Thursday, August 4, 2011

Birch Jean Smith

Birch, my brother's first baby, sweeter than all the rest ♥

This entire last week was seriously eventful.  Friday morning my mom called me, in dire straights.  She had driven my dad to UBC for knee replacement surgery and managed to get food poisoning the night before.  She was stuck in her camper in the UBC hospital parking lot, cramped in her tiny three inch by three inch camper toilet, sick as a dog.  My dad has had numerous other joint replacement/repair surgeries and my mom is always by his side as his personal nurse (which is a cute throwback: they met when my dad was my mom's patient, many moons ago) to mitigate his hospital stays.  This time she was too sick to help him, and needed me to drive down and help her out.  

Complicating this story was the fact that my brother's fiancee, Morgan, was very pregnant with their first baby, and my mom was lined up to be their labour support.  In Vernon.  Six hours drive from UBC hospital.  Guess who went into labour Friday morning as my dad was wheeled into surgery and my mom was stuck in a camper toilet?  Uh-huh.  It was the perfect shitstorm.  
Brent and I drove to UBC (about an hour's drive).  Mom and I derived a plan for Amarys and I to drive her truck/camper and her home to Vernon, where I could fill in as labour support if needed, or if my mom was feeling well enough, she could be labour support.  Brent would visit my dad each day, and I would fly back home on Saturday to visit my dad and to pick him up when he was discharged and drive him home.
We figured there was a really good chance Morgan would have her baby in time for my mom to rest up and drive down to pick my dad up herself, if she managed to recover from the food poisoning in time.
Boy, did we figure wrong.

First, my dad wound up in surgery three hours longer than scheduled because the surgeon opened up his leg and discovered what he described as 'the most complicated knee replacement I've ever done.'  My dad had an old crush injury from a mule riding accident over ten years ago: he was stepped on my a frantic mule weighing over 800 lbs and refused to get medical treatment or an x-ray of his femur.  Well, the surgeon took photos because there was a clearly visible hoofprint embedded in my dad's femur.  

Meanwhile we're trucking it back to Vernon where Morgan's labouring along with contractions every five minutes and regular.  My mom slept for four hours and I stayed up to support Morgan, who labours mostly in private.  She was the easiest doula client I've ever had  =)  
Morgan, Chad, and their *first* baby, 'Tracker,' the dog who has
no idea what's about to happen to his spoiled ass
Then my mom got up and I slept for four hours, expecting to wake up and have everyone be gone to the hospital with the midwife, but instead she was still at 4 or 5 minutes, slow and steady.  I flew home that afternoon and she was 5 cm dilated, tired, still 4 or 5 minutes apart, coping well, slow and steady.  Yikes!  Long labour!  All that night.  All the next day.  
She hit trouble at around 7 cm and couldn't seem to manage to dilate beyond that, and late Sunday her contractions started petering out and she was exhausted.  It took my mom, the midwife, and my brother over an hour to convince her to accept an epidural and oxytocin (she wanted a natural birth, but even more she wanted to stay miles away from that epidural needle!), but after 3 days of labour and stalled at 7 cm, it was time for a new approach.


Amarys on her first plane ride (West Jet gave me a seat
for her for free, isn't that awesome?), Saturday afternoon.
Clearly bummed to have missed the grand baby finale.

The epidural did the trick as far as dilation: she hit '9 1/2' cm~just a rim left, and then soon after that was fully dilated.  But the baby just didn't cope well with the oxytocin; long heart decelerations, meconium (baby poop; sign of distress), scalp blood gases not good, and then deflexed her head and turned asynclitic after an entire labour of good positioning!  After labouring three days and several hours of epidural and oxytocin this baby just wasn't coming without surgery.  So, into the operating room they went, and out she came!
Isn't she gorgeous?  Nobody can figure out who
she looks like, but secretly I think she looks like me

My dad had some post surgery complications that were beyond my scope and expertise, so my sister booked a day off work (she's a nurse) and drove over from Victoria to take care of him on Sunday.  He was discharged Monday and the plan was for me to pick him up with my four kids and my van and drive him home.  It wasn't forecasted to be the most comfortable trip in the world for a man four days out of major surgery, but it was doable!  BUT then Sunday night my Uncle Greg (my dad's brother) called and offered to drive the 3 hour trip from his house to UBC, pick up my dad, and drive the 6 hour trip from UBC to my parents' place, and then drive the 4 hour trip back home.  Props to my Uncle, that's quite the marathon trip and totally wonderful for everyone involved, but especially my dad.
My kids were pumped to meet baby Birch, and my van was already packed, so I decided to drive up anyways on Monday.

Amarys, Birch, and myself

OMG, you poor girl....what a crazy rash of cousins...

Morgan and Birch


It was a long haul, but congrats and love to my bro and his family ♥

1 comment:

Caryn Ouwehand said...

What a whirl-wind week! Glad you made it through. What beautiful new baby!