“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
WARNING: This post contains some, but not all, details about my labor and delivery. If you aren't interested in that... skip to the bottom 😃
Wednesday, November 1st:
We took out the trash, packed a few last things and tidied up the house... it was like we were about to go on vacation, but we were actually about to have a baby. After a quick snack and one last latte, we arrived at Prentice Women's Hospital for our scheduled induction at 10:30 am. I asked Brian to fill up my water bottle because I didn't know what they were going to allow me to have once we got into our delivery suite - I knew that they had warned me about not having the option to eat after check in. We were greeted by the bubbly receptionist who happened to be fashioning blue glasses, nails and lipstick; she was a riot and informed us that we would be having a boy that day because of her attire. She definitely set the mood for an upbeat day. After a brief wait in the lobby, we met Shilpy, our first labor and delivery nurse. She took all my vitals and informed me that she wasn't 100% sure of the plan as of yet, but that she would get me set up and ready for the doctor to fill in the gaps.
They stuck me three times before they could successfully get an IV started. Unfortunately, my hand was the only good spot to put the line. If you've ever had an IV, you know that they generally aren't comfortable. When you couple that with a spot that flexes and is sensitive, it really stinks, but I didn't have much of a choice. My parents arrived and we all waited anxiously to get the show on the road!
The OB on call gave a quick exam and confirmed I was still dilated to 4 cm. They would start a pitocin drip at 2 mL concentration and increase the dosage every 15-30 minutes based on my contractions. Pitocin is a synthesized form of oxytocin which is the hormone that causes labor/contractions. While I didn't know what to expect, I had read that pitocin caused contractions to be abnormally strong and fierce compared to the body's natural process of labor with oxytocin. Again, I didn't have much of a choice so I prepared for the worst (mentally) and hoped for the best. After the pitocin was started, I had an anesthesiology consult. They asked about my plan for pain management and if I wanted an epidural. I listened to the options and confirmed that my intention was to have no pain intervention beyond the natural coping mechanisms I had been studying and practicing for months. The anesthesiology NP accepted my wishes but explained that I could change my mind about the epidural as long as I was able to sit still (through contractions) for 30 minutes.
My pitocin drip was up to 14 mL concentration with contractions coming every 3-4 minutes. Up until this point, the contractions were completely manageable and I was able to walk around, even dance a little to the Spotify mix I had made. We were laughing and telling stories as things progressed.
The OB broke my water.
"Shit just got real" - Me
My contractions started to rage with a new intensity.
Mom and Brian shared a wee dram of Glenmorangie while dad held my hand through the surges.
The neonatologist who we initially met during our consult and who we ran into before our tour of the NICU, stopped into our room. She was on call until 8 am and wanted to let us know she would be heading the team that cared for our child after birth. It was so amazing to see her friendly face and know that she would be with us through this journey. Before she left, she mentioned that knew I was attempting a medication free labor and delivery on pitocin; she gave me a pep talk that getting an epidural didn't make me any less of a great mama... she was induced with all three and had an epidural for all three. Regardless, she was cheering me on. We asked my parents to go get some dinner and we would be sure to keep them updated on what was happening.
The perinatologist who would be delivering our child arrived. She did a quick exam and confirmed I had progressed to 6 cm. While this was great news, it meant I still had 4 more cm to go and the contractions were getting kind of nuts. She said that she would come back around 9 pm to check me again. At this point, Brian and I had gotten into a routine. I would lean on him during the contraction and then sit or lie on the bed to rest in between. It was exhausting, especially because I hadn't had anything to eat beyond ice cubes and some honey sticks since 9:30 am. Luckily, Brian was my pillar of strength once again. He was so encouraging and loving - holding me, massaging my back, and reassuring me that I was strong and could do it. At one point, I went through a contraction that really scared me - it was so intense I feel my body crippling under the discomfort. I looked at Brian and confided that I didn't know if I could do it anymore. "Yes you can. You've made it so far and I know you can do it" One contraction at a time - slow, deep breaths and relaxing thoughts. Shilpey had finished her shift by this point and we were working with Ivette. During these really tough moments, she echoed Brian's sentiments and between the two of them, I felt empowered to keep going.
Something changed - the contractions reached a new level of insane. The doctor needed to come. I was 9 cm.
10 cm. This baby was coming.
Roughly 6-7 big pushes later, Kieran Patrick Beres was born. 6 lbs 13 oz and 19.2 inches long.
Kieran means "dark one" in Gaelic. While we knew that our baby would likely have lighter features, my best friend Lauren pointed out that this little man was going to be the dark horse of the race; an underdog who would rise up. We already know he is going to be a fighter. His middle name comes from his grandfathers; Patrick William and John Patrick. We are honored and humbled to be able to name our child after two men who have been so influential to us and sources of strength and support in our lives.
I had accomplished my number one goal - I was able to deliver my child without the intervention of pain medications. This goal took on a new meaning for me after we learned of our child's CDH. First, I wanted to ensure that he didn't have any narcotics in his system because I already knew he would have his condition working against him during the first moments of life. And second, I wanted to be as mobile and clearheaded as possible so I could be a part of his care team; I needed to be another advocate for my child. I pass absolutely no judgement against any woman who makes a different choice than I did to bring their child/children into this world. I can honestly say that it was the most incredible, scary, overwhelming experience of my life - you do you to get that baby here.
I was able to get a brief skin-to-skin experience and Brian cut the cord before the neonatal team took over. Brian and I were just so overwhelmed. We had prepared ourselves to be quickly separated from our child, but the team did everything to make sure we got some semblance of normalcy - it was amazing! I'm not lying when I say there were over 15 people in the room between OB and neonatology, but everyone had a job. Kieran gave out a big cry before the team intubated, but the doctor was great about giving updates along the way. He was doing very well - our hearts were bursting with joy.
|Kieran Patrick Beres - 11/1/17|
Brian accompanied neonatology as they moved Kieran from Prentice over to the Lurie NICU. I ate a lackluster turkey sandwich (which tasted halfway decent) and drank some delicious ginger ale. I was moved up to postpartum and Brian was able to stay with me. We had become parents and we couldn't stop talking about it until well after 1 am.
Thursday, November 2nd - Days in the NICU: 1
After about three hours of sleep, Brian and I resigned to the fact that we were both awake. After the nurse took my vitals, I tried to pump again (every 2 - 3 hours). My goal is to eventually breastfeed, but as Kieran is treated for his CDH, it is going to be awhile before he can 1) tolerate breast milk or 2) feed from the breast. Therefore, I will be storing up my supply until he is ready.
Mom and dad arrived at 9 am and my best friend, Lauren, arrived with coffee and treats around 9:30 am. We knew that they were going to be performing and echo cardiogram, so we rested and waited until that was completed at 12 pm. When we arrived in the NICU, mom and dad were able to meet their newest grandson and we were able to meet some of the staff working with Kieran - everyone was pleased with his current state. His oxygen levels were good and he was very feisty; apparently, he had already tried to pull out all his lines multiple times. Feisty is good. We learned that they wanted to move his central line (the main port where medicine is administered and they draw blood) from his umbilical cord down to his groin. This procedure would need to be performed in a different part of the hospital. The fact that they were willing to move Kieran out of the NICU at less than a day old for this procedure was a good sign; they were again confident that he was stable enough to tolerate it. The procedure was successful. The other good news about moving the central line down meant that it would be easier for us to have skin-to-skin contact with Kieran, which we are hopeful will happen in the next few days. Brian and I opted to get some rest and let Kieran rest too before we returned around 9 pm to say good night.
I'll admit, when we returned, it was really tough for me. Within the course of 24 hours, my child had gone from safe and sound in my belly, to exposed and so vulnerable. Seeing him fight his intubation and get upset, but not be able to cry, was truly crippling. I felt absolutely and completely helpless and I experienced a new kind of sadness... that of a parent. This small person was now the most important thing in my world and I love him more than life itself. Not surprising, Brian was again there to boost me up and be strong. He has been so good about explaining all of the medical procedures, monitors, IV bags, wires... etc and while I know this is just as difficult for him, he is exemplifying such an admirable strength that helps me too. I love and appreciate my husband in a new and glorious way - I am in awe of his courage.
We survived day one. This is going to be a long journey and we are "cautiously optimistic", but we understand that it is very likely we will have good days and tough days... a few steps forward and a couple steps back. We ask for your continued thoughts and prayers as we navigate these first few days of supporting our child as he acclimates to this world and help him on the road to healing.
We are so grateful and thank God for giving us this miraculous gift.