Avery’s here and ready for her closeup! I’ll be posting more pics in an album later, but I wanted to get this out, along with an abbreviated birth story:
Wednesday morning I was working, and on the phone with a client when I had a body racking pain in my side that made me throw down the phone and run for the bathroom with dry heaves. It was weird, but not like regular contractions, and didn’t happen again, so I just IM’d my friend Melanie to ask a few questions and let her know I might need her to come by later. During the phone conference it happened again, and I got a little scared. Once I was off the phone I called Melanie, and asked her to come over just so I could show her where the pain was, and generally just have some company and feel better about what was going on. By the time Melanie got there, I had puked up my food and was laying in bed drinking water, waiting for the OTHER contractions (I regularly was experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks beforehand) to stop. When Mel got there, she said “please don’t tell me it’s bad enough that you’re in bed” (heh heh) and we discussed what was going on, which did not sound or feel like labor. Finally Melanie said, “just go, get yourself checked to see if you’re dilating, and then you’ll sleep better tonight anyway”. I decided to get up and move around a little, to see how I felt. As soon as I got up, I was back in there with the heaves, in this horrible searing pain. I told Mel something wasn’t right and I wanted to go ahead and go. Made the phone call to my mom to tell her to walk to M’s classroom and tell him I was headed in to check to see if I was in labor and not to have anyone come over until they heard from me. Melanie and her kids and I set out for the closest ER, which is in Fernandina. We decided not to drive into Jacksonville where my OB had privileges, because I was scared I would puke in her car (I wondered, do I have food poisoning?).
By the time we got close to the hospital, I was retching and in trouble again, and had to be wheelchaired into the labor and delivery section of the hospital. For several hours the staff had a feeling I had kidney stones (I was definitely NOT in labor), and a bunch of tests were run to determine that as well as an ultrasound to look for the stones. Once they figured out that they were looking at kidney stones (they thought), they were able to give me some IV pain medication and something to stop the nausea. Michael came over after school was out, and we were still under the assumption that I was dealing with Kidney stones- the Dr. was due to come by the room as he was getting off work to check me out and tell me the plan. So we were both there when Dr. Frost came in and asked some questions, did an exam, and mentioned he wasn’t 100% on the stone theory since I had no symptoms other than the pain. He suggested at that point that he give me a drug to stop the contractions (which by that time were coming about every minute, and weren’t all that painful with the morphine drip). If the drug worked, then his alternate theory, which was Placental Abruption (where the placenta tears from the uterine wall) would be a no go as well. He told us that if it were truly a placental abrubtion, then the only option was c-section, and it would have to happen right then. We placed a call to our OB in Jacksonville who said we had to take the anti-contraction drug, and seconded Dr Frost on the abruption stuff too, so we consented to the drug. After an hour or so the contractions were 5 to 7 minutes apart and everything was looking great! Since they didn’t stop completely and we REALLY wanted to avoid a c section, Dr Frost ordered another dose of the stuff to give us one more shot at having her later, and naturally. The next thing I knew, someone was giving me a consent form to sign, and they told us Frost had called in the OR team. He came in to tell us he’d done a blood test that convinced him this was an abruption, something about clotting and that even though it didn’t show on the ultrasound, he had a hunch that there was a tear somewhere under the placenta. He felt like we were caching it very early and that the baby wasn’t in terrible danger right that second, but was ready to get me in there and delivered. At this point I was in enough pain and we had enough confidence in him that we didn’t question anything. He had already discussed with Michael the possibility of me transferring to Jacksonville where my midwife’s partner OB would be able to care for me- his feeling was that it was way too risky, since in the case of a full placental abrubtion, the baby dies within 3 to 5 minutes if not removed from the womb. They decided to give me a general anesthetic so Michael wasn’t allowed in. I was fine until I was in the OR, then I started to get scared and kind of freak out, laying on my back and thrashing my head around trying to get them to get that mask off my face. Next thing I knew, I was in recovery, Michael was there, and they wheeled Avery in her little plastic box so I could touch her before they transported her to Jacksonville where the NICU is. I didn’t get to see her again until Friday, when they finally released her to Michael just as the hurricanes were hitting the Florida coast (luckily it was the other coast they were hitting!)
As it turns out the Dr was totally right on, and the placenta had torn from the uterine wall a tiny bit. By the time he made the incision though, the tear was complete and the placenta had totally detached- they got the baby out just in time. More on the operation later- it’s still hard for Michael and I to process and discuss. It was a scary time (I was asleep so not scary for me until after), and we’re really really grateful to all the forces that came to work to get me here, with this doctor, and in this location.
Avery weighed 7 lbs, 7 ounces and was 19.5 inches long, absolutely HUGE for a 35 week “premature” baby. She is perfectly healthy, had no breathing problems, and a full head of straight black hair.
Michael spent Wed night, Thursday and Friday going back and forth, spending as much time as possible feeding and holding Avery in the NICU. It was really hard to be away from him at that time, and extremely hard to be away from Avery. We’re finally all together now, and I’m feeling more like myself. The surgery leaves you with a lot of residual pain and I lost some blood which made me extra weak, so it’s taking me some time to get mobile. I’ll have some help around the house a couple of hours a day for 4 weeks (courtesy of my mom and dad) and that will make things much easier.
SO that’s the short version (ha) of Avery’s arrival, 5 weeks early, on August 11, 2004 at 8:38 p.m. We should be leaving the hospital tomorrow and headed home to enjoy our new family status! We hope to hear from all of you soon!
Summer and Michael