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Ethan’s Birth Story by Rebecca Kearns

Posted February 21st, 2012 in Babies, Fresno birth, Fresno Birth Doula, Newborns by Kathryn DiPalma

Ethan’s Birth Story

by Rebecca Kearns on Monday, February 20, 2012 at 12:06pm ยท

Before I start this I just want to say how incredibly grateful I am for EVERYTHING that my friends and family have done throughout the last few months to support us, keep us sane, and the incredible amount of prayers and love that has been sent to our little Ethan. There will never be enough words to say thank you or to express my gratitude to all of you. Ethan is here and healthy because of the amount of love, well wishes, positive thinking and prayers that he recieved and I will be eternally grateful to all of you for your support.

SO… as most of you I had been having complications for quite a while and unless you were “in the circle” I realize I was kinda vague about what was going on, Our “birth story” actually began about 10 weeks ago. I woke up one morning in late November ( I was about 24.5 weeks) and was having some pretty severe cramping, I immediately went to Labor and Delivery to get checked out, I was under the assumption it was just really strong Braxton Hicks contractions because I had been having them off and on since about 17 weeks. When I arrived I was placed on a monitor and lo and behold these were NOT “fake” contractions, these were the real deal. They were rhythmic, time-able and coming about every 2-3 mins. I was in Visalia with my mom so I had gone to Kaweah Delta, they immediately transferred me to Community Regional where my perinatologist was, the OB on call at Kaweah Delta had never delivered a 24 week old baby and the NICU was not prepared for a baby that small should he have arrived that early. When I arrived at Labor and Delivery at Community my contractions were literally right on top of each other, I was immediately given fluids, medication to stop the contractions (which it didnt stop them but did slow them down) I was also “examined” (that is as graphic as I will get with this) and it was discovered that I was 1cm dilated and starting to efface, After mulitple exams, two 4D ultrasounds it was discovered that I had what is known as “incompetent cervix” This is where your cervix begins to shorten, funnel, beak or dilate prematurely (usually this doesnt take place until after 37 weeks when your body is preparing for labor. My body however decided to do this 13 weeks early and instead of having just ONE of the issues I was having all of them…. that was what landed me my FIRST of FOUR admissions to the high risk antepartum unit and two months of back and forth until little Ethan arrived….most of you know what happened after that, I bounced back and forth from hospital bedrest to strict at home bedrest. Every week I had a doctor appt with an ultrasound for baby and a special type of ultrasound where they can measure the length of the cervix and monitor it for additional shortening. By the time I was admitted this last time (the second week of January) my cervix had completely shortened and there was no cervical length, I was funneled entirely to the external os and I was 4cm and 90% effaced which literally meant that Ethan could be born ANYTIME and VERY quickly.

Obivously you all know I spent the last month on bedrest so I won’t go into all the details of that but basically I did nothing but lay flat in bed, I was only allowed to get out of bed to walk to the restroom. This was the only way the doctors could keep Ethan “inside” for as long as possible to give him the best chance at survival and decreased health issues once delivered. Throughout the month I continued to contract every 3-5 mins even though I was being given medication that usually stops preterm labor, I had become so accustomed to these frequent and VERY painful (I couldnt have pain meds because any pain meds could actually speed labor along) contractions that the day before I delivered Ethan I didn’t even realize anything had “changed”

So fast forward to Monday Feb 6th, I had a wonderful nurse on Antepartum who had been watching my monitor strip all day and at some point in the afternoon she noticed a distinct change in the contraction pattern. She came in and asked me how I was feeling, I told her I felt the same as earlier. Thankfully she made the decision to call the High Risk OB and have her come and assess me, when the doctor came in and examined what a surprise when I found out I had made additional cervical change. They decided that for “safety sake” they were going to transfer me downstairs to Labor and Delivery and give me the last round of steroids (for baby’s lungs) and monitor me. At this point I still wasnt too concerned because the change was very minimal and I didn’t “feel” any different. Little did I know that less than 24 hours I would be giving birth to Ethan. After arriving on L&D around 5pm I was given the first injection of steroids (it is a two part series given 24 hrs apart) and placed on the monitor. Mike and Sophie came to visit me, we had dinner and then they went home for the night….around 530 am the next morning I awoke to the most painful contractions and I just felt AWFUL…I called for the nurse and she came in to examine me…yeah, turns out I was 8cm dilated and 100% effaced, she immediately called my OB for instruction on what to do, the OB told her to go ahead and let me labor out because at this point there was no way of stopping it or slowing it down. From this moment on everything went SO fast and was kind of a blur until now. The RN asked if I wanted an epidural (UH YES PLEASE) I had Brayden naturally and although it was a good experience it was NOT something I wanted to repeat ๐Ÿ™‚ I was just hoping and praying the CRNA would get there in time to place an epidural! I immediately called Mike and I think I just said “Get to the hospital NOW!!” then I called my WONDERFUL doula Kathryn and pretty much told her the same thing. About 10 mins later the CRNA arrived to do my epidural and while he was placing it Mike arrived and then about 5 minutes later Kathryn arrived. Both Mike and Kathryn were amazing during the rest of the process. Mike was so calm and focused and just without a doubt my rock the entire time (not that he hadn’t been that for the past 10 weeks but this was a different feeling, he was defintely in the “daddy” zone) and Kathryn…OH goodness she was my fairy godmother, helping to breathe and focus during the contractions, doing everything she could to make me comfortable, taking pictures and keeping a timeline for me so I would have a physical record of how everything took place. She prayed with us and was a huge emotional and mental support for BOTH Mike and I. Around 1:15pm I told the RN I was feeling ALOT of “pressure”, It was very painful and breaking through the epidural, she examined me and she examined me…she then said I was complete BUT my water hadn’t broken so we were basically just hanging out waiting for that to happen, about 30 mins later at around 1:47pm my water broke and then things REALLY picked up…the NICU team arrived, the standby OR team (just in case I needed an emergency c-section) arrived, and my OB. Around 2pm I started pushing and 4 minutes and THREE pushes later Ethan arrived in this world, screaming mad and fighting which completely took my breath away and made me realize just what a little fighter this miracle was. Mike got to cut his cord which I am so happy for and then the NICU team whisked him away to the stablization room and Mike went with him. About an half and hour later they brought him back in to see me on his way up to the NICU, even though he was SO tiny and had tubes everywhere I could tell that he was STRONG and was going to show us all that he was going to be ok.

And that’s pretty much it….The last 12 days have been a roller-coaster ride, 12 hour days in the NICU with Ethan, the ups and downs, the lack of sleep and exhaustion BUT every single moment is SO worth it and I am so thankful for Ethan’s health and that he has done so well.

Lastly I just want to mention a few people who REALLY made ALL of this chaos a little bit easier….One of my best friends, Cynthia; thank you for being there for me every single moment and listening to me when I was scared. Kelly, the ONLY roommate I ever had who made me actually miss having a roommate when I got moved to a private room and my new friend. I am so grateful I got to meet you and your amazing little Oliver, I look forward to many playdates and mommy dates with you. Lauren, Lindsey and Jenyfer…thank you for the BEAUTIFUL surprise baby shower that was SO wonderful and uplifting…what great “aunties” Ethan has. Kathryn; thank you for EVERYTHING you did, you are truly amazing and you will always have a special place in our hearts. And Lastly BUT defintely not least. My incredible family who has stepped up in SO many ways and supported us throughout this ordeal.

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