Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Story of Isabel's Birthday

So, like I promised 2 weeks ago, I am finally posting the story of Isabel's Birth. We were scheduled to come in to be induced on December 21 at 1 AM. By the time we got to the hospital, I had been having contractions in my back for an hour, but like all the contractions that I had had for the month prior to the 21st, they weren't accomplishing anything. The initial assessment was that I as not dilated at all and I was put on Cytotech, which soften my cervix, but it works slowly, so we knew we were going to be in for a long labor. We were warned the Friday before by Dr. Gatherum that inducing my labor may take a few days and based on what we found out when we got into the hospital, we started to prepare ourselves for such a labor.

However, what we were not ready for was the fact that the Cytotech would make my contractions strong and one minute apart. Within two hours of having the first does placed, I was having them every minute and I was unable to sleep at all. By 5 AM I was watching Saved By The Bell to get my mind off of what was going on (it kind of worked too!). The nurse came and placed another dose and said that I had dilated a whole centimeter. Wow! All those contractions and only one centimeter.

Dr. Gatherum came in during rounds later that morning and decided that I should be switched from Cytotech to Pitocin because maybe the Pit would make my contractions longer and stronger, but further apart so that (1) I would be able to relax more between contractions so that I would (2) dilate faster. So, at 9 AM I was out on Pitocin. Unfortunately, Pitocin did make my contractions stronger and longer, but it failed to make them spread any further apart than 1 minute. So I continued on that labor pattern for the 9 hours and I only dilated 2 more centimeters. Keep in mind, I had not had any medication to relieve the pain because in the back of my mind I knew that if I had an epidural the chance of them wanting to break my water increased and I knew that Isabel would not live until after she was born if they did that. So when Dr. Gatherum came in and told us that he felt the best option was to turn off the Pitocin at 7 PM, feed me a good meal, and let me sleep until Midnight when they would turn the Pitocin on again, I could have hugged the man! I was so tired! He also warned us that if I didn't get into an active labor pattern the next day, he would send us home and we would be scheduled for induction the next week do that we could avoid a c-section. I really was hoping that a good meal and some sleep would help my body do what it was supposed to do.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to sleep or eat very well. Mark went and got me Chicken Fried Steak from Chili's, but I was only able to eat a tiny bit of it because I was still contracting. Mark was able to eat it though, so it didn't go to waste! :) Then we went to bed and I wasn't able to sleep very well either. By the time the nurse came back at Midnight to start the Pitocin again, Isabel had a surprise for us. Apparently I had be contracting every minute the whole time the Pitocin was turned off, so the nurse was hoping I had dilated some more. So she checked me and Isabel grabbed at her hand. The nurse knew that wasn't normal and got an ultrasound machine in to see what was going on. Sure enough, Isabel had turned transverse and that meant we would need a c-section. But, before they were going to call in my doctor, they called in an ultrasound tech, just to make sure the nurse was right. So for the next hour Mark and I prayed that she would flip. Sure enough, by the time the tech got there, Isabel flipped and we were able to proceed with Pitocin. To this day I wonder what would have happened if she hadn't have turned.

So with the Pitocin going again and my contractions getting stronger and stronger, I decided at 3 AM that I would try out the tub again to help manage my pain. Well, Isabel didn't want me to, so before I was able to get in, my water started leaking. That changed the game for that day completely because I would have to deliver that day or I would have a c-section. So we knew that Isabel's birthday would be December 22 for sure.

I was so tired that by 6 AM I was asking for a second shot of Demeral (I had my first the night before) so that I could sleep and maybe my body would dilate. But, unlike the first dose, I was not able to sleep, but I was drowsy. So now I was trying to relax through contractions while drowsy good luck with that! My in-laws came to the hospital a couple of hours later and while Mark went and had breakfast, my mother-in-law sat with me. During this time, she, the nurses, everyone tried talking me into an epidural because I had been in labor by this point for 32 or so hours and was only 5 centimeters dilated. I really didn't want one, but the labor was back in my back and I was so tired that by the time Mark got back from breakfast, I wanted one. Let me tell you, those can be nice, if you don't mind the side effects.

One the epidural was in place, some things happened quickly. Because I had to lay on my side, the external contraction monitors no longer worked very well, so my doctor wanted to place an internal one. We thought because my water had a leak that we could place it without affecting Isabel. However, that isn't how it worked out. After the monitor was placed my water broke and flooded everything. Seriously, there was gallons of water still in there (because of my Polyhydrominos) and everything got soaked. Because my water was now broken and they were able to really crank the Pitocin because of the epidural, my labor progressed very quickly after that. But Isabel didn't make it. I felt two kicks after my water broke and sometime between then and her birth she passed. We don't know for sure because we took off the fetal monitor, but I think I know when it happened. In hindsight, I think we all knew when it happened. But we didn't talk about it, not even after she was born. If only my stupid water hadn't had broken. Her poor body just wasn't strong enough to survive literally gallons of water gushing. Or the pressure of the contractions on her now unprotected head. In the end, I will forever question whether or not I should have gotten the epidural. But, like I have been told, we make the best decisions with the information that we have at the time. I don't know that my water wouldn't have broken on it's own or that Isabel wouldn't have survived anyway, but to me right now, I wished I wouldn't have had the epidural.
So anyway, my labor ended with a little over 4 hours of pushing. Yes, 4 hours. That means that by the time Isabel was born at 5:15 PM, I had been in labor for a little over 41 hours. So if you see a picture of me with Isabel, that is why I look so bad. But what can you do? Isabel was beautiful and BIG too! She weighed 5 pounds 12 ounces, but had she had been healthy, Dr. Gatherum thought she would have been easily over 8 pounds. She was also 18 inches long and she was missing 2 or 3 inches of cranial. So, she was our pudgy cutie!

When Isabel was born I knew that she hadn't made it, but there was still some shock there. Mark really didn't take it well. I didn't know what to feel. It was one of the most precious days of my life. I really feel Like M'Lynn off of Steel Magnolias when she said "I was there when this precious spirit entered this world and I was there when she left." I know what that feeling is like now. I just couldn't believe that just like that, she was gone. I still can't believe that.

In the end we kept her with us for 19 hours before the funeral home picked her up. We talked to her, cuddled her, slept with her, and bathed her. Everyone got a chance to hold her. We have her hand molds, foot prints, and a lock of her hair. We took tons of pictures and Jessica from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep came too. We tried to cram a whole lifetime of memories into 19 short hours. I still stare at her pictures shell shocked with how fast time goes by. Today, if things were different, I would be holding a 2 week old. Instead, I am unpacking from going to her funeral. I don't know what to think. But I do know that on December 22 I got to meet the body that held an angel and I wouldn't have traded that time for anything.


Kindra said...

Such a nice story... Isabel is beautiful!

Stacy said...

I am sure countless people will be helped by your sharing your story. A small comfort to the immense pain you must be feeling.

Cambrea Jacob said...

Jill and Mark I wish I knew what to say. . . I am sorry for your loss of Isabel Jane but I am so glad you got to meet your angel!

Thought of the Day said...

Hi Jill, you can truly feel the love that you and your husband have for Isabel in the words that you have written, thank you! Don't blame yourself about the epidural, I was put on pitocin with my daughter and before I had my epidural my water broke. I know that probably doesn't ease your mind much but I wanted you to know that. Thank you for sharing your story, you have a beautiful angel!!