Remy’s pregnancy, labor, and delivery was far from normal. From the second I found out I was pregnant with her, I knew it would be a challenge but little did I know just how much of a challenge it would be. After I had my brain surgery at 13 weeks pregnant, I still felt like something was off with the pregnancy. I couldn’t connect to Remy no matter how hard I tried and something always get off. Thankfully, through all my appointments and ultrasounds in Tennessee everything with Remy was perfect. Then we moved to Washington and everything changed in a matter of days.
My first appointment was the day after we got her and I was sent for a growth ultrasound since I was 32 weeks pregnant and considered high risk. It took 2 weeks before I could be the appointment set up and that’s when everything changed. We found our Remy had hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a hypoplastic aortic arch, and a bicuspid aortic valve. This drastically changed my plans for labor and delivery since she would need open heart surgery shortly after birth. At 36 weeks, I relocated to the Ronald McDonald House in Seattle to have Remy watched closely at the children’s hospital until delivery. My induction date was set for December 22 and Remy would be taken right to the children’s hospital after birth and I would follow shortly after since I was given birth at the University of Washington.
My mom flew in on Wednesday and I woke up Thursday morning and noticed I was bleeding which was exactly how my labor started with Mackenzie. I went to the hospital to get checked out and I was in early labor! I wasn’t having any contractions so I just went back to the Ronald McDonald House for the day. Throughout the day, I was having some contractions and still bleeding but nothing major. By 3 a.m., I woke up because I was so uncomfortable and made a call to labor and delivery at the hospital and they had me come in. I was still around 3-3.5 cm dilated but since it was the day before my scheduled induction, we decided to just admit me and let me rest there and see where I was in the morning.
Around 8 a.m. the doctor’s started coming in and going over my plan for the day.They were going to start my induction that day since I was already in early labor. The plan was to start with a foley bulb and see where things go from there. However, foley bulbs will really only help you dilate to 4 cm or so before it falls out. So I was checked to see how far along I was by this point to see if a foley bulb was an option. I was already at 4 cm so that plan went out the window. We decided to just let me keep laboring on my own and not do anything to speed the process along at this point. I had amazing labor and delivery nurses the entire time! I was hooked up to monitors to check Remy’s heart rate and my contractions.
I pretty much just labored on my own for the next few hours. However, the machines were pretty awful and weren’t picking up Remy’s heart rate or my contractions consistently so they had to be readjusted ALL the time. The nurses were in and out of my room all the time checking on Remy and her heart rate. At one point, I was getting out of the tub and felt my water break. It was so different from with Kenzie since I was pushing with her when it broke and it was a huge gush. This time is was a slow trickle but I knew it broke. There was so issues with determining if it actually broke or not so I was checked again and sure enough it broke and I was finally at a 5. This is where my labor stalled. I hit a mental block and it was so scary. Once I knew my water broke, I was so scared Remy would come just as fast as Kenzie did and it really hit me hard.
I cried a lot at this point. I remember saying I wasn’t ready for Remy to be here and I wanted to keep her in and keep her safe. I know once she was born we were facing so much uncertainty but if I got to keep her in longer than she would be safe. This point in my labor was so emotion for me and I wasn’t able to overcome this part in my labor on my own. It really stalled me and I spent a long time at 5 cm so we decided to start me on a low dose of pitocin. This was not an easy decision for me at all but I knew it was the best option for me and Remy. Pitocin was the devil. It was horrible. I was having double peaking pit contraction followed by my body having its’ own contractions. I wasn’t getting a break and the monitors still were not picking up on my contractions and we kept getting weird readings for Remy. Even with the change of monitors, the readings were still off. I couldn’t get through the triple peaking contractions and start getting horrible headaches, which we knew might happen if my VP shunt started not working while in labor and also started having panic attacks. I needed to be hooked up to a heart monitor for myself and we were hoping my headaches would go away once labor was over.
Things started to get really scary around this time and Remy’s heart rate started to drop. Her heart rate needed to be watched very closely due to her CHD’s and we knew if it got to low a c-section would 100% be needed. My room was actually right next to the surgery room just in case her heart rate dropped too quickly and we needed to get her out ASAP.
Because of her heart rate and my issues with my shunt and the panic attacks, we decided the safest option for both of us was for me to get an epidural. This was not something I planned or even wanted especially after my horrible experiences with my spinal taps before my surgery back in June. But I knew we needed to get things under control as safely as possible to hopefully avoid a c-section. The epidural semi-worked for me. The left half of my body was numb but I could still feel the right side and could still feel 80% of the contractions but they weren’t as strong as before. They had to re-adjust the epidural several times and there was still a majority of time where I was still feeling everything.
Finally, I felt the urge to push. I told the nurses they needed to call my doctor back in because it was time. He came in pretty fast and checked me again and he told me I was fully dilated and they could see her head. The way he said all of that is still so funny to me because he said it like he didn’t even really believe it himself. My MFM doctor happened to be on call that day too and she came in the room and was so excited she got to be there for Remy’s birth. They wanted me to do a “practice” push then things got real. She was already halfway out and they had to quickly call the NICU and CICU staff. Before I knew it, they were taking apart the bed, gloving up, my room was full of doctors nurses, and specialist and we were ready. I pushed just a few times and Remy was out!! At 5:09 pm our sweet little fighter was here. From the time I told the nurses I had to push to the time Remy was born, was a grand total of 6 minutes. My mom was able to get the whole thing on video and everyone was surprised with how fast it went.
Once she was born, she was placed on my chest but her breathing was shallow and she wasn’t crying like they would like. It felt like it was only a few seconds before the NICU doctor said she needed to take Remy so they could help her. I cried, a lot. I barely got to see her but I remember saying how soft and warm she was. It was weird describing what she felt like but those are the two words I remember saying. Remy was kept in the room with me while they worked on her and stitched me up. Koryn stayed by Remy the entire time and my mom stayed with me.
Remy’s oxygen levels were pretty low so they needed to take her to the NICU to help me. The doctor brought her to me so I could give her a kiss before they took her away. It would be 2+ hours before I could see her. Koryn kept me updated with what was going on with Remy and let me know she needed to be intubated and sedated. Transport from Seattle Children’s Hospital arrived around 7pm to come take Remy to the children’s hospital. They Brought her down to see me before loading her into the ambulance for her ride over. Remy was sedated and looked so so tiny. I got to hold her hand and talk to her but I was only allowed to see her for 2 minutes before transport said she needed to go. This was one of the hardest things I had to face. I was still dealing with postpartum issues and now my newborn was heading down the street and I would have to wait to hear about what the plan was for her surgery. Koryn went with Remy and I was moved to the recovering ward. By 11 p.m. I was cleared to leave and head over to the Children’s hospital but Remy was stable and there wasn’t any plans for anything to be done that night so we decided I would just stay the night at the University hospital and rest before heading over in the morning.
The next few days and weeks we so emotional for our family but our sweet little Remy is such a fighter.I’m sure there are things about her labor and delivery that I forgot or even blocked out for one reason or another. Overall, Remy’s birth did not go as planned but I am at peace with how it went and I know everything happens for a reason exactly how it was supposed to happen. Remy has been the perfect addition to our family and she completes our family.