Sunday, December 18th
Today is induction day. I'm tired. No more red raspberry leaf tea. No more squatting, pineapple, acupressure, or evening primrose oil. Nothing. I've done it all and it hasn't worked. Today I will let go and let God. It's all up to Him anyway.
I spent my morning curled up on my parent's couch, breaking out in random cries. I tried so hard to contain it, but my emotions are just too high. I got in the shower while my mom was on her way home from church. When I came downstairs Jer handed me a $100 bill and told me to go get a pedicure and a nice lunch with my mom. He wanted me to be able to relax and take my mind off things. For the most part, it worked. We went to Don Pablo's for lunch, then to LUV for a pink pedicure, then we picked up Beckey (my sister) and went to the casino. Dad chipped in $40 and said it was for Nella. It was a nice afternoon and I'm so thankful for my amazing husband who puts my needs first. Thank you Jesus for my Jerry. As the night came to an end, my emotions soared. Beckey asked mom to say a prayer for Nella and I on the way home. It was beautiful and it brought me some peace.
By 7:45pm it was time for Jerry and I to get going. He loaded the car and I fought back tears as I sent prayers up above. We hugged and kissed my parents goodbye. Arriving at the hospital was uncomfortable and uneasy. Our midwife, Joanne, wasn't there yet and I didn't really click with the nurse. Rochelle was nice, but just not the nice I needed. She gave me conflicting details and again, I was uneasy. I felt slightly better once Joanne arrived, but that was short-lived. She checked me and I was still closed. Therefore, it was not an option to strip my membranes and send me home and we couldn't attempt the foley bulb. It was on to the cervidil, which means a pic line inserted in my left hand and being tethered to the monitors for constant fetal monitoring. I keep reminding myself that it is not my plan, but His. This was around 10pm. Joanne checked on me another time or two and then went home for the night. She encouraged us to get some sleep and said she'd be back first thing in the morning. Jer and I got settled in for the night, holding hands and watching TV. We finally started to relax and drift by about 12:30am but that too was short-lived. At 1am the house doctor came in to tell me that they had called Joanne because Nella's heart rate had decelerated three times since the cervidil was put in. Our baby girl was in some distress so they had to remove the cervidil. She checked my cervix and I was dilated to one. I was also having regular contractions every 4 minutes. So, although things weren't super smooth, they were progressing in the right direction. With regular contractions, plus staff interruptions, sleep was non-existent at this point. I tossed and turned, breathed through contractions and prayed for morning.
Monday, December 19th
By sun up my contractions were stronger, but still manageable. I was dilated to three and things seemed to be going well. Dr. Levin even stopped in to say that I was doing good. He said it looked like my body just needed a little jumpstart and that we should have a baby by evening! I was so positive and excited at this point. I welcomed each uncomfortable contraction with joy in my heart. I knew they were bringing me closer to our baby. I talked to my mom who was leaving work early and Jer talked to Beckey to tell her to be ready. My contractions picked up. They were quite strong and about 2 1/2 minutes apart. Whenever I would stand up to go to the bathroom there was concern because Nella would decel quite low. I didn't realize that this was a serious concern. I just thought it happened because I stood up. Sometime this early afternoon I realized I was leaking. My water broke! Yay for my body doing it's thing! Unfortunately there was meconium in it. A slight heartache. I knew that we'd now have extra docs in the room at birth and Nella wouldn't be put immediately on my chest after birth. That was the moment I had been waiting a lifetime for. Instead, they would cut the cord immediately and she would have to go to the ped incubator by my bed to get cleaned up and suctioned. I cried it out for a moment, mourning again another piece taken away from my perfect birth.
I continued to labor on the birthing ball and in bed. My contractions were strong and I definitely had to breathe through them. With Jer's help, doing the Bradley techniques we had practiced many times over, I was able to get through each one just fine. He'd rub my back, remind me to relax my entire body, and breathe through my abdomen. He was a champ. At this point in the day, I was dilated to 4cm. I was feeling rough and working through some contractions in bed. I tried to get some rest and so did Jerry. We just laid next to each other and he would hold my hand or rub my back. Our peaceful afternoon soon shifted. After a few interruptions from the nurse and our midwife, I was given the news. I remember standing, leaning forward on the bed, doing some pelvic rocking. Both Joanne and nurse Julie came in showing their concern. Even doing nothing, while just laying in bed, Nella's heart rate was decelerating too low, too many times. Joanne asked me to stay in my standing/rocking position (because Nella's heart rate was stabilized and strong in this position) while she went to call Dr. Levin. I knew where this was going. Oh dear God. Jer and I stood in silence while Joanne was gone. Jer brought the birthing ball up on the bed for me to rest on and he rubbed my back. When Joanne finally came back in the room, we knew. She tried to be as gentle as possible. She explained that a few decels during contractions were okay, but there were just too many of them. Our little Nella was in distress and something wasn't right. Joanne was concerned for our baby and so were we. I said something along the lines of "Just say it! I have to have a c-section?" "Yes. I'm sorry." was all she could say. I asked her when and she told me within the half hour. There is no describing the way I felt at this very moment. There was fear - for the surgery, for the unknown, for the health of our precious baby. My fears went so far to the extremes that I can't even put them into words. There was heartache - for not having the birth we had planned for, hoped for and prayed for. There was disappointment - in myself and with my body, that I just couldn't do it. Disappointment for my husband - he wouldn't get to witness this beautiful miracle of our natural childbirth. Also for my sister and mom, that they would not get to witness it either. And for myself, for what I felt like were dreams lost.
Jerry called my mom to tell her to come now. My sister was already with her and my dad. I could see the sadness and concern in Jer's eyes and it hurt me. The next few minutes were a blur. I changed into the hospital gown, had an IV put in that pumped saline through me so fast that my hand and arm felt frozen and my parents and sister arrived. My heart hurt. I know that a c-section isn't the end of the world, but it was surely not a part of my plan. I felt bombarded by doctors and nurses all doing their thing while trying to keep me informed. We took pictures as a family and hugged each other (Jer lightened the mood by being his usual silly self...putting his hospital scrub shoe covers on his hands instead and doing other silly things.) In an instant they were wheeling me away, down a hallway on display for all to see. That departure was so fast. I was ripped away from my parents, my sister, my love and my dream of how it was supposed to be. There is no explanation other than the power of prayer and our great God that carried me through all that happened next.
I couldn't keep my eyes open. The sterility of the operating room, the bright lights and shiny metal instruments and the sea of blue scrubs were just too much for me. There were people on all sides of me telling me that I was doing great. I didn't feel like it. The spinal wasn't as bad as I had imagined, but it was also not "just a little mosquito bite" like the anesthetist said it would be. I felt some grinding discomfort and at times had to say if it was on the right side, the left side, or the center. It fluctuated until I no longer felt it. Head down, shoulders relaxed, chin to chest and arch your lower back like a shrimp. That's what I remember them telling me. Finally, I felt like a 200lb paper weight, hot, heavy and unable to move. I guess that was successful. Then, there he was. My love, my rock, my husband. He sat my by side, holding my hand. There were times when I really thought I would puke, but I never did. I prayed and I breathed. I looked up at Jer for comfort. Again, things were blurry. I remember hearing a razor... or was it a saw? I wasn't sure at the time. It was just a razor. I felt tugs and pulls and pressure. Never pain though, unless you want to count my heartache. I heard joking and laughing, Jerry was included in this. I'm glad he was able to relax a bit. Then I hear the doctor say "Here comes the baby!" followed by my precious little baby's cries. I cried out "Is that my baby? MY BABY!" There was a lot of crying coming from her and I took that as a good sign. I caught a tiny glimpse of her goopy little body as she went from my tummy to the table. Oh dear God how I wanted her in my arms, on my chest. That was the moment I had longed for for 42 weeks. They had to clean her up and clear the fluids out. That seemed to take forever, but that is only because I wanted my girl so badly. They told us that she would get cleaned up and go to daddy first, while I was cleaned up and put back together. They took her stats - 14 1/2 inch head, 21 inches long, 9lbs 2oz, born at 4:01pm. Our beautiful Nella Celina was finally here! No one held her yet but at this point Jerry and Dr. Levin went to let our family know the good news. I remember jokingly saying to them as they walked out to tell the family that "it's a boy!" I asked the nurse to see my placenta. It was in a bucket. She's lucky I didn't ask to take it home.
Next thing I know, I'm being given my baby. She was wrapped in a blanket and all I could see was her precious, beautiful face. They laid her close, right up near my face. Immediately, our eyes met. I was looking down at my daughter and her little eyes were staring right up into mine. "My precious Nella, it's me. It's mommy!" She wouldn't look away. That was OUR moment. I knew everything would be okay. I had my girl in my arms and we were off to be reunited with daddy and introduced to Nana, Papa and Auntie Beckey. As we were wheeled through the halls we heard the chimes that play when a baby is born. Someone walking beside us said "Hear that? Those are for you!"
I felt pretty delirious for the rest of the night. Our girl was sticking her tongue out searching for food from the moment she was born. She was hungry! I had to lay flat on my back for awhile so I had no idea how to feed her. Nurse Julie helped. With the aide of my mom and sister we fed Nella her first meal. One held my breast, one held my baby. It makes me laugh a little now. I felt helpless. Just like little Nella, I had to be fed too. My dad fed me ice chips and my mom fed me applesauce. Jer sent out texts, photos and phone calls, all the while beaming with pride. We visited for a couple more hours and during that time we talked to Dr. Levin and Joanne. We were told that the cord was wrapped around Nella's head in an up and down way. I remember hearing the doctor say that he'd never seen anything like it while we were in the OR, but I didn't know what he was talking about then. Her cord was acting as bungee, preventing her from dropping, which explains why she never did. That is why her heart rate kept decelerating. Every time she tried to drop, the cord would put pressure on her head. Dr. Levin said that there is no way she would have ever been able to be born vaginally. Our God had other plans for our girl. I don't want to imagine what the outcome might had been if I had given into their pressures to take the cytotec. There was no turning back (and no monitoring) with that like there was with the cervidil.
After mom, dad and Beckey left, we settled in for our first night as a family. Sleeping was again non-existent but the love was overflowing!