Saturday, February 8, 2014

Labor and Delivery Finale

      So, remember when I said that I wanted an unmedicated birth? That was the plan going into all of this. Being that my pain level was only a 2 or 3 for the past few hours I've been on Pitocin and the fact that they had to turn down my Pitocin because my contractions were so strong and close together, I really thought I was going to do this. I was going to be able to have my unmedicated birth. Fast forward another couple hours and the game plan changed. That 2 or 3 pain level I was maintaining literally sky rocketed to a 7 real quick. I remember feeling really uncomfortable in bed, so I decided to stand up. I also remember Calvin sleeping while I was going through the most intense pain I've felt in my entire life. Luckily my mommy was there and she really helped me. I could talk through each contraction, but they were extremely painful. It's funny how to this day that  can't describe the pain to you, but I just remember it being very unpleasant.

     When we met with our doula before all of this and went through positioning and tips on how to deal with pain, I remember thinking to try and find some kind of rhythm. There was a rocking chair in the room, so I grabbed that and leaned against the back and just rocked back and forth while my mom massaged my back. My IV machine started beeping and my mom came up with the idea to focus on that. So I rocked myself according to the beat of the beeping. I remember at some point, while rocking, I was facing my sleeping husband. I know it was the pain speaking, but I was so angry that there he was sleeping in peace while I was going through all this pain with my mom. It's just so unfair that we both decided to have a baby and we both share 50% of ourselves in Liam yet I'm doing 100% of the hard work. I said to my mom "Look at him! How can he just sleep and I'm in so much pain?!". My mom tried to calm me down and redirect my attention to something else. The rocking wasn't working anymore so we moved over to the bed when I was hunched over. My mom was still rubbing my back and I was just trying to focus on anything but the pain. My mom is so sweet and I'll never forget her saying, "Just imagine yourself at Disney. There's Mickey, Goofy, and Donald. 'Hi Mickey!'". I couldn't help but let out a little giggle. My brother and sister were in Hawaii at the time and visited Aulani. I told my mom that I wished I was with them right now. My mom was amazing and did whatever she could to help distract me. But the contractions were winning. At some point, my lovely hubby woke up. I managed to get a few words out and told him to take pictures. Why did I want pictures at such a time? Why did I want evidence of all of this? Simple. Even though I was going through all of this, I wanted to be able to remember it. I knew at the end, I wanted to be able to look back at the entire experience and really appreciate it.
Breath in....
Breathe out...
     Anyways, I don't know why, but I got back in to the bed. It was bad. I even got to the point where I was banging my head on the bed rails. The nurse came in and tried to see if I wanted pain medication. She knew I was hesitant about it. I was still thinking about it even through the contractions. My mom, who was very firm before I went into labor that she was against epidurals, was encouraging me. She  kept saying "take it, just take it. You need to rest". I could tell it was hurting her to see me hurt so bad. Calvin knew how bad I didn't want any pain medication and said he wanted me to do what I felt most comfortable with. I told him to text my doula and to ask for her opinion. My nurse offered me another pain medication, Fentanyl, before the epidural to basically take the edge off. My doula told me that it would basically feel like I've had a couple of margaritas. My worry was that it would pass through the placenta. It was such a hard decision to make and I kept struggling with it. I told my nurse I needed to think about it. She suggested we check my cervix to see how far I am. If I'm close, then I would have decided to just fight through it. Turns out, I was still either 2 or 3! I ended up giving in. I could barely breath because the contractions were just so close. My nurse ordered it for me and then she set it up. The next thing I knew, my body felt kind of cool. Then I remember saying to Calvin, "I feel buzzed" with a big smile of my face.
     The only thing with Fentanyl was that it only lasted about 10 minutes, although it literally felt like 2. Once that was over, I thought I could get through the rest without anymore medication. I thought this little break would help me refocus. Wrong! I tried to get through a couple contractions when I said out loud to Calvin, "It's coming again! That wasn't even 1 minute inbetween!" My nurse came back and said she could give me one more dose of the Fentanyl if I wanted to. I gave in again and told her "yes, please!". She ordered it and when she came back in with it, she mentioned the epidural. She informed me that the anesthesiologist was about to go in for a C-section and that if I wanted one, I should get it now because it would be awhile before I could get one. I was so torn. I know I made this decision based on the pain, but I couldn't help it. I nodded yes. My nurse gave me the Fentanyl and told me that it may be awhile before the anesthesiologist made it over. But, she was literally there within seconds.

      She came in and introduced herself. I was feeling good because of the Fentanyl, but of course nervous as hell about the big needle about to be inserted in my spine. Everything literally was a blur because of the Fentanyl. She asked my mom to leave the room because Im assuming she didn't want my mom to pass out from the needle, or at least that's what I heard. Then she asked Calvin to sit in front of me because they didn't want him to pass out either plus to be my support. I was then asked to sit at the side of the bed and hunch over. I was hunched over leaning against Calvin and I kept whispering to him "I'm scared. I'm scared. I'm scared". Before I knew it, I was all set and helped back into bed. I was given a little yellow button to press whenever I felt that I was regaining feeling in my legs. It literally was instant. My legs felt so numb and the pain was gone! It was nice. I was finally able to relax.  
Smiles again!
     I felt extremely disappointed in myself. I know I'm being hard on myself, but I had set a goal and couldn't achieve it. I felt like I was letting Liam down too by getting the epidural and the Fentanyl. I felt like I was hurting him. But in the end, I actually did what was best for me and Liam. For hours, I had been stuck at 2 or 3 centimeters. After I got the epidural, my doctor came in at some point to check me again. Not much progress still, but she broke my water. It was a quick and painless process and then we wait again. Calvin had called my doula so that she can make her way over since my doctor said this should start to progress. I was still expecting a long wait until I would finally get to 10. I knew I needed to rest and because I felt like I was up for hours on end, it was pretty easy to fall asleep. After my nap, a nurse came in to check me. I was waiting for her to say 3, maybe 4. The next thing she said caught both Calvin and I by surprise. I was at a 9! Holy crap! In a couple hours,  I jumped from a 3 to a 9! All my body needed was a chance to relax. I needed to relax and that is what helped me progress to a 9. So although I didn't want the epidural, it was exactly what I needed. Right when we found out I was at a 9, we called my mom to head over as soon as possible. Even she was surprised because she wasn't gone for long before she had to rush back over. Before I knew it, I was being prepped to start pushing. 

     I will spare everyone the specific details, but it was quite the experience. I was so happy to have my little team with me. Each and every person contributed exactly what I needed to help get Liam out. Initially there was Cal, my doula Krystal, my mom, and my nurse. The doctor doesn't come until the very end to "catch the baby". Krystal was simply amazing as well. I was obviously nervous and had no clue what I was doing. I couldn't help but doubt myself a little. I was scared, but Krystal helped me snap out of it. I will never forget how she reminded me that I knew exactly what I was doing. I am only supposed to push once the contractions starts and once it stops, I should stop pushing. Since I had the epidural, I wasn't feeling the pain of each contraction. I was basing the start and stop of each contraction on my instinct. Initially my nurse was telling me when a contraction was happening and when to push. Krystal had noticed that right when the contraction was about to start, I was already double checking my instinct by referring over to the monitor. She reminded me that I knew my body and I knew what I was doing. I felt more comfortable to believe in myself. I also had the best nurse ever. I believe her name was Marina. She was so sweet and excited to be there to help bring Liam into the world. She was encouraging and helpful. I remember telling Calvin later that I was so happy that she was my nurse. Then there was my mom. I love my mom and she's like my best friend. Ever since I thought about giving birth to my child, I knew I wanted my mom there. Just her presence alone was comforting. Who doesn't feel safe when their mom is there?

      Last, but not least, is my wonderful husband Calvin. He helped calm me down by playing some Disney music on Pandora. That man always knows that the way to my heart is Disney. My little team was very aware that I wanted Liam out before midnight so he could share his birthday with Disneyland. My nurse loved that we had Disney music on and even commented on how it put her in a good mood. I specifically remember Calvin being right there next to me and helping me count through each push and giving me the encouraging words I needed to hear. He really stepped up to the plate when I needed him the most. 

I think I pushed for maybe an hour or hour and a half. I was trying so hard to have my little Disney baby, but Liam was born at 12:25 AM on Thursday, July 18, 2013. He weighed in at 7 lbs and 11 oz. and measured at 18 in. long. Even though he doesn't share a birthday with Disneyland, he will forever be my little Disney baby. He was brought into the world with Disney music and hey, his mom is a big fan! Words cannot explain how completely beautiful it all was. Right before he came out, I was in so much pain. Yes I had the epidural, but I guess it wore out by then and I had no time to think about pressing the button. I felt everything at the very end. I was in so much pain that I felt like a scene in the movies and I later found out that I scared Calvin. He did not like seeing me in so much pain and felt helpless not being able to make it go away. But once he came out and they put him on my chest, I was speechless. I have been wanting to be a mother and have a child of my own for a long time. I couldn't believe that he was here. My son was in the world, in my arms. It was simply amazing. 
Our first family picture
        Exhausted but so in love
Peacefully sleeping
Cherishing the little moments
     Liam, if you ever read this, please know that mommy loves you so much. You are mommy's dream come true. I promise to love you with all my heart and be the best mother I can. I will protect you from as much as the evil as I can. I will make sure you have the best of the best. I will teach you to have manners,  respect, morals, and values. I will make sure you grow healthy and strong. I will play in the dirt with you and get messy. I will play hide and seek, toys, draw pictures, play games, and whatever you want to do. I will make sure to have patience in times that are difficult. I will make sacrifices to ensure you receive the best. I will nurture your talents and support you in everything and anything that you choose to do. You are my life and my love for you is unconditional. Thank you for choosing me to your mommy. You make me so happy and I love you very much.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Labor and Delivery Part 2

     The last time I left off, Calvin and I were waiting patiently for a room to open up for us. It felt like forever, but it was probably only 20 minutes before we were brought to my room at around 12:45 pm. The nurse was so sweet and turned on the heat for me in the room. She handed me a gown and told me to change. I remember going into the bathroom and just taking a second to breathe. I remember talking to myself and saying how I couldn't believe this was it. I was talking to Liam and telling him how excited I am to meet him. It was happening! After I was in my hospital gown, I sat on the bed and we waited to be told what to do.

     While  we were waiting, we found out how thin the walls were. We were able to hear two births. The first one literally scared the crap out of me and I had to cover my ears. Let's just say I felt the pain through her cries. It made my anxiety spike even higher because I felt like it was foreshadowing the pain that was about to come. Then it was quiet. A little while later, we heard a lot of encouraging words like "Push! Come one!" and soon that was followed by cheering. It sounded like a total different experience. It was a little more reassuring that I was able to hear both sides of what was to come. The pain and joys of labor and delivery!

     A different nurse came in and she was super sweet as well. I must say, Good Samaritan Hospital has amazing labor and delivery nurses. All of them were extremely sweet, caring, and helpful. We were very lucky to have such awesome nurses. I think I had about 6 nurses during labor and delivery and then about 5 nurses during recovery. Okay, so please bare with me as its been over 6 months since I experienced all this and my memory isn't what it use to be. So some things may not be in absolute chronological order.

     The first nurse put in my IV for me. I was scared for this as I heard from multiple sources that it was pretty scary. It was definitely not an easy or fun process. It took her a couple times to get it right. She was really nice and apologetic the entire time. It took a couple tries because she was trying a position that would be easier for me to move my hand. My vein was not cooperating so she had to put it in another way.
     Then she put this monitor on around my tummy to monitor the baby's heart rate and contractions. I hated that thing! It was extremely uncomfortable and left marks on my tummy from being on so tight. I also always felt bad to move because if it couldn't pick up Liam's heart rate, it will notify the nurse and then she would have to come in and help me fix it. It was just super uncomfortable and I felt like I couldn't do much with it on.

I did not like this!
     After that was all set and done, the nurse helped me get into bed. She then went through a series of questions with me. After she was done and made sure I was all good, she mentioned that I should order something to eat because once they give me the Pitocin, I can't have anything to eat.

*Warning! May be a little TMI so please skip over this next paragraph if need be *
      Then she ordered my Cervadil, which helps to ripen the cervix and slowly releases a hormone to help stimulate labor. I would need to keep it in for 12 hours. Then they will check my cervix, see if  my contractions had started getting worse, break my water if needed, and so on if the Cervadil had worked. If it did work, we wouldn't need to start the Pitocin. I've never heard good things about Pitocin and was already disappointed that I needed to be induced so I was really hoping the Cervadil would work. The nurse even tried to make me feel better and told me that she hadsome some women get lucky and their contractions picked up and they didn't need Pitocin. Fingers were crossed! Well, she prepped me on the process before she went did the insertition. Let me tell you, it was not a pleasant feeling to put that thing all up in there. It literally felt like plastic. Ouch! Again, having awesome nurses really helped through all the yucky stuff. She was very apologetic and always made sure I was doing okay and not in too much discomfort. Once the Cervadil was in, she let me know that it would be in for 12 hrs. At that point, I will be checked and then it will be decided about the Pitocin.

All smiles!
     At this point, my mom had made it to my room and Calvin had gone home to pick up my hospital bag and some pizza for the nurses. I hung out with my mom as we waited for him to return.
We talked and watched a little TV. Then my mom reminded me to order some food before the kitchen closed. I'm not going to lie, and neither will Cal, but we loved and truly missed this part. I was allowed 3 meals a day and lucky Cal got to have a meal as well. They want mamas to eat! When I called to order, I asked what I could order and she said anything and everything! For my first meal, I ordered a turkey sandwich, salad, sliced peaches, a roll, a brownie, and apple juice. It was a lot of food!

The look on my face...
     I made sure to order enough because I wouldn't be able to eat once I got the pitocin. I'm glad I ordered that much food too because I ate this on Tuesday, July 16th, evening and I didn't get to eat another meal until Thursday, July 18 at around 1:30 AM. Yes my friends, I didn't eat an actual meal for almost 2 days! I was able to eat jello, a popsicle, water, and juice but that was it. No legit food though! Oh! I forgot to mention. I've never been in there, but there was a room where they had a fridge, microwave, and goodies such as soda, juice, ice creams and popsicles that were available to all mothers an fathers to be. That was extremely nice to have.

Now, we play the waiting game. There wasn't much progress and I wasn't feel much in terms of pain. I could feel my tummy harden. It was uncomfortable, but not painful.
Waiting game
     My mom stayed for a few hours and then had to head home to get dinner for my dad. We figured it was going to be awhile until anything really happened so my mom said she would plan to come back the next afternoon, but of course to call her if things change.  I literally spent the rest of the evening watching either Full House or Friends.

I knew I needed to get some rest because I had to save all my energy for the birth, but I just couldn't sleep. Poor Calvin had this little chair that pulled out into a mini cot, but he had no trouble falling asleep.
Hubby's bed
     Around 2 or 3 AM, a nurse came in to take out the Cervadil and to check how dilated I was. The nurse was really sweet, but she had quite a bit of trouble getting it out and it was not a pleasant experience. After she did that, she had to check my cervix and I was wishing on every star and crossing all my fingers that the Cervadil worked and would jump start my labor without the need of Pitocin. Yea, no luck. I needed the Pitocin. Once I was given it, I would not be able to eat until I had given birth. I can have water, jello, and popsicles but that was it. Because it was 3 in the morning, my options were very limited to get some kind of food into my system. I had my leftover roll from my meal earlier and the small side salad. I ate all that up and soon the nurse was in to administer the Pitocin.
     I was terrified. I have never heard anything good about Pitocin. I heard that the pain is more extreme and poor Liam would also be disturbed more by the contractions. I didn't want it at all! It was administered at 3:30 AM and now we wait until it takes full effect. I couldn't sleep before and I definitely couldn't sleep now.  My nurse would check on me periodically. I wasn't feeling any pain, just discomfort. The nurses would always ask my pain level on a scale from 1-10, 10 being the most painful. I swear I was at a 2 or 3 for the longest time, but according to my charts, I was having contractions on top of each other. She even had to turn the Pitocin down because I was barely getting a break, according to the charts. Liam was doing great and the nurses would always comment on how happy he was.

     My doctor came in to check on me in the morning and still not much going on. I still wasn't dilated much. It really is discouraging to hear that your only at 1 or 2 centimeters. She also warned me that it could take awhile and I might not give birth until Thursday. She told me she would be back to check on me in a couple hours and see what progress I had made then. Also at that point, she would break my water if it didn't happen before then.

 *Side Note* You all should know by now that I am a HUGE Disney fan. July 17 is Disneyland's birthday. Ever since I passed my due date, Ive been hoping and praying that he would come on the 17th. So when my doctor said he may come on the 18th, I kept praying he'd be here on the 17th. I felt like it had to be destiny that he was so close to being my little Disney baby!

     It definitely was a more intense waiting game than the 40 weeks of waiting I did while he grew in my tummy. Luckily, I had a bunch of friends and family who kept in touch with me and offered their support.My mom came back that afternoon to help me and be there for me. My doula was amazing and made sure to keep in contact with us while everything was going on. We hadn't ask her to come yet because I wasn't making much progress and I didn't want to pull her away if all I was doing for hours was just laying there watching television. I was getting so much love and support from my friends Jenn, Michelle, Ari, and Katiria. You girls have no idea how much you guys helped keep me calm. My cousin, Priscilla, would check up on me too and it felt really nice to feel the love and support. You all helped give me the strength to keep going. I love you all!

Calm before the storm
 Now we wait!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Labor and Delivery Part 1

My due date of July 14 had come and gone, yet there was no sign of Liam coming out. He was super happy baking in my tummy. Mommy on the other hand, was extremely eager to get him out and to finally meet him.

I had an NST, Fetal Non-Stress Test, scheduled for Tuesday, July 16 to check on Liam and to see how he was doing. When I arrived at my appointment, I was hooked up to a machine to monitor his heartbeat and to see if I was having any contractions.
All hooked up!                          

I was completely nervous the entire time. At first Calvin was asked to wait outside in case other mothers were scheduled to take the test too, but the technician came back to let Calvin in because I was the last one before their lunch break. It was comforting to have him there with me. Once the test was over, they sent me back into the waiting room to be called in for the ultrasound.

It wasn't long until my name was called and I was walked to a room in the back. I sat patiently in the dimly lit room waiting for the technician to come in. My palms were sweaty and I was nervous. Soon we heard a knock on the door and our ultrasound technician came in. She was super sweet which helped calm my nerves. She was checking all the measurements and what not. We asked if she could figure out Liam's estimated weight and she said 8 lbs and some oz. Let me just be honest and say that I was afraid when she said that. It also didn't help to hear them refer to Liam as a big baby! Towards the end of the ultrasound, she started to check the fluids and got quiet. That's when Cal and I looked  at each other like "what the hell is going on?" The doctor came in, not my OB but the doctor they have at this ultrasound office, and she wasn't as friendly as I would have liked in this now scary situation. She got straight to work and started checking my tummy. Even she said that Liam was a big baby! Then she said the words that changed my entire mood, "Well guys, it looks like you're going to have your baby today." What?! But wait, I'm not ready for this! I know he's 2 days over due, but I'm still not ready for this! On top of the immediate fear of giving birth, the doctor had scared me by saying the reason why I need to go to the hospital now was because my fluid was low. She even brought up how babies can become still born from low fluid. I definitely did not need to hear that!! 

The doctor left the room and told me she would double check with my OB if they should send me straight to the hospital or to her office. Not long after, a technician was sent in and she told us that we need to go straight to the hospital. I didn't have anything with me. I just thought they were going to check me and I could go home. So we asked if we had time to go home, about 15 minutes away, to grab my hospital bag. The technician went to double check with the doctor and said "No, the doctor wants you guys to go straight to the hospital. But don't worry, your husband can get your stuff while you check in".

 So Calvin and I walked hand in hand out of the office and to the car. I was in shock. I remember calling my mom right away and I got out "they're sending me to the hospital..." before I started bawling. I was scared. I'm pretty sure Calvin was scared too because he was quiet. Then I remember calling my cousin and telling her .I left her a message and was crying saying how scared I was and what the doctor had told me. I then called my brother, who was with my sister in Hawaii. I remember crying to them as well and being scared. I will never forget my brother saying "Why are you crying?" and i said "because I'm scared!". Oh man, he will never know that fear haha! We also told our doula what was going on as well. I also remember texting my good friend, Jenn, and telling her what was going on and how scared I was. I'm so lucky that everyone I decided to contact at that very moment was nothing but calm, supportive, reassuring, and everything I needed to have the courage and strength for what was to come.  

As we pulled into the parking lot of the hospital, I just couldn't believe this was all happening. I knew this day was coming. Don't get me wrong, I was extremely excited to finally meet my Liam Bear. But it also meant that everything was about to change. We were about to become a family of 3. I was about to go through a lot of pain and the most difficult, yet most beautiful thing I had to do in my life. We finally made our way up the elevator and to the labor and delivery floor. My heart was beating fast. I went to check in as Calvin was talking to our doula on the phone. I was shaking and nervous. It just so happened that many mommas were in labor that day and they had no rooms available. I had to wait awhile for a room to open up. During that time I was going through a mini panic attack. My heart was beating fast, my mouth was getting dry, my palms were sweaty, and I was shaking. Calvin was doing his best to help calm me down and assure me that everything was going to be ok. Our lives were about to change.