Saturday, October 10, 2015

Matthew's birth - Part 1

Warning: This is a very detailed telling of the birth story (it may gross you out), and will include pictures that may not be easy to look at.

On Sunday, October 4th, 2015 in the morning we used the doppler we were borrowing to listen to Matthew's heart beat. A few days previous it had suddenly jumped to a normal heart beat of 150 bpm even though he had been happily having a heart rate of 90 bpm. The doctors had said that it looked like he just had a normal heart rate now and not to worry, but we were still concerned enough to listen once or twice a day. As the days went by it was slowly lowering and Sunday morning it was 70/130 bpm depending on where you listened (I believe that that was the lower/upper heart chamber reading). I was super worried and tearful, not sure what to do. Jon encouraged me to wait a couple of hours until 1:00 and listen again since we had an appointment with the OB the next day.

As we prepared for church I began to feel tired and weak (sometimes that happened in the mornings during the pregnancy) so we decided to stay home and I took a nap. I slept for 2 hours. Once I woke up we ate lunch and by that time it was after 1:00 so we decided to listen again. This time we couldn't find a heart beat no matter where we tried. He was normally easy to find.

Making calls and knitting his blanket
We called our OBs in Seattle (a 1 ½ hour drive away) and they said we could come straight there or we could go to the local hospital first for confirmation. We decided to go with the latter so we could have time to prepare and plan if he had indeed passed away. We arrived at the hospital and explained our situation and we were shown into a small room for an NST. The nurse was unable to find the heartbeat so she had the doctor come in with a portable ultrasound machine. The doctor (we were watching too) was able to see where the heart should have been beating and was unable to see any movement but, because it was a low detail machine she offered to order a better ultrasound for us. Jon felt that that would be best so we waited about 30 minutes for that. The technician told us that she would send the ultrasound to a radiologist but because she was just the technician should would not tell us what she was seeing (I understood). As she went along we were able to follow because of how many we had seen previously. We were able to see (and it was confirmed by the radiologist later) that he had one valve in his heart that was still moving a tiny little bit but nothing else was, and that there was no blood flow through the heart, vessels or umbilical cord. Our little guy was gone. We waited for a little while longer and the doctor came in to tell us that and that she would call the UW hospital to see what they wanted us to do. They were able to tell us that our preferred OB was not on call until Friday and that we could wait a day or two but shouldn't wait any longer than that.

We went home and began to try to make plans. After talking with our doula we called UW and asked what kind of induction method they would use (they said it would be the same as if he was alive) and also found out that they would recommend coming in that day because the longer we wait the more risk there is of infection and extra bleeding. We decided to go in that evening.

After a few hours of preparation and a few more of driving we arrived at the hospital. Because of our previous conversations they had a room and a nurse waiting for us and were shown in quickly. She told us that the doctors were currently in conference talking over possible plans for us and that they would be in soon to run them by us. The room was beautiful and spacious and on the end of the hallway so that we wouldn't be surrounded by other families. As we waited I began working on the knitted blanket that I had hoped to finish before his birth (I didn't get it done, but I plan to now).
Getting the IV placed

The doctors came in and introduced themselves. There was a head doctor and two residents (one or two of whom was the doctor(s) that ended up presiding of the delivery). They said that we would start by doing an ultrasound to confirm the one we had gotten earlier, do an external version if needed, and do a vaginal exam to decide our course of action. The ultrasound showed that he was transverse so we did the external version. The version was more painful than I had anticipated but it was successful. The findings of the exam were that my cervix was externally 1cm, internally (approximately) a fingertip, long and firm so we began an oral medication called Misoprostol that would begin the process of ripening my cervix. They said that it would be given to me every 2 hours as long as the contractions were more than 3 minutes apart and that it could be given up to 6 times. Jon and I attempted sleep at that point. Jon slept for several hours but I only got a catnap.

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