Saturday, June 09, 2012

Ephraim Birth Story Part II

April 4th - Friday

Arrived at the hospital at 2Am.  We went to the ER, were taken to birthing center triage and then to our room. I was put on monitors.  I was having contractions but wasn't feeling them.  An IV was started.  There was some confusion over if I should be receiving IV heparin.  Dr. Rice was called and he said no heparin and ordered a blood clotting test to see where my levels where.

The resident who had been at the amnio came in to see me - she decided not to check to see how dilated I was because most likely my "cervix is being up in China" like it had been on Wednesday.

Cytotec was inserted around 3 AM and I couldn't leave the bed for 3 hours.  I tried to sleep - but baby kept moving around and escaping the monitor, so the nurses kept needing to come in and "find him".  Over and over.  Because I wasn't on heparin I got to wear these sweet leg compression things.  They didn't want me to form a blood clot while I was laboring.

 At 6 I was able to get up and we walked around the hospital for half an hour.  Dr. Rice came in at 6:30 and checked the monitors.  We went for another walk and then I sweet talked Dr. Rice and the nurse into letting me order breakfast.  I knew that I couldn't labor all day without food - and they let me.  :)  Fruit plate and granola and yogurt if you are curious.
 (Showing off my sweet leg compression things).  The number of wires I had to disconnect to go to the bathroom was ridiculous.
 At 7:30 Dr Rice came in and checked my cervix - 2cm.  He started pitocin.

At 9AM - Dr Rice came back and broke my water.  He also inserted an internal contraction monitor.  Not the one that attaches to baby's head - but the one that just sits in there.  The nice thing is that it actually can measure the intensity of the contraction and Forrest could see how much pain I was really in.
 I labored for several hours - but being on pitocin makes you unable to do a whole lot.  I tried standing, swaying and Forrest helped me breathe through the contractions.  I asked for stadol - and the 1st dose lasted about an hour and helped a lot.  (I was eating a popsicle at the time and the stadol made me really sleepy and I think I dropped it.)  The 2nd dose - not so much.  (Which is exactly what my nurse said would happen).

I asked for an epidural and got one at 3PM.  I was 4 cm when the anesthesiologist came in.  The epidural was amazing.  It started working right away and I was able to fall asleep.
At 4 PM - (only an hour later) I was 9 cm.  I fell asleep again.

At 5PM - I was 10 cm (they had to wake me up to check) and began to push.  Forrest and my nurse (Carol) held my legs.  My mom had arrived at the hospital mid morning and had been with us most of the day.  She left the room when I was sleeping and was surprised to see me pushing when she walked back in!  She then stayed with us.

At 5:30 - Dr. Rice came in.  I pushed for another half and hour and didn't make any progress.  Baby's head was stuck on my pubic bone and wouldn't make the last turn.  Dr. Rice suggested using a vacuum to help move his head.  He used the vacuum to help baby make the turn while I pushed.  I just needed to push the one time and Ephraim Alvis Arnold was born at 6:04PM.
 6 pounds, 12 ounces and 20 inches long.  He was immediately put on my chest.  He was taken away pretty quickly because he wasn't crying very loudly.  His apgar scores were 7 and then 9.

I was able to try breastfeeding as soon as he was returned to me, but he didn't seem to get it.

We had quite a few visitors that first night - Frank and Lona, Paige, Peggy, and Ian and Amanda.
During the night Ephraim spit up lots of mucous.  I continued to try to breastfeed, but it just wasn't working.  One of the night nurses gave him a couple of drops of formula - so that we could see if he would take anything.  He took the drops, but we (the nurse and I) didn't want him to get full on that.  She put in a request for a lactation consultant to come see me first thing.
Saturday 4/5

Dr. Rice saw me early in the morning and I was given the OK to leave that evening.

The lactation consultant (Jill) saw us by 7AM.  She set me up with a breast pump so that we could begin supplementing Ephraim with the real deal and not formula.  Jill suggested and I whole heartedly agreed to stay in the hospital one more night so Ephraim and I could get a better grip on the whole feeding thing.
Jill gave us a supplemental nursing system (SNS) to use.  It is basically a little bottle that attaches to my shirt with a thin tube that you attach to the breast so that baby gets extra milk while they are nursing.  She had me pump after every feeding so that I would have something to put in the bottle.  We then added formula to get the correct number of ounces until my milk came in.
Visitors that second night were Lyndsey, Travis, Lexie, Peggy, Charles and Kimi.
Sunday 4/6

Dr. Rice came in that morning and I was again given the ok to leave in the afternoon.
Jill wrote up a through breast feeding plan and arranged to have a breast pump delivered to the hospital before we left.  Our insurance covered all of it.

We left the hospital at 1:30.  I might have had my first meltdown right before we left.  Breastfeeding was not supposed to be so hard.
Monday 4/7

My mom left to go watch my brother compete at conference in the decathlon.  I was in a lot of pain and stayed up in my room with Ephraim most of the day.  I was having a really hard time getting in and out of my bed (it's really tall) so Frank built me a step stool out of left over plywood.  It was fantastic.
Tuesday 4/8

Ephraim went to his first doctor's appointment.  He was jaundiced.  Thankfully he did not have to go back to the hospital, but needed to be on a bilibed that was delivered to our house that afternoon.  He had to be on it all the time unless he was eating or being changed.  I don't have any pictures of him laying on it which is a bummer.  It was seriously one of the hardest things ever.  I had a brand new baby that struggled eating and then I couldn't hold him.  I was thankful that eating took a long time.  :)

I also went to see the nurse practitioner at my doctor's office.  I was in a lot of pain and just didn't think it was right.  Unfortunately she told me that the amount of pain I was in was about right.  Too bad that they don't mention what the healing pain feels like when you sign up for an epidural.
Wed 4/9
First thing in the morning the home nurse came to weigh him and prick his heel.  She didn't want us to go to our appointments because of his jaundice levels - but I wasn't going to skip going to the lactation consultant.

We went in to have an appointment with a lactation consultant (not Jill, but she was still good).  She weighed Ephraim before I nursed him and then after he ate and he was only getting 10mL from me.  Not enough.  My milk was in and I was able to pump a ton more than that so she suggested continuing to supplement with the SNS.  She also gave me a nipple shield which seemed to help Ephraim not fall off the boob as much.

Ephraim also got to be circumcised.  I couldn't handle his crying after he was strapped down so I left - but Forrest stayed and said that Dr. Rice was really fast and that the resident with him was really impressed.

The home nurse came back later that evening.  We got a call later and were told we could take him off of the bililights.  Hooray!

I stopped writing notes after Wed.  I can tell you that we continued to used the SNS for awhile.  We went back to the Lactation consultants one time and talked to them over the phone several times.  They had to create a plan to get me gradually down from pumping 8 times a day to none.  I had over 70 things of milk in my freezer.  We used none of them after we stopped using the SNS.  Ephraim was able to wean off of needing the nipple shield at about 4 1/2 months.  It just took so much work to get him to eat that I was completely against using a bottle.  He took over a month to get over 7 pounds which meant we went to the doctor's office 7 times in that first month.  He had multiple blood draws testing for lots of issues and thankfully they all came back negative.

Looking back - his birth is nothing like I imagined it would be.  There was a lot of medical involvement and a bunch of procedures that I didn't ever think about having.  But, I also wouldn't change a thing.  The amnio, inducing, pitocin, epidural and vacuum are not what I thought I wanted, but I think all of them were necessary.  They were as minimally invasive as possible given the situation I was in.  I am very thankful for the good care that my doctor and the lactation consultants gave us.  Most of all I love the end result which is the sweet boy God blessed us with.

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