Friday, October 30, 2009

Welcome Elisa Grace - the birth story


Not only is she a drama queen, but she's impatient and has a mind of her own. As you read, on Monday I was moved back down to L&D as I was having contractions overnight and I also had an increase in labor symptoms. They wanted me to be monitored for 24 hours a day instead of the 2 hours a day they normally do in antepartum. We got a great nurse our first day down there and when we were talking with her about our frustration with the whole doctor shuffle and each one having a different plan of action and attempting to talk me out of the terb pump, etc etc, she managed to work it out that the doc who put me on the terb pump (who is also the one that all of the nurses I've spoken with absolutely LOVE) was my "main" doc and any change in plan for my care would have to go through him first. I was ecstatic. He wanted to check me again as he had a couple of ideas of how to prolong my pregnancy but first needed to see where I was and where the baby was. So he checked, and baby was footling breech again, but he also disagreed with the 6cm that had sent me back down to L&D but felt I was more 4cm. Again with the cervix moving backwards! He also increased the terb as I was still having breakthrough contractions and irritability.

But as the day continued, the terb, even at the increased value, was not stopping things. So he decided to put me back on the mag, even though it had given me a pulmonary edema before. They put me on a lower dose and watched my breathing and lungs very very closely. I also was diligent at doing my breathing exercises. After the first initial doses, I finally quieted down. He had considered moving me up to a higher dose, but after seeing how quiet I became with the smaller dose, he didn't want to increase my risk of the edema. The terb was still on at this point just to provide that extra oomph to help keep me quiet. I was not too concerned at this point, I felt very much like this doctor was going to do all in his power to keep me pregnant as long as he could. He also moved my ultrasound up from November 5th to October 30th as that would have been 3 weeks exactly after the first one! Just so I could see her again and check her size as I knew things were getting close.

Overnight on Tuesday, I began again to have periods of 10 contractions an hour and then down to almost no contractions an hour. The next morning, they took the terb pump out as it also increased my risk of an edema and the doctor knew my body had built up a tolerance for it. The mag was still doing a decent job of calming things down as my periods of lots of contractions weren't that frequent. They also started a motrin regimen as it can help to calm the uterus.

Tuesday went on, but as it did, things began to accelerate. I'd have periods of 6-9 contractions an hour followed by periods of 2-3. They gave me the first dose of a second round of steroids, as there is significant research out there to show that babies who have two rounds of steroids within two weeks in a pre-term labor situation do much better than those who don't. The goal was to get me to atleast Friday so I'd be in the steroid window. They also kept giving me medications, boosts of terb, and something else that I can't remember to calm the uterus down. It would work for a while, but then they'd pick back up. I wasn't too concerned as things didn't seem too bad. Andrew called around 2 Phoenix time, I believe. Here is where things start to get a bit fuzzy. All seemed to be going well, so we told him that and the update and all of that.

3 pm came and suddenly I started feeling lots of cramping and rolling around. I thought that gas had become unbearable and that I was constipated, as I hadn't been to the bathroom for that purpose in 2 days. So I asked for a suppository, thinking that would stop the cramping. The pain was so severe that I was unable to breathe through a few of the contractions. The nurse was in there trying to coach me to keep breathing. The suppository kicked in so I went to the bathroom and when I was done, I noticed that I felt something "down there." At this point, I knew it wasn't good. So we called the nurse back in who called the doctor. They examined me and found I was now 7cm, baby had dropped. With her being so small and me being so dialated, we were now in a situation where she could get her legs stuck down there or her cord could come through and get crimped and she could suffocate. Our only option for her survival was to deliver her immediately, by c-section.

So we had to call Andrew and tell him this. Andrew began a flurry of activity to get here to Phoenix, everything from finding a flight out that night to driving. Thanks to the wonderful generosity of one of his students parents, he was able to fly out first thing Thursday morning. Anyway, this was around 4 pm Phoenix time and things were flying. Nurses coming in and out preparing things, anesthesiologists advising me on spinal blocks, doctors checking things out, preparing the operating room. Of course the contractions are continuing and I'm miserable and seriously at the point of just wanting this to be over. They roll me down to the operating room and I can hardly move. They move me onto the table and I still can hardly move. The pain was just that bad. I could hardly breathe and hardly move. Finally got the epidural in and just things are fuzzy from here. I know mom was in the room with me, I know I felt like I couldn't breathe. I could feel them pulling and tugging at my tummy. It was the oddest sensation. I swear it felt like an hour, but couldn't have been more than 10 minutes when I heard the doctors go "It's a girl and she's big!" They called out the time of 5:06 pm.

Then you wait to hear that first cry of your baby. It never came. I just remember, though, having this incredible peace, I just knew she was ok. Mom couldn't see anything as there was a swarm of doctors and nurses around her, working on her. I kept asking, is she ok, what's going on, and no one would answer me of the medical staff. Mom couldn't see from where she was. She asked if she could go over and check her out and was given permission. So she did. She still couldn't see much but could see that she was pink, meaning she had plenty of oxygen. She also didn't sense a rushing/panic from the medical staff around her, which told her that things were fine and they were just assessing. I don't know how long it was, but they were finally wheeling her by me and stopped so I could see her while they were still sewing me up. She was 2 lbs 13 oz and 15 inches long. I don't know how long it took, but she received an apgar score of 8. She also didn't cry in the beginning because they pretty much grabbed her and put her on a ventilator immediately and gave her surfactant. Turns out she didn't need the ventilator. I don't know when they took it out but they did tell me in the operating room that she was breathing on her own. Mom had to go with her to the NICU as for some reason they didn't want her staying with me, even though I wanted her with me, lol. I knew Elisa was ok so didn't need her to follow the NICU team. But the medical staff insisted, so off she went.

I was sent into the recovery room where I stayed for an hour and was finally moved up to post partum. The room I ended up in is the room right next door to where I spent the last week and a half, lol. It's also closer to the NICU which is why they chose to send me here. They wouldn't let me out of bed until 4 hours post op in the post partum room (which technically was 5 hours post op...would have been around midnight) in order to see her. But I was bound and determined. I couldn't see her at all really lying prone on the operating table. Mom had taken pictures, but still, it's not the same as seeing HER.

At 10:30, 2 hours before my official "release time" the nurses gave me permission to go see her! So mom and I walked (well, I was wheeled) down to the NICU and on we went. All I could think was how gorgeous and how big she was. I was in awe of her breathing on her own and just how excellent she was doing.

Andrew arrived early Thursday morning and we immediately went down to see her. She was still doing excellent. Even her second day of life, she's doing wonderfully. She is breathing room air with the help of flow, no oxygen. She is now under the billirubin lights due to some jaundice.

I did end up overdoing it yesterday and managed to give myself a fever and a high high pain number. So it did mean I haven't been able to see her today. But if I remain fever free for 24 hours, I can go see her tomorrow. So far, I've been good, and resting much more today. I walk after I take the pain meds. I should be discharged on Sunday.

So meet Elisa Grace:

Less than an hour after birth.

Mommy's first touch and view.

Daddy's first touch and view.

Elisa Grace, born 10/28 at 5:06 pm at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital. 2 lbs 13 oz, 15 inches long. I can't wait to take you home and watch you grow up.


Anonymous said...

That's fantastic Lisa! Congrats to both of you, I pray all goes well for Elisa as she grows enough to get home.

God overwhelm this little girl with your love, and grow her fast so mom and dad can have fun at home with her. Give her kingdom health.

In Jesus name.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Phoenix mama! Enjoy your little one :)

Micah said...

Lisa- this is beautiful. I have tears in my eyes and am so happy for Elisa's health (and yours)! It's funny how God works, huh? Here I've been thinking "Why in the world did she have to go into labor in Phoenix??" Well, God chuckles... It's the best preterm hospital in the nation!! Guess He knew what he was doing all along.


Anonymous said...

She is beautiful.

Jessica said...

Hi, it's another preemie mom from BabyCenter! Congratulations, she looks absolutely wonderful! I sent you a message on BabyCenter about my baby being 2 lbs 12 oz and 14.5 inches so I'd love to be on this journey with you! I'll be thinking about you and Elisa Grace and hoping everything stays well!