Monday, February 4, 2013

Mason Andrew Riley

Where to start this story...I guess we start the day after Austin got home from his mission  so November 1, 2012 (33 w 4 d) . That's the day I found out I had moderate pre-eclampsia and got put on bed rest. Matt was at work so I was hanging out at my mom and dad's house with Austin, getting ready to take him shopping for new clothes. My mom took one look at my feet and hands and insisted that I call the doctor. I looked like I had moon boots for feet, they were super swollen. I did what mom said and called the doctor's office, they could squeeze me around 1. When I got there Dr. Dwyer took my blood pressure, sure enough it was super high and my urine sample had protein in it. She sent us to the hospital for a Non-Stress Test (NST) to make sure baby was doing ok. Mom and the nurse at the hospital got me all hooked up on the monitors and then the waiting began.We were there for what seemed like forever, but was really about 4 hours. Matt got off work and came over, I kinda freaked him out a bit by not telling him anything till I was at the hospital. Everything looked good with baby and my blood pressure was going down when I was sitting. The doctors decided that it was bed rest time for me. Yuck! Sitting on the couch and having everyone bring you whatever you need sounds like fun, except it's not. I couldn't even get up to go to the bathroom without someone asking what I needed or telling me to go sit back down. I hated it! Lucky for me, mom has hulu plus, so I could sit and watch tv shows via the wii. My routine became, get up, get ready, go to mom's house, get all 3 remote controls (universal, tv, and wii), watch tv. Over the next two weeks I watched the first two seasons of Downton Abbey, got caught up on Once Upon A Time, helped Austin plan how he was going to ask Ashley to marry him, and got really good at online shopping. I tried reading books, but my brain was gone, my attention span was worse than Eli's.
Ashley painting my toes
Over the two weeks I spent sitting on the couch, I was also going into the doctor's office at least once a week and to the hospital every three days for NST. Every time I went in I was getting worse and I was contracting just as much or more than the labor patients that were there, but I wasn't feeling any pain, so they kept sending us home with the warning that the next time we might not get to leave. Matt and I went into the doctor's office on November 15 for an ultrasound to double check that everything was good and to measure baby, since most pre-eclampsia babies are small. Everything looked good, but they still wanted me to go next door to the hospital for another NST and to turn in my 24 hour urine sample. My blood pressures were still super high (think 180/90, normal is 120/60) and my urine sample came back with over 5000/mg protein, which was the magic number we were trying to avoid. That marked the shift from moderate to severe pre-eclampsia. We weren't going home until we had a baby.
Lucky for me that morning I'd decided that it was past time to get a hospital bag ready and put in the car. So I had Matt go grab the bags and we started to settle in for the long haul. I remember calling my mom in tears when they told me that I wasn't going to leave. He wasn't supposed to come yet, I wasn't ready for everything to happen quite yet, I still had stuff to get ready! She lovingly reassured me that everything was going to be ok and called my doctor to make sure that she would make the same call as the on call doctor did. Once mom made it to the hospital I started to calm down a little bit because I had my support team, Matt and mom, with me. I think that was about the only part of Mason's birth that went according to the plan I had in my head.
Officially checked in and all IV'd up
Because they were inducing me, and because of the pre-eclampsia, I had to have an IV. I started out with just the magnesium, to prevent the seizures that can happen if you progress to full blown eclampsia, and a cytotec pill, since I was only at 2 cm and 50% effaced. the mag made me feel kinda achy. My contractions weren't super strong, I was only feeling them every once in a while and they weren't painful at all. Mostly I was just ticked that I had to have an IV and and oxygen monitor. I figured out real quick that I do not like being hooked to things at all! At this time I was still feeling up to visitors, so Lorna came to bring a few things we had left at home and to see how Matt and I were doing. Collin and Emily stopped by after school, I think they would have come regardless of if I said it was ok or not, they were so excited. Amy, Kelsey and Lindsey Larsen stopped by as well. It was kinda nice to have people come and take my mind off the waiting for a little while.  Shift change came at 7pm, and mom asked Nikki to be my nurse. Mom wanted someone with lots of experience to be my nurse, and I liked having someone I knew and was comfortable with. Around 8 pm my dad and Mike came and helped Matt give me a blessing. About that same time the doctor decided that it was time to start the Pitocin. The combination of the Mag and Pit made me feel awful. Thank goodness for nurses who convinced the doctor that my discomfort could be lessened by turning the Mag drip down a bit. It helped, but I was still pretty miserable. My water broke, but it wasn't complete or something, so the doctor finished it, and after that I was defiantly starting to feel the contractions more and more. My blood pressure spiked to around 200/100 so when I got up to go to the bathroom, so they decided that I was going to have to get a catheter put in...uggg one more wire! By this time I was getting two medications via IV, had an oxygen monitor on my toe, had compression cuffs on both legs, the catheter, and they tried twice to put in an internal contraction monitor, but couldn't get it placed right because his head was too far down. I couldn't move with out getting tangled in wires, it was so frustrating. I think that was worse than the actual labor part. I was progressing fairly well, sometime about 10:30/11 pm Dr. Boyson checked me and I was about 7cm and 100% effaced. I was miserable and my mom kept telling me that I could get an epidural if I wanted one, but I did not want one more wire attached to me and I didn't want to get poked by another needle, so I just got a dose of Fentynol, a narcotic drug to take the edge off the pain. It worked pretty well. Somewhere around midnight I started feeling like I was ready to push, but I wasn't at the full 10 cm yet. I'm really not sure what was going on at this point in time, I was somewhere in my head in the zone. It sounds weird, and it was weird. I can't really describe it other than to say I was in a trance and I was not in my right mind. I could barley respond when people asked me questions. I didn't really care what was going on around me or what other people did. I was just focused on what was happening inside me. I was determined that I was not going to let this go on for much longer. I also had to get a second dose of the pain medicine because it had worn off. Not long after that I got the go ahead to start pushing. My mom said I didn't push for very long, I had no concept of time other than holding my breath and counting to 10, over and over again. I remember them asking Matt if he wanted to touch Mason's head, and he wanted nothing to do with that. He was having a hard time with seeing me in so much pain, and not being able to do anything about it. If I was a selfless person I would have gotten an epidural so he wouldn't have stressed so much, but I'm not. I was feeling like I couldn't do any more when they told me that they could see a bunch of dark hair and that if I reached down I'd be able to touch his head. Feeling him for just that little moment gave me to strength and determination to finish pushing. It wasn't long after that and all of the sudden there were lots of nurses and the doctor in the room getting ready for Mason's grand entrance into the world. A few more big pushes 1:10 am on November 16, 2012, I heard the most wonderful sound in the world my son's first cry. Then he was on my chest and I was getting to see him for the first time.
 Our Little Miracle
 I was overcome with the most wonderful, overpowering love. It was so different from the love I have for Matt, which built slowly to become what we have now.When people talk about love at first sight, I think they are talking about the love that mothers have for their children. It was instant and possessive. This little boy was mine and Matt's and we had created this life, and he was perfect. 10 fingers and 10 toes, a healthy set of lungs, and curious eyes. When he was on my chest he stopped crying and was looking around, trying to figure out what was going on in this new place. Matt and I were smitten, this little boy had a giant hold on our hearts and still does. Somewhere in the midst of all of this emotional overload I was going though, Matt cut the cord, something that he didn't think he was going to be able to do, due to his dislike of blood and all things medical. Bring on another wave of pride for me that he did this.

The nurses took him to weigh him and measure him and wipe him off and all the other stuff they do. He was a whopping 6 lbs 13 oz and 20 inches long, at 35 weeks and 5 days. The doctor seemed to take forever to get me all stitched up. She said I had a 3rd degree tear, but that it was deep not long. All I know is that when she started stitching me up I could feel what she was doing and definitely let her know. It took 2 more shots before I wasn't feeling it. This was the only point in time I wished I had the doctor I'd been seeing for all of my appointments. by the time she was all done I was rid of all my wires except for the IV with the Mag in it. That one was supposed to stay for another 24 hours.
Once everyone cleared out of the room, mom and Nikki snuck me some chocolate milk and graham crackers. I wasn't supposed to have anything but clear liquids while I was on the Mag...but I was hungry after all that work and chicken broth and jello weren't going to cut it. After a little bit of rest, a phone call from Matt's Grandma Barb to say congratulations, and some ice packs, I was wheeled into our recovery room, where Matt and I finally got a couple of hours of sleep. But with nurses coming to check on you every 3 hours, an IV in my arm and a blood pressure cuff going off every hour it's a little hard to sleep, so I just put our little boy on the bed in front of me and looked at him with wondering awe. At this point in time he still didn't have a name, but as I looked at him I knew he couldn't be a Conner Patrick, he was too dark for that Irish of a name! So after very little discussion he was officially Mason Andrew Riley.

Our First Family Picture
The next few days were all kind of a blur as we admitted Mason into the NICU for glucose monitoring, and then he started doing funny things where his breathing and his heart rate and oxygen saturation levels would all drop at the same time. They called it a Brady and after having one of these episodes they had to keep him in for at least 5 days with out any reoccurance. That was Sunday, we didn't leave until Wednesday November 28. Mason was 12 days old. That was the longest 12 days of my life. I'd thought bedrest was bad, but at least then I knew he was ok, it was me with the issues. Now it was Mason that was struggeling and there wasn't a thing I could do to help him. There were many many tearful walks from the NICU back to my room. Thank goodness for all the nurses, and for them already being such good friends before Mason was born! I can't even count how many hugs I got from all of them. They took such good care of me. Every day Mason went without a Brady with an oxygen desaturation we did a little happy dance, ok maybe a big happy dance! One day we had gone 3 days without anything and we were getting so excited that we were going to be going home, and that morning, while Matt was in with Mason he had another episode. We had to start our count down all over agian. That was so hard. There were many many tears that day and I was at my wits end. I was sure we were never going to get out of that place!
Family picture in the NICU
I could have gone home at any time, I was discharged and there on "hotel status". But the idea of being away from Mason killed me. What if something happened, I needed to be there close to him. My momma bear insticts were out with full force Mom finally convinced me to leave the hospital on the 19 for just a little bit. We went and visited a couple of Mom's friends who were having a hard time. One had just lost her daughter and the other was recovering from her second hip surgery. It felt good to get out and to remind myself that I wasn't alone in my frustration and that things weren't so bad in my life. Matt and I did go home for a few hours for Thanksgiving dinner, and I had a glorious nap on my own bed! Hospital beds are NOT comfy! After making it out for a few hours a couple of times that week life started to get better. Sometimes I'd just go wander around Target, just to get out of the hospital. But everytime I left, if Mom wasn't working, I made sure that the NICU nurse had my phone number and knew to call if anything happened.
We had made it 5 days, he was going to get to come to our room that day and stay with us for the night and then we could go home! Matt and I were so excited we could barely contain ourselves. They were trying to see if Mason could come off his oxygen and he had another Brady with an oxygen desat and he didn't self recover, they had to give him extra oxygen to get back to normal levels. Matt told me that and I was sure that we were going to have to start our 5 day count all over again. I was absolutely devisated, I cried and cried and cried until I didn't have anything left. I fell asleep when the Doctor came in to talk to us, but I remember hearing her say that it was all ok and that we could still come home, he'd just have to stay on his oxygen for a while at home and since his Billy Ruben levels were still high and he was still pretty yellow/orange we would also have to keep him on the Billy Lights as well. Her words were like music to my ears! HOME! We could really go home! Finally, after 13 days in the hospital for Matt and I and 12 for Mason, we could take him home to our little room in the basement and start our adventure of being a family.
Going Home!