Friday, July 6, 2012

When Babies Make Plans of Their Own Pt. 2: Fiona's Birth Story

Some of this is going to be a repetition from previous posts, but I want to write Fiona's birth story for my own recollection.

Since Fiona was a breech baby, we had a c-section scheduled for June 14th at 9:30 AM. Obviously, like her mother, she decided to make plans of her own. I always felt that she (although we didn't know she was a she at the time), would come early as that was kind of par for the course in my family. And my intuition was definitely right!

I remember people telling me that they just felt different before they went into labor, and I can definitely say that was true in my case. Up until the day before she was born, I was running around, taking long walks, cleaning the house and trying to stay busy. However, on that Monday, I didn't have the energy to even get off the couch. I literally just laid there all day and read a book. I wasn't my normal happy self, and instead felt really worn down and cranky. I'm fairly certain when Ryan came home from work and walked through the door I just cried. I don't even know why.

On Tuesday morning, June 12th, I woke up and still felt pretty exhausted (which wasn't a total surprise seeing as how I hadn't slept for more than 2 hours at a time since December). I decided to continue reading in bed. Ryan had allowed our dog, Bo, to come upstairs that morning, and instead of running around in circles begging to go out or for a walk like he usually does, he just laid calmly by my side. He definitely knew something was happening! Around 8:45 AM, I turned over and felt a bit of a pop. I vividly remember thinking, "hmm that felt really weird...I wonder if my water is going to break...I remember Aliya talking about this happening before her daughter came." Sure enough, I got up to go to the bathroom, and my water started to break. Because it wasn't the huge gush that everyone talks about (it broke gradually throughout the day), I called my doctor for confirmation. She told me, of course, that it was time to get to the hospital. I hung up the phone, called Ryan, and told him to come home because this baby was coming today. Then, because it was obviously the completely logical thing to do, I decided that it was absolutely imperative that I shave my legs. So, instead of running around getting all the bags together, I sat on the edge of the tub and did just that. I may not have been completely rational, but I am still surprised at how calm I was about the whole situation.

When Ryan came home we loaded everything into the car and made our way to the hospital. It was supposed to be an absolutely gorgeous day on the day Fiona was originally due to make her appearance, but on this day we had pouring rain, flooding and thunderstorms. I don't think we turned the radio on in the car at all. We just kept turning to each other saying, "I can't believe we're going to have a baby today." It all seemed so surreal.

We arrived at the hospital, and I remember this guy taking one look at us while we were walking in and saying, "Good Luck!" It made me smile. We checked in and we were taken to a room so I could be examined, and so that they could do another ultrasound and make sure the baby was still breech (she was). After about an hour, we were taken to another room on the floor where they perform the c-sections, and were told that the surgery would take place in about 25 minutes. I was in a bit of shock that it would happen that fast! We quickly met with the anesthesiologist and a bunch of the other doctors that would be in the room during the surgery. Then we were told we would meet the doctor performing the surgery shortly. Since Fiona decided to come early, we ended up with a completely different doctor than the one we had been seeing. So we waited, and waited....and well, waited. A couple of times a nurse would come in and tell us that the surgery would be taking place shortly, but it never happened. I hadn't had anything to drink or eat since the night before, and since I wasn't allowed to have any water (and was almost in tears over this), Ryan would hold up wet paper towels to my lips. I can't even begin to describe how thirsty I was. I also wasn't allowed to leave the bed, since there is a risk of a prolapsed cord with breech babies once the mother's water breaks. This went on for the longest time. It turns out that at the exact moment I was to go into surgery, another one of the doctor's patients was about to have her baby. The doctor was with her while she pushed....for over three full hours (bless that girl's heart!).

During all of this I would get myself mentally prepared for what was going to happen (I had a huge fear of being awake while, you know, they pulled a baby out of me...especially while I was strapped down to a table). The second I would be ok with it, we would find out that the surgery was getting pushed back again. After the doctor finally delivered the other baby, there was an emergency c-section that needed to be preformed. At this point I was starving, thirsty and all sorts of anxious. I guess Ryan felt really bad for me, because he decided it was ok to play the VT football entrance song, "Enter Sandman" on his iPhone. As soon as he started playing it, our baby's heartbeat started matching up with the tune. It was hysterical, and helped us get through the rest of the wait.

You can't really hear the heartbeat, but yup, we tried to take a video! 

Finally, around 4:00 PM, we were told that they would definitely be coming to get us for the surgery shortly. Around 4:15 PM, I was taken into the operating room. Ryan had to wait outside while I had the spinal injection done. I was even more nervous at this point, since I had hours to dwell on everything, and I remember being so hot....which was odd since I am normally freezing, and I was in an ice cold operating room. I asked the anesthetist if I could have an ice pack for my forehead. While she went off in search for that, I was prepped for the spinal injection. I was terrified about this part because I knew that one of the side effects can be feeling like you can't breath. For someone who can feel extremely claustrophobic at times, having my arms strapped down while feeling like I can't breath is probably my worst nightmare coming to life. I am beyond thankful that God provided me with an amazing team of doctors at this point. My anesthesiologist kept making jokes about how this wasn't the time to be a yoga student while trying to get me to roll my back enough, and my surgeon held my hands while the injection was done (it wasn't bad at all...and I felt like I could breath!). After that I was quickly placed onto the table for surgery, Ryan was brought back in, and the blue screen went up. The surgeon did a quick time out and went over all of our requests for the birth with the rest of the doctors and nurses in the room.

I remember the anesthetist standing at my head holding the icepack to my forehead, and telling me she would give me a play by play of what was happening. I, of course, was fairly adamant that I did not want a play by play. She explained that she would just tell me what I would be feeling as it was happening. At this point, I just started to cry. There wasn't an exact reason other than it was an emotionally draining morning, and I was just done. I remember the nurse asking me what was wrong, and I just said, "I spent all day trying not to be super anxious about the surgery, and now I'm here and, well, now I feel like I can cry about it (hello, hormones)." So I cried, and the doctors tugged and pulled (which I vividly remember...I did not like this part one bit). I felt like they were performing the surgery for about a half hour, when in reality, it was more like 15 minutes. Finally, someone said, "Ok, dad, get ready...we're going to lower the screen in a second so you can see if you have a son or a daughter." Then, at 4:33 PM, there was a wailing baby. The screen was lowered, and I waited for Ryan to tell me if we had a little boy or little girl. It was probably about 10 seconds, but it felt like a lifetime (apparently the umbilical cord was in the way, and Ryan couldn't tell right away). Finally, he said, "It's a girl...we have a daughter!" I will remember this moment for the rest of my life. Of course, I started crying even more (out of happiness this time!). The doctors kept saying, "Oh, she is just beautiful!" and, "Oh my goodness, she has red hair!"

So there I was, crying my eyes out on the operating table wondering how in the heck we ended up with a red-haired child. We joked the entire pregnancy that we were going to have a baby with a huge mop of dark hair. And then we ended up with a fair redhead. I think I'll forever be amused by that.

Our daughter was then taken to the other side of the room to be cleaned up, weighed and measured while the doctors finished up the surgery on me (I have no recollection of this part of the surgery). Ryan went with her, and apparently they even left the cord long enough so he could do the official "cut" at this point. Since I was a crying, blubbering mess, I had no idea that he had even done this until he told me two weeks later. Our little baby came in at 6.8 pounds and 19 inches, and scored a 9 both times on her Apgar test.

 Fiona's 1st official picture

Finally, finally, finally, Ryan brought her over to me. I just remember staring into her eyes and feeling so overwhelmed, happy, thankful and blessed. My arms were unstrapped and I was able to touch and hold our baby girl. They asked us what her name was, and we said, "Fiona." So there we were...Ryan, me and our little Fiona...officially a family of three.


Justine said...

Beautiful!! :) I wasn't allowed to eat or drink before my c-section too, and that was just torture!! Mine also kept getting pushed back, I think it was about 4 hours after it was supposed to be...

Happiness Is... said...

Congratulations! What a precious story, though the waiting must have been so hard! She's gorgeous :)

Erica said...

I stumbled onto some gorgeous pictures of Fiona on Facebook through Meredith Long's picture tags:) Adorable, congrats again!

Laura said...

So glad that all is well. She is adorable and I just love her name.

asj said...

congratulations, she's perfect!! hope you've recovered well and fully at this point!