Here is Quinton John Thomasy’s long-awaited birth story and my hospital experience. While things didn’t go as planned, baby and mommy are healthy. That’s all that matters, right?
December 21st marked me a week overdue, and when we went to my doctor appointment that afternoon at 4:15, we expected to discuss making an induction appointment for the first available date after Christmas. When we saw the doctor, he noted my high blood pressure, and the fact that it had been creeping up over the last couple appointments. Because of this, he said, I needed to go to the hospital, and he’d see me in a little while! He didn’t explain further, but sent us on our way. I was 3cm dilated, 75% effaced, and baby was at station -2, though I’m not certain of the last part. When we got to Hillcrest’s Women & Children’s Center, they admitted me to a room, and told me to get dressed in the hospital gown and lay down on the bed. They were keeping me overnight! If I’d known that, I would have had some dinner before we went to the hospital…. Oops! Silly me for thinking they were just going to do tests! On the way there, I called Mom, who didn’t answer. Great. I called Genna – she always answers! – nope. Weird. I called Dad, who answered. Turns out, Mom and Genna were Christmas shopping. Genna finally called me back and I told her what was happening – thinking I was just having tests done. They said they’d run home to drop Genna off and Mom would come back. Once we were inside and realized it wasn’t going to be a quick visit, but this was really it, we called Mom back and she and Genna came right away. Thankfully, before the appointment, I’d been having minor contractions off and on all day, so we brought my hospital bag along, just in case.
Dr. Rister arrived around 5:30pm, and informed me of my choices that he would be comfortable doing: starting the induction now, by breaking my water and starting pitocin, or waiting until the morning to get things started. We decided to wait until the morning. Good thing, too! Overnight I went from 3cm to 6cm and fully effaced! I had a rough night, still needing to get up every hour or so to go to the bathroom, but my legs were really having a hard time getting me up! I had to wake up Brandon to help me. He is such a hard sleeper, that the only way to wake him was to call him on his cell phone – and once he even answered it, then turned it off and went back to sleep!! I called back, and he got up. It was hard, but I made it. Dr. Rister arrived at 6:30am, broke my water, and we started the pitocin and a magnesium phosphate drip to keep me from having seizures due to high blood pressure/pre-eclampsia. The magnesium was probably the worst thing ever. When it started, I got really hot and sweaty, then I just felt groggy and out of it, like I needed to sleep, but couldn’t because of the contractions. It wasn’t too long before I started having regular contractions, though. They weren’t too bad, but then around 9:30, they started getting pretty bad. I don’t remember asking for it, but apparently they gave me a little bit of pain medication. Still – I managed to labor without the epidural, which was my main goal! Each contraction got worse, and I gripped Brandon and Mom’s hands pretty tightly, just breathing through them. Once they got really bad, I’d hold Brandon, have him close to me, and mom would rub my lower back. That was the best relief!! By 10:30, I was in hard labor, from what I’ve been told. I literally don’t remember much of anything; I was just concentrating on the contractions. Suddenly, there was an oxygen mask on my face and the nurse was telling me to switch positions on the bed. Quinton’s heart rate had dropped. The monitor on my belly wasn’t staying in place, and so they did an internal monitor. Switching positions and oxygen was their attempt to get his heart rate back up. It didn’t go back up. I don’t remember any of that, except the telling me to switch positions, then Dr. Rister saying “We need to do a C-section right now. He needs to come out.” Since I had declined the epidural, they needed to do general anesthesia. I’m pretty glad of that, as I didn’t want to feel the tugging and stuff that goes with the C-section. They rushed me off to the OR, had me breathe the gas, and I was out. Quinton was born at 11:04am on December 22, 2015. He was 7lb 15oz, 21.5 inches long! Quite a long baby! It turns out, the C-section was not the emergency they thought. His cord was fine, and his head was not too big. There was nothing they could see that would have caused a problem – I think it was the magnesium! It made me feel awful, so I’m sure it affected him just as badly. Mom thinks if I had been allowed to labor for another hour or two, he would have been born just fine. Oh well. In the middle of things, it’s hard to know what the right decision is. The doctors have to do what they think is best, and go with that decision. As long as baby and mom are healthy, that is all that matters. It’s a business and they have liability to worry about. Maybe it would have been fine. Maybe not.
Because of the general anesthesia, I wasn’t able to have the initial skin-to-skin contact that I requested, but Brandon was the first one to hold him, after the medical staff. In fact, they were short on nursery beds at the moment, so he got to carry Q down to the nursery and help give him his first bath! That was pretty special. I woke up and was ready for B and mom to visit me around 12, or 1 – again, I don’t really remember the time! Apparently I said some silly things, but I don’t remember that either! Ha! Eventually, I got to go back to my room in L&D. A little while later, /they brought in Q when I was able to hold him/ (when I was able to hold him, they brought in Q). He was perfect! It was such a surreal experience/./: [P]artially because of the magnesium still running through me making me feel woozy, partially because I was finally able to hold my precious baby boy! Nothing about my delivery went according to my plans, but seeing him for the first time made it all worth it. He is completely a miniature version of his Daddy, and so adorable!Mom let everyone know when they could come visit us. Genna and Hayley arrived, then Dad, then Karen. They got to hold him and take pictures. Tears were shed. It was so special. I was so tired and out of it that I’m sure I said some more silly things. Everyone said they were proud of me, and admired this gorgeous child that Brandon and I made. I took my “I made dis” otter picture. Looking at it now, my eyes look very heavy. That magnesium really did a number on me! The family stayed until about 9:00pm, saying they’d come back the next day. Then Brandon and I had an hour with him all by ourselves. A nurse came by and asked if we’d like to have a little break to sleep a while. She had a routine screening test to do on him anyway, so she could do that while they watched him in the nursery. We agreed with the promise that he’d be back in an hour or two. After that is when the story becomes not so sweet, and I wish I could reverse time. I never would have agreed to let him go! Someone in the nursery noticed his heart rate was a little low (which is probably hereditary as Dad and I both have a lower resting heart rate) and decided that they needed to take him to the NICU for intense monitoring! Two doctors came into my room at midnight, woke me, and didn’t wake Brandon. They told me that he was in NICU to be monitored overnight for a few things and they’d bring him back in the morning. Morning came, and Brandon had to go to Yoakum to get some stuff taken care of with our house, so he left as soon as Mom arrived at 6am. He’d gone up to NICU before, though, to check on Q and see how he was doing. He was told that Q would be down in an hour or so and was doing fine! So, after an hour or so, I asked after my baby and was given the vague “we’ll go check” answer. Nothing. An hour later, I asked again. Still the same “we’ll check” and nothing. They cleaned me up around 10, and took me to my room in the Mother/Baby wing and I still after 4 hours hadn’t seen my baby or been told where he was /and/ (or) why. At this point it’/s/(d) been 12 hours since I saw him last, and had only had one opportunity to try to nurse him with the help of a lactation consultant. Of course that didn’t work because my milk hadn’t come in yet. Finally at 10:30, I was hurting so badly and still couldn’t see straight from the magnesium working out of my system, but was determined to see my son. I managed to get myself into a wheelchair and Mom and I went up to the NICU. I had to stand to wash my hands, which was the hardest thing I’d done yet, but I needed to do it to see my son, so I did. We got to his crib, and he looked fine, but he was hooked up to so many monitors and had an IV in his wee little hand. They’d done an EKG and it was mostly fine, just one little blip, so that was another reason why they said they had to keep him. His heart rate was lower than average, but mostly fine.
The NICU nurse that was taking care of him, Judy, was probably the rudest medical professional I have ever talked to in my life. She hadn’t read his chart, and didn’t really know what was wrong with him. She informed me that I was not allowed to do skin-to-skin or breastfeed him at all because his chart (after she finally read it) didn’t say I could. It said he could drink expressed milk – which was impossible for him to have at only 1 day old as it takes a couple of days to get it in! We asked and asked to talk to a doctor, and stayed until we got an answer – which caused me to miss a dose of my medicine. I did that a lot, but it was more important to see my son. Around 2:30 a young doctor came by and told us that they were monitoring him for his heart rate, and we told him about my and dad’s low heart rates and asked if that could affect it, as well as the magnesium. He said yes, the magnesium levels were high when they tested, so that could affect it, but he didn’t answer about the hereditary heart rate. We demanded to know why the nurse said I wasn’t allowed to breastfeed or do skin-to-skin, and he said “Oh, you absolutely need to be doing those things!” So we asked (not extremely nicely) if he could please write that in his chart so that this wouldn’t happen again. He did. We found out that they feed the babies every 3 hours: 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:00, so if I wanted to feed him, I had to come at those times. You bet I did, even though those were the times I was due to take another dose of medicine! We stayed and fed him his 3:00 bottle, then went back downstairs. I ordered my supper and then we went back up with Brandon – who was back by then. The rude nurse was still there, but she kept her distance a little more after she realized that we weren’t going to put up with her nonsense and weird stories about her kids. She was loud and abrasive and should be a geriatric nurse for people who need someone loud!! She really had no business being with tiny babies – most of whom have real problems!
Mom went home shortly after the last visit – we were dismissed because they were admitting a new patient and couldn’t have visitors there while they did that. We went back down to the room and Brandon went to get supper. Mine was cold by then, but it was good. Brandon got some texts from his parents asking to call, and I answered some texts as well, about asking to visit. Due to the unforeseen, and unexplainable, NICU stay, we didn’t have any more visitors at the hospital. It was 8:30, so we started getting me up and ready to go back upstairs for the 9:00 feeding. Unfortunately, I was in so much pain that everything took longer than it should. By the time we got back up it was just after 9:00. There was a new nurse by then, Arden, and when we got there, she informed us that he was doing well and just finished his bottle! We were shocked, and probably were too rude, because she was extremely apologetic and the rest of the night did everything for us! She had not been informed that we were going to offer the breast first, then the bottle and I was to be the one to feed him. Judy had neglected to tell her. But, at 12, 3, and 6, Arden had the area all ready for us, complete with privacy screens and a rocking chair for Brandon! The night was long, and we were very sleepless, but it was worth it to finally be able to spend time with Quinton. We both did plenty of skin-to-skin with him, and he did start to suckle just a little bit. Overall, it was a pleasant night, as far as hospital stay and visiting NICU for no obvious reason can be.
Thursday morning came, and we kept asking when we could go home, but I didn’t want to go home without Quinton. Dr. Rister was out that day, so his associate was the one to check on me. He said I could be discharged whenever I wanted to, so he wrote it contingent on Quinton’s release. We went back upstairs and Q had his last EKG, which he passed with flying colors, and his hearing test, which was also perfect. We got to talk to a doctor around the 9:00 feeding time, and she informed us that we could go home that day! She asked if we wanted him circumcised, which we did. She said they’d get that done, and then if he did well with that, we could go! She’d turned off his IV earlier, and so he was mostly wire-free by that point. Cuddling him without the IV was so wonderful. We finished feeding him and a short cuddle, then went back downstairs to pack up. They told us he’d be circumcised around 11, so we could go home around 12. We were packed and back up at NICU at 12, so we could collect our little bundle. At 12:30, we were downstairs and in the car and on our way home on Christmas Eve.
A week later, we packed up and moved 3 hours away to B’s first duty station! I wasn’t allowed to help, which was frustrating….but we had so much help! Now we are just resting and only doing the basics in our new home.