So wow, what a week it has been. Been meaning to update my blog since we got home on Tuesday, but lack of sleep can make that kind of hard. I do have all the photos uploaded and am going to try and recap what has happened since my last post.
Thursday, October 26th (my due date)
We got up early to head to the hospital to have my cervix checked. We arrived at 7:15 and I was dilated 1 cm at 8:00. My doctor gave me another dose of Cytotec to try and move things along. I finally felt a few contractions. They felt like a painless tightening of my abdomen.
8:50 am - they let us walk around the hospital a bit, also in an effort to move things along.
9:35 am - headed back to the room to be put back on the monitors
10:15 am - back to the walking around
11:45 am - the doctor checked my cervix again, I was at 2-3 centimeters and had been having regular contractions.
12:05 pm - the doctor started me on an IV with pitocin. This made the contractions hurt. And I do mean HURT. I had read (and heard) that pitocin induced contractions are the worse...and now I know first hand. It not only hurt in my abdomen but radiated to my back and upper thighs as well.
2:00 pm - the doctor broke my water...and the contractions are getting harder and harder to get through. I was dilated 3-4 cm. During this time the baby's heart rate was going up and down through contractions. Had to change position a few times to find a position that he liked.
3:00 (ish, at this point I kinda lost track of the time a bit) - I asked for an epidural. Just couldn't take the pain any more. And boy am I glad I did....it really took the edge off of the contractions.
4:00 pm - cervix dilated to 9cm and the doc said it was time to start pushing. Luckily, the epidural still let me feel the instinctive urge to push (which started out as an achy feeling in my groin, and then turned into an achy tingly feeling in my butt...odd isn't it?). So we commenced with the pushing....doing three pushes during each contraction (which coincided when I felt the urge to push).
5:45 (ish) pm - been pushing for an hour and a half. The doctor had already had me sign the paperwork for a c-secion just in case it became necessary. She came over to me and said that she didn't want me to become overly exhausted and she wanted to do an episiotomy and use the vacuum to get the baby out. We agreed to whatever was necessary to have a safe delivery.
5:55 pm - Dylan Charles Pack is born. I had to go through a few urges to push without pushing which was more painful than I thought it would be. Pushing through them made the pain not be there really. This was when the doctor did the episotomy. And then, we pushed with the vacuum and it popped off the first time. The next contraction that came along did the trick. Dylan's head popped out and the rest of him followed. What a feeling that was. He wasn't crying when he came out, but his eyes were open and blinking. They took him over to the exam table to suction out any mucus and try and get him to cry. Which he did a little bit finally. Unfortunately, I had to wait until after the placenta was delivered and my episotimy cut was sewn up to hold Dylan (had to wait 45 minutes). He was worth the wait though.
He weighed 7lb 3oz and was 21" long. I really think he looks like my family....a Shermer boy. He may have Denny's coloring though...it's too soon to really tell. Denny was the best person to have by my side through labor. He was enouraging....he let me squeeze his hand as tight as I wanted to.....he gave me kisses and so much love. I'm truly lucky to have him as my husband. And Dylan is truly lucky to have him as a dad.
I have to make a note here about Birth Plans. Every book says you need one. Even the childbirth class at the hospital recommended you make one. Heh. During labor, when things weren't going the way we had "planned" I realized that your birth plan should have a subtitle..."things I think I want...but I really have no *$% idea what is really going to happen!". Because you don't. We didn't want pitocin induced labor. I didn't want an epidural (so I thought). I didn't want an episiotomy. But when it comes down to keeping your child safe on his way out....none of that matters. At all.
Denny's parents came in to meet Dylan and we all enjoyed watching his alert eyes and his cute mannerisms. He found his fist pretty quickly. And really is a content boy.
Thursday night - Not sure what time, but I needed to go to the bathroom and my legs still felt numb. The nurse wanted Denny to try and help me out of bed but my legs completely buckled. The nurse gave me a bedpan to use, but I couldn't use it...I was too swollen. So, they had to put a catheter back in (when you have an epidural they give you a catheter...which they had already taken out). The odd thing about my legs was that my feet and ankles worked fine...but between there and mid thigh I had an odd numbness....kind of like the mid part of my legs were asleep. The nurse thought maybe the epidural hadn't worn off yet.
Our first night of feeding and changing was long. But we kind of got into a groove. I couldn't get out of bed, so Denny would get up and change Dylan's diaper and bring him to me to feed him. And of course, being in a hospital, they want to come get your vitals at odd times.
Friday, October 27
My legs still aren't working. The nurse wanted me to try and get out of bed again, so I did and my legs buckled again. My left leg feels stronger than the right...I can actually move it off of the bed. The right leg won't budge. The anasthesiologist came to see us. He wanted to try and figure out what was happening with my legs. He had me go for a CT scan and upon returning from that, sent me to Tachikawa for an MRI (an MRI is more accurate than a CT scan). He was trying to rule out the possibility of a hematoma from the epidural. Which he did thank goodness. If I had had a hematoma, I would have had to have spinal surgery to fix it. His theory was that I streched some of the nerves in my pelvic floor during childbirth and he told us that in some cases it's better in a week and in others it takes up to six months. This was very depressing for me. I couldn't imagine not being able to walk for first six months of Dylan's life. I was also upset that I didn't have time to breastfeed Dylan and that they were giving him formula supplements. Didn't help that I was tired either.
After visits from two of my OB doctors, they decided to send me to a neuro-orthopedic doctor in Tachikawa. So, I took my second ambulance ride to Tachikawa to see another doctor. They looked at my MRI results and asked me (through an interpreter) about my legs. My left leg was already improving. And the doctor said I would probably be better in 2 to 3 days. That made me happy. His theory was that my body wasn't metabolizing the anasthesia in the epidural properly. Which could be the case. When my mom had pericarditis back when I was in college, it took her 5 days to come out of the anasthesia and the doctors thought that was a looong time. So maybe it's something in my genetic makeup. And no one can really tell us for sure what caused my legs to poop out.
I was able to start breastfeeding again upon returning from Tachikawa. Unfortunately, we had a bad night of trying to get Dylan to eat. He was very gassy and uninterested. We really thought the formula was not agreeing with his young digestive system.
Saturday, October 28
My left leg is much much stronger. And Dylan is eating like a champ (finally!). The sensation area in my right leg is decreasing slowly. And it's so hard to describe. I can feel it when someone touches my leg, but it feels numb and tingly. Kind of like when your arm is asleep..you can't move it properly but you can feel when you touch it. My OB had someone from physical therapy come to see me. He brought a walker and using it and help from him and Denny I was able to stand up. Boy did that feel good. I could support myself on my left leg, but not on my right. We shuffled me over to the chair and he showed us some exercises to do to help me get stronger.
The pediatrician came in to see Dylan. He saw that his color was getting yellow and told us about jaundice. We needed to feed him as much as he wanted to try and flush out the jaundice. The level of bilirubins in his blood was 15.
Sunday, October 29
Unfortunately, Dylan's jaundice level this morning was 17. So the doctor started him on phototherapy. They put him in an incubator with lights and he stays in it most of the time. The nurse today took him out for feedings. They are supplementing with formula. But, the pediactrician told me to pump, so he is getting my colostrum as well. As the day progresses, I'm pumping enough colostrum that he doesn't have to have much formula at all. However, his biliirubin count is at 18 at 3:00. They start an IV of glucose water to try and get him to pee more.
As for my legs, they are stronger. My right leg is still weak, however I can actually lift it off the bed an inch or two. And by the afternoon, I am sure I can go to the bathroom with help, so we show the nurse how good I am doing with the walker. She calls the doc and the catheter is removed....hallelujah! And now, I can go over to the incubator and reach a hand in to touch Dylan. I don't feel totally helpless anymore. And, I got to go have a shower! Talk about feeling human again.
Sunday evening, the night nurse comes in. She is one of our favorites. She feeds Dylan while he is in the tank to maximize his exposure to the lights. And she adds some extra lights. He pretty much stays under the lights all night long. Which he is quite happy to do...he likes the lights. We call him our "rotisserie baby".
Monday, October 30
Dylan's bilirubin count is at 15. The pediatrician visits and says he wants to get it a bit lower, so Dylan stays under the lights a bit longer and on the IV longer. He also wants him to be eating better.
Mid-morning my milk came in. I could feel my breasts getting hard and looking bigger and bigger. And I'm able to pump more and more milk for Dylan. By the afternoon, his count is looking better and he comes off the IV and out from under the lights. They let me breastfeed again. And he hasn't forgotten how thank goodness. I had really missed holding him and feeding him and am so happy to have him out where we can touch him again.
It's really hard to describe the deep emotional bond that happened when Dylan was born. But, it was there automatically. If he was in pain, I was in pain. When he cried, I cried. Denny describes the feeling like growing another heart for Dylan. We both really feel it. We want to protect him and keep him from all harm. So, it felt so good for us to be able to really connect with him again.
My legs are feeling progressively better. The physical therapist says I can use a cane or walking stick to get around. And the doctor determines I can go home when the baby is ready to go home. The physical therapist arranges for me to take the walker home with me to aid in getting up and down off of the toilet (the toilets are way to low for someone tall like me...especially when my legs aren't working properly).
Tuesday, October 31
It's a good day when all the doctors visit and say we can go home. I changed my first diaper while Denny was taking stuff home (we accumulated a lot of stuff during our hospital stay), and I managed to get Dylan changed into his going home outfit. And then I fed him and he snoozed while waiting for Denny to pick us up. Physical therapy brought me a cane and showed me how to use it.
At 10:30, Denny came back with the car seat. The nurse showed us the proper way to secure the straps and how tight they should be. And we exited the hospital. It felt so good to be on our way home!
We arrived home and had our first diaper change and feeding in the nursery. We had a rough day...we thought we needed to wake Dylan up every two hours...and he didn't like that very much. So there were lots of tears from him and me. But, by the evening, we started to figure things out. We woke him up for his first feeding, and I realized that pumping my breasts a bit first helped him to latch on better. And then, we set the alarm for the next time, giving him 3 hours in between, and he consistenly woke us up before the alarm. So, we figured out that it's good to let him tell us when he's hungry or needs to be changed...because he knows.
And, we've figured out a way to give me some autonomy. We use the stroller to put Dylan into sleep and I can wheel it wherever I want. It sits next to the big chair where i can feed him, so I can take him out and put him in.
Wednesday, November 1
We are getting the hang of things. Dylan is setting his own schedule...quite well I might add. And it's working for us. Until the night time comes. Then, he decides to have awake time. Which means we have to be awake too. Which isn't good for us come the next morning.
Thursday, November 2
We have to take Dylan to the pediatrician for a checkup. He has regained his birthweight. And his jaundice is looking better and better. And he is feeding well.
When we get home, we decide we can't make things too comfortable for Dylan during the day. We throw open the curtains and make the room nice and bright. And we give him a bath and some tummy time while he's awake. This seemed to help last night. At least until early this morning when he wanted to be awake longer than we wanted him to be awake.
Friday, November 3
That would be today. We are truly getting the hang of things. And my legs are getting better and better. I've been using a cane to get around the house. But, am finding I don't need it any more. I also feel confident enough to pick Dylan up and walk with him (albeit very slowly). Things are looking up!