Saturday, September 10, 2011

Arlyn's birth story

While I try to avoid too many personal stories and details on this blog for my family's security, this shall be an exception.

I wrote my 2nd daughter's birth story soon after it happened, but I haven't yet shared it publicly on the world wide web. As I spend today reminiscing about this day last year, however, I think I'm ready to share it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should warn young or male readers (or those with weak stomachs) that there might possibly be more here than you ever wanted to know. You've been warned.

Thursday, September 9, 2010
{39 1/2 weeks}

Today we went to see Dr. P for our 39 week appointment. We're just 4 days away from your due date!

Last week when we saw the Dr., she gave us some ideas to help you come out on your own. The cervix has to efface and dilate and then the baby can come out. In mommy, the cervix was completely effaced (thin and ready to go) but not dilated at all (locked up tight!).

Usually, a mommy would be induced so that contractions would start and labor would begin in earnest. But for us, since Paisley was born via c-section, they wouldn't induce me. I would have to begin labor on my own if I was to have a natural birth this time around. That's what we wanted to do because it can be better for both baby and mommy. Recovery is easier and quicker for mommy, baby has to work hard to come out and that makes all your bodily functions begin properly, and it's better for mommy's tummy so we can have more and more kids, if God gives them to us!

So my body would just have to start having contractions on its own. I even tried black cohosh to induce a few contractions...but it just made me feel weird. May have been a mistake. I did have several contractions, but nothing consistent.

Then one night (a few days before this appt) I had what I thought was a really bad contraction. It wrapped around my whole tummy and lower back and then there was some pain, too, like a really long cramp.

When we saw the Dr. and told her this, coupled with her diagnosis of 100% effacement and 0% dilation... oh, and the obvious strange bulge at the bottom of my tummy... she suggested that we start considering our options.

We all quickly realized that with my uterus as paper-thin as it was (the doctor could easily feel your head and said it was like feeling you through saran wrap...way too thin for our good), we could be in real trouble if we waited for me to go into labor on my own. The uterus would just keep thinning as you kept growing and then we could rupture it when contractions got strong, which is irreparable. We couldn't have any more babies after you if that happened.

The doctor said at first that she would let me go for no more than 3 days before we would need to get you out by c-section. As we sat there and talked, Daddy realized that he didn't like how "saran wrap" sounded and that wasn't that pretty dangerous? The more the doctor thought about it, the more she agreed. She thought we should get you out right away if we wanted to save my uterus. Plus, we didn't know what the bulge was, and the doctor didn't like it that I was saying that something just didn't feel right. She told us that that was a sure sign we need to look into something further.

She left the room to check with the hospital about when they could get us in for our surgery. Daddy and I just stared at each other in disbelief of the fact that we were about to have our 2nd child by a 2nd c-section when we thought the whole time that we would be able to have a natural delivery.

September 10 was Aunt Jenny's due date! It was the day that Blakely Joanna was supposed to be born. My Arlyn Royce wasn't due until the 13th and I sure thought you would come on your own and in your own time. My mind was prepared to wait, but my body apparently wasn't going to be okay with that. It now looked like you would be joining our family on September 10, too!

Sure enough, when the Doctor returned, she told us that they could be ready for us the next morning and had our c-section scheduled for 6am. And now it was just hours away. That was a lot for mommy to wrap her mind around!

Of course, we couldn't sleep that night knowing that you were coming in the morning. It was all too exciting and scary at the same time!

Nana was at our house and she was going to stay with Paisley in the morning while Daddy took me to the hospital so we could have YOU.

Friday, September 10, 2010

We had to be there at 4:30am! We had some paperwork and surgery prep to do before we could go into the OR.

I kinda had a rough experience to start out with. Daddy and I were really excited, but a "negative nelly" nurse kinda burst our bubble from the start. And then she proceeded to burst a vein in mommy's arm trying (and failing) to put in the IV. Ouch!

I finally got my IV in, and all the proper papers signed. We checked and double-checked that no one would do any of the tests or procedures on you that we didn't want them to. Mommy had to get my epidural so I wouldn't feel the surgery. Daddy helped me with that.

I sat on the bed as the man put the epidural needle in my back. It hurt and was scary. Mostly scary, though, but then he touched a bone and that was almost the end of me! Daddy stood in front of me and the guy had him hold my shoulders to help me lean forward as far as you would let me. You were sticking out really far! And I had to be perfectly still. Really hard to be still when a needle pokes your bone! I sat there with tears streaming down my face and Daddy was holding me and being strong for us.

At first, the epidural only deadened my right side. But then the anesthesiologist had me roll over to my side to help it travel down my left leg, I guess. And apparently it worked! Pretty soon I couldn't feel anything. I was almost ready to go, so they sent Daddy to get his scrubs on and meet us at the operating room. They took me in the bed and rolled me to the operating room, slid me over to the actual operating table, put up the short blue barrier wall (so I couldn't see the surgery), and strapped my arms to small tables sticking straight out both sides. I felt the epidural take over more and more of my body until it reached my lungs and made me feel claustrophobic and like I wasn't breathing even though I was. I was warned about this feeling, so I knew it was probably coming, but it was still alarming. I was given oxygen through my nose before I panicked too much and just had to concentrate on breathing in and out slowly and fully as the doctor and assistants prepared me for surgery.

Finally, Daddy came in to sit by my head. Just in time to scratch my nose for me! Whew! (I already had had the anesthesiologist scratch it for me once.) The epidural made me itchy!

Suddenly I was prompted to ask Daddy to pray for us and the doctors. Things were pretty tense on the other side of that barrier. No one sounded easy and happy like the doctors for your sister did. I smelled something funny and asked why my oxygen smelled strange, but was told it was the "smell of surgery". Daddy later told me he saw the cauterizing tools. Yikes!

It seemed to take a long time to get you out and I felt lots of pulling and pushing and movement. I was a little worried, but also not - at the same time!

Later, we would learn all the reasons why, but for now, we were just so happy to hear you cry out at 6:58am!

The doctor and nurses were all exclaiming at your size! You were a pretty big girl at almost 9 pounds! Your black hair was just beautiful and everyone said you were so perfect. When I first saw you, you were purple-ish. Daddy went over to watch them clean you up and they had to clear all your airways, then you were breathing strong and turning pink!

After you got all wrapped up, Daddy brought you over to me and I got to kiss you and we got a picture taken of the 3 of us. After that, you and Daddy had to go while I got all stitched back up. Now THAT part took a long time, too! So I just laid there by myself, praying and crying and thanking God for bringing you into our lives.

You and Daddy were waiting for me as I was finally wheeled to the recovery room. You were already ready to eat! And there were a few nice nurses who helped us settle in. One nurse was very easy and encouraging and told me that you already ate great and everything looked just perfect.

Later (maybe it was the next day?) Dr. P came and told Daddy the whole amazing story. Mommy was in a drug-induced deep sleep, I'm pretty sure.

Apparently, after my first c-section, all my layers between my skin and womb kinda healed together. Fused, kinda, and they're not supposed to be like that. As my uterus expanded with this pregnancy, it was essentially tearing some of the other layers. That last week, (probably when I felt that strong cramping pain) my abdominal muscles tore and my uterus kind of herniated. That was the bulge at the underside of my tummy.

The doctor was SO GLAD we made the decision we had because there was no way of knowing what a mess I was inside and any contractions and/or pushing would have ruptured my uterus without question. She told us "we made the right decision." And she was so relieved for us, because she knew that our heart was to have more children in the future if it's God's will.

She had to take a long time stitching me up after surgery because she was painstaking about the layers being in their proper places. She folded my uterus over itself (made it double strength in that section) and sewed it like a patch. Then she used something called "intercede" that was like a film she laid over the uterus to keep it from adhering to the next layer up during the healing process. Then she pulled the abs closed and repaired the tear. Then the other layers...3 more, I think, including the fat layer that she also sewed up. She sutured every layer separately to be extra safe.

If my body does what she put it on the right track to do, then my uterus will be strong and I can probably have 2 or even 3 more kids...all via c-section. But she's recommending that we wait for 2 1/2 or 3 years to be on the safe side and give me time to heal from such a major surgery.

We believe that God sent us to the right doctor here in this new town of Augusta. We had no way of knowing who to pick, but God made it clear that Dr. P was His choice for us! He just led us there. She helped protect us, baby. And she prayed long and hard before our surgery. Her skills and wisdom definitely saved the lives of any future siblings you may have! She wrote you a note, Arlyn, to go in your baby book.

Praise God for His provision of a wonderful doctor in a strange land. We praise Him and thank Him for His protection of you and me! And we will thank Him forever for bringing you into our lives to hold and love and protect.

I love you, Arlyn. Let's have more adventures together, k? Maybe a little less dramatic, though. Er, maybe not! Cuz we make drama fun!

You are my lovey snuggle-baby. Kisses!



Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Arlyn! Thanks for posting this Cassidy! K enjoyed reading about your journey. This is one of those times you said that makes you so grateful for medical professionals who know what theyre doing. I'm sure it was scary walking through that. I like reading how God covered and protected you before you even knew there was a problem. Thank God!

Biff and Dee Ann said...

Happy Birthday, Big Girl! Can't wait to see ya'll at the cousin reunion.

rpkkj said...

Thanks for sharing that. I hadn't heard some of it before. What a scary experience! I know Doctors are human, so can make mistakes, but it seems like it happens far too often! You just have to think our times are in God's hands, and trust Him to have it all in control. (When I had foot surgery the surgeon severed an artery & now I have poor circulation.) I hope you have more babies & those pregnancies & deliveries go easier.

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