Thursday, September 01, 2005

Liam's Birth Story

On this day, one year ago. Liam Casey O’Neill joined Dan and I to make a family. Happy Birthday, Liam!

Tuesday August 31, 2004
11:45 AM I had my 39 wk appt at 11:45am. Upon examination, my doctor was pleased to inform me I was 3 cm dilated and, in the most invasive internal exam to that date, she also stripped my membranes. She didn’t even offer to take me to lunch afterwards. The doctor said I would be having the baby that night or the next day! Exciting! I began to bleed a bit after the stripping. I ransacked the exam room for maxi pads – NONE! No pads in an OB/GYN exam room! I stuffed my underpants with Kleenex. I was so sore and uncomfortable after the "stripping" Dan had to help me dress. Little did I realize my contractions were what was making me so uncomfortable.

1:00 PM Dan drove me back to work. Yes. Really. We worked really close to each other so we shared the ride from our workplaces to the doctor’s office. So he dropped me off and told me to call him when I got home. I told my boss and everyone who crossed my path that the baby was coming! This, as you can imagine, caused quite a stir. I packed up and said my goodbyes. We didn’t know it was good-bye for good yet. But it was. My boss and co-worker walked me to my car. It was actually a somewhat emotional good-bye.

2:30 PM I got home, called Dan and told the dogs that the baby was coming! The baby is coming! They didn’t look too excited. The rest of that day/night I progressed with contractions. My body was also "naturally" cleaning itself out. I took many trips to the bathroom. Not a problem as I would rather do it there than on the delivery table.

3:30 PM I called Dan again and asked him to come home. I was starting to get nervous that I would go into labor during rush our and I didn’t need him getting stuck in traffic on the way home to get me. He got home around 4:00 PM.

5:30 PM I was walking laps around the house because I was pretty uncomfortable and I was anxious and I’d heard walking would speed up delivery. We started getting calls from our parents checking on us and – oh boy! – finding out what was going on. I wasn’t hungry (still doing intestinal housecleaning) so Dan ate without me. We were timing my contractions but they seemed irregular.

9:00 PM I went to lie down and try to rest. I was sipping water, eating saltines and feeling nauseous. I wasn’t sure if it was the contractions or the anxiety that this could be it!!

10:30 PM Dan came to bed and we timed more contractions. It still felt irregular. Everything I read said it was time to go to the hospital when the contractions are 5 mins apart and one minute in length. Dan went to sleep.

11:30 AM I got up again. I wasn’t sleeping anyway. I felt like crap and the contractions felt stronger. I went downstairs to surf the web and time my contractions. I was starting to worry as they were about 3-4 mins apart. But they didn’t last a whole minute. And sometimes they would skip and I wouldn’t have one for 5-6 minutes.

2:00 AM I finally called the doctor on call. I was in a lot of pain and couldn't take it anymore. I needed to do somthing. Like give birth! I told her my condition and she told me to head in to the hospital. She said “The worse thing that happens is we send you home.” Ugh. I do NOT think so, lady. I went upstairs to dress and wake up Dan who proceeded to ask me 20x if I was sure this was it. The contractions were getting more painful and my instinct was to get more quiet. I didn't get loud or curse or yell. It just hurt like a bitch and I wanted my mommy.

3:00 AM It took us about 30 minutes to get to the hospital. I swear it took another 30 minutes for me to walk from the garage to Labor & Delivery triage. When we arrived, we had to wait a few minutes. Oh! Ok! So this is where those breathing exercises come in. We were admitted and then waited for our triage nurse to come get us. When she came out and introduced herself, I had another big contraction, so she just sat with me until it was over. Then she brought us to triage.

This is where I started to lose track of time. Triage is a big room with 3 beds curtained off from each other. There was another family at a bed and, from the chit chatty sounds, she must have been waiting for a c-section because there was no WAY she was talking through contractions.

There was one bathroom and I was waiting to use it (still flushing out the demons!). While I waited, Dan had to help me put on the hospital gown. Finally the HUSBAND of the pregnant woman got out of the bathroom (maybe he was having an intestinal mass exodus, too). I remember being in the bathroom thinking, "I hope no one needs to come in here right after me." NOT PLEASANT. After I finally got out of the bathroom, I was put in a bed and monitored and examined. I was already 4-5 cm dilated (which meant I wouldn't be sent home - Thank you, sweet Jesus! But oh my God I have to have a baby!) I'm pretty proud that I was able to manage that far without drugs. However, while we were in the hospital, I made it clear to anyone we ran into that I wanted an epidural. "Epidural, epidural, nice to meet you, epidural." My triage nurse had me lie on my left side to keep the baby's heartbeat stable - it was a bit weaker when I was on my back (that made me feel better about all those nights I forced myself to sleep on my left side!)

The triage nurse hooked me up to an IV because I was dehydrated. After about 15 minutes, the nausea built up and I called to Dan that I needed something because I was going to be sick. I puked for a few minutes and then stopped. It was mortifying. Examine my girl parts, fine. Watch me puke? HORRORS! Soon after my "episode," the nurse who had been monitoring me had a wheelchair to take me to my Labor & Delivery room. I got to bring the little puke tray tucked under my chin… juuuuust in case! Once in my L&D room, I met my labor and delivery nurse who was so nice. And they put in my order in for my epidural. THANK YOU. I got another shot at the bathroom. Then I got put in my new bed.

When the anesthesiologist came, Dan had to leave for the epidural administration. That was ok because it gave him the opportunity to call my sister, who was was my 2nd labor coach, and his mother, who had requested that he call her as soon as we got to the hospital. The doctor asked a lot of questions and then prepped me for the epidural (henceforth knows as the “epi”). I had to drink a NASTY-ASS antacid shot before getting the epi to neutralize my stomach acid. It almost made me puke again. It was so disgusting - salty and sour. I have a very slight curve in my spine so it took a while for them to get the epi in. The worst part was just staying perfectly still the whole time, crouched over, while having contractions. The epi itself really didn't hurt at all - just kind of burned. I also got a catheter inserted but, because of the epi, I didn’t feel a thing. And this may sound strange but, when it came time, I was sad to see that thing go.

The hospital I was at is a teaching hospital, so I had several different residents coming in and asking me the same questions. Over and over. But I didn’t care. Really. I was going to meet my baby soon. It was keeping me focused.

Around 6:00 AM My sister showed up and she and Dan and my nurse waited for me to continue to progress till it was time to push. She and Dan took turns feeding me ice chips.

Time went by fast for me… I’m not sure how it was for those waiting. It wasn’t long after my sister arrived that I figured out that my epi had only taken effect on the right half my body. Ooops. Turns out my spine being a bit curved made things more difficult. So a different anesthesiologist came and I had to have the first epi removed and a new one administered. The new one worked like a charm. EPI's ROCK!! Dan went downstairs with my sister to see his parents and other family that had come to wait.

I did start to feel nauseous and my nurse asked if I wanted something for the nausea. She administered Zofran through my IV and within a few minutes the nausea was gone. AMAZING!

About 8:30-9:00 AM I was fully dilated to 10 cm and I was starting to feel this intense pressure which is what makes you want to push. My water also broke about that time. I was lying on my side and it felt like a balloon was lowering into my vagina - then the warm gush came - I said, like the gegnius I am, "I think my water broke."

The epi takes away the contraction pain but you still feel the pressure to push. That feeling was excruciating. I can only compare it to a time when you have really bad cramps or diarrhea. And it hurts to go even though you really have to. Now multiply by gazillion. Not pushing when you have this pressure is really hard but you can't push till the nurse says it's ok - otherwise you can hurt yourself and/or the baby.

Time came to start pushing. I was really excited because I knew it meant I would meet my jelly bean soon. I prayed that I wouldn't push for 2 hours as the nurse said most first time mothers do. The nurse soon discovered that the baby was face up and wasn't turning on his own. That meant he would have more difficulty finding his way out through my pelvis. Compare it to having to dive into a pool backwards, instead of face first. So the nurse suggested we vary my positions for pushing. So we tried pushing while I was on my back, on my side, on my back again, then on my other side in an effort to get him to turn. He moved a little but not much.

Pushing was making me so tired. Especially when I had been doing it for 1.5 hours. My sister and Dan kept feeding me ice chips. The OB on duty came in and talked with the nurse about the baby's station - still barely at 1. Liam wasn't descending the way he should. His head was crashing into my pelvis every time I pushed. They also thought his head might be too big for my pelvis (This is what sealed the deal on giving him the middle name Casey - my maiden name - my family has big heads).

The doctor then spoke with me and gave me the option of continuing to push for another half hour and “see what happens” or we could talk about a c-section. I was really exhausted. I’d been having contractions and in labor sincerely since 5pm the previous evening. And knowing this wasn't going to be an easy vaginal delivery for Liam made me really stressed. I said that I wanted to do the c-section and get my baby out of there.

Things got moving from there. It wasn't a big rush but things happened at a good speed. A bunch of anesthesiologists came in to assess what else I needed to be given for surgery. My epi had run out so they started a new one. Only one coach could come into the operating room so that sent my sister to the waiting area. Little did I know, she had thrown her back out the night before – I can only imagine how she was feeling after me pushing against her for an hour and a half! I’m sure the waiting room wasn’t comfortable for her! Dan got taken to get some scrubs and he suited up.

Because I hadn't read much up on c-sections, it was pretty scary for me. I felt like I was going to have an anxiety attack when I was wheeled into the operating room alone with tons of doctors, nurses and anesthesiologists. When they had me put my arms on these arm-rest things - I felt like I was on a crucifix. My heart was pounding in my chest, I was sure everyone could hear it. They didn't strap them down, thank God. The oxygen mask also freaked me out but I forced myself to keep breathing in and out... it gave me something to focus on while they prepared me for the surgery. They do a number of tests to make sure I couldn't feel anything. I couldn't.

1:00 PM They started the surgery and Dan was brought in all dolled up in medical scrubs. I was so happy to see him and have him sit by me. I felt some pressure but that was about it.

1:15 PM They pulled out Liam! I was so relieved to hear him squawking as they suctioned out his mouth and checked him out.

I leaned my head over to watch them attend to Liam while they started putting me back together. It took them about another hour to stitch me up completely. During that time, they brought the baby over so I could see him.

I couldn’t stop crying. I was looking at his hands and feet thinking how beautiful they were and I could believe we had made this incredible little person!

Dan followed them back over so they could administer the Apgar test and weigh him.

It was shortly afterwards that I began to feel on my left side. I immediately said loudly "I can feel it! I feel what you are doing!" And the operating room completely stopped. Dan told me later that as soon as I said that, everyone working on me put their hands up in the air. They asked what it felt like and I said “It feels like someone is stabbing me on the left side!”

The anesthesiologists started giving me more drugs, I'm sure to relax me and then to control the pain then more to numb me up. That was my worst fear realized - to feel what they were doing. It was an awful experience. It didn't take too long for the drugs to take effect again. Finally, they finished up and bandaged me. When they transferred me to a new bed, they couldn't believe that I was able to move my legs - apparently I wasn't supposed to be able too.

They rolled Dan and me out to the recovery area. My sister was allowed to meet us there. She is friends with one of the labor and delivery nurses so I got constant attention (Though I never wanted for attention throughout my whole stay. The nursing staff was incredible.). The baby was brought to me shortly afterwards and my nurse immediately put him to my breast. He was a natural and latched on immediately, thank God. We were all amazed. We should have known that was just foreshadowing of his huge appetite! They checked his vitals a few more times before finally taking him to the nursery to rest.

I was in recovery for quite a while as they administered me more pain meds because of the issues with feeling pain during surgery. Again, I lost track of time. I was out of it. I know Dan left a time or two to see his family. Then he was there uploading pictures for our web site (!!)

Whenever they gave me more drugs I had to stay an additional 30 minutes to an hour in recovery so they could monitor my reaction to the drugs. They had to keep me there even longer because I broke out in a case of hives that persisted for almost a week post-delivery. My OB later said she thinks I had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic they used in the surgery. I have never had an occurence of hives before that in my life. I was in recovery for about 2.5-3 hours before I was taken to my room. I was so exhausted. All I wanted to do was look at my baby and sleep. At this point I had been awake for about 36 hours with little to nothing to eat or drink. I was bloated beyond belief from the IV.

At the end of the day, all that mattered is that we finally had our little guy with us. It was the most amazing day of our lives.


  • At 9:57 AM, September 01, 2005, Anonymous Kate said…

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY LIAM! - you may be a big boy now... but you will always be BABY Liam to your parents and to your 'Nov. Newbie Aunts'!

    Suz - I soooo remember your day - you were amazing at keeping us all in the know. Feels like yesterday to me… I am sure it is the same for you.

    Love, Kate!

  • At 10:20 AM, September 01, 2005, Anonymous Kelli said…

    TEARS! That's all I can say.

  • At 10:41 AM, September 01, 2005, Blogger Jenni said…

    Happy birthday Liam darling.

    Susie, I just love reading what you write....very nice, and yes, TEARS! :-)

  • At 11:11 AM, September 01, 2005, Blogger Carrie said…

    Happy birthday, Booger-man!!!!

    Congrats again to Lovah and Dan for making it to this point, too.



  • At 5:34 PM, September 01, 2005, Anonymous Jodes said…

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIAM! We are very glad you were born!

  • At 9:18 PM, September 01, 2005, Anonymous Katy said…

    WE LOVE YOU LIAM!!! Happy first year big guy.

    Susie, what a beautiful story. It seems like hours ago you were online with us sharing your contractions.

    OK, I'm crying now too.

    Happy Birthday Liam!!

    Way to go Susie & Dan!!

  • At 9:27 PM, September 01, 2005, Blogger Taylor said…

    Wonderful story, I enjoyed reading all of the details.

    Happy Birthday Liam!!!!

    Time flies so fast...


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