You are three weeks old! SURPRISE! The last three weeks have been a whirlwind of your labor and delivery, a nine-day NICU stay, and then adjusting to life at home, but I wanted to write out your birth story while it’s fresh on my (sleepy) mind. I will include as many details as possible, mostly for me to look back on in later years. I know that neither you nor most readers will probably care about the little details, but I will want to remember them! So this story will not be in 2nd person like the rest of my entries. (Did you know I’m a former English teacher?)
Know that you are my absolute joy and my whole heart. I can’t believe you’re mine! I am loving getting to know you! I already feel so proud of you for all you’ve learned as a preemie, and even though NICU was so hard, I’m so glad you’re already here!
I love you forever,
Tuesday, February 16th, we went to our 34 week appointment at Dr. Rivera’s. It was our last big ultrasound to have, so my mom joined us. Everything looked great! Our ultrasound tech estimated that Adam already weighed 5 lb, 9oz based off of his measurements. That seemed so big to me considering I had six more weeks to go! She also said that my cervix had not softened at all and that they’d want to see some softening in the next few weeks.
Then we went to Dish Society for a delicious lunch.
That evening, Randy and I went to Blaire McBeth’s season opener softball game. It was a very exciting game and Cy-Ranch won! We came home and got ready for bed and fell asleep around 10:30.
At 11pm, I woke up to what I can best describe as a SNAP feeling inside of me… then GUSH! I threw the blanket off of me, sat up, and said, “Randy? Randy! My water just broke!!” as it continued to gush out of me. He hopped up and ran to get me towels. I couldn’t believe how much water it was! I remember feeling shock and disbelief because it just wasn’t time yet. I knew this was too early. Randy asked me, “So what now? Are you in labor?” To which I replied, “I DON’T KNOW!!” I hadn’t had any contractions yet, and I had just heard 11 hours prior that my cervix hadn’t softened at all! I also had not:
– printed out my birth “plan” (HA!)
– packed my hospital bag
– washed any of Adam’s clothes
– hung anything on the nursery walls
– installed the car seat
– finalized my birth playlist
– attended my last baby shower
– finished our birth classes (irony: the next course we were to take was entitled, “Unexpected Things”)
So, Randy GOOGLED “34 weeks pregnant water broke” while I was in the bathroom. We decided I better call my doctor’s answering service. While I was on the phone with the lady, I had my first contraction and asked Randy to download a contractions app. Dr. Rivera called me and asked if I was sure I hadn’t just urinated on myself. I was pretty dang sure! He told me to go on in to the hospital and they would do a test to see if my membrane had in fact ruptured.
We started throwing random stuff in a bag. We would pause and look at each other and say, “He’s coming! As in, he’ll be here tomorrow.” We grabbed Adam’s coming home outfit and I told Randy he could just wash it in the sink at the hospital. (I didn’t realize that he would be way too small for it as a preemie. We had no preemie clothes!) I tried calling Shellie to tell her I would not be able to come into work that next day and hoped she would get the message before the morning.
We headed to Memorial Hermann Katy as I tracked my contractions. They were about 30-40 seconds long and 3-4 minutes apart and very consistent. We had to go in through the emergency room since it was in the middle of the night. It wasn’t a very busy night at the hospital. First we went to the wrong floor (shows how well I paid attention at the maternity tour!), but eventually we found labor and delivery. They took me into triage where Micheau gave me a hospital gown, took my vitals, drew blood, and asked me a million questions. They did the test which showed that my water definitely broke. (Hello?!? I kept telling them that!) At 2am, they had the overnight on-call doctor come in to do my first cervical check. I was already 100% effaced and dilated to 4cm! It had only been three hours! I was definitely being admitted. They started prepping my labor and delivery room. It took them awhile to set it up since a transportable NICU incubator was needed.
They left the room and I called my mom to tell her I was in labor. She and my dad arrived at the hospital about an hour later just as I was being transferred from triage to a labor and delivery room. My parents and Randy sat in there with me for a while. I could chat with them in between contractions, but I was getting really tired. My parents went to sit in the waiting room and Randy stayed with me, even managing to get some sleep on the couch next to me.
Since I didn’t have my birth play list finalized, we moved to Plan B and played All Sons and Daughters on Pandora. It played for the remainder of my labor, and these beautiful worship songs took on a whole new meaning for me. I prayed the lyrics of songs like: “You Make Me Brave,” “Great Are You Lord” (“It’s Your breath in our lungs”), “Holy Spirit” (Holy Spirit, You’re welcome here”), “It Is Well” (“Let go, my soul, and trust in Him; the waves and wind still know His name”), and I was reminded that God himself designed new life to be brought forth this way. He wove it into the fabric of the earth. Since the beginning, this was how new life was created, and I was not alone. I was created to do this.
At 6:30am, I was 6cm dilated, and the contractions were getting pretty intense, as I had no amniotic fluid cushion. I had to be on IV antibiotics since I had not yet had the Group B Strep test (which would have been done at my 36 week appointment), but otherwise, I had planned all along to go drug free. Erin was my wonderful night nurse, and before her shift change at 7am, I asked her what my options for IV pain medication were. I did not want an epidural. She was honest with me and told me my IV option would make me groggy and help me rest in between contractions but would not relieve any pain during contractions. I said, “Forget it!” and stuck with my plan to go all-natural. I wanted to be coherent when Adam finally arrived.
At the shift change, my new day nurse came in to introduce herself. She said, “My name is Jackie. I have three kids and I had two of them all natural. YOU can do this!” She was a God-send in that moment and became my calm cheerleader for the rest of my labor reminding me that no one else could deliver this baby besides me. I’m not sure if I could have done it without her! God bless nurses!
At some point that morning, Ma, Pa, Andrew, and Shellie joined my parents in the waiting room. It felt great knowing they were there. (Jonathan was out of town for work.)
By 8am, Dr. Rivera arrived and I was 8cm dilated, and by 9am I was 9cm dilated (and exhausted!). I was excited to be progressing and figured that I must be getting closer.
At 10am, I was still at 9cm.
At 11am, I was still at 9cm. (OUCH!!)
My cervix never fully dilated and Adam was stuck on the top half of my cervix. Jackie had me get on my hands and knees in the bed for 30 minutes to try to move him. No such luck.
Any other doctor would have probably pushed surgery at that point, but at 11:45, Dr. Rivera came in and manually lifted my cervix over Adam’s head. This was extremely painful, but it allowed me to finally move forward with labor.
At 12:05pm, I started pushing. Being a rookie at labor and delivery, I had no idea what I was doing and wasted about 30 minutes of pushing incorrectly. It sure felt better to push my legs away towards Randy and Jackie than it did to pull them towards my head. Thankfully, it finally clicked with me and I started making some good progress with my pushing. Jackie worked on stretching me during each push which really hurt and made it hard for me to take a deep breath. (Of course, I was soon very thankful for her stretching me so well!) After my third push of each contraction, I couldn’t catch my breath, and this is where Randy shined. As I was basically hyperventilating and Adam’s heart rate would increase, Randy would remind me to relax my forehead and relax my jaw (two tips he learned from our prenatal yoga session with Lexi at Om Grown Yoga that I blogged about previously) which would allow me to take a deep breath and lower my heart rate (and Adam’s). This impressed the nurses. J Go Randy!
At 1:06pm, they made me stop pushing. They set up for delivery and brought Dr. Rivera back in. When I started crowning, they said, “He has blonde hair!” Randy and I looked at each other in disbelief! We both thought he would have dark hair! They asked if we wanted to see and rolled over a mirror. Seeing him was actually great motivation for me to push hard and get to the finish line. I had been pushing so hard I actually burst a blood vessel in my left eye. Attractive.
At 1:21pm, I gave my final push and Adam Armour Olive was born. The best word I can use to describe that feeling was just RELIEF. I did it. He was here. He started crying and they placed him on my chest very briefly which was so special to me and not always an option with preemies. They delayed the cord clamping and then Randy cut the cord which he had been nervous about. They quickly took Adam to the NICU incubator on the other side of the room and Randy followed. Meanwhile I finished my delivery and Dr. Rivera stitched me up (I only had a minor 1st degree tear – thank you, God!) – still with no drugs! Yowza!
Adam Armour Olive
February 17, 2016
5 lb, 12 oz
18 inches long
blonde hair and big, dark blue, alert eyes
They wrapped him up and brought MY SON to me briefly again for a quick family photo. They let my parents come in, then my grandparents, and then Andrew and Shellie (who gave me a beautiful silver “Mom” necklace as a push present) to meet him. Then the nurses took him to NICU and Randy followed. I stayed in my L&D room for about an hour and then was wheeled to my post-partum room. Randy came back to tell me that Adam was doing good except for needing a feeding tube. Randy was able to wheel me to NICU. Adam was in his cubby and the lid was on so I could only touch him through the sides. That was hard. And I hated seeing that tube in his nose and taped to his face.
We went back to my post-partum room and my parents brought back flowers, balloons, and a late lunch… a TUNA salad sandwich from La Madeleine (I hadn’t had food since dinner the night before, and I hadn’t had tuna in 8 months!). Later that night, Natalie, Addie, and the entire McBeth crew came to see me and got to see Adam in NICU. The whole day was surreal as we were now parents!
Adam had to spend nine days in the NICU learning how to eat and gaining weight. His cubby lid was able to be lifted quickly, his feeding tube was taken out on Day 2, and he learned how to suck on a paci, then on a bottle, then on a nipple shield, and finally breastfeed. His weight got down to 5 lb, 2 oz, and then got back up to 5 lb, 4 oz. where he plateaued for a couple of days. He was discharged weighing 5 lbl, 6 oz. He wooed ALL of the NICU nurses which we were especially blessed by. God bless Sree, Lindsey, Traci, Valarie, Dee, Melissa, Daya, “Anne Hathaway,” and Trina. They all cared for Adam well and taught us so many helpful things!
Either Randy or I stayed the night with Adam every single night. It was difficult for me to recover in the NICU. I slept on a very uncomfortable couch, there was one public family bathroom on the floor but far from Adam’s room, and we couldn’t eat in his room. But I knew that Adam was doing so well for a baby in NICU, and it was all worth it to bring him home on Friday, February 26th.
Other fun memories:
* It was quite fun attending my last baby shower four days after Adam was born! I got to share my birth story with all of the ladies and everyone was so kind and encouraging.
* HUGE thanks to my mom for helping us transition to life at home with a baby and for helping us finish Adam’s nursery!
* My car had to go to the shop in the middle of our NICU stay (bad timing!), but thanks to my parents and Kelly Lindsay for helping us out!
* Thanks to our family and friends who brought us meals after we brought Adam home! What a blessing!
* Thanks to The Loken Group for ALL of the diapers!
* Adam’s first pediatrician appointment was three days after we brought him home and he was back up to 5 lb, 10 oz. His next appointment was 11 days later and he weighed in at 6 lb, 5.6 oz! He passed his birth weight! So proud! He is breastfeeding like a champ!