Fast, easy birth. NICU stay for infection. Healthy baby and back home within the week.
At around 6am on Thursday, September 17th I woke up as I couldn’t get comfortable in bed and decided that I could just nap later. Once I was up and eating breakfast I realized that it could possibly be some type of pressure wave / contraction. They were different than the type that I had had earlier in the week. These were more achy where the other ones were more wave like from top to bottom. I tried to ignore them as I knew they could mean little and there was the possibility that they could go away completely.
Later in the morning when Matt woke up I mentioned that there was a little something going on, but that we shouldn’t think about it as things could change at any time. We went about our day with a walk for Dakota, our Lab Shar Pei mix and a walk to our appointment with our midwife. At our 41 week appointment we talked about the following week and the options we would have to get things moving so Baby would arrive before 42 weeks. I also told her that I was feeling something but that there wasn’t any consistency and that they were very mild.
After our appointment we went home and did a few things before heading off to Costco to pick up some items we needed before Baby arrived. The trip was fairly uneventful with the exception of some more pressure waves / contractions and my body deciding that it needed to clean itself out. I also enjoyed the samples that they had throughout the store. We went back home where we had some lunch and the pressure waves / contractions continued. They had a little more intensity but were still quite inconsistent. I would lay down on the couch to rest and get comfortable and started doing some word finds to keep my mind off things.
At around 4pm Matt called our midwife to let her know things were starting to get regular with pressure waves being between 3 and 9 minutes apart and 15 – 30 seconds long. They would increase and decrease in time between pressure waves. I also had the awesome time of throwing up at one point, something my midwife told me meant 1 centimeter of dilation, a good thing in my mind, but not fun. Our midwife suggested taking a nap and resting as I would need the energy later and she also told us to call once things were closer together, more like 5 minutes or less apart and 45 – 90 seconds long.
By 7 or 7:30pm the pressure waves were coming more and more regularly but were still only 30 seconds long. I was starting to wonder how I would ever make it through the birthing if it were to go for several more hours with the same spacing in time. We had studied Hypnobabies birthing for the last half of the pregnancy with both me and Matt studying the materials. Thankfully Matt was with me as his birth partner portion was extremely helpful as it allowed me to breathe through the pressure waves / contractions. When he would step away I could feel the pain and pressure, but if he was there it was so much better. The pressure waves / contractions were about 1 – 2 minutes apart at this point, close enough that I was having a hard time resting between them. I was also starting to wonder how women ever made it through labor when things were happening like they were but only longer.
I kept telling Matt that it felt like I had to take a poop and that there was so much pressure on my bottom. I continued to feel like I needed to push and they were pushing without my help. To this point we had none of our birthing supplies set up. I had planned to labor and birth in a birth tub, but that was still in the back yard and the hose wasn’t even close to being connected. I told Matt that we really needed to get the bed ready so that we at least had one place to birth if the tub wasn’t ready. We stripped the bead and he continued getting it ready with the shower curtains and clean sheets on top, all the while I was having pressure waves / contractions and needed him to help me through them.
Our midwife called us around 8 or 8:30pm to see how things were and Matt told her that I was feeling pressure and that the pressure waves / contractions were pretty close together but not very long in duration. She told us she was headed over and would be there soon. Not long after I decided that I needed to poop again or at least had the sensation to. In my mind, I knew that the “poop” feeling was really more and could mean that baby was close, but didn’t realize how close things were. I decided to go sit on the toilet to see if I could get anything out but as I sat down I realized what the feeling was that was rubbing on the shorts I was wearing, it was my bag of water bulging out of me.
I called Matt over and told him what I was feeling and he looked and saw the bag of water and the baby’s head inside of it. He also happened to be on the phone with our midwife and described what he saw. I was squatting somewhat and in one pressure wave / contraction the entire head came out. Our midwife told Matt to have me lay down and as I walked towards the bed the next pressure wave / contraction hit my water broke and Baby came shooting out and onto the floor. Matt quickly dropped the phone with our midwife on it and grabbed Baby off the floor. I turned and noticed that the umbilical cord was detached from the pressure of Baby coming out. I grabbed my bath towel off the wall and gave it to Matt as he was embracing Baby to keep it warm. I dashed to the bed where he quickly brought baby over so that I could keep Baby warm.
At this point our midwife and intern midwife were pulling up to our house and came flying in. They immediately started tying off the umbilical cord and checking over baby and helping deliver the placenta (I had completely forgotten about this part!). Zi’s color wasn’t the best and our midwives decided that washing her wouldn’t be a good idea as it would lower her body temperatures. She was also given oxygen to help her out. Matt and I settled into bed with Zi wrapped up tight to keep her warm as our amazing midwives began cleaning up the bathroom and hallway. They also brought us food in bed; I can’t tell you how nice this was! We were able to stay together as a family in bed enjoying our new baby while everything else around us was being done.
Our midwives decided that it would be best if they spent the night so they could check Zi’s vitals after such a tremendous delivery. They came in every hour and checked on her and at 4am noticed that her respiratory numbers were lower than where they should have been. Our midwife suggested that we go in to the hospital as she wasn’t comfortable with us being home all day if her numbers were low. Matt and I discussed it and after about an hour and the respiratory numbers still low, we decided to head in to the hospital.
At 6am we headed out to Denver Health Medical Center, not the first trip we had planned for Zi, but one we thought was necessary. When we arrived at the hospital we were greeted by a quiet pediatric section with no other patients. The entire staff in the ER was so kind and gentle with Zi. They put her on the monitors and began evaluating her. Our midwife was amazing and stayed with us through the morning, helping to answer the questions they had. One of the more difficult parts was when they put an IV in her arm, including a large IV board. Matt was kind enough to stay with her as I couldn’t bear to see her go through that.
Around mid afternoon they finally decided to move us up to the NICU for observation. Once up in NICU we were able to start to work on breastfeeding, something Zi seemed to be a pro with, but Mom needed a little work, especially with her nipples. With the help of nipple shields, we were able to get a successful latch and get Zi on her way to a good afternoon snack. They eventually moved us to our own room on the NICU floor and Matt and I started to settle in for what was to be a couple days of observation.
At around one in the morning on Saturday one of the resident doctors came by and told us that her blood work came back with a bacteria growth and that they wanted to start a seven day antibiotic treatment. Matt was up and decided that we really didn’t have much choice as it would be difficult to get rid of without. Poor Zi was continually being poked and prodded and listened to, something that she would have liked to have done without, especially all of the monitors they had connected to her.
Matt and I took turns sleeping on the pull out chair and rocking our little girl throughout the night and during the day. Thankfully on Sunday afternoon they were able to get us a room on the Mom and Baby floor where there were two beds and where Zi would be able to stay with us without being connected to any monitors. Each day was more of the same: IV’s at 1am, 9am and 5pm as well as vitals taken throughout the day and check-ups from the pediatrician and the resident doctors.
My Mom was able to fly up the day after Zi was born so Matt and I were able to take a couple quick trips home to clean up and refresh without having to put Zi in the nursery. On Tuesday the pediatrician came in and told us they thought we could probably go home, but once they ran it by the infectious disease specialist, they came back and told us we had to wait out the full seven day antibiotic treatment as the specialist wanted to be sure the infection was gone. I was extremely sad that we wouldn’t be able to take our little girl home and that she would have to endure another three days of treatment, but it was what would be best for her. They originally thought the infection was Group B Strep since I hadn’t gotten tested, but once the culture grew out it was diagnosed as Enterococcus Faecalis Bacteremia, something they really have no clue about how she got it.
Throughout the week the nurses kept their fingers crossed as they would run her IV, hoping that it would hold out. It was done twice in the same arm and later in the week they couldn’t get the IV in anywhere and asked if we would allow it in her head, which we were. I knew it would be easier for them to get and whatever we needed to do for Zi, we would do. Finally, finally, finally on Friday, September 25th, they gave us the all clear to head home after her last IV at 5pm. Once the last IV went through, we waited for permission to take the IV out of her head, something I don’t really care to see her go through ever again. We had them cut the tape off as it kept pulling her little hair and she kept crying. After all was calm and we were cleared, we were on our way, something a full week in the making. It was so good to be able to bring Zi back to her home where she was born a week prior, a place much calmer and comfortable compared the hospital.
All in all I wouldn’t change a thing. I loved laboring at home, being in a place where Matt and I were both comfortable. We did the research; we prepared our minds and our home. We loved our midwife and trusted her and her intern. Zi came quickly, but perfect. I’m very thankful that our midwife was concerned enough to have us head to the hospital. I’m content knowing we did what we needed to do to make sure our baby would be healthy. We don’t know what would have happened if things would have been different and we hadn’t had such a quick birth and we hadn’t gone to the hospital. Everything happens for a reason and we would do it again in a heartbeat.