Andy's Birth Story

A pic of me on the Sunday morning before I was induced that night.

Rachel's first time to hold Andy.

Andy in the knit hat made by my mom's friends at work.

Our little Andy was born on Monday, November 7 at 9:05AM. He weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces and was 19 3/4 inches long.
After much prayer and at the recommendation of Dr. Hirsch, I was scheduled to be induced on Monday morning, November 7 at 12:10AM. We had preferred to have a natural birth, but induction seemed to be in my best interest as the doctor was afraid Andy was getting too big and might result in a C-section otherwise. The ultrasound the Tuesday before showed him being already 7 pounds.
Adam and I arrived at the 24/7 check in desk at Baptist Hospital around 12:10AM, only to find the attendant missing and a sign that said someone would be back in a few minutes. About 15 minutes later, the receptionist finally showed up. Shortly after we sat down to check in, a Hispanic woman walked in who was in active labor. The receptionist told us we'd have to let her check in first, which seemed very reasonable. The woman did not speak English at all and even though she had an interpreter, she was not pre-registered and her registration process took almost 30 minutes! In the meantime, another lady walked in who was in active labor, so we were pushed back once again. The receptionist said she had actually had as many as 15 women waiting to check in one day, but the hospital refused to get a second receptionist to work the overnight shift. We FINALLY got checked in and into a room around 1:30AM. Definitely not the quick check in process we experienced at Summit when I was in labor with Rachel.
They started my pitocin via IV around 2:15AM, increasing the dosage around 4AM. By around 6AM, I was still only dilated to 2cm (and I was 1cm when I arrived). I started thinking it was going to be a LONG day of labor at this rate. I eventually got my epidural and that's when things started going down hill a bit. A student walked in when it was time for my epidural and I thought she was just going to be asking me all the pre-epidural questions. Then, she said she would be the one giving it to me. I had a thought that a student was the last person I wanted doing such a serious procedure, but I didn't want to upset her or her mentor so I didn't say anything and neither did Adam. She started the epidural and I realized it was taking a very long time compared to the one I had gotten when Rachel was born at Summit. I started getting really nervous and I know my entire head was wet with sweat by the time it was over due to my nerves. Adam said he had almost passed out as well because he knew something wasn't going exactly right. After the student had worked on it a while, her mentor took over and I realized something was probably wrong. After they were finished, they told me the student had made an error and ran the epidural line into my spine at one point. This resulted in spinal fluid leaking out and would have a 70% chance of causing a spinal headache. Additionally, it resulted in the epidural being a bit messed up to where they had to keep adjusting the dosage. I had mentioned that my epidural with Rachel was too strong and I couldn't feel enough when she was born and had asked that the epidural not be so strong...just enough to dull the pain a bit. It didn't seem to be helping at all, so I called them back in and they put in a strong dose to boost it. The anesthesiologist who did this was different than the ones who had made the error and he didn't know the line had been run into my spine at one point. As a result, the dose he put it numbed me within 60 seconds to the point that I could feel absolutely nothing. I immediately said something and he left the room for a minute. When he came back, he taped a big note on the epidural line that said "spinal". He told me to make sure anyone else who came in knew this was a spinal line before they did anything. He told me he didn't realize it was a spinal line and had given me too much because when it goes straight into the spine, it's much more potent. Anyways, he said he would turn the other dosage off until this "error" had worn off and for me just to let them know when I needed some additional dosage turned back on. Some continuity of care might have prevented this error as well. I was pretty frustrated, but since I was only dilated to 2cm, I wasn't too concerned that Andy would come before the numbness wore off. Much to my surprise, when they checked me at 8AM, I was dilated to 6cm, which was 4cm in just 2 hours compared to only 1cm in 4 hours previously. By this point I could feel a little bit as the numbness was wearing off a bit. I was glad because not much longer and Andy arrived. It was much easier than Rachel and only took about 6 or 7 pushes through 3 contractions for him to arrive. It's amazing how much easier it is to push when you can feel something! Andy arrived at 9:05AM.
Meanwhile we were praying that I would be in the 30% who wouldn't get a spinal headache from the epidural error. They said if I did get the headache it could be fixed by basically doing a second epidural-like procedure called a blood patch to correct it or it would simply wear off within 7 days. The blood patch was basically where they took my own blood and used it to "fill" the hole in my spine to create a scab-like covering so the spinal fluid would stop leaking out and causing the headaches. I wasn't crazy about having the epidural with all it's potential side effects the first time and I certainly wasn't crazy about having a second one done to correct the error. So, I temporarily made the decision to wait it out and just see how bad the headaches were if they came at all. On my first trip to the bathroom, I realized I didn't really have an option. The pain was excrutiating as soon as I sat up. When laying down the pain went completely away (almost immediately), but when sitting up or standing, it was close to unbearable. So, I decided to go ahead with the blood patch later that afternoon. They sent two very experienced anesthesiologists this time to correct the error for which I was grateful. The blood patch seemed to work as I was completely headache-free all Monday night and all day Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, the headaches returned and seemed even worse. The blood patch had broken loose somehow probably....although I don't really know how since I barely moved except to go to the restroom. I was going home that day. Once again, the options were to do another blood patch and be delayed several hours in going home or endure the headaches. I decided I could endure them since it had already been 3 days and I only had 4 to go for it to heal up on its own. The next 4 days were terrible and I could hardly function. I was on pretty much bedrest except for feeding Andy and feeding myself. In addition to all of this, they said alot of caffeine would help the spinal fluid reproduce quicker. So, I went from pretty much drinking no caffeine to drinking caffeinated drinks 24/7. I thought I had wanted a Mt. Dew, but after this, I am fine with water! I love an occasional coke, but I don't like being "made" to drink them! It's funny how when you can't have it, you want it and when you can have it, you don't want it.
The headaches finally ended sometime in the morning on Sunday and I felt like a completely different person. I was able to function!
Since then things have been looking up. Andy is doing great. Rachel is such a little helper and I am so proud of her and how she's responded to having him in the house. Adam and my mom took care of things for the first week and then insisted I have help for the second week until I could completely recover. My mom stayed 3 days, Pam took a day off, and Adam took a day off to help me thru the first full week home.
Yesterday was my first day taking care of the kids solo and it went fine. I was a bit exhausted, but otherwise, things went as good as I could have hoped!
Andy is such a little blessing in our lives already! I can't wait to see him and Rachel grow up!