Dylan’s Birth Story

Dylan Alexander Fry
Born 5/17/12
6 pounds
18 inches

A 3 week hiatus after my last entry was probably a bit dramatic, no? Rather than drone on about new motherhood and nursing troubles and baby blues, I would rather focus on telling Baby Dylan’s birth story before mom-nesia (or whatever it is called) removes it from my memory completely.

The day started out with me on the couch for what would be my last day of bed rest. My ultrasound appointment was at 1:30 to recheck my amniotic fluid levels, so, on the off-chance that I would be going to the hospital that day and not allowed to eat, I ate a large lunch of leftover meatballs in cream sauce and corn (foreshadowing: this was a terrible plan).

I was sure that the gallon+ of water I had been drinking daily would maintain my fluid after the IV from the week prior or, at most, it would have dropped by maybe a centimeter, which would still keep me out of the hospital. Someone else had other plans. Fluid was down all the way to 4 cm (for the record, 5 cm is critical, I was at 6 cm when I got the IV, & I left the hospital at 9.5 cm). That meant that the baby needed to be delivered ASAP to avoid compression of the umbilical cord. I figured that would mean a Friday morning delivery (see: monstrous lunch). A call to my OB and, instead, I was scheduled for a C-section that evening.

Hubby was in another county at his new internship. I told him not to rush up thinking that the surgery would be at 7 or 8 pm that night and he got out at 4 (notice the trend – I think one thing, something else happens…). Thank goodness he didn’t listen to me since, when I got to the hospital, my OB said that everything was set for a 5pm delivery. Of course, since it was a “scheduled” cesarean, they would wait for him, but my nerves were shot already, and waiting any longer than I had to for him might have killed me.

After my OB let me have a good, long cry to mourn, basically, the exact type of birth I DIDN’T want (an early scheduled c-section), I was sent to the exam room to get prepped and wait for the OR to be ready for me (there was one cesarean ahead of me). I changed into my hospital gown and was hooked up to the annoying ass fetal monitors for the last time (and I remembered my elastic straps for them for every hospital visit to avoid getting charged as the nurse told me the first time – I like to think I impressed everyone with that). After an eternity, David showed up to relieve my mom.

What was supposed to be a 5pm operation got pushed back due to the c-section before mine taking longer than expected.  The nurse was waiting on the okay to give me all the medicines that were required before I got cut open (most of which were due to me eating lunch that day since generally you want to operate on someone with an empty stomach).  The wait in the exam room took forever, and the bed was ridiculously uncomfortable.  At some point, I started having contractions.  David and I joked that it would be hilarious if, after all that, I went into labor waiting for the OR to open up.  Finally, I was told that I could walk to the OR (really?  they couldn’t be bothered to wheel me to the operating table???).  Of course, gravity took over when I stood up, and I decided that I should probably get one last pee in before I get cut open.  This was not the best plan since I was hooked up to an IV that wasn’t on a pole.  Seriously, the accommodations at this hospital were severely lacking.

Once I got to the OR, the panic began to set in.  The room was small, but overwhelming.  The operating table was too high up for me to sit on normally, so they had to get me a step.  That still wasn’t enough, so I had to hoist myself up under my own power.  Then, the fun part came – the spinal.  I would rather go through an unmedicated vaginal birth than have a spinal put in again.  Each jab was insanely painful – and there were about 10 to 15 of them at least.  After what seemed like eons of needles getting shoved in my spine, I was finally allowed to lay down on the table and the curtain went up.  I didn’t see much after that; all I was waiting on was for David to get in the room.  I knew everything would be okay once he was there.  Once he arrived, he was about to be his charming, joking self, but the doctor had to tell him to be quiet since they had started recording.  David mouthing “I love you” is one of the only clear memories left I have of that day.

Then, the fun began.  While I couldn’t feel any “pain” persay, I felt everything that was going on behind that curtain.  There was so much tugging and pulling and pressure.  David said that it looked like an earthquake with all the movement.  I even could tell the moment they pulled the baby out – there was some extra pressure, then a big release.  Before I heard him cry, I knew he was born.  Suddenly, the curtain fell a bit and my doctor held Dylan up over it to show us.  She was waiting for us to take a picture, but David could see me cut open and just wanted them to sew me back up.  I insisted that he take a picture of our new son or I would never forgive him.  As David says, “that was no place for a baby!”

They took the baby over to the table to clean him.  After insisting that he didn’t want to before the baby was born, David finally agreed to cut the umbilical cord.  I guess after seeing my surgery, cutting an unnecessary organ wasn’t such a big deal.  The most amazing part was that he was crying right until David started talking – then he stopped.  He already knew his voice.  Once Dylan was cleaned and swaddled, they brought him over to me.  I had no idea what to do with him.  I think someone finally told me to give him a kiss.  It was too surreal.  I was just laying on a table, and now I had a baby.  I asked them if I could try to breastfeed him before they took him away.  A nurse grabbed my boob and stuck it in his mouth, but he didn’t take.  They took him away to have a bath while I finished getting repaired.

Once I was done getting sewn up, I was supposed to be taken to a recovery room, but ended up in maternity triage instead, which was much noisier and less private.  I was held there for 2 hours without Dylan while I tried (unsuccessfully) to keep down my lunch and get some rest before being brought to my room.  Someone left the Heat game on, and I felt the need to tell everyone that I didn’t choose for it to be on the TV – it was already on when I arrived.  Finally, David and my parents took turns visiting me and giving me updates on the baby.  He absolutely hated his bath and fought with the nurse the whole time (an indicator of his current state).  He also got 9s on both APGARs thanks to his strength and penchant for screaming.  I, meanwhile, focused so hard on attempting to move my toes that I made myself sick.

After 2 hours, the nursed wheeled me to my room.  All of my family was in there with the baby waiting for me.  It didn’t last long, though, since I needed to try and nurse him again, so everyone left.  I don’t remember the rest of that day very well.  I remember Dylan fussing that night while David and I tried to sleep.  Every time he heard one of our voices, he would stop, though, so we spent most of the night shushing or saying his name to keep him calm.

I will try to remember the rest later & hopefully include more pictures – it’s hard getting an entry written and taking care of Dylan by myself at home (I started this entry almost a week ago).

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Reporting from the couch

So… what was supposed to be a couple of days of bed rest didn’t exactly go as planned (but what has these days?).  I went in to the ultrasound appointment on Thursday expecting to be told that everything is fine and that I would be back at work tomorrow.  Instead, I got an envelope and a one-way ticket to the hospital.  My fluid had dropped another centimeter, which was very concerning since I’d been drinking like a fish (why does that metaphor rub me the wrong way?) and hadn’t been on my feet TOO much.  The doctor decided to get me hooked up on IV fluids to see if that would help.

Poor doctor didn’t know what hit him because, with this news, I immediately burst into tears.  Poor David, too, because he’s been dealing with me crying every other day for a few days now (and I’m not usually a crier).  I think all the hormones have finally taken their toll on my tear ducts (although why couldn’t all this fluid go into my amniotic sac, hmmm????).

Anyhoo, we went home to pack a small hospital bag – which was, I’m sure, the reason I was sent to the hospital, because I hadn’t packed my hospital bag yet – and call my mom so that she could switch off shifts with the hubby as  he had to pick up our rocking chair that had just been delivered to the store with my in-laws and gather his stuff since he started his research assistant position that day.  We stopped off for dinner, since who knows when I would eat next, then to the hospital for admittance to labor and delivery.  I also made the mistake of reading the paperwork in the envelope on the way over, which gave guidelines for the various fluid levels: if they go above 8 cm, I go home; between 5 & 8, they wait until 37 weeks (which was in a week), then deliver; below 5, deliver immediately.  Now, the nice doctor didn’t mention the “deliver if under 5 cm” part to me, so this was a bit of a shock considering I was at 6 cm.

Once I was finally admitted, which was also my first chance to see the L&D rooms as the hospital doesn’t allow tours, I waited around for a while, then was finally hooked up to the IV fluids.  I also got my first cervical exam.  I got to find out the hard way that, apparently, my cervix is set far back.  For someone who is only 5 feet tall, I certainly got worn like a glove right then.  On the bright side, there was no dilation or effacement and no signs of any amniotic fluid leaking.

Once the fluids started, I swelled up like a Thanksgiving day parade balloon.  It was bad enough that my sister was able to tell that my IV arm was MORE swollen than the other over Skype.  And not even a GOOD Skype video connection!  I also shocked a nurse by sleeping through a whole slew of contractions.  Then, I got to see her face when telling her that I’ve had Braxton Hicks contractions since 19 weeks pregnant.  Poor hubby worked mostly through the night on his research while occasionally helping me with all my wires when I needed to use the bathroom, but that luckily impressed the professor he’s working for tremendously that he would work while his wife was in the hospital (it wasn’t like there was much else he could do while I was loaded up with saline).  I slept intermittently and was never so thankful for the horrible mattress we have at home compared to the hospital bed.

The next morning, we had the ultrasound, which, THANK THE SWEET BABY JEBUS, showed my fluid up to 9.5 cm.  This made me seriously pissed at the ultrasound tech the day before (especially since she was kind of mean, particularly when I asked what kind of breech position the baby was in, and her response was “it doesn’t matter, you’re going to have a c-section”).  The hospital tech thought that there could have been a chance that the one from yesterday couldn’t see some of the fluid pockets.  Either way, I got to get discharged with stricter bed rest instructions and a duty to drink even MORE water, which I’m not sure is possible, but I’m trying.

Even with the bed rest, hubby tried to make sure that I had a nice Mother’s Day yesterday.  He even drove me to the park across the street so that I could lay down on a bench outside to get some fresh air. Unfortunately, I also got a visit from my mom (not the unfortunate part) and my grandmother (that’s the ticket).  My grandmother, within 5 minutes of arriving, deemed that I looked like an elephant and asked me how much weight I’ve gained.  Now, I wouldn’t admit to her that I know how much I’ve gained, but for those of you playing the home game, it’s about 40 pounds, 14 of which happened between weeks 32 & 34 and are at least partly due to the fluid retained in my legs and hands.

Now, the coming attractions for this week: OB on Tuesday to schedule c-section if baby is still breech and general checkup, possible chiropractor on Wednesday with approval from OB if baby still hasn’t flipped, and the next ultrasound on Thursday to check fluid levels.  If fluid goes down again below 8, we could be looking at delivery this weekend.  Otherwise, we should be looking at delivering at beginning of June if breech, or, haha, when I go into labor if vertex (again, haha).  Tonight, my mom is coming over to help me pack my hospital bag for real.  We figure, it’s kind of like bringing an umbrella somewhere to make sure it doesn’t rain.  I’ve learned my lesson!!!

So, who didn’t see this coming…

Apparently, I didn’t.  Went in for my measuring ultrasound today and got put on rest to get my amniotic fluid levels up.  Baby is looking fine – all perfect scores on the biophysical profile (lots of movement, good muscle tone, strong heart rate, placenta doing it’s job, etc.), but my fluid levels were low.  At 35 weeks, they should be between 10-15 cm.  Critical level, which would be a 1-way ticket to the ER for IV fluids, is 5 cm.  I’m at 7 cm.  It’s not full bed rest, but I have to be resting for at least 50% of the day (laying on left side, blah blah blah).  I’m also supposed to be drinking enough water to be peeing every half-hour or so (now, even as a pregnant lady, I have a decent-sized bladder, so I don’t know how realistic that is), especially considering that I was already up to about a gallon a day (and did I mention I’m only 5 ft. tall???).

Also, baby STILL hasn’t flipped, despite my trips to the chiropractor and some other random tricks (most of which I don’t think I can do while on rest).  The doctor at the ultrasound facility seemed to still think there is time & room for the baby to turn over, so here’s to hoping something happens before my next ultrasound.  Baby is measuring, according to ultrasound (which I know is not very accurate), at around 5 lbs, 7 oz, which is a good size for gestational age and would predict around a 7-pounder at birth.  Not bad at all.

My next ultrasound is on Thursday, and I’m not allowed to go back to work until they check my fluids again.  I didn’t really have enough paid time off to get me through maternity leave before, so I have no idea what I’m going to do with missing 5 days of work.   Since I have to lay down most of the time, it’s not like I can even do much cleaning around the house or anything like that to be semi-productive.  At least baby is moving around like crazy right now to keep me company while hubby is in his second of 3 final exams.  Maybe I will try to restring my guitar – I had wanted to start playing again while I was pregnant so that the baby could hear the music when it was up against my belly.  Who has some tips for things to get done while on not-bed rest???