Noah Jeremiah DeYoung
EDD December 24, 2009
Born December 14, 2009
8 pounds 5 ounces

We started trying to get pregnant early summer of 2008 with no success.  We went to the doctor to talk about our options but decided to go the natural route.  I went to see an acupuncturist and he said that in 3 months I would be pregnant.  Well, of course I didn’t believe him.  Wouldn’t ya know… on my very last appointment with him at 3 months we found out we were expecting! We were so excited!

A week before Noah was born I went to the hospital because I thought my water had broken.  It had not...but I got to see his face again on the ultrasound!  I was getting to the end of my pregnancy so of course I was tired and ready to see my sweet baby!

The night of the 13th I was restless and having Braxton Hicks Contractions.  I had been having them throughout the end of my pregnancy and they were pretty strong so I just thought that’s what these were.  Early on the next morning I started to track the timing of the contractions and then I’d fall back asleep.  Jeremy, through his sleep, noticed a wake pattern and finally woke up and said it’s time to go to the hospital.  I was in total denial and kept telling him it was too early to go because I didn’t want to be sent home for false labor!  He showered and got dressed as I continued to have contractions...still in denial that this was the real thing. By this time it was Monday morning the 14th.  My due date wasn’t for another 10 days.  I think this is why I didn’t believe it was the real thing yet oh so ready to have our first child!  

Jeremy drove us to the hospital and was very calm throughout the entire drive.  We called my Mom and his parents and they met us at the hospital shortly thereafter.

The contractions were getting stronger after I got checked in, gowned up, and in the hospital bed.  I asked for an epidural.  Little did I know, this was a HUGE mistake.  
It took the anesthesiologist 3 attempts and he was unable to get the needle placed.  So they called his superior.  His superior attempted 3 times as well with no luck.  So they called up the head of anesthesiology to come place the line.  He finally got it after only one attempt.  

The epidural was a nice change of pace...I could finally relax.  Until...WOOOW!!!
White, hot lightning pain shot through me!  Contraction monitor was off the charts.  (This would be the first of several times they would have to recalibrate the machine to get my contractions on the screen.)  The epidural had worn off.  We immediately called the nurse and told her.  She of course said that couldn’t be what happened, but she called the anesthesiologist in anyway.  

When the anesthesiologist arrived he confirmed that the epidural had quit working.  The reason, you ask, I was given a spinal block instead which means they went too far in and  the medicine was going into the cerebrospinal fluid instead of the epidural space in my back.  A spinal only lasts about 45 minutes and then it wears off much quicker than an epidural.  

So every 45 minutes or so I would be out of pain and then wowzah pain!  After about 3 rounds they decided to try an epidural again.  So, again with the punctures to my spine.  He felt like he got it in.  I waited and waited and waited.  We called the nurse, something was wrong.  I was still in so much pain and it had been at least 30 minutes.  They tried to push more meds through the line.  The nurses hand was shaking she was pushing so hard on the syringe!

Still, no relief.  My Mom decided to look at the line and just make sure it was still taped in place.  Alas, it was not!  The entire line had backed it’s way out of my back!  No wonder none of the meds were working…they weren’t going anywhere.
So of course you can guess, another call to the anesthesiologist.  He came yet again and finally got the epidural placed.  

By the time this last epidural was placed it was just about time to push.  Problem now?  I have a spinal headache from the punctures to my spinal cord from multiple attempts to place the line.  Spinal fluid had leaked out and changed the fluid pressure around my brain and spinal cord. This felt like the longest day because I was in so much pain, and then no pain and then on-my-gosh pain, and then relief again and now the most excruciating skull crushing pain and pressure in my head.  If I had been prepared I totally could have done the whole thing without pain meds.  Heck, I have done it this far in the most pain...anything normal would be a breeze!

The doctor comes in to check me and I am 10 cm dilated but waters are intact.  He breaks my water and now it’s time to push.  The epidural meds are fully working so I am dead weight on the bottom half of my body.  I can not lift my head because of the immense head pain I am having and I can’t help lift my legs because they are so numb.  My Mom and Jeremy help with the task of, essentially, folding me in half to push this baby out. Imagine several pillows behind my head and neck to keep my neck and and head straight as the have on hand there and the other hand wrapped around my leg/knee pulling it up to my ears. Everytime I push I feel like my head might explode or at least my eyeballs.  I keep telling myself, “this is the end”, “you’re almost there”, “just do this”.  Mom and Jeremy kept switching places because they were tired from the pulling on me.
After about an hour and a half of pushing I got violently sick.  I knew this meant the very end but I was done. Physically.  Mentally.  Done.

After another hour of pushing, we have a beautiful baby boy! They gave him to me but I couldn’t move my neck to look at him so someone (at this point I don’t know who is in the room) helped bring him up to my face so I could see him.  They took him away to weigh, measure, warm up, etc.  Placenta was delivered and they quickly cleaned up and moved out.  A nurse turned down all of the lights and escorted everyone out and made it a quiet zone so that I could recover from my spinal headache.  

I wish this was the end of my story….but it is not.  
I honestly don’t remember much of details about the next 2 weeks but I will do my best to remember.  I may have to use Jeremy with help with details.  

I remember during this “quiet zone” the nursery nurses continuing to wake me up and ask if they could give Noah a bottle.  I said no every time.  I knew that he had at least 24 hours before he needed to eat and I really, really wanted to breastfeed!

I was finally able to get up and use the restroom and was moved to another room.  
I still had a horrible headache and so I was advised to get a blood patch to help.  What they do is take a small amount of my blood and inject it into the epidural space at the site of the original puncture.  This “patches” the leak of spinal fluid.  Because I had so many punctures I had several more patches during this procedure.  

After the procedure I did start to feel better. I had to stay lying flat on my back and the nurse would tell me when I could slowly sit my bed up.  I was offered food but wasn’t hungry because I was still in a funk from the meds and was unable to lift my head.  My back was so incredibly sore and stiff.

Shortly after my procedure the lactation consultant came in and tried breastfeeding but it was not working.  I was so sad.  I learned about pumping.  I don’t remember what happen until I was sent home the next day.  

I was given specific instructions, due to my blood patch, to be discharged.  

-For the first 24 hours after the procedure, I am not allowed to drive. (not a problem because I can’t drive after having a baby either)
-Don’t lift anything heavy or do any vigorous exercise. (well exercise is out due to just having a baby but not lifting my son will be difficult)
-I can take a shower, but can’t take a bath or go swimming. (again, not a problem, just had a baby)
-Do not walk up or down stairs (this one is difficult, seeing as we lived in a 3 story townhome.  Our bedroom and bathrooms were on the 3rd floor, kitchen was on the second floor and front door was on the first floor.)
-If your headache returns taking caffeine can help. (Okay, got it.)

There were probably more but those are the ones that stick in my mind. I had a good evening, Jeremy helped me a lot with Noah since I was unable to pretty much everything.  The night of the 16th, our first night home I wasn’t feeling well.  I woke up early the next morning, Thursday, with a horrible headache.  It felt the same as in the hospital, something was wrong.

I called my best friend before she left for work and asked her to bring over loads of caffeine to make the headache go away.  Nothing helped.  We called my Mom in Murfreesboro to come to our house in Franklin to take me to the hospital in Nashville. Her and my Step-Dad came and Jeremy stayed home with Noah and to work.  
It felt like forever to get to the hospital and it was a bumpy, uncomfortable ride.  
We got to the ER and I was taken back to a room fairly quickly.  I had a washcloth covering my face to keep out the light.  My blood pressure was “within normal range” but my normal BP is low, around 115/70.  So when my BP is “within normal range” it is high.  
I don’t remember specifics of numbers but the ER doc thought that I was just there to score drugs because he didn’t see anything wrong with me.  We went to get my discharge papers when I had my first grand mal seizure because my BP shot up to 168/120.  My Mom runs out of the room yelling down the hallway at the doctor and brings him back.  He sees that I am indeed having a seizure and he says, “Well, I guess she’s staying now.” Can you believe it?!
I was admitted to the hospital and put in the postpartum wing because I was still recovering from giving birth.

The next 2 weeks are a blur but what I can tell you that I have a wonderful family and friends that helped me and stayed with me and an Almighty God that was watching out for me!
I stayed in the hospital for 2 weeks.  I had over 21 doctors and way too many medicines to count. I had 2 more grand mal seizures and the last one I remember having. SO scary.  CT scans, PET scan, MRI, EEG, MEG, blood and urine tests, the lists go on and on. Loss of memory, the whole time around then was like a dream.  Christmas was brought to me but I don’t remember who came to visit, what they brought, or anything we talked about. I was sent home WITHOUT  a diagnosis.  I was unable to breastfeed because I was on so many medications and I couldn’t stay awake.  Because of that I had to pump and dump the liquid gold.  I was so weak I needed help to take a shower and even passed out in the shower the day I was sent home.

Before we left I was told that I couldn’t drive for 6 months due to the seizures and was sent home with 6 prescription medications.  I was so doped up I was unable to hold Noah without supervision.  I definitely couldn’t carry him up or down stairs. Sometimes, when trying to get into bed, I would just shake to the ground.  It was almost like my brain wasn’t talk to the rest of my body.  I couldn’t move. I was unable to stand for long periods of time.  I could only take a shower with someone else in the near vicinity because I would almost pass out every time.  We bought a shower seat to help.

I can’t think of more limits but I know there were several more things I was unable to do.  
I continued to pump for 6 weeks but was only able to get about 1 or 2 ounces per pumping session so I just stopped and let the milk dry up.  It was a hard decision but seemed to be the best for us all.  

I really wish I would have had a wonderful experience for my first child.  Regardless of these events we got to take home and raise a beautiful baby boy!