One year ago tonight, Delaney was born. She was 1 1/2 weeks overdue and my doctor wanted to induce. I woke up at 3:00 a.m. on the day of the scheduled induction (a day that was also my fifth of battling a serious sinus infection) and we got to the hospital at 6:00 a.m. By 9:00 a.m. the pitocin was a-flowin' and for eight hours I easily tolerated contractions in the company of my husband, mother and sister. I'd prepared for labor by listening to hypbirth CDs for 8 1/2 weeks and other than the fact that I was sick and couldn't breathe through my nose (which made me just a tad bitchy), I was fairly comfortable, if more than a little tired.
As the ninth hour approached, I dialated to 6 centimeters. The contractions began coming closer together and became harder to ignore. And, although I'd hoped and prepared for a natural childbirth, these stronger contractions (on top of being exhausted and sick for the fifth day in a row) were taking their toll. I considered my options and decided to get an epidural. Sometime around 8:00 p.m. I got a fever and Delaney's heart rate began to fluctuate in a manner that concerned the nurse. My doctor stopped in around 9:00 p.m. and checked me. I kept getting stuck between five and six centimeters. Delaney's head bumped into my cervix during every contraction and it was getting pretty swollen. Due to everything listed above, my doctor strongly suggested a C-section. It was the last thing I wanted, but I was so sick and tired at that point that I was just ready for Delaney to be born safely so we could both rest. By 9:30 p.m. I was wheeled into the OR and at 10:03 p.m. Delaney was born.
The C-section freaked me out. Here's how it went down: I was strapped to a flat, narrow table with my arms outstretched and bound. The room was a sparkling, blinding white and it was freezing cold. I couldn't breathe through my nose. I felt claustrophobic. I was scared I'd feel something when they cut me. I was scared I wouldn't feel anything at all. I had to cough, but couldn't feel my diaphragm because it was numb so I couldn't take a deep enough breath. I got nauseous and tried to vomit, but ended up dry-heaving and gasping for breath through my mouth because my nose was totally blocked. It was TOUGH. I was terrified. But, Roger was there and he (and a spectacular anesthesiologist) talked me through it. They kept me calm and sane. The next thing I remember hearing was one of the doctors saying, "Oh, my god, she's a WHOPPER!" Our 10 lb., 6 oz. girl had arrived. In the flurry of activity, Roger took a few photos and tried not to look at my bloody innards. He was feeling somewhat nauseous at this point himself.
What happened next? I'm not sure. But, I do remember that later I was in a recovery room and Roger was there. They brought Delaney to me and I got to hold her for a few minutes. She was calm and beautiful and sucked on my finger while looking up at me with clear, bright eyes. The nurses were running some tests on her and discovered she had low blood sugar, which apparently is not unusual for Whopper babies. They told me she had to go to the nursery even though I'd wanted to breastfeed right away and didn't want her to leave me. The nurses insisted that she needed some formula to bring her blood sugar up and that they'd bring her to me in my room as soon as she had some. Again, I was too tired and woozy from the drugs to argue or fight. I didn't want her to have any formula or any bottles, but I also wanted her to be healthy and safe. They took our baby away, but Roger went with them. At some point, my sister said goodnight. She needed to get home to her kids. My parents were with me and escorted me to my room. Roger met us there and I insisted that they all go home to get some rest. Roger could have stayed with me, but he'd been sick recently too and I knew he wouldn't get any rest in a hospital bedchair. He promised me he'd be back bright and early the next day. I drifted in and out of sleep as we all said our goodbyes. I was spent.
What seemed like minutes, but was actually hours, later the phone next to my bed rang. A nurse, identifying herself as being from the "special care" nursery, told me that they'd found a few other problems with Delaney and that she'd have to stay there overnight. I'm sure she told me what the problems were, but I was so out of it that none of it made sense to me. That's how I know that the drugs took over at that point. I never would have been OK with it all if I'd been sober. I'd have gotten details, called Roger and probably cried or screamed. Instead, I hung up the phone and drifted in and out of an itchy, morphine-induced sleep, waking every few minutes when an alarm in my room blared loudly.
The alarm signaled that the oxygen saturation in my blood was inadequate and dropping to a dangerous level. Delaney and I, it turned out, shared a few medical problems. We both had the same oxgen saturation issues as well as high white cell counts, pointing to possible infections. She was kept in the NICU for four days (the first two under an oxygen hood) to bring up her O2 levels and to rule out a bacterial infection. I had a CT scan of my lungs to rule out blood clots and then a CT of my sinuses which confirmed my particularly virulent sinus infection. We were both treated with IV antibiotics throughout our hospital stays and I was injected with Lovenox daily as a precaution for possible blood clots.
This was not the lovely, blissed-out, natural birth I'd hoped for my child but after four days in the hospital she was pronounced healthy, I was on the mend from surgery and not only did we get to go home on the same day, but we also had plenty of time to work on our breastfeeding technique with the help of many wonderful nurses. I whole-heartedly believe that their support and encouragement led us to the successful breastfeeding experience we still enjoy to this day.
So, while our birth experience was certainly not something we'd anticipated, it had a happy ending. Actually, I should say, it was our happy beginning. Delaney Jane has provided us with 365 days of love and bliss and we've proud and thrilled to be her parents.