Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Carter's Story

This is a detailed account of the events that took place up to the birth of our sweet little Carter this weekend. I've had a lot of people ask questions about what happened, so here it is! It's a little lengthy and there are no pictures, but it describes what happened this weekend that eventually resulted in the early birth of our son. I hope this answers some questions! And pictures will come this week!

. . .

My heart is incredibly full today. Tyson and I are so grateful for our sweet little Carter and we know that the Lord was watching out for us through our ordeal this weekend.

I want to always remember the details of what happened through the week and the weekend leading up to Carter’s birth and to share with him how we both survived that day. The reality of everything that happened and is happening is just now starting to hit me and I’m feeling very overwhelmed and emotional. I only hope I can pull myself together to get through the weeks ahead.

Memorial Day Weekend

Tyson, Brycen, and I spent a great weekend in Idaho Falls for Memorial Day. We enjoyed a lot of family time with fun bbq’s and lots of pictures. I was feeling super uncomfortable and my stomach felt so tight for how far along I was (31 weeks at the time). I could feel the baby’s feet up in my ribs and I was just burning. I was having a hard time sitting in certain places.

Our last bbq was on Memorial Day and it was at Tyson’s sister Angie’s house. I was feeling all sorts of uncomfortable still and had a hard time finding a good place to even sit down. We enjoyed the food and family time before packing Brycen up to head back to Utah. We said our goodbyes to Tyson’s family, knowing we wouldn’t be coming back to Idaho till the end of August/Septemberish. We left Angie and Steve’s house and of course I started to cry. I cry every time we leave Idaho! We stopped at my parents’ house to gather up the suitcases and say goodbye to my parents. By this time I was an emotional wreck. We soon decided that it would be so fun if Brycen and I stayed for a couple more days and my mom could bring us back to Utah later in the week. Tyson was fine with the idea but had his worries. The idea of his pregnant wife and his son being in Idaho without him was always a little scary. But we would only be there for a couple extra nights and see Tyson before we knew it. It was another emotional goodbye as Brycen and I walked Tyson outside. He got in the van and drove out of the driveway. Brycen ran down the driveway after him yelling his name, wondering where he was going. Of course this made me cry too! He turned around, put his hands up in question and said, “Daddy?” I told him he went bye bye and that we’d see him in a few days.

Tuesday, May 29th

Tyson got home safely and went to work the next day. Brycen and I woke up that same morning and got ready to go to the zoo with Mom, Amber and Tayen, and Britney and Boston. We met them at the entrance and spent the rest of our morning there enjoying the monkeys, lions, and all the other fun animals. I pushed Brycen around in his stroller a little bit but felt fine. When we got to the steeper walkway up to the penguins I decided to go for it. I made the trek up there, pushing my 30-pound toddler in his stroller and feeling the burn in my calves. I was a little winded, but otherwise felt fine. We enjoyed the rest of the zoo then left to have lunch at Carino’s.

Later that afternoon I started feeling pains that felt like contractions that I felt when I was in pre-term labor with Brycen. All of a sudden I couldn’t feel the baby up high anymore and he felt and looked so much lower. Amber and Mom were both there with me and were helping me time these contraction-like pains. I drank water and lied down on my left side, but the pains kept coming back. The pains weren’t consistent but they were definitely there. I got a little worried and decided to give my friend Scott a call. He is my former OB doctor’s PA and I’ve called him multiple times with pregnancy-related questions. I was able to get a hold of him immediately and I explained to him how I was feeling. I told him about our trip to the zoo and that I may have overdone it with all of the walking and pushing Brycen. He told me that most likely my uterus had gotten strained and that it was now trying to contract back down to where it needed to be. He said the zoo trip could have done it but that it sounded like I had overworked my uterus. In the meantime I still needed to keep track of how many pains I was having. If they continued throughout the night I needed to go see a doctor in the morning and get checked. He told me to call Dr. Leavitt’s office and that they would most likely let me come in because I am a former patient. If not, I would have to go to labor and delivery. I hated the thought of having to go to the hospital that was out of our network for insurance and getting charged out our ears to get checked! My mom and I decided that if things got worse through the night that she would take Brycen and I back to Ogden. I hated the thought of our last couple of days together being ruined by something like this. But it seemed like a safe idea if things got worse.

Wednesday, May 30th

The pains continued throughout the evening, some a lot worse than others. I was getting a little worried but decided to wait it out through the night to see if things got any better. I went to bed at about 10:45 and decided not to time any of the pains. By 12:45 am I was in a lot of pain and decided to time the pains again. My doctor here had told me at multiple appointments that if I was feeling contractions and had more than six in an hour for two hours I should come in and get checked. I was definitely feeling at least six an hour for two hours. But I wasn’t sure if they were contractions or not because I wasn’t feeling any pain in any place but my lower back. My stomach stayed soft and everything. I still felt very worried as the pain got worse. At 3 am I decided to get in the shower and get my suitcase packed. I had a feeling that I needed to get back to Ogden just in case things got worse-or if I went to get checked somewhere and I happened to go into labor. I needed to get back home to Ogden and be closer to my doctor and hospital.

I had three of those awful pains just while I was in the shower. By this time they were close together and so painful they were bringing me to the ground. I remembered feeling this way when I was getting ready to have Brycen. After showering and getting my suitcase packed, I walked into my parents’ room and let them know I needed to go back to Ogden. I cried and cried, not just from the pain but I was so sad that I wouldn’t be able to spend time with my family and enjoy the activities that we had planned together. I also knew how long it would be till we’d be back in Idaho again and I was crushed just thinking about it. Mom and Dad were very understanding, and Mom immediately got packing. I snuck into Brycen’s room and packed up his suitcase while he slept. He looked so peaceful lying there in his bed. Dad came in at 4:30 to get Brycen up. I was surprised at how chipper he was for being woken up so early! He hugged my dad and was very happy to see him. I continued to struggle to get his suitcase packed but wanted to hurry and get going. At about 5:00 Mom, Brycen, and I were all set and ready to go. Dad stood by the car and said a prayer for us. I felt the spirit so strongly in his prayer and I knew that everything was going to be ok. Brycen said his sweet, “Bye” to my dad as we pulled out of the driveway. I started to cry and pretty much had a meltdown about what was going on. I apologized to Mom for pretty much ruining the weekend. She assured me that the weekend wasn’t ruined and that it was more important that we get to Ogden just in case something was going on.

Brycen was a really good boy the whole way to Ogden. Usually I spend a lot of time reaching back picking things up he’s dropped and passing back snacks. We had put a movie on for him on my parents’ portable DVD player and he sat and watched it the whole way. I passed snacks back a couple of times and that was it. He didn’t have a meltdown or anything. I continued to have severe pains all the way down to Utah. I was grateful when a car was driving in front of us because I used them as focal points for concentration. We pulled up to our apartment building at about 7:30 am. Tyson met us out front and I just cried when I saw him. I was so happy to finally be in Ogden with him, but I was crushed that my last week in Idaho for a long time had been ruined. I was especially missing Amber at that time. The last time I had talked to her she had left my parents’ house with sweet Tayen and we were talking about the Texas Roadhouse fundraiser lunch we were going to the next day. She said to me, “See you tomorrow! I’m excited to hang out this week!” I didn’t even get to say goodbye to her or anybody else in the family.

We got everything inside the apartment and Tyson and I decided to go over to the hospital. Mom stayed with Brycen while we drove over to McKay-Dee Hospital. I had somewhat of a major meltdown on the way to the hospital and Tyson got an earful about my feelings. I was so frustrated about what was going on and he felt bad. I was really sad that Amber was back in Idaho and I really missed her. We arrived at the hospital, entering through the Emergency Room, and went right up to Labor and Delivery. I dressed down to a gown and the nurse hooked me up to the machine for fetal monitoring and contraction monitoring. She and another nurse had a hard time finding the baby’s heartbeat and putting the monitor in the right spot to track it. Then one of them asked if my doctor has said anything about the baby possibly being breech. I said no and that was the end of it. Those two ended up being called out to take part in a c-section so the charge nurse came in to continue with us. She contacted my doctor and informed her of what was going on. I had two tests done while I was there: a Strep-B test and a fetal fibronectin test. She also checked me and we found that I was completely tight and closed off. I wasn’t progressing at all and I was so relieved. We waited almost an hour before our test results were back. The fetal fibronectin was negative, which meant that I was in the clear and wouldn’t be having a baby for at least two weeks. I thought to myself about how weird that test was. How could a test possibly determine when I was or wasn’t going to have a baby? I trusted what the nurse was saying and believed that I wasn’t having a baby in the too near future, but it still bugged me that this test was supposedly going to read my future. The nurse also explained that since there were no contractions showing up on the monitor and I wasn’t progressing at all, there was nothing she could do for me. She couldn’t give me anything for the pain because there wasn’t any proof that anything was happening with the baby. She and my doctor considered giving me Procardia to ease the pain of the contractions, but since the contractions weren’t really there I didn’t have anything for the medicine to stop. It would have been pointless to purchase and take. I was frustrated because I was in pain while I was sitting there, yet nothing was showing up on the monitor. The only things she had to say were to not pick up Brycen anymore, to track fetal movements, and to watch for contractions. She explained what a contraction would feel like if I had one, including tightness in the stomach. The pains I was feeling were all in my lower back and felt just like they did when Brycen was born. We left feeling frustrated.

That night, Amber and Tayen were driven halfway to Malad by her mother-in-law, Nari. Mom and Tyson met them there and picked them up to bring them back down to Ogden and they would leave with Mom on Sunday. I was so excited to have Amber and Tayen there with us! We were going to have so much fun that weekend, and I was just so happy that Amber and Tayen would be there. It was wonderful!

Thursday, May 31st

I rescheduled my doctor appointment for the next morning and brought my mom with me for a second set of ears. I met with my doctor and a routine check-up continued. We talked about not being able to get a prescription for any pain medication and I asked her questions about how I was feeling. I explained the super sharp pains I was feeling and how they felt like the back labor I felt with Brycen. She assured me that I wasn’t having contractions and that what I was feeling was fetal movements. She told me that sometimes the fetal movements are just painful and every pregnancy is different. I still felt like it was something else going on, but she wasn’t concerned at all about it. She continued to assure me that nothing was going on with me and that sadly I was just having a rough pregnancy. When she checked my stomach, she noticed how big the baby seemed to be. I mentioned to her what the nurses said about the baby being breech and she wasn’t concerned. She said even if he was breech that it wasn’t a big deal at this point. The doctor left us confident that we had nothing to worry about but also sorry that there wasn’t anything we could do. I had blood work done after she left to test my platelet count and iron levels. Mom and I left the appointment feeling like we had no reason to worry about what was going on, and possibly Brycen and I could go back to Idaho with her and Amber to spend the week. I was so excited about that idea!

Friday, June 1st

We had a relaxing couple of days watching movies and eating popcorn and M&M’s. I continued to have these “fetal movement” pains but didn’t think much of them because of what the doctor said. On Friday night we rented “Thor” and watched it after Brycen went to bed. The pains I had started getting worse and I decided to time them. However, I was very confused because I wasn’t sure if I should even bother with timing them. They felt nothing like what my doctor and the nurse said a contraction would feel like so I didn’t know what to do. All I knew is that they were painful. I took a bathroom break partway through the movie and ended up passing my mucus plug. I was calm but kind of freaking out in my mind. It seemed too early to pass it. I passed it at 34 weeks with Brycen and he was born exactly a week later. I went out to the living room and let everyone know what had happened. They seemed alarmed and I decided to go look online to see what others were saying about this. There were multiple women how passed theirs between 28 and 32 weeks and ended up carrying their babies to full term. Others weren’t quite that lucky but still carried till around 36 weeks. I decided to call my doctor just to be sure. It was about 10:45 that evening when I talked to her (she was the on-call doctor that night). I asked her my questions and she seemed irritated and short with me. She asked me a whole bunch of questions (Did your water break? Is your stomach tightening? Are you bleeding? etc) and told me that mucus during pregnancy is normal. I told her about how painful my back pains were and she kept reminding me that my fetal fibronectin was negative, meaning no baby in two weeks, and what I was feeling was just pregnancy and ligament pains. She reminded me what contractions would feel like as well. I got off the phone feeling like I had just bugged her. She didn’t pay much attention to what I was telling her and I felt like what I was telling her wasn’t that big of a deal. But if I felt like I needed to be checked I needed to go to Labor and Delivery at the hospital.

Saturday, June 2nd

I went to bed that night and hardly slept. I was in pain almost the entire night and lying on my side did nothing to fix the problem. The pains continued through the morning and seemed to get worse. Mom, Amber, and Tyson were all concerned about what was going on. There was even one point where Amber read through a list she found online and asked me a bunch of questions. I answered all of them, and it ended up being symptoms of pre-term labor. I matched almost all of the symptoms. Tyson and I decided to go to the hospital again to make sure everything was ok. I dressed in the gown and got hooked up to the bands. The pains continued and I was anxious to see if they showed up on the monitor. The line was barely moving and I felt frustrated. The nurse checked me and it was so painful. It was much more painful than before. Sure enough, my cervix was still closed and I was not progressing. The nurse felt bad for me because she knew I was in pain. And again I was denied anything for the pain. I cried in frustration. She reviewed my discharge papers and talked to me about what to watch for when having contractions. She told me my stomach would feel like a basketball and get super tight. She also said that the baby could be stretching or sitting on a nerve, causing the pain I was feeling. She apologized for not being able to give us more information or much help and sent us on our way. We left and I struggled to the car in pain. I felt frustrated and cried. The pains I was having didn’t feel like painful fetal movements or ligament pains like everyone was saying. And if I wasn’t in labor, I just wanted some relief! The thought of going through this for 8 more weeks was painful to think about.

Tyson and I were hungry so we stopped at Wendy’s on the way home to get everyone lunch. My pains continued the whole way home. Mom and Amber were shocked to hear that I was coming home with the same results as the last visit. They knew how much pain I was in and couldn’t believe there wasn’t anything going on. We ate our lunch and talked about what was happening. Before I knew it, my pains were increasing and happening more often. Tyson made a quick run to Walmart for a few things and the three of us stayed back at the apartment. I was feeling a lot more pain and found myself on the floor for a lot of it. I was struggling keeping myself composed during these pains, and the only way to feel somewhat relief was by kneeling on the floor and grabbing the couch. Before I knew it, these pains were about a minute to a minute and a half apart and excruciating. I was screaming through it and begging for relief. I didn’t know what to do or who to call. The hospital wouldn’t even help me, and if the hospital won’t help, who will? Tyson got back and saw how much pain I was in. He gave me a blessing and I struggled to hold it together. The tears poured from my face as the pains came shooting across my lower back and into my lower abdomen. Amber was sure I was in labor, yet my cervix was tight and shut. Tyson decided to call Scott for a second opinion. Scott could hear me screaming in the background and couldn’t believe they wouldn’t give me anything for the pain. At this point, Amber and Mom had left the room in tears because they couldn’t handle watching me in so much pain. Scott said he was sure there was something they could have given me and he was really surprised they didn't. He was also surprised they didn't do an ultrasound. He said I needed to find another primary caregiver if I wasn’t going to get any help. And then he mentioned the possibility of a kidney stone. When Tyson got off the phone with him and told me what he said I immediately believed that a kidney stone was what I had. What else could it be? I heard they are painful and pain was what I was feeling.

That was our decision maker. I didn't want to go back to the hospital because they were just going to turn me away. But I was in such horrible pain I didn’t know what else to do. I was begging for some form of relief during all of the pain, whether someone knocked me out, I received some form of medication, or if death finally took me. It was the most horrible thing I’ve ever gone through. I was so grateful that Scott had been called and that he brought up kidney stones! I had to wait for one of my pains to pass before I could go down to the van. Once I felt relief I ran down to the van and hopped in. Tyson ran a few red lights to get to the hospital. I was screaming more than I ever have in my life the whole way there. The pain was overwhelming. We finally pulled up to the ER and Tyson dropped me off at the curb. I walked in the doors and could feel another pain coming on. I went right to the floor in pain and started screaming. Before I knew it, I had four ER employees surrounding me and asking me what was wrong. I had to shoosh them and tell them I needed a minute before I could talk. Immediately one of them said, “She’s in labor.” Tyson eventually came in and they took us back to a triage room. They asked me questions and I mentioned that I had been in Labor and Delivery just a couple of hours before. They were surprised to hear me say that and immediately called upstairs. The girl told whoever it was on the phone that she had an Allison Miller down there who had been up there earlier in the day and that she was in labor. It was quiet (besides my screaming) while the person on the other end responded. I soon found out what the other person said when the ER girl angrily responded (in so many words), “I don’t care if she wasn’t in labor when she was there earlier, she is now. And I refuse to deliver a baby down here when you guys are perfectly capable. I’m bringing her up.” All I could think was, “Great. Time to get checked and turned away again!” I sat down in the most awkward wheelchair ever and they started pushing me to the elevator. This chair was one of those with the slanted backs and they forced me to lay all the way back in it. When I felt a pain coming on I leaned forward, but the girl driving the chair made me sit all the way back. I screamed and screamed in pain and couldn’t bear it. It was so awful.

Thank goodness Labor and Delivery is a short elevator ride up to the fourth floor and right in front me when the elevator doors opened. They wheeled me into the triage area and there stood the nurses from earlier. They couldn’t believe that I was there again and in so much pain. They wanted me to get up on the bed so they could track the fetal movements and what really ended up being contractions. I got up there but soon had to jump back off so I could deal with the pain bent over toward the floor. As soon as I got through that one I jumped back on and told them to hurry and check me because another was coming. The nurse who checked me earlier checked me again and this time she said, “I feel the baby’s feet. You need to have a c-section.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!! I was in total shock, and so were the nurses. At this point I heard a lot of, “She wasn’t even dilated earlier” or “Her fetal fibernectin was negative” and “Her cervix was completely shut earlier.” And I didn’t want to hear it! I said to just forget about it right now and get me some drugs. Before I knew it my doctor came around the corner. She apologized up and down for what was going on, and sure enough that “fetal fibernectine” crap kept coming up. I was bugged but just wanted some drugs! I got the IV and a shot of terbutaline to lessen the contractions. At this point that shot hardly did anything and I was still in a ton of pain. It wasn’t until they got me to the operating room and gave me an epidural that I felt the relief. I couldn’t remember what it was like to not feel pain. And it was the most wonderful thing! I was in heaven.

The surgery went really well. I had zero pain the entire time and I felt very relaxed. And before I knew it I could hear the sweetest sound in the world: the cry of our sweet little Carter. My doctor showed him to Tyson first and let him take some pictures, then she came around the other side and showed him to me. He was so tiny and so beautiful. He looked like a mini Brycen with blonde hair. I was so happy I could hardly stand it. Like with Brycen, little Carter was passed through the window into the nicu for the nurses to take. Tyson went with them and watched him get cleaned up. Pretty soon one of the nurses poked her head through the door with Carter’s stats: 4 lb. 7 oz, 17 ½ inches long. Only an inch and a half shorter than Brycen was at birth-I was impressed! He’s such a tiny little thing and we love him so much.

After the surgery I was in post-op when the nurse who had sent me home earlier that day came up to us in tears. She felt awful for sending me home and told me that something like this has never happened to her before. I told her that I wasn’t mad at her and that it wasn’t her fault, but I did want her to be more open-minded when patients come through Labor and Delivery like I did. More needs to happen if a patient says they are feeling pain (like an ultrasound), even if they aren’t progressing in any way. There could be something else wrong, just like in our case.

Carter’s birth was such a scary day yet one of the most wonderful days of my life. We’re just so happy our little Carter is here and safe. The Lord was watching out for us that day and we feel so blessed that Carter and I are both healthy and safe. After the surgery it was discovered that I had a placenta abruption where my placenta became disconnected from the uteran wall. A lot of babies don’t survive during such an ordeal. And to top it all off, Carter was footling breech so his legs were crossed and pointing down. The lower half of his body from his waist down is black and purple with bruises from what he went through. If we had stayed at our apartment too much longer it would have been too late to get to the hospital and Carter would have died. And I could have possibly died due to labor complications. It’s hard to even comprehend the what-ifs of all of this. I can’t imagine ever losing a child. And in this case, the fact that I kept getting turned away from the hospital when I knew something wrong brings me a lot of frustration and anger. I knew that what was going on with my body wasn’t right and no one would listen to me.

Despite everything that happened, I feel so grateful that my little baby is doing well and growing stronger every day. Every time we go see him he is eating more food and doing better and better. He’s been on and off the phototherapy lights, but that is something that is expected for a baby that premature. We’re just so happy that he is so healthy and strong for being so young. We love him so much and we feel so blessed to have had the outcome we had. The Lord was on our side. And even though we have to leave Carter behind just like we did with Brycen in the nicu, we know he is at the best place he could be. He is being well taken care of there. This time around it’s going to be harder for us to get to the nicu as often. We were thrilled to find out that the nicu has a web cam system where we can watch our little boy in his bed from home. There is a camera right above him and we can watch him when we’re not there. This feature is really going to help us through this process, especially me. I’m so grateful for eternal families and I’m grateful for my growing family that I have. I love all three of my boys and I don’t know what I’d do without them.

And the latest: Tyson's parents came to Utah on Saturday after they found out we were having a baby. They stayed over night then took Brycen home to Idaho to stay with them till Wednesday. He'll be going with my family on Wednesday until Sunday when my mom and Amber bring him back to Utah. In the meantime, Tyson and I have been able to focus our time on Carter and I'll be using that extra time to heal and take it easy before Brycen comes home. The nicu doesn't allow kids Brycen's age inside so Brycen will have to wait till Carter comes home before he gets to meet him. But he will get to watch him on the web cam so that will be fun for him!

Thank you to all of you who have called, sent text messages, Facebook messages, e-mails, etc. asking how we're doing and sending us your love! We really appreciate all of you. We can feel all of the prayers that have come our way and we are so grateful for every last one of you. 


Idaho Reids said...

Man what a ordeal! You are way better than i would be. I would be thinking sue the dang hospital! I'm glad everything worked out and that carter is doing well! :) hopefully i can see you all soon!

Dara McFarlane said...

you're so strong!!! what an ordeal! Glad it had a happy ending, though! :) Congrats on the little miracle in your life!

Jarae said...

Oh my goodness Alli! I'm so glad everything turned out okay for the both of you. How frustrating and scary!!! I also thought while reading your experience that you had a kidney stone or infection. They are painful and no fun especially while being pregnant. I'm glad they finally figured everything out and were able to give you some relief and help your little boy. Can't wait to see some pictures of him. :) Congratulations!

Rachel said...

Ok I may or may not have cried during that whole post. I am so glad you guys are safe and were protected throughout the whole ordeal. Congrats on the new addition to the fam and I hope you recover quickly!

Kristie and Jake said...

OH MY GOSH!!!! That is so crazy. As I kept reading I kept thinking why don't they find out what is causing the pain. The whole fetal movement whatever crap!!! What a joke. I'm so sorry that this happen to you guys. But SOOO happy to hear that you all are doing well. Sending our prayers and love your way!!!

Amber said...

That was seriously one of the scariest moments of my life. I'm so glad I was there! That whole week was absolutely crazy. I'm so happy you and Carter are ok. He is so sweet I love him. Love you Al! See you soon!

the Petterson Family said...

I am mostly surprised that since you had preterm labor with Brycen, that they wouldn't make any connection and think...hmmm...maybe the same thing could be happening with this one! And I thought most people did an ultrasound with situations like this?...oh I just I wanted to cry in frustration for you while I was reading!

Thank goodness you listened to the spirit and your own body went back to the hospital, I am so glad that you and Carter are okay! I hope those days in the NICU go by quick and he continues to be healthy and strong! What a trooper! You are all so blessed! Congrats!

MeganandClaudy said...

I seriously started crying reading your post. How scary! I'm so glad you both are OK. I hope you heal fast, and that he continues to do well so you can all be together at home. Best of luck and lots of love.

Andy or Missy said...

I am so sorry you had to go through all of that!! How horrible!! Glad to know you are both doing good!

Joanie said...

Whenever I hear stories like this, I try and figure out what the nurse was thinking. How does this happen? As I was reading that you were in intense pain with no contractions registering and no progress, my first thought was abruption. And I'm not an L&D nurse. I'm really surprised they didn't try an ultrasound or something. I'm guessing it's because you are just too nice and probably didn't yell at them about how much pain you were in so they didn't believe you ;) JK. What a crazy story, though! So sorry you had to have so much pain! And that he is so early. You guys are amazing! Thanks for sharing your story.

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