|Elizabeth Grace Herring|
Josh, Aaron and I would like to introduce our newest member of the family! Elizabeth Grace Herring was born on October 23, 2012 at 4:40 am. She was 7 lbs 4 oz and 20.5 inches long. This is her birth story:
On Sunday, October 21st around 4:30 pm we were just saying goodbye to some good friends of ours who had come to visit. Minutes after they left, I sat down to rest and drink something. When I stood up again I thought Ooookay, I either pee'd my pants or my water just broke. I rushed to the bathroom to check everything out but the amount seemed so small and I couldn't really tell for sure so I decided, embarrassing as it was, I must have pee'd. I mean, it happens to pregnant women, right? And then about 10 minutes later, it happened again. This time I felt like it wasn't pee. So I called the hospital and they asked me to come in and confirm that my membranes had ruptured (water broke).
So we called grandpa and grandma to come get Aaron and set off for the hospital. The hospital confirmed that my water broke and I was admitted to Kaiser. I even got a room with a birthing tub, just like I wanted! This was the beginning of a journey and we were all SO excited. My birth plan was to have an all natural VBAC attempt. (VBAC = Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) The room was great, the staff was pretty great, and they had midwives on staff at all times. I was set!
Laboring wasn't bad at first and in fact, I was kind of surprised how "easy" it was going. They never checked my dilation because my water had broken and they didn't want to risk infection, but I can tell you that a week before I was only 1 cm. Since I was refusing pitocin and my labor seemed to be moving slowly, they suggested using a breast pump to stimulate contractions. I gladly accepted the alternative and it seemed to work pretty well. But, coming up on hour 10 and seeing that my contractions were still not getting down to the 2 minute mark, they warned me that at hour 18, I posed a great risk of infection to both myself and the baby and that the baby would have to have a blood test after she was born. I continued with the breast pump, walked around the halls, took 2 showers, got in the tub and around 24 hrs later -- having kick started the contractions that were now coming in faster and in both front and back, I felt like it just had to be time.
I got out of the tub to check my progress and finally my dilation. When she told me at that time that I was only 5 cms and I had felt like I had been ready to push, I knew I wouldn't be able to take much more. I was sobbing and in pain as she was trying to check me in between contractions. Since they were irregular and she was also trying to stretch me as much as she could, I was just DONE at some point. So I finally asked for the epidural, which couldn't seem to come fast enough.
After the epidural was given, things seemed much better. But of course, that slowed my contractions down again and it was suggested again that I try pitocin at the lowest dose to see if that would help me with the contractions again. At this point, with the epidural already given, I consented. The pitocin did work and I finally reached 10 cm and the pushing/active labor finally began. But after hours of pushing and the baby not moving down far enough I was told I should start considering a second c-section. The midwife had also stopped my epidural, thinking that perhaps I wasn't "feeling" the contractions well enough and that I didn't know well enough when to push. Or that I couldn't push hard enough. So for the last few hours of me pushing, I had NO pain meds again.
Please know that baby girl had been closely monitored this entire time and she was never in danger. Her vitals were always steady, always good. But having come this far, having labored for so long, having pushed and gotten far enough for Josh to even see her hair....... and then have all progress just stop. I was so spent and worried about the baby I agreed to the c-section.
More than 24 hours in labor, I was finally wheeled into surgery. At this point I was so wiped out that after they finally got some heat on me and my body stopped shivering and my teeth stopped chattering, I fell asleep. When I woke up it was because I felt them pushing baby girl around so they could get her out. I will spare you the details of my actual experience on this surgery, but I will tell you there were further complications than just getting baby girl out.
Apparently I had multiple adhesions from my first c-section and these had somehow fused my uterus and bladder together. Now somehow the doctor had to get baby girl out without injury to my bladder. On top of that, I guess I did such a great job pushing that baby's head was stuck in the birth canal and could not be pulled or pushed out. She also had stretched herself out straight and so when the doctor tried to pull her our by her legs instead, he couldn't because her legs were too far in. Oh, did I mention that I have a small pelvis that no one knew about until this surgery too? So the small pelvis is why both Aaron and Elizabeth could not make it out of me all the way. Had I known that, I might have made a different decision regarding my birth plan!
But again, sparing you with all the details of how they tried to get her out, they finally had to do a 2nd incision in my uterus going the opposite direction (now I have a cross) so they could get her out. It took them 10 minutes to get her out of my belly. She wasn't breathing or moving and was blue but she had a heartbeat. It took them another minute to get her breathing. Finally they wrapped her, brought her to me to kiss and whisked her and Josh away to do some tests on her. And that's the last thing I remember. In fact, I don't even remember all that, but with Josh's account and the doctor's explanation, that's what happened. Then I was in surgery for at least another hour so they could separate my bladder and uterus and put me back together. Because the surgery was longer than expected, I lost 4 quarts of blood and had to have a blood transfusion. Everyone that came in to see me, from doctors to nurses to techs to visitors, commented on how tough of a labor I had - and that I did all I could...... The doctor that did the surgery on my came back to see me and told me how well I was doing after such an ordeal. Thanks to that doctor, I'm sure!
Elizabeth and I recovered well and though I was up and walking the day after surgery, we stayed in the hospital for a total of 5 days. Elizabeth was fighting a little bit of jaundice when she left so we brought her back to the hospital today to check on her. Her levels are back up so she's got a "good to go" on that one. But now we're looking at too much weight loss (close to 10%) so we take her back again tomorrow to weigh her. I'm hoping once we get the weight issue taken care of, that we'll be home free.
I am doing fairly well considering........ Josh and I are both seriously sleep deprived but we're happy to be home with our new baby Elizabeth and happy to have Aaron back with us after so long. One small, happy family. Next week we can introduce Sir Ulrich to Elizabeth.
Thankfully I have a super wonderful support team. My parents and sisters and my close friends have been just terrific and gone above and beyond to help us all. I don't know what I would have done without all of them. They all had roles and played them beautifully. Even Josh's mom is coming to help out for a few days in early November.
Thank you all for being so supportive and for all your well wishes. In between feedings and naps, I'll try and update as often as I can.