Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The (less than ideal) arrival of Ricardo DoValle Jr. Part II

The epidural didn't exactly take.  It "floated", as they call it.  meaning one side of my body was receiving the bulk of the medicine.  My left leg was completely immobile and numb, my right leg was just tingle-y, and the pain in my abdomen was intense.  The nurse anesthetist gave me several boluses but they only seemed to further deaden my left leg.  Worse yet, I was not dilating any further.  I was stuck between 3 and 4 and the baby was sitting very high putting pressure on my lungs.  Several times his heart rate dropped dramatically and they put me on oxygen to try and help him.  My second angel, Dr. Hernandez, was concerned.  He decided he would like to go ahead and break my water to help guide the baby down so he would engage.  They would need to wait until the operating room was prepped because this would likely result in a c-section anyway and could potentially lead to an emergency c-section, as the umbilical cord could potentially prolapse.  We had already been told it would likely end up a c-section, but I was terrified.  Such a silly thing to be afraid of, now that I'm on the other side of this.

 We let our families know the update, but still asked that every one wait to come visit until he was safe and in my arms.  The procedure went very well, and we thought we may be in the clear.  But when Dr. Hernandez came back in to check me he became concerned with what he was feeling.  He decided to do an ultrasound to determine the position of the baby.  While doing the ultrasound, Dr. Hernandez realized that our son had turned unexpectedly.  He was now facing up, "sunnyside up" they call it.  Much more concerning, he was showing a face presentation.  Typically, babies are delivered with their chin tucked into their chest facing the mother's spine, our son would be born face first with his body facing my navel.  The nurse gravely told me to prepare myself.

"This is the most difficult way to deliver a baby, more pain than you've experienced in your life.  You need to be ready. It is possible it could take up to 4 hours of pushing in order to deliver."  The way Junior was presenting was RARE.  A face presentation only occurs in about .4% of ALL natural deliveries.  

The nurse anesthetist returned to give me a bolus so I could get some sleep as they continued to wait for me to dilate.  Again, the nurse and doctor warned me that it was unlikely I would dilate and they were still anticipating a c-section.  Miraculously, Ricardo and I passed out and slept from midnight to around 3 in the morning when my nurse came in to check me again.  To everyone's surprise, I was fully dilated.  The nurse asked if I would try some "practice pushes" and after about 30 minutes of that she called in Dr. Hernandez. I pushed with him for 30 minutes. The longest 30 minutes of my life. 

I won't go through the entire 30 minutes in detail.  I will tell you that something told me to keep pushing.  I didn't rest between contractions, I pushed continuously for 30 minutes straight.  There was a great deal of pain, although I never screamed or yelled.  Once I said out loud, "Oh God, please help me."  My nurse looked at me with a sympathetic smile and responded, "God is not going to push this baby out for you, sweetie."  I was almost ready to give up.  I would have, if not for Ricardo.  He really was my rock.  I'm sure he was as scared as I was, but he held me up and pulled me through.  I remember looking in his eyes, gathering my strength and giving one more HARD push.  

Ricardo Jr. was born at 4:26 am on Friday December 30th, 2011.  During the delivery, one nurse from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was on hand to measure, weigh, and assess Junior.  The moment Dr. Hernandez held Junior up for me to see I knew something was very wrong.  He was blue and he was not moving.  Very unceremoniously, Dr. Hernandez told Ricardo to cut the cord and he handed the baby over to to NICU nurse who immediately hit a button on the wall which triggered an alarm.

Junior was not breathing.

Within seconds the room was filled with nurses.  They were professional, calm, and focused.  I was a prisoner on my hospital bed.  I looked at Ricardo and saw his look of joy melt to a look of fear and confusion.  Junior's first APGAR score was a one.  There were many nurses working on Junior, but none were able to get a tracheal tube into his lungs in order to help.  All they could do was perform C.P.R. and provide oxygen.  There was a nurse with a clipboard calling out the time and charting.

"One minute.  Is he breathing?"

"Two minutes.  Does anyone have him breathing?"

There was some debate among the nurses.  One believed she heard something, the others said there was no motion or sound.  My doctor, while working on me, kept quietly sneaking concerned glances over his shoulder asking, "How's baby?"

Three minutes. . .

Four. . .

Five. . .

I was praying for five minutes straight.  I think I was holding my breath, too.  I kept thinking, You can't do this to him, it's not fair.  He doesn't deserve this.  I couldn't bear the thought of losing this child, but the thought of watching my husband witness his first born slipping away was too much.  I didn't want him to feel that kind of pain and I was angry about it.  The speed and variety of thoughts that flew through my mind was daunting and dizzying.  Suddenly, the room seemed very dark, very cold, and very quiet.

No, it actually HAD gotten quiet. I looked up at the timer and heard. . .

"Six minutes. Does anyone have him breathing?"

No one said a word.  One nurse with her back to me simply shook her head.  And I lost it.  If I'm honest, I gave up in that moment.  I thought, no one, NO ONE can survive six minutes without breathing.  I felt like darkness was closing in around me.

The truth? The true Author of our story can write it anyway He chooses, and He wasn't even close to putting his pen down.