Welcome, Sophia Lorraine!
Warning! Birthing story to follow... but I promise you it isn't graphic.
Monday afternoon was quite relaxing. I went to JoAnn's with Kari and Sarah to buy some fabric for Sarah's trek, then we went to a Sushi restaurant and found a candied apple store. Sarah and I shared a mudpie caramel apple and Kari got a pistachio covered apple. Very yummy. Meanwhile, I'm feeling pretty good- active, energetic, etc, when I noticed that I'd lost my mucous plug. In the pregnancy world, this doesn't mean anything much at all; labor could be within hours or weeks.
I continued my day with some swimming, Stephen and I made burgers, and I started to put Ben to bed. I felt a fun little gush while trying to prompt Ben with his prayers. I wiggled a little. More gush. Uh oh. I quickly finished prayers with him and ran. My water had definitely broken. I wasn't having any contractions at all, so I ate my burger, took a shower, and relaxed while Stephen's running around, unsure what to do. It was fun to watch. Kari came over to pick up Ben and we headed to the hospital and were admitted right away.
Contractions started up around 11:00 and got very intense, though not frequent, and I was only a 3. They gave me some painkillers so I could sleep for a little while, but those wore off by about 2:30 and I was a 3-4. Everything was getting more intense, so I ordered the epidural and by 3:15 when they got it going I was a 4 1/2-5. I had gotten the shakes, so the nurses thought I would give birth very soon. Unfortunately, I think the epidural slowed things down a bit. I also think they had given me a dose that was too strong, because I had no motor control over my right leg. This was scary for me because last time I had complete control over my body and it was easy when it came time to push. It felt MUCH harder this time, but she was out in 25 minutes, half my previous pushing time.
Baby Sophia was born on Tuesday at 9:06 a.m. She weighed 7 lbs. 7 oz. and was 20 inches long. She came out the color of a purplish-blue jelly belly (a very cute purplish-blue jelly belly). She kicked and cried, but once they put her on my chest, she calmed down almost immediately. She was such a calm baby from the get-go and for the first two hours or so of her life, she just looked at Stephen and I, super alert and very content.
That day was kind of fun (though I was pretty tired after being awake most of the night). We had most of our immediate families visit. My parents came after they had finished work, around 7:30. My new evening nurse came in to check on me and said, "Where's that baby?" My sister was holding her at the time, and the nurse said, "That baby's blue- I'm taking her to the nursery." So she picked her up and left. Meanwhile, the doctors and nurses had been telling me all day that her bluish color was normal, and the nurse hadn't shown us her name badge which tells us if she's allowed to take her. Stephen chased after her to see her badge, and I'm freaking out a little bit that maybe something's actually been wrong and feeling like a bad mother for not noticing, as the nurse so clearly did, that my baby was blue.
They took her to the nursery and found that her sugar was low, her oxygen concentration was low, and she had a high number of respirations. They put her under an oxygen tent and fed her some formula and saw some improvement, though every time they removed the tent, her oxygen levels would drop again. Dr. Wu, the NICU doctor, came in to check on her and removed the tent. It had been 6 hours at this point, which is the maximum amount of time they're allowed to assist babies in the nursery without moving them to the NICU. Her oxygen levels still weren't where they needed to be, so our little Sophie was admitted to the NICU.
The next few days are a blur for me. I was moved into a shared room with another mom who had her baby in the NICU, too. This was actually very comforting for me to see someone else in a similar position- both of us without our babies, trying to pump and recover from birth without that little reward sitting on your chest. I stayed in the hospital until Thursday evening, then the next few days were a blend of pumping, sleeping, eating, and driving to and from the hospital.
So, what was wrong with her? She had breathed in amniotic fluid when she was born. The fluid caused damage to her lungs which made it harder for her to breathe and process oxygen. This was something that would repair itself over time. I was relieved it wasn't something I had done. The doctor had a few goals for her before she would be allowed to go home. She had to:
- Be off antibiotics. All babies are given antibiotics when they enter the NICU and a blood culture is taken to determine if there's an infection. This takes 3 days to develop. Sophie's turned out negative.
- Be off oxygen. The fluid was absorbed into her system through her lungs and by early Friday morning, she no longer needed the extra oxygen to keep her levels where they should be.
- Be off the IV. They started feeding her on Friday after she was removed from supplemental oxygen. By this time my milk had come in so she was able to be fed breast milk. On Saturday, they allowed her to eat as much as she wanted and reduced IV fluids proportionally to how much she ate. She was off the IV by the afternoon.
- Maintain her temperature. She runs a little cold, but she was still in the normal range.
It's been a whirlwind experience. We are just so grateful to have our family all at home and safe. Ben seems to be handling things pretty well. He volunteers to hold her and is very gentle. He likes to take her pacifier away, though. It's pretty funny.