Abigail Grace Snelson – Birth Story
After 2 rounds of going into labor and it being stopped, Thursday, Nov 9, 2007 at 12:00am contractions began and this time were accompanied by bloody show. Time to go to the hospital…again! So off we went. We got to the hospital and they quickly began another round of terbutaline but to no avail. The contractions kept coming every 2 -3 minutes. For a few hours they were tolerable. But soon they started coming harder and harder. My entire labor was back labor – which is almost worse than having all the contractions up front (so I’m told…and I believe it!!). At 1:00pm the doctor came to assess me and I was 4 cm 100% effaced. They kept trying everything they could think of to stop my labor from more terbutaline to procardia to narcotics but nothing worked! She was just ready to come!!! Funny insert here: when I was on the narcotics, they dulled the pain just enough so I could nap in between contractions. Apparently when I was “out of it” I began asking to use the bathroom IN FRENCH! I haven’t used my French in about 2 years! Robert also go a kick out of me seeing my IV and pointing very enthusiastically saying “BUBBLES!!!” Finally around 12:30am (Saturday morning) my doctor decided this was going to happen no matter what he did so he ordered the epidural. Thank God!!! My contractions at this point had been VERY hard for 12 hours straight and I was exhausted and completely worn out. Epidural meant relief!!! Once I got the epidural I had progressed to 6 cm 100%, 0 station. I met the anesthesiologist (my new best friend!) and he hooked me up! I screamed at the local anesthetic – he didn’t tell me it would burn (BURN!) and it scared me! But once it was in, the epidural took about 2 minutes to take effect and all my pain was gone. 10 minutes later my doctor came to check me and said “it’s time to push!” so I got into position. Robert held my right leg, my nurse held my left leg, Erin and Mom stood right behind the doctor watching the whole thing from a front row seat! So here I go! I started pushing and couldn’t feel a thing…just pressure. I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right, but apparently I was because my I kept hearing “I see her head!” I pushed for a total of 6 minutes and out she came!!! From the way I was sitting/laying in the bed I could see the entire thing.
She immediately turned pink (THANK GOD!) and cried just a bit. The doctor suctioned her out and quickly passed her off to the NICU team (3 nurses) who took over Abigail’s care. I finished up with the delivery of the placenta and such. But honestly I had no idea at that point what was going on “down there” – I kept my eyes on my baby girl! She seemed so far away from me, but the way the nurse was standing, I could see everything they were doing. She started out breathing on her own but they decided to put a breathing tube in just to help her out a bit. The first try didn’t go so well: Abigail didn’t like it and she coughed it out! (a very good sign!) The second time worked. They put her in an incubator and wheeled her over to me so I could touch her and spend a quick minute with her (through glass) before she went to the NICU. I wasn’t going to see her again for another 5 ½ hours…
I still didn’t know any of her stats: weight, length or anything. That came later.
My first visits with Abigail
If anyone ever tells you that your epidural will wear off in an hour, do not believe them! It took 5 hours for me to feel my legs again! Then again, she was born 20 minutes after getting it. But I couldn’t get up until I could walk and having no feeling in my legs doesn’t make walking very easy! So as soon as I felt strong enough, they moved me to a mother/baby room – but on my way I was allowed to stop in and see my daughter. When I got there, she was hooked up to the breathing tubes and had an IV in her right hand. She also had what looked to me like a gazillion wires coming from every part of her body measuring everything imaginable: heartrate, breaths per minute for both what the machine was doing and what she was doing on her own, body temperature, etc. She looked so small!!! But she was here and the nurse assured me that she was doing quite well. I was told that she weighed in at 3 lbs 10.5 oz and was 15.5 inches long. Apparently that’s quite big for a 31 weeker! (that’s my girl!) I spent about 20 minutes with her then had to head back to my room. It was 6:30 am at this point and I was exhausted! We were told that we would be able to go back in at 8:00am to see her during her “hands on” time. “Hands on” is when Mommy and Daddy (and 4 other previously approved people) can go in and change her diaper, check her temperature, hold her, feed her, and do whatever she can tolerate at the time. The first time we had our “hands on” we were only allowed to touch her. We took about 50 bagillion pictures of her!! She was doing very well – the nurses were very pleased!
The second time we went (12 noon) she was doing so well that we were allowed to hold her for about 15 minutes each. I cannot describe how it felt to hold my daughter for the first time! She was so tiny and beautiful and perfect!!! I kept looking at her thinking “this is MY daughter! WOW!” Robert also held her and to see him with her made me melt! It was even more amazing then the feeling I had of me holding her! Seeing my husband hold my daughter just did something to me that I have no words to describe.
We got a call from the NICU at 2:00pm telling us that Abigail was doing so well they were taking her off the breathing machines. She was able to breathe completely on her own!!! The only thing she had was a nasal canola to keep her oxygen level up – but she was doing all the work herself! We went in again at 3:00 but weren’t allowed to hold her. She got a little stressed by us holding her at noon and I didn’t want to push it. I kept telling her how much I love her and how beautiful she is!!!
On Sunday I went in at 8:00am with Auntie Erin who got to change her diaper! At this point she had had 4 VERY full diapers! Her kidneys seem to be working just fine! At noon JoJo (grandma) got to hold her for the first time and everyone cried! She was completely free of any help and the only machines she was hooked up to were for nourishment! AMAZING!!! I held her again for just a few minutes then put her back. Thankfully, this round of holding her did not stress her out in the slightest!
At 3:00pm we went back for our last visit of the day since I was being discharged from the hospital. Just before we were on our way down, we got a call from the NICU telling me that she was doing so well and was so stable that she was being moved down from the NICU to the Intermediate Nursery!!! Robert and I went to see her and tell her bye and that we would be back tomorrow.
First Moments With Abigail