Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Quinn's Birth Story

Okay, so here it is with all the details! The story of how Quinn came to be here.

So, at our 20 week anatomy scan ultrasound, we found out that I had Placenta Previa. PP is when your placenta implants low in your uterus and covers the cervix, making a vaginal delivery impossible. The specialist told us that there was a 95% chance it would move on its own as my uterus stretched throughout pregnancy and that we needed to come back at 32 weeks and see what was happening with it. So, at 32 weeks we went back, and I think the ultrasound tech looked for about 2 seconds before she said, "Oh yeah...that hasn't moved at all. That's not gonna work." So, the specialist came back and looked and confirmed that it was complete previa and we were going to have to have a C-section.

Next, we went back to my midwife for a regular appointment. She said that we would try and wait until 39 weeks to do the c-section, unless I started bleeding earlier, in which case I would have to go straight to the hospital and have her right then. Um...I thought that was a terrible plan and I was pretty upset, but we left and were planning to just have to roll with that. Their office called me later that same day to say that they had seen the report from the specialist we had seen and he wanted me to have the c-section at 36-37 weeks, because going into labor before that point would be very risky since there is such a high chance of extreme bleeding. I was much happier with this plan, since now I wouldn't have to wait on pins and needles for 39 weeks to come, or for an emergency to happen sooner. I went a few days later to meet the OB, since my midwife couldn't perform the c-section.

I met Dr. Bailey on Tuesday 5/29. He was so nice and made me feel so comfortable. He told me he wanted to do the c-section at 36 weeks (which would have been the following week! So soon!), and that he wanted to do it at McKay-Dee Hospital, since it's bigger and has more resources for a risky c-section. He told me if I started bleeding, to go straight to McKay and call him on our way there. We left waiting for a phone call to schedule the exact date, since he was trying to coordinate to have another OB assist him with the surgery.

This week was the last week of school for DaVinci. We didn't have school on Monday, because it was Memorial Day, and I missed Tuesday because of my appointment with Dr. Bailey. I did head out later that afternoon to go to our Art Department awards ceremony at school, and afterwards I ran some errands down in Ogden, but I really wasn't feeling well. I could barely walk myself through Costco. I was leaning on the cart and walking really slowly, just feeling nauseated and weak. I even called Sean crying on the way home because I was feeling so sick. Part of me wondered if I was making myself sick with anxiety about the c-section coming up so soon and just being worried about everything going ok. I got home and pretty quickly went to bed. I woke up around midnight and started throwing up and felt horrible the rest of the night. By that point, I was pretty sure the sickness wasn't in my head, haha. Looking back, I'm not sure if it was a stomach bug, or food poisoning, or prodromal labor, or what. I had also been having contractions pretty regularly through the night, but I wasn't bleeding and they weren't too painful or intense. I thought maybe the throwing up set them off. Eventually they stopped on their own.

Wednesday, I didn't go to school because I still wasn't feeling well. I still had Sean drop Josie off at the babysitter's so I could just rest and try to get stuff done around the house to get ready for the next week. I spent the morning sleeping, and at 1:00, I went and picked Josie up from the sitter. I was feeling better, but still not great, so when we got home and it was Josie's nap time, I just laid down with her again. We laid around until 4:00, when I finally felt like I could get up and get some things done. I sat up out of bed and immediately felt a gush of fluid. I knew it was blood, and I ran to the bathroom. I had some spotting and even light/moderate bleeding throughout pregnancy, which is really common for PP, but this was not that. I had a miscarriage a few years ago, and this was even worse than that was at its peak. Blood was just gushing - so much, so fast. I was just sitting on the toilet with blood pouring out of me. It was terrifying. I called for Josie to bring me my phone, and she did. I called Sean, but he didn't pick up. I called my mother-in-law to have her come sit with Josie while we went to the hospital, but she was an hour away. I called Sean again and he answered and rushed in to help me. Thank goodness he gets to work from home (he runs his own CNC machining business from his shop in our backyard), so he was only 10 seconds away. He grabbed me some new pants and underwear and a giant maxi pad from the pack I had bought for after delivery. He got a hold of his grandma, who rushed over to watch Josie. Sean got a towel and a garbage bag laid down on the seat of the car and I got in. While we waited for grandma to get to our house, I called Dr. Bailey and told him what was going on. He told me not to try to go to McKay and to just head to the Brigham City Hospital (less than 5 min. away from our house). As soon as grandma came, we were off.

When we pulled up to the hospital, there were 5-6 people waiting outside the ER doors. It still hadn't hit me that this was really happening, and I said to Sean, "I think....they're waiting for US." They put me into a wheelchair and took me down to L&D (the nurse pushing the wheelchair was going so fast, he almost knocked over a janitor!). When we got to L&D, they immediately drew blood and put in an IV and I started signing paperwork. Dr. Bailey was there and checked my bleeding, and then everything picked up. Sean left to get me admitted to the hospital, and they put me in a gown and started going over the procedure and what they were going to do. The anesthesiologist came in and she told me they were going to have to do general anesthesia, since there was a chance they would have to do further surgery (PP can sometimes require a hysterectomy, if there's not other way to stop the bleeding). So, Sean wasn't going to be able to be in the room, and I wouldn't be awake for the surgery. I was scared and sad that I was going to miss her birth. But everything was happening so fast, and I knew there was no other option. It's a really scary and humbling experience to realize that your life, and your baby's life, is in someone else's hands, but I felt peace and confidence that everything would be ok.

They wheeled me to the OR and got me onto the operating table. They strapped my arms down and started scrubbing my belly. Dr. Bailey said they were going to do everything they could to prep me before starting the anesthesia to limit the amount of anesthesia the baby would get into her system. This included getting a catheter placed...and I have to say, that was (physically) the worst part of the whole experience! A nurse was holding my hand for that, and I think I almost broke her fingers. NOT a pleasant experience.

They were waiting for another OB to get to the hospital from Cache Valley, and as soon as he got there, they would start. This was a really cool story, because earlier in the day, Dr. Bailey was up in Logan assisting Dr. Bertoldo with a surgery and he told him about my case. Dr. Bertoldo said if Dr. Bailey needed his help with my surgery, to call him and he'd come help. Well, about an hour after that conversation, Dr. Bailey called him to ask for just that! Crazy! Dr. Bailey had his hand on my stomach with the scalpel in his hand, and Dr. Bertoldo walked in. Aaaaand, I don't remember anything after that for a while.

I did have one other crazy thing happen in the OR though. I told the anesthesiologist that I had been throwing up the night before and had had horrible heartburn/acid reflux through pregnancy. She wanted the other anesthesiologist in the room to put pressure on my throat as I went under so that nothing would regurgitate as I went to sleep, I was going under, I was also getting - pretty literallly - choked by the anesthesiologist! It made sense, but it was still a really kind of scary thing to feel someone choking you while your arms are strapped down and you're just supposed to lay there and 'relax,' haha.

As soon as Quinn was born, they let Sean into the OR (so, poor him, he got to see me with my insides on my outsides). Quinn was born at 5:11 pm, just 1 HOUR after the time I called Sean bleeding on the toilet. Incredible. I'm so amazed and grateful at how quickly they were able to get her out. Sean got to stay with Quinn while they cleaned her (he got to give her her first bath!) and weighed and measured her, and they opened the blinds to the nursery so that all my family who was there could watch too. It's so cool that they all got to be there and see that, especially since I couldn't.

Quinnie was 5 lbs 10 oz and 18.5" long. I had steroid shots the week before to help mature her lungs, and they worked perfectly. She had no issues breathing and was doing just fine. Absolutely everything went RIGHT. I didn't need a hysterectomy. I didn't even need blood transfusions, which they initially thought was going to be a given. Later when I was in recovery, Dr. Bailey came in to see us and he got emotional telling us that many prayers must have been said for me and the baby, and that they worked, because she was a miracle. He told me that at the rate I was bleeding, I could have died before I made it to Ogden, and that neither one of us would have survived if we couldn't have gotten into the OR so fast. He told us that nothing that could have gone wrong went wrong. Everything went as well as it possibly could have. It was so powerful to hear him say that, and I know he is right. I'm so grateful for all those prayers, and for Heavenly Father's mercy in getting us through the ordeal so smoothly. It's strange to look back and remember that day, because the fear and craziness only lasted for 1 hour. From the time I started bleeding to the time she was born and we were both ok. It was definitely the scariest hour of my life, but it all happened so fast.

We stayed in the hospital until Saturday, and everything has just continued to go well. She's eating well, although she is on formula - she had to get some nutrition in those first few days before my milk came in, and although I nursed her, she wasn't getting enough and had to have a bottle. My milk supply was never strong with Josie, and with Quinn it's just been nonexistent, which is so sad and hard for me, is what it is. We're only a week from her birth and I have no milk at all. I'm happy that she seems to be doing fine on the formula. At first, we really had to force her to wake up to eat. She wouldn't do it on her own at all. She would suckle for a few seconds, then  fall back asleep. Now, she goes from 0 to 60 when it comes to hunger and will drink about an ounce at a time every couple hours. Much better than the tiny amount we had to force into her for the first couple days.

Today, Quinn is 1 week old! We are SO happy to have her here, and so thrilled and blessed that everything went so well. It was very scary, but we were in the best care - Heavenly Father's - and the second best care - the Brigham City Hospital's. I was nervous to have to have a risky c-section at our little hospital, but obviously I didn't need to be. Dr. Bailey was amazing, and I feel so lucky to have met him the day before all this happened, because knowing he was in charge made me feel so much more at ease. I had awesome nurses the whole time I was there (only 1 I didn't like, haha). They took such great care of me. My favorite nurse just stayed in my room with me for an hour and a half in the middle of the night while I got emotional about trying to nurse. She helped me and made me feel so much better. Quinn's pediatrician visited us several times and checked on her and made sure everything was okay and kept me in the loop about what they were hoping to see from her, being that she was 5 weeks early. I am so grateful for all the skilled, experienced doctors and nurses we had. We really couldn't have made it without them.

We also have the best family and friends in the world. They watched Josie for 2 days and kept her safe and happy and brought her to meet her new baby sis. They also stepped in and threw her the Rainbow Birthday party I was planning for her (Quinn's bday is 5/30, Josie's is 5/31!!), and she loved every minute. She was so spoiled that I'm scared for her next bday, because now they set the bar too high, haha. Her grandma Sue made her the most beautiful cake, my MIL did the cutest decorations and took care of all the details, my family helped with food, and they all spoiled her with too many presents. It was so sweet, and I shed a lot of tears of gratitude over how much they all did for us in that time. Everybody just stepped in and took care of everything. It is such a blessing to have family and friends like we have close by. It takes a village, and ours is the BEST.

Sean was (and he always is) the best husband and daddy. He took care of Josie on his own while I was in the hospital and made sure she got to stay (basically) on her normal schedule and routine. He has consoled me through many hormonal crying sessions (pretty much all about nursing), and is both girls' favorite snuggle buddy. He helped me take my first shower after my surgery and pretty much had to hold me up and wash me without a lot of help from me. Moments like those are the ones that really let you know how strong your bond is. He got soaking wet helping me, but he didn't complain or even think twice about stepping in and doing that for me. He my rock. I know that's a cliche statement, but he is the strong, calming, reassuring force in my life. He is the one who calms all my worries and makes me know things will be ok. I couldn't do anything without him, and I'm so grateful he is my husband and the father of my babies. We're all so lucky to have him.

Lastly, I have to say that I've been so humbled by this experience. I view childbirth as this beautiful, natural experience that shouldn't require a lot of intervention - our bodies were created with the ability to make babies, birth them, and feed them, and they don't usually need a lot of help to make those things happen. Well, without a WHOLE LOT of intervention and modern medicine, Quinn and I wouldn't have survived. I'm so grateful for medicine and science that allowed me to know and prepare for what was happening with this birth, and for the skill that brought the procedure to pass without incident. I'm so grateful for the science and technology that allows me to feed my baby formula, since I can't nurse her. If I lived in another time period, neither one of us would have survived, but since we live here and now, we're sitting at home, happy and healthy, just a few days after what could have been a tragedy.

I'm feeling so good physically. C-section recovery has been much less painful and scary than I was afraid it could be. I'm up and around and feeling great. I'm so glad to be done with pregnancy and this crazy birth experience, and so grateful that it all turned out the way it did. Now we're excited to be starting this new phase of life as a family of 4!!

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