Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Birth Story of Ezra James Rochette

It has been a little over three weeks since I gave birth to my sweet, baby son and because of how my labor and birth came about, I have struggled to figure out the best way to share what happened.

Friday, November 24th, I had been having intense braxton hicks contractions on and off all day, pretty much every time I stood up. I noticed that my Little Man had decreased his movements, which worried me, but I decided to wait until the next day to start worrying.

Saturday, November 25th, my sweet boy was still hardly moving and I was starting to get worried. My husband had work all day, so my mum came to Idaho Falls to take me to Mountain View Labor and Delivery, just to make sure that everything was okay. We got there and I got hooked up to the monitors. Everything seemed to be fine, but due to the fact that I was nearly full term (39 weeks and 3 days) and also due to the fact that I was scheduled to be induced the next week anyway, my midwife decided to admit me and start my induction. Sweet relief! By this point in my pregnancy I was SO, so ready to be done and I was nervous, but excited to get everything moving.

I couldn't get a hold of Austin on his cell phone, so I called his work and his very concerned sounding coworker transferred me to Austin and I explained what was going on. Though I had a presumably long road ahead of me (I was first going to be induced with a cervical ripening pill called Cytotec), Austin's boss and coworkers shooed him out of work and he arrived shortly after. I also made a quick call to my doula (birth coach), but unfortunately she was still out of town in Seattle, which is about 12 hours away. Oh, well!

At around 4pm, I received a cervical check and my first dose of Cytotec. I was informed that I was about 1 centimeter dilated. After waiting an hour or two for the pill to take effect, I was allowed to get up and move around. Once I did that, my contractions were coming about every five minutes. I thought I was handling labor pretty well. I was rocking, slow dancing with Austin, walking, receiving counter pressure, getting foot massages, breathing, using music and oils, etc. I was confident that I had this in the bag! About four or so hours after my first dose of Cytotec, I was checked again and I had not progressed one iota, so I was given another dose of Cytotec. After waiting for it to take effect, my contractions ramped up IMMENSELY. Before long, my contractions were a minute apart and shortly after that, seemed to be less than 30 seconds apart. They were literally one right after the other, right on top of each other. I labored like this (according to my mum. I lost track of time.) for about three hours. For the last 20 minutes or so of that long laboring period, I labored in the tub. I was making these primal, guttural growls and from how frequent my contractions were occuring, my nurse and the charge nurse, plus my mum, were getting very nervous. They were guessing that I was in transition and getting ready to push. Before getting in the tub, I had refused another cervical check (my cervix apparently sat very far back and up, so getting checked was EXCRUCIATINGLY painful). While I was in the tub, my nurses asked if I would feel more comfortable getting checked by my midwife, Susan. I nodded yes and shortly after, she arrived.

Getting out of the tub when my contractions were pretty much constant was one of the hardest, scariest things I have ever done. I was seized by the armpits by my midwife and Austin and using my legs I heaved myself out with their help. About halfway to my bed, I was hit with a horrific contraction and absolutely buck naked, I collapsed onto Austin's shoulders and just screamed. I remember the nurses and my midwife saying, "Get her on the bed! Get her on the bed!" I think they must have been afraid I was going to push my son out, right then and there. After the contraction passed, we had a VERY short window to get me onto the bed and everything moved very quickly.At this point, my sweet, baby sister arrived and took a place in the back of the room next to Austin.  I was laid back and during another contraction, I was checked. It was one of THE most painful things I have ever experienced. This may be too much information, but it felt as though my midwife was digging around in my insides to get to my cervix. I was shrieking in pain and a nurse go right up next to me, told me to grab the bed frame above me and kept saying, a bit sternly, I might add, "Don't lose control, don't lose control!"

Mercifully, the check was shortly thereafter completed and my midwife said, "Stephanie, you're almost at a two..." I cried even harder than I already was and with complete abandon said, "FUCK!" Everyone around me, including myself, was so sure that I was fully dilated and ready to push. It was as if my body was in transition, but didn't get the message to dilate. It was decided, because I wasn't progressing and to give my poor body a much needed break, to give me an epidural. Again, one of the hardest most painful things I have ever done. Trying to hold still when my contractions were so close together was horrendous. My mum was holding my shoulders as I hunched over and I kept crying and kept saying, "It hurts, it hurts, it hurts..." over and over again. All she could say was, "I know it does. I know it does."

At this point, my poor sister, whom I am very close to, was close to tears and on the verge of a panic attack seeing me in so much pain and distress. Austin was silent and didn't say a word. Mercifully, the epidural was very quick to take effect and I got a break. My little sister left at this point after saying hello to me and stroking the side of my face. Also at this point, I was informed that because my contractions were so intense and so close together, my son was in distress. With every contraction, his heart rate dropped. I was then given a shot to slow my contractions or hopefully stop them. A short time after, my midwife came in and tried to insert a foley bulb to help my cervix dilate faster, after a few minutes of trying to insert it, she gave up. My son was very, very low, but according to my midwife, his hand was in the way. His hand was up next to his face, behind his right ear making it difficult for him to descend properly. During this time, I also spiked a fever and shook with muscle fatigue like I had already given birth.

Later, I'm not sure how much later, the nurses rushed in and quickly put me on oxygen and laid me down on my left side. They didn't tell me why, but I later discovered it was because *I* was now in distress, my blood pressure kept dropping and my mum later told me it was a crazy low number, something like 90/40. I was repeatedly turned on a different side every few minutes and soon was given another shot to slow my contractions because my son was *still* in distress, despite the first shot. It wasn't before too  after that, that my midwife and the on-call OB/GYN came in and informed me that because both my son and I were doing so poorly, that we now had to do a c-section. After that, everything went very, very fast. The lights were turned on in my room, they woke up Austin and explained what was going on/happening and the nurses and anesthesiologist rushed in. I was also checked one last time and told that I was now fully a two. I had failed to progress despite our best efforts which now made the need for a c-section even more urgent. They gave Austin some stuff to wear in the operating room and put a cap on my hair and wheeled me down the hall to the operating room. Things were still moving super quickly and before I knew it, they were making the first incision and about three minutes later at 2:44 am on Sunday, November 26th, 2017, my son made his debut into the world. They dropped the sheet so I could see my son, then they whisked him off to the NICU. I cried, so relieved to finally have my son here, safe and sound after such a harrowing pregnancy (more about that later). I remember them saying, "He looks like The Hulk!"I guess due to the distress he was in, he passed some meconium in the womb and the top of his little head was green. While they worked to close me, they continued to give me different medicines through an IV. One of them though, I distinctly felt move through me in a wave and I knew in an instant that I was going to vomit. All I could do was turn my head and vomit out of the side of my mouth, unable to move or do much of anything else. My sweet husband was trying to hold my hand and catch the copious amounts of vomit exiting my body at an alarming rate at the same time. He was a champ!

After the vomiting passed, we could hear my sweet boy screaming at the top of his lungs. After the nurses got him semi-cleaned up, they passed him through the NICU window into my husband's arms and he immediately stopped crying. After I got all stitched up, I was wheeled to my recovery room and allowed to rest and hold my son. What a beautifully sweet experience that was to hold my rainbow for the very first time.

The rest of Sunday was pretty uneventful, but early Monday morning, due to my son's inability to latch properly and his sleepiness and laziness, was admitted to the NICU with dangerously low blood sugars.He was also put on oxygen and stayed in the NICU until he was discharged Thursday morning.

Many of you are unaware that at my 20 week ultrasound they found a benign, but albeit still dangerous mass on my placenta called a correo angioma. Due to this, I had to have in depth growth ultrasounds every two weeks to check on my son's growth and heart function. At around 25 weeks, it looked like there was too much extra fluid and that my son had the beginnings of what looked like a severe heart problem called hydrops. We were rushed to the U of U in Utah to a maternal-fetal specialist with the expectation that either I would be delivered at 26 weeks or I would be admitted to the hospital for the duration of my pregnancy. Scared out of our minds, we went to that appointment, but were then informed that everything looked fine. I had received a blessing from my husband and sister-in-law's husband the night before and we wonder if that had an effect on my son's condition. I guess we'll never know for sure, but we are grateful that he ended up being okay.

During my c-section it was discovered that the correo angioma was actually much larger than the ultrasound showed and though we aren't totally sure, we guessed that this was the reason why my son had such a difficult time with his blood sugar. Correo angiomas infringe on nutrients and blood supply, among other things and are usually much scarier than we experienced. Often, babies with correo angiomas on their placentas are delivered very early. We were very fortunate that I was able to safely carry sweet Ezra for as long as I did. Not many are as lucky as we were.

All in all, I am so very pleased with the way things turned out, though it was nothing like I expected or wanted it to be. Ezra James was ultimately delivered safely and that is ALL that matters. We are now home, safe, sound, and very, very blessed.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

For this Child I Prayed...

Two pink lines. That's what started my journey. Two pink lines on a pregnancy test. When I found out I was pregnant, I was over the moon. I was finally going to be a mother. After years of dreaming and waiting to be married, my own little bundle of joy would join me in eight months. My husband was stunned, but very excited. We talked about baby names and laughed as pregnancy cravings started to make themselves known. One blissful week was all I had. One. Blissfull. Week. And then everything changed.

It's been two weeks. Two weeks today since I woke up, around 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning, to cramping and bleeding. Cramping and bleeding that wouldn't stop. Just a few days before, a dear friend had sent me a scripture. And I kept repeating that scripture over and over again in my head as I prayed for this nightmare to stop. 1st Samuel 1:27. "For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him." I can't tell you how many times I repeated that scripture in my head. I repeated it so much that it stopped sounding like real words and started sounding like gibberish. Soon, my husband had to leave for work, and two of my sisters-in-law showed up to be my support. I spent the morning curled up in my bed, in increasing pain, tears streaming down my face, praying constantly.

Hours later, it was all over. We got an emergency appointment at the OB/GYN's office and went in to get things checked out, hoping against all hope, clinging to my sister in law for support. But after an ultrasound and a visit with an OB/GYN, my worst fears were confirmed. I had a complete miscarriage. 

I cannot begin to describe the depths of my despair. I had cried, many times before in my life, but never before had I cried like this. It seemed like it would never stop. I couldn't breathe; my chest felt tight. I was in so much pain. Not just physically, but emotionally as well. I never imagined in my life that someone could hurt like this and still live to tell about it. 

I felt like I would break in two. I still feel like that, most days. I fight daily to overcome my still raging hormones, my still raging emotions. Most days, I still don't know what to do with myself. I try to distract myself by rearranging my closet or watching Netflix, taking walks, or even cooking. But inevitably, something will remind me of what I've lost and I am right back where I started from.

I struggled with whether or not to share my story, my experience. But in the end, I decided to share because even though this baby didn't live, it still deserves to be remembered, treasured, and cherished. My miscarriage is not something shameful; it has taken a lot for me to finally realize that I didn't cause this, that I didn't do anything wrong. Even though my baby didn't live, I still love them, with everything that I have inside of me. I share this story also, in the hopes that I bring strength and comfort to the women how have been through or are going through what I have gone through. You are NOT alone. I am here for you. We can get through this together. 

I am grateful for the fact that I was sealed for time and all eternity to my husband. This means, to me, that even though my baby didn't make it, someday, I will get to raise them and be with them forever. They are not lost to me; I will get to see them someday. 

I am taking each day, one day, at a time. So while it may take a while for me to be able to sit through church, surrounded by children and new mommies, without crying, I know that someday, I won't hurt as much. That someday, even though I will never forget my time as a mother, it won't occupy my every waking thought and I will be able to move forward. I know that I am loved and supported by my family, my friends, by God, and that is what is getting me through this heartbreaking and difficult time. 

My dear friends, if you have gone through this, or are going through this, please don't hesitate to talk to me. I have found, that even though it's painful, it helps to talk about what happened to me. We are stronger together.

Much love and support,

Stephanie Ann Rochette