Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sullivan Louise's Birth Story

Okay so I've officially taken two months to tell Sully's birth story and have honestly been deciding whether to share it here or not. Then I thought back to how reading other birth stories was a source of knowledge and in many instances comfort when I was pregnant. 
In complete honesty though, sometimes the stories also gave me major anxiety. Well folks, Sully's birth turned out much different than we had hoped and I want to share even the smallest of details to stay true to the full experience. That's why I'll warn, if you're preggers right now, read at your own discretion. I also want to caution that I'm going to get pretty personal and long winded in this post, so hang on tight friends.

Let's dive in... Towards the end of my pregnancy I was on bed rest because of signs of preeclampsia. My doc was afraid Sully would be here a lot quicker than we thought, but luckily bed rest worked like a charm and wouldn't you know, we were one of the only 5% who had our baby on her due date, Sunday, April 19!
Baby girl was facing the wrong way so I did many exercises while on bed rest to try to get her to flip. Turns out they weren't really needed :).
Fellow Lilly ladies also know that the Lilly for Target line launched April 19 as well. And oh how I put a lot of forethought and excitement into this launch, just see here. I even got my poor husband involved. That sweet man decided to stay awake and scout the Target site from midnight on for the online launch (while binging on West Wing). I woke up around 1am to join him. As you might know, the launch was a bit of a mess and ended up crashing the site multiple times, womp womp. Long story short, we were up all night when little did we know, we really should have been resting up for one of the biggest days of our lives.
Around 2:30am I started getting contractions that felt different, but at this point had made up my mind Sully wouldn't be here until her induction date two days later. Then they got stronger and stronger and close together. To best explain the pain, it felt like a rod slamming from front of my lower abdomen to the back and then a radiating pain circling out from there. By 4:45am I called my mom in SC and told her to get in the car and come to VA.
I was deathly afraid of going to the hospital too soon though because I didn't want to get sent home or start pain meds too early. But by 6am I couldn't talk easily and was doubling over in pain. Well wouldn't you know, I was only 2cm (what I had been for two weeks) and the hospital was very full so they talked of sending me home. NOOOO!

Then all the sudden, POP! Ryan was pushing on my lower back through a strong contraction when my water broke and oh did it gush out. I was lying down on my side when it happened and when they went to test to make sure my water had actually broken, let's just say the cover lifted and no test was needed. I was soaking wet and for sure in labor!
That's when I quickly went from 2 to 4cm and at the rate I was going they thought little girl would be here fast. It was in that leap that I started getting nauseous and sick with strong contractions. Have to say, nothing more unpleasant than contracting with no epidural and vomiting at the same time. Gross.

Finally the anesthesiologist became available quickly in between surgeries. He rushed in and gave me the epidural which was painful to get, but OH MY GOSH worth it for the major relief that flooded over me after. The worst part is actually not the epidural but the numbing shot that comes first. If you can get through that then you're free and fancy. Best. Invention. Ever.
After the epidural kicked in I didn't feel a thing. Contractions would come and go and I had no idea. It was glorious. That is, until it wasn't. Even with the small dosages you can administer yourself, I had to get the anesthesiologist back twice to give me more. In between waiting on those dosages, the contractions sucked and sickness returned. The pressure was insane, cheers to you women who do it without epidurals. 

Unfortunately the epidurals also slowed down my progression though. Around 5am things got a little hazy for me. I all of the sudden got a fever, baby girl's heart rate spiked and they found an infection in my placenta. My amazing team of nurses and my doctor (who wasn't my actual doctor but another one on duty at the time) knew I really didn't want a c-section. Yet even though I had made it to 8cm, they said it probably would be another 2-3 hours until 10cm came around and I could start pushing. If we waited, the infection had a high chance of getting to Sully. No way was I risking hurting her at all. So Ryan suited up, the anesthesiologist gave me that last epidural dosage and we waited on a room.

While waiting (and even earlier before the epidural) they gave me nitrous which I thought would be amazing from other stories I've heard, but for me, it was not good. I felt suffocated with the mask on, noticed that it actually doesn't block pain, it just makes you feel out of it and on top of that, it also made me more nauseous.
Thank goodness, a room finally became available, so off I went! They took me into the room first, got me all set up and then brought Ryan in right before game time. Not going to lie, it was a little scary to go alone and they even told me it will feel like they had forgotten Ryan.

I had been lying on my right side when they gave me the drugs and they should have flipped me to the other side to be fully numbed. Remember you have no control from top of your abdomen down when you have the epidural, so flipping myself was out of the question and in the hustle I never got flipped. Bad news bears.

When they went to make the incision starting on my left side (the one the drugs didn't spread to), I felt it. My body jumped and the nurse anesthetist (who was wonderful) stopped the doctors and called in the anesthesiologist. He administered ketamine and that's when things got super trippy and I never felt a single thing again.

I don't remember much after that except wondering if Ryan ever made it into the room. Then at 6:05 I heard him repeating over and over, "Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh". Baby girl was born and was healthy. Alleluia! 
Ryan didn't make the initial umbilical cord cut, but did cut it down and was there for the apgar testing (she got a 9.9, yay) and more. He even brought her over to me where I saw double of her, but got to kiss her and started crying my eyes out. She was perfection. We had a sweet, 7lb, 12oz, 21 1/2" little girl. Amazing.
This is one of my most favorite photos, the emotion in Ryan's eyes says it all.
The first time I kissed my baby angel.
Then Sully was whisked away because they had to give her in IV of antibiotics just in case the infection did spread. It was infuriating. It took them 12 tries over almost 4 hours to get a vein, all while Ryan watched them poke her in her jugular, truncate her head and stick almost everywhere else. This was going on without me while I waited in the room in pain coming down off the meds and wishing I could hold my baby girl. I was so sad and mad and anxious. They finally agreed to roll my bed to the nursery and that's when I really saw her for the first time through the glass and oh man were the tears flowing. I'll never, ever forget this moment.
After Sully was back from the nursery, I was so afraid I had missed that essential skin to skin bonding time needed for breastfeeding. Luckily she snuggled right up and had no problem latching and feeding at all. Breastfeeding is still going well to this day too, so my worries have since dissipated.
After two days, we found out she didn't get the infection and her IV was removed. We were so thankful no more pokes or tests were needed. During this time we were also thankful that our wonderful nurses let Sully stay with us through almost everything the days following Sully's birth.
On the third day we headed home. Life has never been the same since. I know the above all sounds traumatic, but I would do it all over again times a million. I also was ultimately happy baby girl came on her own and no induction was needed.

This experience never would have been as positive as it was, if it hadn't been for my wonderful husband. He rocked! He was by my side every second, was comforting and even resisted singing Push It :). 
My Mom was also key through all of this, I couldn't have done the weeks leading up to Sully's birth and then the labor and after birth without her help. This experience brought us so much closer which I will always treasure. My Mother-In-Law was also there for us through it all and was such a big help! Of course, the nurses you get are essential too. And I was blessed with some good ones y'all. Let me just say, your support network is key!!!
There you have it, this is how Sullivan Louise Phillips came into the world. April 19 will now be my favorite day. I got the best gift I've ever been blessed with and on top of that I became Mommy to the most wonderful girl in the whole wide universe.
I love you Sullivan Louise! "No one will ever know the strength of my love for you. After all, you are the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside."
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