Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Summer's End is Drawing Near

~Here is a recap of Summer 2012 for the Taflans~

We celebrated our first Mother's Day and Father's Day!

Grama and Grampa Taflan visited from Ohio

We reaped the benefits of home gardening

Our little one began sitting up (5 mos) and eating solids (6 mos). We're mostly following the baby-led weaning approach to food. He also got his two bottom teeth in!
5 months
6 months

We celebrated July 4th with cousins and Matthew got in a swimming pool for the first time! 

We took a trip to the mountains - went in caverns, shopped, and stayed at a nice resort. 

I hosted a Christmas in July crafting party - getting a head start!  

I celebrated my 25th birthday the beginning of August, the same day little man turned 7 months.

We went to the beach with my family in August, as we do every year, only this year Matthew was there to join the fun! He had such a good time! Our boy loves water :)

While at the beach, our family drove down to Medieval Times and cheered for the yellow knight! We got the biggest kick out of little Matthew raising his arms in the air and yelling in excitement over and over again until he crashed in exhaustion from all the fun. 

We've also spent days at home catching up on housework, working outside and around our home, enjoying time with friends, and reaching new milestones... like crawling!
7.5 months
It's been a wonderful summer and though I'm sad to see it come to an end, I will certainly welcome the cooler weather and colorful leaves! In the meantime, Matt and I will continue to enjoy every moment with our son, (his happiness amazes us!), as it is already going by so quickly. We look forward to what the months ahead hold for our little family!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Birth Story: Part 3 - Pushing in the New Year!

~Be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 of our birth story!~

4:00 p.m.
   The midwife had just broken my water and between that and the Pitocin, I began to feel some actual contractions. At first I couldn’t believe it… was this really labor? Is it finally happening? Excited, relieved, and a bit anxious I began to take contractions as they came, slow and steady. Matt and I continued to play card games, watched a show or two on the laptop, and tried to take a nap. I could feel my body working harder and harder with each contraction. We went into the hospital knowing we weren’t going to call contractions “painful,” instead, we saw them as hard work. We felt that the word pain signals something is wrong with your body when in fact, while laboring, your body is doing exactly as God designed it to – it’s working hard! Choosing your words carefully while laboring puts you in a much better mental state that allows you to work with your body and not fight it.
    Around 8:30 or so that evening my parents stopped in to visit and brought by a New Year’s box filled with party hats for us and the staff. It’s a bit blurry to me, but I do remember a little of them being there because Matt and I both were a little surprised that it was New Year’s Eve – our days were all running together. I sat on the bed meeting the contractions with deep, purposeful breaths. Matt hugged me from behind and breathed with me, something I really needed! I don’t know what level of Pitocin I was on (I’d have to check our videos) nor do I know when my parents left the room to go home because I was focused on breathing and relaxing my muscles. I wanted to get in the tub with the jets– at this point a mobile unit was available -  so they prepared the water and I sat down into what I had imagined would be a wonderful way to labor. Um… no. I had told Matt days before that I strongly desired to have a tub in our room because I think being in warm water will be so relaxing during contractions. I even brought along my sweet smelling, organic lavender scrub for Matt to rub on me while in the tub because I just knew I would love that. Well, I think I lasted all of 10 minutes in the water because for one, the tub was not any bigger than a tub in a home, and two, I couldn’t fully submerge myself due to wires coming from me every which way. I climbed out and moved to the toilet, and sat there laboring for a good while. We had practiced laboring positions in our Bradley Class one night and this was definitely a favorite of mine.
     Around midnight the midwife came in to see how I was doing and to check me since I hadn’t been examined in quite a while. She said I was at a 5 and she seemed pleased with the progress. Knowing that having your first child can take a while, we didn’t focus on the number and continued meeting contractions with deep breaths. At one point I did climb into the bed to try to rest through some and it was then that the pain in my side increased with a vengeance. The pain had been there ever since the start of Pitocin earlier that day, but it was definitely becoming increasingly worse. This midwife was not sure of the cause either, and I tried to forget about it. We carried on and Matt believes I went through the transition phase of labor around this time because I began to voice some doubts and started shivering. I also threw up – another sign of transition. This was a fear of mine… silly, I know… but when I learned that women can throw up during labor it freaked me out. Vomiting is already horrible to me and the thought of doing so while having contractions sounded just awful! But I did it… several times and it honestly felt good! Who knew? 
    When 2 a.m. rolled around, I felt urges to push that took over my entire body. We made it to pushing! Matt and I shared a smile because our baby boy was there… they could see him! I was instructed to just let my body do as it needed, so I did. My faithful husband was so diligent in giving me sips of water with every contraction to keep me hydrated. It was suggested I roll over to my side and push that way while Matt held my leg up because it was thought the baby may need some readjusting (which, by the way, his heartbeat was still going strong!). We also tried standing/squatting for a bit to reposition him that way too. We took a moment to phone my parents and let them know that I had begun pushing, though it could easily be several more hours. They came to the hospital around 3 that morning and waited so patiently in the waiting room, not wanting to miss a thing. In the midst of this laboring, I continued to deal with this awful pain stretching from my back to side. Notice I use the word pain here, because that is definitely what it was. I knew I was feeling something that was not right and it began to take over. I prayed for it to go away. I stopped feeling contractions. I could not tell when to push. All I felt was this constant, excruciating ache and no one had a way to solve it. It was close to 4 in the morning and I was surrounded by my husband, the nurse, and midwife. Matt held my hand and lifted my head up, while the nurse laid her hands on my stomach to feel for contractions. The midwife sat in front of me putting her fingers inside to tell me where to push whenever the nurse said to me that a contraction was coming. I tried so hard to listen to my body and to them, but the pain had taken over. I felt like we were so close! The midwife had been seeing little Matthew’s head for some time now and Matt even got a glimpse of him, but it was like everything was coming to a standstill. We continued trying, but to no avail. I was feeling nothing but this constant pain, as if my muscles could not stop contracting and release themselves.

I cried.

    We had been up for 24 hours now and my baby boy was right there, but it just wasn’t happening! The exhaustion that had never really disappeared was overwhelming – and not just physically, but emotionally. When people talk about an emotional rollercoaster, I can say that Matt and I were quite experienced riders at this point. Words cannot describe how we felt as we didn’t just feel the weight of the moment right then, but the weight of the last four days leading up to that point in time. The midwives changed shifts and in walked our midwife from Friday – she was back, gave me a vaginal exam, and informed us that she would be delivering that baby! This was almost comical to me because I thought to myself, I bet the other 4 midwives all thought the same thing too! Her positive attitude helped some as I looked at the clock to see that it was now close to 9:00 in the morning. My water had been broken for over 12 hours, the Pitocin continued to drip into my veins not helping the swelling at all, and I laid curled up in the bed sobbing. For the last four days, the same questions came to mind, why God? What are you doing with me? With us? It’s not pleasant to admit that I sobbed so hard, but yet this is our birth story and I have to tell it like it is. I was hurting and the pain was starting to scare me. What about my baby? I kept telling the midwife and nurse through my tears that I just wanted to feel the contractions, it’s all I wanted, so I could know that my baby was coming and things were okay. My mom left the waiting room to come see us, because I wanted her to know what was happening. I felt like such a little girl crying on the bed as I talked to her… and then speaking with my mom reminded me of those who were lifting us up in prayer. There is power in prayer. Her friends were praying, our families were praying, church had happened that morning and they were praying, neighbors, friends, and we learned later that while my youngest sister was away at a Campus Outreach retreat, there were people we didn’t know praying for us too. It was comforting.
    I recall watching Matt intently, my heart going out to my dear husband who I knew was reaching a breaking point. He was so strong for us and was being the best husband any girl could ask for, but he shared with me as tears filled his eyes that he doesn’t know what to do. He wants to help me, but he doesn’t know how. We had prepared to labor, but we had no way of preparing for this surprising pain that was keeping things from moving forward. What do we do now?
    Our midwife came in to give us some options and thankfully, they turned the Pitocin off while we listened. Side-note: I found out at my 6 week check-up that my midwife had actually called two people that day while working with us. She was seeking advice from a doula friend of hers, and another midwife at a different location. She had not seen a situation like ours and was trying to help the best she could. I guess we should be proud that we added a new experience to her midwifery practice, right?...

Our options were as follows:
1) take an hour resting break from Pitocin and be given the medication Nubane, in hopes it would take the edge off what I was feeling – then jump into Pit again after I had tried to sleep some,
2) get an epidural that would numb the back/side muscle pain, yet still leave me to feel when to push, or
3) prepare for a cesarean

    The room became so quiet as the midwife left us to our thoughts. All you could hear was the beeping of the machines as Matt and I looked at each other for an answer. I remember finding it so hard to even think a decent thought. The pain was horrible, and this was so mind boggling to me. I had waited for contractions to begin days ago and now that they were in full swing, I had lost the ability to truly feel them due to the amount of pain stretching from my back to side. I was frustrated that despite my efforts to relax, stay mobile, breathe, and other tips we had learned for labor were not working to get me past this increidible discomfort. I believe the Pitocin had completely overstimulated those muscles on the left in my back and side and they could not stop contracting. They were so terribly tight. There was no release of the tension and I told Matt that I was done. I physically felt like my body could do no more. I was even considering going with a cesarean (my fear!) because I knew I had reached my limit. I was feeling delirious. I was beyond ready to hold my little boy, who had been going through these last 4 days right along with me. I wept as Matt held me and he cried too. We were so broken. The midwife poked her head in the door, and I told her I was feeling as though I was done. I could not go on and I was considering a cesarean. She knew that deep down this was not what we truly wanted, so she gave us more time to think. We just kept saying that we didn’t know what to do… and I kept thinking, “Lord, what are you trying to teach me?!”
    I was feeling incredibly discouraged at the fact that none of those options would leave me with a drug-free birth like we had wanted. I also knew that I could not carry on as I was. We pretty much ruled out option 1 because, to put it simply, it seemed dumb to us. We knew that an hour break was not going to be enough time to let that pain go away, given that it kept me up until 3 a.m. the nights before. And adding Nubane along with rest for an hour was not a guarantee the pain would cease long enough for me to feel contractions and push our baby out. It would only take off the edge, if it could even do that. Getting an epidural was not at all what I wanted to do. I knew the side effects, I knew what it could do to our unborn baby, and I also was keenly aware that it was another needle… As for a cesarean, this was the thing I had feared most when the end of our pregnancy rolled around. It was not something the hospital staff wanted us to do either, but we had to be reminded that it could be a possibility due to unforeseen circumstances. Matt looked at me with tears running down his cheeks and shared how the last two options scared him to death and the first option just seemed pointless. His love for me was spilling over through those tears, as he had such deep concern for me and the baby and was so devoted to supporting me each passing moment. This is where we reached a point in our relationship that drew us even closer together and to God, as we lovingly clung to each other, waiting for that answer to come. 
    Our sweet nurse that shift walked in the door and squatted next to the bed where we were sitting. She asked me what we were thinking and feeling. I told her the only thing I could think to say, “I’m done.” I continued to cry from the pain and frustration and Matt said that we honestly didn’t know what to do. Our nurse told me how strong I was, and how amazing we had been together, to endure Pitocin for so long up to this point. She said that a cesarean is not what I want and she truly felt like an epidural would help get us through this last stretch. Her words began to encourage me and I recall this moment so vividly. Then our dedicated midwife walked in to have a heart-to-heart with us. Her words completely changed my perspective and if it wasn’t for her and the nurse speaking with us, Matt and I could have an entirely different ending to our birth story. She looked me in the eye and said, “Olyvia, never in my 25 years of midwifery have I seen a situation such as yours. After all you’ve been through, here you are able to sit criss-cross on this hospital bed, fully dilated, at +3 station, and you are having a normal conversation! That just doesn’t happen!” Our midwife continued to put things into perspective for us as she shared that we should be proud we have made it this far and are so very close to meeting our son. I hadn’t had the use of any pain medication and was laboring naturally, just like I had desired. Despite the unusual pain, we were pushing on and had made it farther than she and the other doctors who knew of our situation thought we would. “I know you are tired. I know you feel like you are done, but look how strong you are! I think if we give you the epidural for your side pain, and turn back on the Pitocin, we can have this baby out in an hour,” she said. That is when I knew God had given us the answer we were waiting for… I have come this far, and I can continue. I turned and looked at Matt and simply said, “okay.” I just wanted to meet my boy!
    The anasthesiologist came in to prepare my epidural. I asked him if he could please make sure the medicine numbed my back/side area and I pointed to where the pain was. He said the epidural should work for that, but it wasn’t convincing. I was nervous as Matt squatted down in front of me for support. I prayed that the procedure would go smoothly and that neither I nor my little one would be harmed. I felt the prick and immediate tingle down my right side, which continued to grow numb, followed slowly by the left side. I couldn’t even lift up my legs back onto the bed at first… how in the world was I supposed to push?! They gave the medicine time to get through my system before turning back on the Pit. The nurse walked in and said she was going to insert a catheter because it was possible my bladder was full which could be what was causing the terrible pain. I informed her that I knew for sure my bladder was most definitely not full and when she tried to insert the catheter, it hurt! She looked at me and said, “You shouldn’t be feeling that. What about your side? Does it still hurt too? I will call the anasthesiologist” and she ended up not inserting the catheter after all, thank goodness. A bit of time passed and my pain was not relieved in the slightest bit…I found it ironic that I was getting an epidural not for the contractions, but for a pain brought on by a crazy overstimulation of muscles from Pitocin. I ended up having not one, not two, but three meds passed through my epidural! Scary…yes, but all of us in that room were desperate to relieve the pain at least a little bit so I could feel my contractions and effectlively push my little one out. Remember, we had begun pushing at around 2:00 that morning and it was now close to 2:00 in the afternoon and our poor little guy was just a wiggling around the entire time! I could feel him laying heavily on my right pelvic bone. The anasthesiologist came in the second time to give me a higher concentration of the meds, then a third time to give me something different entirely, that was to go straight into my system. I cried frustrated tears as I asked him again to please, please, please, ease that pain! Poor guy. He was doing his job, but I didn’t need the epidural to numb down low for labor – I had already been through that! I needed him to numb above my waist, left side, near my ribs in the back.  After three doses, my midwife said we just needed to get through it, so we pushed on.
    I focused very hard on the task at hand. This was it. I knew that if I didn’t move past this pain, then the next step was a cesarean because we had maxed out our options and a healthy delivery was necessary for my at-risk condition. The Lord had my hand and gave me that last bit of strength I needed. It was all Him and there is no denying that. My desire to push and meet our son was so strong that it was all I could think about. I couldn’t help but turn inward, and go with my body. It was a combination of me sometimes feeling urges to push, and other times them having to tell me due to the pain overwhelming the contraction. At one point they offered to set up the mirror, which I agreed to, but found it incredibly distracting. I would look on in amazement and stop pushing so effectively. I went back to closing my eyes and focused on relaxing all my muscles (especially my jaw!), except for pushing where I needed to push. I remember even thinking about how there were probably many other women all over the world pushing at this very moment too. That gave me this sense of awe and appreciation for how God created women.  I would also glance over to the baby bed sitting in the room, thinking how I have seen this bed since Wednesday night and I am minutes away from my baby being there! “He’s sunny side up!” said the midwife as our baby was on the brink of meeting the world. No wonder why he was taking a while… the child was face up and was coming down hard from my right side. Matt stated that he wanted to catch little Matthew and the time had finally come. The midwife quickly passed off a pair of gloves to him and helped ease our baby’s head out, unwinding the umbilical cord that was lightly twisted around his neck. She stepped out of the way and Matt was able to fully catch our sweet boy and place him immediately onto my chest. My emotions went wild and I cried tears of pure joy. The time was 3:03 p.m.
Minutes after Matthew II was born
Proud Daddy
    The room happened to be full now with different hospital staff busying about. I felt like everything was swirling and all I could focus on was this tiny human being laying on my chest. I couldn’t believe it. Was I really finally holding my baby boy? Then I felt it… a warm trickle that started on my chest and went down my stomach. Yep, he had peed on me, making his presence known - he was really here. Matthew didn’t cry much and they gave him a good rubbing while I held him to get him to cry a good one. He was covered in vernix, and knowing how good this is for baby’s skin, we rubbed it in while staring at our son, speechless. We had requested that the cord not be cut until it was finished pulsing, and after five minutes or so, Matt was able to cut the cord and they set about stitching me up - 2 stitches were needed, and even after 3 epidural doses and lidocaine spray, I couldn’t help but feel each needle poke! I winced as my midwife continued with the stitches for what felt like forever, but it was okay because my baby was here! We immediately took some first photos and after holding our son for a good bit, they set him on the baby bed I had been eyeing for days, to measure and weigh him. Matthew was 6 lbs, 13 oz, and 20.5 inches long.
One of my favorite photos that truly seems to capture the "new life."
You can see a little how his head is quite misshapen from being sunny
side up and in the canal for so long.
    We called my mom back to see her grandbaby for the first time (more family were on their way) and none of us could stop smiling. We just couldn’t believe that he was finally in our arms. After a little while, everyone had cleared out and it was just me, my dear husband, and our new blessing together in the quiet of the room. I experienced a truly sweet gift of motherhood when I breastfed Matthew for the first time, and we watched in awe as he knew exactly what to do. God is so good!

Sweet kisses for my New Year's baby
Our midwife pausing for a quick photo minutes after he was born
    Within two hours after delivery, my family had met the newest addition and everyone helped move us to the post-partum floor. Matt and I felt as though everything was so surreal. The staff came to check little Matthew’s vitals again, and then left us to ourselves as we continuously held our little baby, letting the joys of parenthood sink in. That night we showered (it felt SO good!), ate some food (I walked to the snack pantry down the hall several times that night for juice!) and carefully wheeled our little boy’s baby bed in between mine and Matt’s pull-out chair as we laid down to sleep for the first time in almost 48 hours. Sleep was of course intermittent, because the nurse had to come in and periodically check on us, as well as I needed to nurse Matthew - which seemed to be non-stop from 12a.m. to 5 a.m.!
    The following morning we woke up still tired, but completely giddy over the fact that we could hold our son in our arms and just study his every perfect feature. What a blessing! There was a chance we could go home that Monday, after he had been there for 24 hours so they could complete his PKU testing. While we hung out in the room, my sisters brought us the greatest thing… a hook & ladder sub from Firehouse! I had stayed away from lunch meats during pregnancy, as had Matt, and this was something I strongly desired after giving birth! It was just as amazing as I had imagined it would be and the four of us sat in our tiny room, eating Firehouse and watching the baby. Later that afternoon, Matthew received his first bath, and then we met with a lactation consultant because I was having issues with Matthew latching on my right side. She was very helpful. Word of advice: definitely meet with a lactation consultant as soon as you can after giving birth – can absolutely make a difference in your breastfeeding experience! Not long after that, the PKU test was completed, but by then it was getting dark and the thought of arriving home with our baby with no sun shining wasn’t appealing to me. I also wanted to make sure I had a better control on nursing before leaving the hospital, so we stayed one last night before being dismissed the next day. My parents visited that evening, as well as our Pastor and his family earlier, and our night ended with prayers of thanks for a healthy little boy, that we were able to hold and love on. Again, so surreal!
Our first family photo the day after his birth - you can sort of
see my swollen left hand from the broken IV
     A pediatrician came the next morning to complete a check-up on Matthew and I waited for a mid-wife to complete a check-up on me. All was well, minus the blisters on my stomach from the days of gel and the intense swelling that was so slow to go away. We were checked out by 10:00 that morning and I waited inside the lobby while Matt went to get the car. I kept looking down at my baby in my arms, thanking the Lord for a safe delivery and the ability to finally go home. The weather was no longer unusually warm and the high for that day was in the 40s. I sat in the back beside Matthew’s carseat and we drove away from the hospital… I with tears in my eyes at the fact that our 6 night stay was finally behind us.
The ride home
    The Lord had been so faithful. Our birth story did not go as we had imagined, but I am able to look back now and see how He was involved and leading every step of the way. Our child was born January 1st, with an expected due date of January 12th. Had we not been induced due to cholestasis and he were to come around 41 or 42 weeks like we had anticipated, my dad would have been out of the country… my sisters would be back in school… and Matt would be working a National Convention for his job. I can understand now how the timing of his birth was perfect because everyone was able to be there and meet him soon after he arrived! Matthew also shares his birthday with his Grandpa Taflan and my parents’ wedding anniversary. I smile when I think back to one of the nurses we had who inquired about our faith, and can see how God answered our prayer about letting Him work through us during our stay there. I can look back at my desire to have a natural, drug-free labor, and am truly proud of myself that God gave me the strength to do just that, in my standards, despite the Pitocin, and use of an epidural that last hour for a completely different pain. This was a huge accomplishment for me. I was capable, I made it all the way fully dilated and pushing before meds were needed for my back, and I succeeded. The Lord had allowed for a vaginal delivery, just like we asked for, and our baby was healthy! I can look back and see where Matt and I hit a breaking point that Sunday morning, sitting on the bed crying and feeling so lost. God had not let go of our situation. He gave us the ability to push on and allowed our relationship the chance to move to such a deeper level of love, strength, respect, and faith, both with each other and with our Heavenly Father.

Yes, He was indeed so very faithful.

Matthew Edward Taflan II is a wonderful gift to us, and we are blessed beyond words.

Happy 5 months to my baby today, June 1, 2012. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Birth Story: Part 2 - It's a Love/Hate Relationship

Read Birth Story: Part 1 if you haven't done so already. Note: this is a very long post due to a long hospital stay. I am mostly writing our birth story for our own records, to accompany the short videos we have from our time spent there, and to encourage others, yet this post still does not convey all that we experienced nor felt. It has been hard to condense and put into words the details due to the emotional toll it took on us and that's okay. I think as long as I have written the basics, then photos, videos, and our memories will fill in the gaps. :)

    8:30 p.m. - We checked in to the hospital. We made our way to the fourth floor, the labor and delivery floor, and were shown to what would be our room until our boy arrived. I had requested a room with a tub and was thankful there was one available. We also had such a pretty view looking out the giant window - I couldn't imagine what it would be like to labor in a room without some sort of view! I carefully placed little Matthew's bag of items in the wardrobe and set out the things I had packed for laboring (scripture cards, magazines, playing cards, extra socks, etc.). The room was comfortable, and this slightly eased my nervous heart.

    Yes, this slightly eased my nervous heart that is until the nurse walked in to insert an IV. On my birth plan I stated to have no IVs unless necessary, which they agreed with, until I had to be induced and unfortunately induction made it necessary. Needles and I just aren't friends... my veins literally run from them making the process take much longer than it should. Although it was only a hep-lock to prepare me for the morning, it was enough to make my stomach lurch. This nurse was good though and managed to get it on the second try while I looked at my quiet husband, whose silence calmed me on the inside. Trying not to seem weak, I asked her what were the chances of them having to insert another hep-lock should this one "malfunction?" Her response was that usually these are good for a couple days so I should be fine. Whew!

  A few moments later the midwife on duty came in to share with me that they were going to insert a Foley Bulb as a means to soften and open my cervix before starting me on Pitocin the following morning. This is basically a balloon that is inserted into the cervix and then inflated... I was told it should fall out on it's own and hopefully get me dilated to 2cm or 3cm by the morning. I laid on the bed taking deep breaths as they set about inserting the bulb (which was far from pleasant). Matt of course held my hand as we locked eyes knowing this was the beginning of the birth of our son, who could arrive the next day! When the small procedure was finished she taped the tubing to the inside of my thigh and told me to get some good rest because I would be needing it! Before drifting off to sleep that night, my family came into the room and we had a time of prayer - prayers of health, strength, minimal pain, and thanks for new life. I settled into the hospital bed around 11:00, with Matt sleeping on the pullout chair beside me, and tried to get comfortable with a hep-lock in my hand and tubing taped to my thigh. It was awkward, but I managed to sleep!

Thursday Morning
6:30 a.m. - My wake up call from the nurse startled me as I woke up to embrace what the day held. I took a quick shower, a bit disappointed to find the tube still taped to my leg and the foley bulb still inside, but that was okay. I was being induced and that meant it could take time (of course my perception of "time" ended up being off by days...) Matt and I ate a hospital breakfast, eating all the protein I could, and waited for the nurse to come by and do a routine check. She tugged on the bulb which was not ready to come out and fetched the midwife to begin my Pitocin. I began at a level 2 with the purpose of increasing the dosage every half hour until something happened. Trying to stay positive despite being hooked up to a machine, I asked for the mobile fetal monitoring system. The midwives knew how important it is to be mobile while in labor and did their best to keep me moving as I desired. There was a mobile unit available so for the majority of that day Matt and I walked around the 4th floor...

and walked...

Sitting on the birthing ball, filling out my baby book
and walked some more... I was wearing the mobile monitoring unit around my belly, which due to my roundness slipped off every time we made a round on the floor (notice in the photo on the left you can see the monitor poking out). We'd have to step back into the room for readjustment so they could get a reading on our baby's heartbeat. He was strong and steady all day long! While I waddled with the mobile unit wrapped snug around me, Matt pushed the IV cart caring the Pitocin and fluids. We nicknamed this contraption Ward (due to the awk"ward"ness of it and being in the hospital "ward") and he followed me everywhere. The Pitocin increased every half hour and I had very minor, sporadic contractions off and on all day. Most of the time I felt nothing, or the nurse would come in saying I was having some contractions, but again, I felt nothing. Matt and I would look over at that baby bed in the room though, knowing our son would be there soon enough. They did pull out the Foley bulb around 9:30 that morning which brought me to "a tight 2 cm" and by the end of the day, nothing had changed. I'm pretty sure this is when I began begging God for my water to break! I just wanted something of significance to happen and to happen naturally. They did get permission to push me past a level 30 on Pit, as 30 is the limit without a special order, and I made it to their max level of 36 where I coasted for a couple hours. Aside from walking the floor, my family visited with us for a while, we played games, and watched some television. It was a long day of Pitocin, with the nurse stopping the dosages at 10:30 p.m. so I could rest up for the next day. It felt great to be unhooked and push Ward off to a corner! I was allowed to leave the floor with Matt and head to the cafe for some food. Thankfully I wasn't starving because the midwife said it was fine for me to snack lightly throughout the day even while on the meds. We made it back to our room around midnight, yes, it was that late... we learned that unhooking me from Pitocin at 10:30 does not mean I am free at 10:30... they have to monitor the baby for an additional 30-45 minutes! As we laid down to rest we thanked the Lord for a baby who was healthy and asked for strength to go through day 2 of induction. I'll admit I was a tiny bit disappointed that the Pitocin didn't kickstart anything at all, but pushed those thoughts aside as I tried to get comfortable to sleep. I had this dull ache in my lower back that sort of stretched around to the left side, like a sore muscle. It wasn't until around 3:00 in the morning that I was able to really rest without the uncomfortable ache and drifted to sleep with thoughts of meeting my sweet, healthy boy soon!

6:30 a.m. Same routine as Thursday only this time I wasn't as nervous about being on Pitocin since I made it through to the max the day before. I had a new nurse and new midwife on duty and we were ready for a new day. I had a vaginal exam first thing and was informed that I was still at 2 cm, which I'll be honest and say this made my heart sink a bit. We requested minimal vaginal exams to reduce the risk of bacteria and to help us stay focused on what matters - truthfully dilation numbers do not matter because every woman advances through labor at her own pace regardless of what number she is dilated to. I remember thinking, today could be the day, as I readied myself for round 2 of Pitocin. The nurse came to start the IV only to disrupt my positive thinking with, "I'm sorry, but we're going to have to run a new hep-lock." Really?! Evidently the one in my right hand was no longer good after just one day, not to mention it was painful, so she set about poking my other hand. After a few minutes (and calling in for assistance because it wasn't easy locating a good vein), I was hooked up and ready to go. The plan for today was to start at a level 2 again, and go up every 15 minutes instead of every half hour. So we began...
Friday Morning
...we walked the floor...chatted with family...played cards...walked some more (by now nurses and other staff knew us and would talk with us)...toted Ward around...continued having multiple adjustments and tightenings of the bands holding the fetal monitoring system to my belly...counted exit signs....started to feel discouraged...made up names for all the photos of people on the wall...

And before we knew it we were at a level 36, the max, by the afternoon with only minimal contractions taking place. I could feel them when I walked, sometimes stronger than others, but when I stopped walking they would slow down, meaning I was not in true labor. And remember that ache I felt the night before? Well it came back early that afternoon and we had to call the nurse, who called the midwife, to try to diagnose what was going on. It was not my kidneys, nor my gallbladder (which women with cholestasis have a higher chance of gallbladder problems) and putting hot towels on the spot did not help. I did not want to seem like a wimp because hello! I'm supposed to be able to handle having a baby, but this pain wore me down and the first of the tears came. They were quiet tears, the kind that you try to stifle because they shouldn't be there. I'm supposed to feel contractions, not this crazy ache! My sweet husband did all he could to make me comfortable as we snuggled on the hospital bed just waiting in silence at what was to happen next. It was 5:00 and I had been at a level 36 for a while... I looked down at my legs and feet, noting how HUGE they were. I had felt like I was retaining water when walking around floor 4 became more uncomfortable for me in my legs earlier that day. A nurse shared with us that yes, Pitocin does make you retain water, and it was then that I couldn't bare the thought of going until 10:00 that night maxed out on Pit with nothing happening. My body wasn't really responding and yesterday and today's total of Pit in my system was close to 27 hours . True, we had a couple good contractions earlier but nothing long-lasting so we called the midwife in for a chat.

We talked about the pain in my back/side/now abdomen, and how swollen my body was, and how no contractions were happening anymore. We asked if we could stop the Pitocin and get some rest for the next day. Third time is a charm, right? That's what the staff would tell us as we walked multiple times past them that day. Our midwife said she knows we are disappointed, but she was receiving pressure from hospital staff that were above her to give me something else or break my water. She said she was working hard to be our advocate, knowing we wanted our water to break on its own, but tomorrow something would have to happen because we were there to have a baby due to my condition. We were given an option of her breaking my water in the morning and starting Pitocin, or starting Pitocin first for a bit the next day and then having my water broken if the Pit wasn't enough. We opted for the latter of the two, which was perfectly fine with her, but to appease the big guys, I was to stay on Pitocin until 10:00 that night. Matt and I appreciated the midwife's consideration, yet we were feeling frustrated. To add to our confusing thoughts and sleep deprived minds, a nurse walked in a couple hours later to inform us that unfortunately we were being moved to the 5th floor. I remember my heart beating quickly as I thought about packing up our things and leaving the room we had tried so hard to establish as our own in preparation for birth. It was December 30, and evidently a lot of women come in to have babies at the end of the year... they were running out of room. Since I wasn't "doing anything" I was asked to move up a floor just for the night and they would have a room for me in the morning where I would start day 3 of Pitocin. Boy, oh boy.

It was late. We packed up our things and were shown to our new room. I cried a little. I was relieved to be off Pitocin, yet had such an aching pain in my side that I felt was related to the induction. I was also so tight in my legs and feet that I was numb. Matt's hug felt so comforting as we took deep breaths trying to let everything sink in. Our baby was still healthy, my body needed Pitocin to work but was developing an adverse reaction to it, and we were beyond tired. Spending your third night in the hospital with no baby yet not only wears on you physically, but it had begun to affect us emotionally as well. What was God waiting for? I remember walking to the cafe to get some decent food before bed, and I just sat on a chair in the lobby and cried. I could hardly walk due to being so swollen and the pain in my side was excruciating. Today was not the day we were meeting our son. Matt held my hand and spoke encouraging words to me. I knew he was feeling discouraged too... it was in his eyes as he tried to help me look for the positive in our situation. Here was my husband trying to be strong for me and I was falling apart that Friday night. The word why kept buzzing through my head. It brought back those same feelings I had in the parking lot of the grocery store after I was told I had cholestasis. Those confusing, scary feelings had resurfaced and I tried to keep my head above the spiral of thoughts and emotions that were coming. It wasn't easy... we finally managed to get to sleep that night in our new, much smaller, room, with questions of the unknown floating through our minds.

6:30 a.m. Again, the same routine as the two days before. I was up and showered only to find that no nurse had come in yet to tell us what was to happen that day. Matt actually searched for our nurse telling her we had to be downstairs by 7:00 for Pitocin. Nope, not anymore. You see, they were still full from all the laboring women the night before. I felt my heart sink just a little bit because I was up and ready for a new day... I was ready to give birth to my baby and wanted to get started as soon as I could! We were told it would be another hour so to not wander too far. We ate breakfast in the room and called family to catch them up on the latest. Time ticked by ever so slowly and it was not until noon that I was finally back downstairs ready to be hooked up. Talk about a late start!

When we reached our new room back down on the 4th floor, we were happy to see that we still had a great view and went about making the room our own. The midwife on duty (my 4th at this point) came in to have a chat about what to expect for the day. She was so kind and reassuring and told me some of the greatest words I had heard since my stay... "why don't you go outside for 20 minutes?" I was free! It was only for 20 minutes, but I had not been outside since Wednesday night and the thought of fresh air made me giddy. Matt and I felt a surge of energy when we walked out the doors and headed straight for the labyrinth on the hospital campus. We walked and prayed and were pleasantly surprised at the warm 60 degrees we felt on that last day in December. God was doing something with us, we knew that much, and some of the anxiety drifted away into the air. All too soon we made our way back to the fourth floor, with hope that today could be the day we meet our baby.

While I waited on the nurse to come start the Pit, I came out of the bathroom staring at my left arm... the one with the hep-lock. It was unusually large so Matt called the nurse in right away. I wanted to hide when she told me that the vein was broken, resulting in fluid sitting in my arm. When I say sitting, I mean it had literally caused the underside of my arm to bulge - like the fluid had never left that spot but was just flowing into a puddle inside of me. Matt helped me onto the bed, because at this point getting up and down was difficult, and we waited for another IV to be inserted. It took her, along with the help of another nurse, to figure out where to stick me. After that was done, they set about putting the fetal monitoring system onto my belly (which at this point had small blisters from the constant use of gel the two days before). Unfortunately, today, the day when we know labor was to officially start because they were going to make it so, there was no mobile unit. I was tethered to not only dear Ward, but a machine on the shelf less than four feet from me... until a mobile one became available. Trying not to let it get me down, we set up the birthing ball, laptop, and games close to the unit so we could still labor as we pleased in spite of being relatively immobile. I watched as the Pitocin began its steady drip down the tube and into my body once more, praying I would be done with this medicine long before I endure another 14 hour day of it. I tried to put it out of my mind and dove into a game of King's Corners with the daddy of my soon-to-arrive baby boy.

Four hours passed with mild, inconsistent contractions before the midwife came in and with our permission, broke my water. Doing my best to relax while she inserted the hook, I felt hardly anything when my water broke. She said baby Matthew's head was pressing very firmly on my cervix and we should definitely see a change in pace... and we certainly did!
Related Posts with Thumbnails