Carese's birth is a most unique story, at least for us - we have had 4 uncomplicated hospital births, and 7 home births (the last one being very complicated). We first had a hint that she would be born early during a discussion with my OB on March 2nd. She explained that my hypertension and high cardiac output would cause the placenta to have diminished function much earlier than a normal pregnancy and that they wouldn't allow me to go past 39 weeks, and if Carese showed any signs of stress that they would induce immediately.
The next Thursday evening I had contractions for 5 hours, 2 1/2 minutes apart, so we headed in to the hospital. They continued right up until we got to the doors of the Childbirth Center. I had a few while I was there, but they were farther apart and not nearly a strong. While on the monitors, Carese's heartrate took a few dips, but they weren't terribly concerned since it didn't look like I was in "real labor" to them. So we headed home in the wee hours of the morning.The next day was my regular 36 week OB appt with a biophysical profile (BPP) scheduled.
Carese did not pass the breathing portion of the test, so they sent me down the hall for a non-stress test, which she passed, barely. Both showed that she was not as active as she normally is, and the BPP also showed that her amniotic fluid had decreased to a very low level. The OB told us that it was time to plan to induce labor as Carese would do better being born early than staying inside with a compromised placenta. They planned for me to start the induction that evening.But that evening, the beds were full, and they were full again in the morning.
But that evening they had a bed and we headed in around 6 pm to get things going. The first plan of action was to do a treatment that would ripel my cervix, making it more favorable for other forms of induction. They placed the hormone, monitored me for contractions and Carese for heartrate, and then pretty much left us alone for the rest of the night. They removed the hormone late the next morning and found that nothing much had happened, so the next step was to insert a foley catheter which would manually dilate my cervix. Once in place it would slowly do it's job over the next 12 hours.
When they removed that late Sunday night, I was dilated 3 - 4 cm! How exciting! At this point they decided to take me off the monitors and sleep, and I was to let them know if I started having contractions on my own.Since I was already dilated to 4 cm, and in previous labors I could go from 4 to complete in just a couple of hours, we decided to have our doula, Carolynn, come and join us for the night. We had a great time - didn't rest much, but got to know each other and had a very memorable "sleep over" like night. The dr had planned to start me on pitocin at 5 am if I had not started to labor on my own, so that was started early the next morning. They started at a very low level and planning to increase it very slowly, trying to get just enough in to get labor going on it's own.
Around 8 am, the new doctor came on duty and determined that Carese had been doing great (constant monitoring) and that my body just wasn't ready to go into labor. He wanted to do anouthg BPP and see if her fluid levels had increased, with the possibility of sending me home for some rest, to try again in a couple of days. So the pitocin was shut off and I was off for a BPP. It did show that her amniotic fluid level was better, and the dr checked me and decided that my cervix and Carese's head were not optimal for breaking my water, and that it was best that I go home and get some rest.
We went home, but we were very concerned about my being home so far dilated..didn't want to have a fast labor and not make it to the hospital, so I scheduled my follow up appt for the next morning.The dr who had attended me all weekend was very surprised to see me in her office Tuesday morning!
After reviewing everything, she decided that the best thing was to continue the induction as soon as possible. So I was sent over to the hospital and admitted that afternoon.This time they started the pitocin at a higher level and had it going up faster. I began to have contractions, but they were not terribly strong. Our oldest 3 daughters had joined us around dinner time.
Around 9 pm we decided to allow the dr to break my water to facilitate getting labor to kick into gear. The breaking of the water went uneventfully, with very little fluid coming out. I then walked the halls for a while and then rocked in the rocking chair. When I got up (this was about 2 1/2 hours after they had broken my water) there was a sudden gush of fluid. I went to the bathroom to change my clothes, and then was going to walk the halls again, but decided to watch Carese's heartbeat through a couple of contractions. The nurse was watching as well. He heart rate dropped down into the 80s during the next two contractions and was slow in going back up again and when I stood up, I felt a pressure that I had not felt before, so she decided she'd better check and see what was going on.
She found what she thought she would find - Carese's cord had gone next to her head and was being clamped off during contractions. She told me to get on my left side and sent for the doctor. The doctor confirmed her fears, that we were dealing with a prolapsed cord. This meant that Carese needed to be born right now, but I was still only 4 cm dilated, so she called for a code purple and everything started happening very quickly. Carolynn began to pray with me as we waited for them to take me away. I held Daryl's hand briefly as well, but everything was going so fast there wasn't much time to think.While the doctor held Carese's head off of my cervix and the cord, people came to wheel me, bed and everything, to the OR. Off we went down the hallway (not exactly a modest position to say the least). Very quickly we were in the OR and the doctor removed her hand and I was told to climb as quickly as I could onto the other bed. Once I laid down again, the nurse took over holding Carese's head off the cord. The next few minutes are a blur of pain as they prepped me for surgery, with an oxygen mask on. Once everything was ready, I was put to sleep via general anesthesia (they can't put the mother out until everything is ready as they have to get the baby out before the general anesthesia reaches the baby).
While I was out, Daryl, Carolynn and the girls were notified that Carese had been born (just 5 minutes after I left the room), and was crying - a good sign for a baby born via cesarian! About 20 minutes later Daryl was allowed to go see Carese, and then Rachel and Jessica got to go see her, and then Carolynn took Rachel back to see her. She was laying on the isolette just looking around - they got a few good photos as well.
About 40 minutes after she was born, I began to wake up. Before I could even open my eyes I was asking questions - "What was her apgar scores?" They told me 7 and 9 (very good for a baby born C section), "What did she weigh?" I was told she weight 4 pounds 14 oz. "How is she doing?" She was doing fine and should be brought to me soon! "How long is she?" I was told that she was 18 3/4 inches long. "Does she have Down Syndrome?" I was told she did not. I asked several other questions and then Carese's pediatrician came and told me that she was perfect and healthy, but very long and skinny.
Soon Daryl arrived and I got to see her! She was sooo tiny! I held her and was amazed at how tiny and perfect she was. Carolynn was soon there as well, and she helped me to get Carese to latch. After a few minutes it was time to leave the recovery room and go to a room on the floor. The next three days were spent recovering from the C section and getting to know our sweet Carese Faith. She was a very good baby while we were in the hospital, only crying to eat. We spent a lot of time talking about how amazing it had been to see God care for us and bring Carese into this world, safe and sound. We were completely amazed that our tiny baby was so healthy that she could room in with us, only spending a few hours the first day under the lights to get warmed up.
God preserved her life through her high risk pregnancy and through a life threatening delivery - He has a story that He's telling through her life, and it will be exciting to see what He will be doing in and through her.