On Tuesday, January 8th, at 8:58am little Miss Annalee Rose made her big debut into the world. She weighed in at 1810 grams (.2 gram shy of 4 lbs) and let out a small cry of protest upon delivery. We made it to 32 weeks and 1 day...a very important threshold for premature babies.
Early morning on Saturday, a sudden gush of fluid woke me up. It didn't test out to be amniotic fluid and an exam revealed that I was only 2 cm dilated. I was rather pleased with such a small change considering I had been on a spell of bad contractions over the previous few days and hadn't been checked in weeks. Although several more similar incidences happened between Saturday and Monday, each time the fluid did not test like it was from ruptured membranes (ie...baby's amniotic fluid.)
Monday morning I had an ultrasound to check on baby girl's weight and her fluid levels. She measured 3 lbs 11 oz and it looked as if fluid levels were low. The tech also noted that her head was extremely low in my pelvis. I could have told her that without the ultrasound! The doctor called and asked if I wanted to be examined that day or the next morning before I was discharged to go to CAMP. I asked to wait until the morning since I had just managed to get the contractions to ease up a bit. I didn't want to make them worse.
With the exception of the fluid loss, things didn't seem unusual. The contractions were painful but that was pretty typical of my 'bad days' so I didn't think much of it. I went to bed, slept until the nurse came in to take my vitals at 4am, then tried to drift back to sleep. Around 5am, I was crying. Not because things were worse, but because I felt like my body just couldn't take many more days of contracting. We waited until the doctors rounded. I told them I felt bad but that the contractions weren't regular. As he came in, I discovered just a speck of bloody show. Seriously. Just a speck. The exam seemed to take longer than usual and when he finally announced that I was dilated to 9 cm, I couldn't believe it! He said, "We're probably going to have a baby today!"
Getting ready to go down to Labor and Delivery.
Things progressed quickly at that point. I called Michael and told him that he needed to get to me as fast as he could. My mom was already with me since she was planning to help me move to CAMP that day. The nurses worked on getting my chart organized and the Labor and Delivery room ready while I tried to manage the contractions...which picked up in intensity after the exam. By the time they got me to Labor and Delivery, they were very painful and very regular.
My biggest concern over the last eight weeks has been that we would have enough time for the magnesium sulfate and the rescue steroid shot to become effective before her birth. Magnesium sulfate is used for neurological protection and the steroid shots help the lungs. We needed 4 hours for the magnesium sulfate to become effective and 24-48 hours for the shots. Unfortunately, we didn't have time for either.
We didn't even have time to switch from my regular hospital bed to a delivery bed!
The magnesium sulfate had just finished running into my IV about the time someone from anesthesia came in to give an epidural. Annalee was sitting SO low by then they gave me the epidural while I was resting on my side. As they were pushing on my back, I felt another gush of fluid and this time, Annalee slid further down. My doctor (Dr. Wendal) came in and held my hand through a few contractions and to say that he was really happy that we made it as long as we did. Then the resident came in, checked me again, and it was suddenly time to push. The epidural didn't have much time to take effect but it did take away some of the worst of the pain from the right side of my body. I was extremely happy that Dr. Wendal was there to coach me through the pushing! It only took a few pushes for her head to crown. I was horrified when her heart rate suddenly dropped. But he was great...when I asked if she was okay, he very calmly told me that we needed to get her out as soon as we could. Two pushes later, she was out. I had been anticipating a cry, so when I didn't hear anything I said, "She's not crying!!!" Right on cue, she let out the most pitiful little wail. Then they whisked her away to give her the respiratory support she needed.
For the next half hour, I received updates on Annalee. They eventually decided to intubate her, give her surfactant, and then extubate again. After that, she did much better.
Michael arrived. I hate to think of how long that 3.5 hour drive was for him. He was relieved that we were both okay, but very sad to have missed her delivery. He did get there just as they brought her back in to see us! I was not expecting to be allowed to hold her, so when they told me I could, I started bawling. It was such a special moment and I'm so glad that we were given that experience despite her early birth.
Annalee is doing well. She is requiring breathing support via nasal cannula and is beginning feeds. I'll give a better update on her very soon...but for now, this momma has to get some rest!
Sweet baby girl has quite the cone-head (she's been so low for so long!) and a head full of dark hair...just like Samuel did at birth. I have no doubt she will be beautiful like her older brother...just give her some time! :)