Eleanor Love Hodges was born on May 21st, 2014. This is her birth story...
(pictured at 1 week old)
I had a planned to be induced on the morning of May 21st at 4a.m. Which was 5 days before my due date. After filling out tons of paperwork and talking with my RN, I was administered the medication for induction at 5:30a.m. It is amazing what questions the hospital staff ask you at the wee hours of 4a.m. Like I can honestly,correctly, recall my social, phone, and address at such a hour! I was only still dilated to 1.5cm at check-in. My obstetrics physician came in to check on me and break my water at just before 8:00a.m. By that time I had only dilated to 3cm. My pain was very low at that point. My RN, Nurse-T, was very helpful and an excellent nurse. It was shift change though for the head RN's at 7a.m. and 7p.m., so I had yet another nurse to meet and, ultimately, trust. I will kindly refer to the new RN as "nurse-R", to protect the guilty. She didn't check me for dilation, forgetting she was just a nurse and not an actual physician, on a regular timely basis.(Also, it was just me and one other lady the entire day in labor and on the l&d floor.) I say just a nurse because of her arrogance and ignorance. Which leads quickly to... this birth story.
At 9a.m. I asked for medication through my IV for pain. Medication that was offered to me when I was at 3cm. I was dilated to 5cm at this time. At 10a.m. that medication had worn off so I asked for more, which would be my second and last dose. I also asked when would I be getting my epidural. "Oh, you're still ONLY at 5cm, I'll put in an order for your epidural, you really need to be at 7cm....", said nurse-R, quite smugly. The medication nurse-R gave me through my IV was some wicked stuff and not something I had taken before. At first I was able to rest and breathe through my contractions. Soon after, I felt what can only be described as incredibly drunk and stoned (high) at the same time. Being a person who has never been "high" I can only imagine the feeling. I'm not talking about a marijuana high, but like a LSD high. For real though. (see what I wrote at the end of this post)
I had not been checked for dilation in quite some time. I became worried because I had tremendous pelvic pressure and pain with a feeling of "needing to push". Although the "order for an epidural" had been placed, they had yet to give it to me because FIRST I needed something or another through my IV, and guess what... the pump that administers that certain medication was BROKEN! So I never got it. And, to top things off, instead of checking me for dilation after telling her (RN of the year, nurse-R), "I feel like I need to push" -(to which her brassy reply was, "Oh...come now. Surely not..." then she left the room...) She stood behind me messing around with my IV and the pump- whilst I was wailing immensely loud with indescribable pain, lurching up off of the hospital bed with every contraction. I guess she got tired of my yelling/screaming and decided to check me at 11:45 to see how I had progressed in dilation. Yeah, I was at 10cm, fully dilated! Probably had been at 10cm for some time... I had went from 5 to 10 in a little over a hour. She exclaimed, "YOU'RE AT 10!" and bolted out of the room to get my physician from his office (very conveniently located in the building next door). I cannot repeat the obscenities which my husband yelled both out loud to no one and to nurse-R. Justin left the room for a take-5, which was best for everyone.
As soon as nurse-R announced that I was indeed at 10cm, I started pushing. Yes, pushing without my medical staff there to assist. I wasn't going to wait any longer and didn't feel like my unborn/soon-to-be-born child should either.
My doctor did make it in time for delivery, apologizing the entire time about the epidural not happening (not HIS fault). He had a huge syringe filled with a numbing-pain medication for me, but it was too late for that, too. He said I pushed for maybe ten minutes, then Eleanor was born. I was in active labor from 5:30a.m. to 12:04p.m. which was the time she was born. She weighed 8lbs even and was 20.5" long. Lots of dark hair and bright blue eyes. Doc called me a "badass" for going through my second labor without an epidural. Also for taking the pain like a champ and, quite literally, pushing through it.
Eleanor was born to what seemed to us, as well as the hospital staff, a healthy baby girl. Her APGAR score was 8-9. After holding her, cutting the cord, and letting the nurses clean her, she was given to us for feeding and bonding time. That is when our world turned upside down...
Eleanor wasn't breathing "right". Something was off. At first I thought she just had the hiccups. She wouldn't nurse when I placed her on my breast. She was crying, almost uncontrollably. She would breathe heavy, STOP breathing, and jerk her entire little body quite violently as if she was either holding her breath or suddenly frightened. My husband noticed this too, and immediately became concerned. I wasn't as concerned due to being just out of it and still in a brain fog from the medication wearing off and trying to gather that so much just happened so fast in a short amount of time. Justin called the RN (nurse-R) and told them to come immediately that something was wrong with our baby.
The RN came in, nurse-R, and took Eleanor from me and started checking her vitals in the station next to my bed. We told her our concerns with her not latching to breastfeed, not breathing, the violent jerks that resulted in horrible screaming and crying, the color of her skin... Nurse-R told us that, "The baby just has hiccups. All babies breathe 'funny' after being born. This is normal." and proceeded to hand Eleanor back to me. Seriously?! Are you fucking kidding me?! Oh, we raised hell. Had to, Nurse-R wouldn't listen or take our concerns seriously. We made her go get an actual doctor. More nurses came in to examine Eleanor while waiting on the doctor to arrive. The RN (Nurse-R) actually said to the other nurses aloud so we could hear- actually SAID this- : "I told them this was NORMAL and there isn't anything wrong. It's JUST hiccups!", then she rolled her eyes at us. That is when my mom came in the room with our two year old son, eagerly waiting to meet his baby sister. Bless Ezra's little heart, he was frightened. A screaming baby, lots of strangers, and his mommy laying in a strange bed hooked up to machines crying with a dazed look in her eyes. My mom was concerned about Eleanor. I was still "out of it" so Justin explained to her what was going on. The nurses took Eleanor to the nursery to keep an eye on her until the doctor arrived. I'm sure, too, to check her without us being right there. Mom stayed with Ezra for about 15mins then took him back to her house to stay for a few days.
The news wasn't good. The pediatric doctor thought that Eleanor was born with a very loud heart murmur. She wasn't improving. They ran multiple tests. The nursery doctor came into my room and told me that they were going to keep Eleanor for a while in the nursery to run tests. A LPN came in my room and said that they would send a wheelchair for me so I could visit Eleanor in the nursery. The wheelchair never came...
I went almost 7 hours without seeing Eleanor. Two of those hours without anyone giving us any new updates on her. Justin went to peep in the nursery to see what was going on and told me that he spoke to someone (some nurse) and that multiple tests were being done and they had a nurse watching her constantly counting how many breaths she took a minute. I was beyond scared. Scared for my newborn daughter. Justin prayed over her. I prayed too, but mostly just yelling at God. Asking, no- demanding to know why He was letting this happen to our baby. There were talks of careflighting her to Children's Hospital (a 3 hour drive away from us). I kept asking to see her and they wouldn't let me. They ran an EKG on her, basically every test they could. Finally at 7p.m. they brought her back to my room. Her breathing had improved, she was alert and hungry, but she still wasn't out-of-the-woods yet.
I was able to do skin-to-skin with her as well as breastfeed her. Poor little thing had been spent that entire time (her entire life at that point) without eating! Eleanor latched to me immediately, I had no problems with breastfeeding her. I didn't get any rest. I stayed awake watching her sleep in her hospital crib. I came out of the "fog" from the medication at 8p.m. (pictured below, the deer-in-headlight look) By then Nurse-T was back for shift change, thank God! I got 3 hours of sleep after Nurse-T came to get her late in the night for testing and a checkup. Nurse-T was wonderful to us, all of us.
Her doctor said that he could no longer hear the murmur. He actually said that he couldn't hear anything to suggest that she had a heart problem. The diagnosis was, "she was born too fast and the valves to her heart didn't switch closed in time." Okay...
I didn't see Nurse-R again, thank God. At shift change the next morning we had someone new. The new nurse, Nurse-A, was super sweet and thorough. That next morning my doctor checked me and released me from the hospital. I didn't ask for pain meds after giving birth. Honestly, after having Endometriosis and going through childbirth twice without an epidural- the pain from "after" is very mild if at all. I had been up walking and using the bathroom with no help. He said I could leave after 12:30p.m. All we were waiting on was to see if Eleanor got to go home too. To our surprise she was released that same day, too. Her health had dramatically improved during the night and early morning hours. She passed all of the tests they ran on her and were just waiting to get the results of her EKG back from Children's Hospital, where they had to send it due to not having someone on staff able to read it. By 2p.m. that day, just 26 hours after bringing a new human into this world, we were at home. I never got the results of her EKG tests...
Eleanor had a clean bill of health at her 1 week checkup. Her skin color was still very dark red. Her feet, a purple blue color. That lasted for almost two weeks. She had a touch of jaundice. But not too serious. The physician she saw in the hospital was out of the office at her one week checkup, so she saw one of his colleagues. He, too, said he could not hear any sort of murmur and believed her problem to have healed itself. The nurses never told me what Eleanor weighed when we left the hospital, but she weighed 8.2lbs at her checkup.
(pictured below 1 week after giving birth to Eleanor, before her checkup appointment)
Thank GOD that to this day Eleanor doesn't have any heart or health problems known to us. Eleanor is currently 8 weeks old. She's got a double chin and chunky thighs! She sleeps through the night and is still, obviously, breastfeeding well. She goes next week for her two month checkup. I've switched her to a different physician. A pediatrician that me, my parents, and my father-in-law all know and trust. I'm eager to see how she has grown since early June.
Funny things, or not so much funny things, that happened during delivery. Hallucinations. Hallucinations from my IV pain medication that was wearing off. I was warned about the "feeling" this medication gave people who were on it. "Incredibly drunk" was the words the RN used. I actually thought that cartoon characters were walking around in my delivery room. I also thought someone or something was crawling on the ceiling... I think instead of "drunk" she should have said "bad tripping on LSD"! All of that happened before delivery. I had my room television turned on with the volume turned down previously, and never turned it off during delivery. The film, The Heats On (1943), was playing on TCM when I gave birth to Eleanor.
Also, this is probably the only blog post where I'll drop the F-bomb. Just keeping it real, folks.
all images and content © Annalee Hodges