Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Baby Saga

Since I don't think anyone has gotten the full story on the events surrounding the birth of JOC:4.0 (aka Jack) here it is for your reading pleasure (to the best of my recollection).

Scheduled for Induction
At my final OB appointment before my official due date, my doc broke the news that things were not progressing. She was reluctant to let me carry on past my due date because he was already a big baby, so she scheduled me to be induced on the evening of October 13th. Some locals may recall that we were having a pretty wicked storm on the 13th, which apparently brought a storm of other babies making their way into the world. Our appointment got bumped.

So we are finally told to report for duty at 07:30 on October 14th.

As it turns out, despite our best efforts (Prego pizza from Skipolini's among others...) our boy was no closer to getting here than a week earlier (two, actually!) and I was still just 50% effaced and 1cm dilated when I showed up at the hospital. So they start me on cyto-something-or-other to get the effacement moving along. In the meantime, they took a quick U/S to make sure our boy was in fact head down (he was).

And four hours later, when there was little progress, they hit me with another dose of cyto-whatever-you-call-it. I had read that sometimes this can trigger contractions to start on their own without pitocin, so I was hoping for the best. But Murphy's Law being as it is, I should have been expecting the outcome.

Bring on the Pitocin
Let the contractions begin. At this point, I was still hoping that I had a high enough pain tolerence to make it through the process naturally. And I was taking the contractions in stride. My doc then broke my water at sometime around 20:00, in further hopes to move the process along. And I'm still taking the contractions like a champ. That is until around 22:00 when I announce: "I think I may need the epidural." Boy was I right.

Then the Morning Comes
We still have no baby. But I have very little to no pain and I am thankful for that. And I am still not progressing as would be expected and we start hearing whispers of C-Section. So they try to position me to target the one side that doesn't seem to be dilating and two hours later, I'm still stalled at about 9cm dilated. So we have the C-Section talk with my doc.

And it came down to this: even if we took the wait-and-see approach, I could still have several hours of pushing ahead of me and I could still end up needing an emergency C-Section. Consider that at that point we had been in the hospital for 26-ish hours. My water had been broken for 14+ hours. Sometime a couple of hours earlier I had spiked a slight fever and was on antibiotics. I was completely wiped out. I didn't think I had several hours of pushing left in me, so I opted for the C-Section then and there.

On the O/R Table
As they were prepping me for surgery, I lay there on the table wavering. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. Early on in my pregnancy I had considered a scheduled C-Section, but over time I settled into the idea that I wanted to give the whole au naturale thing a shot. I questioned again whether I had it in me to call it off and keep trying, but something kept telling me to keep mum.

So Fella joins me and I'm feeling marginally better. My doc gets going and see's little Pal, face up with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. Two definite strikes against any kind of smoothe-sailing as far as a vaginal birth is concerned. It's no wonder he wasn't descending into the birth canal enough to help the process along, he was a little tied up!

But at 12:35 on October 15, 2009, my 19-inch long, 8lb 10oz wonderboy was brought into this world.

Hindsight being 20/20, the C-Section was obviously the best way to go. Thank goodness I didn't delay the inevitable!

Swooped Off
Because I spiked that fever, they were concerned about the baby's health, so he was taken off for testing pretty quickly after they got him out. Fella went with him as they drew blood and got all of his stats taken care of.

That is Except For...
Those pesky blood tests. They came back irregular, so a day later they took him away again for more tests and to start him on antibiotics, to be safe. But this time he would be quarantined to the Intensive Care Nursery (ICN, aka NICU in other hospitals).

That afternoon I was outfitted with a breast pump and equipment. And two days later we find out that my boy's blood was tainted with two bacteria, one I can't recall, but the other I'll never forget: E. coli!!! These required a 14-day course of antibiotics, so he was stuck in the ICN for awhile, yet another unexpected turn of events.

But Wait, There's More!
Just as I am getting ready to be released from the hospital, one of my nurses notices some possible signs of infection to my surgical wound. So my doc keeps me another day. Fine, considering that it would keep me closer to the babe for another night. And the next day, she changes my antibiotic, which has a 20% chance of reaction in people allergic to penecillin (of which I am one). So she holds me over yet another night for observation.

And the Hits Just Keep on Coming
They had to open up my wound for treatment because of the complication (which I was preliminarily told was likely caused by staph bacteria that is naturally occurring on the skin). And on my last day, I was assessed by the hospital's Skin and Wound Assessment Team (SWAT).

My doctor happened to show up precisely when I was being assessed and they determined the best course of treatment. Treatment that includes nursing care visits at home every other day and visits to the John Muir Wound Care Center (WCC) once a week.

At my first visit to the WCC, the surgeon assigned to my case decides that the fastest course of treatment would be to use what's called V.A.C. Therapy. Basically I have to tote around a little machine that's connected to a very long tube, that's connected to foam, that's packed into the wound and all covered by this film that creates an air-tight seal and does exactly what you'd expect a vaccuum to do. TMI? My apologies.

Oh--and as it turns out, the second culture that the WCC surgeon took on my wound came back as (drumroll please...) E. coli bacteria. (On a side note, after a little research we have come to find that E. coli is not an uncommon bacteria to be found when such a complication occurs from childbirth).

So in addition to a now 9lb 13oz baby, I've got this accessory to tote around constantly that's close to 5lbs. And after just two days with both, my back is killin' me. Thankfully the doctor said I should probably only need this contraption for 2-3 weeks to get the underlying tissue all good and healed.

There's No Place Like Home
So we're all home and JOC:4.0 seems to be adjusting well (although we are having some latching issues, I think due to his getting bottles in the ICN half the time). So we're troubleshooting those. I've finally got my ankles back (they got HUGE after the birth) and I'm driving again.

And Fella and I are just plain old trying to figure out this parenting thing and hoping we're not already somehow scarring our kid for life. You know, the usual.