Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

For this labor day, I thought I would share the story of my labor, especially since I don't think I have it written down anywhere. It all started the evening after this belly shot was taken, such a fluke, I had thought to put the hospital bag in the car on my way to work that day and had Lowell take a tummy picture since I didn't really have any. Good timing on both accounts. I was 34 weeks 1 day here and obviously had no clue I had less than one more day of pregnancy left. I didn't measure big until this very week, which was odd for twins though they always measured on time or ahead. I just carried them all on the inside I guess, we were all pretty squished. Carter was sitting with his bum in my right hip and his head nestled in my right rib cage, I was always trying to push that little head down. Davis had his head on the left of my pelvis, mostly resting on my bladder and his body stretched diagonally across Carter with his feet where his head was. No wonder Carter appreciates his own space now. Anyway, so I went to work that day and I think I was nesting, I was reather busy getting reports done and things tucked away in case I went into labor. Since Carter was breach it was always planned that I would have a C-section, so labor is a bit of a misnomer for me, as I did not have to labor (or even ever be checked, seriously!). After work I went to sleep on my in-laws couch because I was on-call and the chair at work was not working for my big pregnant body to sleep in. I woke up around 3:30 am probably to a contraction but I don't really know what woke me up, just that I was all wet. I wondered in my hazy state where all the fluid was coming from and of course remembered my prenatal class where they told me very few people have their water break, it won't happen to you. So I assumed somehow I had lost bladder control but was surprised as I waddled across my in-law's living room that fluid was just pouring out of me, much more than my bladder had held in months. I reached the toilet and it was not stopping. I managed to get out to my car and thankfully had my hospital bag so was able to change into dry pants, underwear, and put a pad on to collect the still gushing fluid. It still makes me laugh to say at that point I really went to lay back down. Disaster averted, okay back to bed. Laying there I finally woke up enough to think, maybe I should at least go and see if my water is broken. I left all the mess for my mother-in-law (who got up later and was mopping the floor singing about how the babies were coming) and called Lowell from the car to tell him I was going to the hospital, my water may have broken, but don't come yet, I was going to go find out. Blessed be my darling husband, he jumped right in the car that moment and hardly would have made the birth if he didn't. I guess he was at hime awake and wired (wish I had more intuition like him!). He had even taken some pills to help him sleep and he couldn't get there, he was just excited and didn't know why. After I called, he knew and just came. At the hospital I waddled down the hall while the nurse and security guard teased me about my PJ pants, they assumed I had just been called in, that was a common occurence. I told the nurse (Marta) that I think my water may have broken and everything went quickly from there. The nurses are so skilled at what they do and every step was already planned. Marta went to check me but I was just gushing fluid that the strip confirmed was amniotic fluid so that's why I was never checked further, who knows if I was dilated or not. They checked with my doctor (Baxter) who was still there from an earlier delivery and he said let's do it so they immediately prepped me for my C-section. I called my mom and Lowell called his, they got my IV in and me in a gown and waddled across the hall to the C-section table. It took three tries to get my spinal in (ouch) but really it didn't bug me that bad. I was just shaking from the adrenaline, I couldn't stop. They said it was labor doing it, but I think I was just nervous, scared, excited, etc. I had one contraction (yep, that's right one contraction total that hurt, I had lots and lots of others, but none that really hurt) and was glad after that one that I wouldn't have to have any more, yep I'm a woos. Once the spinal kicked in I stopped shaking and just felt warm and then panicked because I couldn't move. I felt claustraphobic in my own body, it was weird and I don't know why I was flipping out so bad, but I was. Finally Lowell was at my side, my mom was looking on and I tried to breathe through the anxiety. Then I could hear a cry, a little squeaky cry that was my little Davis. I don't remember seeing him at that point, and Lowell was fascinated by my insides, but I assume he saw him. Then it took some time (really only 1 minute) to try to turn Carter around (my mom said it was cool to see him still inside the sac before the ruptured it and the doctor talked about how he could see a little boy frog bum because of the way he was sitting) and they ended up just pulling him out backwards. I thought he was crying because I could hear Davis but Lowell said he was just purple and lots of people just flew into action. The nurses later told me they should have said it was going to be fine, but they were just doing what they knew well, resuscitating my little man. The respiratory therapist said he had to force some fluid into his lungs in the process of getting him to breathe which later became more of a problem. SO after what seemed like forever to Lowell and my mom (but what I was thankfully oblivious to) Carter started crying too. Davey's apgar was 7,8 or 8,9 I think and Carter 2,8 if that gives you an idea of his beginning. They took them both off to the NICU and Lowell followed leaving me there. So I just listened as Dr. Young talked about the house he was building (I later saw it, it is a very cool house) while they were sewing me up. Finally that was done and by the time they were wheeling me out I could move my toes again and could finally relax a little. By now the morphine had me shaking though and itching my nose incessantly. They parked me in front of the window to the nursery and let me watch as they worked on IVs and such on the boys. Lowell took these early pics.
William Davis Penrod, 4 lbs 15 oz. 17 inches long, born at 5:11
Here's Davis again about a week old with his eyes open and on oxygen and still in the darn NICU, as much as I loved the nurses there.
Carter Lowell Penrod, 4 lbs 14 oz, 17 inches long born at 5:12.
You can see in that first picture how much Carter's chest is retracting trying to breathe. A combination of prematurity (34 week boy at a high altitude) and the fluid forced into his lungs caused him to struggle. It was determined that he would need surfactant to help his lungs open and to do this a ventilator must be inserted. If on a vent, the baby must be transported from my hospital to a larger one 5 miles away. So here is Carter on the portable vent before they took him away by ambulance. I was aware of all of this happening but not totally. The morphine had me pretty whacked out. I have seen the pic of my saying goodbye to him in his little transport bassinet but I don't really recall that happening. I do remember dreaming about peaches and Robbie and Lowell teasing me and throwing up. Funny how memories work.
So here's Carter in the NICU at UVRMC about a week old as well. To me he looks rather pale and sickly. The nurses kept telling me he was sick but I kept thinking no, he is just early and needs to learn to breathe and eat. He had no illness therefore wasn't "sick". I had seen his labs after all, really lab people are a pain in the butt to discuss things like this with, we are very technical. So, anyway Carter was shipped off and I did not see him except by videos Lowell would take for almost 5 days. I stayed at OCH and worked on feeding Davis and resting and really enjoying being taken care of so well by my friends. It came time to go and it was a hard realization that Davis would not be coming home with me. I was anxious to go and see Carter but it was really tough to leave Davis behind. This wasn't a good time for the hormonal weepies to hit me because I just bawled holding him in my hospital bed. It still makes me sad even though everything has turned out so well, in my emotionally peak there it was very hard to leave without my little boy. I was not attached at this point to Carter. That sounds really harsh but I had barely seen him and was wrapped up with the baby I had snuggled and nursed and loved on. Logically I knew I had another one, but emotionally I was not attached yet. I could be a strange case study for that. Well, once I went and held and tried to nurse Carter that problem was gone, I had to have both of my boys. That really made things more difficult as I could not have them at the same place. So I became a bit of a crazy woman and drove between the hospitals all day to make every other feeding for each boy. I would start at the 5 am feeding and end at the 11 pm feeding to run home and sleep a little (waking up to pump of course) before coming back. I hardly ate or drank as I was always on the run. It really was ridiculous and everyone tried to get me to take just one shift off and rest or eat but I wouldn't. I couldn't stand to not be with both boys so I went non-stop. Lowell went back to work to save his hours for when they came home, so while he worked I didn't even take my pain pills, no percocet and driving and I had to be driving. I know I was blessed those days to be up to that, 5 days after major abdominal surgery and no pain meds. I was dreadfully dehydrated as well as I was pumping milk by the gallon and getting all kinds of blocked ducts by little ones who just could not suck well enough or consistently enough to keep me empty. Ugh, that was a pain. But very little by little they got it down and finally Davis ate enough and gained enough weight that they let us take him home after 10 days in the NICU (this is no time at all for most babies but considering my crazed state it seemed like a lot). Then I had the challenge of finding sitters for Davis as he was not allowed in the UVRMC NICU with Carter. Finally Carter reached the point where we could sleep over with him to learn about his oxygen and have the final test for him eating and gaining enough. We had to get special permission but they let Davis stay in the room with us and finally finally I had my two babies together, 2 weeks after they were born.
This will always be one of my favorite pictures, it was such a big deal to me. Davis is on the left and Carter on the right. His color improved immediately upon being reunited with his brother and they both ate great from then on. The oxygen stuck around for 8 weeks and was certainly the bane of my existence but we were so happy the day after this pic when we got to take them both home. The challenges haven't stopped since but I am forever grateful that the boys are so healthy, robust, intelligent, and just normal. They are my sweeties and I love them so much.

So if you made it to the end of that story, yea for you! I am glad I have it written down though and it is fun to think back on. This week has been a lot of the same for us, running around, playing, potty training, the usual. The weather changed much cooler today even with snow on thw mountains. Cooler weather is coming so we are trying to make the most of the time we have. I am loving dressing the boys in new stuff even if it is too big, I need a 2.5 T size. I hope fall is good and long here, I just love it as a season. The trees changing, football, the crisp in the air, halloween, what a fun time of year. Happy fall blessings on you and yours!


Scott and Jillian said...

That must have been so hard to have them apart like that! I can't even imagine. It was hard enough for me having them in the same NICU.

It took me awhile to feel bonded as well. The NICU experience makes it hard, when you don't have that 'picturesque' labor & delivery.

And I wish they had a size 2 1/2T, too! A little too big for 2T, a little too small for 3T. ;)

Queen Mother said...

Oh, I just love birth stories. I'm all teared up. I remember seeing them when they were oh so little. Where has the time gone?

The Halls said...

Wow does that bring back memories!
Here is my blog
Jessica (from UVmom)