Bellatrix Athena Mantzel
On Thursday (19 July) morning at 1 a.m., at 37 weeks 4 days gestation, I began having irregular mild contractions. I didn’t really think much of it at the time, but then they began to intensify, but were staying pretty irregular (between 5-15mins apart). I called the hospital and asked for suggestions around 3a.m. since some of the contractions were really painful, they gave some suggestions and told me to call back in an hour. Around 4:30a I called again, because some of the contractions were bringing me to tears, I had them page the midwife. She called me 10 minutes later and based on the sound of my voice told me to come in, but take my time. We packed our hospital bags (just in case), called the caretaker for Aurora (again, just in case) and headed down the mountain to the car. An hour and a half (and 8 fairly painful contractions) later (the trip usually takes 20 minutes) we made it to the car. A quick check that we had all the stuff we could possibly need, if we ended up staying at the hospital, and we were on our way. We arrived at the birthing center just before 7:30a. They immediately showed us to the large room they set up for me and had me shower and change into a nursing gown. I was put on the monitors and the midwife came in to check my cervix, it was super painful, I was screaming and in tears. The checking also stimulated another contraction to start. My cervix was only dilated 1cm (if that) and very high up still. D told me that she did not think I was in labour. I became overwhelmed with emotion and hormones and burst into tears. The midwife thought I was upset because I wasn’t in labour, but I was just really emotional and sleep deprived. She indicated that while I was in fact having contractions, based on the monitoring strip, she was a little concerned about Bellatrix’s strip, there were some dips in it. She ordered an u/s and told me to just hang tight. A few minutes later my OB came in (since I was a VBAC candidate I had midwives and an OB), took a few moments to look over the strip, looked me in the eye and very seriously said, “We need to get this baby out right today.” I said, “I agree”. I had told her when she walked in that I had not felt much movement the past two days, though I had been checking with the Doppler and the heart rate was still strong. So they began prepping me for surgery. By 9:30a they had me ready to go in the OR, J by my side and the Pediatrician on standby next to the warming bed, just in case. At 10:04a, Dr. L pulled Bellatrix out and the happy energy in the room went quiet. I couldn’t see what was going on, but could sense the urgency in the room from the pediatrician, as I would later find out, while he worked to save my daughters life. It turns out that when they pulled her out, she was not breathing (which was a good thing in this case), she had meconium in both nostrils and her mouth. They were able to suction it all out and check the lungs for meconium, which fortunately there was none. A few excruciating moments later, Bellatrix took her first breath and cried and everyone breathed a sigh of relief and became jubilant. They immedately brought her to me and placed her to my breast, but I think she was too overwhelmed to nurse. J took Bellatrix from me and went with the nurse and Pediatrician to wait, while Dr. L finished my surgery and had me put in recovery. Once they cleaned me up, J came in with our nurse and Bellatrix to try nursing again. She would not latch. I ended up pumping and they finger fed her for the first few feedings, I didn’t get to see her again until almost 6p. She had to be given oxygen through this little nose device until her oxygen absorb levels went up. By 9p the Oxy percent started going up and maintaining, so they moved her from the nursery to our room. I was finally able to nurse her on my own at 10p and was able to successfully get her to latch without the feeding syringe next to my breast by the end of the night. The next day we found out she was jaundice, her levels were pretty high (in the high risk category based on hourly age) and they had to put her in the light box for 2 days, we had them put the box in our room during the day and the in the nursery at night (since it is VERY bright). Finally her levels went down, just as my blood pressure started going up and I started having a really bad headache and a whooshing sound in my ear, on day 5 of being in the hospital. She was discharged on Tuesday and I wasn’t discharged until Wednesday. Finally we were able to leave the hospital, mom and baby safe and sound, that afternoon. Hooray in the end all was well.