I had braxton hicks for quite a while, on Thursday night they became more like real contractions but the pain was extremely minimal. On the Friday before, the OB told me I could be in early labour but it could take a while if it wasn't truly labour. Saturday, Sunday and Monday continued on with very mild contractions but no progress in labour. I was uncomfortable in my hips and was having trouble sleeping, at this point I was praying that labour would come quickly and I would get some relief from the waiting and discomfort.
Tuesday morning I was up at 4:30am because of the pain in my hips. I spent the morning alone in the lounge, I read, journaled and talked to God about the road ahead. It was a wonderful time that helped get me into the right frame of mind. At 1pm I went and had a prenatal massage to ease some of the pain in my hips and help me sleep that night. Around 3:30pm I started to feel like my contractions were getting slightly more intense. I could still walk and talk through them and figured I was just imagining things and it was nothing. After we put Sadie to bed I was having the same feelings and started debating whether or not I should go to the hospital to get checked. At 8pm my mom and I headed over to the hospital and left Shawn with sleeping Sadie. I was positive they would tell me it was false labour and send me home, even as we waited at the hospital I asked my mom if we could go home as I'd changed my mind. The OB came in and checked me, said I was still only 2cm and went to go talk to another OB. After she left I had the feeling that I had peed my pants slightly. Since this had already happened recently, I told my mom that I thought I had peed again or my water had slightly leaked. A second later I started a pretty strong contraction, my first real contraction. That contraction lasted for 7 minutes straight and was caught on the monitor they had me hooked up to. A few minutes later I had another one that lasted for 9 minutes! During that contraction we called Shawn and told him that something was happening and he needed to get to the hospital. He called his aunt to come and take over Sadie's care and got over to the hospital within the hour.
I was quickly admitted to the hospital and put into the high risk delivery room. The OB came and said that because I was clearly in labour, I was now already 3cm dilated, that they wanted to break my water to get my contractions to regulate and not last so long. My water was broken just before Shawn arrived to join us in the delivery room. It was now around 11pm, after things progressed slowly for an hour, they decided to start me on pitocin to be sure my labour was not too long and strenuous for Hope. I laboured until 2:30 in the morning when my contractions started to piggy back. After having 5 contractions in a row, the OB came in to meet with me again. She suggested I take something for the pain to be sure I was strong enough to deliver Hope naturally and not end up in a C-section. They wanted to keep me on the pitocin and worried my contractions would continue to piggyback. They called the doctor and ordered my epidural, they promised it would not slow me down in getting out to see Hope after birth if it was kept low.
After the epidural was put in, I curled up in bed and quickly fell asleep. Shawn and my mom spooned on a single bed in the corner and got some sleep as well. They got closer than the average husband and mother in law usually do! We all slept pretty well until around 6 am. I felt so much better and was looking forward to some good news...unfortunately I was only at 4 cm now! This was really depressing but we tried to stay positive and keep hoping for some better progress. For 2-3 hours we sat and watched the monitor, Hope started to have a few dips in her heart rate and we began to worry that they would push me to have a C-section. Around 9:30 I told the nurse I was feeling a bit of pressure and my epidural had stopped working and I was feeling my contractions again and needed to breath through them. The nurse checked me and told us the great news, I was 7 cm and almost totally effaced. It was only 20 minutes later that I started to feel like I wanted to push and asked the nurse to check me again. She told me I was ready to have this baby and hurried to get all the right people together for the delivery. The doctors arrived and after just minutes and two pushes, Hope was here!!
Hope had her cord around her neck briefly and was pretty lethargic. As a result they told Shawn to cut her cord quickly and rushed her to the next room to the NICU resuscitation team. Shawn and my mom followed after her while I finished up with the doctors. The nurse came and quickly told me that Hope was doing okay and they would let me see her when they were finished with me. My mom came back and forth to keep me company with reports of Hope and pictures, it was a long hour. They finally loaded me into a wheel chair and brought me over to see our little miracle and touch her for the first time. She was as perfect as I imagined, she had Sadie's toes and her nose was squished against her face from birth.
When they handed her to me for my first snuggle, the transport team was already on the way to pick her up. We didn't get to have long with her, but were grateful for the time we had with her. I was taken down to my hospital room with my mom. They made me stay for 1 hour and then gave me a pass to go and see Hope. Even though you are tired, sore and hardly walking, you just want to be with your baby. I was sitting next to Hope in the NICU less than 4 hours after she was born. She was so little and cute, I just wanted to touch her and hold her again.
I had to leave the Children's hospital at dinner time and get back to the other hospital. Shawn and I picked up some dinner and had a date in my hospital room. It was weird to sit there all alone together after having a new baby and a toddler that was somewhere else. We were both doing really well, feeling positive and in shock that our little girl was out in the real world. Shawn left after dinner and headed back to the Ronald McDonald House for another sleep over with his Mother in law! We are truly blessed that they get along so well and enjoy spending time together.
Through the night a spring snow storm hit. In the morning, we had a plan that didn't work out, but were able to come up with a new plan and get things organized. Shawn came to pick me up and check me out of the hospital by 8:45 and we left to head over to the children's hospital for the day. It was so good to lay eyes on Hope again, we were only there for minutes before I asked the nurse to move her into my arms. The staff have been great about letting us hold her, even though it's a lot of work to move all her wires and get her situated safely. Sadie came to the hospital with Oma and Opa in the afternoon and met her little sister for the time. She LOVED her and kept pointing and saying, "hi baby". We spent the entire day at the hospital with Hope but took turns leaving and getting breaks. It had only been 24 hours since I delivered, as a result, I needed to leave by 4:15pm because my legs were swollen to a crazy size, I was pretty sore and needed to put my feet up.
|Sadie meets her baby sister for the first time!|
It's funny to think that the Ronald McDonald House feels like home, but it is so comforting to be back here. Shawn's parents came to the house to have dinner with us and bring Sadie over for a visit, it was so good to see her again, we really miss her. She seems to be handling the changes and moving around very well. Please continue to pray for her in this crazy stage and pray for the people that will be caring for her as she's very busy.
As for Hope, the doctors have been very pleased with her progress so far. All her levels are good and she is breathing well on her own and not needing a ventilator. When my mom arrived at the hospital this morning, the nurse remarked at how alert Hope is and said that most HLHS babies don't even open their eyes sometimes until they are 2-3 days old. Her echo did not show any changes from the reports they gave us before she was born. This was good news to know that there weren't any additional issues that the doctors were going to have to deal with. She's a very 'text book' case for surgery, however, her ascending aorta is very small, under 3mm, and this will make her surgery more difficult and challenging for her surgeon. Please continue to pray for the doctors and surgeons and for success in surgery in spite of this challenge. Her surgery date is still undecided, we're getting the idea that we won't be given an exact date until immediately before it happens. The surgeon's schedule constantly changes and it's too difficult to decide right now. We'll keep you posted as we get information, but it doesn't look like it will happen until some day next week.
Please pray for a quick healing with my body as it makes it difficult to sit in the hard NICU chairs all day and take the long walks through the hospital corridors. Please begin praying for Hope's upcoming surgery, the surgeon that will perform it and all the other people that will be involved. Please also pray for continued peace and strength for each of us. Also pray for my milk supply as they will not allow Hope to eat until after her surgery. As a result I have begun pumping but have yet to receive my milk supply, it will be easier once my milk arrives and I'm hoping that comes quickly. Poor Hope, she was very hungry today and it broke my heart not to be able to feed her. The nurses assured me that she won't feel hungry for much longer as her body will become used to the "nutrition" they are giving her through her IV. Thank you for praying us through delivery, it was a huge success and much more enjoyable than Sadie's delivery. We will keep you posted as to when her surgery will be. Our hearts are full of gratitude for all your prayers - thank you!