Sunday, February 22, 2015

Bilirubin Woes

Sal and I had a Friday afternoon appointment with Dr. Bhat so we stopped at Quest Diagnostics first to have Seth's blood drawn. He barely fussed as I nursed him through the minor procedure.

We arrived at Dr. Bhat's office and she was disappointed to know we had gone to Quest. We should have gone to St. Margaret's in order to have the results of his draw back more quickly. She said she'd call with the results later in the day.

He passed his physical and we left.

My mom, who had been staying with us for the week, debated on going home this afternoon so as to avoid a weekend snowstorm, but at the last minute the girls convinced her to stay. And, thank God they did.

Around 6pm Dr. Bhat called and said his bilirubin levels had jumped again. She told us that we would have to go to Children's Hospital so he could be lighted. I kept it together until I saw my tiny baby all alone under the lights. I held his little hand through the incubator and we waited.

In the emergency room "holding room," residents give us conflicting information, and I finally told a nurse that since the doctors couldn't all get on the same page, I was going to make decisions. Seth was going to stay lighted until his levels decreased. We hadn't shown up at the hospital to play games and Seth wasn't their guinea pig.

I also asked why his onesie had been left on. That seemed to defeat the purpose as far as I was concerned. No one had an explanation and so it was cut off shortly after this picture was taken.

Eventually they moved us to a real room with a bed and we spent a restless night in the hospital. Because I was a breastfeeding mom, my meals were comped. However, the food left a lot to be desired. Mercy's is much better.

Throughout his time in the incubator, Seth seemed quite content so that made it a little easier to see him this way.

By Saturday afternoon his levels had decreased and stayed down after the lights were turned off. Nearly 24 hours later we were finally going home to our regularly scheduled life.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Day 4, Going Home

Because Seth's bilirubin levels kept increasing there was quite a bit of discussion about whether or not we'd be discharged on time. As it was, they kept us later in the day than usual.

Finally, with instructions to a blood test done on Friday, we were discharged. I didn't know if this was the best decision or not, but I couldn't imagine telling Sarah and Emmy that I'd be delayed another day. They were so excited I was coming home.

I was a bit emotional leaving the hospital. I was looking forward to going home, but knowing this was my last time leaving a hospital with a brand new baby was hard. I kept willing for time to slow down, but alas, there's no such thing as slow motion in real life.

It was good to be out of the hospital and back home where we could settle into a routine.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Day 3

Since I delivered at a Catholic hospital, someone came around with ashes for Ash Wednesday. Not my best picture, but I'm recovering from major surgery. It's to be expected.

I took a much needed shower almost immediately after receiving the ashes.

There was also a separate meatless menu available for lunch and dinner.

Oh, and we did more of this. See what I mean. Rough life.

The hospital provides a lovely meal for new parents the last night of their stay. It was delicious.

Even though it is Ash Wednesday, we had steak and baked potatoes. It was delicious, and a nice touch.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Day 2

I never mind my hospital stays. It almost feels like a vacation. I'm not expected to actually do anything. In fact, most of my days look like this. Just me holding a sweet, squishy baby.

It was hard to hold my phone still, away from us, so the picture is blurry. Look at all that hair on my brand new little boy.

The food isn't bad either. However, this made me laugh. I ordered a fresh fruit cup. What I received was fresh fruit in a cup. Okay then.

My sister came to visit on her way to work. She teaches not far from my hospital. We also asked her to be Seth's godmother. I think she's excited.

Finally, Sarah and Emmy meet their little brother. They are in love.

Because the Penguins are playing here in town, they had quite the time sitting in traffic trying to get to the hospital.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Child is Born

As I said, when I went to bed Sunday night I knew I would be going into labor and not into work Monday morning. Feeling the baby claw his/her way further down was the biggest indicator, but I also just felt off. I had a pounding headache and the fiercest heartburn of all three pregnancies.

Sure enough, at 1:18 I woke up with contractions. However, the contractions weren't as strong as they had been with Sarah so I wasn't quite sure. I decided to time what I was feeling. There was no real rise and fall, but they were 5 to 8 minutes apart.

Knowing that I would have a c-section, I wasn't sure what to do. Typically they tell women to labor at home as long as possible, but I didn't see any point in laboring since it didn't matter how dilated I was. A c-section was my destiny. 

I called my OB's number. The doctor on call told me to labor at home because insurance companies will not let doctors perform an elective c-section unless there's progress, meaning dilation. In a way I was relieved because I knew my doctor was scheduled to be at the hospital on Mondays. I just had to hang out at home until I thought he had made it into work, and then we could head in.

I tried to rest and even went back to bed at one point. That woke Sal up and I told him I was in labor. I told him we needed to wait and my contractions weren't that bad yet, but he went ahead and got a shower. The contractions continued to increase in intensity, but they still weren't much closer together.

I decided to take a shower knowing that it could be awhile before I had another. Sal helped time contractions for me while I got ready, and between hair and make-up (yes, hair and make-up), it took about 2 hours for me to finally be ready.

The contractions intensified and were about three minutes apart when we decided to head to the hospital at 6am. I felt as though we were about an hour to early to meet Dr. Badway at the hospital, but I knew laboring at home any longer would make for an extremely uncomfortable car ride. 

We went through the Emergency Department and I opted to walk up to Labor and Delivery. Sitting was just too uncomfortable and I felt I could control the contractions a little better while vertical. When we arrived at L&D they said the doctor had told them that I was laboring and would probably be in eventually.

We were checked into a small "holding" room where they monitored both my contractions and the baby. I don't know why I wanted to lay down, but I did. That however, made my contractions almost unbearable. I stayed in that position though, clearly not thinking straight.

I talked to my mom and Sal's uncle, and I can only imagine what those conversations were like.

At one point I was told that if I wasn't dilating I would be sent home, and that seemed crazy to me. I was clearly contracting. I told Sal we would NOT be leaving the hospital. That I would walk the halls until something happened.

Dr. Badway came in shortly after we arrived and I was so relieved to see him. He checked my cervix for dilation, and determined that I was just over 1 centimeter. I remember asking him if it was enough and he said yes. I would be prepped for a c-section.

Unfortunately, the hospital has a shift change at 7am so that delayed me getting into surgery by about a half an hour since we had to wait for new nurses and anesthesiology. Finally, the anesthesiologist showed up, asked me a bunch of questions, and then told me that we had to wait for blood (in case I needed a transfusion).

I didn't have any pain meds and contractions were becoming even more intense and closer together. Sal was watching them on the monitor and I just kept asking him, contraction after contraction, if it had peaked yet. I felt myself drawing further and further inward just to deal with the pain.

The clock said 8am, and I just couldn't believe I wasn't in surgery yet. I had been contracting since 1am and I was tired and I hurt. I wasn't prepared to experience such pain again. That was part of the reason I was so willing to have a c-section with both Emmy and this baby. I had gone through enough to have Sarah.

Finally, around 8:15 they wheeled me into the operating room. I didn't remember having the spinal done prior to my c-section with Emmy, but they must have. It was not a pleasant experience this time. It pinched and stung. I was still contracting. I held onto the nurse for dear life and tried to hold still. Then, everyone was ready and in place. Someone put an air mask over my nose and mouth and I immediately felt claustrophobic and I started to panic. The blue sheet was right in front of me, I was tied down, and then they put the mask on. It was too much. I started breathing more heavily, but in a controlled manner to calm myself. I didn't want them to knock me out and I forced myself to focus on meeting my new baby, rather than the mask on my face and tight quarters that I felt (even though the room was quite large). The anesthesiologist asked me if I was okay and I assured him I was.

Dr. Badway started surgery with a student or resident doing most of the work, I think. It was interesting listening to them go back and forth. She was explaining what she was doing, he was asking questions and vice versa. 

I'm not sure when Sal came into the room, but I do remember hearing someone say to "bring dad in." I tried talking to him, but both of us were distracted. Finally we heard a baby's muffled, garbled cry. I can't say for certain, but I'm sure we heard that cry before my uterus was cut. Within seconds, we heard someone say, "It's a Boy, with lots of hair."

I was so sure we were having a boy that all I said to say was, "I told you."

It seemed to take quite a bit of time to get me stitched back together, but I also couldn't wait to hold my baby. Someone, maybe Sal or possibly a nurse, brought Seth over to me so I could see him. He was perfect. I fell in love immediately. 

Seth Leo was born at 8:51am, weighing 9lbs, 1oz, and was 21 inches long. 

I love that this picture is time stamped.

I was 38 weeks, 5 days pregnant. My first early baby. And thank goodness. I was so over being pregnant.

I was transferred to a fresh gurney and a nurse handed Seth to me. I stared at his little face as they wheeled me to my recovery room. We tried nursing right away, and it wasn't awesome. He was sleepy and I couldn't feel my bottom half to get in a good position to nurse. I was also exhausted, wired and exhausted.

Sal had called family already and my parents and brother were coming to visit that evening. Sarah and Emily wouldn't be able to meet Seth until Tuesday. Sarah had been sick over the weekend and we wanted to make sure she was healthy and that Emmy didn't catch it.

The rest of the day was a blur, but my family did come and my brother brought red carnations and an "It's a Boy" balloon. This baby is so very loved.

The rest of the day, and really, the rest of my hospital stay is such a blur. There are a few things, mostly funny, that are worth remembering. I'll sum up the rest of my stay in one post.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

This Is It

We began the day by going to Mass, and the priest asked me when I was due. I told him a c-section was scheduled for Thursday. He wished me good luck and we came home.

Sal was working in the basement and I was relaxing on the couch. I felt the baby moving further down in my pelvis. It was a sensation like nothing else. I could feel him, I'm still convinced this is a him, clawing his way down and making progress. As the day progressed, I began to feel more and more "off." My sinuses weren't so bothersome, but the heartburn really kicked it up a notch. It was the worst I'd experienced in three pregnancies.

Sal came upstairs and I told him what I had felt. He made some comment about Thursday and I told him that this baby is coming tonight. There won't be a Thursday c-section.

I stayed up hoping something might happen. I ran around trying to get last minute things in order and making sure our bags were packed and ready to go. Finally at around 11pm, I gave up on contractions starting and decided to go to bed.

Contractions began around 1:30 in the morning with Sarah so maybe they would again. For some reason I just feel this experience will be pretty similar to hers.