Thursday, July 15, 2021

Virginia Parker's Birth Story

On Wednesday, May 12th at 10:39pm, we welcomed our precious daughter Virginia Parker Wiggins into the world. She arrived on her due date after a scheduled induction that began the day before. It's taken me a few weeks to truly process her arrival and I will probably continue to do so as it was not quite what we imagined but that being said, it was all in perfect timing and we are so incredibly thankful that she is a healthy and happy baby.

On Tuesday morning (May 11th), I had eaten breakfast and had coffee when I took a shower and laid down for a few minutes. I was starting to feel pretty crampy and overall just didn't feel that great. Ironically, around that same time my phone rang and it was my doctor's office. Our plan at that moment was to go in for an induction that Friday, but there was an opening to come in that evening. After a quick discussion with Stephen, we decided that we would go ahead with getting induced that night. Both doctors that were on call for the next 36 hours were two of my favorites and with her due date being the next day, I figured it was all falling into place the way it should. 

That day felt like a blur - it was such a weird feeling knowing that we would go to the hospital that night and probably meet our baby the next day! I went over to my parents' house and enjoyed a little time with my mom and then went into work for a little bit. By 2:00, I was starting to feel pretty uncomfortable so I left the shop and went home. By that point, I was having what I thought might be regular contractions but they were super light. Enough to notice and feel but not so bad that I couldn't walk around or do what I needed to do. 

Stephen wrapped up work, we finished the last minute details on our hospital bags and dropped off Sophie with my dad at my parents' house. I was honestly emotional dropping her off. Soph has been my sidekick for 10 years and it felt so strange knowing we were leaving our home and her and going to return home with a new addition. We stopped by Chick-fil-a on our way to the hospital and by 7:00pm, I was all checked in, in my hospital gown, and listening to the plan of what would happen next. 

Once hooked up to the monitor, our nurse confirmed that I was having regular contractions. After a check-in with my doctor, I was started on Cytotec to get the process started. And a funny little add-on - one of the doctors in the office I go to is incredibly accurate when guessing baby weight. Just by feeling around on my belly, she guessed that our baby would be 8 pounds, 2 ounces. Keep reading to see what she weighed!

That night felt so long but also fairly uneventful for the most part. I started feeling contractions a little more strongly but nothing major but I also couldn't sleep. I finally relaxed a little bit and started watching Netflix, but then out of nowhere, Virginia Parker's heart rate dropped randomly. Our nurse came in quickly, had me readjust and move around, and it thankfully picked back up but I couldn't relax after that. All I did was listen to her heartbeat on the monitor and feel her little kicks. Time seemed to move so incredibly slowly.

The next morning, they did a check to see if I was anymore dilated and I was making progress but still had a ways to go. Since I was contracting on my own, they started the Pitocin drip but kept it fairly light so my body could do what it needed to do somewhat naturally. By the time I was 3.5 cm, I was really feeling the contractions. It felt too early to get the epidural but I was also over it - no shame here! Within 30 minutes of receiving it, I was feeling so much better and that's when things really started to pick up. Around 5cm, my doctor broke my water and then before I knew it, the afternoon had progressed and it was time to push!

About 30 minutes before she arrived, I started to panic. Despite the epidural, I had a few "hot spots" (places where the epidural had worn off) and I was feeling a pain in my abdomen and back that was unreal. I had a panic attack and remember telling Stephen, "I really can't do this." My sweet labor and delivery nurse (she was seriously the best!) was so supportive and reminded me that there was no indication that I wasn't able to push her out as she was so close! I'll spare a lot of the details, but after 2.5 hours of pushing, some serious nausea and sickness, and a lot of coaching from Stephen, our incredible labor and delivery nurse, and our amazing doctor, Virginia Parker made her debut at 10:39pm weighing 8 pounds and 1 ounce (our doctor was only an ounce off!) and 20.5 inches long.  

She was laid on my chest very quickly and that's when things became a bit of a blur. She had some fluid in her lungs and the cord was wrapped around her neck twice, so a team of nurses got started on her and they prepared to take her down to the NICU. Meanwhile, my doctor was so collected in helping me through the last part of labor and very calmly told me that I had a tear she was stitching but also some bleeding that they needed to get under control. At that moment, I felt so overwhelmed as I knew things weren't quite right with me and they were also taking my brand new baby down to the NICU which is never what you imagine with your newborn.

I ended up with a postpartum hemorrhage, which meant that I had to stay put in labor & delivery while Virginia Parker went down to the NICU while they stabilized the bleeding. When everything was chaotic, Stephen was literally in the middle of us trying to decide where he should be. I told him he should go with her so he headed down to be with her and get details on how she was. It was such a surreal feeling in those moments. I was nauseous and dizzy and ended up throwing up again due to the loss of blood and it just wasn't at all what I pictured in terms of meeting our baby for the first time. 
Thankfully, my doctor and nurse were so encouraging and just tried to get me to relax, reminding me that I was okay and that our baby would be okay as well. I tried to get some rest but had another sleepless night, as I just wanted to go see our baby.

One of the incredible things our NICU offers is a camera that lets you check in on your baby. I was able to login to her camera and check on her anytime and the nurses would even leave us little notes to give us an update or let us know we were ready to eat. So in the middle of the night, I literally just stared at her little camera and watched her. 

The next morning, once my doctor concluded that I was stable and could move from labor and delivery to the mother and baby unit, I was finally able to go see our daughter! I had very low energy due to blood loss so Stephen wheeled me around the hospital in a wheel chair for the next three days. He was seriously the rock in all of this - he changed her first diaper because I felt too weak to stand and was so supportive when I would feel so overwhelmed with all the emotion of normal postpartum feelings plus having a newborn in the NICU. 

We spent the next couple of days in the NICU watching our sweet baby continue to improve. She was taken off of her C-Pap fairly quickly and was transitioned from a feeding tube to formula within that first 24 hours. She even took out her oxygen cannula several times so they decided she was great on her own without it - we knew then and there she was going to be our strong, independent girl. Despite the overwhelming feelings of our extra time spent in the hospital, I have good memories of Stephen and I's time together - of our late-night escapades across the hospital with him pushing me around in a wheelchair on the hunt for something decent to eat. 
Finally, on Saturday, I had improved enough to be discharged and we learned that there was a good chance we would be able to take our daughter home as well. Due to my blood loss, I was offered a blood transfusion but decided to just go the route of a lot of iron supplements. After getting through all of the discharge info in the mother/baby unit, we headed down to the NICU in hopes that we could take our daughter home. 

Sure enough, we finally were able to leave the hospital all together. It was such a surreal feeling as Virginia Parker was unhooked from all of her monitors and we dressed her in a little outfit for the first time. I will never forget riding through town sitting in the back seat with our baby and arriving at our house for the first time with our new addition and getting to introduce her to her big puppy sister!

While our first weeks with our sweet baby were so special, I will be honest and say they that the emotions of our birth experience were hard for me to process as well. I would get a sick feeling every time I thought about the hospital and would randomly cry thinking about what happened and what could have happened. My recovery wasn't the easiest due to the fact that I was so weak from the hemorrhage and that made me more emotional as well. It took a solid couple of weeks for me to feel even remotely like myself energy-wise.

I also know that we were so lucky that despite a stay in the NICU, there are mamas who have to leave their babies for weeks and months and there are also situations that don't have a favorable outcome. All this to say - I think so much of a postpartum experience is understanding that it's okay to feel all the things and to take the time to process anything you need to. 

The last two months have been a blur but some of the best moments of my life. Our VPW is strong, sweet and the happiest little baby. I have loved getting to know everything about her as we figure out the world together. We are so in love with our sweet baby! Welcome to the world, Virginia Parker Wiggins!

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