I’m going to spend this rainy Monday afternoon telling you all the story of Lil Bit’s early arrival and share with you this beautiful boy who is my grandson. This post is long so grab your favorite drink, sit back, read, and enjoy.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009 – My daughter had a regularly scheduled appointment with her OB. Throughout her pregnancy she has had her ups and downs with a wide variety of issues all related to the pregnancy. During this visit Dr. B voiced again his concern over her weight loss and added to this now was an increase in her blood pressure, increased nausea/vomiting, and an almost constant headache. He told her that if this particular Tuesday would have been one week later there would be no doubt in inducing and taking the baby, but at 37 weeks he wanted to do some more tests first and then make a final decision. He scheduled a Bio-Physical Profile (BPP) and Non-Stress Test (NST) for Wednesday afternoon.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 – We arrived at the hospital for Heather’s BPP and NST. Heather had very little sleep on Tuesday night and she was hitting the brink of exhaustion. She had been so sick and just didn’t feel well at all. The nagging headache just wouldn’t go away. We waited in the Radiology waiting area for what seemed like forever. Once they called her back for the BPP we felt relieved to see the tech would be someone we knew and had experience with. We knew she would be upfront with us about anything she saw or found that she felt was not normal … and that is exactly what she did. During the BPP Lil Bit refused to move, the amniotic fluid level was low, and the US tech wasn’t impressed with what she was seeing on the screen. The BPP took 30 minutes then Heather was sent upstairs to the Women’s Healthcare Unit for her NST. We arrived on the unit to find that every treatment room was occupied and all of the monitors were in use except for a portable monitor from the dinosaur ages. They ended up putting Heather in a regular patient room and hooking her to the dinosaur monitor. I knew they wouldn’t be able to get the strip they actually wanted to see using this monitor and they did too but I believe they already knew at this point, from the BPP, that the NST results wouldn’t really play a part in the final decision. We felt confident that Heather had already failed the most important of these two tests … the BPP. After being on the dinosaur monitor about 45 minutes one of the nurses came in and sat down on the edge of the bed with Heather. She began taking the monitor belts lose and talking calmly to us. She said Dr. B was on his way over from his office to talk to us. She hesitated for a moment then added the words we were afraid she was going to say … “about delivery.”
Dr. B finally made an appearance. He sat down on the edge of the bed and told Heather that although she was only 37 weeks it was time to move forward with getting the baby out of an environment that he wasn’t happy in. He told us that he didn’t like the results of the BPP as there is decreased fluids and baby movements which indicates not a good place for baby to be. He explained to Heather that since she was still three weeks away from her due date there was a chance that induction would fail and she would end up with a C-section and it was possible that the baby may have some breathing problems and would have to be flown out to Asheville to a NICU as our local hospital is not equipped to handle preemie babies with respiratory issues. He then emphasized that while we may run into some complications with early induction none of those complications would be as devastating as the ones we may face by trying to leave the baby in an unhealthy environment for another week or longer.
Dr. B detailed how the induction would work then told us to sit tight and they would eventually get us moved to LDR and get the ball rolling. About 6:00pm on Wednesday evening they finally moved Heather to LDR-3 which is actually only used as a treatment room and for monitoring but they assured us we would be moved into a LDR suite as soon as one was made available. Hopefully within the next hour.
They told us Heather could have whatever she wanted for dinner and she could eat as late as 10:00pm but after that the only thing she could have by mouth would be ice chips. I ran out and got us dinner and about the time I got back to the hospital they were moving her to the ‘big’ LDR suite where she would remain until after the baby was delivered. My best friend, Heather’s God-Mother, Angie had joined us and the three of us hung out until late in the night in LDR Suite 1 and waited for things to get started.
At 10:00 PM Heather’s nurse came in with her first dose of Cytotec. She also started Heather on an IV drip and an IV antibiotic. Heather had tested Group-B Strep Positive so they wanted to get these antibiotics on board for treating Group-B. We continued to hang out talking, giggling, and laughing until after midnight when we finally decided that we should get some sleep because Thursday was going to be a big day. Heather was given a second dosage of Cytotec and another dosage of antibiotics at 2:00 AM. Around 3:00 AM Heather started having contractions and quickly became very uncomfortable. The nurse she had was horrendous! Heather wanted to be up moving but her nurse, being from the ‘old school’ insisted that she stay on the monitor so they could watch the baby every minute. Heather couldn’t get comfortable and everytime she moved the monitor would lose the baby’s heartbeat and the horrendous nurse would come running back in to throw Heather back onto her back and tell her she would have to remain in that particular position and keep the baby on the monitor. There was no way around it. Nurse Horrendous then proceeded to tell Heather that she needed to be more co-operative with her or else her baby would die. That was the final straw!! Heather got hateful and I refused to continue this with Nurse Horrendous. Heather wanted out of that bed and I knew good and well that we could get her out of bed and keep the baby on the monitor at the same time. When Nurse Horrendous left I moved a recliner closer to Heather’s bed, helped her get in the recliner and get somewhat comfortable, and then I started working with the monitor belts to get them in the proper location for picking up the baby and her contractions. Needless to say Nurse Horrendous about had a living fit when she came in to find Heather sitting in a chair … BUT … the baby was clearly and loudly displaying on the monitor … as were the contractions which were coming 3 minutes apart!!! Heather asked for pain meds and Nurse Horrendous had the freaking nerve to tell Heather she would have to get back in the bed so she could examine her before she could have anything for pain. We asked her to call Dr. B and see what he had to say. Dr. B ordered IV Nubain for pain and said she could have it every two hours as needed. First dose in and Heather actually fell asleep in the chair and slept for almost 2 hours. We never once lost the baby on the monitor and her contractions were coming right on que. Nurse Horrendous finally softened up and realized that Mama to be’s comfort was most important at this point so Heather was to remain in the chair as long as she was comfortable or until induction protocol changed. Pitocin was started at 6:30 AM. Heather remained in the chair until after nurse shift change at 7:00AM. It was at this point where she asked for additional pain medication and the day shift nurse told her should could have it but she would have to be in bed. Heather wasn’t happy because she wanted to be sitting up … Nurse Wonderful made both happen. She got Heather back in bed, checked her progression (1cm dialated 70% effaced), and did some sort of funky bed breakdown which put Heather in the sitting position she wanted to be in AND put her in bed where the induction protocoal required her to be in order to get the pain medication she was getting. Everyone was happy and we were ready to have a baby. … Or so we thought …
Nurse Wonderful stayed close and monitored both Heather and Lil Bit closely. As the pitocin was increased the contractions got closer together and lasted longer. The pain medication wasn’t helping and Heather was absolutely miserable. Nurse Wonderful came in to examine Heather and told her if she was at least 4cm she could have an epidural. Our hearts sank when she told Heather she was still at 1cm but she was 100% effaced. She tried encouraging Heather and told her that hopefully things would progress now that she was fully effaced. An hour later Heather was in tears when Nurse Wonderful came in and agreed to see if she was making any progress. Unfortunately there was very little change, maybe 1/2 cm so Nurse Wonderful called Dr. B to see what the next step was. Dr. B came over to check Heather himself, break her water, and try to get Lil Bit on an internal monitor as to allow Heather more freedom of movement. Unfortunately he was not able to yet get the internal monitor in place. He did break her water and hoped this would allow for progression. He told Nurse Wonderful to go ahead and order the epidural when Heather asked for it. He said it was going to be a long day and as long as baby was doing OK he wasn’t concerned with the length of labor time. Nurse Wonderful ordered the epidural and an anesthesiologist came to talk with Heather about the epidural. Heather braved the contractions for a couple more hours. They were about 2 minutes apart, lasting about 1 1/2-2 minutes, and Heather wasn’t able to talk or react through them with anything but a tight grip and tears. She asked for her epidural.
Enter first anesthesiologist who we didn’t much care for. Heather was in the proper position and after FOUR sticks this woman finally got ‘something’. Heather kept telling her she could feel it on the left side and the epidural seemed to work on the left side. They turned Heather to lay on her right side in hopes that nature would do the job of placing the epidural medication in the correct place. She slept for a little while but was awakened with the return of contractions and she was MISERABLE. Nurse Wonderful called anesthesiology and another lady came up to give it a shot. She took a little longer feeling for just the right place and with one stick Heather screamed out a loud OUCH and this lady asked where it hurt and Heather said “My Back” to which anesthesia replied “DON’T MOVE” and in a matter of seconds Heather was smiling and happy. This wonderful lady had hit the right spot, inserted the catheter, and had the medication flowing as it should have been. Heather was comfortable and sleeping. She had dialated enough for Nurse Wonderful to get Lil Bit on an internal monitor so there was no losing the baby should Heather move and they found the perfect location for monitoring the strength of her contractions. Heather slept for about 3 hours … a good, hard, restful sleep which she desperately needed. During this time they continued to increase the pitocin and monitor. About 3pm Dr B came in to examine Heather and start making some decisions. She was standing tight at 3cm. Lil Bit was showing a few occasional variable decels with contractions but nothing that was of great concern at this point. He told Heather that he was going to give her a couple more hours until his office was closed for the day then see where she was. If there was no change then we would discuss C-Section and if there was change, with baby still doing OK, then he would continue to wait it out. Shortly after he left Nurse Wonderful came in and said they wanted to try a different route with Heather. They turned off the pitocin. Nurse Wonderful said that Pit has a very short shelf life and that within 10 minutes it would be out of her system then they would continue to monitor for an additional 20 minutes then turn the Pit back on. Heather slept! We watched the monitor to see what happened when the Pit was off and at the 15 minute mark there was absolutely no contractions what so ever. 15 minutes later Nurse Wonderful came back in to start the Pit again only to find that Heather’s IV site had flew the coop. Nurse Wonderful and the other Nurse Lovely that was working that day spent the next 45 minutes trying to find a new IV site. When they finally got the IV running again they turned the pitocin back on. Contractions started again … Heather slept! As they increased the amount of pitocin she was receiving the contractions grew stronger, lasted longer, and got closer together … as they should have done. Dr. B came back in when his office closed for the day and a quick exam showed that Heather was still at 3cm. Dr. B had a couple of things he needed to take care of and he was going to give her a couple of more hours to show progression and if nothing happened he would be back to move forward with a C-Section.
Nurse Wonderful stepped out of the room. In about 10 minutes she was back checking the monitor and checking Heather. She left and in about 10 minutes she was back in the room checking things again. She woke Heather up and asked how she was feeling. Heather simply said tired and I have a headache. Heather’s blood pressure was going up again and Lil Bit was showing extended variable decels with 7 out of 10 contractions. Nurse Wonderful was concerned and I was starting to feel that way too. Nurse Wonderful went out to call Dr. B. She came back in and told us that Dr. B had instructed her to call the OR team and have them ready to section at 7:15pm. About 45 minutes and Lil Bit would be here.
I paniced and so did Heather. She has never had major surgery and here she is coming from a good deep sleep to learn she is getting ready to have a C-Section. The first of the OR team arrived and I knew God was answering prayer requests. Nurse Special came in to introduce herself to Heather and asked if she could have a word of prayer with us. She took Heather by the hand and laid her other hand on Heather’s tummy then said the most beautiful prayer I have ever heard and when she said Amen she stepped back and said “I feel the Spirit among us, let’s have a baby.” OH the sense of calm I was feeling and you could see calm in Heather’s face. Things happened quickly … another nurse came in to introduce herself and anesthesia came in to inject some new medications into the epidural site. Before I knew it Heather was being wheeled into the OR. About 10 minutes later they came to get me and I was sitting by her side. All she would say is “Mama, I just want to hear him cry.” The first incision was made at exactly 7:18 and after a whirl of medical terms and instructions I heard Dr B say “He’s not big at all” which of course scared the living daylights out of me but almost at that instant we heard the most beautiful cry you have ever heard in your life. OH MY GOODNESS … Lil Bit for sure had a set of lungs!! Dr. B looked over the curtain to tell Heather that baby looks good and there definitely wasn’t anything wrong with his lungs. He told her that baby was littler than expected but everything looks good. I was watching them work with Lil Bit across the room and the Dr who was taking care of him turned and gave me a thumbs up. You could see the smile on his face reflecting through the gleem in his eyes. I heard him say “This may be a little boy but he’s a healthy little boy”.
Now what you have all been waiting for … allow me to introduce you to Lil Bit … born Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 7:25PM, weighing in at 5lbs 13oz and 19 inches long.