We had already called Mom C to pack a bag and come over to the house. I was in so much pain at this point I was ready for drugs and I made that known (nicely) to Husband. However, I said, "We need to go NOW." I was pretty sure this baby was going to be born in the car. Mom C had yet to arrive. I told Husband I didn't care we need to go. He calmly said we couldn't just leave the girls even though they were fast asleep. So, we waited in the van (I in the "trunk" area) until she was close by. We passed by her on the way out and we were off. My contractions seemed to slow down just a little but were still rather intense. It was during this time that I wished our hospital wasn't quite so far away (20 minutes at regular speed...ahem) Later I would be ever so glad that we were at this particular hospital.
When we arrived at the hospital around 11:10 PM the registration desk looked so far away. No wheel chairs were close by and even if there had been one to use it may have been to painful to sit for very long. To say that they processed me into triage quickly would be an understatement. My one "Are you kidding me?" moment was when I walked back there they wanted to weigh me. For real? Of course I had a contraction while on the scale. Anyway. I get to my little bed, they check me... 7 cm and fully effaced. I hear the nurse bark some commands about a room NOW and she didn't care where it was. During this time I am telling them I want drugs. They can't do anything for me yet because I hadn't had an IV. Less than five minutes later I find myself in a L & D room with people zooming all around. The resident checks me. 10 cm and fully effaced. WHAT?!?! I still want drugs people. "Nope." They inform me, "You are having this baby naturally." I laugh.
I am NOT having this baby naturally. I can barely control this pain unlike anything I ever felt. My contractions slowed down a bit. I think it was because there was a whole crew of people from the NICU in there because she was coming before 37 weeks. Finally, my doctor says she's going to check something and it's going to hurt. Um. Yeah. Understatement. I'm pretty sure I almost kicked her at that point. I wasn't fully dilated after all. When they checked me the second time Miss S was pushing down so hard that my water bag was bulging. After they broke it something happened and a forebag was created hiding the last bit of cervix that needed to disappear. That actually bought me some time to have an epidural. YEAH!
It was just enough to take the edge off. I still feel the contractions (there would be no sleeping through labor like I did with Miss A) and I knew she would be making her grand appearance soon. They told me to let them know if I felt like pushing or the pressure increased. It wasn't long after the epidural was in that I told them that things were changing. They said the doctor was called to emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy and would come as soon as she was done. They moved me into a more upright position to help get Miss S into position. So, while I wait for the doctor each time I feel contractions... I push (not very hard.) The doctor came back about 2 hours after I got my epidural and said lets see how you are doing. They check and we are a 100% go this time around. I steady myself for a possible hour of pushing (which is what I did with Miss A) -- to my great surprise 5 pushes and out she came! It was now 2:31 AM, December 10 -- 6 1/2 hours -- about half the length of my last labor. Once again they could not put my little bundle on my chest because she, too, had a short cord like Miss A. Odd. Miss S let out a little cry and once Husband cut the cord they whisked her over to be evaluated.
It was a long time. All was quiet over there. A little too quiet. I called over to Husband but I don't think he heard me. Finally, a nurse came and told me that little Miss S was having a hard time breathing and they were taking her to the NICU. They let me touch her and see her for about two minutes and they were gone. Husband went with her. I remember crying and telling Husband, "I'm sorry." I was sorry I couldn't keep her in longer. While I know now there was nothing I could do, in that moment it felt like my fault. I should have been able to keep her safe inside a little bit longer. Our other girls had been early and no problems. I naively thought she would be fine, too.
When all was said and done I was able to go down to the NICU (A branch of Phoenix Children's NICU - one of the best - is located on the same floor as L & D in this hospital) for about 20 minutes to see Miss S before I had to check in my room and with the nurses there. Thankfully, Husband had already shown me pictures of what she looked like otherwise I think I would have just lost it with all the wires and tubes attached to her.
Miss S had a CPAP machine on her to force air in her lungs and cause them to really open up. Gosh she did not like that thing. Nurses called her, "feisty." She also has a small tube that went down into her stomach to pull out stuff that may accumulate there as a by product of the CPAP and give her small amounts of nourishment. They also wanted to be able to tell if she was digesting things well (which she wasn't for awhile because she was working so hard on breathing.) She had an IV that was giving her some medicine that she needed and other nourishment. Then there were all the "normal" wires for any baby in the NICU that check heart rate, breathing, and oxygen saturation. It was pretty intense for me and my baby was not the sickest baby in NICU. I couldn't even being to imagine what other mama's were experiencing.
So, now began my days of working on getting my milk to come in to help nourish Miss S while she was in there and not allowed to work on sucking. Too much for her system to process. This seemed like a daunting task as well given my not so great history in overall milk production. Trips down to the NICU. Healing. Checking in with my nurses from time to time. Rest. Miss S made great progress -- breathing, then eating, some jaundice curbed. I was discharged from the hospital on Monday (an interesting balance between time with Miss L and Miss A and being at the hospital) and Miss S finally was able to come home on Thursday evening.
She's doing better and seems to be thriving. We are adjusting to being a family of five and thanking the Lord foe each sweet blessing and the extravagant love He shows to us through each one.
More thoughts and side stories of the NICU in the coming days/weeks.