Feisty as she was in the womb: The birth of Rylee

By Published On: February 13th, 2012Tags: ,
Written by: Erica

Zac and I found out we were expecting right after we returned from our honeymoon. Oops! 🙂 Our first little baby, Rylee Quinn was due January 1st, 2011.

We knew from the beginning that this pregnancy could and probably would have complications, but hoped we would be lucky and not experience any of them. Unfortunately, I have a Bicornuate Uterus so it complicates things. This means that instead of having a whole uterus with two fallopian tubes going to it, I have a wall in the middle that separates the uterus into two parts, each part having it’s own fallopian tube and ovary. There are different degrees of a BU, and mine isn’t as severely separated as some, but it’s still not ideal. With a BU, there is an extremely high risk for pre-term labor and babies being born with low birth weight.In addition to the funky uterus, I ALSO have a cervical membrane (so basically two cervices) AND a vaginal septum. Which means, no matter what, I would never be able to deliver a baby naturally.

Everything was going fabulous throughout the beginning of the pregnancy. No complications, no morning sickness (just didn’t want to eat!) and Rylee was growing properly, stomping on my bladder and being happy. I made it to 26 weeks before I started having problems.

On September 29th at 26 weeks and a couple of days, I had a sonogram scheduled to measure my cervical length because I was having some pains in my legs and vaginal area. The doctor suspected it could just be round ligament pain, but wanted me to get the cervical length measurement just in case. I went in, laid down on the table and they began the sonogram. As soon as the Tech inserted the probe, she jumped back and said “WHOA!” Baby’s foot was IN my cervix. A couple of seconds later, I felt a huge kick in my lower pelvic area, and the technician screamed “She just kicked me!!!” Rylee showed the Tech who was boss.

Unfortunately, as cute and funny as this was, it was also very bad. My cervix had begun to funnel and thin out. A normal cervix is 1 to 3 cm thick, and mine was 4 mm thick. Not much left at all. At any time, Rylee could kick again and cause my cervix to rupture and open, and I would be in full on labor. The tech called in my doctor, who called in another doctor and a nurse, and they all decided it would be best to admit me to the hospital so they could monitor myself and Rylee and make sure I didn’t go into labor.

Being in the hospital was pretty miserable. No sleep, people in the room constantly, shots, IVs more shots … they gave me two steroid shots to make Rylee’s lungs mature faster in case she decided to just come out already, and started giving me Magnesium to slow down/stop contractions. The weird thing was, I NEVER felt any contractions UNTIL they gave me the Magnesium! They weren’t bad, but I could definitely feel them, and it felt very weird. They started from my belly button, and radiated out across my stomach. It felt like my stomach kept falling asleep and tightening then it would loosen and go away.

I stayed in the hospital until Saturday, October 1st. The doctors let me leave with STRICT orders to be on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy. No work, no cleaning (ack), no cooking (oh no!), NOTHING! I could get up to go to the bathroom, shower every two days, and go to the doctor. I was ready to poke my eyeballs out before even going home, but it was the right thing to do! I was prescribed Procardia to keep any contractions at bay, and sent on my merry way!

From October 1st to October 7th, I sat in my bed like a good pregnant woman and worked from home, watched TV and relaxed. Saturday, October 8th, we had some friends bring us lunch, so I went downstairs and parked my butt on the porch to relax and hang out a bit. I had been feeling some little cramps since Friday night, but I thought it was the round ligament pain again being a pain. By Saturday, they started to get worse, and I had a horrible mucous discharge. And when I say horrible, I mean realllllly horrible. I called my husband’s brother’s wife who has a sister who is a NICU nurse to ask if she had any suggestions and the consensus was to call the doctor, so I did.

When I finally got to talk to my doctor, she mentioned that I had a bacterial infection that they found in my last visit, and told me someone should have called in a prescription for me that past Friday. No one ever did, and booooy was she pissed! She told me to go ahead and come in, so we packed up a bag quickly and ran out the door. The cramps were slowly getting more and more painful, but they never felt like the contractions I had the first time I was hospitalized.

We were at the hospital for about 45 minutes before my doctor finally came in. The cramps were still pretty painful, and when she checked my cervix she said I was 1 cm dilated and they would have to admit me again. About an hour later, I was put into a room where I’d be staying for an undetermined amount of time. The whiny part of me was so mad that I had to share a room with someone this time around. How was I going to have visitors and people to keep me sane without disrupting my roommate?!

Luckily I have an amazing husband, and he sat with me in the hospital until midnight on Saturday, then went home to sleep and was back in the a.m. to keep me company. Unfortunately, throughout the night, my cramps got more and more painful, and to top it off, I was starting to get feverish. By Sunday, October 9th around 10 a.m., I was having uncontrollable shakes, chills and profusely sweating all at the same time. It was AWFUL. I had a pretty crappy nurse through the night, and kept telling her I didn’t feel well, and she just brushed it off. After the shift change, I had a much better nurse who was very sympathetic about my pain and checked my temperature often. After a couple of hours, my fevers started getting worse, and by around 4:30 p.m., I had a fever of 102.4. The nurse called the doctor, and by 5 p.m. she was in the room checking my cervix.

I was 8 cm dilated, and very sick at this point. They had been pumping me full of antibiotics, but they didn’t seem to be helping. The doctor told me that it was time to have our baby for fear of further infection, and also let me know that I had a very severe infection in my uterus. The next 44 minutes went by VERY quickly. I was prepped for surgery, Zac was dressed in those throwaway scrubs and we were escorted to the operating room.

Because of my back issues (bulging disc and pinched nerves), they did a spinal instead of an epidural. This was by far the worst part so far. The Anesthesiologist who was on call was late, so they had to have a 4th year resident do it. She must not have done it a lot, or my back was being a pain because I swear she stuck me a million times! By the time she was done, they laid me down on the table and the doctor stated that my water had broken. They needed to get the baby out ASAP!

At 5:44 p.m. on October 9th, 2011, Rylee was plucked from my womb and handed off to the NICU doctor. She had the cord wrapped around her neck two and a half times, but the doctors and nurses didn’t seem alarmed, and had it off of her in seconds. She was perfectly pink, so I don’t think it was tight. I remember hearing the NICU doctor yell with excitement “She’s breathing on her own!!” which made me sooo happy! Zac got to go over and see her as she was being cleaned off and weighed. She was SO TINY!!! She weighed in at 2lbs 11oz and was 15.2 inches long. Apparently on the larger side for a 28 week old baby!

Even though Rylee could breathe on her own, they put in a nasal cannula to help her get a little extra oxygen in. I was so relieved she didn’t have to be intubated. I think that would have made it so much harder to have her taken out of the room. Zac got to go with the doctor and nurses to the NICU while my doctor began sewing me up.

They hooked Rylee up to a CPAP machine to give her a little extra oxygen boost, and inserted an IV and arterial line into her umbilical cord. She was put in her new Isolette home for safe keeping.

After being sewed up, I spent about 2 hours in recovery until I could feel my legs again. Once I was able to move my legs a little more and a room opened up, I was wheeled into the NICU on my hospital bed to see Rylee for a brief second. I could only see her feet though, and was able to touch them for a minute. They then wheeled me into my room where I spent the next week having fluids and drugs pumped into my system.

I found out Monday that I had had something called Chorioamnionitis. The only treatment is to deliver the baby and administer antibiotics. As a result of me being infected, baby Rylee unfortunately contracted an infection too. I’m guessing the infection stemmed from the bacterial infection I had, and it just got progressively worse over the week I was on bed rest, until I was admitted the second time.

I didn’t get to really see Rylee until the 11th because of my fevers. But when I was finally able to see her, it was amazing. She was so tiny and fragile and there were wires coming off of her everywhere. It was a little overwhelming at first, but I was so excited to finally see my baby. Up until this point, I had only seen the pictures my sister and Zac had taken of her.

I was so happy to finally see her. I was told we could hold her the next day, which really got my spirits up!I was supposed to be able to hold her on the 11th, but because of my fevers, I had to wait a bit. At 2 a.m. on Wednesday, I got to go hold my baby. It was even more amazing than seeing her! We did Kangaroo Care, where you hold the baby skin-to-skin. You can keep them outside of the Isolette much longer this way because your body temperature is helping to keep theirs up. She was so soft!

Over the first week, both of us received a slew of antibiotics. I fought off fever after fever, and my discharge date was pushed back from Wednesday to Thursday, then to Friday. I slept in a hospital bed for 6 days waking up drenched in sweat from sweating out fevers, only to have my temperature spike again a couple of hours later.

Thursday morning, the doctor who performed my C-section came to remove my staples. When she got there, she said there was a lot of fluid built up behind my incision, and she would need to open it up. YUCK. This was around 8 a.m., and Zac was still asleep on the couch next to my hospital bed. He slept through the removal of 9 of the 10 staples with ease, and fighting with the 10th one to come out. I screamed and cried out in pain, and he slept. She got a long Q-tip out to open up my incision, and opened it like it was a letter and she was using a letter opener. It hurt so bad! And still Zac slept. When the last 1/2 an inch was left, he finally woke up from hearing my cries. I still can’t believe he was able to sleep through all of it. She opened the rest of the incision, and I could feel fluid spilling out. It was disgusting. She then packed it with gauze, taped it up and went on her merry way. About an hour later, my normal OB came in for rounds, and was appalled that the staples had been removed so early (sigh). Later on that day, a wound care specialist came in to assess my incision and give us instructions on how to take care of it. They removed the gauze and tape used to cover it up, then got down to the gauze that was stuffed inside my incision. It was VERY dry, yet saturated with fluid and blood … and it was stuck inside my incision. This next part was probably the most painful part of being in the hospital so far. They pulled out the gauze slowly. It felt like ripping off a band aid while your skin is on fire. The nurse and wound care lady couldn’t believe it was done that way, and frankly, neither could I. It hurt so much! They showed us how to pack the wound properly. Zac was excited to learn how to do it as well. I’m so glad he isn’t squeamish!

FINALLY, Thursday evening after all the torture, I hadn’t had a fever in 24 hours, so it was looking like I would be able to go home on Friday, October 14th.

The on-call doctor came in Friday morning and told me I could go home if I felt up to it. I wanted to go home SO badly, but didn’t want to be far away from my baby. We went down to the NICU and visited her for a few minutes, then Zac packed all of our stuff, and we were ready to go home! We decided we would spend an hour or so in the NICU first though before leaving. It was bittersweet! I held her before going home and cuddled her soft, tiny little body.

Rylee is now a healthy 8.8lbs and is still as feisty as she was in the womb.

Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to birthstory@pnmag.com. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!