Thursday, February 28, 2013


We brought Birdie home today.  A week from the day that I realized something was wrong.  Looking back now I realize that things were wrong before that day, but I had no way of knowing then.  A week ago right now, I was worrying because Birdie hadn't had as much awake time during the day.  She felt cold and hadn't eaten as often as usual.  I was having a hard time waking her to eat.  So I thought maybe she got cold in the house and I bundled her up.  An hour or so later she seemed fine and she ate a big meal so I stopped worrying as much.  We put her to bed, went to bed ourselves, and I thought if things were still off I'd call the doctor in the morning.

She woke up in the middle of the night and when I sat down to feed her she went right back to sleep.  I tried to wake her up but with no luck.  She was cold feeling again and I started to panic.  Something was wrong.  I took her temperature, but only knew how to do it under her arm.  It seemed low but I thought maybe I was doing it wrong.  Either way, I was worried so I called the pediatrician.  The nurse there walked me through a rectal temperature, which Birdie slept through.  96.9.  Panic.  Total Panic.  The nurse on the phone tells us to go to the ER.  I call my dear friend, at 4 in the morning, who watched Bean while we were in the hospital when Birdie was born and just uttered the words "We have to take Birdie to the ER."  She was at our house in less then a half hour in her pj's.  During that time we were scurrying around and getting dressed.  I pumped because I was already in pain and didn't know when we'd get back.

We got to the ER around 5 in the morning and luckily it wasn't busy.  They took us right in.  They took Birdies temperature and it was already starting to go up.  I thought we'd be home before Bean woke up, once again I'd be the over neurotic infertile mama.  Then they hooked Birdie up to the monitors.  The nurse thought the heart monitor was malfunctioning because it read twice what it should.  She told the doctor to ignore it.  He listened to Birdies heart with a stethoscope and the look in his eyes made me sick to my stomach.  It wasn't malfunctioning.  Birdies heart was beating twice as fast as it should.

All of the sudden there were a lot of people in the room.  I felt like I couldn't really breath.  All I could do was cry.  I've never seen hubby look like he did that morning.  He's always so strong and tough.  I've only seen him cry once in his life.  He look scared which made me more scared.  They needed to give Birdie a medicine to restart her heart.  They started trying to put in an IV but her veins were so little and her heart was beating so fast it was really hard.  I stood and watched while they stuck her once, twice, three times.  All the while she screamed and I could do nothing.  I'm usually anti pacifier if I could help it but I let them try to give one to her.  Anything to comfort her.  She had no idea what to do with it.  She just cried more.

They called nurses from the PICU down to try to get an IV.  More sticks, no IV.  Finally they told us they had to give her an IO which essentially is an IV into her bone.  As soon as I heard the drill start I had to leave.  The next time I saw her she had a tube coming out of her leg that somewhere inside was lodge into her bone.  They tried giving the medicine through that but the distance from her leg to her heart was too great and the medicine wore off before it made it there.  At this point her heart had been beating so fast for hours at least, not knowing when it really started.

Finally a nurse came in who would be my hero.  Miraculously he got an IV in Birdie.  They gave her the medicine.  Her heart stopped as it was supposed to, but standing and watching her flat line on the monitor, felt like the things nightmares are made of.  Then it started again and everyone breathed again. Once she was stable they sent her up to the PICU.

She would go into the rapid heart rate (SVT) two more times that night.  The last being the worst.  It took her longer to rebound.  Her lips started turning blue, her legs went pale.  They started pumping oxygen into her.  She ended up being fine.  We ended up terrified.  Over the next few days they tried a few different kind of medications to get her heart under control.  They kept telling us that this isn't that uncommon.  That we'll be able to manage it and Birdie will be okay.  Finally they diagnosed her with something called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome.  Essentially her heart has an extra electrical pathway that can bypass the pathways it's supposed to use and get things stuck in this cycle of beating too fast.  They started drugs specifically designed for this condition.  Birdie responded very well.  The main problem with the drug is that it can cause other heart arrhythmia's.  So we had to stay in the hospital for 4 days on the medicine to be sure that didn't happen.  If this drug didn't work they were ready to send us to a bigger hospital as they had exhausted their abilities.

Everyday I worried when they took an EKG and I watched the monitor like crazy.  But Birdie held her own.  Everyday she got better and I started to realize how long she'd been sick.  We had been having problems breastfeeding that just went away.  I thought she was struggling when my milk let down, instead she was struggling because her heart wasn't working.  I felt like I failed her in not figuring it out sooner.  She became so much more alert and generally happy.  The doctors said that they thought she'd been having this rapid heartbeat since before she was born, but it reversed itself before it got picked up on anything.  I kept thinking I could have done something.  Maybe if I had switched OB's sooner and had one who was more attentive.  Or if I'd had the c-section.  Maybe going through the VBAC put extra stain on Birdies heart.

In the end though, all has turned out well.  We're finally home, the medicine seems to be working.  Birdie will have no ill effects from the episodes of SVT that she had.  Her current condition will not limit her in any way.  She'll have to either take medicine for the rest of her life or have surgery that will potentially correct the problem when she's a teenager.  There were kids in that PICU who were in much worse shape then our Birdie and I am forever thankful for the doctors and nurses that took care of her and helped get her well.  I will forever feel blessed that it wasn't worse.

I also will never forget.  Watching as they tried to get IV's at least 8 different times during her stay.  Seeing her covered with wires.  Waking up to the sound of alarms for her heart rate or oxygen.  Luckily they were usually false alarms but they struck fear in my heart every time.  Listening to her cry as I stood there, completely unable to do anything to comfort her.  Singing through tears while I stroked her head.  Anything to try to comfort her.  My heartache at being away from Bean for a week, hoping she understood how badly I wanted to be with her.  For a time we lived every parents worst nightmare.  I am lucky I know because it was just for a time.  But I will never forget the moment that hubby and I looked at each other in that ER and both were thinking the same thing.  We were both wondering if we'd be taking our Birdie home with us or not.  And to anyone who has ever felt that, I am so sorry and to anyone who has lived the reality of the worst case scenario, I ache for you.

I will never forget and somehow these two little lives that we get to be a part of everyday, these lives that I didn't think could get any more precious, they just did.  We listened to Birdies heart ten times today already to be sure it's beating normally.  I held Bean so much more closely.  In my mind I already knew how short life is, how much I need to appreciate every single moment of every day.  But this last week I felt it and I will never forget that.  So now all I can do is pray that we don't get to that place again.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Please keep us in your thoughts. We spent a very scary night/morning in the ER with our newest little one (who I shall now refer to as Birdie for reasons to be explained later). I noticed yesterday that she felt cold and wasn't as awake or eating as much. It got better when I bundled her up but worse in the middle of the night. I called the pediatrician who said to take her to the ER. Once we got here we discovered her heart rate was almost twice what it should be. It took a long time to get access to her little veins but once they did thy used medicine to jump start her heart and her rate went back to normal. Now we're in the Pedi ICU trying to find out what's going on. It was one of, if not the most scary thing to happen to me and I'm aching for my poor little Birdie.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Whole Story

It's a long one, and it's one of those stories that could have had a very different ending if any one little detail changed.  If you make it to the end, you should get a prize :)  I'm very relieved that it all ended the way that it did with a healthy baby and mama first and second with the successful VBAC.  I'm not sure I can completely explain why it was so important to me to try for the VBAC, but before I tell the story of our newest little one's entrance into the world, I'm going to try.

My first pregnancy, in a lot of ways was about fear.  Fear that something was going to go wrong.  Fear that at any moment our dream could be over.  Fear that we might never be parents.  Bean's birth wasn't much different.  Our doctors instilled fear into us.  They were vague about the results of our non stress tests.  They made it sound like hitting 41 weeks would be dangerous.  I was scared and wanted to make sure our baby made it into this world safely, so against my gut I let them induce me at 40 weeks 6 days.  And as the induction went along, I slowly gave away any control that I had because I just wanted to have my baby be alive.  I was so scared all along the way.  Then after she was born, I was scared of what was happening to my body.  I was so sick from the anesthesia and things they pumped me full of when they determined that I was anxious during the delivery, without consulting me.  I was scared to move around, scared to take a shower, just really scared of how to help my body heal and take care of a little baby.  It was the happiest time of my life, but there was a film of fear that covered all of it.

I guess I should have taken that experience and found myself a new doctor right from the beginning this time, but honestly, I didn't really think I had much choice. I thought I'd end up with another c-section.  So as time went by and I realized I had options, and it got farther into my pregnancy, and it seemed like my doctors were supportive, I didn't know what else to do but just stay.  Which I shouldn't have.  They were not supportive, they just claimed to be and this time around I didn't want to be afraid all the time.  I didn't want to let them tell me how to feel just so they could make their lives easier and schedule my babies birth.  I have never been in control of how my babies were created but this time I had a small shot at determining how this one came into the world and I wanted to try.  That decision was made with a lot of research, thought, and discussion with medical professionals.  It wasn't taken lightly and if at any moment it looked like there was any reason to go another direction, I would have done it in an instant.

Needless to say, I was relieved when I started having contractions early Tuesday morning.  By mid morning they were about 5-8 minutes apart and I called my doctor because they wanted to be cautious and have me come in early because of the VBAC.  They told me to come into the office and of course, I got to see the idiot doctor.  He saw that I had a scheduled c-section on Wednesday and didn't bother to look at or remember anything else about me, so he quickly just said they'd send me up to the hospital and do my section that day.  I quickly reminded him that I wanted to try for a VBAC, which was fine until I told him that since I went into labor, I wanted to cancel the section scheduled for Wednesday morning.  He didn't like that one bit and told me that it wasn't safe to go past 41 weeks, that most places won't let you go past 40 with a VBAC (which isn't true).  I told him that if I hadn't delivered by then I wanted to wait until at least the end of the week and that's when I found out the truth.  He didn't want to wait because he didn't want to mess up his schedule.  None of my doctors were working on Friday so he said that would be impossible.  I essentially told him that I didn't care if one of my doctors was available, that I'd take whoever was and that I wasn't going to have the section the next day.  At this point it was clear he was annoyed with me and sent me to the hospital to be monitored and discuss the rest of it.

My other doctor was at the hospital when I got there and got me on a monitor to see what was going on.  Of course as soon as I got there my contractions slowed down.  We walked the halls for a couple hours, and in the first hour I dilated another centimeter and was at 3.  The problem was that my contractions only really picked up and got strong when I was walking around, not when I was on the monitor.  So nobody really believed I was close to being in labor.  My doctor wanted to break my water and start Pito.cin but I told him I didn't want to do that, that I wanted to go home.  Everyone agreed that I could but only if I came in the next morning to get checked again, so we headed home.  Little did I know at that time, but they didn't just schedule me for a check the next morning, they scheduled me for an induction, completely against my knowledge.

That afternoon I did a lot of walking, bouncing on the exercise ball, essentially anything I could think of to try and get labor going faster.  Nothing seemed to be working, my contractions were the same.  We went to bed around 11 and a half hour later I started feeling really strange.  Then I started getting nervous and worried that I was crazy for laboring at home at this point when I'd had a previous c-section.  I started to really scare myself so I called my doctors office to tell them I wanted to come back to the hospital and as I was talking to the answering service, my water broke.  Which explained the weird feeling.  Back to the hospital we went.

Now the first important piece of the puzzle fell into place when we first got to the hospital.  We were lucky enough to get an amazing nurse (I'll call her B) who was fully supportive of the VBAC.  She put me on the monitor for awhile and then let me walk the halls.  That lasted for maybe an hour when my doctor called and found out I wasn't on the monitor all the time and told them that I had to be.  Which was discouraging.  My contractions slowed when I was just sitting around and I didn't want labor to stall.  I talked to B and she said that while I had to be on the monitor, I didn't have to be in bed.  So I paced the room, bounced on the birthing ball, rocked in the rocking chair, did squats, anything I could.  Every couple hours a resident would come check me and the most I dilated to during the night was 4 cm.  I was discouraged.  The resident kept checking in with my doctor and offering Pito.cin but I wasn't ready yet.  B offered me multiple natural methods to try to get labor going and they seemed to work in making the contractions stronger but not closer together.  B also told us that our doctors group was not very VBAC friendly.  That they might claim to be but then they did everything possible to try to keep it from happening.  I felt like they had pulled one over on me, and I wasn't happy about it.

The next morning before B left, we talked about what to do next.  I decided that when my doctor came in I would ask for some pain medicine to get some rest and then start some Pito.cin.  Not a lot, just enough to see if it would help without risking anything.  B headed home but said she had a shift later that night and would be back.  My new nurse was just as wonderful (we'll call her A) and I knew her opinion of my idiot doctor immediately when she came to "warn" us that he was on his way.

I wasn't prepared for what happened next though.  He waltzed into our room, cup of coffee in hand and said "So, are you having contractions?"  Now, this is not the best question to ask a woman who has been fighting through the pain of contractions for the last 24 hours.  Of course I'm having contractions.  Unfortunately, in my attempt to keep labor going, the contractions weren't showing up on the monitor because I was moving around so much.  And if it wasn't on the monitor, then he didn't believe it was happening.  He then started ranting about how he wasn't going to start Pito.cin, he wasn't going to do anything.  He was going to preform a c-section and that's all there was to it.  That they had given me more flexibility then they should have, that the hospital policy is for VBAC's to not go past 40 weeks (not true), that my labor was stalled at 4 cm just like my first pregnancy (which he determined without an exam), that the baby was too big (also no exam), and that he wouldn't risk a rupture and the life of my baby.  The way he spoke to me, took my breath away and now that I'm a week out, I have a million things that I would have said if I had been able to think of them.  Instead I told him that the last thing I would ever do would be to risk my baby and that I wanted the pain medicine so that I could get some rest and consider my options.  He agreed "if I was really in that much pain" and left the room.  

Hubby and I just looked at each other and I started to cry.  Not about the VBAC, at that point I figured that was a lost cause.  I was crying because I deserved to be treated better.  Just because I had somehow wounded his ego the day before, did not mean he could speak to me the way he did.  I cried because the idea of having that man cut me open, made me physically ill.  The idea that he would be the first one to touch my baby.  Moments later A came back in to check on us.  She apologized and said she hadn't realized our doctor was in the room or she would have come with him.  I finally got the guts I should have had months ago and asked her if there was any way at this point in time that I could get a new doctor.  She got a big smile on her face and said that she had just told someone that she wished I would ask for a new doctor.  She said that the chief of OB was on call that day, that she was very VBAC friendly, and that she would surely take over my care.  Then A took off to make it all happen.

About an hour, maybe an hour and a half later after a visit with the patient care liaison who interviewed us about what happened, some calls to some bigger chief in the hospital and coordination between my idiot doctor and the new one, we had a new doctor (Dr. G).  She was AMAZING.  I can't even tell you what a difference it was.  First of all she actually examined me.  I was at 5 cm and she said that baby wasn't big.  She looked at the monitors and all of my stats.  She said that the baby and I looked great, there wasn't any reason to stop trying for the VBAC and that she would do whatever she could to help me.  She explained the idea of using Pito.cin more, talked about the risks and benefits, and let us decide what we wanted to do.  I choose to go ahead with the pain medicine I had talked about earlier to get some rest, and start the Pito.cin.

An hour or so later I was at 6 cm and the pain was getting pretty bad.  I always wanted to try to make it through labor without an epidural but since both times I had Pito.cin, I just haven't been able to do it.  I was worried that the epidural would stall things but within an hour I was at 8 cm and another hour or so and I was at 9 1/2.  It took awhile after that to get to 10 and Dr. G had to head home because her shift was over and her husband was actually in the hospital, otherwise she said she would have stayed.  The doctor who took over was fine though and the resident who had been with us all day was still there.  Finally it was time to start pushing.  Unfortunately, at this point my epidural had stopped working on one side (the same thing happened with Bean) and the resident realized that the baby was actually sunny side up and cocked off to the side.  My temperature was also starting to rise and my water had broken about 18 hours before.  I saw the look that the resident gave the doctor and I knew what it meant.  She was skeptical about this actually ending as a successful VBAC and I started doubting it a bit too.

They had me try pushing a few times and I was struggling.  We all decided to turn off the epidural completely.  I could feel everything a lot better but the pain was overwhelming.  The contractions just didn't stop.  It was one continuous contraction with highs and lows.  They kept telling me to push with the contraction but I couldn't figure out when to do it.  I remember crying and telling hubby that I couldn't do it.  That I'd tried so hard but I had failed.  And then out of nowhere, B came into the room.  She was back for her second shift and while she clearly had other things she was supposed to be doing, she choose to stay with us instead.  She told me that she wasn't going to let me give up now, that I'd come this far, and that I could do it.  She helped me figure out how to push, and except for a time when she had to leave, I started making rapid progress.

After she came back I really started moving fast.  The next thing I knew, the baby was on it's way to being delivered.  I remember hearing them all telling me to push and how excited everybody was.  I remember pushing so hard that she was born before they could get the doctor in the room and that I didn't even have the chance to stop when they told me to.  She came flying into the world and she was perfect in every way.  I on the other had had taken a beating.  I don't know if it's just my body or the way she was positioned, but I had a lot of tearing and it took them quite awhile to stitch me back up.  Even with all that though, it was so different then after my c-section. I felt like myself, I got to hold her and nurse her and be with her from the moment she was born.  I remember it all and I wasn't afraid.  It was the hardest thing I've physically ever done, but the fear wasn't there.

The rest of our hospital stay was quite short and uneventful.  Our favorite nurses stopped by to check on us and I thanked them over and over.  If it hadn't been for them, I don't know if I would have made it.  All the nurses who came in to take care of me knew about our situation and congratulated us for standing up for ourselves.  The whole thing was kind of surreal.  I'm the kind of person who usually goes by unnoticed, so to have everyone on the floor know who I was, was a little strange.  Dr. G agreed to take me on as a patient from here on out and I called my old doctors to get all of my records.  I heard one of their voices in the hall the day after the baby was born and that's as close as I need to come to them ever again.

Today it's a week since all this happened.  A week since our new little baby was born and I'm over the moon.  Bean is an awesome big sister.  There has of course been some roads bumps as she gets used to sharing us, but it's been going well overall.  I just feel like I'm living a dream.  I can't believe that we made it through the baby making process again.  I can't believe that we're a family of four now.  But I am loving every minute of it and I have to say that feeling physically so much better this time makes it even easier to just soak in all the wonder of it.  Finally, my body figured out how to do something right.

Friday, February 8, 2013

She's Here!

So sorry that I haven't updated before now and that this is going to be short.  I'll post the whole story (which is quite long) as soon as I can.  Our beautiful baby girl was born Wednesday night after I went into labor on my own on Monday and my water broke Tuesday night.  I was able to have a successful VBAC but only after essentially firing my doctors group Wednesday morning at the hospital for many reasons.  The experience after that was the hardest thing I've ever physically done in my life, but worked out for the best in so many ways.  I can't wait to tell you more about it but right now I'm recovering and trying to soak up every moment with my girls.  I can't believe our second miracle is here.  It just seems too good to be true!  Thank you all for your good thoughts and for checking in on me.  It's been a whirlwind of a week!

Friday, February 1, 2013


I went to the OB today and nothing has changed.  Still 1 cm, still 50% effaced, and they still want me to have a c-section on Wednesday if I haven't gone into labor.  And I'm sad.  I kept trying to figure out why.  I mean, in the end I am just thrilled that we have the chance to have another baby.  It shouldn't matter how it's born should it?  I just can't shake this feeling of being really sad about having to have another c-section though and as I was putting Bean down for her nap, I had a revelation as to why.

As I've said before, when hubby and I got married, we wanted four kids.  Then infertility happened and we were begging for just one.  After Bean was born and we started trying to add to our family again, we really didn't have any expectations but were thrilled when it worked.  Our dream right now is at three kids.  That's partially due to our age and money.  Both of those things effected by infertility.  When Bean was born and I was induced, I knew a c-section was a possibility but I didn't plan on it.  So  I wasn't totally prepared when we had one.  After all the dust settled, I asked my doctor if I would have to have another and he said most likely.  I asked how many c-sections you can have and he said they don't really like you to have more then three, but definitely max at four.

Of course the big question is, how many would I feel comfortable having?  I don't know.  I'd have to look at the risks.  But the reality of it is that I have found one more thing that limits my own dreams for my family.  Infertility took that first dream from me already and I've come to terms with that and have built a new dream.  And trust me, I already feel like I'm living the dream in that I'm a mama at all.  I just feel sad that I'm going to have to potentially reassess that dream again.  I know that infertility stands in my way, but I don't want anything else if I can avoid it.  I don't want to put myself at risk.  I want to be here to enjoy the children we've fought so hard to have and the family we so love.

I'm scared about the surgery.  I went into it the first time not knowing it was going to happen and I almost feel like that's better.  If I sit here and think about it, I worry about what could happen.  I know bad things can happen during a vaginal delivery too.  I know there is risk either way.  But somehow this just seems scarier.  I just wish things were different.  Just like I did when I was laying on an exam table again and again at the RE's office.  I'll adjust to the reality of it all and figure out how to make peace with it.  But today I'm just sad and disappointed, and so ready to meet this baby.  I want to choose the right thing.  The thing that's safest for both of us.  And I don't know what that is.  I don't have confidence that my doctors advice is actually about what's best for me and not for them.  Obviously my head is all over the place and so is my heart.  I just wish that things were different.  But I've said that already and they could be oh so much worse.  I just have to wrap my head around all this again.