First, a big thank you to everyone for holding tight and being patient with us. I realize we sort of dropped off the face of the planet, just as the news was getting interesting. And a HUGE thank you to those of you who have been with us, giving us a hand and lots of moral support along this CRAZY journey. Also, an apology to those we probably should have called by now, but have not been able to. To say the least, things have gone quite differently than originally planned. So, here’s the story of Sadie Diane Edwards:
At about 1:15 am on Thursday, April 2, I woke up with a fairly strong contraction. Nothing too intense, just strong enough for me to know that it was definitely a contraction. At about 1:45, I woke back up and had a couple more. I gently nudged Trevor at about 2:00, telling him that the baby was coming “today.” We went out to the living room, got me set up on the couch, and went about the business of timing the contractions. At 5:00, we called our midwife, Kim, and she came to the house a little after 6:00.
For a LONG time, the contractions were super managable. I was even sleeping in between them, leaving Kim to ead and Trevor to play on the laptop. Then, at some point in the afternoon, they got quite a bit more intense. I could no longer chill on the couch, and I was hard-pressed to find any location or position that was comfortable. At that point, Kim and one of the other midwives started setting up the birthing pool. For a good bit, the pool was exactly perfect for handing contractions. I’d been trying to keep hydrated and fed, but this was surprisingly more difficult than I imagined. I could take small bites of things (banana, pb & honey sandwich, goldfish crackers), but I was really pretty queasy eating more than a tiny bit at a time. Also, trips to the bathroom were pretty unpleasant. This part of labor lasted a really long time (oh, and I didn’t let myself watch the clock too much, so you’ll have to ask Trevor or Kim the real timeline of things), and I was starting to get kind of frustrated–feeling like I wasn’t doing things or handling things “right,” feeling like I was being overly dramatic with my contractions and feeling like perhaps I couldn’t go on (in hindsight, I believe I was doing pretty well, actually).
Then came the pushing. Pretty much exactly like we learned in our homebirth class, just as I was starting to feel like maybe I wouldn’t have made it, and began asking what “soon” meant when the midwives told me I’d be pushing soon, I was pushing! Even though I was super excited to be pushing, it was so hard. I had Trevor join me in the birthing pool, hoping that he could help me leverage the pushing. I pushed, and pushed, and pushed. We got out of the pool and moved to the birthing stool, where I pushed some more. The midwives could tell I was getting tired, so they moved me to my bed, hoping that we could let me rest, but trying not to push when your body is making you is pretty much impossible (well, at least it was for me). So, we started pushing on the bed. The midwives were doing their best to help make each pushing contraction as productive as possible, but we just didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. I couldn’t get Sadie’s head over my pubic bone, and I was wearing down fast. We began talking about transferring to a hospital, which really saddened me, because I really loved our homebirth plan. But, we ultimately decided it was better to get me to a hospital before I was 100 percent wiped out.
And that’s when things got to moving quickly. I was continuing to have contractions, but I began just trying to survive them than to make the most of them, hoping to keep my energy up at least a little. Trevor was running around packing up stuff that we would need, calls were being made to help us decide which of our local hospitals to go to. We headed to St. Vincent Infirmary. Worst car ride EVER! I had sort of hoped that the move to the car for transport would make the contractions chill. Not a bit. I contracted the whole way there, the whole time during check in; they just wouldn’t stop. Our plan for transport was to request an epidural, possibly some pitocin, in the hopes that I could get better situated and could still have the vaginal birth we’d been working so hard for. No dice. The on-call doctor (ask me about her later, if you want…there’s just not enough room on this blog for her) requested that I wait until she got there to push (remember what I said about impossibility?…exactly), and then we set to pushing so she could assess me and the baby. LONG story short (again, I just don’t have the energy to type up some parts of the story), we were given the choice of having a C-section there or checking out AMA and heading to another hospital, because her assessment was that the baby’s position was posterior (not easy) and I wasn’t going to be able to push her out in time I just couldn’t handle the thought of the latter choice, especially with the knowledge that, after getting in the car again and going to another hospital (having wicked contractions the whole time), we very well could be given the exact same option. SO, we opted for the C-section. Let me tell you, C-sections are WEIRD. Especially the epidural. Again, a whole post of itself.
Another long story short, Sadie Edwards came into the world via my abdomen at 3:59 am, Friday, April 3rd, 2009. She weighed a WHOPPING 8 pounds, 14 ounces and was 20 inches long. It turned out that she was, indeed posterior, and it was the combination of her size, my size, and the difficulty of her position that I was unable to push her out. We did have some complications, but they have been relatively minor. Mine were that my uterus didn’t want to clamp down, so I had to have some medicine to help that happen after the surgery so I didn’t lose too much blood; and part of my cervix had become inverted and had to be repaired. Sadie’s respiratory rate was higher than it should have been, and she had passed meconium at some point during my labor, which happens sometimes when babies are stressed during labor, and which can lead to infection. They let Trevor carry her back to our L&D room, and he got to hold her for 20 minutes or so, but then they took her to the nursery to keep an eye on her breathing. After the surgery was over, they took me back to L&D to let the epidural wear off, and then they took us to the mother and baby unit on another floor. We were hoping to have Sadie join us in our room, but they still wanted to make sure that her breathing was going to normalize. After several hours or so, however, it hadn’t, and they transferred her to the NICU.
At some point in the afternoon, my sister, Erica (who is a NICU doctor at Children’s Hospital), came to see Sadie and me. She wasn’t quite satisfied with how things were going for Sadie there, and she helped us make the decision to have her transferred, and we also decided to have me transferred so we could be together at UAMS. Sadie was transferred first, at about 4 in the afternoon. My transfer was kind of complicated (to say the least), so I didn’t make it to UAMS until about midnight. But Aunt Margie and Erica pretty much followed Sadie over to UAMS and updated me that, within 30 minutes of arriving there, Sadie had already had the chest x-ray she needed and was getting the full care that was required. Unfortunately, her x-ray showed that she had aspirated on some of the meconium. Because of that, she has had to stay in the NICU the entire time, which is one floor under mine.
Recovering from the C-section has been interesting, but not as difficult as I expected. As of yesterday, I didn’t think there was any way I’d be feeling mobile enough to go home today (it’s now Sunday…I started writing this up Saturday, but the meds I’m on make me drowsy, not to mention the crazy feeding schedule). Sadie has done really really well. We’ve been working on breastfeeding since 10:30 or so Saturday morning, and things have started to come around. Our biggest obstacle has been that she is one sleepy girl! When Trevor holds her, she’s mostly alert, looking at him and around the room. When I get ahold of her to feed, she gets nice and comfortable and just dozes. But starting with our 4am feed this morning, she’s been eating more vigirously. I’ve been pumping some to make sure I don’t lose my supply, and because we’ve been using some of the colostrum in a syringe to entice her to latch on and eat. In just a few hours, she’ll have been on the antibiotic for 48 hours, and they’ll do one last blood culture to make sure she doesn’t have an infection (so far, nothing has indicated that she does). If she doesn’t, and if they’re convinced she’s eating enough when she’s nursing, we get to take her home today!!!
It truly has been one heck of a roller coaster, and there are parts I’ve even left out–some for brevity, some for privacy, and some because I just can’t plain keep it all in order. Sure, we didn’t end up having Sadie at home as we had been planning for and dreaming about, but we have the sweetest baby girl on the planet, and she is so healthy and happy and fat (as of last night, she was already 9 pounds, 2 ounces).
I think my plan for pictures is to post them on a separate page. So take a peek there, and hopefully I’ll be up for and able to do some updating along the way. We haven’t taken any today, but I suspect we will for the “going home” event.
We really do appreciate all the love, support, and patience. And we also hope that you’ll continue to be understanding that, due to the intensity of this already intense experience, we may still take a while to contact even those of you who are extremely important to us.