Sunday, December 9, 2012

Labor & Delivery

On Monday, November 26 at 8 PM we wandered into the Fairfax INOVA Women's and Children's Hospital in exceedingly high spirits.  After months and months of worrying about how the hour long drive along I-95 and the Beltway would go it was a relief to calmly pull up and saunter in without traffic or fear of imminent baby delivery on the lobby floor.  But, with major relief, I was suited up in an oh-so-glamourous hospital gown and lying in a hospital bed well before Baby made her debut into the world.

After debriefing my nurse and getting fully checked in to their new computer system, the MFM resident came in to check Baby's position via sonogram one last time (#21) and to evaluate the condition of my cervix.  At about 70% effaced, 3 CM dilated and -3 vertex station, he decided to hold off on the Cervidil until 2 AM to make sure that things didn't progress too quickly over night -- which given the last quick delivery made HB and I very happy because, let's face it, we didn't work with Perinatal Associates of NOVA all this time to wind up being delivered by some random resident.  So the resident (to give at least this one credit, he was a nice, competent guy) put in the orders, requested that my blood sugars to be checked every four hours and instructed the nurse to start Pitocin at 6:30 Tuesday morning.  Completely on board with the Cervidil and Pitocin plan (what the heck do I know about that to have an opinion on it?), HB and I decided to blatantly blew off the blood sugar instructions and checked my bgs every hour to make sure they were tight for delivery... Needless to say that kind of ate away at our last night of sleep with out an infant, but we kept my sugars in between 70 and 80 mg/dL from the first time I sat down on that bed to the time I was being wheeled to a recovery room baby in hand.  

Go me!

So with irregular Braxton Hicks, the nurse put me on Cervidil from 2 AM to 6 AM -- which initially was no big deal, but after a few hours caused the start of real, regular contractions at just under 5 minutes apart.  Having spent the past nine weeks of merely uncomfortable contractions wondering if I wanted an epidural this time, when the nurse asked me if I wanted one I politely said "HELL YEAH" and got my name on the first slot of the sign up sheet for the day.  Needing 30 minutes between Cervidil and Pitocin, the nurse got fluids hooked up and into my system so that by the time the anesthesiologist got there somewhere between 7:30 or 8 o'clock (or by every 3 minute contractions on my watch) I was ready to get the show on the road.  The epidural was no big deal (the iodine scrub brush was the worst part of it) and once the magic meds kicked in, HB and I agreed that this was the perfect opportunity for him to get himself breakfast before he collapsed from hunger exacerbated excitement. 

But, really folks, is sending your husband off during labor a good idea?   NO! 

He wasn't gone more than three minutes when the nurse came rushing in to flip me on my side, stop the Pitocin and put me on oxygen.  Baby's heart rate was dropping well below the acceptable range of 110 to 160 after each contraction (now spaced every 2 minutes) and that kind of fetal distress this "early" is very worrisome given the intensity of active labor.  So by 8:30 my new day-shift nurse paged Perinatal Associates and - much much to my surprise - a different doctor from the practice assigned herself to my case and within minutes arrived to evaluate the situation.  Seeing the progression of contractions and the baby's positive response to oxygen, Dr. Al-Kouatley (who, I must say is the nicest woman in the world) decided to manually break my water, restart Pitocin and asked me to turn off my pump before the real exercise of labor began.  Since I wasn't having any issues with my blood sugars and I could afford to go higher by another 20 mg/dL, I thought this made sense and we moved forward. 

While all of this was happening, I'd been texting HB to let him know what was going on and that he might want to get his butt back to the delivery room sooner rather than later.  Since he didn't respond I guessed he'd missed the messages, which by the look of absolute horror on his face when he came back at 8:45 to my much altered appearance, was confirmed.  The nurse and I explained what was happening and that there was no longer a big need to worry, but I've got to give the guy a lot of credit because even with that reassurance he didn't let go of my hand after that and he was johnny on the spot for all of what happened over the next hour.   

Side bar:  It is a really regular occurrence for me that women at random places like doctors offices, the grocery store or  the play ground pull me aside and comment about how wonderful my husband is for being so supportive and involved.  While I can't explain how I got so lucky to have him be  my other half, I can with 100% authority say that I know how good I've got it and that I appreciate every one of the little things that you do, HB.  Thank you for being there with me each step of the way, for blessing me with your love and making my world better by simply being in it.  

Now this whole time, as the endocrinologist had warned us to do, HB and I were explaining to the nursing staff that my first delivery went quickly, that my blood glucose control has been fantastic throughout the pregnancy and that this baby was last measured at over a pound less than GW was at birth.  But, seeing as the typical experience with diabetic mothers involves wanton neglect of sugar control resulting in gigantic babies and hours of pushing, my nurses apparently didn't believe us and ignored our hints that a) they should be ready and b) things were progressing:

At 9:15, much to my previously drugged surprise, I began to feel some serious contractions again and HB went to tell the nurse something was changing either with the contractions or the epidural (before the epidural my contraction pain was at about a six on a one to ten scale, now it was about at a seven or eight).  Saying she'd be there in a minute, we waited and I attempted to breath through the every 45 second contraction pain I was now experiencing...

At 9:30, HB went back out to the nursing station to tell them that the pain was seriously much worse (about a nine) and that I was feeling "pressure" - which if you haven't had a baby means that the baby is ready to exit.

Finally, at 9:45 a nurse came in and checked the baby's position - which HELLO, was right there at +1 station (typically you don't start pushing until +3 station, but waiting for that was seriously not going to happen) and frantically tried to get the completely unprepared room prepped for delivery.  She called the Dr. Al-kouatly, who needed about ten minutes to change into scrubs and come up from the testing center, so low and behold look who walked in to check on me but my worst nightmare Dougie Howser... at this point I was without any pain meds (we don't know what happened to the epidural) and doing everything I possibly could mentally to not push until a doctor - a real doctor - was there and ready to catch.  But before I had a chance to slap him for his horribly arrogant, "I haven't read the chart" bed side manner and instructions to do practice pushes (seriously?! BAD IDEA KID!), my prayers were answered... It was at this point that a Hollywood director would have flooded the room with white lights, used slow motion camera effects and some sort of "halleljah" music because Dr. Bronsky just happened to walk in ready for action.  Ridiculously unhappy with the lack of preparedness, my MIA pain plan and his not having been paged for "his case," he barked orders at the nurses to get their act together and, within ten minutes of sitting down, delivered my beautiful daughter, GV at 10:12 AM.  

While things didn't go 100% smoothly communication-wise for delivery at INOVA Fairfax, HB and I are incredibly pleased with Dr. Bronsky's phenomenal care for me as an individual patient and I must say that I am grateful for his Hail-Mary reception of GV.  I am sure that Dr. Al-Kouatly would have done a wonderful job as well, perhaps even Dougie too (gag), but Dr. Bronsky helped get me from pre-conception nerves to post-delivery beautiful baby... Assuming that there aren't complications or reasons I've yet to learn (the placenta has been sent to pathology), I am really looking forward to working with him again for future pregnancies because we have a battle rhythm and positive relationship that I wouldn't trade for the world.  

Alright, all for now, the little one has been peacefully sleeping in my lap for all these paragraphs and now wants to be fed... Consider this post one of a few on the diabetes and L&D topic, I'll fill in the post delivery blanks soon. Thanks again for the support and love -- it is appreciated like always!

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