Hearing the monitor hooked up to Elyse's heart rate fluctuate so much definitely created quite a bit of stress for all of us who were in the labor & delivery room. As various nurses came in and out and as fetal monitor after different fetal monitor was attached to Elyse's head, Hubby & my parents were beginning to realize that everything wasn't going quite as smoothly as we had hoped. Of course, no one was voicing these concerns to me and I was only focused on that dilation number...which was fast approaching a 10!
I had finally dilated to a 9, which I knew meant that the time of pushing was coming soon. There were still the same concerns about Elyse's heart rate, but I still assumed I was on the verge of delivering this baby. I mean, I'd been in labor for almost 24 hours, was dilated to a 9, and I was ready to meet me baby girl!!!
At some point a little after 4:00 pm (which let's remember for a moment is almost 24 hours after my first labor contraction), the doctor came in and looked over all my records and the situation that she was dealing with. Even with all the drugs and all the exhaustion and all the stress, I will never forget the words she spoke to me. She looked at all of us and said..."Right now, you have a healthy baby & you're healthy...and I don't want that to change." It quickly became apparent that I wasn't going to be delivering this baby naturally.
I remember asking something to the tune of ..."does this mean I have to have a c-section?" And after that everything that happened seemed to be chaotic, urgent, and all a blur. I burst into tears, and I'm pretty sure that Hubby & my parents were on the verge of tears as well. This wasn't what we had planned, and this wasn't how things were supposed to happen after 24 hours of labor! I was supposed to start pushing and meet our baby girl in just a few moments!
While the doctor acted as if there was an option in the beginning, there really wasn't. As each contraction occurred, Elyse's heart rate would plummet and as she continued to move down the birth canal no one could really know what would happen. They assumed this had something to do with the location of the umbilical cord but obviously no one could know for certain. Apparently the whole "pushing" part of labor could last 5 minutes or 2 hours...and my baby's health would potentially be at risk during each contraction.
Nurses started flooding into my labor & delivery room as surgery preparations begun. They kept reminding me that everything was going to be ok, but everything wasn't OK! I was seemingly being rushed into an operating room and it seemed as if everything had a very "emergency-like" tendency to it. I remember the nurses giving Hubby a quick run-down of what was going to happen and when my family would be allowed in the recovery room.
The other thing that will be vivid in my mind forever is that just a few moments before I was wheeled out of the room I asked my daddy to pray. And pray he did. It was hard to focus on his specific words, but he prayed for Elyse and for me and for the dr's hands as they worked to get Elyse out as quickly as possible. And he prayed for peace. Peace that this was the right thing to do and that everything was going to be just fine.
As he said AMEN, I'm pretty sure I started to roll...and I was taken into a bright & sterile operating room that I had seen during our tour of the hospital but I never expected to occupy. My doctor and a whole team of nurses hurried around making the preparations and the anesthesiologist came back to my side to pump up my epidural to surgical level. I'm so thankful that I had opted for an epidural earlier in the day...as this prevented any other delays in the procedure! A few minutes later Hubby was scrubbed in and was placed at my side.
It seemed like hours & I won't go through any of the surgical details, but after just a few short moments Elyse Ann Layman made her official arrival into this crazy world. 6 lbs 4 oz, 19 1/2 inches long and absolutely perfect!
As she was born, I remember crying out "does she have hair?", "is she crying?" and then I got my answer to both questions...yes & yes! Elyse was brought over to Hubby who held her over to me so I could see the precious miracle that we had just brought into the world together.
I swear it took way longer for them to wrap up the operation than for them to actually get to Elyse. The group of doctors I see are known for their operations and apparently the doctor who performed my caesarean is known to be a "fast-cutter." (sorry for the tmi!) I'm sure my dad was really comforted when he was told that the lady who would be performing surgery on his daughter was a fast-cutter! ha!
Dr. Derrough and our beautiful Elyse...I am so thankful for this doctor!
One of the worst parts of the process was after Elyse had been born and they were wrapping everything up. I think with the exhaustion and the shock of what had just happened, my body couldn't handle it...and I got the shakes like I've never experienced. Of course I couldn't feel the lower part of my body, so basically all that was technically shaking was my head and my arms but they were uncontrollable! I also got quite nauseous and thankfully they quickly put something into my IV to help with the nausea...but those shakes just wouldn't go away! The nurses eventually rolled me into recovery where I was still trying to fight off those shakes. I kept trying to pull my arms up to gain some sort of control, but the nurses kept putting them back down so my blood pressure cuff would operate correctly.
Ughh...those shakes! My body almost starts to shake just thinking about them! The entire team kept telling both me & hubby that the shakes were completely normal, but they were TERRIBLE!!! I'm not sure how it came about, but finally someone mentioned that there was something I could take, but it might make me nauseous again...I looked at one of the labor & delivery nurses and she said "I would take it." And I'm SO glad I did. Literally 2 seconds after they put those meds in my IV, I could feel my body completely relax. Oh sweet relief!
A few moments passed & eventually my family was allowed into the recovery room to check on me and also meet the newest member of my family! The entire process from the time the c-section decision was made to the time Elyse entered this world was only about 30 minutes...it seemed SO much longer than that! I think my family was finally able to make it into the recovery room about an hour after Elyse was born and then I was wheeled up to my hospital room about an hour later.
Never been so happy to see my momma!
This picture practically brings me to tears...My SIL, my brother, my momma and my daddy...all there for Hubby, Elyse & I when we needed them most!
My entire entourage headed up together...Me, Hubby, Elyse, my parents, my brother & his wife, & my best friend. Complete with bags, balloons, stuffed animals, & flowers...I'm sure the nurses got quite a kick out of the huge gathering of support we had gathered around us! Thank goodness we ended up with a private room; there wouldn't have been enough room for us all otherwise!
The rest of that evening is a total & complete blur...I don't remember hardly anything except for my mother-in-law arriving a little before 10:00 pm. She got on the road as soon as she could after Hubby called her first thing that morning and after a LONG drive from Michigan she made it a little before 10.Whew...what a long day for Hubby & I along with the rest of our families! But the goal in the beginning was to deliver a healthy baby...and that's what we did (along with an incredible team of doctors & nurses!)
Our first photo as a family of 3...I remember asking someone to take this and it's obviously the most un-flattering photo of me possibly ever taken...but it's our first family photo and I'm proud of it anyway!
More recaps to come, but for now I have to go and check on my precious baby girl who is fighting her afternoon nap like crazy!