Our Valentine’s Day Surprise!

February 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm 6 comments

And no, it wasn’t chocolates (don’t really like chocolate), or roses (I’m more gerbera daisy type of girl), or diamonds (although I think after you read this blog post we can all agree I deserve some, a’hem, Dane 🙂 ), what we got for Valentine’s Day was a brand new baby boy. Rex William Thompson was born (really early) at 1:18PM  on 2/14/12, weighing a whopping 3lbs, 7oz and measuring 16 and 3/4in.

Rex in the NICU

Anyway, here is his “birth” story. I figure I’ll write it on a “good” day in the NICU so that I can give a more positive spin to the whole thing. It’s a long one, but all I’ve got is time between “pumpings” on this lovely afternoon at the hospital.  I originally wrote this for my prenatal yoga class, of which I attended maybe two classes over the course of four months. While I like the yogi “lifestyle” (and the clothes) and have always tried to get myself into yoga, I have never really succeeded. I don’t have that “relaxed” mindset that seems to be necessary, or the flexibility. Those two things alone are what make my labor story so much more ironic.

On Sunday, 2/12 I started to feel kinda uncomfortable. I was one of the unlucky ones who had a combination of issues (including constant contractions) throughout my entire pregnancy so to me I just figured I was going to have another “episode”. As a result I ignored it all, went to Costco, bought dog food, Safeway, etc. By the evening I was really not feeling great but tried to fall asleep. By 2AM I was not able to sleep through my contractions and I was timing them at about 6 minutes apart. Still I figured it was nothing (probably) but I was starting to get suspicious. I woke up at 5AM to get ready to head to Palo Alto for a meeting. In the car I timed them at more like 10 minutes apart so figured I was on the up and up. I stopped at a Panera (for a blueberry bagel) when I had what was probably my “bloody show”. I decided to turn back towards home.

After fighting rush hour, I made it back home and gave my Doctor a call. She was off that day but they told me to go to Labor & Delivery and to essentially move my NST (Stress Test) to Monday instead of my typical Tuesday. (That worked well for me since Tuesday I was meant to fly to San Diego for work and Dane was leaving for Calgary that night) They hooked me up at L&D and I was definitely contracting but the baby was fine and honestly, I was 32w 6d, I couldn’t be in actual labor, or so I thought ….

Now lets back peddle a little bit. For as organized and ‘on top of things’ as I am at my job, I am not that way in life. I was in no way ready for a labor, or a baby. I figured I would start thinking about that sometime in March. All I had managed to do was read about four Chapters in a “Hynobirthing” book that Dane had bought for me the previous week since he was the one who (I’m pretty sure) was hoping more than anything that I would deliver our baby naturally. (Before meeting him I probably would have been the type to ask that they just put me under completely and extract the kid from me so that I never had to even know what was happening. And yes, I know C-Sections hurt like hell afterwards so I am not discounting that here, I just didn’t know that at the time). Anyway, in the four Chapters of the book here were my takeaways:

*** And yes, I am sure I will slaughter some of the actual details below but I am not a doctor or a biologist so this is all written from the layman’s terms.

  1. Dogs have puppies all the time and they are completely quiet about it. (assumed pain free). Dogs can also stop delivering their puppies completely when they sense danger or are scared. (i.e. when we arrive at the hospital, we are scared and can slow our labor)
  2. There is a state that your body goes into when it senses extreme danger. Basically “ER” mode. This should only account for about 5% of your life. When this happens a certain (something or other) is released into your body. Your uterus is not an organ usually involved in this “fight or flight” thing so to involve it suddenly is not natural.
  3. The Uterus has a set of horizontal muscles and a set of vertical ones. In labor one set is supposed to space out and one is supposed to narrow to extract the baby. When you are scared the ones that are supposed to space out, get closer together and the ones that are supposed to get closer together, space out. This is allegedly what contributes to the pain during labor.
  4. Get yourself a calm ‘birthing partner’. Basically if your husband/whoever is the type to freak out, well, that’s gonna make things tough.

Now the theory behind Hypnobirthing is to relax your mind and meditate your way through. Yeah, totally not me, BUT the four items above made complete sense to me (for whatever reason) and that is all I the knowledge I took into L&D. I knew nothing about dilating/effacing (still don’t)/pushing etc. Heck, I’m not even sure I know exactly where babies come from. Oh well.

So back to L&D…. they couldn’t get my contractions to stop in triage so they decided to do the “finger check” (unfun). I was registering pretty intense contractions, and they weren’t enjoyable, sure, but I would just grip my iPhone through them and figured they would pass. Anyway, as I’m sitting there (about to be ‘checked’) listening to the woman next to me (obviously in labor and breathing/panting/basically in obvious pain) getting checked and them coming back with a 1cm result. (She was disappointed) I’m like, whatever; if she’s a one, I’m going to be like a zero, I’ll be home in a couple of hours.  Wrong. The nurse was in complete disbelief, 4cm dilation, fully effaced. I guess I wasn’t leaving the hospital anytime soon. I didn’t know what to think but weirdly, I wasn’t scared.

Next they rolled me into an actual L&D room. They told me that they needed to start me on corti-steroids for the lung growth and magnesium sulfate to coat the baby’s brain. (To those concerned about either drug there, we did our research and we agree with each recommendation, and we are generally an anti-drug/anti-meds family). Time was of essence at this point, they were sure I wouldn’t make it too many more days but hoped confining me to the bed would stall labor at least 48 hours.

The magnesium sulfate was AWFUL. At first they pump it in you at full throttle. You feel like your skin is going to burn off, I could barely think. While in that state they give you the steroid shot in your butt and it is not pleasant as far as shots go. They also wouldn’t let me eat or drink in case they needed to do a C-Section. At that point I hadn’t eaten in about 24 hours. Dane was pretty frustrated by that because he couldn’t see how I would have the energy to get through labor without any food. My doctor did come in on her day off, which was awesome, to check on me. After twenty minutes they reduced the Magnesium to a lower level for twelve hours, allowed my in-laws to bring me a popsicle (cure all for EVERYTHING) and told me to rest. I tried watching the Bachelor (I can’t believe he ditched Emily!?!?) and tried to sleep. It wasn’t possible, the contractions were one thing but the magnesium made me feel like I was running a fever of 105. I watched the clock all night long, waiting for 3:45AM when I knew they would stop the magnesium. I answered some work emails to pass the time gripping my iPhone when there was a contraction.

As for contractions, my best description is (like everyone else) really (lady) cramps. They aren’t fun but I had envisioned much worse, like gunshot worse. (Granted I’ve never been shot before so how would I know but whatever).

By the morning of the 14th (I was now at 33 weeks, yeah!) they gave me a Vestral(?) to stop labor. The contractions didn’t stop so then wanted to expedite the second corti-steroid shot to get the lungs ready. We did NOT agree to it. We did some research and would only take the second dose if we could do it 24 hours after the first dose as long term studies were mixed. To get that second shot we needed to make it to 3PM on the 14th, it was now just 11AM.

I was not really able to talk through the contractions at this point but I still wouldn’t really call it pain (based on my idea of what pain was, see above.) The nurse was pretty shocked by my state at this point, I was weirdly calm and in some sort of zone. They checked me again thinking they had successfully stalled labor and were going to move me to a different room in antepardum (sp?). They did another finger check. I was 8cm and there was “no cervix left”. Labor was imminent, they called my doctor. My doctor couldn’t believe how calm I was. She (my doctor) said, no epidural, she’ll get through this naturally. The nurses (who had been pushing a C-Section) agreed now. It was a nice vote of confidence.

All I kept telling myself was that “dogs do this all the time”, “you don’t hear them screaming”, “they are in a zone”, “they labor naturally”.

Immediately my room was swarming with action. I called my parents to tell them our baby was coming now, I texted some friends, my husband called his parents to come wait in the waiting room. I had 3 NICU nurses setting up shop next to me and three nurses at my side setting up (whatever it is they set up to deliver a baby). My doctor came rushing in as well. I felt a rush of adrenaline that all these people were here for me (and they were all female except for my husband!).  And then I started shaking uncontrollably. (I do this when I’m scared and cold; nickname is “Shiggles” at work).  I was just now starting to get scared, I knew nothing about labor, not the slightest. The nurses on my side put my feet in stirrups, they wiped “down there” with iodine.

Weirdly my contractions stopped and suddenly we all just stood there waiting. This must have gone one for 10 minutes or so; we (the nurses, the NICU team, my husband, my doctor) all discussed possible baby names as we hadn’t arrived on one just yet. Everyone made small talk while we waited. I was scared. I had managed to stop my contractions.

And so that is when I told myself, “Self” (my last name), you need to pull yourself together. You are being the dog that just got spooked and ran into the woods and stopped delivering her puppies.

And suddenly I just stopped shaking. I got my head in the game, shut out everything around me and the contractions came back with a vengeance. The doctor watched the screen and said “here we go” and the nurses taught me how to push “on demand”. What a weird feeling that was, and hard too, it took some major abdominal muscles (and strength). Good thing they had allowed me TWO popsicles for breakfast that day. My husband said I entered into a zone, that I didn’t verbally express much (although I could have sworn I said “holy shit this hurts” at least once…I guess no one heard me). He just said my face turned bright red with each push and when Rex’s head started to crown he couldn’t believe how something could fit through that such a small space. I remember thinking it was taking longer than I thought it should but then again how was I supposed to know how long this stage of labor took since I hadn’t done any of the research on the topic just yet.

(By the fourth or fifth push I think we had arrived on “Max” as the name. “Max” received mixed reviews by the nurses and my doctor.)

I remember my doctor saying, okay, now for the “ring of fire” and the nurses telling me I could do it, and in my head thinking (huh, I’ve heard this term tossed around before and I don’t think its meant to be pleasant) and yeah, I can’t say too many positives for it but it is what it is but yeah, I agree, the term fits. And then shortly thereafter he was out. Because he was crying when he came out they put him immediately on my chest for about 30/45 seconds but being a preemie they then whisked him over to the NICU nurses to do their thing. My husband went over and “cut the cord” and my doctor and nurses attended to me and getting the placenta out. “Will this hurt”, I asked. “No”, my doctor said, not like what you just felt.

And then it was all over. I felt majorly empowered. Everyone was complimenting me. I called my parents, it was great. Then they come over and start pushing on your tummy to make sure everything is out. And then the cramps start. Uh, yeah, no one ever told me about this part. It hurt! My nurses apologized and said that normally with an epidural no one feels this part of delivery. They offered me a Motrin but I declined, I’d made it this far already, I wasn’t going to throw in the towel on a (what I presumed to be at hospital rates) $95 dollar Motrin.  My doctor wrote “No drugs” on my sheet (for the nurses to follow after) and she was gone.

My husband followed Rex (who was still probably a “Max” at that point) to the NICU. Everything felt right in the world.  Rex William Thompson arrived at 1:18PM.

At the moment, Rex is in the NICU and that will be played out in the next several blog posts. It is, and will be a rollercoaster there for some time. I would say that at times it feels like my heart is actually breaking but other times, like today, I feel like we get a sign that its all going to be okay. Just today I learned that Dr. Wertz, the NICU doctor, is the same doctor that saw my husband 33 years ago (next week) when he was a newborn. And my husband turned out just fine.

Our Family

Daddy and Rexy

Mommy and Rexy

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Entry filed under: Rex. Tags: .

Myles, the Million Dollar Havanese I am now a member of a “secret society”…

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Olivia  |  February 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Wow, what a story Angela! You are a trooper! I am still trying to forget just how hard labor was.

    Will be thinking of you guys and little Rex. Let me know if there is anything we can do to help.

    Reply
  • 2. His Lyons  |  February 22, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I can’t even express how PROUD I am of you, Rex and Dane. What a wonderfully strong family! You are super-human as the norm, but this experience has clearly catapulted you into a whole other category. You continue to be my hero, Angela.

    Reply
  • 3. Heath McCarthy  |  February 23, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    What an awesome story. I liked the cosmic wrap up with Dr. Wertz. I am so happy for you all.
    Dane – take care of these two wonderful people that you are blessed with. (hint: Angela is the hard one 🙂

    Reply
  • 4. Eric Collier (SPIKE)  |  February 24, 2012 at 2:19 am

    Wow!! I would have never seen this coming. But I’m sure Ben will get rid of Courtney soon enough. Ohh, and Congrats. What an amazing experience. You two will make great parents. What size running shoe would Rex wear?

    Reply
  • […] the minivan, had already given it away.) Dane and I decided to put the challenges we had welcoming Baby Rex into this world behind us, and give Rex, Myles and Floyd a little brother. (Actually, I decided it was time to give […]

    Reply
  • […] this time around, I won’t be channeling my inner cow like I had originally planned, or using my “dog theory on birthing” circa Rex 2012. At least this is my second kid so my expectations on the enjoyment factor of labor are pretty low. […]

    Reply

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