Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Allie’s Birth Story

I apologize ahead of time. I think I write the longest birth stories ever, but I want to remember every detail so that is why it is a novel.

So after thinking I could have a baby any day for an entire month I’d pretty much given up on the baby ever coming (my first daughter came at 37 weeks so I thought it was likely I would go early again). Since the beginning of my pregnancy I’d always thought Sunday would be a good day since traffic is light and Floyd and most family would be off work. And the prior four Sundays the baby would trick me into thinking something might develop. I’d get more Braxton Hicks, more cramping, some back pain. If I had been a first time mom I might have thought I was in labor a few times especially when the Braxton Hicks would come fairly regularly all day long, but it would all disappear when I went to bed. So Saturday night we went out to eat. I put Selena to bed and went to sit on my knee chair and get some uncomfortable cramping going, that would just go away as soon as I went to sleep. Got some cramps, went to bed, and they went away.

I woke up at 6am Sunday morning, 10 days after my due date, thinking something might be going on, but I’d been having dreams of being in labor for weeks so I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming it, but then I felt a definite pressure wave that was real and thought cool. I drifted in and out of sleep for the next 30 minutes and at around 6:30 decided that I’d had quite a few real waves, maybe 5 minutes apart, and I should probably call my midwife. So I got up told Floyd what was going on. I waited to have one more to make sure they didn’t go away when I stood and called Ann, my midwife. She was ready to get up and leave because she lives about 50 minutes away, but I didn’t think I was that far along yet, so I told her I would call her when I thought she should leave. Then I called my parents and told them to come to my house so my dad could watch Selena. Well now that I had been up and moving they were coming faster about 2 – 3 minutes, so I called Ann back and told her to leave, and called my parents back and told them to meet us there. Then I went upstairs to gather some last stuff for my bag, and Selena and I took a shower. After we were all ready we left at about 7:30.

I listened to my Hypnobabies scripts in the car and while I would rather not have been in the car, the pressure waves were easily manageable. I was really looking forward to getting in the tub. We got to the birth center and Ann wasn’t there yet. She was about 10 min away, and my parents were about 25 min away. So I sat in the car, listening to my hypnosis till my midwife got there. When she did, we went straight inside and she asked me to lie on the bed so I could get checked. I was around 8 cm. She started the tub and I got in. After a few pressure waves I could feel the difference of being in the water. The intensity was diminished by about half. It was so nice. My mom soon showed up and I was chatting with her and my midwife between waves while listening to my scripts. My mother-in-law also showed up a little bit later. The grandpa’s were in charge of Selena. She did manage to sneak into the room a couple times and wanted to get in the tub with me. It was cute.

Around 9:45 I started feeling a little pushy. So I rolled over to my hands and knees and started pushing some. I was doing a good job remembering to breathe through the waves. At around 10:30 I started feeling the baby descending. I was so excited I thought the baby was coming. I even said aloud, “Here comes the baby”. But it was just my water. My midwife checked me and said I was complete, but there was some meconium, which can be a signal of distress, but is also common in late babies. So when the baby came it would need some suctioning. I was bummed that I wasn’t done, but kept on pushing. The waves became more intense after my water broke, and I started pushing harder, but I was still doing a good job remembering to breathe. But the waves didn’t seem to be coming very rhythmically. I would get a strong one, and then a break, then a weak one and that would barely go away, and then a strong one again. It was very frustrating because I felt like it was wasting my energy, but not helping me get the baby out. I tried lots of different positions: squatting, hands and knees, sitting on my knees, hanging over the edge of the tub, but it really didn’t feel like I was doing anything. Ann checked me again and said that now there was a lip. I tried pushing a few times while she held the lip, but the baby still didn’t come, and that was really uncomfortable.

At around 11:45 I asked if I could try the birth stool as that is what worked with Selena. So I got out of the tub and on the stool. It did seem to make my waves stronger and the fake ones seemed to disappear, but still the baby would not descend. Ann said it felt like the baby kept on hitting my pelvic bone. She said there was room lower, but the baby wasn’t going that way, like it wasn’t tucking its chin or something. She suggested I purple push and see if that worked. So I did. Then I started getting really tired and getting a cramp in my arm. I had been guzzling water and they brought me some juice. Now I was getting extremely tired and told Ann I wasn’t sure how long I could do this. I also was feeling that my body was fighting itself and the baby was going nowhere. I got up on the bed and tried some pushes on my knees while lifting my belly. Then she had me lie flat on my back and push. She tried manually opening my pelvic bones, and she tried nudging the baby back up, but she was stuck, and wouldn’t budge up or down. Apparently once I got on my back Ann started detecting decelerating heart tones, but at the time I did not know it. I guess if I had thought to ask why they were putting oxygen on me I would have known. But as long as I stayed off my back the baby seemed to be doing fine. But nothing was working so at this point we decided to transfer to the hospital. At the time I thought we were transferring because I had given up, and later I was starting to feel guilty that I didn’t try hard enough, but later Ann told me about the decelerating heart tones and that she had been subtly leading me in the direction of transferring me to the hospital.

So I got in the front seat of her car, and Floyd got in the back. By now I had pretty much given up, but my body hadn’t, so I was still having contractions every 2-3 minutes and despite my best efforts I couldn’t not push. So I am riding in the car, attempting to push the baby out. Meanwhile she is checking me with the Doppler at all the stoplights.

We get to the hospital and get a wheelchair, which I kneel on backwards and get pushed through the emergency room wearing a diaper and a t-shirt. I do eventually get something draped over me, but still I’m sure it was a sight. The lady at emergency wanted me to go to the emergency room to have the baby, but we tell her it is very doubtful that I’m actually going to manage to get the baby out while I’m pushing since I’ve been trying for a long time now, and that they expect us up in labor and delivery. We manage to convince her that Floyd can fill out the paper work and we needed to leave quick. We get in the elevator and there was some young guy in there and I’m still trying to push a baby out. I felt pretty bad for him.

We finally get up to labor and delivery and the midwife who I was transferred to checks me and asks me if I want an epidural. I tell them I don’t care what they do to me at this point. The bed in labor and delivery is tiny and it is really hard to maneuver on. Meanwhile the nurse is trying to put an IV in my arm while I’m having a contraction and telling me to be still. I ask her to wait. She makes some comment about the sooner it is in the sooner I’ll have relief, but I figure I’ve been doing this for hours I can handle a few more minutes. The anesthesiologist comes in and I do manage to be still during the contraction that comes while she puts the epidural in. I have a few more contractions and finally I stop feeling them and get a break. But of course the first one I have that I don’t feel is when the baby’s heart rate starts to drop. So of course I start crying and feel totally guilty for getting the epidural and hurting my poor baby. It might have been the fact that I was laying on my back that was causing the heart decelerations and not the epidural. But because I didn’t know about the earlier heart problems I was convinced it a reaction to the epidural. Ann tried to tell me it wasn’t, but I thought she was just trying to make me feel better. But they roll me to one side and she does better, but then has problems again, so they roll me to the other side and that seems to do the trick.

They check me and I’m totally swollen from all the pushing and she is too high so they don’t think a vacuum will work. They also think she is completely posterior. My heart rate is too high so they can’t give me medications to make the contractions stop and prevent the baby’s heart rate decelerations. Sometimes they give pitocin to strengthen the contractions to encourage turning but because the Allie was struggling that was out as well. So caesarian it is. At this point I was so worried about the baby I just want to get her out.

Finally the surgeon is ready and they wheel me in there, but make Floyd wait till they finish prepping me before he can come in. I didn’t like being alone and it was kind of scary being put behind the curtain and being all numb and not being able to feel anything anymore. Floyd comes in and the surgeons are shaking me back and forth. I think that is when they were cutting me and pulling me apart. I ask them to tell me when they pull the baby out. They say I’ll hear a cry and sure enough a few seconds later I do. It takes them a few seconds to get her all the way out and tell us girl. It made me smile that Selena would have a little sister. They bring Allie over to a table that I manage to get a view of by moving the curtain and they suction her and stick tubes in her and she is crying and crying and pooping everywhere. They tell us she is 8lbs 2oz, and that is after pooping a ton. And now I’m crying too because I was supposed to bring her into the world peacefully and she should be in my arms and I should be able to see her and hold her, but instead she is being surrounded by strangers doing stuff to her. When they are done Floyd brings her over to me and I get to look at her, she is beautiful. She has a cone head despite not being born vaginally. She doesn’t have any bumps or bruises like my nephew did when he got stuck.

Then they tell Floyd to go away while they finish sewing me up. I don’t think it took that long but it seemed like forever before I got to see my baby. I come in the room and she is being poked and prodded some more and still crying. They bring her over to me and she is anxious to nurse and latches on easy and nurses. Finally I feel like all is right in the world and I’m so thrilled to be holding my beautiful, big, baby girl.

Apparently she was completely posterior and her chin wasn’t tucked. At the time I got conflicting information on her positioning and didn’t realize she was completely posterior as well as not having her chin tucked. There was really no way she could come out in that position. By not having her chin tucked there was no way for her to rotate. I really don’t know when she got like that because I’m pretty sure she was stuck anterior the prior week. But she had been flipping posterior every time I lay down, until around my due date, so she had a tendency to feel comfortable in the posterior position. I was really conscientious of baby positioning so it is frustrating that despite my best efforts she ended up in a bad position.

Obviously I am so thankful that the technology and procedures exist that brought Allie into this world fairly easily and safely because who knows what would have happened had it not existed. It probably wouldn’t have turned out well. But I still felt that it was so unfair that things didn’t go how they were supposed to and it has led to many tears. It is hard to pinpoint exactly what has made me so upset. I was disappointed that I didn’t get my desired ideal, beautiful birth, and it was annoying to be in the hospital where we were bothered every hour by nurses poking the baby or me. But it was more than just the disappointment of failed expectations. I think the thing I missed the most was the after birth high. When Selena was born I was exhausted but I had a feeling of exhilaration and energy and even though I was tired I couldn’t sleep and I stayed up most of the night just staring at my baby in awe. But this time I was exhausted, could barely stay awake, kept throwing up, was puffy and swollen, couldn’t feel anything below my chest, couldn’t eat for 24 hrs (due to nausea) despite being starving, couldn’t move for 12 hrs, couldn’t walk for almost 3 days, and it all just seemed so wrong and so unfair. They say you get a bunch of good hormones right after birth that you don’t get when you have a caesarian and I think I really missed those good hormones.

I do not regret my decision to deliver at the birth center. Although transferring wasn’t the most pleasant experience, it makes me feel better that it wasn’t an intervention, or adverse drug reaction that led to the need for a c-section. I felt very safe in Ann’s care and never felt that not being at the hospital put Allie or me in danger. I am so thankful that I was using Hypnobabies. The first part of my labor was so easy and was exactly how I visualized it (except for the end of course). I had visualized from the beginning that I would wake up in the morning being in my birthing time. I would have enough time to get to the birth center and I would start feeling pushy an hour or two after arriving. When things did get rough it really helped me stay mentally calm. One of the affirmations I listened to every day was, “I will accept whatever my birthing time brings me,” and unfortunately I had to.

Floyd was very sweet. I hated the parts when he was separated from me. He did a great job taking care of Allie and rocking and cuddling her and changing her diapers. Allie would get frustrated nursing and cry so much she wouldn’t latch, and Floyd would calm her down and then quickly hand her to me so I could get her on the boob. We were a good team. My little Allie is doing good and I love cuddling and kissing her.


ash said...

such a great story! can't wait to meet the beautiful allie!

Anne said...

I really enjoyed reading your birth story. It was so well-written. Better written than my comment in my tired state. I really appreciate your words and thoughts on your birth.

Sheridan said...

Congratulations on your sweet baby girl's arrival. I am glad that she is here safe and sound.

I am sorry that you needed a cesarean. It sounds like it was certainly needed and that you had good support during it. I just wanted to let you know that it is ok to grieve not having your vaginal birth. It is ok to be sad. Hugs!

You did a great job and I am glad that your midwife was able to explain all the background so you can understand that you didn't transfer because of a failure on your part.

I sometimes think that moms who have cesareans deserve a medal, because you sacrifice so much to have your baby.

Enjoy your baby girl!