zoe abigail. part 1

Time for an update, I think….a very LONG update. What with everything that’s happened the last month, I haven’t had the energy to write. It’s been all I could take just emotionally keeping myself on top of everything and keeping up with it all.

Our girly vibe turned out to be right. Meet Zoe Abigail – born 1 October, 2014 at 4:54am.

29 September we packed up the car and drove down to Adelaide. It was quite strange thinking we were driving down to Adelaide to have a baby but, apart from me being obviously pregnant, there was almost no baby gear in the car. Apart from the car seat and double pram, which I’d bought in the very early days of my pregnancy before we got Zoe’s diagnosis, I hadn’t bought anything up until a few days beforehand. In a sudden panic that I might actually need baby gear and might end up looking like a lousy parent who hadn’t gotten anything organized, I bought a couple of jumpsuits and the smallest packet of newborn nappies I could find. I didn’t pack the car seat though. The thought of maybe having to drive home with it empty was more than I could handle. The clothes and nappies, I figured, I could just throw in the nearest Lifeline bin.

We made it down eventually, sorted out where we were staying, unpacked the car, found somewhere to park, did a few things we needed to do like go to the post office…by this time it was late afternoon and we were both exhausted. I had to head in at six thirty. My mum was coming down but as she wasn’t arriving until nine, and Annika was exhausted as well, I headed up to the hospital by myself.

When I got there I got told that there had been a change of plan- upon discussion that day it had been decided that I needed steroids prior to being induced to help with baby’s breathing. They originally hadn’t thought I needed them due to me being over the 36 week mark, but given that there was a high chance of baby having respiratory problems, the final verdict was that they would likely be beneficial. The only issue was that they needed to give two doses 24 hours apart, so they wanted to give the first dose now and give the second dose and induce the following night. I was pretty upset at first, as I’d really psyched myself up for going in tonight and getting the whole process started and hopefully over soon, and annoyed with myself for not having asked again and double checked that they didn’t want me to have them, as I could have gotten the first dose in Port Pirie the previous night if I’d known.  I made myself get over it though, got the first dose (most painful IM injection ever) and called Mike to say I was coming back.

To be honest, I ended up being so, so glad they decided to give the steroids. Not only because Zoe did have major respiratory issues, but I got to go home, have a good sleep, a relaxing day the next day with an attempted afternoon nap, and came back into hospital at 6:30 the following night feeling refreshed, which turned out to be another good thing as I didn’t sleep at all that night. Funny sometimes how what I can initially see as an inconvenience turns out to be something that I end up being grateful for isn’t it? Luckily God knows these things better than I do!

Zoe’s birth didn’t go to plan. The original plan was to insert a (nasty sounding) balloon catheter overnight, then start the drip the following morning, hopefully to have her born in the daylight hours! That didn’t work out when no one could get the balloon catheter in. I had no amniotic fluid and Zoe was sitting so low she had her head right up against my cervix. Four attempts  from four different people later, each one getting more painful, with the last one (where they tried to move my cervix forward) so painful I needed gas, it was decided that wasn’t going to work. In the process of trying to put the balloon catheter in they’d also dilated me enough to break my waters (or what there was of them) so they got broken and I got the drip started soon afterwards. They were a bit reluctant to turn it up very quickly, as Zoe’s heart rate kept dropping with each contraction. It was very different to Annika’s birth, where I’d been able to move around and do what I needed to as it progressed, hadn’t needed any gas until 9cm, and had stayed in the shower for the last part of it. With constant CTG monitoring and the drip I had about half a square metre to move around in, shower was out of the question, and it felt like it was taking forever- I asked for gas at 3am when I was about 3cm dilated. I felt like a bit of a wimp as I had gotten so much further without it last time, but it was just going so slowly and painfully! At 4am they checked again to put a scalp monitor on Zoe and told me I was 4cm. I burst into tears as it was really painful and I thought I would have been far further along than that! I asked for an epidural about ten minutes after that, thinking I couldn’t go on like this for hours. The next twenty minutes was a nightmare. I was crying that I couldn’t keep going. One of the midwives tried to console me by telling me I would be holding my baby soon, which was probably the worst thing she could have said. Twenty minutes later I felt like I needed to push but thought my mind might be playing tricks on me. I saw the anesthetist walk in at that moment and they told me to get back on the bed. I asked if they could check me again first and, sure enough- I was fully dilated.

The next thing I knew there were about 20 people and a NICU crash trolley in the room while I pushed her out- that part was the only bit that was easier second time around. Just as I started pushing I remember thinking, these are the last few moments you’ll have her safe inside you.

I think I just collapsed afterwards. I didn’t hear a cry or anything. The umbilical cord was cut so fast I didn’t even notice them do it and she was taken over to the resus table. I remember Mike’s face lit up and I could hear the delight in his voice as he said “It’s a girl!” and I realized, oh yeah, we didn’t know the sex- I’d forgotten about that bit. Someone pointed over and said “there’s your baby” but all I could see was the backs of a lot of people’s heads. Then one of the NICU doctors came over and said she was having difficulty breathing and they were going to take her to NICU and intubate. I vaguely remember nodding and Mike asking me if I was still wanting to call her Zoe. I nodded. I’d secretly been hoping for a girl so we could use that name. Mike went with them to NICU. I briefly touched a tiny blue hand as she was wheeled out the door. I can’t remember seeing the rest of her prior to NICU. There must have been too much equipment on her and too many people around her.

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