Wednesday, 8 January 2014

A Story About Birth - Memphis

This was written on November 20th during Memphis' stay in the SCN.  Excuse typos, grammatical errors and irrational thoughts... it was a tiring, emotional and very raw time in my life... but I will keep it this way as it was fresh and exactly as I was processing it at the time.

Today marks a week in the life of Memphis. I can't believe my tiny baby is 1 week old already. The last week has been a blur. I'd best writing his birth story up before I forget it in this flurry of special care and the days that seem to just smoosh in to nothingness.
Tuesday 12th November I was scheduled for a routine appointment with the OB and to get my Anti D shot (I'm a negative blood type). I dropped the kids to mum and headed to my appointment with about 20 errands to run afterwards! Front seat of my car was loaded up with all the stuff I needed to get done. It was meant to be the beginning of a few days of organising and sorting stuff out. Clearly that didn't happen.
The OB asked if I had any concerns and I said not really, bubs had slowed down on the movement a lot which was what I assumed normal for being at 36 weeks. And I mentioned I didn't seem to be getting much bigger. She checked bubs heart rate and it was fine, and had a feel around and measured my fundal height which was 4 weeks behind. On checking against my records my fundal height had increased by 1cm in 6 weeks. She decided to be cautious and send me for an ultrasound to check out bubs size and my placenta, and to send me for a CTG (it monitors heart rate and contractions... not that I was having any contractions).
Honestly, I didn't think much of the idea of a small baby. Lexi was born at 39+4, and was 2.6kg. She was a small bubba for her gestation, though because she was over 2.2 and term, they weren't concerned. So I sat at that hospital until 3.30 when the OB came in and told me that bub was measuring quite small, and was about the size of a baby that was 32 weeks gestation, rather than 36. Due to early (multiple) scans, there was no doubting my dates. I still didn't think much of that, again remembering the way the sort of prolonged things with Lexi taking 2-3 weeks to come to the decision to induce me. I just assumed they'd have me up for weekly monitoring like they did with her. However, I was wrong... she told me she had a plan and that plan was to induce me - that night.
So naturally, I burst in to tears and started panicking about extremely trivial shit (a photo shoot I had the next day and on the weekend, my washing in the machine at home, not having a baby bag ready, not having done a special photo I had wanted to do of the kids in readiness for their new sibling, not having done maternity photos or having my belly painted, where I was even going to send the kids!) I was in shock, honestly, I was absolutely not prepared to hear that. I asked if she could do it another day (shock people, makes you ask ridiculous things!) and she said they had discussed inducing me 2 days later on Thursday (and giving me a steroid shot for bubs lung development) however they couldn't get a good grasp on what the placenta was doing and that they strongly advised me not to wait - to return at 6pm that night.
The thing is, at 36 weeks a baby is premature but at the later stages of prematurity and usually a good size and fairly well developed. My baby wasn't developing properly, and wasn't going to have the size of a 36 week baby. I was told straight up that my baby would be small, that my baby would need assistance, that my baby would be in special care for a period of time that couldn't yet be determined - but that my baby would be going straight there. As you all know, I had high hopes for pretty much one thing in this entire pregnancy - that was to have skin to skin contact with my baby when it was born. Straight away. To just lay there, with my fresh, new baby on my chest and to be the first one to 'meet' my baby. I was quite devastated and shed a lot of tears over the knowledge that it wouldn't happen. I was really upset - this wasn't meant to happen. It is safe to say that I slipped in to a bit of a world of my own as I rang Ty and told him what was going on and he rang Laura. I got home and started making arrangements for the kids, pacing around the house lost and trying to pack a bag (Ty did it in the end) for me and the baby. Trying to get a hold of my client who has been booked in for FOUR MONTHS! Worrying about her getting a photographer for the next day. I was panicked because I didn't know what to expect. I didn't want an early induction because there was a high risk of it not working and having to go for a c-section (don't even ask me how I'd have dealt with that!) Ty did his best to calm me down but it was useless. I couldn't come to find peace with what was happening because I'd been given 2 hours to absorb it.
So I was being induced for IUGR (Intrauterine growth restriction) with an SGA (small gestational age) baby. I didn't even know those abbreviations a week ago!
We got to the hospital at 6pm and I was hooked up to monitors again. I was given prostan gel around 7pm. That stuff is so uncomfortable. It was like it set fire to the inside of my vagina, and I was bouncing around by 9pm like a hot potato. I thought surely this couldn't be happening this quick, but then remembered - Lexi's was really that quick lol... we started the induction process with her but it never really got in to it all as she was so ready and the cervidil was all the enticement she needed. 3 hour labour, and I had a baby girl. (Zavian was 5 hours).
Laura turned up some point between 6 and 9 (I don't remember when!) and we all went to the Maternity Ward, where I got admitted. The midwives kicked Ty and Laura out around 10.30 I think and I continued to bounce around. Around 11.30 (after being awake since 6am) the contractions started. Every 10 minutes give or take. I think around 1 they decided to take me to birth suites, I have a history of quick labour, and I generally handle up until around 7cm prettttty well. So I rang Ty and Laura and they came back and we were moved over to birth suites. Again I was strapped to monitors. This was new for me. I never sat still for either of my other labours. But I was strapped. Very uncomfortable. I contracted regularly until 4.45 or so when they gave me prodeine and I promplty conked out for half an hour. I then didn't have contractions for an hour. So they gave me an internal to find that the contracting had done diddly-fucking-squat and I was a whopping 1cm dialated. Oh how joyful it was to hear that, NOT! They got the OB in to see if she could break my waters. Let me tell you something about prostan gel. It makes you SO sensitive. It is not fun having someone all up in your vagina whilst it feels like someone else has put Deep Heat in it. Nope, not at all! Because I was only 1cm and she had hands the size of peanuts and I have a cervix that sits stupidly bloody high, she couldn't get it. But hey, she got me to squirm, yell out and cry. Not fun. So they decided to give me another dose of prostan gel, to make me super super super sensitive instead!
I was sent back to the ward then, until 12.30... where contractions started up again pretty much straight away and were regular. When I was getting 3 contractions in a 10 minute period, they sent us back to the birth suites where we had a nice midwife named Jenny (and student name Rina). I was strapped back up again, I was tired and over it. I wanted a nap. I wasn't running on much at all. I was wondering what the heck my body was doing... 3 hours and 5 hours had long passed! I was really concerned about how things would go - it was too early, my baby was not ready. Jenny did a pretty good job at keeping me calm. She was really lovely and I quite liked her.
Around 1.30 I think it was, a specialist came in after I'd had another check and was 1cm STILL... I wasn't impressed about that, haha. 1cm after all of that?! Stupid body. And what's worse? Posterior baby - AGAIN. So those weren't exactly NICE contractions. So this guy comes in all macho like saying "1cm is all I need, I can get in there!" Lets just say I saw nurses the next day who still felt sorry for me. It fucking HURT. Aside from what the prostan gel does, he was rough as guts and because I was only 1cm with a high cervix he was right up in there. Not enough drugs in the world could have made that a comfortable experience. Gas didn't cut it (probably because between my screaming and crying I couldn't get a mouthful of it!?) Anyway, he was right, he could get in there and he did get it and for the first time in 3 babies I felt my waters break. Can I just say, ew?! I am so glad that didn't happen at the shops! I had been sucking back a bit of gas, so was a bit der... and could not get over the fact that I basically laid there feeling like I was pissing all over the bed. It would stop gushing out and I'd move and then bam, flood waters. Apparently my baby was having a good ol' swim! Over the next hour I pretty much was just fixated on the fact I felt like I was constantly wetting the bed.
Around the time I had my waters broken, we got a new midwife! A male midwife! He was the opposite to Jenny... where she was quiet and calm, Israel was bouncy and energetic. And because I was tired, he scared me a bit lol. But after a few mins and some good doses of gas, I decided Israel was pretty awesome (as was the student with him, Erica). With Israel came the sintocin (I can't spell) drip, to ramp up my contractions. Jenny had started me on that but he was straight in there, upping it lol. I felt like he did that a lot (reality: he didn't lol). My contractions really started to ramp up. I was uncomfortable, I was STILL strapped to the bed, even when I got up to go to the toilet though I had to take myself back to the bed because I was so tired. I really needed a day to go home and sleep and THEN be induced... not 2 hours!
At 4.30pm I started to become unstuck. I was not a happy camper. I had so much low pressure, pushy feelings even though I knew I wasn't about to push out a baby. It was like when I was in transition with the other 2. I knew it wasn't transition but it was WAY more painful and gas was not even touching it. That drip had me contracting over and over and over and on top of each other and it was just not working for me. I knew I still had a while to go and I didn't think I had the energy left to even do another half an hour. I told Israel to get me an epidural. He told me that he had to check me, to do that. To ensure my dilation. I told him I was only 2cm so he might as well just go and get the epidural lol. Anyway he checked me, and I wasn't far off - I was only 3cm haha. Once I hit 3 I do normally ramp it up and it's only a few hours if that from there, but as I said - no energy. I was on those bloody monitors. I needed relief if I was just going to be laying there. He asked if I was sure and I'm not sure but I wouldn't be surprised if I threatened him lol. Laura and Ty both knew I didn't want an epidural PRIOR to everything but neither stopped me because a) pretty sure I'd have tried to kill them and b) it was clear to everyone that I wasn't going to get through the rest without it.
Ty was really awesome. He held my hand through the epi which really surprised me (Ty + needles... never a good combination) and talked me through all that. Held my hand through the breaking of waters and held me when I sobbed about that. He didn't have to do AS much as he did with the other two because I was on the bed so he didn't have to essentially follow me around.
5.10pm and my beloved anaesthetist (aka my new other best friend) came and whilst I was shitting myself a bit about the whole thought of it (too many horror stories, I watch too much tv lol) it was actually a pretty simple procedure. The contractions were way worse than anything she did. I vaguely remember feeling the local go in, but I didn't feel a thing when she put the rest in. Within 15 minutes I was laid back and calm as a cucumber, whinging that I now wasn't allowed dinner haha. It was high enough that I felt no pain, but I could feel when I was contracting (weird not having any pain with them!)
Just after 6, after having a perfect read for the last however many hours on the CTG, bubs heart rate started to drop and was showing signs of distress. They were concerned enough that Israel turned down the drip and called in the OB (who earlier, we had a great chat to about the cartoons from our generation as opposed to the shit our kids get today, hahah... all because Ty wore a Dangermouse shirt!) They decided they were going to do a lactate, which basically taking a blood sample from babies head and testing it. Good score = chug along as we are, test again later depending on CTG. Average score = monitor for a while, test again in an hour. Bad score = theatre, emergency c-section. I watched Israel during this time (keep in mind I'm calm as with my fully sick awesome epidural!) and I noticed his demeanour change. I later found out they weren't expecting a good score and were fully expecting me to head to theatre. I was quite scared of that happening... but was also expecting it. Honestly, I'd had every bloody intervention under the sun so far (after having nothing with the other 2!), so hell why not go the whole hog!? Nothing else had gone right this whole pregnancy and labour! Surprisingly though the score was really good so they decided to just keep the drip slightly lowered and monitor everything. It was 8.45pm when that was done, and I was only 5cm (though stretching to a 6 lol).
At about 5 to 7, Israel had another midwife come and sit with us so that he and Erica could go and have a dinner break. So they headed out and Laura went off to the loo (she's on crutches with a broken foot so a bit slow haha). We joked that we'd have a baby when he was on break. Except it wasn't a very funny joke because at 5 past 7 I felt something that just felt different (keeping in mind I could feel stuff all!) The midwife that was with us had a quick look and pressed the call button and Israel and Erica came running back in (almost bowled Laura over). Laura came in and looked a bit surprised and I told her I was having the baby now, lucky she made it back :P Not sure if she believed me right away or not lol. But sure enough, baby was right there and coming.
I felt SO much more in control of my pushing this time than I did with Zavian. There wasn't quite the urgency to get him out, but I dunno. I just felt so much more in control. When I was told to start pushing I could, when I was told to have a break, I could. I could feel it, but it wasn't agonisingly painful and I wasn't screaming like someone was trying to kill me. Ty said it was looking like we were going to have the baby at ten past seven... some stupid joke he has with his mum that annoys me... so I told Israel if that baby looks like it's going to come out at 7.10 he better put his hand there and hold it until 11 past lol.
As it stands, my body took over and I managed to hold on ;) Memphis Lee W** was born at 7.11pm. 4 weeks early, small for gestational age at 1994g (4lb 6oz). They put him up on my stomach (the cord was too short to get him to my chest) and someone (I have no idea who, I think Ty?) said that we had a baby boy. There were hands everywhere (3 midwives) and a paediatrician telling them to cut the cord, so Ty got to cut the cord. I got a quick glimpse of his little face and it was like looking at Zavian, only a lot smaller and less blue. I couldn't get over how tiny he was! The whipped him over to the table where the paed and a midwife cleaned him up and gave him oxygen, as he was in respitory distress.
Hello!  It's a boy!


I was able to see him and I could watch everything they were doing. I was so engrossed in that I don't even remember them giving me the needle to help get my placenta out and it wasn't until they pulled the placenta out that I realised what they were doing! For the record - the placenta was completely vial. It's pretty safe to say that on looking at it, it was the main reason for his growth issues. It was small, and instead of having clear thin membranes, it had thick and yellow. The cord was thin and short, and was completely off in the wrong sort of spot (and I'm lucky it didn't separate). They offered it to me, I declined :P Told Israel he could have it for dinner if he wanted. They've actually sent it off to be tested because of the state it was in.

Watching Memphis



Memphis was taken straight to special care where he received about 20 minutes of CPAP (which I only know because I have sat through the nurses rounds), and was put in to an isolette crib once his breathing maintained itself. He's very lucky for his size that he's had no breathing issues beyond that first 20 minutes. He couldn't maintain his body temp so they cranked the heat for him and he went straight to sleep. He got an IV in his right hand so that could receive antibiotics (risk of sepsis in premature babies? I had been receiving them all of my labour but had him an hour before the last dose was due!) He also had a sucrose drip attached so that he could receive fluids. Ty was with him for the entire time. They even took a couple of photos of him for Ty to bring back to me to tie me over until I could get there. Erica chased up how he was doing and reported back to me, and Israel came back and told me his size.

Memphis was taken to the Special Care Nursery due to being in respitory distress
I laid in bed, got a sandwich as I was starving and they always feed you before you get up lol. I couldn't get up anyway because the epi had given me a dead left leg haha. It was so floppy hahaha. It took what felt like eternity to get to a point I could walk on it, but it was still tingly over night! When Ty got back he showered me and looked after me. He's done it every time, after every baby. Once they've settled in to special care (yes, I'm 3 for 3 now), he has come back and showered and dressed me and walked back over with me and shown off the new child. Every time he's waited until I've had the first hold and a good look at our new baby, before having his turn to hold. Keeping in mind that he's stood there and watched what is quite a traumatic start to their life! I have sat in the nursery this week watching fathers as they come in with their new babies, and I see the frantic and worried look on their faces. Frantic for their baby, worried for the partner they've left behind to follow the baby. I don't know how Ty's done that 3 times now.
My first real hold, real look.  So very very much in love.  1994g, he was just so itty bitty!
Tired Daddy gets his very first snuggle <3
Holding my baby boy for the first time. I honestly can't describe it. This first hold was the last time I'd hold my own fresh, newborn baby. I thought I'd feel sad but I didn't, I couldn't have had a more perfect 3rd child. He was so unbelievably tiny, I couldn't believe that he was mine. Lexi was a tiny baby, but he is well beyond that. She was 700g bigger than him! His features are so delicate and tiny, and he looks just like Zavian. 
The following morning when Alexis and Zavian came in, I had Memphis in my shirt (kangaroo care/skin-to-skin) and they propped up on a knee each and we sat there. I held my three babies for the first time, all together. Never, ever, have I felt so complete. Never have I felt like everything had fallen in to place, and was completely perfect, as it was at that exact moment.

Approximately 3 hours old, chilling in his humidicrib.  He looks a lot like his big brother.
So very very complete.  
I have struggled with the fact that I didn't have the birth I had hoped for, but I feel like I have better accepted it than I did with Alexis and Zavian.  3 for 3 now, my children have all gone straight to Special Care.  Lexi for only a short couple of hours, Zavian a couple of days, Memphis a couple of weeks.  I haven't had that initial moment of holding my new baby, my brand new - moments old - baby.  The initial bonding with skin-to-skin.  Those first hours (and days) with all 3 have been terrifying and worrying.  This time around though I feel the support I received from my care providers was what made it easier.  Every one was incredibly forthcoming with information that they had available, Israel was very honest with me telling me that I likely would not get that initial skin to skin and I feel that in itself prepared me... it wasn't a moment that got ripped away but a moment that was expected.  It did help that unlike his brother, he was breathing when he was born!  So whilst I do feel slightly heartbroken I will never experience that, I am also glad that with my wonderful 'support team' I did have a very positive birth experience, irrespective of the rest of the chaos.

We got a beautiful prize at the end of it all though.  He was worth the lot of it.
19 days old, home where he belongs <3

1 comment:

  1. Love these pics, I don't think I saw these on FB so this is really beautiful <3 your blog design is so nice too, what you talking about?!

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