Thursday, August 6, 2015

Bentley's Birth Story

When people found out that I had given birth to Bentley many asked if I did it "naturally."  Sean and I were confused on how to answer this question because we didn't know what people defined as "natural."  So, did I get an epidural?  Yes!  Did I get induced?  No.

Did our delivery go as expected?  Not really.  Here's as short of a version as I could come up with of Bentley's birth story.

The morning Bentley was born I woke up like any other day.  As I was getting up I started to have some pretty strong pains.  I had pains periodically throughout the week so I thought it was just one of those episodes.  Usually a shower made me feel better.  This time it didn't.  I decided to drink some water thinking I was dehydrated.  That didn't make me feel better either.  I was timing the pains and they were every 2-3 minutes and pretty intense.  I decided I couldn't wait the obligatory 1-2 hour of timing contractions before heading to the hospital.  I called Sean and told him I was going.  He told me to call someone to drive me to the hospital.  I told him I couldn't wait the 10-15 minutes it would take to have someone came pick me up.  In that amount of time I could be at the hospital myself.

So I drove myself to the hospital while having contractions every 2-3 minutes.  I checked in around 8:30 and the nurses were impressed that I started out this far into my labor.  When I knew it was the real deal I called Sean and told him to leave work.  My epidural came soon after and I felt great!  I progressed nicely throughout the day.  Around noon my doctor broke my water.  I believe they were expecting me to dilate faster after that but we later learned not all my water broke so I took several hours longer.
Very happy with my epidural
Eventually the big moment came.  It was very surreal.  With my epidural working so well it was weird to be told to push when you really couldn't feel anything to push.  At 6:18 pm Bentley was born.  That's when the unexpected happened. 

I remember the Doctor suctioning out Bentley's nose and mouth for a minute and then handing her off to the respiratory and newborn nurses where they had a little newborn station set up.  I knew something wasn't right because I was repeatedly told that baby would be handed to mom right after birth to start the bonding process.  Sean left my side so he could have a better view of Bentley.  He told me later she really wasnt moving and was a little gray looking.  She basically failed her APGAR test and was being worked on by the nurses.  Sean would look at me and give me thumbs up to try to reassure me.  Eventually the nurses said that she would be taken to the NICU for observation.  They brought in an incubator, placed her in there and Sean followed them out.

It was a very surreal moment, I had just given birth and didn't even see my baby at all.  Soon after they left I started to not feel good.  My vision got spotty and I knew I was getting close to passing out.  I also felt like throwing up.  It was a pretty horrible feeling.  I mentioned to no one in particular that I felt like passing out and all of sudden there was an increase of activity.  The doctor ordered a second IV to go into my arm.  The nurses were very professional, systematic and calm.  Within 5 minutes I was feeling completely normal again.  What I later learned was that I had a postpartum hemorrhage which affects up to 6% of pregnancies.  I had a torn capillary that was gushing blood and I ended up loosing an estimated 2 liters of blood (in comparison I was told an average birth looses about 1/2 a liter).  The Doctor was concerned that I lost too much blood and would need a transfusion.  My blood was drawn for a complete blood count to see if the transfusion was necessary.  After the results came back they determined it was at a current level that didn't require a transfusion but I would get checked again in the morning.  In the end I didn't need a transfusion.  In fact the Doctor was impressed with my levels saying they were right in the target area for normalcy after giving birth.  I was on extra doses of iron in the preceding weeks and I wonder if that helped with those numbers.

Sean spent about 45 minutes in the NICU with Bentley and when he came back he gave me the news that she was doing fine and they discovered through xray that a couple of air sacks had burst collapsing the lung slightly.  The nurses were optimistic that it would be healed in no time.  I asked Sean if he heard what had happened to me and he said no.  The nurse told him I almost bled out.  Poor Sean, he first spent some time in the NICU with his baby only to come back to find out his wife had major complications too.

I was observed closely and ultimately never had residual effects from the hemorrhage.  I was discharged after two nights in the hospital.  Bentley however was still being observed and we had to leave the hospital without her.

Having a baby in the NICU was hard especially since they took her away without me even seeing her.  When Sean came back after going with her to the NICU he showed me some pictures he took.  She was all swollen and hooked up to tubes.  It was kinda weird to think this was my baby.  I didn't really feel connected to her.  It was several hours later before they thought I was fit enough to be wheeled to the NICU to see her.  Sean had already visited her a couple of times by then.  He kept saying we needed to name her but I told him there was no way that I was going to name her without even seeing her for myself.
This was the first time I saw my baby and it was on Sean's phone.
When we got to see her late that night we weren't able to hold her.  We were able to put our hands in the incubator and touch her.  I told Sean we had to postpone naming her till I could actually hold her.  We went back the next day and we still couldn't hold her.  We were told that her lung continued to heal and that perhaps later in the evening we could hold her.  I knew my baby would be fine and it just would take a matter of time.
Touching her for the first time hours after she was born.
Later in the evening we went back and we were able to hold her and do some skin to skin.  She was still hooked up to all her tubes so it was a little difficult to maneuver it but we did it.  It was our first family photo too!  I have to admit, it was hard to hold back the tears as it had been 24 hours and I was holding her for the first time.  The connection to my baby was slowly taking affect.  We also were able to finally decide on a name.  Interestingly enough Bentley was neither Sean nor I's #1 name but it was the name that kept coming back to both of us when we thought of her.
Holding her for the first time (I also look super young here!)

Sean holding her for the first time.

First family photo!
We spent some more time with her the day I was discharged.  We were met with a pleasant surprise, all her tubes were removed save her IV!  We could actually see her face!  It was weird leaving the hospital without her.  You go to the hospital to give birth to come home with a baby, not leave without one.  We got up early the next day to plan on spending the day at the NICU when I got a call from our nurse.  Bentley was able to come home that day!  We were so excited!  They said that since the collapsed lung was so small and thanks to her being a large baby it completely healed on its own.  She had a clean bill of health!  We brought our baby girl home!
The nurse put a cute little pink bow in her hair when we came to take her home.
How grateful I was that we were able to give birth in a hospital where there were competent staff and modern medicine to help me and my baby survive a less than ideal delivery.  In the end both of us walked away without any further complications. 
We decided to do our own Golden Hour at home (the uninterrupted family time right after birth).