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My birth story

Zach is 2 weeks old today, so I figured it was finally time to post his birth story.

On Wednesday, November 20th, Adrian and I went to my 39 week doctor’s appointment. My blood pressure was still elevated after a few weeks, and my swelling was out of control. While I was never officially diagnosed with preeclampsia, the doctors decided that it was not worth the risk of waiting, and sent me for an ultrasound the following day to check on the baby and see how big he was. The next day, we went for the ultrasound early that morning and found that the baby was estimated to be about eight and a half pounds! Between his size and concerns over my health, the doctor decided that we would try to induce me the next day.

We went to the hospital at 4:30am and I was started on a Pitocin drip by 6:30am. The contractions started coming, but were not too regular or too bad. The doctor on call showed up around 10am and checked my progress. Unfortunately I was still dilated only 2cm and nothing was happening- the baby was still too high and she did not think he would drop. She said that it was in my best interest to do a c-section because of his size and my lack of progress. She hoped we would be able to get me to the OR by 4pm, but there were a number of other c-sections and inductions that day that needed to be taken care of, so she warned us that there might be a delay. Unfortunately again, I had to stay on the Pitocin drip until they were ready for surgery, since they had to call it a failed induction to do the c-section.

Although I was on a low dose of Pitocin, it was not kind to me. It made me shake uncontrollably and I often felt like I was having a panic attack even though I knew, rationally, that there was nothing to worry about. My baby was still doing great inside me, with a strong heartbeat, and I just had to wait it out until I could meet him.

At about 1pm I got my epidural. The contractions had gotten much more difficult by that point, and my doctor wanted to make sure I was already numbed so that when it came time for surgery, they wouldn’t have to do much to prep me. I was a bit scared of the epidural, but the nurses were really kind and made me feel a lot better… and once it kicked in, I felt MUCH better and was finally able to relax.

In addition to the other side effects, the Pitocin also gave me a horrible, horrible migraine. The nurses couldn’t get ahold of my doctor for a while, so they were only able to give me Tylenol for it, which didn’t do anything. I was in pain and nauseated from the migraine, and finally my doctor came in and had a narcotic prescribed to take care of my headache. Once I got the medication for my headache was the only time that I felt completely relaxed all day.

Due to a few unexpected emergency c-sections, I didn’t get to go in for surgery until 8pm. Once I got into the OR, I started getting scared… it has always been a fear of mine that I would feel any surgery and that the anesthetic would not work, so I started to panic again… my doctor and nurses were very reassuring and made me feel a lot better though, and once Adrian arrived into the OR, I felt much, much better that he was there.

They started the surgery very quickly. Adrian held my hand for a bit to support me, but once I asked if they were taking the baby out, I told him to make sure he got the shot – he of course had his camera equipment with him to take photos of the baby as soon as he popped out!

While I did not feel the incision itself, the surgery was far from painless. Because the baby was bigger than anticipated and because he hadn’t dropped, the doctor and midwife had to push pretty hard on my belly to get him out. This was VERY painful for me and every time they had to push on me it felt like my shoulders were breaking and that I couldn’t breathe. This was pretty scary and I am thankful for the nice nurse who rubbed my shoulders and reassured me that everything was going to be okay and that the baby was fine.

When the doctor finally got him out and I heard him cry for the first time, it was an amazing experience. I was so happy that he was out and that he was well. I watched as Adrian cut the cord and then I finally asked the nurse for something for the pain because my entire body felt like it was on fire (well, from the waist up, since the epidural did a good job of taking care of me from the waist down). She gave me a shot and I immediately passed out.

I woke up a while later in the OR recovery room in excruciating pain. The nurse had already administered morphine right before I woke up, so unfortunately there wasn’t anything she could do because they had to wait half an hour before giving me another dose. The pain was absolutely horrible. They had removed the epidural after stitching me up, so once I got to the recovery room, I was able to feel everything from the waist down as the medication wore off.

After about 20 minutes of talking to the nurse (rather, her talking to me to try to distract me from the pain), Adrian finally found out where I was, and came to be with me, which was a huge relief. They were able to give me the second dose of Morphine soon, but it didn’t do very much for the pain level, only cutting it a little bit. Soon, my Percocet prescription came in and that really, really helped, bringing the pain level down to only a two or three. Once the nurse was confident that I felt better, they moved me to my recovery room.

Not long after, they brought little Zachary Jacob to see me for the first time. I was amazed by how beautiful he was. Adrian and I couldn’t believe that we had created something so perfect. The pain of the surgery was 100% worth it (even more so now that I am feeling better). I am very proud of myself and what I went through to give birth to my son and would absolutely do it again.

The next day they did some blood work, and when my doctor came to visit me, we found out that I had lost a lot of blood during the surgery and that I would need a blood transfusion. I hadn’t noticed how badly I felt because of the blood loss, because I was so incredibly tired from the lack of sleep. The baby also had some bloodwork done, and we learned that Zachary had jaundice. He would have to be under lights to clear the bilirubin from his system. We started with a bili-bed, which Zachary hated! He didn’t like knowing that we were there in the room and not holding him. We made a decision to put him in the nursery overnight so that he could be under more powerful lights. As for me, they did the transfusion on Sunday and I was thankfully able to be released on Monday, and so was the baby.

Unfortunately, Zach had to return to the hospital on his one-week birthday because his bilirubin had gone up again. We spent the night in the hospital on Friday, and by Saturday night, his numbers were were much better, and they released us once again. The following day we had his Bris, and he is now doing wonderfully and is no longer jaundiced. He is a wonderful, beautiful, incredible baby, and we are so, so blessed to have him in our lives.

Here are a few pictures from his birth. Some of the birth photos are a little graphic (two images from surgery), so click the link below view them.

Hanging out in my Labor & Delivery room waiting for my c-section.
Zachary's birth

The nurse reassuring me before surgery began.
Zachary's birth

Zachary being born.
Zachary's birth

Dr. Sasser shows off the baby to the camera.
Zachary's birth

Newborn Zachary.
Zachary's birth

Zachary getting his footprints done.
Zachary's birth

Holding my beautiful boy for the first time.
Kissing Zachary

Me and Adrian… proud parents.
Holding Zachary 2

All photos taken by my wonderful husband Adrian, except the last one which was taken of the three of us by my dad.

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bDecember 6, 2008 - 12:30 am

Congratulations on the arrival of your son, he’s gorgeous.

Sorry about the difficult delivery. I know you are probably still in the “Holy Cow we have a baby!” stage. A lot of women have mixed feelings about their c-sections (and it sounds like you had a rather traumatic one) here they have this beautiful baby in their arms whom they love more than anything, and then there is the painful and traumatic delivery to get him here. A lot of people will tell you that the mode of delivery doesn’t matter as long as you have a healthy baby. That’s just not true. You can be sad, dissappointed, traumatized, angry, and a miriad of other negative feelings when you experience an unexpected complication, or difficult birth. You can feel over the moon about your baby, and absolutely hate the delivery. It doesn’t make you a bad mom or ungrateful. All that to say if you ever find yourself needing support in your c-section recovery (practical advice, or emotional support) The International Cesarean Awareness Network is available. http://www.ican-online.org We also have Forums that you can log into to ask questions, seek advice, and support in.

Again Congratulations on your beautiful boy.

SusanDecember 6, 2008 - 1:46 am

Wow Karen! You are a TROOPER!!! I know you were very anxious about delivery pain and everything and you handled it all so well. As my yoga teacher would say “You are a birthing goddess!” LOL.

Anyway, my doctor says she will induce me on December 16, or possibly earlier – I have to get an ultrasound Tuesday and a biophysical profile on Friday and if either of those go poorly I’d be induced earlier. I am SO hoping the baby comes on her own this weekend because pitocin scares the CRAP out of me. :( :(

starlakittyDecember 6, 2008 - 9:55 am

so glad everything worked out for the best and you have your beautiful baby boy! *hugs*

ChristyDecember 7, 2008 - 11:05 pm

Congratulations on the birth of your son. He is a beautiful baby. I am glad to hear that your dachshund is doing well with him. They are such loving, protecting dogs. Maya and Jacob will certainly have their own special bond as they grow together.

Thank you for sharing your birth story and the amazing pictures. Congratulations and enjoy the adventure.

AmberDecember 8, 2008 - 3:21 pm

WOW Karen you really ARE a trooper. I am so proud of you and for what you went through, and the fact that you say without hesitation that all of your pain and everything you went through was worth it is very reassuring to those of us out there who have yet to start that journey, but hope to someday and have some fears about it.

You are an amazing woman and CONGRATULATIONS again on the birth of Zachary. I know I disappeared from the web for a few years but I am back and can’t wait to see what happens to us web gals of the 90s now that we are successful adults starting our own families. :)

I am OK with my husband and 3 cats for the time being, though! LOL. I have a lot to do before I can get pregnant!

Krystal RadlinskiDecember 8, 2008 - 5:39 pm

What a big beautiful boy! Good job mom.

Jose GuerraDecember 9, 2008 - 2:42 am

Karen what a beautiful baby!!!! You and Adrian are so blessed. Thank you for sharing your journey. Savor every second of this experience. I know that both of you will be amazing parents and will spoil your little one with tons of love. Congratulations. God bless the three of you. :)

Brandi EntrekinDecember 17, 2008 - 1:14 am

you did great!! Thanks for sharing your story with us

Tara K.December 17, 2008 - 10:50 am

It’s always worth it! Congrats on a beautiful little boy!!

YasminDecember 17, 2008 - 12:49 pm

Karen, you amazing lady!

I wish you speedy recovery to ‘normality’ and full enjoyment of your son.

Gemma Higgins - SearsJanuary 7, 2009 - 9:24 am

congrats lady! what an incredible story, painful and scary, but oh how worth it is it!?
He is just beautiful and you must be so proud!
congrats again and hope all is going really well!
xx gemma (flickr)

[…] some monitoring, and then my doctor came up and told me that it was go-time! I was very nervous, as Zachary’s birth was quite difficult, but my amazing doctor, Lona Sasser, assured me that everything would be okay. […]

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