Wednesday, February 04, 2015

35 Weeks

The night of January 27, 2015 I unsuspectingly brushed my teeth as I got ready to go to bed. I stared at the way I had braided my hair that day and thought, "I hope my hair is like this the night I go into labor. This is good labor hair." And then I went to bed.

At 1:30 AM, I woke up to a little gush. "Oh. I have to go to the bathroom." I thought as I got out of bed. But then it donned on me that I don't typically leak when I have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night so I began to become suspicious. I became even more suspicious when I kept leaking even after emptying my bladder. I groggily considered the possibility that my water had broken which led me to audibly chant, "Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh." until I could come to grips with the situation long enough to explain my predicament to Jeff.

I finally swung the bathroom door open, stared at Jeff in denial and tried to convince myself and him that my water had, in fact, begun to leak. The shock of unexpectedly and prematurely being in labor left me rambling loud enough to wake Eli up. As I was debating with Jeff whether or not I needed to call my mom, Eli called from his room, "Go back to bed you guys! I'm trying to sleep!"

We quieted down per Eli's request as we shuffled through the house in an unsuccessful attempt to accept the idea of having a baby 5 weeks before we anticipated. The shuffling around the house led to more gushes of water which gave me the confidence to wake my mom with the news so she could work on getting to our house to watch the boys.

My labor with Carson was so fast, and I anticipated a similar experience with this baby. After getting as much packed and prepared for my mom as my distracted brain could handle, I sat on the couch and waited for her arrival. I noticed I wasn't having contractions and began to doubt my labor for the hundredth time.

My mom arrived looking just as unconvinced as we were that I would really be birthing a baby in the next 24 hours. She snapped some pictures of us and then sent us on our way.

We got to the hospital and I was barely leaking and not in any pain. The nurse checked me and found I was not dilated or effaced and the first test she gave me to check to see if my water had broken came back inconclusive. They did a more specific test to check my water and 20 minutes later confirmed that it had broken and I was officially admitted.

At my doctor's appointment the Friday before, the doctor offered to test me for Strep B, but I had Carson with me, so I decided to put it off until my appointment the following week in the hopes that I could protect my modesty for a little bit longer and find a babysitter for my boys for the rest of my weekly and progressively invasive appointments. My favorite joke of the morning was that I went into labor to avoid the dreaded Strep B test.

Only problem is, since I didn't get my Strep B test, they had to give me the treatment for it just in case I had it which turned out to be one of the more painful parts of my whole labor. I got three doses of penicillin. The first one I didn't notice, but I was talking to my mom on the phone for the second one and had to hang up because my hand felt like it was being electrocuted. The nurse told me my veins were sore from the first dose and that makes the second and third doses really uncomfortable.

They immediately got me on a high dose of Pitocin, hoping to get contractions started. It was super slow going at first. I was barely progressing and not feeling any contractions for the first two hours. As soon as the contractions started to become noticeable the anesthesiologist had arrived for the day and my doctor gave the okay for me to get an epidural.

The two worst parts of labor for me have proven yet again to be getting the IV and getting the epidural (plus the extra curve ball of the penicillin through my IV this time around). As soon as the anesthesiologist walked in I got all clammy and hyperventilate-y. He tried to be friendly with me and chat, but I ignored him for fear of accidentally seeing a needle or chainsaw or whatever other horrific tools he uses to remove my delivery pains.

The color drained from my face as they got me in curled back position, feeling completely vulnerable and unwelcome to the oncoming jabs at my back. In an effort to distract me from the surgical equipment being thrust into me, my nurse tried to talk to me. I hate this tactic. When I am faced with a needle, I can't help but visualize the nastiness of it going into me. *Barf* It's just what I do. And nurses try so hard to get me to not think about it, but that just makes me mad because then I have to worry about answering their silly questions to distract me while very specific and detailed images of needles jabbing through skin flash through my head. I just want to visualize my worst fear in peace instead of worrying about being nice and small talking with someone who is politely trying to ease my fears.

"What do you like to do?" The nurse asked.
" I have a curtain business. And I have a  million orders in right now because I wasn't expecting to go into labor tonight." I spit out through clenched teeth.
"Oh really? I actually need some curtains. I just moved into a new house..." She proceeded to tell me how she needs curtains and asked if it was something I could do.

By the time my epidural was in place, I had given my nurse my name, number and email address so that she could contact me about making curtains for her. I love that I made a sales pitch mid epidural insertion and I'm anxious to see if she will follow through with that or if her making me make a sales pitch was her expert way of successfully distracting me from the horror of the biggest needle of all time entering my back.

The nurse came in to check on to see if the epidural was working and she said, "Have you delivered here before?"
"Yeah. I had my last baby here."
"Oh you did? The anesthesiologist thought he remembered you."

Uuuuuummmmmmmmm. I know I'm dramatic when faced with my worst fear, but out of all the people he sees I was extreme enough for him to remember me THREE YEARS LATER?!? What's funny is, when I had Carson I remember asking him if I was his worst patient ever and he didn't exactly say no. I asked him again this time and he definitely implied the answer was still yes.

With the epidural successfully in place, one of us was finally able to get some rest.
I started progressing about a centimeter every hour. I kept hearing my doctor calling my nurse on the phone and asking about my progress. The nurse eventually admitted that my doctor was out playing golf and was checking in between each hole to see if he needed to leave. Ha.

My doctor came in to check on me after I so kindly let him finish his golf game. I was an eight. He left and 20 minutes later I had a big contraction and felt the baby move down. It was the weirdest thing. My whole stomach shifted and I felt like he was on the verge of slipping out. We called the nurse in and found I was complete and ready to push.

My whole labor had a hint of nervousness and worry to it. With Eli and Carson it was all excitement because I was so ready to have them and I knew they were ready to come out. I didn't have the fear that something would be wrong with them when they were born. With this one, it was hard to be excited because he was coming so early, so there was the underlying worry throughout my labor of how he would react to the outside world once he got here.

Luckily I had spent the morning mentally preparing for baby to be rushed off to the NICU upon his arrival, and I anticipated he would spend some time there to grow bigger and stronger.

It took one set of pushing to get 5 pound 7 ounce Lincoln Blair Excell here, and he came out screaming! I was encouraged to hear him cry because I knew from having Eli that crying was a good sign his lungs were working properly. He looked really great at first. His color was good, he was pretty big for his age and his lungs seemed to be working properly, so they let me hold him.
While I was holding him he began grunting and started having a hard time breathing.
 He was taken to the NICU to get everything checked out.
His breathing wasn't getting better on its own, so they had to give him a breathing treatment and put him on oxygen.
Then they had to give him an IV to sustain him until he could begin feedings.
He was so teeny tiny and pliable. Ha. I love his little arm here.

Eli and Carson aren't allowed to visit Lincoln in the NICU, so they sent us home with a cute little book of pictures to take home to the boys.
In between trips to the NICU we had our "candlelight dinner." Minus the candles. Good news. The food wasn't as bad as I remembered and I actually enjoyed most of my meals at the hospital.

Then it was back to check on our little guy.
The whole first day of Lincoln's life I was really worried about his purple feet. I thought they were purple because he wasn't getting enough oxygen. It took me a whole day to realize they were just purple from when they inked his feet for his footprints right after he was born. Whew!
The nurses are so good to let us do as much as we can for Lincoln while we're there. They let Jeff change his diaper. Lincoln broke Jeff into fatherhood right away by pooping during his first diaper change and then peeing on him during his second diaper change. Ha!
He's such a cute little peanut.

We've already caught several smiles of the little guy.
Lincoln is one week old today and has made some big improvements. He is still in the NICU but he is off his IV and has started nursing twice a day. They have tried to wean him off his oxygen several times but he is still needing help with his breathing. He had a bout with jaundice but that has mostly gone away. We are just waiting for him to get strong enough to stay awake for all of his feedings and then he will get to come home, but it's hard to know how long it will take him to reach that milestone, so he's sticking it out in his womb away from home until then.
Luckily we've had a lot of help from our parents as we've been shuffling back and forth to the hospital. We love our sweet boy and it's been so fun to get to know him. We appreciate all the prayers and worry that have been sent our way. We've been feeling the love!


Kim said...

You are a great storyteller, Sarah. and this was a great story to tell.

Love the part about the anesthesiologist remembering you as being his worst patient ever. I believe it! You always have been the worst when it comes to needles. I'm surprised you have had 3 babies with your needle phobia.

And what cute babies you have birthed! I can't get enough of this third one. He is so tiny and precious.

Melissa Smith said...

Please keep the updates coming! We are praying for you guys and sweet little Lincoln. I hope he is able to make it home soon!

Rebecca said...

I've been waiting for this post! Love your needle phobia. Lincoln is just perfect and I can't wait for him to get out of the hospital!

David and Mary said...

I love all the pictures that go along with the birthing story. I liked the one of Jeff sleeping on your bag with his hoodie over his eyes! Lincoln is a darling baby!