Note this has been updated with Nathan's View of the Birth:
Bean was born at 34 weeks 5 days gestation and is a perfectly beautiful little girl. We have named her Lola Maron McClure. She weighed 4lbs 7oz and was 17 3/4 " long. She is a tiny little thing.
The birth was very scary and I want to take some time to write down the story. God's hand was all over this birth because there were two major complications that could have caused us to lose our precious little girl.
It all started Sunday night when I started having irregular contractions. I had contractions all night, but nothing close enough to cause me to go to the emergency room. That morning I wiped and saw mucus and then later saw pink tinged mucus. I took at bath and did not see any throughout the day. Monday, I called Parkhill and asked to speak with a nurse. Because I had been on bed rest for 20 days and was only 34 weeks along, they asked me to come in. I went in and Dr. Partridge checked me at 11am. I had not progressed and was still 2.5cm dilated and 80% effaced. She was very nice and told me that she didn't care if I came in every day to get checked, that it was essential with me being early and listening to my body.
I went home and had contractions on and off throughout the day. At one point, I laid on my side and the contractions seemed to stop. They were very irregular. I would have two about 12 minutes apart and then another 30 minutes later. It was what I was chalking up to Braxton Hicks.
At 6:24pm it all changed. I went to the restroom and wiped and saw bright red blood...and a bunch of it! I laid down on the couch and had 3 contractions in about 30 minutes. At that point I called the after hours number even though I did not want to go to the emergency room AGAIN and be sent home. I was starting to feel like the boy who cried wolf. The nurse on the phone told me to go in. She wasn't concerned with the blood or really the contractions, but was with the two together.
We dropped Tait off with Leslie and headed to Johnson. Once we got the emergency room, the Dr. and nurse recognized me from my visit a few weeks earlier. You could tell the nurse was not really concerned. In fact the TOCO contraction machine wasn't really picking up any contractions and Bean's heart rate was strong. However, when she FINALLY checked me, her face changed. I was dilated to a 3.5cm and 100% effaced. After she checked me I saw the amount of blood on her glove. I asked if that was normal and she said I was just having a bloody show. She said could feel my water bag bulging. The nurse told me at that point she did not think I would be going home and that I would be having a baby that night. However, when she talked to Dr. Duke, he was not wanting to keep me. I panicked. Maybe it was too many episodes of "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant", but I told her I did not want to go home and have my baby in the bathroom. The nurse was not comfortable with the Dr. sending me home...you could see it on her face. Thank God, she convinced the Dr. to let me walk around the hospital for an hour and recheck me.
I walked around for about 30 minutes and then Dr. Duke walked up to me in the hall. I think he could see how the contractions were hitting and after hearing I had had 2 LEEP procedures, he knew that when I started to dilate, I would go fast. Apparently the scar tissue will make you efface faster but dilation will hold strong and then go very rapidly. He wanted to go home and take a shower and then come back and check me. I walked back to the Emergency room to get our stuff and get discharged so we could get checked in to the hospital.
After waiting in the Emergency Room for another 30 minutes to an hour, I still wasn't showing contractions on the monitor even though I was having terrible ones every 5 minutes or so. I finally made it back to room 12 at the hospital and was being admitted. Another nurse, probably my favorite of the entire visit, was in the room asking me a ton of questions for admittal. She also was watching the monitor and not seeing the contractions, but she could see me each time I had one bracing on the bed. Nathan and I asked if someone was going to check me and they said that I was just there for monitoring. We told the nurse that Dr. Duke said he was going to check me when he got back from taking a shower and that was at 9 (it was now 11pm). She said she was not sure and would go back and ask.
When she got back, she told us that she had told Dr. Duke that the machine was not showing contractions but I was having them every 2 minutes. He went ahead and told her to check me. When she did, her face changed. She said "You are a 9cm and 100% dilated. Your bag is bulging quite a bit and I think it will break very soon." At that point things started to go VERY fast. She called for the anesthesiologist, but he was in an emergency C-Section. I started to panic. I started having strong contractions and felt strong pressure in my bottom. I did not want to have the baby without an epidural...it was not in my plans to be Superwoman...I just wanted a pleasant birthing story like with Tait. I was sure it was Karma after having such a great story with him. The nurse started to break down the bed and told me that I was not going to have time to get an epidural. Nathan told me it was going to be okay, but he was just as alarmed as me. He knew how much I did not want a natural birth and felt terrible that he couldn't help me with the pain I would be in during labor. At that point I started to cry. I was crying because of the pain, even though it was not as strong as what I was expecting; but most of all I was crying because of the fear of Bean coming and not being healthy! Every time I got a contraction the pain would shoot down my thighs. My legs hurt so bad it was terrible pain. She then checked me again and I was a 9.5cm. She had three or four other nurses come in to check me and one of them broke my water checking me. I felt a huge warm gush and they all commented on the amount of water coming out. They had to use about 3 towels to try and clean up the bed best they could and changed my gown twice. The most alarming thing for me was the amount of blood. I have never seen so much blood in my life! I kept asking if that was normal and they would just comment that it was fine. I did not feel comfortable with so much blood, but I knew that I would be meeting my child very soon. Nathan and I started wondering if Bean was going to come at 1:55 am like her brother!
I then asked if the head was down. After being in the hospital a few weeks earlier when Bean was head up, I never felt like she had turned head down again. They checked me and said that they could not feel anything engaging. The nurse started looking very nervous. She called the Dr. and told him that none of the nurses could feel the head, but they weren't sure what position the baby was in. The Dr. came in with an ultrasound machine and the baby was in a transverse (sideways) position. He tried moving the baby...which was extremely painful! I told him I did not mind a C-Section and that I was not comfortable with moving the baby because this one did not like to stay head down. He said I was dilated to a 3-4 (based on the US machine) and said I had time to get an epidural. He wanted me to get one and then try and turn the baby again.
I was shocked that I went from a 9.5 to a 3-4, but the nurse said it was the pressure of the water along with my 2 LEEPS that probably did it and since the baby wasn't engaged, I went backwards. After my epidural I was not quite numb and could feel half of my belly and one of my thighs. I thought it would be okay and that having 90% of the pain wiped out would be tolerable. The Dr. came back in and tried to turn Bean. However, the baby was having none of it and would pop back into the transverse position. She was sitting extremely high as well. I was not surprised...I knew this baby was stubborn! Plus she had been in transverse position most of the pregnancy, so I knew she liked this position. Dr. Duke told the nurses to start prepping me for a C-Section. Nathan asked how soon it would be and the Dr. said the baby would be here in about thirty minutes!
(Note: some of the following may be a bit out of order, it was very quick and emotional and I can't remember exact order of some of these events)
They took me back and prepped me for surgery. Before I was rolled in the room I saw a sign that said the temperature had to be up to 75 degrees (can't remember exact temperature) for all births less than 35 weeks. That alarmed me, because it reminded me that my baby was being born way too early and was going to need help. When I entered the room I was shivering. Part of the shivering was due to the epidural (I shivered when I had one with Tait) but a big part of it was just nerves. The anesthesiologist asked if I was cold and said the room was warmer than it had been when he was in there earlier. I started panicking telling the nurses and anesthesiologist that half my belly was not numb. The anesthesiologist checked my back and moved the wire a bit. He also gave me a bit more medicine. I started to feel the numbness, and he checked me by pinching me several times. I got to a point where the pain was tolerable and it was more of a pressure. I think the Drs. thought I was crazy because they said you could see the pinch marks (that is how hard they were testing to make sure I was okay) but I could still feel it.
Nathan was taken to put on scrubs before he could join me. He said the scrubs were much too big for him and that the time he was waiting took forever. He felt very alone and hoped that they would not forget to bring him in! He did mention the booties over his flip flops were nice because they kept his feet warm! Then, Nathan joined me and I knew that they had already started cutting me.
While the Dr. was moving the organs and getting her out, he mentioned two very scary things that could have taken our daughter's life if the events had not played out. First he mentioned that the placenta had already started detaching from the wall of my uterus and that is why I saw so much blood. I knew then that is why Bean was born so early. If I had not gone into the Emergency Room that night, my daughter would not be here. He then said as he pulled her out that she had her cord wrapped around her neck twice. That was the second sign of God for me in the operating room. If the Dr. had been able to turn her, she would have been choked to death as I was pushing. Thank goodness that I was back to a 3-4cm so that they had the time to prep me and thank goodness she was such a stubborn baby liking the transverse position!!!
I was so nervous and every emotion welled up inside me. It took a few minutes and then they told Nathan that he could look and announce the sex. The moment he looked at me, I knew I had a little girl. I could read it in his eyes. He then said "Momma, we have a baby girl.". I could not stop the tears from falling down my face (as they are at this time). It was the most special moment. I told him "go with her and stay with her!"
They took her over to the side of the room and the NICU nurses started to check her. She wasn't crying and I kept asking why she wasn't crying. The Dr. said it was because they had put an oxygen mask on her as a precaution. Then they must have removed it because I heard her cries. Tears flowed down my face and I could not stop them. All the events of what could have happened were right there in front of me and I could not stop the emotions.
Nathan wanted to add a section to this story of what happened when they took her over to the table:
He knew something did not look right because she was so gray and she wasn't moving. He says she was as gray as my MacBook. Her Apgar score was a 2 right at birth, so he was alarmed. The nurses were hovering watching Bean and he couldn't see her breathing. He wanted to ask questions, but he wanted to let them do their jobs and not have to cater to him. He wanted as much attention on her as he could get. He said it was so hard to watch. Once she started breathing she started to pink up a bit and Nathan started to breath normally again. They put in a suction line in her nose and wrapped her up. A few minutes later they took another Apgar and it was up to a 7. He said the time between the two scores took forever to him as time stopped before she started breathing. He asked about the weight and prints like in a normal birth, but the nurses told him that was not a priority for Preemies. Their priority was to get her up to the NICU floor as quickly as possible so they could to put lines in her umbilical cord and get her stabilized with temperature and breathing. However, they did allow Nathan to bring her over for me to meet her for the first time.
After what felt like ages, Nathan brought her over wrapped up. I saw how tiny she was. I knew that as small as Tait was (5lb 11oz), this baby was so much smaller. I asked how big she was and he said they were not sure. They would weigh her properly in the NICU. I then asked what time she was born and the Dr. said 3:10am. I then looked at Nathan and said "this is our Lola!"...the name I knew he wanted to use so badly. It was such an emotional and wonderful feeling and I know waiting until the birth was the perfect way to find out that our baby was a girl. I knew Tait would be so happy!
They took her to the NICU at that point and Nathan went with her. He said when they got up to the NICU floor, they took Lola back into the room and had Nathan scrub in for 3 minutes and put a gown over the scrubs he was wearing (This is a policy for the NICU in general so we have to do this every time we visit our little girl now). He went to Lola's side and the nurses started to introduce themselves and begin to explain the lines that they were going to put into Lola's umbilical cord, her mouth and the cannula in her nose. They also pointed out the pulse ox and temperature probes. He knew at that point how hard this was going to be on him and on me since we would not be able to hold her. He said even though she was right there, she felt so distant. Not a feeling you expect at the birth of your child. He said the first instinct he had was to pull close the things that you wanted to protect and hold your child close to your heart. But he couldn't do that. He had to leave her there in a box alone. He had to fight the urges to scoop her up and run away with her home because he knew she needed help. They then told Nathan that he was going to have to leave for the procedures. He was not even allowed to stay and watch.
He then came down and asked to see me in recovery. At first they told him no and that he had to wait until they brought me to the room. He stayed by the door to the recovery room just so he could be next to me as they wheeled me back to our room. I guess they felt empathetic for him waiting because the nurse came out and said that the Dr. said he could go back.
I did not realize how long it would take them to finish with me in the operating room. I fell asleep a couple of times as they were sewing me up because I was exhausted. I hadn't gotten much sleep Sunday night and had not slept any Monday night up to that point.
After they were finished, they took me back to a recovery room. I could hear the Dr. talking on the phone and I guess he was updating records of the surgery. I could hear all of the scary events that could have gone far worse. When he came by to talk to me, I thanked him for not sending me home and for giving me the C-Section. He didn't look me in the eye, but he mentioned that he is glad he didn't send me home because she would not be with us if he had. I could see the lump in his throat and I said "Yes, God was with us here tonight". (Note, Nathan did not hear about the cord being wrapped twice until he entered the recovery room and I told him. He was emotional at that point knowing how blessed were were in all of these events happening when and how they did, even though it was not what we thought we wanted at the time).
This story was very emotional, even just writing it a day later. I wanted to write out the story to remind myself how precious life is. Lola is doing well. She had to have a blood transfusion last night due to the amount of blood she lost. However, she is on room air and keeping her temperature. Now it is just time to get her weight up and get her to learn to eat before we a can take her home. The Drs. think it will be about 2-3 weeks until we can take her home. I would be lying to say I haven't had breakdowns in my room and with her in the NICU. Seeing her little body with so many wires and tubes kills me. The fact that I haven't held her really kills me. Seeing others mothers with their babies in their room kills me and I know when I walk to the NICU later this morning and see some mother taking their baby home out the front doors, I will want to cry again. But I am doing well. I have a beautiful little girl, and wonderful son and the most fantastic husband in the world. I cannot wait for the day when Tait will get to meet his little sister, the one he has been asking for since I told him I was pregnant! I know that the next few weeks will go by and soon I will have my entire family at home under one roof and life will begin.
I thank God even more today for the precious gifts I have been given.
We would also like to thank the staff of Willow Creek. They have been wonderful for us through this ordeal. The nurses are amazing and the staff up in the NICU have been so warm and comforting while they are keeping us up to date on Lola and what they have planned for her care. I am so thankful for her to have been born here with the events that played out.