Latent Labor, The NICU, and Other Nightmares

My son is almost a month old now, and I'm just now getting around to writing about his entry into the world. Understandably, I've been just a touch busy. Where to begin...

I did not know about latent or prodromal labor, so when I wound up being in labor for six...yes six days, it was an unpleasant surprise. My contractions were what I'd deem relentless and painful, but weren't dilating me quickly enough. To top it off, the pain prevented me from sleeping for most of the week. Everything culminated in a day in the hospital where they monitored me for incredibly high blood pressure, but  wound up sending me home because I could not dilate past 3cm and they were very busy and full. A call that the doctor on hand wound up regretting later.

They sent me home with an ambien and told me to come in at 7am the next day. Now, many of you know that medications and I are not the best of friends. But I thought, "Hey! It's a sleep aid. How bad could it be?" Well, let me tell you...I hallucinated...a lot, and lost full function of my limbs. Dreams became meshed with reality and for some reason I began to dream that my contractions were my husband fixing furniture. And I was the furniture. Totally logical right? He says I asked him why he was touching my wiry bits at some point. I explained that I'd thought I was a bench. Mmhmm...totally normal. I was also convinced he'd painted the door with polka dots.

I made it until about 4am, at which point I wound up waking my mom and mother-in-law and telling them I really needed to go back to the hospital. My blood pressure was some ungodly number in the 200's over I don't recall what. And long story short they wound up admitting me.

God bless epidurals. I was not scared or worried about the needle by the time I got it, I was so thankful to have something for the pain. I believe I proclaimed Chip the anesthesiologist to be my new BFF. For one, it lowered my blood pressure and two, it let me sleep for the first time in what seemed forever.  I cannot say I felt the same amount of love for the IV in my arm. Between it, the blood draws, and the constant blood pressure readings, my arms were black, blue and green. They also started me on pitocin and by the afternoon I was well dilated.

Delivery itself seemed like NOTHING compared to the week of labor. Of course the pain reliever was helping contribute to that fact, but even with it wearing off by the time I was pushing, it was a relief in a way. I am not a fan of the "hold your breath while you push" school of thought though, I must say. It made it harder, and made me feel like passing out. By the end I was ignoring my poor nurses and grunting and crying out with the contractions and doing better for it! I threw my nurses off with my good humor, too. When they told me I was about to push him past the ring of fire, I had to make a crack about Johnny Cash and my husband sang a bit of "the" song.

At one point, they realized that Milo's chord was around his throat and did some saline injections to try and get it more loose. They also had to break my water at the start and said there was meconium present. Because of that and possible issues they had some of the NICU staff on hand for his delivery once we got closer.

Once he crowned they told me to stop pushing, but my contractions were pretty intense and before they could even get the doctor in that was supposed to be present my husband told me, "He's here." I asked if he meant his head and he said, "Nope, all of him." Out like a watermelon seed.

After that everything became a flurry of activity and heart wrenching anxiety. I didn't see him before they whisked him away to clear his airways. It was taking longer than I thought it should, and he couldn't breathe well so he wasn't crying. I could only see the backs of the NICU staff.

It seemed like hours rather than minutes, when they finally put him in my arms. I got to hold him for less than a minute before he was being put in a transport and they were telling Jon he could follow them down to NICU. He was so tiny and so beautiful, I sobbed. I cried all the harder when they took him away, and my support beam as well. I wasn't told much, but that they were worried something might be wrong with his diaphragm and he needed x-rays amongst other tests. After all the pain and stress, to feel that empty was heart wrenching. They let my mom in after that, and bless her heart she tried not to cry, but when she saw me crying and I told her they took my baby away, she couldn't help it.

I really have to be thankful for the awesome staff where I delivered, especially my primary nurse. She let me know things the minute she could (and perhaps sooner than she should have at times) and really took amazing care of me.

Things turned out to be much less terrible than expected once they got a look at him. There was nothing wrong with his diaphragm. However, he did have very low blood sugars because of the hard labor and the fact he was likely a week overdue.

I was only able to stay in the hospital for 48 hours, while he had to stay in the NICU for a week. Another thing that was terribly hard. But again, amazing staff. The nurses that took care of him in the NICU were like wingless angels in scrubs. We knew he was getting the best care he could and was safe. That of course, didn't prevent me from breaking down occasionally before we got him home.

After the week was up, and his levels were as well, we were able to do an overnight stay with him at the hospital and prepare to bring him home. Such a relief! 

The pictures I'm going to share, I haven't anywhere else yet. Mostly because I haven't been able to look at them without crying. And he looked so vulnerable that for awhile I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep them just to ourselves. 

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Welcome to my little corner of the crazy. I can't promise I will always have something intelligent to say. Or that my wit will always leave you laughing. But I can say this much...what you see is what you get. I am me...and I'm going to endeavor to share that uncensored. So, pull up a seat. Enjoy yourself and if I perhaps entertain you feel free to...

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