Tuesday, August 20, 2013

RJ's Birth Story

As the weeks approaching baby girl's due date came closer, my anxieties got stronger. There was so much to get done (finishing school, moving apartments, etc.) before she got here and time was running out. I was so nervous that nothing would get done and that sweet RJ would come in the middle of all the craziness. I kept praying that she would hang in a little longer until at least my mom was here to help out. My mom was coming on the 23rd of June, one week before the due date.

Be careful what you wish for, people. She hung in there alright, a little too long if you ask me! June 29th (her due date) came and went and there was still no sign of baby girl. At first I didn't mind that she wasn't coming early because I had a whole week with my Mom to get settled in to our new apartment. I love my Mom.

But every day that went passed the due date was killer. It's silly, but as each day came to an end and I realized that we were yet another day over due, I cried. Even though I knew that most first babies were born late, it didn't put me at ease. Something didn't feel quite right and I was scared.

I had an OB appointment on July 1st and everything seemed to be just fine. I set up an appointment for a non-stress test July 2nd, and talked about the closest possible induction date being July 8th (unless something was wrong in the non-stress test). During the test the baby's heart rate dropped a little during one of my contractions so the nurse asked for a doctor to come and look at it. The doctor didn't seem worried about it and sent us back home to wait it out. We also learned during the test that baby was posterior (face up instead of face down) which was a little frightening to me, but there was still time for her to turn over.

As we were leaving the hospital we set up a second non-stress test for that Friday July 5th, but I was hoping we wouldn't have to wait that long. It turns out that we did.

Rylie Jane Redfern
--RJ, little babe, or (Chris's favorite) "da sweetums"--
made her dramatic entrance into the world on July 5, 2013.

Here is a rough timeline of that great day:

9:00 AM   I went to the hospital with Chris and my mom for my second non-stress test.  The nurse hooked me up to all the monitors to check the water level, heart beat, etc. She mentioned that the water level was at a 10. I remembered her saying it was at a 17 on Tuesday, but really, I had no idea what that meant. Rylie's heart rate didn't seem as active as it was in the last non-stress test, but the nurse didn't say anything about it. I assumed it was normal.

9:30 AM   The nurse wasn't really saying much during the test, so it came as a surprise when she said:
"Alright, up to Labor & Delivery you go!"
Chris and I looked at each other with disbelief. What?! That's it? No explanation? Just...go have the baby? I was scared out of my mind, but excited that something was finally happening.

10:00 AM   Still in shock, we checked in upstairs and started to set up in our delivery room. I put the gown on, texted loved ones, and freaked out a little inside. We learned that the reason we were sent up to have the baby was because the heart rate wasn't ideal and the nurse didn't think it would be a good idea to wait. This wasn't the way I was expecting to get things started, but things were finally happening.
10:30 AM  I was all set up in the room and hooked up to different things that were monitoring the baby's heart beat and my contractions. I was having a few regular contractions on my own, but they were pretty small and not very painful.
11:15 AM  Induction started and I was put on Pitocin at a level 4.

11:30 AM   I started having larger contractions that I could actually feel, but the baby wasn't handling it very well. This was probably the scariest moment of my life. The nurse was just in the room checking on me and chatting a little when all of a sudden she quickly slammed my bed down flat, frantically put an oxygen mask on me, and called in for another nurse to bring something in immediately.
    I looked at the monitor and saw what everyone was freaking out about. Baby's heart rate was dropping a ton and staying low for several minutes. Since the nurses were busy taking action they didn't have time to explain to me what was going on, so I was only imagining the worst. They took me off Pitocin and gave me a shot in the arm to calm down my uterus and stop contractions.
    As soon as things were calmed down and the nurses left, the tears that I had been holding in burst out. I was so nervous I was shaking. Chris grabbed onto my hand as I talked about how scared I was that the baby wasn't going to be okay. Even though he was scared too, he did a good job at calming me down. We said a quick quiet prayer together on the side of the hospital bed.

11:45 AM   Things were calmed down. The nurse explained to me that we would try Pitocin one more time at a lower dosage to see how the baby handled it. If her heart rate continued to decelerate, then we would need to do an emergency c-section.
Even though the nurses seemed optimistic about it working out, I was almost positive that I was going in for a c-section. I started mentally preparing myself.
The doctor came in to break my water to see if contractions would start picking up more naturally.

1:30 PM   My contractions were regular, but not getting any bigger. The nurse put me back on the Pitocin at a level two. Over time she gradually raised me to a level 6. My contractions starting picking up and baby RJ was handling them like a champ this time.
    Over the next few hours i went in between sitting, standing and walking around as I bit through contractions and squeezed the life out of Chris's hand.

4:45 PM   I decided to get an epidural. The anesthesiologist came and gave me one. I wasn't sure what to expect once it kicked in, but WOW. That stuff really works. The pain from the contractions was gone and Chris's hand got a rest.

6:45 PM   I was 5 cm dilated and 90% effaced.

7:45 PM   I took a tiny nap. Thank you epidural.

8:00 PM   I was 7 cm dilated.

8:30 PM   I was dilated at 8 cm now, things were finally moving faster. Out of nowhere Rylie's heart rate started acting crazy again. I had several big contractions very close to one another and it seemed she wasn't handling it very well, much like earlier that morning.   It came back up and started acting normal again, so the nurse left the room. Almost as soon as she was gone Chris ran out looking for her and I heard him say that it dropped again, but was getting way way low. Baby's heart rates are normally at about 150 bpm and RJ's had dropped down into the 30s.
    I knew that I was already pretty far into labor, they couldn't just give me a shot this time. I started thinking about that emergency c-section again. The nurse had me turn over to my other side as soon as possible, put an oxygen mask on me, and took the Pitocin off completely. She called the doctor to let her know what was going on. I tried not to freak out every time the heart monitor acted crazy. But it was hard. I kept imagining the baby all tangled in the umbilical cord and helpless. I was shaking pretty bad. Most of the shaking was from all the fluids from the IV, but the nerves didn't help.

9:00 PM   I was dilated at 9 cm and the nurse was getting everything ready for delivery so that I would be ready once the doctor got there. Because the baby had already shown that she was having troubles during big changes in the contractions, the nurse was worried about how she would handle the pushing. She seemed optimistic, but she let me know that c-section was a possibility.

9:30 PM   I was finally at 10 cm and ready to push! BUT, then I had a fever. The nurse left to go get me some antibiotics to lower the fever. They wouldn't let me push until they tried to lower it.

10:00 PM   I finally got the antibiotics. Now we had to wait for them to kick in. Even though I had an epidural, it was wearing off a little and I could definitely feel the pressure from the baby's head trying to push its way into the world.

10:40 PM   I still had a fever, but since I had already been at a 10 for so long the nurse got me ready to push. Like I was afraid of, her heart rate went down with my first push. When I stopped pushing it came right back up. Because of the heart situation I had to wait for the doctor to get there before I could push any more. (Just in case they had to wheel me into the c-section room.)

11:00 PM   The doctor arrived and I started pushing again. With each push the baby's heart rate dropped and stayed dropped until I stopped pushing. The doctor suspected that this was because she was caught in the umbilical cord. As her head moved through the birthing canal the cord wrapped around her neck tighter causing her heart rate to drop. As long as it kept coming back up after the push, the doctor said that we would keep trying to deliver this baby vaginally. If for some reason it didn't come back up, then I would get the c-section.
    I pushed during every other contraction instead of every contraction to give little Rylie's heart time to rest and recover in between. With each push the doctor had her eyes glued to the monitor. And with every push the doctor had a VERY worried look on her face. I could also hear the anxiety in my Mom's voice as she counted to 10 for me each time. It was too stressful and scary for me to think about her heart so I tried to drown all of that out. I had to either close my eyes or focus on Chris's face. He was doing a great job at staying calm.
    I was getting so exhausted from pushing, all I wanted was a glass of water. I remember thinking I just wanted it to be over so I could drink some water, and pass out.

11:58 PM   Rylie Jane was born with no c-section necessary. It was a miracle. This was the most incredible moment I have ever experienced. All of a sudden this tiny little human came from inside my body and was placed on top of it. I thought I had imagined what this would feel like, but no words can describe it. It was so surreal. I remember repeating over and over how beautiful she was as tears filled my eyes.
   The doctor was right, the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. THREE times. It freaks me out just thinking about it, but I was so relieved that she was finally out and free with no other heart problems.
    After I had my first little moment with her, the nurses measured Rylie while the doctor sewed me up (ick). She was born 7.4 lb and 20 in. We fell completely in love with our little girl from the very beginning.

My talented and awesome sister in law, Lindsey, came and visited us in the hospital the next day and took some photos of baby RJ when she was just 15 hours old. Here are a few favorites.

Rylie Jane and Grandma Holly Jane

We love this little babe so much. Stay tuned for more photos from her first 6 weeks.