September 10, 2018

Fitzgerald Barrington Thomson

It was Tuesday morning, June 19th, 2018 around 4 am when my water broke. I didn’t think the chances of my water actually breaking were all that high—but there I was, startled awake by the odd sensation and the faint “pop” feeling. I quickly got up and waddled to the bathroom where I could plainly see and feel that my water broke! Amazingly the bed was dry and so was my route to the bathroom
Knowing that once your water breaks you’ll need to get to the hospital within a handful of hours, Matt and I got things ready around the house. I ate breakfast, texted my mom (who was 4 hours away) and waited for the contractions to start. They never really did…

We headed to the hospital around 6:30 am. In triage they checked to be sure that my water broke—and then I was admitted. A low drip of Pitocin was started, with the hope of getting things moving. Around 10:00 am Bea and my mother and law came by. It was a bit surreal to hug and love on Bea knowing that these were her last moments of being an only child. I was torn in my feelings about this. But she was so excited for the baby and her joy reminded me what a gift this baby brother would be to her and the whole family.

It wasn’t all that much later that the Pitocin started to pick up. Having had a spontaneous labor with Bea and no need for Pitocin, this was a whole new experience. Not to mention how annoying it was to move around having had my water break. My water never broke with Bea, so this was all new as well. I labored on the yoga ball and walked around. Matt watched HGTV and I found myself on the ball at the end of the bed, propped over. I think it was around this time that my parents got to town. They came in and sat with us for a while. Mom took pictures as things started to pick up (thank you!).

I feel I managed the labor well—breathing through the contractions and concentrating on each one as if it was truly opening my body up. At my next check they could see that I was dilated to 4. The nurse asked if I wanted to call for the epidural… I wasn’t sure—since I didn’t have a Pitocin labor previously, I was really nervous that the epidural would slow down my progress and I obviously wanted things to keep moving. Jerri (my wonderful nurse), mentioned that she didn’t think it would slow things down and it wouldn’t hurt to at least put the order in for the epidural (as we know, things take forever in a hospital!).

After she left I was pretty relieved to know that the epidural was on its way. Things were feeling pretty painful and she had increased the Pitocin drip, so I knew things were only going to get more intense quite quickly. It wasn't long and the nurse anesthetist came… along with his student nurse. (Based on previous experience with a student doctor, I was very hesitant about anyone working on me that hadn’t been doing it foreverrrr, I know this sounds horrible of me, and I’m all for hands on, practical experiences—but I hated that with Bea’s birth I had to have a follow up procedure because my doctor did it wrong the first time). I was hesitate as the student nurse anesthetist started prepping me. But in true “Katie Fashion” I started talking with him, asking about his career path and learned that he was a graduate of the College of Health Sciences and Professions at Ohio University, the college I work for (and I know we train our students very well!). He was incredibly kind, thorough and made me feel very at ease. The epidural went really well—he stuck around for a while to make sure my blood pressure stabilized and to ensure that I no longer felt the painful contractions. Honestly, it was better treatment then what I received the first go around with Bea (and the long time experienced anesthetist). Praise!

Once the epidural was placed, Matt and my parents came back in. At this point I was laying down with the peanut ball between my legs to help with the dilation. I was feeling really good, and I think I even pulled my book out to read a bit.

Within the same hour that I received the epidural I had dilated to 9! I was so glad I got the epidural when I did. I really think I would have lost the window for the epidural if I hadn’t agreed to go ahead and call for it. I hadn’t mentally prepared for a non-medicated labor—so I was very pleased I didn’t have to experience one J

As soon as the nurse confirmed the 9cm, the room got busy. Jerri called to another nurse to call Dr. Coats in (she was on call and not at the hospital). A couple other nurses came in and started prepping the baby warmer along with the big metal table that held all the surgical tools. At this time my dad decided to step out into the waiting room—it appeared it was just about go time.

Soon after I heard Dr. Coats in the hallway, she hustled in with a jolly smile and so much joy. She was really excited that it was baby time. This put me at so much peace. They started scooting me down to the bottom of the bed, my legs went up and everyone started gathering around. It was go time!

I had two wonderful nurses, a wonderful attending doctor and a really great resident (it all felt so much better than my first birth with Bea). With Bea, Dr. Coats was not on call and I didn’t particularly love the on call attending doctor. In that experience the attending had the resident do everything—and this is where I feel things went wrong and why I needed another entire surgery at 10 weeks post-partum. But this moment, it felt really good. Mom and Matt stayed with me. Matt by my head and mom took pictures (I’m always so thankful for these photos).

As I began to push it was all so relaxed. The nurses and doctors joked and laughed. At one point someone mentioned that the entire medical team, including myself, were covered in freckles and red/auburn hair. We were the power team! Nurse Jerri took extra good care of me, regularly getting hot compresses and applying counter pressure—I was so thankful for this! Around this time everyone started taking guesses on the size of the baby. The medical staff seemed to think it was a big baby. I guessed 8lbs 10oz.

Somewhere near the end of pushing I had intense heartburn and found myself using the burp bag. I was really hoping to deliver without any more throwing up, but both babies have caused me to puke in the final moments (just a nice reminder of the 20+ weeks of pregnancy sickness. Ha!).

Only after pushing about 40 mins or so, we welcomed Fitzgerald Barrington Thomson into the world! He came in at 9 lbs 4 oz and 22 in. long. He was a big boy!

There is nothing like the moment your baby is laid on your chest. All the hard work, all the sickness, all the pain—totally washed away as you hold your perfect baby. This is the part of pregnancy, labor and parenthood that is addicting. I could do this over and over again, just to have that moment.
As another mother in the hospital was rushed into an emergency C-section, we were left alone for nearly an hour. The cuddles were perfect and he latched quite quickly. It really was magical. The entire experience was so good. 

Things went extremely smooth and we couldn’t get over how much better this experience felt. (Bea’s birth was not horrible—I honestly thought it was pretty good). But this experience was absolutely ideal. We were in the hospital less than 24 hours and we were home with our sweet boy, enjoying our own comforts in no time. We have so much to be thankful for and this birth was just the beginning of something absolutely blessed and God designed.

Our sweet boy has been a joy. He eats well, sleeps pretty good and really love his mama’s cuddles. Bea is a great big sister (with a few bumpy moments), but she is proud and prideful of Fitz. It’s all very sweet and nearly causes my heart to explode.
This is the gooood stuff. The really good stuff.

March 2, 2016

Beatrice's Birth Story... Part II...

Who knew?

Not me! I thought I wrapped up Bea's birth story in a single post... as it turns out, there is a part II to this good 'ol birth story.

At nearly three months postpartum I realized that I probably should not still be so achy and uncomfortable. I kept brushing it off knowing that I popped a baby out of my hooha and assumed it's likely that some things could still be recovering. However, knowing in my gut that it would be better to get it checked out, I made an appointment.

Here's the thing, I don't know what's normal but at my 6 week and 10 week check up I was never given a physical examination. They asked if I felt good, I said yes, because I thought I did (aches and pains are normal after birthing a babe, right?) and that was that.

So upon this next visit, I obviously insist on a physical exam. Very quickly I am told, "hm, things don't look right." I come to find out that I have granulated scar tissue from stitches. This where I get unsure of things, long story short:

I was first told that they were polyps from layers of skin getting missed when being stitched up.
Then I was told that I was going to need surgery. 
Surgery under general anesthesia (what?!)
Quite shocked, once home I had a million questions (of course).
I called back insisting that I needed more information and I'd like to speak to the doctor. 
The doctor actually called me to chat (that was nice of her).
I asked my long list of questions--a lot of questions. 
But things still seemed a little off to me.
I chatted with my mom and my boss (ha. normal).
With their support, I decided I needed a second opinion.
Got a second opinion.
Was told that my situation was not polyps but granulated scar tissue.
I did indeed need surgery. 

And that's that. I have surgery in about five days. I'm frustrated, annoyed, anxious... but I suppose it's just a part of my birth story and we know how unique those are. 

I want to blame someone (like the resident who stitched me up or the attending who supervised her) but I'm not sure that's the best use of my time. I have other thoughts about alerting the hospital I delivered at that I feel I possibly did not receive the best care... but I'll know more about how I want to proceed once my mom comes to town for my surgery and supports me in my conversations with my doctor. 

So surgery is on the 7th of March (my original return date to work) so now instead I'm planning on being back to work on March 15th. Not only am I anxious about surgery but I'm on an emotional roller coaster of feelings about returning to work and being away from my baby. I knew this would be hard... but this is harddddd. Prayers appreciated!

December 20, 2015

Beatrice's Birth Story

I love a good birth story and now that I have experienced my own, I want to be sure to document the whirlwind of those special few days.

Beatrice Ruth was born on Monday, November 9th at 7:58am, truly the most amazing moment of my life.

That moment was preceded by a couple intense and painful days. On Friday, November 6th I went to work only to find that I really didn't feel great. I had started to experience swelling; swelling in my feet, my hands, my face... my nose and lips even. I decided that I was going to head home and spend some time with my feet up. My mother in law, Mary, had already come to town just a few days prior. Her intentions were to clean, cook and help us organize before the baby arrived, a very welcomed gift!

I can't quite remember what happened on Friday evening, but I believe we all shared a meal and I went to bed early as I normally did during pregnancy. Saturday was an exciting day for me as Matt had gifted me a pedicure. Matt had to work the majority of the afternoon and evening so Mary and I headed to the salon to be pampered. I remember being amazed by the swelling of my feet and legs. I picked a pretty pink color in honor of the little lady who was about to enter our lives. The massage was amazing and I joked with the manicurist that this might put me into labor...

After the pedicure, Mary and I headed to campus to check in on Matt and his event that night. Ironically, this weekend was the university's "Dad's Weekend". Matt and his student organization were hosting a burger buffet dinner. Though neither my mother in law or I were dad's... we hit up the event for a free meal and a visit with Matt since he'd be working past midnight. It was nice to visit with Matt and I showed off my pretty pink toes.

Since Matt would be working late at another student event, Mary and I went home to relax the rest of the night. Around 11:00pm I started getting ready for bed, as I was brushing my teeth and changing into pj's, I felt a strange sensation..."did my water just break?" I went to the bathroom... confused and uncertain. After checking... I was still confused and uncertain, so I headed up to bed. As I laid in bed I texted Matt that I thought my water broke. I tried to stress to him that I really was not sure and it was probably just another odd side effect of pregnancy. I encouraged him not to worry and to stay at work. Meanwhile he had texted his mom that I was upstairs and my water had broken. Around this time I heard a loud yell and my mother in law running up the steps to our bedroom to check on me. I assured her that I was not certain and was probably experiencing normal pregnancy stuff. She agreed, knowing very well that pregnancy provides lots of odd happenings. She headed back downstairs... I turned the lights off and tried to sleep.

15 minutes later...Matt was home. I was a bit upset with him that he left work for this. Nothing was certain and I planned on just going to bed. Though I continued to insist that nothing was happening, deep down I knew better. About an hour later I started timing contractions. 4-6 mins apart, lasting a minute long. I decided to sleep. Matt agreed and he fell soundly asleep. I spent the rest of the night drifting in and out of sleep, occasionally timing contractions. By 4:00am Matt was up with me, timing contractions and talking me through each one. Things were starting to really hurt and I slowly began to admit to myself that I was going to be enduring back labor. The dreaded back labor.

With my contractions increasing in timing, Matt was getting anxious. Considering how uncertain I had been about everything, I tried to postpone the idea of heading to the hospital. Matt didn't like this idea and at around 6:30am on Sunday, November 8th we headed to labor and delivery. Once at the hospital they hooked me up to all the monitors and checked for dilation. Weeks prior I had already been 75% effaced, so the doctors were looking for some sort of progress beyond that. They noted that my water had not broken and I was only dilated to one cm, but continued to thin. As I'm sure most laboring women think when they hear this sort or news... "How in the heck have I endured so much pain and not dilated more?".

39.2 weeks. Saturday morning I took this selfie before we headed to the hospital (the first time). I was already experiencing painful contractions, but clearly I still had the ability to smile. 
The nurses had me walk the halls for another hour and would check me again. The hall walking was pretty miserable--every few minutes I would stop and hang on the handrail of the hall. Matt was right by my side, stopping when I did, to gently hold me. I was checked again only to show no progress. We were sent home.

The rest of the day is a major blur. There was not a thing that left me feeling comfortable. I tried to sleep, catching bits of rest. I walked the house, stretched my back on the yoga ball, and took a stroll through the neighborhood with Matt, Mary and my mom (we had alerted my mom to impending labor early that morning. Her and dad hit the road right away and were in Athens with plenty of time to be a part of my laboring at home). Just recently I had to be reminded that we all walked the neighbor on that Sunday. I barely remember it as the pain was beginning to blur all reality. During that walk I hung on Matt for every contraction and prayed that each passing pain was progressing my body in labor.

A bit later at home I tried to eat something as I knew it had been a long while since I ate and would be limited to what I could eat once at the hospital. After a few bites of chicken noodle soup I knew I was in trouble. I darted to the bathroom and just missed the toilet. Poor Matt was stuck cleaning.

Back at home I labored for hours. I tried to find something that was comfortable. Sitting, using the yoga ball, a heating pad on my back, pacing-- nothing seemed to provide any sort of relief. 

As you can see here I was not thrilled with my mom taking pictures of me. I felt so miserable and even felt a bit scared at not knowing how much longer I'd be enduring this crazy back labor. 
I was in full blown labor... dreading each contraction and now experiencing nausea (my all too familiar pregnancy friend). I tried hard to think back to our lamaze classes... incorporating different methods to ease the discomfort. I started thinking long and hard about the evening and night ahead. I asked myself if I would be able to get through another 8+ hours at home (wanting to get through the night & hit up L&D in the morning) and knew that would be impossible. As we all sat in the living room and I paced our tiny house, I shared that I thought we needed to head back to the hospital. This was hard for me to admit because the last thing I wanted was to go back to the hospital and have them tell us to go home, yet again.

We all loaded up and headed back to L&D at around 7:30pm. I was hooked back up and checked for progress, I had dilated to 3cm and was fully effaced. Progress was happening! No news had ever sounded better. They agreed to admit me and started preparing a room. Now, one thing I learned quite quickly is that everything takes forever in a hospital, Bah! And when you are laboring and feeling significantly uncomfortable in the triage room everything. takes. forever. As the labor pains increased, I began shaking. My body would not and could not stop shaking. This alone was exhausting.

In triage on the L&D floor. You can see me holding my back--ouch.
It was then that the doctor came in and asked if I'd be wanting an epidural. Before I could fully process the question I said, "Yes!". Now I will note, I really wanted to attempt a non-medicated birth. But I will also say that I never ruled out the idea of an epidural. Being that I never fully committed to a non-medicated birth prior to labor.. I didn't have much motivation not to get an epidural. My half-hearted commitment to a non-medicated birth in combination with the back labor... that epidural sounded like the most amazing gift ever invented.

Over the next few hours I continued to endure each and every back contraction. Ouch. They got me set up in a labor and delivery room; my mom, Matt and Mary all joined me. Everyone took their respective spots, Matt in a lounge chair next to me, mom in a chair on the other side and Mary at the far end of the room in a chair/bed. These hours were quite blurry as I still had not received the epidural. So many things had to be done before the topic of the epidural ever came up again (where is this dang epidural?!). So much 'paper work' was being done on the mobile computer, consisting of a million little questions that I had already answered earlier that morning. What medication was on? family history?.... it went on and I tried to answer questions in-between contractions.

Still waiting on that epidural and the nausea became quite persistent

The doctor came back around and checked me again to announce that I was now 5cm dilated. In my blurry state my ears perked as I heard her mention that the anesthesiologist had been called and should be in soon. It was 10:30pm when my family was asked to leave the L&D room so the anesthesiologist could work her magic. Her name was Faith. She was the nicest women with the sweetest British accent. I was nervous, simply because of everything I have ever heard about remaining still during the placement of the epidural, but Faith and the nurse put me at ease. The nurse held me while Faith placed the needle, I alerted them when the next contraction was starting and the process froze until it had passed. By 10:47pm I was already feeling the affects of the epidural. My family had returned to the room and I was relishing in the relief I was feeling. At this point I had been in labor for nearly 24hrs and    welcomed the releif. I was back. I became much more aware of my reality, I even smiled and laughed. Labor became a very different experience, quite quickly.

Finally prepping for the epidural

Faith, working her magic
Epidural in and feeling relief 
Once the epidural was in, the doctor returned to break my waters. With the epidural in and my waters broken, my nurse suggested that we all rest up. My body still shook quite violently. My legs stopped the constant shake (thanks to the glory of the epidural), but my upper half continued to move in rhythm. I tried hard to sleep, getting moments of rest only to wake up from my shaking again. The nurse occasionally popped in to check my blood pressure and the monitor on the baby. This routine continued for a few more hours. At some point I started to feel my pesky acid reflux flair up and I began throwing up. I remember thinking how diligent pregnancy heart burn is... even in it's final moments. I wanted nothing more that to drink a big tall glass of water...which my nurse prevented me from doing. Even my sips of water or the few ice chips I sucked on caused me to throw up.

At around 5:00am I was checked again for dilation... I had hit 9cm and the nurse started prepping for pushing. I remember thinking how quickly this seemed to happen. I was surprised by the progression my body was making and in disbelief that I was headed into the pushing part of labor. The doctors mentioned how great it was that I was having a spontaneous labor--meaning there was no need for Pitocin, it simply was Bea's time to come. My nurse talked me through how to push and just as quickly I started to do so. At this time the room was quiet and just one nurse talked me through each push on each contraction. Every so often the doctor popped back in to check my progress and talk me through another push. I remember being complimented on how well I pushed. This was the second compliment of my labor, the first came from Faith who mentioned what a beautiful back I had. Silly as it sounds, both things gave me confidence. With each push I knew we were that much closer to meeting our baby. As I neared two hours of pushing we approached my last few pushes. The doctor mentioned how close I was, which only motivated me more. With one more large push I was able to get Bea's head around my pelvic bone. The nurses and doctors insisted that I feel her head as it had made it's appearance. She had so much hair, something the medical staff could not stop talking about. It was on that next contraction that approached quite quickly from the last, that I knew she was coming. The nurses and doctors asked that I breath through the contraction and not push as they were not quite ready--a task that was simply impossible to do.

As the doctors (an attending doctor, a resident and a third year student) and nurses (my nurse, the baby nurse) scurried to get their gowns on, I pushed Beatrice out. There was no breathing through the intense need to push... and in that moment I met Bea. Born at 7:58am on Monday, November 9th, 2015.

Skin to skin happened immediately and was quickly followed by Bea's first latch to my breast. Though we knew that she had had a bowl movement in utero, she came out clean and with little to no meconium in her lungs, allowing for the skin to skin time I was hoping for. She was simply perfect.

The next hour or so was a blur of excitement and disbelief at what had just occurred. Our baby was here. The attending doctor and his resident spent the majority of the hour repairing the aftermath of my vaginal delivery. It was then that I learned that I had torn quite significantly and was in the process of loosing nearly three liters of blood. It was not until a few hours later and in the following days that I would learn the reality of a second degree tear and significant blood loss. Postpartum recovery is no joke,

The rest of our stay in the hospital was quite nice. I was regularly monitored for blood loss and the idea of a blood transfusion was suggested, yet was never needed. Matt and I oogled our baby as we spent time visiting with our parents. Matt thoroughly enjoyed the unlimited food service while I indulged in many orange sherbets. Our birth story truly was a blessing.

We were released on Wednesday to head home--a family of three.