Just as an FYI: This post will contain many references to the birth process. I will try to be classy in how I explain things but just wanted to warn you all :) Also, this is an incredibly long story!
As I said in my previous post, my OB/GYN checked my cervix and I was dilated to almost a 4 and she gave me the option of either going home and waiting for my contractions to speed up or to go over to the hospital. I picked the hospital so we could get the show on the road :) James and I made our necessary calls (parents, etc.) and made our way over to the maternity ward. They got me outfitted in their awesomely flattering gown and I tried to get comfortable. If I remember correctly, my contractions were coming every 5-7 minutes so we needed to do something to speed this up. I was hoping for no pitocin but we were unsure if that was possible at this point. I did give in and get the epidural just so I could actually get some sleep before I had to push. My energy level was really low and I knew I needed to conserve what I had left. I was a little disappointed that I got it so early (my goal had been to wait until I was a 7) but I think I made the right decision for me.
After my doctor finished her appointments, she came over to the birthing suites and broke my water. I had heard that this doesn't really speed up labor but it did seem to work for me, so who knows! They continued to check my progress throughout the evening and night so I probably got less sleep than I had hoped but I was able to relax and nap. They kept losing the baby's heartbeat on the external monitor so they had to use an internal one instead. Around 4 in the morning (I think... it's all a little fuzzy now) the nurse checked me and I was a 7 but she also noticed that I was burning hot. I hadn't felt well but I thought it was lack of sleep. James then checked my legs (I couldn't feel them from the epidural) and said they were hot and that I was sweating. They took off my blankets and gave me some tylenol and we decided to check my temperature again in an hour. After awhile, they took my temp again and the fever had not gone down so they started me on an antibiotic. I later found out that I had picked up an infection in my amniotic fluid. This was apparently unusual because I was group B strep negative and my water had been broken in a sterile environment but I guess it just happens sometimes. By this time, I was a little delirious and sweaty. They also put me on oxygen for the baby. Great... I was dilated to an 8 and I started to feel incredible pressure in my back. I told the nurse but she said that it was probably normal.
James was my rock during the whole thing as I began to feel the contractions because the baby had dropped even lower. He helped me breathe through them. It wasn't any pain necessarily that bothered me, but the pressure was very intense. They said that it would probably take an hour or so per centimeter of dilating so I was looking at 2 more hours. I think having the end in sight really helped me because I had a slight breakdown around this time. I was able to focus on the fact that I would soon hold my little boy in my arms. My doctor was in for her rounds at 7 which was luckily when I was fully dilated and effaced. It was time to push!
I had always had full control of my legs, even though I couldn't feel them which really helped as I pushed. We tried a few positions before we figured out what worked best for me and then we got down to business! Unfortunately, the doctor and nurse told us that they could see meconium in my fluid now and they would have to take the baby to check him as soon as he was born. They assured us it was normal and just a precaution to make sure he hadn't aspirated anything as he was in a little distress. I pushed for about 45 minutes (they said I was an excellent pusher, by the way!) before he started to crown. They let us know that he had hair which was a huge shock. We were sure he would be bald!
The last 15 minutes were quite difficult as his head wouldn't completely exit. My doctor finally just did an episiotomy so we could get him out and then we figured out the problem. He was sunny side up (facing the ceiling instead of the floor). This makes pushing much more difficult as the angles aren't quite right and his bony parts (skull, spine, etc.) were against my spine. It now made so much sense why I felt incredible pressure in my back. Weirdly enough, I was also born sunny side up which is unusual. My doctor was very intrigued by this and thought maybe my mom and I's pelvis was shaped a certain way which did not make our baby's head turn during delivery. After his head was out, my doctor was able to pull the rest of him free and I heard a little feeble scream from him.
They had warned me that we might not hear him cry, especially if he had in fact aspirated anything. I was relieved that he cried but unfortunately this was not what we wanted. Because he cried before they were able to suck the meconium from his lungs, he had slight respiratory distress. They did let me hold him for about 5 minutes before they took him to Baby Care (a step down from the actual NICU) and the grandparents were able to come in and see him. Once they took him, I asked James to go with him and my mom stayed with me for awhile. I wasn't allowed to leave the birthing room until I had feeling back in my legs and I had to have most of the tubes taken out (epidural catheter, foley catheter, antibiotics, fluids, etc.). I waited on the nurse and even got a little breakfast but I wanted to see my baby so I finally called and pleaded with them to take me upstairs.
Once I got up there, they took me over to the Baby Care room and there was my little boy! We named him William Bowen... I'll explain the choice later :) and he was 8 pounds even and 21 inches long. He was being monitored and we weren't allowed to hold him and they didn't want us to over stimulate him either. However, the nurses and doctors seemd to think he would come out of the respiration issues on his own. He was breathing a bit too fast and his blood pressure was a little low but he seemed to be doing fine otherwise. We felt like we might get to hold him within 24 hours.
Unfortunately, early that evening the pediatrician assigned to his case came in to talk with us. They had taken X-Rays of his chest and found a pneumthorax. Essentially his lungs had meconium in them when he took his first few breaths and it caused pressure to build up and a small hole was popped in his lung allowing air to escape. The air was then trapped between his chest wall and his lung which caused a section of his left lung to collapse. They were taking him up to the NICU but wanted to wait and see if his condition corrected itself before they tried any medical interventions. They had him hooked up to IV fluids as he couldn't eat (I was incredibly sad about this because I had dreamed of them handing him off to me so I could breast feed him and bond right away) and he was hooked up to monitors. They took X-rays in the middle of the night and nothing had changed so they tried to put a needle in his chest to draw out the air. However, this only introduced more air into his lung and they had to put a chest tube in to slowly draw out all the air.
The chest tube went in around 4:45 in the morning on Friday and stayed in until around 1:00 in the afternoon on Sunday. It was awful not being able to hold or feed my baby. He was also on pain meds for the chest tube and was a little out of it. It was not how you want to see your little baby, but the chest tube worked and his lung reinflated. Almost immediately after the chest tube came out, they let me hold him (James had run home not knowing they would be removing the tube), and also breastfeed him. He took to it right away! I was so relieved. They had to continue with antibiotics until Tuesday afternoon when we were finally able to move into a family room and spend the night with him. We were finally able to take him home on Wednesday. It was the longest week of our lives but we are so happy to be home with the little man.
Anyways... the name. William is a play on my maiden name (Wilkins) and Bowen is a play on Boaz, since my favorite bible story is Ruth. We think he looks just like a Will too so it works out great! We love him so much! My next few entries will probably go over his room and the first week at home with him.