Thursday, August 29, 2013

Our Baby Girl's Journey

It has been an interesting, challenging, and miraculous experience with our new baby Audrey Luisa and it was all worth it. During the first trimester, my husband and I were pretty stressed out after our initial 1st and 2nd screening turned out positive for down syndrome. It was after four months that we got a confirmatory results from non-invasive testing that it's negative for down syndrome. That was a huge relief from all the unnecessary anxiety. During those months, our son, Raphael, had fever, cold, and couple of emergency trips to the hospital (one from eating wild mushrooms in our yard and the other from a bad asthma attack). Between the first trimester morning sickness, taking care of a sick child, work commute, and work itself - I was exhausted and it only takes a few weeks until I got sick myself for almost three weeks. I had to take antibiotics, which got me worried with the baby. And then, each time I have a bad cough, I pretty much pee on my pants from having the baby push down on my bladder. Poor baby had to suffer through it, too.

On the second trimester, Raphael was still getting a fever for few days at least every other month.  Fortunately, the morning sickness went away and things got a little better.  My due date was my birthday - August  26th. I had a mixed feeling about it - happy that I'll always have our child to celebrate my birthday with in the future and 'not so thrilled' with not having my own 'special day'. I was already seeing lots of pinks and kids parties on my future birthdays.

The last couple of months were worrisome on the baby's test results. Two months before the baby is due, my OB found out that I have polyhydramnios - too much water in the amniotic sac (around the baby). So, they tested me for diabetes, which turned out negative, and put me in 30-45 minutes non-stress testing (NST) to monitor baby's heart rate and volume of liquid, twice a week! Trip to the hospital twice a week on your third trimester is very inconvenient, especially if you have to get back to work ASAP.  The last scare we had was during my 9-month ultrasound, where the screening shows that there may be problem with the size of the two of the four heart chambers and that there may be a narrowing in the baby's aorta. This is usually seen in down sydrome. If it's a real case, then the baby would have to have a heart surgery after delivery. Once again, we had a whole week of restless days and nights - worrying, praying, and just plain scared. Fortunately, the fetal echocardiogram showed that the baby is normal and the pediatric cardiologist didn't find anything wrong with the baby's heart. Thank you, Lord!

I guess, it's all this stress and anxiety that got me to labor early. I filed for maternity leave one week before the baby is due to get some down time to prepare and get things in order. But, our little girl is just ready to be with us and stop all these worries.  Tuesday, on my last week of work, the midwife told me that I'm 4cm and 80% effaced. She advised me that I shouldn't go back to work. I had an extended monitoring due to some heart rate drops on my NST. The doctor even recommend that I should get induced! Unfortunately, Raphael had another fever the day before and I really want to get home first and take care of things before getting admitted. I was glad I have a doula to talk to and put my mind in perspective. We're going to try natural birth and being induced will only put me in the likelihood of a C-section. I had a C-section before and there is a very small percent chance that the previous surgery might tear. It's a risk that I've decided to take.

 After couple of hours of monitoring and seeing the baby's heart rate stabilize, they finally let me go home. I had a good 3-4 hours at home before I actually got in active labor and checked in that afternoon. Meanwhile, I was able to take care of all the last minute paper work, phone calls (at work), our hospital bag, giving instructions to my mom on Raphael, and getting a little bit of rest.

Polyhydramnios worked on my advantage that I wasn't feeling the contractions as bad or as intense as they were. I was smooth sailing even when I was already 8 cm. It was after they rupture my water that the real pain sets in and I was delirious! It really helped to have a doula around to coach me through and offer different ways to manage the pain. I got into pushing for almost an hour but with no sign of crowning and having a "lip" blocking the baby's head, I decided to ask for some epidural. It turned out to be a wise decision. The baby was unknowingly on Right Occiput Transverse (ROT) position and I had another three hours of pushing before the doctor decided to do a vacuum-assisted delivery. The vacuum popped out of place the first try and my husband almost lost hope since the doctor would only give it three tries. It was the most painful ordeal I've ever been. I felt like it was the end of me and that I was being tear to pieces. I wish I had more epidural in my system! But, I was overjoyed to have our baby girl brought into my arms and hear her cry. It was a very monumental experience and there's this feeling of triumph that makes me feel like, "if I was able to get through this, I can get through anything".  Everyone was pretty amazed that I was able to pull through this whole journey and I find it unbelievable as well that it's more like a miracle.

Audrey Luisa was born at 38 weeks but at 8 lbs and 6 oz, I'm thankful she arrived early! She's such a sweet baby.  She sleeps a lot and got into breastfeeding easily. The past two weeks had been pretty easy taking care of her.  I'm also amazed with how his 21-month old brother, Raphael, is handling the bonding and adjusting period with the new baby in the house. He has been real great. Kinda shy at first but now, he's always asking about the baby and gets worried when he hears her cry. I'm surprisingly and happily thankful on how great things turn out to be. I've expected so much worse but things are close to perfect right now and I hope they stay this great for a while.

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