Before I return to our harrowing tale, gentle readers, I must announce Polly's name.
She is named after my mom, Joan. We are still fine-tuning the middle name: a version of Mary after HPR's Nana and also one of my mom's sisters. I think I will continue calling her Polly on my blog.
Also, congratulations are in order to the winner of the Polly due date pool, the kilowatthour. K, how do you do it? She was also the winner of family isoglossia's baby pool back in January. Perhaps it is somehow linked to gestating and giving birth to an amazingly cute son. For birth weight, it was my sister, although, zoicks, her guess is still 2 pounds over. Two pounds. It's still sinking in to me what a tiny, tiny baby my girl is.
Anyway, back to my story.
We sat in the ER in frustration. It was obvious where we needed to go. The refrain of my thoughts: Get me up there. They're going to have to cut this baby out of me. I'm down with that, just so she's OK. Please just let us go up to the labor floor.
Seriously. Why did it take 15 minutes of waiting?
At labor triage they put a fetal monitor on my abdomen right away and - to our huge relief - Polly's heart beat was fine. They did an ultrasound to check that the placenta was in place and not blocking the cervix. They checked me and determined I was 4 cm dilated and 90% effaced. Therefore labor could proceed w/o need of an emergency c-section. They would watch me and Polly extra carefully, because the blood was probably an indication that the placenta was pulling away from the uterine lining a bit.
We were cleared for transfer into a delivery room, and found out we were bumped ahead of 8 others. (We found out later that a woman gave birth right in labor triage that night.) At first, there was no bed in the delivery room, but they rounded one up quickly. I think this was around 1:15. Contractions were coming frequently and HPR was at my side through each one, letting me squeeze his hand. We met our awesome labor/delivery nurse, Elizabeth. We briefly met a resident and the on-call doctor from my OB practice.
At around 2:00 (I think? Details are already starting to fuzzify.) I inquired about an epidural. Elizabeth left to try to round up the anesthesiologist. It was a busy night, so she was gone a long time. She would pop back in and leave again. (The entire experience was so different from Shmooie's delivery, where at least 5 people were in the room at all times.) By 3:00 I pushed the nurse call button and asked whether I could see the anesthesiologist. I think they assembled and we got it put in by 3:30.
But I could still feel contractions on my right side. Elizabeth tried to get the anesthesiologist back in, which took a while. When he came back in he pulled the catheter back a bit to see whether that would help distribute the lovely numbness. It never really did. And the down side to the epidural taking the edge off some of the pain was that it also blotted out my adrenaline from dealing with the pain. As a result, it really hit me how exhausted I was. Jury's still out whether a half-assed (ha - literally?) epidural is better than no epidural at all.
I labored away. HPR tried to rest a bit, since the epidural was helping somewhat. The plan was for the resident to break my water now that I was (mostly) numbed. She did so. There wasn't a lot of fluid, so we think my water had indeed broken back at home. She checked my dilation, and I was up to a 7 or an 8.
At about 5:00 I started to feel a really sharp pain in my right side. I started moaning. Elizabeth wondered whether that meant it was time to push. She said: "Don't push. I'm going to get the doctor." Everything happened quickly from this point. The doctor checked me and determined I was ready. Elizabeth and the doctor pulled apart the bed and put my feet in the stirrups. I got the go-ahead to bear down.
With the first push HPR, Elizabeth, and the doctor declared in unison "We can see her! She's right there!" I asked if I should keep pushing and Elizabeth said "with the next contraction." (One upside of the half-assed epidural was I could still feel the contractions, which I couldn't with Shmooie's epidural.) One more push and she was out. They put her on me right away. Back to giddy: I stared in disbelief. Here was our daughter.
A routine blood draw yesterday determined that Polly's red blood cell level was much higher than normal, so they had to do a saline transfusion - where they take out some of her blood and replace it with saline to get the levels down to normal. This means that there was probably something minor wrong with the placenta - not enough to be detected during my prenatal care, but enough so that her body made the extra red blood cells for extra oxygen absorption (this probably also explains why she's so little). The transfusion was last night and she is in the NICU. She's also under the strong lights for biliruben to prevent jaundice, her platelets were low so they've given her some blood product (mine were low, too, although I guess they're not worried about me) and they gave her an antibiotic. She can't eat for 48 hours after the transfusion, so she is on an IV and I am pumping/expressing. She will have to stay a bit longer: I leave tomorrow; she'll probably be discharged sometime between Wednesday and Friday.
So, not exactly the way we wanted things to go. But they have stressed to us that this is just a short-term issue, that she is healthy. It's also encouraging that she nursed, peed, and pooped like a champ during the first day of her life, before she had to go into the NICU.
She seems very strong. I can't wait to get her home for major snuggling, feeding, love, and settling in.
HPR and I are feeling well. Just tired and emotionally drained. . . . Shmoo came to the hospital today, but isn't allowed in the NICU. He
is home with HPR now and will have his normal daycare routine this week.