Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cade's birth

originally posted on Facebook, April 6, 2013

Cade's birth was a bit more dramatic than Camille's or Colby's.  Of course, everything about the pregnancy was more dramatic, too! 

Since Cade has Down syndrome, and babies with Down syndrome have a higher risk of stillbirth, our doctors recommended that we have him a tad early, around 39 weeks.  We scheduled a repeat c-section for Tuesday, April 2.  However, if I were to go into labor, then we all agreed that I would attempt a vaginal birth.  I tried with Colby but failed when he got stuck.  Despite all the complications in the pregnancy, my OB and specialists agreed that a vaginal birth was safe to try. 

My mom was able to fly out for 2 weeks so she'd be here to care for Camille and Colby, plus help after the birth.  I was really nervous that Cade would arrive too early, especially since I had some pre-labor symptoms around 32 weeks.  Thankfully things settled down the closer we got to the delivery date.

Friday, March 29, I went in for my final prenatal checkup.  My OB was excited about the birth and we laughed about what would happen if I went into labor over the weekend.  She told me that she was on call all day Saturday starting at 7 am.  Later that same day, Mom arrived, around 1:30 pm.  We went for Mexican for dinner and joked that with Colby, I'd gone into labor after eating Mexican. 

Sure enough, at about 3:30 am on Saturday, I was awake when I felt a mild contraction and then my water broke.  That had never happened before and I lay there for a bit wondering if it really happened.  I went to change clothes and let Shannon know that I thought my water broke.  We both showered, finished packing the hospital bag, then woke Grandma with "It's time!" 

Since Mom had just barely arrived, we hadn't had any time to show her where things were, how to use Colby's cloth diapers, Camille's schedule for school, etc.  We gave her a quick run down, then left for the hospital. 

We arrived at the hospital around 5:30 am and they took me up to triage.  The contractions had kicked in and were coming about every 2 minutes.  Once we got into a labor & delivery room, the contractions were really getting intense.  Much more intense than they were with Colby.  I'd wanted a drug-free birth but it was quickly clear that that wasn't going to happen.  I was only 2 cm dilated and the contractions were almost on top of one another with little rest between.  They put in an IV and gave me some Fentanyl to take the edge off the pain.  That did help a bit and I was able to breathe through the contractions. 

At 7 am, my OB walked in.  I was so thrilled to see her!  I was progressing nicely and was around 3 cm.  I'd also gone ahead and asked for an epidural.  Begged, actually.  I was out of my mind with the pain.  They told me it was so intense because my water had broken already...there was no barrier to dull the contractions.  Most of my time in labor & delivery is a blur.  Once I got the epidural, I was able to rest a little bit.  I could still feel the contractions, but they weren't horrible.  My OB went on rounds, but she told me later that she stopped at every nurses station to check on me via computer. 

Through the morning, I continued to progress perfectly.  When I was dilated to 6, the contractions overwhelmed the epidural and I started feeling the need to push, even though it was too early.  They gave me some more meds but I'd maxed out the epidural.  At this point, I was going to have to "grin and bear" it.  However, Cade didn't give me the chance. 

They call this point in labor "transition" as you go from regular contractions to delivery contractions.  Cade did not handle transition well.  I didn't know it at the time, but his heartrate dropped dangerously.  My OB came in and immediately they started moving the monitors around on my belly, trying to find a better heartrate.  When this didn't produce the results she wanted, they put an internal monitor into the birth canal, right next to him so they'd get a more accurate picture of what was going on.  This didn't produce the results either, so in case the monitor was defective they tried another one.  At this point, she told us that he had 60 seconds to bring up his heartrate and then she was calling it. 

Sixty seconds later, the room flooded with nurses.  I don't remember this part very well, other than agreeing to the c-section and signing some paper with a squiggly line.  I was still reeling from contractions that were less than a minute apart.  Shannon says every nurse had a specific job and each one was on a phone saying "Go!  We're coming NOW to the OR."  Soon I was rolling down the hallway, the lights above flashing by like they do in the movies.  They gave me meds to stop the contractions and take the pressure off the baby.  We were rushed into the OR and things happened very quickly.  I heard a nurse warn my OB that the baby had been off the monitor for 8 minutes.  She answered "I know, I'm almost there." 

Just a couple of minutes later, Cade was born and I heard his cry.  The sweetest sound ever!  They told me later that his heart rate went from 140 (normal) all the way down to 70.  The nurse called it an emergency c-section.  It was a blessing that I'd had an epidural already because that was the only reason I was awake for the birth.  Had I gone drug-free as I'd wanted, I would have been asleep for the surgery.  But during the surgery, Shannon and I were fairly unaware of the severity of the situation. 

Once Cade was out, they brought him to see me, then took him next door (with Shannon) to be evaluated by NICU nurses who were standing by.  They were assessing his immediate condition with the heart defects and any possible unforeseen issues.  Thankfully, Cade was doing great and before long, they brought him back to me.

In my previous births (both cesarean) the babies were brought to me all swaddled like burritos.  Shannon held them while I tried to see their faces.  This time, they brought Cade naked and barely wiped off.  They lifted my gown and laid him skin-to-skin on my chest.  This is called kangaroo care and is really beneficial for babies, but usually it's only allowed for moms who have a regular birth.  Never did I dream that I'd have the opportunity for kangaroo care with a c-section.  The whole time they finished my surgery (about 45 minutes) Cade laid on my chest.  Then for 2 more hours during recovery.  He nursed with a little help from a nurse and fell asleep.  And finally into our Mom & Baby room...he stayed naked on my chest all day long.  When my Mom brought Camille and Colby to visit for the first time, we wrapped Cade in a blanket and they cuddled him close.  It was about 8 hours before he even had a diaper on. 

So in the end, Cade Owen was born at 10:43 am Saturday morning, just 7 hours after my water broke. He weighed 7 lbs 3 oz and was 20 inches long.




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