Or should I say, Molly’s failure to evacuate my belly in a timely manner.
I have decided to kick off my story telling with the event that motivated me to share; Molly’s delivery journey, mostly because it contains all elements of a good story: drama, humour, and suspense. (Get comfy; it’s a long one.) Side note: I promise not all post will be about baby 😉
I had, for the most part, had a fantastic pregnancy. No morning sickness, had energy and, most importantly, I had perfect blood pressure. Fast forward to Thursday, April 25th. I had a regular OB check up and for some reason, my blood pressure had spiked. My doctor said not to worry but she wanted to keep an eye on it and wanted to see me on Monday. I thought nothing of it but noticed over the weekend I was a little light headed. Just in case this was a sign labour was on its way, I re-packed my bags – for the tenth time. (I had had my bags packed since February. Remember, I am Type A.) Now, if you know me, you know that I had mastered my birthing plan. We would have music playing, dimmed lights, it would be a joy filled event and I would be in and out of the hospital in 48 hours. Ya right – even typing that I’m laughing at how ridiculous that is. Tip to new parents: Don’t bother with a birthing plan, just be ready for the completely unexpected.
On Monday, Ashley and I laughed as we left the house. We said goodbye to our cats – Joey and Clarence – and jokingly said, “Bye guys – when we come back we will have the baby with us.” We had our hospital bags with us but there was just no way that we would need them today….right? Wrong. So very wrong.
We arrived at my appointment and Dr. Bodley took my blood pressure – still high. I asked her what that meant and she said, “Well, its not too serious but can lead to serious complications if it gets worse. What it really means is that its time to get things moving”. I looked at her like she was speaking Swahili – “Pardon?” Dr. Bodley smiled and said, “we are going to induce you today – I’m calling triage and will let them know you are coming.” It’s at that moment that I looked at Ashley who had gone sheet white, his left leg was shaking up and down and he was looking like a deer caught in headlights. I started laughing out loud – you know, that scary laugh that is part crazy. Dr. Bodley noticed and said, “are you guys ready to have a baby?” I think we both answered, in a whisper, “yyyesssss ?”
Wow. This was ACTUALLY happening. So, we collect ourselves and head down to triage and get admitted. They fit me with monitors and tell us about the induction process. For about the first 2 hours in triage Ashley kept telling me to just take deep breathes so my blood pressure would go down and then we could go home – it was his shock talking. Ha! Ummm, sorry honey, I think we are pretty committed to the process at this point.
Due to the fact that I had high blood pressure, we would have to sleep in the high-risk unit while we waited for the medication to take effect. It typically would take 12 hours to see if it worked. Well, after the first 12 hours – nothing. Not a single thing happened. No problem they said, let’s give you more and see if that gets things going. Twelve hours later – absolutely nothing. At this point we had been at the hospital for over 34 hours. The doctors decide that they will try another method. (I’ll spare you the details but let’s just say they manually stretch your cervix to 3cm by inserting an ‘instrument of torture’ over a period of hours.)
In order to start the second method of induction, I was going to be moved to the real Labour and Delivery unit. My Mom tells me that I was walking (or should I say waddling) down the hallway smiling at everyone, full of spirit. She says if there were people on the side of the hallway I would have been high fiving them like I was running down the aisle of a game show. (She laughs at how drastically that changed about 2 hours later – LOL). The door to our corner unit opens and a male nurse, Stephen, appears, with a smile the size of the sun, and says “Are we ready to have a baby?!” (Now, I will admit that when I saw him I was a little apprehensive about not having a female nurse and Ashley admits that he was thrown off as well.) What I can tell you is that at the moment Stephen saw us, he ran up to me and gave me a HUGE hug, and hugged my Mom. I instantly knew, he was my kind of people and I was in fantastic hands. (Stephen ultimately turned out to be the best part of my entire experience. He was supportive, caring, passionate, incredibly knowledgeable, extreme patient advocate and absolutely hilarious)
The Doctor proceeds to implement phase 2 of induction and in about 2 hours, labour kicked in, and by kicked in I mean I was violently throwing up and felt like I would never leave the bathroom. Throughout this lovely ordeal, Stephen sat in the bathroom with me and made me laugh one minute and was extremely supportive the next – this guy was awesome. (I have SO much more to say about Stephen regarding specifics that likely aren’t interesting for everyone but if you ask me, I will tell you.) About 12 hours later, the phase 2 of induction had worked and I was now 3/4cm dilated and Stephen was heading home, his shift had ended. Fernanda, my day nurse, tagged in. (Important to note that during the first 12 hours, Molly had decided to slow her breathing down to the point that Stephen would have to vigorously shake my belly, in essence waking Molly up. Slightly nerve wrecking but Stephen assured us all was ok.)
With Fernanda, Molly decided to really throw a curve ball. About 6 times during the day Fernanda had to page ‘Fetal Decel” and a mass of doctors would rush into our room and start staring at the monitor and examining me. Things were getting a bit stressful. Never have I stared or listened to a monitor with as much intensity. I decided I had to stop staring at it because it was driving me crazy so I stared at my Mom. The problem is, when you know your Mom as well as I do, you can tell just by her eyes if something is bad, and she had that ‘something is bad’ look and wouldn’t stop wringing her hands, I’m actually surprised she still has skin on them. Not only the Resident’s where rushing into our room but the Doctor’s on call where coming in and I knew that wasn’t a great sign. One said she would have done a C-section 3 hours ago but she was going to monitor me a bit longer, then decide. Another said I might still be able to deliver naturally. People, I need a plan.
By the time Stephen came back for his shift, I was a nervous wreck. He walked in, pulled up the stool right next to my bed, grabbed my hand and said – “how was your day?” I burst into tears and tell him all about my day. He told me not to worry and he would get the Doctor to come in and tell me what the plan was – I just needed a plan. (Didn’t they realize I’m Type A and a Project Manager – I need a plan.)
The Doctor walked in, examined me and the monitors and said “If you don’t get to 7cm in the next hour or two, or if the baby dips again, we are doing a section.” I wanted to shout at him – DO YOU REALIZE I HAVE BEEN HERE FOR THREE DAYS AND DIALATED 1CM ON MY OWN! but I didn’t, at least now I have a plan.
Well, lo and behold, and 2 hours later the baby was dipping again and I hadn’t dilated at all. The doctor examined me and said, “Enough is enough. It’s time for the C-section.” FINALLY! I was, wrongly under the assumption that it would take about an hour for them to prepare the operating room, etc. Nope. Within about 5 minutes I was being wheeled to the OR. So quickly in fact that we left without Ashley who was down the hall in the washroom. He came back to an empty room and my Mom telling him to, “Hurry, they’ve already taken Amber.” They prep me in what feels like 2 minutes and Ashley comes in, all gowned up and looking nervous and excited all in one. Within about 5 minutes the doctors tell Ashley to look up, he was about to become a Dad. I will never, ever forget the tone of Ashley’s voice when he first saw Molly, basically being pulled out of my stomach – “She is so beautiful. OMG. She is so beautiful.” It melted my heart.
What didn’t melt my heart was the fact that she wasn’t crying – at all. I asked almost immediately, “why isn’t she crying?”. No answer. Again I ask, “Why isn’t she crying?” The Doctor responds that they are just helping her get going. After what felt like hours, but was likely 3 minutes, the nurses give a thumbs up and I hear a tiny cry – the best cry ever. Ashley goes over to see her, and what I didn’t know until after, sees that her face has been cut. (Due to the fact she was face up, and it was a rushed C-section, the Doctor’s accidently cut her face, insanely close to her eye.) All Ashley sees is blood pooling in her eye and he thinks that she has actually had her eye cut. The nurse quickly wipes it and shows Ashley, and then me, that it has just missed her eye and they call it ‘a superficial cut’ and that it shouldn’t scar. To be honest, at that point I was so happy she was ok that I didn’t really process the fact that she had her face cut. (We now call the scar her battle wound and think it gives her an ‘edge’ 😉
We head to the recovery room where the proud poppa couldn’t take his eyes off his little girl – I was in shock – she had arrived!
From the recovery room they wheeled us into our room. We hugged Stephen goodbye – I got a little teary. Then, we hugged my Mom goodbye – she was going to head to our house for a rest and to feed our cats. Ashley pulled up a chair and started snoring in about 3 minutes. Molly and I looked at each other – both bewildered by the entire event and both thinking, “now what the hell do we do?”
Next up, the first two days……getting to know each other.