Saturday, June 17, 2006

Lena's Birth Story

We knew we were having a big baby. Because of that, we were trying to get labor started as soon as possible. We were up late May 29th and didn't crawl into bed until after midnight. I was having tiny little contractions; they didn't hurt one bit. In fact I slept though most of them. May 30th at 4:45am I woke up to several intense contractions, only about 10 seconds long each. Matthew called our midwife, Carey, to let her know that labor had started. Since it was so light, she told us to get some rest and call when things change. Then we called David and Janice so they could make their way over to take care of Eli. Labor was pretty mild for about the first hour. I had sent Matthew to the grocery store to get some drinking water so we would have plenty for everyone that was going to be there. By the time he came back the contractions were fairly hard and 4-5 minutes apart. We called Carey again and told her to come quickly. (She's about an hour away.) I labored nicely, walking around the house, only stopping when I needed to. Finally I laid down on our bed since I was getting tired. I felt the need to push before Carey got there. Laying on the bed I could feel the head move down with every contraction, even though I wasn't pushing. I got into our birthing tub hoping that it would make things easier. (I know now that I probably should have stayed out.) I think the head was about crowning at the time. It took a lot of effort to get the head out; I felt that I couldn't get into a good position in the water. Then the shoulders got stuck. I turned onto my hands and knees in the water, which didn't help. I moved around severl times trying to get a comfortable position, but I couldn't. I got out of the water and pushed on my hands and knees on the floor. I still struggled for a while, but then Matthew hooked his finger under an armpit and got the shoulders to come out. I still had to push some more to get the torso and bottom out. "It's a girl!" I could hardly believe it. I looked down and her, her face was blue and her body was white. The cord was not pulsating and I couldn't see her breathing. I held her on her tummy and rubbed her back and smacked her bottom. I didn't see any response. I tried and tried to get her to breath. I was terrified, and I cried so hard. I thought she was gone. Carey arrived about 2 minutes after Lena's birth and proceeded to suction her and "bag" her with oxygen. Lena was breathing when she was born, it was just very shallow. 911 was called and the paramedics came, stabilized her and took her to the Boone Community Hospital. Later she was transfered to Blank Children's Hospital NICU in Des Moines. Lena was diagnosed with persistant pulmonary hypertension and is being treated with oxygen and nitric oxide. She was also receiving dopamine to keep her blood pressure up and fentanyl to sedate her and keep her calm. (She is now getting methadone for sedation.) She may have some neurological damage, but we won't know if she does and to what extent until she is off the ventilator and gets an EEG and MRI. Most of the time we have been staying at the Almost Home Birth Center and they have been very generous to us. We want to stay close by in case anything happens. We haven't been able to hold her except for those first few moments. Since she has not been able to nurse yet I am pumping milk for them to give to her. I am doing well with it although it's not as enjoyable as nursing a beautiful baby. I know it will be really hard once they let me nurse her, but I am determined to give my baby girl the best. Lena is responding well to her treatments, even though it is taking longer than they originally thought. I'm hoping that she will be able to go home before the end of the month because we have a "babymoon" waiting-Lena and I will lay in bed skin to skin and do nothing but nurse, cuddle, and sleep.


Lindsey said...

Lena has a beautiful and strong mama and papa waiting at home for her! I hope that she gets to come home with you both soon-- you're in my constant prayers! I know the Lord will not leave you for one second.

Erin Jones said...

You are amazing! I'm so proud of both you and Matthew! You have the most beautiful baby girl ever and I'm sure that she'll be home soon. I hope that you have an absolutely fantastic "babymoon". :-) God's blessings as you wait for your little girl to come home. We all love and miss you all very very much! *hugs* to your whole family.

In Christ,
Erin E. Jones

Genevieve said...

Cara, I want you to know how terribly proud I am of how you and Matthew handled everything... both with the birth and with all the NICU stuff that no parents ever want to face. You are doing an amazing job!!! And I can't even begin to tell you how impressed I am with the birth and your strong conviction behind all the choices you made up to that point (no-u/s especially) and following (your dedication to breastfeeding). I can't tell you enough how awesome I think you two are!

(Also, sorry for the week + delay on the updates... life got in the way, but I'm back on schedule now!)