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Rosie's Birth Story - "Did we just have a cat?"

Rosie's Birth Story - "Did we just have a cat?"



My birth plan was simple. The plan was to schedule the C-section date for 39 weeks, go in and get drugs immediately, remove baby, stitch me up and be on our way. No pain was to be felt. Because of complications with Monty's birth (read his birth here) it ended in a C-Section. I recovered quickly and easily and ended up loving my experience with it.  I'm not trying to be any sort of hero. There are so many other mamas who do that. I'm happy to be the wimp over here begging for more drugs. I called and scheduled the C-section date for Februrary 17th. We were so close! I noticed that I had been itchy for a day or two. The itching was very specifically on my palms and my feet. I didn't sleep at all that night because of the relentless need to scratch. I had also been having dark orange urine for a week or so, I assumed it was because I had started to take iron but after explaining a few of my symptoms to my mom, she did a quick Google search and got REAL worried REAL fast. There were two diagnoses we were looking at. The first, PUPPS, basically making you itchy all over and you have a pretty noticeable rash. No harm to you or baby just incredibly annoying. Somewhat common with pregnant women. The second, far less common, Cholestasis, where bile from the gallbladder is slowed or stopped up because of pregnancy. Symptoms include dark urine and itchiness specifically targeted to the palms and feet. Main risk is to baby. Babies are typically still born after 37 weeks due to the bile acids getting into the blood stream. It seemed clear which one I had but the odds were so slim. Only 1 in 1000 pregnancies have this. Monday January 11th I called the doctors office and explained my symptoms to a nurse and she immediately sent me to get tested at the hospital. I had an appointment with my doctor the next morning so they said we would just review the test results then. Once I got my blood drawn I felt a sense of peace. We would get answers soon and then we could tackle it from there. Tuesday January 12th - 34 weeks Laying down in the table Dr. Lameroux measured me and mentioned I was measuring small. I asked how the test results came back and he was confused. The nurse who ordered the test had asked a different doctor at the practice to order me to get labs so Dr. Lameroux had no idea going into the appointment there were test results to review. He started to review the test results and I could tell immediately things were not good. As he reviewed the numbers he asked me to come to the other room just to do a quick ultrasound on baby, I didn't think anything of it at the time. Searching around for the heartbeat... and there it is. Everything looks good. (breathe). Ok so what are we looking at. I definitely have Cholestasis and while they can't confirm that higher numbers mean things are worse, my numbers are higher than most cases so they are going to take more extreme precautions. I have been ordered to see Dr. L once a week, get two non-stress tests a week and meet with a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist to get more details on how we will proceed. They are watching my fluids to make sure they are maintaining and to put it simply they are just making sure everything looks good and baby is still alive. There is a medication that is prescribed but it typically only helps with the itching. I left the doctors office and I realized I hadn't asked him any questions. So at this point all I know is that my body is poisoning baby girl, and there is nothing that can be done to help her on the inside, we will just watch her closely and hope she is ok between non-stress tests until 37 weeks. Also I need to watch VERY closely for kick movement, If you notice a slowing in her kicking come right in. Ok.. so ALL the pressure is on me to make sure she is alive?? (more on this later) I called the MFM and try to get an appointment, the receptionist is awful and mean and said they can't see me for three weeks. "Ok... well my baby could not be alive at that point soooo." "Well I'm sorry that's all we have open right now." Cue massive amounts of tears. This isn't good enough. What if she isn't ok? Why can't they take her out now? I  mean I know it'd be early and there are risks but we can't do anything while she's on the inside. At least on the outside we can let modern medicine help her instead of just waiting to see if she's good till 37 weeks? Nothing makes sense. Ok let's get down to what's really scaring us. How fast acting is this? If I get a non stress test in the morning can she be gone that night? I was a total mess. I didn't feel good about any of this. So I called the office again and got in touch with a nurse. I explained the awful nasty receptionist and she assured me she would call the MFM and get an appointment set up sooner. I also asked her the one question that was stressing us, "how fast acting is this?" She was quick to calm me and tell me that this isn't a fast acting disease and they will absolutely catch it in time before anything goes wrong. She also let me know the details of my levels, I'm around a level 67. I went to bed feeling more calm about things. However, I was on high alert all night for movement... referring back to the kick monitoring. I was absolutely terrified that if I slept and I missed a slowing in her movement then she might be gone already and it was my fault for not watching close enough. I didn't sleep most the night, constantly waking up to check for movement, once I was awake the itching started and it would take an hour to get back to sleep only to wake up again to make sure she's still alive. Wednesday January 13thIMG_4768 I decided to reach out to a motherhood group I am part of to get some support. Several mothers reached out and talked about their success stories which brought great comfort. A good friend also hesitantly reached out. She text me and let me know that she was disgnosed with Cholestasis (levels were in the 40's) with her pregnancy with her beautiful daughter that she lost at 36 weeks. She had a non-stress test in the morning and her sweet girl was gone by that night. I had no idea that that was the reason for her stillbirth. She called and helped me come up with questions that I need to ask the doctor and the specialist and helped me  feel a little more like I was the one in charge. She helped me grow a pair and take charge of my situation. It was so sweet of her to talk to me about such a sensitive subject. So the nurse said it's not fast acting and my friend's experience was just the opposite. So now I am feeling completely unsettled. Around 10 am I started to get quite a few Braxton Hicks in a row, they were pretty consistent but weren't painful at all. A friend came over for a play date with Monty and her girl and they continued through out but still not painful. The Braxton hicks continued all night they were four minutes apart but I just wasn't worried because they weren't painful.  My mom came over to help put Monty to sleep and help me clean my house and get a few things done for baby girls room. Dane got home that night and I asked him for a blessing. I wont share the detail but the one thing that needs to be mentioned is he said, "Please bless Ali's body to get this baby here safely and when the time is right." I went to bed and waited for movement. I slept for 30 minutes then woke up to monitor kicks. The itching seemed to be moving to more places, my belly, arms and neck were all getting worse and I couldn't sleep at all. I would drift off then be woken up simply by fear. it's the weirdest thing to describe. I was terrified that everything was up to me. If I moved wrong, if I didn't notice a change in my body, if I didn't notice that she stopped moving then it's all my fault. The pressure was too much. I drifted in and out of sleep all night and got around two hours of sleep in total. Thursday January 14th I hadn't felt movement for at least four hours and around 7 am the Braxton Hicks were getting closer together and seemed a little different than they were earlier in the day and they had the tiniest tinge of pain. I had the meeting with the specialist that afternoon so I was hesitant to go but my mom convinced me to go in to Labor and Delivery and just get checked for peace of mind. I got to triage and they immediately found a heartbeat. The nurse had unfortunate bedside manners and was a real beyotch. I said it. She was awful and I had no patience for that right now. She treated me like I was dumb for coming in and just said, "yep a lot of people get pre-term contractions, they just deal with it." The doctor dismissed me and I bawled all the way out. I couldn't handle the pressure of knowing that everything depended on me and if I felt her moving since apparently the non-stress test doesn't really help. Meeting with the specialist Dane and I went to the specialist appointment with a long list of questions. He is the head honcho of Maternal Fetal Medicine in Utah county. He's a seriously big deal, he also is the guy who says yes you can have baby early or no you can't. He sat us down and said I will tell you everything we know about Cholestasis and then you can ask me your questions if I haven't answered them. The doctor talked pretty fast but he answered ALL of our questions and the main conclusion we came to is they really don't know that much about Cholestasis. Since it is somewhat rare they just don't have enough data to provide facts about it. What they do know is that it is safest to take baby out at 37 weeks to avoid still birth. I asked him how fast acting it is and he said "it's hard to say, but yes it is possible to get a good reading in the morning and lose the baby that night..." Ok... Cool.. I begged him to let me get baby out earlier than 37 week and he agreed to let my doctor do our C-Section at 36 weeks as long as we are aware of the risks in taking her out early. We felt confident that she would be better out than in at this point. Throughout the entire appointment I had been having what I still thought were Braxton hicks (with Monty's pregnancy I didn't feel any contractions, my water broke at home and I got the epidural pretty darn quick). The doctor said that he wanted me to go back to Labor and delivery because "you look like you're having pretty consistent, intense contractions." I knew it!! I wasn't crazy! We headed over to the hospital to get checked again only to find out no dilation so they were sending us home again. I cried and cried and cried. Seriously couldn't stop. I was absolutely terrified of so many things. I was terrified of the pain that Tylenol wasn't even touching (I was at a pain level 6 at this point) seriously when doctors tell me to take Tylenol for pain I want to punch them in the gut. I was scared of the outcome of going home, what if tonight was the night that we lost her? Dr. Lameroux called me to try and make sure I was ok with being dismissed and I explained my fear to him and he reassured me that things look good right now. But he told me that if for any reason I'm worried again to go back in. We got home around 9 and that's when the real pain set in. I spent the next 7 hours in full blown labor, but because "some people just get contractions" I thought it was normal. I called my sweet cousin (in-law, is that a thing? my husbands cousin) who is a doula and she specializes in natural birth. I felt like if I was going to have this pain for the next two weeks I needed some techniques for conquering the pain. I called her in tears at 1 am after writhing in pain for a few hours. She gave me a few tips for easing the pain but mostly she was a total pillar of strength. She sent me the most uplifting and needed messages through out the night that were SO empowering. Between fear, pain and itching I didn't sleep for a second. I took a long bath around 2 am I think and it helped. I can't remember honestly. The back labor + contractions had become unbearable and the itching was still relentless. This was me in bed at 1 am in the worst pain. I text a friend and said let's just hope this isn't labor day!IMG_4790 (1) Friday January 15th - 34 weeks 3 days IMG_4665Around 4:45 am I called it. The pain was was around a level 8 now, I was wailing, and I still haven't slept at this point. So I woke Dane and told him I was gong to go in again. Because both Dane and I were at the hospital so late the night before, my mom kept Monty overnight, so Dane was able to come with me. Let me tell you this. I love my husband with every fiber of my being. He's the greatest man for me and he was so incredible this whole pregnancy. Being married to him has taught me one thing however, he is the WORST in the morning. The worst person and he moves at a turtles pace. It is the cause of 30% of our fights, the rest are because I'm psycho but you need that preface to understand this next part. We were both tired, he didn't sleep great due to my constant moaning and grumbling and walking around, you know labor stuff, but when I told him we needed to go in, he decided it was  good idea to eat cereal before we left and in his sleepy state it was at a turtle's pace. Meanwhile I was going from table to floor to counter to floor through all of these contractions. While turtle boy ate his cereal, I should have been packing a hospital bag or something productive between contractions, now 3 minutes apart and :45 second long,  but I was out of my brain in pain and didn't even think of that for a second. He finished up and we headed out and went over EVERY POSSIBLE bump in the road. Just kidding, he did try to avoid them, our city just doesn't believe in repairing roads. We arrived at the Labor and Delivery again (3rd time in 24 hours... ) at 5:30 am and the next two hours were filled with nonsense, waiting and waiting to see if this is false labor, the doctor didn't want to admit me quite yet. At 7:30 they decide to try Terbutaline - used to stop contractions if labor is false. That is when the real pain set in, it spaced the contractions out to 5 minutes apart but when they hit they were a minute long and sometimes longer and I was at a full pain level 10. Dane was pushing on my knees to relieve the pain in my back. I was weeping at this point and begging them to give me drugs or to do something to help relieve the pain but they weren't able to give me drugs because if I really was in labor it messes with the c-section? I still don't understand. I was at my breaking point. That's when the nurse came in and said, "Welp looks like you're really in labor!" "No Crap." Only I didn't say crap. (any Christmas Story fans out there?) Dr. L walked in my room and I started to bawl. I love my doctor so much and here he was to see this baby through. He came in on his day off to deliver me. He had helped me through so much at this point I couldn't imagine any other doctor doing it at this point. They had both Dane and I suit up for the C-section, for those of you wondering why I decided to do a c-section again and not try for a VBAC, it's because I loved my c-section. There's your reason. They took me back alone and they gave me the spinal just as another contraction was happening. Dr. Lameroux held my hands and as soon as the spinal kicked in he said, "Let's have a baby." Dane came in and held my hand and they started the operation. Two things happen when I'm giving birth, I get super weepy, and I crack really inappropriate jokes both of which were happening. I was so nervous because a cry was SO important in this situation, a premie at 34 weeks was serious and her lungs were really in question. Before we knew it they were asking if I wanted to see her be pulled out. I absolutely did, so they put up a clear cover and then they said, "Ok Ali! Get ready, here she comes!". And there she was so pink and tiny and perfect and then the cry! She cried a loud strong cry! Good girl baby girl!! I said what any sentimental mother would say, "did we have a cat? She sounds like a cat!" Totally normal. 5 lbs and 16.5 inches! Such a healthy size for how early she was! They did the entire surgery in 23 minutes flat! Everything looked good at this point as far as I knew. Dane went off with baby girl and I finished getting stitched up, meanwhile spouting off inappropriate jokes to my doctor in between sobs. They wheeled me to recovery and the nurse told me that she was going to go grab me some water really quick and I joked about taking a quick nap. I woke up  from the most glorious nap I have ever taken to 10-13 nurses and doctors standing around me, one woman beating the crud out of my chest and another yelling my name and asking if I knew where I was... I did know where I was and I was pretty pissed they were waking me up from my nap, but I couldn't keep my eyes open, and I couldn't seem to talk to them. to be continued...  
Rosie's Birth Story - NICU

Rosie's Birth Story - NICU

Rosie's Birth Story - "I think I can."

Rosie's Birth Story - "I think I can."