Ok...I am a bit obsessed with baby carriers, so I had to enter this contest! One can never have too many!

Win a Free Organic Embroidered Ergo Baby Carrier Hands Free System from Along for the Ride
Well, things have been quite hectic around here. On Tuesday, November 11 I started to not feel well. Slight fever and abdominal pain. I really thought I was just getting the cold that everyone else had and that the abdominal pain was from me overdoing things. Well, by Wednesday the pain had increased, and it was a sharp pain that prevented me from walking upright. And my fever was now over 101...and I rarely ever get a fever. I knew something was up, and even though I did not want to I called my OB's office. I spoke to the nurse, and after she talked to one of the doctors in the office they told me to head to the ER.

I called Ken and told him I needed him to come home from work, and after he got his mom to come watch the boys we headed to the hospital. We arrived around 4:30pm and got right in. I had a chest x-ray done and then got a CT scan. Once they got the results back they told me they were admitting me. I had a large hematoma (about 14cm x 8cm) in my pelvic cavity. The plan was to have a drainage catheter put in the next day. So I was taken to my room (on the Pediatric floor- the hospital was so full that was where they found room for me) just before midnight.

On Thursday morning I found out I was bumped off the schedule for getting my drain because there were some emergencies that came in. So it wasn't until Friday morning that I had the drain put in. At this point I was hooked up to an IV getting 3 different antibiotics and I had a lovery drain coming out of my gut. On Saturday an Infectious Disease doctor came and switched up my antibiotics based on the preliminary cltures that were drawn.

Monday afternoon I had a repeat CT scan to see how well the drain was working. Unfortunately the mass had only gone down to 12.3cm x 6.7cm. The new plan was to install a larger diameter drain on Wednesday morning. After I got the new drain I was told they would be putting in a PICC line so I could continue IV antibiotics at home. Yes...HOME! So on Thursday (11/20) I had a PICC line inserted and was finally discharged.

I have two home health nurses that visit to help care for my drain and PICC line. On Monday (11/24) I did have a repeat CT scan, but the hematoma hadn't gone down enough for the drain to be removed. So I will go back again on Monday 12/1 for a recheck and hopefully removal of the drain.

This month has been quite stressful for all of us. Ken has been more than amazing- taking care of both of the kids, working, taking care of the house, and still was at the hospital every day to visit me. I don't know what I'd do without him. Nicholas has been great despite going from various relatives' houses' day after day. And Erik...well, I'm grateful he's too young to realize all that has been going on. I just wish that I didn't have to spend so much time away from him during his first month of life.

Labels: , 1 comments | edit post
Just a fair warning...this is going to be long. And the story includes more than just Erik's birth, but the events that occured after.

A bit of background- Nicholas was born 2 days before his due date, I was only in active labor for 3 hours, pushed for 10-15 minutes, and had a rather uneventful birth. My hopes were that things would go as smoothly the second time around. After all, "they" say second labors are faster than the first, so I figured it would be a piece of cake. Boy was I wrong.

My due date with this pregnancy was Friday, October 17. In the weeks leading up to my "due" date I was gradually dilating with each appointment, so I figured labor couldn't be too far off. And yet each week I'd end up at the doctor again. I admit, I was pretty patient with it all- I knew my little one would arrive once they were ready. Once 41 weeks hit I was scheduled for an induction- the date chosen was Monday, October 27, 10 days after my "due" date. I had already cancelled a previously scheduled induction, but at this point I went ahead and scheduled this one. By choosing that date I knew I'd have Dr. Keen, which was one of the two doctors I preferred in my practice. (The practice has 9 OBs total, and I hadn't even met them all, but I had seen Dr. Keen several times throughout my pregnancy, including my 36 & 37 week appointments.) The entire weekend before I prayed that I would go into labor on my own. I was contracting every 3-7 minutes, but nothing strong enough to set me into active labor.

On Monday, October 27 I called the hospital at 6:00am to check to make sure they had bed availability. They did, and I was set to arrive at 7:30am. I took a shower, had some breakfast, and then Ken & I dropped Nicholas off at Nana's. On the ride to the hospital we were placing our final guesses on the baby's stats. Ken said he thought it was a boy and he'd weigh 9lbs 2oz. I said girl with a weight of 8lbs 6oz. We laughed that no one who participated in the baby pool was even close to the birth day- I guess no one thought I'd go 10 days overdue!

We arrived at the hospital around 8:00am and got checked it. Ken took my final belly shots. You can really see how much I popped in the last few weeks.

Photobucket Photobucket

Once I got changed into my gown the nurse asked some background questions and then they got my IV started with fluids and the antibiotics I needed for Group B Strep. The antibiotics would take about 4 hours, so they weren't going to start the induction until around 2:00-2:30pm. In the meantime I was hooked up to the fun monitors to watch the baby's heartrate and my contractions. I was still having regular contractions (some I was feeling, others I wasn't) about every 3-7 minutes, so Dr. Keen was optimistic that it wouldn't take much to get things going. There was concern though that the baby's heart rate wasn't accelerating like it should- it was steady for the most part, but at times it would drop, and they kept having me lay on my left side to try to get the baby to react a bit more. In the back of my head I was a bit worried, but the doctor and nurses didn't give me any reason to be concerned, so I just brushed it off.

Around 12:30pm Ken went to get lunch, and shortly after that my mom had arrived. Ken went out to the waiting room to give her updates every 20 minutes or so. Around 2:45pm my doctor came in to break my water. At this point she said I was still 4cm. A little after 3:00pm they started me on pitocin, but turned it off after 5-10 minutes. The baby wasn't reacting well to it, and I was now at 5cm and contracting a lot stronger now.

Sometime between 3:30 and 3:45pm my new nurse (Tara) came in and I asked for an epidural. The anesthesiologist came in shortly after 4:00pm and inserted the epidural. Right after that Dr. Keen checked me and I was at 7cm, so I was moving along nicely. It wasn't too long after that when I said to the nurse that my epidural was not working. She asked if I was feeling pain or pressure, and honestly I had no clue- I just knew I was seriously uncomfortable! Another check revealed that I was at 10cm and ready to push- it happened that fast!

I remember distinctly looking at the clock on the TV and it said 4:52pm. The nurses and doctor started breaking down the bed and getting everything ready for the delivery. Ken reminded Dr. Keen and the nurses that I wanted to be the one to announce the sex of the baby to the room. I had carried this little one for ten months, and I wanted to be the one to introduce him/her to the world.

So at last it was time for me to push. I remember pushing, taking a breath, and then pushing a second time. After that was when things got chaotic (and Ken has filled me in, because I didn't remember it all). Apparently on the first push the baby's heartrate dropped into the 40s, and on the second push they lost the heartrate completely. Tara (my nurse) was rolling me from side to side and then had me get up on my hands and knees to rock. At that time I remember hearing Dr. Keen say something about a c-section. I immediately started crying and saying I didn't want a c-section.

I was quickly rolled down to the c-section OR and put on the table. It seemed like forever before Ken showed up. I didn't feel much, just some slight tugging, and then Dr. Keen announced that we had a baby boy, born at 5:10pm. He had a tight nuchal cord, but otherwise was ok. I remember hearing him cry and it was a sigh of relief. I told Ken to go over to where they were cleaning him off so he could be with him. He came back and showed me a few pictures he had taken, and he said that he was Erik Joseph. (We had been debating between two boy names, so we said we'd wait until the baby was born to decide.) Erik was a spitting image of his older brother.

During this time I was being put back together and the nurse briefly brought Erik over to Ken so he could hold him next to me. I gave him a kiss, but I wasn't able to hold him. The nurse then took him away- I'm assuming he was taken to the nursery at this point. The surgery ended around 6:00pm and I was taken to the recovery area.

Down in recovery I had two or three nurses with me and we were just sitting and talking. Tara (my L&D nurse) took her lunch break, but came back shortly and we sat and talked about Halloween, and we kept our eyes on the clock for the Phillies game. Yes, it was Game 5 of the World Series, and I knew the Phillies were going to win, and was so excited that my son was born on this day! The nurses made sure I used my PCA to manage my pain, and another nurse was feeding me ice chips.

I had about 15 minutes left to go in recovery when I started sweating and feeling lightheaded. I told the nurses I wasn't feeling well, but they already knew something was up. My blood pressure had dropped to 60/30 and my heartrate was in the 160s. They increased my fluids, but it wasn't enough to get things under control. (Things get kinda fuzzy for me at this point, so some of this is my recollection, and part is what Ken told me.)

I remember having several doctors come check on me- I know at one point I had a doctor on each side of me trying to insert several IV lines. I know that I had about 5-6 IVs in me, some with 4 seperate ports for them to access, plus I had a line in my artery for them to continuously monitor my blood pressure. I know I received 2 units of blood while still down in recovery, and I know I had a lot of blood drawn. The doctors didn't know yet what was wrong- they thought at one point that I may have been having an allergic reaction to the morphine, so I wasn't allowed to use my PCA. Ken was with me most of the time (I know at one point he went to talk to my mom, and he sent her home saying they needed to observe me a bit longer in recovery), but he was sitting off to the side, staying out of the way of the doctors. He later told me that at one point there were 7 doctors and 3 nurses working on me. (I do remember seeing another OB from my old practice talking with Dr. Keen.) At some point I remember a lot of the doctors stepping aside and I heard one of them say that the chaplain was there. Ken and the chaplain stood next to me and prayed.

Shortly after I was taken to get a CT scan. All I could think was something was left inside me from the c-section. (I watch too much TV, I think!) Dr. Keen then told me they were checking to see if I was bleeding internally. The whole trip to get the CT scan I remember every bump in the halls they hit hurt like no tomorrow. And then I had to be moved from the bed I was on to the CT area. The pain was pretty bad, since I hadn't been allowed any pain relief for awhile.

After the CT scan I was taken to the Intensive Care Unit. I don't remember how long I was in there, but I don't think it was very long. After Dr. Keen had gotten the results of the CT scan she confirmed that I was bleeding from the c-section and that I was going to be taken down to Interventional Radiology for surgery. Instead of her going back and cutting me open again, another doctor would go in through my femoral artery and be able to stop the bleeding that way. So, I was wheeled down to IR, and met Dr. O'Moore who explained the procedure to me. At this point I was a bit more coherent, but was given some sort of medication to relax me for the procedure. The surgery started around 11:00pm and ended around midnight. I was then taken back to the ICU where I had to lay completely flat for the 6 hours following the surgery. That was pure torture- I was so uncomfortable, but I did have my PCA back, so I was able to control my pain. I was also allowed to have ice chips again. Considering I hadn't eaten in 18 hours, and hadn't had a drink in about 9 hours the ice chips were pure joy.

While I was being wheeled back to ICU, Dr. Keen called to the nursery to let Ken know he could wait for me in the ICU waiting room. (He had gone to the nursery to spend time with Erik and feed him while I was in surgery.) Ken met up with me in my room, and spent the night by my side. I had nurses coming in and out pretty frequently checking on my vitals, and also bringing me ice. In the morning Dr. Keen came in and explained to us everything that had happened the night before. (Although, since I was still out of it, I plan on talking with her again at my post-partum checkup.) She said that I had uterine bleeding from the c-section, and the excessive blood loss was what caused my heartrate to skyrocket and drop my blood pressure. The IR surgery was a success though, and my vitals were improving. She did order two more units of blood though because my hemoglobin count had dropped so low.

Later on Tuesday afternoon it was decided to try to get me out of bed and into a chair. Because I was in ICU they could not bring Erik to see me, and if I was able to sit in a chair they were willing to wheel me down to the nursery to see him. Unfortunately, when I got into the chair my heartrate and blood pressure started going crazy again and I was forced back into bed. I was heartbroken. It had been almost 24 hours since my son was born and I had yet to hold him, to nurse him, to examine every inch of him. Ken had gone to the nursery to take pictures and video, but it still wasn't the same. I just wanted my baby. The rest of the day I spent sleeping a lot- I know my mom came and spent some time with me, and my in-laws had come to see Erik and came to see me, but I was asleep.

Wednesday I was given another two units of blood- my hemoglobin levels were a bit over 8 at this point, so they were improving, but still not close to normal. After I received the blood we decided to attempt to get me out of bed again. My doctors told me if I could get out of bed and be able to sit in the chair for awhile without my blood pressure or heartrate going crazy they would release me to the postpartum unit. I was determined to see my little boy, so in the afternoon with the help of the nurses I got out of bed and into the recliner. My blood pressure was only slightly elevated, and my heartrate was ok. I relaxed in the recliner for several hours- it was a welcome change from the bed I had been confined to.

All afternoon and early evening I kept asking when I was going to postpartum. Around 6:00pm I was given the ok, and they just had to get my room ready. I called Ken (who had gone home at this point to spend time with Nicholas) and he came back up to the hospital with my mom and Nicholas. Around 8:30pm (right at the start of the continued Phillies game) I was finally released from the ICU and brought to postpartum. I barely got settled in my new bed when they wheeled Erik in. Finally, it had been 50+ hours since he was born, and I got to hold my son for the first time.



After a few quick pictures I got to nurse Erik for the first time. That was one of the most upsetting things for me- I nursed Nicholas minutes after he was born, and for two days Erik was being fed formula. Fortunately, Erik latched on like a pro. (He was supplemented with formula for a few additional days, but by the time he was a week old he was strictly on mama's milk.) I spent this time just snuggling my little boy, kissing him, and examining every inch of him. Despite looking like his brother I noticed he does have my brown eyes and an adorable dimple in his right cheek.

During this time Ken was helping to get me settled in my room, and we turned on the TV to watch the rest of the World Series. We literally turned the TV on in time to watch Brad Lidge's final pitch that won the Phillies the World Series. It was a special moment- we were finally together as a family and cheering on our team. We can't wait to tell Erik how he was born on this great day in Philadelphia sports history. If he's anything like his older brother and the rest of the family, he will be a HUGE sports fan as well.

Erik and I spent the rest of the week together in postpartum. We had visits from family members, and of course Daddy and Nicholas came to visit every day. Nicholas was in love with his brother from the moment he saw him. On Saturday morning Erik and I were finally discharged from the hospital, and around noon we were headed home.

My recovery is coming along. Physically I'm feeling a lot better. I'm still disappointed that I did not get the birth I had wanted. I am grateful that Erik is here safely, and that I am ok, but part of me is still sad about the birth I didn't get to have. For now I am just enjoying my beautiful baby boy, his energetic big brother, and my wonderful husband. I've been blessed with the perfect family.