stella by starlight

on september 17, 2009 we celebrated lincoln’s first birthday.  news of a heat wave coming was on the news.  lincoln was tired that night, to tired to eat his cake.  we sat outside under the stars and dined on grilled chicken kabobs, salad, angel food cake.  we all talked and laughed for a long time.  I knew, in my heart I knew that stella was coming.  I went to bed knowing that it was almost over. 

I woke up once for lincoln around midnight and thought then, “guess I was wrong” for some reason I thought if it was going to happen at night it would have happened by then.  It was about 3:45 almost 4:00 in the morning.  I was having bad back pains, and a dream that someone was kicking me.   I woke up again and it was the same pain, and about twenty minutes later.  So at this point I thought, this is strange.  I didn’t fall back asleep, I got up and went to the bathroom and sure enough 20 min later more pains, this time wrapping around to the front.  I got up and went to start timing them, now they were coming about every ten minutes and getting a little stronger.  It was around 5:30.  I text Kirsten and told her to not go to work because I was having contractions but didn’t know if they were real or not yet (she would be Lincoln’s babysitter).  I went and told Matt that I was going to take a shower to see if they went away, I thought I remembered hearing that fake labor pains (which I had been having for WEEKS) would go away in the shower.  They didn’t go away.  So at that point Matt got up and started getting ready, I started getting things together.  The contractions were coming stronger and closer. We were told to go to the hospital when they were 8 min apart because of my history with fast labors, suddenly the contractions were 4-5 min apart so Matt and I started to get nervous.  

We dropped Lincoln off at my mom and dads, my mom came with us.  As Matt, mom, and I drove to the hospital I was concerned the whole way that they would send us home.  My water hadn’t broken and the contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and strong, but bareable.  I couldn’t talk through them at all but they weren’t anything like the contractions with Lincoln.  We checked into triage at 7:17 am.  The contractions continued strong and 4 min apart.  We got the same nurse in triage that we had with Lincoln a year ago, she remembered us too.  It was funny.  She checked me then and I was at 5cm.  At my last drs appt I had been 100% effaced and closed.  She said that the baby was at a 0 station.  She went to call Dr. Gerdes to let her know that it would be a fast one again.  She came back  20 min later checked me again and I was at a 7cm.  She left immediately to tell Gerdes that it was gong to be a REALLY fast labor and to get here asap.  I asked at that point if I could get in the shower because the contractions were getting really strong and I hated going through it in that little triage room, it made me feel claustrophobic and trapped.  She got me right to a room  (oddly enough room 18.  Lincoln was born on the 17th in room 17 Stella on the 18th in room 18)  and started the IV.  I tried to talk her out of the IV because I HATE them but she said that they had to because of policy.  We both knew I wasn’t getting drugs, even if I wanted them it was way too late at this point.  She put in the iv but didn’t hook me up to the machine so that I didn’t have to drag the thing everywhere.  Then she wrapped the IV hand in plastic so I could get in the shower. 

I stayed in the shower forever.  The contractions were getting stronger and the shower was a miracle, I was able to get through them.  I just stood there hanging onto the rail and rocking back and forth and praying and breathing.  After a while they said I needed to get out to get checked again, but I got into the bed and they didn’t check me for some reason.  Then I labored in bed for awhile, Gerdes put up a bar over the bed and had the bed so that it was like a chair and I could grab the bar and rock back and forth that way.  That also helped a lot.  It hurt the worst when I was on my back, if I could get up off my back and rock then it was better.  They were getting really close, maybe every 2 min and very very strong.  They started to feel horrible like they did with Lincoln. They were really really bad.  I thought I was going to vomit or cry, or both.  Matt suggested that I get back in the shower so I did.  Then after a couple more contractions I started to feel like I needed to push so they got me out and checked me.  I was at an 8. 

This is when things started to get weird.  Gerdes and the nurse were confused because it was progressing so fast and now seemed to have stopped.  The nurse said that she was going to check me while I contracted, which was horrid.  Having a contraction alone is bad but having one while someone is feeling your cervix is worse.  She said that when I contracted my cervix slacked a bit, kind of opening more.  She and Gerdes said what was going on was that there was so much pressure on the cervix (from her head) that it was getting bruised and swollen and that it was actually starting to close back up.  They said that I was going to start pushing and that they would pull the edge of the cervix back over the baby’s head since I wasn’t fully dilated.  Those of you who have given birth know what that means.  There isn’t much room to work with as is, take away 2 cm and it’s a big deal.  Oh yeah, and she was 9 lbs.  I started to get nervous because pushing without being fully dilated sounded painful and pushing the cervix back over the babies head sounded even more painful.  I kept asking if they were sure and they kept saying “yes, we have to do this.”  My mom later explained that if this hadn’t worked there would be a lot of issues, the baby was too far down in the birth canal for a standard c-section.  So, I started pushing and it was horrid, just as I imagined.  It didn’t burn as bad as it did last time but it felt like it wasn’t going to work.  Everytime I pushed it felt like I wasn’t making any headway.  Finally she was out.  I felt the same relief I did with Lincoln and then they took her and cleaned her up.  They said she was 8 lbs 14 oz, so 2 ozs away from 9 lbs.  So  I  pushed a 9lb baby out of 8 cm, no drugs whatsoever.  It was hell. 

But I could tell something was wrong from Dr. Gerdes’s face.   She asked the nurse to come over and start massaging my stomach, which sucked because she was doing it really rough and it hurt.  Then I heard Gerdes say, “She won’t stop bleeding and I can’t keep the cervix from coming out”  I asked, “is the cervix supposed to come out?”  She goes, very straight faced, “no.”  At that point I kept feeling gushes of blood flowing from me and I could tell they were getting more and more concerned.  Suddenly they started talking really fast and hooking up all kinds of things to my IV, I heard Gerdes say “start her on Pit”.  It would feel like the bleeding stopped and then it would start gushing again, suddenly four or five other people came running into the room, they flatten the bed and started giving me shots and hooking up more stuff to the IV and everyone was really serious and talking fast to each other so I had a hard time understanding what was going on. 

Matt stood there holding Stella and looking panicked.  I just remember him pacing back and forth staring at me.  My mom kept asking what was going on.  Gerdes told them that I was losing way too much blood and they couldn’t stop the bleeding.  They kept massaging my stomach really hard and trying to keep the cervix in.   I just laid on the table and prayed that everything would be okay and that I wouldn’t lose or damage my cervix because then I knew then I wouldn’t be able to have any more kids.  It kept going, they would get me to stop and then it would start gushing again.  It seemed to go on forever.  Suddenly the other doctors left and everyone seemed calmed down.  I was dizzy from the pain meds that they gave me and was really shaky and I couldn’t stop my teeth from chattering.  It sucked.  I made it through the whole delivery without any meds and then they had to flood me with them because of this so I still had some of the ‘side effects’ from them.  I kept thinking back to Lincoln and how I jumped up 20 min after birth and started eating taco bell.   

Kirsten and Andy and Lincoln came in.  Kirsten and Andy had kept him at my parents house and drove up when my mom called them and said Stella was born.  They all started to take pictures and clean Stella up, I nursed her awhile because they said that nursing would also help contract my uterus and that would help stop the bleeding.

 I had to have Pitocin for the next 12 hours to stop the bleeding and another med that started with an M that I can’t remember to stop the bleeding.  That med I took up until late Saturday and it  made my stomach cramp so bad, I was in a lot of pain most of the time I was in the hospital.  Gerdes ordered vicodin for me for the pain but I didn’t want to take it for fear of being way too sleepy to deal with Stella so I just took Tylenol.  I couldn’t take motrin because it would cause more bleeding.  The Tylenol didn’t really help and on Friday night I was in so much pain I couldn’t sleep.  Finally late Friday night I convinced them to take out the IV.  They took my blood and the tests came back good so the nurse stopped the pitocin, I still had to take the M medicine though.  Saturday I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a car.  They said that the bleeding had stopped to the point that I could take motrin, thank goodness.  The pain started to go away once I took the last M med.  I could barely walk and was sore all over.  It was all from what happened after the delivery.

Miracles happen, everyday.  But a baby is the truest form of a miracle out there.  Everything about the process is miraclous.  Stella was a special kind of miracle.  Her existence was hand choosen by God, and He made sure we knew it.  When Stella was finally born, after squeezing through 8 cm at 9 lbs, she still had (intact) her water sac.  She was, I believe the term is, ‘born in the caul’.  Being born in the caul isn’t odd for premature, smaller babies.  But it is nearly impossible for a larger baby.  Not to mention the tight quaters she came out through, it is unbelievable the the water sac never ripped at any point.  Babies that are born in the caul are said to hold special qualites, to be good luck charms, to be destined for greatness.

On september 18, 2009 at 9:57 am we became a family of four.  The adventure of two under two began, and it couldn’t have had a more dramatic start.

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