Laughing, Weeping, Living

Life happens. You laugh about it or cry about it, sometimes both.

Agnes Makes Her Debut!

on June 18, 2013

The labor and delivery part of this journey is over. Everyone’s favorite deets first: 4lbs 8oz, 18in long, born at 9:04pm on 6/17/13.

I arrived at the hospital yesterday morning at 8 a.m. where they gave me a teeny-tiny dose of Cytotec around 9:45 a.m. The Cytotec works to soften and dilate the cervix, making it more receptive to the onset of labor. The doctor told me it takes about 4 hours for the full effects of the drug to manifest and start to fade, so we would have to wait at least that long until the next step. I felt discouraged knowing the labor wouldn’t really get going until mid afternoon, but there was nothing to do about it.

When she came back to check my progress, the Cytotec had helped to dilate me to 3 cm, and I was having super frequent contractions. Not really painful ones, just back-to-back-to-back, and some of them were uncomfortable. The doc said they couldn’t begin Pitocin until the contractions calmed down, and I felt discouraged again, becoming convinced that I would be laboring well into the night. I was already exhausted and sick of the whole ordeal, so this news was very upsetting. The doctor did reassure me by saying my progress was extremely normal, in fact better than normal and she was very pleased with the way things were going.

I continued to have contractions through the afternoon and into the evening. Several attempts were made to artificially rupture my membranes to help labor truly get underway, but because there was so much amniotic fluid, Agnes kept floating away from engagement and the doctor was nervous to break my water when Agnes’s head wasn’t in place as a cork to prevent the umbilical cord from slipping through the cervix with the gush of water. At this point, she told me she had spoken to my regular OB, and he wanted to come take a look and do the next steps since we were potentially in a scary area. He would be arriving in about an hour.

So Jeremy left to get some dinner since there wouldn’t be time later, and about 10 minutes after he left, my OB showed up. Go figure. “What are we doing right now?” I asked. “I’m just going to check your progress,” my OB said. Next thing I knew he was fishing around for my cervix and asking the nurses if the pads on my bed were sufficiently absorbent for breaking my water. The nurse handed him the amnio hook, and he broke my water! The son of a gun.

Let me tell you, it was every bit as dramatic as I had anticipated, and more. Gush, gush, gush, gush. I just kept saying “Oh my God, Oh my God.” It was wild.

But baby’s cord didn’t prolapse, and after the doctors left, my contractions did settle into a more labor-like pattern. More spaced, more intense. Though I did still have series of multiple contractions in a row with a longer pause between series. This was probably still thanks to that teeny-tiny dose of Cytotec I had been given at 9:45 a.m. I had never received Pitocin or any other assistance to start labor.

It was around this point that I started to rethink my “no medication” plan. The contractions were starting to get pretty painful, and breathing alone wasn’t quite cutting it. Around 8:30pm I buzzed the nurse to ask about medicine and she wanted the doctor to check my progress first, since it’s not safe to do I.V. pain meds too close to delivery. The doc came in to check: 5cm. Grr. But still she said it wouldn’t be long since my cervix was super stretchy. I had a couple excruciating contractions while we discussed the possibility that I might accept an epidural. Then it happened. Pressure. “I feel pressure!” So the doc checked me again while nurses swarmed in to the room.

I was ready. That didn’t take long. They wheeled me at a brisk pace down to an Operating Room for delivery so the special care team could be in the next room. I kept asking “when can I push?” They told me my OB was on the way, but I think everyone knew he wouldn’t make it. When I was finally allowed to push, I screamed and accepted the assistance of nurses. During the first contraction I was allowed to push, I pushed a couple two or three times. On the second push, part of Agnes’s head was born and the doctor said, “Stop pushing Judy, stop pushing!” I guess what happened was Agnes wasn’t turned totally with her nose to my back and the doctor was trying to turn her. I needed to push again and they let me. On the second contraction, one push delivered the rest of Agnes at 9:04pm. She was little! And wrinkly and blueish. And she had hair!

They took her next door to the special care team where they suctioned out her airways and did a number of other immediately required procedures, at which point, my OB arrived! Better late than never. He did get to do the really fun part: stitching up the several tears I acquired during delivery. I did receive pain medication at this point. Why is it that it is bearable to deliver a baby, but when the doctors start poking around with fingers it suddenly becomes unbearable?

It took a while for me to be repaired, and Agnes was taking a really long time. I didn’t get to see her at all before they moved me to my overnight postpartem room. When I was up and around getting ready to go to the NICU, I made the mistake of passing out in the bathroom, which meant I had to wait even longer in bed before the docs were satisfied I could safely visit the NICU nursery. I didn’t get to see Agnes until 3:30am, and even then I couldn’t hold her because her respiration was too high to remove her from her incubator.

I was finally able to hold her on my chest around 8:30am this morning and it was wonderful! She suckled a tiny bit at the breast, but she wasn’t really into it. I’ll try again when I go see her in a little while.

She is off oxygen and her heart rate is good. It appears her esophagus connects to her stomach since a nasal feeding tube was easily and correctly installed. She has an I.V. for fluid, sugars, and antibiotics (for precaution). She has low muscle tone, which combined with a number of other clues such as the high amniotic fluid and the way her ears look, has the NICU pediatrician thinking there is a chromosomal issue. He has ordered a karyotype test of all the chromosomes to find out if his theory is correct. She did test negative for Downs, Trisomy 13 and 18, but there are loads of other issues she has not been tested for.

It looks like she will be in the NICU for at least a week, maybe more. I will most likely be discharged before she is ready.

We’re still praying for a favorable outcome.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us. Saint Agnes, pray for us. Saint Maria Goretti, pray for us.



9 responses to “Agnes Makes Her Debut!

  1. Kathleen Simpson says:

    Congratulations to you, Jeremy and Stephen! I am still praying for Agnes and you all. God is good! God bless you all Always!

  2. Penny says:

    Just a little choked up. I was reading that post like it was a novel I couldn’t wait to get to the end of . What a whirlwind of loss of control. Like riding a massive wave. So much good news. She is born. She is pink, She is not on a breathing machine. She can nurse a bit. And all that hair!!! thank you for taking the time to update all of us, Judy. Bet Jeremy will never leave to get a snack again!!

    • Adrienne says:

      I was really worried at 8 last night, not hearing from your mom. I called repeatedly to the office this morning(I am off today) and finally got the good news that Agnes had arrived. My boy was a premie and we had to leave him in the hospital for two weeks, it is hard to go home without a baby. Take the advice of an old lady, try to rest a bit and have special time with Steven. You know so well Agnes coming home will be a full time job. Adrienne

  3. The Kerpers says:


  4. Ann says:

    Congratulations! May God bless you all abundantly! I am praying for health and happiness!

  5. Chris Purcell says:

    Congratulations! What a wonderful story you’ve told! Prayers are with your family for a good outcome for everyone! Your little Agnes is beautiful and she I think she has more hair than I do! I have pictures from your trip here and wonder where you would like me to post them for you! Let me know. Take care – all of you – may your hearts be filled with happiness!

  6. suereznik says:

    What a beautiful little girl! Congratulations to you both! You are all in our prayers!

  7. […] In remembrance of Agnes, here is a link to her birth story. […]

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