entered the hospital this way before, so we stopped at the desk to ask which way we should go. The desk attendant called for someone to get a wheelchair. A bit embarrassed, I asked if I could just walk and he looked at me, completely bewildered, and said, "I've never seen anyone in labor walk themselves up to labor and delivery before!". But honestly, there was no pain, no contractions and I figured I should be up and walking while I could! 

A nurse led us to Labor and Delivery where they hooked me up to be monitored. 

I was dilated to a 1.75 they said {just not quite a 2} and baby was still breech {boo}. When they learned I had just eaten a full meal {you're supposed to fast for 12 hours before surgery}, my progress - or lack thereof - was actually a good thing since they wanted to hold me off for as long as possible for my food to digest. Contractions began, but they weren't painful or strong or really close together. They checked my blood pressure and it was sky high. Seriously, everyone was so nervous. I was calm as could be, but my levels were so elevated. I was a little swollen around my feet, so they took some platelet levels to see if I had preeclampsia. And I did. Kind of strange because at my checkup 2 days earlier, everything was fine. So, they wanted to get some other medication in my system and said they'd probably start prepping me for surgery in about 4 hours. 

They moved me from the intake room to my actual room (#14). Within an hour or so, my contractions began to increase in intensity a lot. Honestly, I feel like I have a very high tolerance for pain, but the pain increased so much so quickly, it was almost unbearable - and they were coming every 2 or 3 minutes. At one point, Ryan looked at me, saw fear in my eyes and said, "Are you okay?" Tears spilled out of my eyes and I replied, "No." I think had I known I would be giving birth naturally, I could have handled it, but because I knew I was having a c-section and they weren't going to start it for a few more hours, I just didn't know how much longer I could handle the contractions. Immediately after Ryan noticed, the nurse noticed. She must have told the doctor, because he came in, took one look at me and said, "Let's just get started now."*

They immediately wheeled me into the operating room where I was given a spinal by our good friend Andrew {love living in an area where so many of our friends are medical students, residents, doctors and nurses!}. And can I just put a plug in for Andrew's work? I didn't feel a thing. Honestly. It was amazing. Plus, he was able to sit at my head with Ryan and explain so many things that were going on. I felt like I had such a wealth of information and wasn't left out of anything, which was a completely opposite experience from Leah's delivery. I numbed up beautifully, and was aware of everything going on. The only discomfort I felt the entire surgery was being completely freezing cold and having a really itchy face. 

Ryan wasn't allowed in the operating room during my spinal, so he patiently waited in the hallway where he took great pictures. 

After I was situated on the operating table, he was invited back in. In no time at all, at 10:07pm to be precise, they lifted our beautiful baby girl over the curtain for us to see. She was Leah's twin but with a full head of dark hair! The doctors and nurses kept commenting on how big she was so I was imagining this giant baby. I guess they just thought she was big based on the size of my belly? 

Our little girl weighed in at 7 lbs. 13 oz. and measured 19.5 inches long. This did seem huge to us as it was nearly 2 lbs. heavier and 2.5 inches longer than Leah, but she still seemed so tiny! I peered over and around the sheets as they weighed her, cleaned her off and bundled her up to place in Ryan's arms while they stitched me up. They even cut out my old, jumbled scar from Leah's surgery {that's a story for another day} and I have a beautifully straight scar in its place now. 

After they finished and they wheeled me back to my recovery room, they placed her in my arms. It was an incredible experience to hold her and talk to her right after she was born. Definitely a moment I won't soon forget. I remember feeling so distanced from Leah as she was whisked off to the NICU. I didn't get to see or hold her for a full 24 hours and here was our new little one, right in my arms. It was amazing. 

I asked Ryan beforehand if he would take some pictures and he said he would! Is that weird that I wanted pictures of my c-section? I just think it's so fascinating. They allowed him to take these pictures, but he couldn't put the camera over the curtain so he had to lift it up and just kind of shoot blindly. But he got some amazing shots of the first moments of her life. So, so incredible. 

*Just so you know, I wasn't crazy and I wasn't a wuss. After she was born, they told me I had quickly dilated to at least a 7 {hence the increase in contraction pain!} and had they not taken me right then, my body would have tried to have a breech baby naturally. Ouch. 

Quick timeline:
4:30 - dinner
5:55 - water breaks
6:45 - arrive at hospital
7:00 - hooked up to monitors
7:30 - started to feel contractions
7:45 - switched rooms
10:07 - kate is here!

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center staff:
Dr. Spence - anesthesiology attending
Andrew Curtis - anesthesiology resident
Ellen Martin - midwife
Dr. Karen George - attending
Shailen Mhapsekar - resident
Kim and Kate - nurses


carolee said...

That photo of you, Ryan and Kate is THE best. So much love!

Kelli Marshall said...

i'm a puddle of happy tears right now. i love this post so much! i love love love the picture of kate all covered in junk.. and the one of your three is pretty priceless too... ps.. why didn't you tell me about the preeclampsia? makes sense now why they had you on mag...

brittani c. said...

I agree...the shot of you two gazing at newborn Kate is just precious. I loved reading about the details of the day, and especially glad the anesthesia made you happy. :)

mj said...

Sorry kb. Thought I did tell you? Mag is the living worst!

mj said...

If Andrew needs a letter of recommendation, you know where I live. :)

Emily said...

I am so happy she is here and everything worked out okay for you. I love reading these kind of stories and I am so glad you got to hold her so soon! That shot is pretty amazing of when they pulled her out. Since I never got to see it myself, it is fascinating! Thanks for sharing with all of us!

Karen Hauley said...

Great photos . . . love them all!

Amy said...

beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Kate, you, your cute family, your birth story, your love for your girls. Thank your for sharing it.
Seeing Kate makes me want a newborn, and yet, I'm not ready for 3 kids. I need a newborn to hold! :)

Molly said...

Thank you for sharing this! I love hearing my friends' birth stories. And she does look like Leah, doesn't she? So beautiful!