Thursday the 20th I had my Pre-Op/38 week appointment, I had her check my progress and was disappointed to hear that I hadn't changed from my 36 week appointment. I only had to wait 5 more days so I just kept telling myself to be positive since the end was so close! Zack was on his final 3 days of work before going on leave and I was just hanging out with Sawyer enjoying my last few moments with one child. Friday night was like any other night we went to bed early so Zack could get up for work, I woke up around 2am (my usual hunger pain time). What woke me was a really strange feeling, Bristol was shaking in my belly, she didn't do it long but it was an odd sensation. Not 5 minuets after I woke up as I was walking to the kitchen I had my first contraction. Now it hurt, made me stop in my tracks but it wasn't super long. The contractions kept coming about every 4-5 mins and I decided since Zack only had 1 more 8hr shift the next day that I would drink some water and take a bath maybe that would relax my body and stop what I thought were Braxton Hicks. By this time its 3:30am and they weren't stopping, I was too uncomfortable to lay down so I paced. I made hot laps around the kitchen and to the bedroom and back. After 2 hours of constant 3-5min apart contractions I thought I would wake Zack up and ask him if he thought we should go in, I was still in denial I was in labor! I tried a shower to see if that would help me relax, of course it didn't. At this point I felt the urge to pee every 10min or so and finally lost my mucus plug around 4:45. At that point I told Zack this might be the real deal. He kept asking if he should call work since he was supposed to be there at 6:30, and I kept saying "No, they will stop". Around 5:15 Zack convinced me to call MSU to see if I should go in to get checked, I hadn't felt Bristol move since she woke me up at 2 but when your contracting and it hurts so bad I only felt the contractions and thought maybe I was just missing the kicks or something. About 5:30 the on-call doctor asked if I could come in so they could at least check me and the baby out. I asked Zack to call his supervisor. Thankfully one of my friends was up and asked if I needed help so I was able to get Sawyer covered. With Zack in uniform, ready to head to work if it was a false alarm, and hospital bag in tow we headed over to the Hospital around 6.
Once they got me wheeled up to MSU and I was hooked up to the monitors they wasted no time in checking me. I was contracting every 2 minuets at this point. Zack was very supportive and just kept giving me encouragement at the same time joking around to try and relieve some of my pain. What the nurse then told me shocked me "You are about a 3, let me go call the doctor". Now with Sawyer I was dilated to 4 for 3+ weeks, so the fact that I was making progress with steady contractions shocked both Zack and I. The look on Zack's face after what came next was priceless. Dr. Small came into the room and said, "Well your in active labor, looks like I'll get the team rolling and we will have a baby in a few hours".
The next two hours consisted of needle pokes, IV's, questions, more questions, and excitement/nerves. Zack scrubbed up and I was ready to roll, I was more than ready because I wanted the pain meds as the contractions were not easing up and they were starting to make me shake cause they hurt so bad! Around 8 they rolled me back into the OR to welcome Bristol!
The OR was a crazy experience. I was wide awake just checking things out while they prepped me. The anesthesiologist was super nice and excellent, I was a little nervous that just a shot in my spine would do the trick but it was way better than an epidural! All the doctors and nurses were joking around with me and helping me through the contractions. Then it came time, I was numb, draped, and they brought Zack in. I could feel the odd pressure of him tugging but no pain as we just waited to her that first cry. With Sawyer I was so drugged I barely remember his first cry, but this time around at 0821 it was the most beautiful sound ever, I instantly cried. They announced it was a girl and began cleaning her as she keep screaming. Dr. Small made a comment that I had a lot of meconium in my fluid but just kept doing his thing to get me back together. He also doesn't pull out the uterus like some doctors do, he leaves all your insides in there and works inside you which is supposed to increase healing time. Zack cut the cord and held Bristol up to meet me, her color still very grey. The nurses and Zack took her up to the L&D room to get measurements and all that jazz while they closed me. Yokota doesn't have a nursery so everything in done in the L&D room. I was joking with the doctors and everyone was having a fun time. I was so excited to get back and hold my baby girl, but what came next was yet another of the scariest times as a parent.
The instant my bed turned the corner I knew something was wrong. There was 3 people hovered over her whispering and Zack was behind them just staring. I instantly said "What is Wrong with her, What is going on?" and all Zack could do was shrug. Panic set in, my mommy instinct wanted nothing more than to take away all her pain. I could tell she was struggling to breath and was worn out. The pediatrician started telling people to get her prepped for transport and had a translator start finding a NICU that would accept her. What seemed like hours of watching my baby girl struggle to puke up black stuff and breath was torture, I cried held Zack's hand and felt crushed. Zack just kept telling me it would be ok and she was a fighter. After they got her sedated and got her breathing tubes, IV, X-ray's and other tubes in the pediatrician was able to tell us what was going on... Bristol had swallowed tons of Meconium but it was not only in her stomach but sucked into her lungs. The pediatrician was concerned she may be suffering from Meconium Aspiration Syndrome, which can lead to pneumonia, sepsis, and other infections. I felt like I had done something wrong, was there warning signs I missed, could I have stopped it?
Zack worked with the translator on getting the information of the hospital information and I just stared at our little fighter. Dr. Small, Dr. Bolte? (anesthesiologist) never left the room, they were right by Bristol and I's side the entire time. The support from the Yokota team was amazing. I didn't want Zack to leave Bristol's side and he didn't. He went with her to the NICU while I laid at Yokota worrying about my baby. Even after they took her the Doctors stayed to comfort me and explain there was nothing that could have been done to prevent it. They asked if I wanted anxiety meds or sleeping meds but I declined because I wanted to be fully aware if Zack called me. I couldn't sleep, I just laid there and prayed. I learned that the Yokota Team (1 pediatrician, 1 nurse, and 1 tech) worked with the translator and the staff of Tachikawa Hospital running test to get a diagnosis. The ambulance drivers stayed with Zack in the waiting room, I knew at this point our Baby was getting the best care she could. I got the text that they were headed back in the afternoon.
Dr. Speakman the pediatrician got to my room before Zack did. She said that Bristol's tests showed that she did have MAS (Meconium Aspiration Syndrome) and that the next 48hrs were crucial. She had been given an antibiotic to fight any infection that could of already started but she would need to remain on a ventilator to assist her breathing until she could maintain her pulse/ox on her own, without the ventilator her pulse/ox wouldn't go above 60. Zack was able to get pictures of her settled into the NICU and insured me that she was getting great care. We were told since it was a Saturday that on Monday they would have a conference with both hospitals and a translator to let us know what was going on. They had our cell phone numbers and said if anything went wrong they would call us, so it was like waiting on pins and needles praying your cell phone never rang!
Now I hate the waiting game, especially when the health and wellness of my family is at stake. I pushed hard on Saturday to get recovered, the doctors wanted me out Sunday morning so I could go see her, but my body was not ready to be released 24hours after surgery. I was in too much physical pain and knew if they released me I would not heal well or hurt myself. I made the decision to stay another day to heal more before being released. Zack went to visit Bristol, took pictures and gave me the best update possible. It was hard knowing she was a day old and hadn't really seen her Mommy, but Zack told her I was thinking of her and love her!
I worked hard on getting out of bed, walking and paced myself. Once I got my pain managed I knew I was good to be released! Monday morning was emotionally hard. We had been told that a rumor was already going around the nurses that she was no longer on her breathing tubes which I never heard other than them coming to tell me it wasn't true. With Yokota being such a small hospital and it was the weekend everyone kind of knew our situation. I was happy to be coming home to my boys but felt like a piece of me was missing leaving with Bristol. I felt like we got the pity stares as we left but nothing was bringing me down since I was getting to visit my Little Bug for the first time since she was born!
I came home showered, got make up on and started feeling a bit more human. Once we got to Tachikawa Hospital it was overwhelming. Everything is in Japanese, we were the ONLY Americans, but I didn't care knowing that I was under the same roof as her was a relief. We watched the clock since NICU visiting hours are only 1300-1500, at 1259 we made our way to the door. I scrubbed up, gowned up, got my slippers on and followed the lady til I saw our chubby little American Baby! That hour of my life will be cherished forever- my body was tired of sitting and sore so I could only last an hour but she knows she is loved. The NICU nurse used very broken English but enough to tell us no more ventilator and they were feeding her formula. I just sat and stared at her, told her stories and touched her. Then as we were leaving she took our first picture together.
As soon as we got home we got the news from the conference! Bristol is breathing on her own keeping her stats up, she is eating, and after she finishes her antibiotics on the 26th they can release her. Now Yokota has a rule that after a baby is release from a NICU off base they must be evaluated on base for 1-2 nights. So as of now Bristol is set to come to base tomorrow, where I will stay with her and we can hopefully bring her home Friday at the latest!
I am truly blessed and amazed at the support that we have here! Its not easy having a toddler to worry about with this and I don't want him feeling left out or pushed to the side but we have amazing friends here who have stepped in. Zack has also done an amazing job spitting his time between Sawyer, myself and Bristol! I couldn't ask for a better husband and father to my children!
Time to rest up before our visit with Bristol today. Until next time...