Karissa's Arrival By Kristin Print
Birth Stories - Premature Birth Stories
Tuesday, 03 February 2009 08:27
I went to the hairdresser's, because I wanted to look cute (if a bit large) for the next weekend's family reunion. The hairdresser asked me all the regular questions (are you sure it isn't twins, when exactly did you say you were due, etc.)

"No," I declared with great forcefulness, "It isn't going to happen this week." I wasn't due for another 5 weeks or so.

I was SO WRONG. I left her chair, paid my bill, and went next door to the Giant Food Store to get a frozen casserole of some sort (veggie lasagna?) for my mom and son, who were waiting for me at home. Pushing the cart down the frozen food section, in plain view of all the young bachelors who shop only for frozen casseroles...

"Um...I think my water just broke" I mean, mop up on isle 12, we have a flooding situation. Time: about 4:20 pm.

DUH, I was standing in a lake. And every time I took a step I felt a GOOSH, and every time I stood still, it stopped. It didn't look or smell like weee. It was definitely The Water. All the bachelors looked at me with horror and quietly (and very quickly) disappeared. One young woman was standing nearby, looked at me with wide eyes and her mouth hanging open, gasped out "omiGOD" and ran to get the manager. I sprinted for the bathroom, which is in the back of the store next to the pharmacy. In the bathroom, I took off my shorts, which were literally soaked from bellybutton to back, and decided this was NOT a little potty accident (I was still trying to be in denial, I guess) Meanwhile, one of the employees came in and asked me what I needed her to do. "I guess I have to go call my husband. Do you have a towell?" I put my wet junk back on (what else could I do? I couldn't go naked) and exited the john...and there was the manager with a wheelchair. I sat. He rolled me to the pharmacy desk, where I used the phone to call my husband. Employee girl brought me a cup of water.

Manager man went to get a towell. He came back with a green and white dishcloth and towell set, and SOLD it to me. (!) whatever.

Husband on cell phone: "what's up?"
Me: "My water just broke."
Hubby: "what? oh, no it didn't. are you sure? No it didn't."

He didn't believe me at first, but ultimately was convinced, and agreed to meet me at home. Manager-man rolled me out to my car, and I got in and drove home (a 2 second drive) and came in the house, and stood there in the kitchen dripping amniotic fluid while Darryl did the whole Ricky Ricardo routine (remember when Lucy was ready to go to the hospital?) In fairness to him, we were both totally unprepared. I had not packed a bag yet or set up the crib or anything.

We got to the hospital and they said that once the water breaks the baby has to come by the 24-hour mark. So, because I had yet to feel the first faint contraction, they put me on pitocin. The word pitocin must have made me look terrified, because the doctor took pity and said "do you want your epidural now?" I don't even think he got the words all the way out before I said "you betcha." I was only about 1 cm at that point.

I was on pitocin (with epidural) all night. Epidurals, for me, are a beautiful thing. I slept, I read, I watched tv. Every once in a while the nurse would come in and flip me from one side to the other. The next morning, at about 6 am or so, the epidural started wearing off. They checked me and I was still only about 4 cm, and they started talking c- section. The doc said, "well, we'll give you another hour or so, let's turn you to the other side, but be prepared to go for the c-section in a couple of hours." Then he went away to deliver another, more cooperative baby. The nurses went away and started doing whatever nurses do when they think a c-section is about to happen...and then, about 7:30 am or so, I said to Darryl, "I hurt." And then, I said to Darryl, "I feel a need to poop. Very weird. and I hurt." Then it dawned on me. "I need to push. Get the nurse." AND HE DIDN'T BELIEVE ME. To his credit, once he DID finally go get a nurse, she didn't believe it either. She said, "If you have dilated any more, it will be a miracle. You aren't going to have this baby this way." Then she checked me and said, "Well, we have your miracle. You are fully dilated. I will go get the doctor and we'll have a baby." The anesthesiologist was generous enough to give me a little more drugs, and...

I pushed (which, unromantically enough, really did feel like a bad pooping experience) for about 45 minutes at the most. I opened my eyes just in time to see her head born in the mirror, and I cannot describe to you the rush of emotion at the sight. It did not look gross to me. It looked like a miracle. She came out and cried and I held her for a few moments, but because she was so early, she had to go to the NICU. She was under an oxygen hood for about a day and a half, and then she stayed in NICU for about a week. She came home when the doc was satisfied that she was eating and gaining weight.

The next weekend, one week after bringing her home (she was about 2 weeks old) I started bleeding. I mean, BLEEDING. Nothing small or subtle about it. While I waited for Mom to get to the house to take on the children, and for Darryl to get to the house to take me to the hospital, I sat on a huge trash bag for a drop cloth and used my son's toddler-size diaper for a pad -- and this wasn't enough protection!!! Turns out, there was a little, separate bit of placenta that was not connected to the main placenta, and that this was now trying to hemorrhage. Emergency room...sonogram...D&C, home.

Okay. I think the drama is over. At my 6 week check-up, doc said that I am fine. No, I am not pregnant again yet. (!) Karissa is fine, too. She looks just like her Daddy, and she is starting to occasionally skip a middle of the night feeding.