What a busy couple of weeks it has been! It all started on Friday April 26, the first day that I was technically full term (you are considered full term three weeks before your due date). Caleb had just taken Step 1 of the boards on Monday and he was scheduled to start school again in a little over a week. I decided that I wanted to do everything benign to make Rosalie come ASAP, because it would be so great for Caleb to spend time with her before going back to the grind.
That morning, I went in for an ultrasound to see how Rosie was doing. At a prior appointment, we had been warned that if they found anything on the ultrasound, I may be admitted to the hospital right away for an induction, so we made sure to pack my hospital bag, just in case. Everything looked great so we were sent back home. We joked that our consolation prize for not being induced would be to go buy Caleb a grill, so we made a pit stop at Home Depot!
When we got back home, we set up the grill and decided that we should watch some more of the online childbirth class we had started a few weeks back. With Caleb studying for his boards, we didn't really have time to take a traditional labor class at the hospital. I heard about an online childbirth class offered by babycenter.com and decided that that was probably our best option. Not to mention, it was free! We had watched a bit here and there while Caleb was taking breaks from studying but we were a long way from finishing the class.
Eva exploring the outdoors and our grill!
After watching the pain management section of the childbirth class, I started Googling "how to induce labor". There were several things that I was NOT willing to try, like drinking castor oil and pumping, but there were also several other options that seems relatively harmless. I had some kiwi and pineapple for breakfast, drank two cups of raspberry tea, and went for a nice long 3.5 mile walk with Caleb. During the walk, I noticed that my belly felt a little strange, but it wasn't anything remarkable. It kind of just felt like my belly was heavy from bouncing with every step. When we got home, I noticed a tiny bit of cramping, but again, nothing serious or regular, so I chalked it up to Braxton Hicks. Besides, we were having our friends, Jon and Melony, over for a barbecue dinner on our new grill! We had a great dinner with them and then started watching "Bad Boys II", which Jon claims that this was the straw the broke the camel's back, haha.
I think this tea was my undoing!
By 10:30PM, Caleb and I crawled into bed and he took two sleeping/allergy pills. I still wasn't convinced that I was in labor. After laying down for a few minutes, I realized that my cramping was getting pretty regular. Caleb was already passed out so I quietly downloaded a contraction timer app on my phone and started keeping track of how far apart they were. After about 45 minutes of doing this, I saw that they were consistently 3-4 minutes apart. I got up to go to the bathroom which made Caleb stir a little bit. He had been on pins and needles for the past couple of weeks so he asked what was the matter. I showed him my recorded contractions and he sat bolt upright in bed. We had learned on our online birthing class that you should call your doctor when your contractions are 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long, for 1 hour. I told him to relax!
The infamous sleeping pills.
When I went to the bathroom, I saw that I was having my bloody show. I called out to him that I thought we were going to have to go to the hospital. Poor, medicated, sleepy Caleb jumped out bed and starting pacing and packing some things. I called my clinic's answering service and they said they would have a resident call me back. While waiting, I tidied up our bedroom and called my mom. We tried watching an episode of "House of Cards" but we weren't able to focus enough, so we gave up!
30 minutes later, I still hadn't gotten a call back, so I called the answering service again. When the resident finally returned my call, she said that it may not be anything to worry about because it didn't sound like I was in that much pain (I wasn't!). When I told her about the bloody show, she suggested that we drive to Maine Medical Center to get checked out, just to be safe. We grabbed the hospital bag and car seat and were out the door in a flash! Caleb drove, which in hindsight was probably a bad decision, haha! I think adrenaline had taken over for him at that point, though, so he was able to make it to the hospital safely.
When we arrived at the hospital, we left my overnight bags in the car (I didn't want to seem over eager if this wasn't the real thing) and headed up to Triage. After checking in, we were brought to a room and they started monitoring my contractions. They checked me and said that I was 3 cm dilated which may not mean anything because some people are 3 cm dilated weeks before they go into labor. The nurse informed me that I didn't seem like I was in labor because I was able to speak through the contractions and I was smiling. She said that I would probably end up getting sent home, but that they would keep monitoring me for 2 hours just in case. Caleb tried to get some shut eye while I watched some TV. I noticed that my contractions were getting a little bit stronger, but they were still very bearable.
When the nurse came back in at about 2:30AM she said I was 4.5 cm dilated. I was definitely in labor! She went through the process of admitting me to the hospital and we walked over to Labor and Delivery. The L&D rooms at Maine Medical Center are BEAUTIFUL! We settled in and the nurse drew a nice warm bath for me in the jet tub. Caleb tried to catch some shut eye while I relaxed in the warm water. At one point, poor Caleb tried to "set the mood" by playing some music. I immediately asked him to turn it off, haha.
I stole these pictures from online because we didn't get any shots of the labor and delivery room during our stay. This is what they look like! I seriously felt like Beyonce delivering Blu Ivy. They are so luxurious!
After a couple hours, I decided that I was done with the jet tub! At this point it was around 4:30AM. The doctors came in to check my progress and they determined that I was a little over 5 cm. I relaxed in bed for another hour or so and at that point, the pain started to get quite severe. I was trying to hold off on getting an epidural for as long as possible, so the nurse gave me some Fentanyl. That helped to dull the pain for all of about 20 minutes! I knew that I had to wait 1 hour before getting another shot of Fentanyl so I tried to tough it out as long as possible. The doctors came in to check my progress again around 6:30AM and I was fully dilated! No wonder I was in so much pain! They said that I was no longer able to have another shot of Fentanyl because the baby was so close to coming out. I asked for the epidural and they said that there was an emergency c-section happening, so it was not possible at that point in time. Oh boys, not good! Caleb was very supportive during this time as I tried to breathe through each contraction. I wasn't be dramatic like you see in the movies and the nurses kept telling me that I was doing unbelievably well compared to other patients! As good as that was to hear, it didn't help relieve the pain! Finally around 7:30AM or 7:45AM, an angel walked into the room--the anesthesiology resident! He was a sight for sore eyes! He discussed the risks with me a bit more slowly than I would have liked, but I guess that's his job. Caleb and the nurse helped me up into a sitting position, which was not easy to do at 10 cm! The doctor administered the epidural, and I started to feel relief about 10-15 minutes later. Ahhhh! :) I could still feel my contractions, but they weren't painful anymore. Instead, I felt pressure.
After getting the epidural, the doctors decided that since I was comfortable, they would have me wait a little while longer to let the baby descend some more on her own. I liked their plan of letting my body do some more work, that way I would have to push less.
A little before 10AM, we decided that it was time to start pushing. It was pretty funny because Caleb was talking to the resident and attending about medical school. I would quietly interrupt and say, "Ummm, excuse me, I think I need to push now..." Haha. After maybe 15-20 minutes, our sweet Rosalie was born at 10:08 AM on April 27, 2013. She weighed 5lbs 13oz and was 19 inches long. It was love at first sight!
Already so in love.
After a few hours, we were moved over to the mother/baby unit. Again, I didn't get very good pictures of the room, but if you're interested, you can take a virtual tour on the Maine Medical Center website. We had a great view of the Portland Sea Dogs Stadium! Unfortunately, they weren't playing any games during our stay. We got a lot of visit those first few days!
Meeting Mama Bird Swanberg for the first time!
Mary came to visit!
Uncle Seth and Auntie Lisa
Meeting Memere for the first time!
Uncle Dale and Aunt Patsy
Memere and Pepere are in love!
My wonderful friend (and awesome sonographer!) Melony!
Don't they look like naturals ;)
Hospital Course/Medical Issues
We were very lucky in that there was nothing seriously wrong with our little Rosalie. She was able to stay in my room with us for her entire hospital stay and had zero trips to the NICU!
During the course of Rosie's hospital stay, she lost quite a bit of weight. Her lowest recorded weight was 5lbs 2oz. Unfortunately, breast milk alone was not cutting it, so we had to start supplementing with formula. This was a very exhausting time for me. I had to breastfeed her, bottle feed her, and then pump. Thankfully, Caleb was there to help me wash the pieces that went with everything, but it was still incredibly time consuming. By the time we had finished the process, it was time for it to start back up again.
We had to feed Rosie from a syringe in the beginning because she would get very sleepy when breastfeeding.
Rosie met with several specialists (we like to call them her "friends") during her time at Maine Medical Center. First, she met with cardiology to assess the small murmur that was detected right after she was born. She had an echocardiogram which showed a small VSD (not in the same spot as the one that was detected on her first fetal echocardiogram). Apparently it is in the musculature and should heal on its own. They also detected a patent ductus arteriosus which should also close on its own.
Next, she met with an orthopaedic surgeon for her hips. When she was born, her hips were VERY flexible so there was a question of hip dysplasia. We were told to double diaper and to set up an office visit for an ultrasound to assess it further. Hopefully, double diapering will be enough to set her hips straight, otherwise, the alternative is a pavlik harness. Although the baby in the picture below looks happy, this does not look at all comfortable. I would like to avoid having to use this if at all possible!
A geneticist came to talk to us about Down syndrome but we didn't really get any new information out of this visit. We were pretty well prepared and informed at that point! :)
Rosie also initially failed her newborn hearing screen for both ears, which we knew could be a possibility. They retested her a day later and she passed on her right side and failed again on her left. We were instructed to make an appointment with an audiologist.
Finally, Rosie initially failed her newborn car seat test. Basically, this test involves hooking her up to some oxygen monitors and having her sit in her car seat for 90 minutes. If her oxygen levels drop, she fails. For a brief moment, it looked like we might need to get her a car bed because her oxygen levels dropped and she started turning gray.
Fortunately, we were able to remove the infant insert (our car seat with the infant insert is pictured below) and retest her using rolled up receiving blankets on either side of her head. This did the trick and she passed with flying colors! Apparently the infant insert was pushing her head forward just enough that it was causing her airway to be compromised.
Our car seat with infant insert.
All in all, Caleb and I were extremely impressed with Maine Medical Center. We had heard horror stories about people who had babies with Down syndrome and the reactions by the medical staff. We were blessed have been surrounded with supportive, positive people who celebrated our daughter's entrance into the world alongside us. They saw our little girl for who she is, a precious baby, not a diagnosis. It was very heartwarming and brought happy tears to my eyes on multiple occasions.
More Pictures from our Hospital Stay
I was discharged from the hospital on Monday and Rosalie was discharged on Wednesday. Caleb and I were able to stay in the hospital with her until she gained enough weight to come home.
May 1, 2013--Rosie's Discharge Day!
Stork Parking :)
Welcome home, Rosie!