Saturday, October 10, 2009
Meconium Aspiration: A Birth Story
Samuel Scott McLoughlin
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
7 pounds, 7 ounces
Labor started around 7 a.m.
Freaky facts first
All my boys’ names end with –el
My girls' names end in vowels
All my kids’ names and my own real first/middle name contain 11 letters
All my kids’ names start with a different letter so I can quickly jot down an initial when I journal about them or write an initial on a sandwich baggie
Only one of my kids’ births took our doctor away from his office patients; the others were born either at night, on a weekend or on his day off
I woke up around 7 to contractions. Since my shortest labor had been about 5 hours, I figured I had plenty of time to get to the hospital. I lay around snuggling Eva, making sure she was asleep so I could get up and start timing contractions. They seemed very close.
I went to the kitchen to have a fruit popsicle (my breakfast for the last couple of weeks since I’d been waking up to my own personal summer daily!) and time contractions, but wasn’t getting anything regular at all. I called my friend Eva to get the rule on contraction spacing at 7:55. She said if I can’t talk through them, I needed to get to the hospital.
Each one hurt quite a bit worse than the last, so around 8 I started calling Mom to watch the kids, Aron, Sally the Doula and the doctor’s office. Accordingly, everyone took their time. Called Mom around 8:20 to find out she was just leaving her house, then had Aron try to call some friends, neighbors and finally his mom, who showed just in the knick of time it turns out.
Poor Aron! By the time he got home I was in deep labor sitting in the kitchen chair and was in pain nonstop, but I knew I had to get to the couch or lay down somewhere. I barely made it to our living room couch and hung out on my side moaning through the contractions, which had almost no break between them, which was freaking me out.
I couldn’t even consider the possibility of WALKING to the truck and RIDING in it on the way to the hospital, so I freaked out a little and spat out “911” at Aron, who was still skeptical at this point about me being in such hard labor. As he was on the phone explaining the situation, I’m yelling “5” at him … as in, “tell them this is kid #5 and they’ll haul some serious butt.” When I heard him tell them the contractions were 2 minutes apart I just about growled at him, “NO space between!!!!!”
Aron says to me, “The operator wants you to do a few things.” I glared at him. He goes, “He wants you to get down on the floor.” I glared more. “He wants you to take off your pants.” DUH … like I can have a baby with my sweats on! But I COULD. NOT. MOVE. I was thrilled when I heard the ambulance coming about 8:45. They were great about getting me on the stretcher and out the door. Eva and Callie were still asleep. Aron’s mom just arrived. Aron followed the ambulance in his truck. WHY oh WHY do they go normal speed to the hospital while telling you over and over NOT TO PUSH? I’m like, “HURRY UP … you’re an ambulance … if you can’t speed, WHO CAN?!”
The ride was insane. Imagine feeling like you’re dying and being hooked up to an IV (which doesn’t work and turns your arm purple), then another IV then having an oxygen thingie strapped to your face. Then having these guys asking you questions to DISTRACT you from dying! One of the guys went to my church, so I knew all my good cuss words were going to be wasted, and I simply breathed and panted the whole way, pausing only to spit out the occasional answer to a question like, “How old are your other kids?” or “Where do your kids go to school?” or “How old are you?” I think one was hitting on me with that last question, but I had to concentrate on not birthing no baby. I did, though, respond at one point with, "Could you please take my sweatpants ALL THE WAY off?" I hope that wasn't like a turn-on for them: me in my sexy blue sweats.
After a nice bumpy ride, they get me out and we stroll toward the elevator. Someone makes a comment like I can name a girl Ellie if I have it in the elevator. As we round the corner for the birthing room, I GOTTA PUSH just one tiny little time. And there was Sam’s head. Saw a bunch of people in the room, but not my doctor … they moved me from stretcher to bed (ouch), a couple of nurses pulled my legs back and I was told to push. FINALLY. I did, and there was Sam’s body. Covered in poop, evidently. The delivering nurse tried to suction out as much of it as she could. They took him away from me to clean him up and here comes the doctor. Then Aron showed up … because they kept him delayed in the ER. I’m so disappointed because he’s never missed a birth. I think we might chew out the ER person who held him up and make them invent a time machine to fix the situation.
I was so proud of my unmedicated birth, but then I was bleeding too much due to an old and well-used cervix, so the doc had to do a painful exam and gave me Stadol for the pain, which made me feel nice and drunk and weepy for the entire rest of the day.
I finally got to hold him around half-hour after he was born, then they told me he’d ingested meconium and they needed to take him to the nursery for tests and that I could not nurse then (hated that). I wasn’t too worried until he’d been gone a few hours and the doc came back in with another doc to explain that they needed to take him to the best NICU at another hospital. WHAT?!
So around 2 p.m. they rolled him in in his transporter box all hooked up to tubes, and when they took him away I cried harder than I ever have before in Aron’s arms. Second prize for crying goes to when we rode home on Thursday without him in our van.
Yes, you may call him a little poop. It’s some meconium aspiration humor and it is acceptable in our home, especially since he is going to be just fine! His tubes are out and as of this writing he is being fed with a tiny bottle while I try to pump milk for him. He still has an IV in for his antibiotics, which is the only reason he will probably have to stay until the middle of next week.
Thanks for all your love and prayers and good thoughts! And to our parents and very best friends for their support and to the nurses and especially to Ellen, who came up to spend the night in my room in a recliner (and hunted down Coke for me at 5 a.m.) while I slept in my queen-sized Murphy bed with Eva and Callie and tried desperately to get some sleep by deluding myself into thinking I was still pregnant and that was why my Sam wasn’t snuggled up next to me.
Obviously, we can’t wait to get him home! Aron’s home from work but working (you know how that goes), so I’ll steal the laptop when I can for updates.
*Aron’s probable birth story version: “Dang, that went FAST! Hated to miss it, but I’m sure she was beautiful while pushing.” (He has this great set of goggles, folks, and thinks I look good no matter what I’m doing … thank God I snagged him!)
This is how he was all hooked-up when we first saw him at the NICU:
Never fear, parents with a baby in the NICU, because the very next day I got to hold him and "feed" him (my finger in a binky for him; his food in a nose tube). Now he's only hooked up to an IV.