Friday, April 11, 2008

Ike's birth story - Part 3

The rest of Ingram’s pregnancy was rather uneventful. It was only unusual in that I had lots of ultrasounds, a bonus, and lots of non-stress tests, a bore.

Due to his malformed umbilical cord, he was to be induced at 37 weeks, so that he would not get too big and risk the cord not being able to sustain him. It's standard procedure with 2 vessel cords, plus, I have really big babies. I chose his birthday of April 4. Partially so that it would be easy to remember that I gave birth to #4 on 4/4. (Yes, sometimes I can’t remember their birthdays right off hand – it’s a lot of dates to learn in a very short amount of time!) But another major reason was that April 4 was a Wednesday, so we should come home from the hospital on Friday, and make it to church on Sunday, which was Easter. I wanted my new baby home by Easter.

Easter is the only holiday that worked out that each year brought a new baby. I love it. By Walker and mine’s first Easter as a married couple, we were pregnant with Shepherd. By Easter of 2004, we had him with us
For Easter of 2005, we had added Eva Rose
For Easter of 2006, we had added Maggie Belle
And only because of Ingram’s due date getting moved up, he was to be home by Easter of 2007. The silver lining in this whole stressful situation was that we would be able to continue this crazy tradition and take a picture of the six of us on my mom’s couch.
During the weeks before April 4, I was consistently sick with respiratory infections that led to bronchitis and sinusitis, and I had undergone two courses of the antibiotic Z-pac (another joy of pregnancy – every sniffle turns into a full blown infection.) On the morning of his birth, I was still coughing. There was some talk of rescheduling his induction, but I was insistent, especially since I knew the main reason I was sick was because of being pregnant. If we waited till I got well, he might never come out.
My house was clean, my baby boy clothes were washed, my children were cared for, and I was ready to get this show on the road.
I wrote Shep and Eva Rose a note, saying that soon they could come meet their baby brother. At two and a half, Eva Rose still didn’t quite understand that a new baby was coming, and Maggie was only 15 months so totally clueless, but Shepherd certainly did and he was so excited. We arrived at the hospital at 5am. My mom was there, as she had been for every other birth, but Walker’s mom had to miss this one because she was home taking care of the other three kids.
They tell pregnant women to make something called a Personal Birthing Plan. Mine goes something like this: Choose a date. Couple of days before, get a mani/pedi, because I'm gonna be staring at my toes in the stirrups, so I want them to look pretty. Take a shower, go to bed, awaken, sneak some breakfast, and show up at the hospital. Lie to the nurse when she asks if I had breakfast. Get an enema (cause we want this to be as unyucky as possible) and read the paper while it does its magic. Then comes my favorite cocktail of pitocin with an epidural, shaken not stirred. Take a great nap. Wake up, apply makeup, and within an hour or less of pushing and surrounded by at least four girlfriends and girlfamily plus Walker, I meet my beautiful baby, well rested and looking good for the paparazzi. Then I go to the recovery room, demand tons of Vicodin, and stay in the hospital until they kick me out.
I am the poster child for Unnatural Childbirth.
At 7am I was three centimeters dilated. I had the IV of pitocin started, had my water broken, and waited for the contractions to kick in. The nice thing about the new hospital was that it had Wifi, so Walker and I surfed the internet as we waited. And waited. And waited. My contractions never seemed to really kick into gear, and aside from the hacking cough, I just didn’t feel well. I got my epidural and it made me itchy, just like it had with Maggie. I got some Benadryl in my IV and settled down for an amazing nap – but it never really happened. I was fitful and coughing, and I just didn’t feel good. My births in the past had always been really fun, but this time it just wasn’t fun. I was totally cranky and uncomfortable and I couldn’t seem to get dilated past a five, even after five hours of pitocin. Now this was my fourth birth, and subsequent babies tend to come faster – I had completely expected to have him out by noon. But he didn’t seem interested in coming out.
We'll call that Foreshadowing.
At 2pm I woke up from my lousy nap I was in pain, which was another new experience for me. Yes, I had given birth to three children and never really felt what could be considered true pain (I know, I know - I've made up for it in other areas, I assure you.) Now I was having to pant through contractions and I was not happy about it because y'all, did you see "experience pain" in any part of the above Personal Birthing Plan?
I called the nurse and told her I needed more epidural and she checked me and shockingly I was completely dilated, so I had gone from a five to a ten in two hours. And my crummy epidural was letting me know. She called the doctor at 2:15 and we got ready to push.
I pushed for about ten minutes. but it seemed like so much longer. I felt nauseous the entire time and all I wanted to do was throw up. It is hard to concentrate on pushing when you just want to puke. Especially in the push position - ugh. And it was hard pushing, which I didn't expect at all because Maggie had just slid out.
At 2:28pm, his head popped out I could tell because I suddenly felt GREAT. All I could think was, "I am SOOOOOOO happy to not be pregnant anymore!! Hallelujah!!"
He cried and appeared healthy and weighed in at a teeny tiny 6 pounds 12 ounces, and 18 inches long. He was blond, really blond, when all the others had been dark headed. And he was so little and skinny.
After I was stitched up and cleaned up and he was cleaned up and warmed up, they gave him back to me, we took a couple of photos

and then something else strange happened.
I had a bizarre feeling, I felt kind of nauseated again, but just totally weird. I felt so weak I was afraid I was going to drop the baby, so I told my mom to come take him. The anesthesiologist came back in and evidently my blood pressure was plummeting. They began to put ephedrine and something else in my IV and it was like I was climbing back up a ladder and coming back to life. As soon as it hit my blood I was just like, ahhhhhh, I am ok now. Very strange experience all around. They told me that I had gone vagal - which I had just learned all about, because Maggie had just recently gone vagal after the MMR at her one year shots and scared me half to death. (Update: I don't believe that now. I believe she had a seizure from the MMR. But that's another story.)
So, I got to hold him again. By this time, I felt good, and happy, and began to nurse him. He latched on great, sucked for a few minutes, and then I thought he fell asleep at the breast. My mom was still there and then my dear friends Leah and Carol had arrived. Carol had been in the room when Maggie was born, but she couldn’t get here fast enough this time. I think Leah would have been happier to be in the waiting room for the actual birth, but she too had gotten there as fast as she could. Walker was missing. He had gone home to switch places with his mom, so that she could come back and see Ingram while he watched the kids. It was about 3:15.
I chatted to Leah and Carol and I remember I said, “He’s really cute, do you want to see him?” and I pulled him off my breast and looked down, and he was blue. I instinctively shook him, and he let out a little gasp, and then flopped back lifeless. And I thought that my worst nightmare had finally come true.
I began screaming, and screaming, Leah and Carol ran out into the hallway shouting for a nurse who had already been summoned by my screams, and as Leah told me last week, my mother sat completely frozen and terrified in her chair. Three or four nurses ran in while I screamed, “He’s blue! He’s blue! He’s not breathing! He’s BLUE!” I remember the looks on the nurses’ faces, and I remember lots of running. And screaming. The nurses grabbed him from me and ran out of the room. I had only had him in my arms about ten minutes since he had been born. And Walker wasn’t there.
Leah and Carol came back in the room and I remember begging them to pray and both of my sweet friends coming on either side of my bed, each holding a hand, and praying in reading Psalms from the bible Leah had pulled out of her purse. And in the middle of all this chaos and fear, I was so thankful that they were there, and I knew God had ordained it because I was so freaked out I absolutely could not pray. When my child needed my prayers more than ever before, I simply could not pray. I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t think, all I could do was gasp for air. And his father was totally unaware that prayers were even needed. But the comfort that I had knowing that these two girls who loved us and loved Ingram and most of all, loved the Lord, were praying in our stead – it was an absolutely amazing experience to hand over the prayers for my son to them, knowing that they would be effective. I can’t even convey how much it meant to me, and how much peace it gave me amidst all the fear.
Soon my mother-in-law arrived, despite the frantic cell phone attempts by Leah and Carol to thwart the switch with Walker. They went into the hallway to debrief her and then I turned and reached for my mom, and my mom came to me on the bed, and we held each other and sobbed. No words, just sobbing. I don’t remember ever seeing my mom cry like that before.
And Ingram went to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Soon the doctors came to tell me that he was breathing, and I was relieved that he was alive. Right about this time Walker arrived. Walker missed the entire ordeal - by the time he returned, they were telling us that Ingram was fine, and he didn't really comprehend how traumatic it had been. This definitely caused some problems later on. I do not understand why God allowed this to happen right after Walker left, but like everything else, I have to trust his reasons.
I was relieved that Ingram was breathing. He hadn't died, oh praise God. Now my main concern was how long had he gone without oxygen? I had no idea when he had quit breathing. I just thought he was nursing, and I also had a variety of drugs in my system both from the birth and the vagal incident, so I had no concept of time. It might have been two minutes, it might have been ten minutes, I had no idea. I was terrified that my baby's brain had slipped away right in my arms, while I chatted away obliviously. How could I live with myself if that had happened?

It was two hours before I was allowed into the NICU to see him, two hours of waiting, and crying, and praying. Before I entered I met with his neonatologist, who was absolutely wonderful, caring and paternal, and assured me that when he received him into the NICU, his heart rate had not gone below 100, so he strongly believed that no brain damage had occurred. Of course, he couldn't be 100% - but he strongly believed that he was fine. I could finally breathe again.

When I saw my sweet baby, he looked like this

I couldn't hold him, and I couldn't even kiss him because I had to wear a mask because of that dumb infection.

The doctors had determined that Ingram's lungs were immature, and he had fluid in his airway.

And they had absolutely no idea why.

Ok - I am now emotionally exhausted reliving all this - more later!

(this was a mighty long one, if you have stuck it out, thank you!)

Ingram's birth story part 1
Ingram's birth story part 2
Ingram's birth story part 3
Ingram's birth story part 4

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