Monday, December 22, 2014

Birth Story, the finale

Call me naive, but I thought that once I agreed to the c section, things would get easier.  Once again, I was wrong.

I didn't factor in the pain that I was already in, which wouldn't go away until getting the spinal in the operating room.  My contractions were still on top of each other, and I wasn't getting more than a few seconds of relief between them.  They asked if I could walk to the OR, and I shook my head.  I could barely speak since I was concentrating on not passing out from the pain.

My husband got all dressed up in his gear and I sent my mom and doula out to the waiting room while they wheeled me into the OR.  Dr. A was there to greet me and let me know what was going to happen every step of the way.  He said I would have to sit up and try to hold still while they inserted the spinal, and I thought that sounded impossible.  He helped me up and held me still while they did it.  I cannot speak highly enough about his bedside manner.  How many women have doctors that comfort them this way?  He wiped my brow and helped me through each contraction while I tried not to fall off of the table.  Once the epidural was in and they laid me down, things got much easier.  I was numb from the waist down and it was the most bizarre feeling.  I could see them moving my legs as they prepared me for the c section, but it seemed like they must belong to someone else since I couldn't feel what they were doing.

Once the sheet was up, my husband was allowed back in.  I was struggling to keep my eyes open.  Did I mention it was almost midnight?  I had been up and in labor all day long without any rest, and now I was afraid I was going to fall asleep and miss my baby boy's birth!  Luckily, Dr. A was fast and after some weird pulling sensations, I hear my baby boy cry for the first time.  It was amazing.  The husband stood up and snapped pictures immediately, and he went and joined the nurses while they wiped the baby off and weighed him.  9 lbs, 1 oz, what a big boy!  And he made it before midnight.  Baby L was born at 11:53 pm.

When I heard L cry for the first time, I cried too.  The husband brought him over and he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  The anesthesiologist snapped a couple of pictures, and then the husband and our little one went to recovery to wait for me.  After some quick stitching up, and some more bizarre sensations while they moved me all over the place without me feeling it, I was wheeled into recovery as well.

L was just finishing up his bath and then was brought over and laid on my chest.  We tried to breastfeed immediately.  He was alert and eager for the breast.  He was perfect.


There are so many more things I could say, but these are the important details.  L's birth could not have been further from what I had expected, but it resulted in my beautiful boy coming into this world healthy, and that is all that matters.  At least, that's what I tell myself every day.  I still mourn the fact that I didn't have a vaginal birth, and I probably always will.  Thank you to those that stuck around for this very long story.  I know I could have made it a lot less detailed, but this is for my own memories and I didn't want to forget anything.

I don't know where this blog is going to go from here.  Will it become a blog about parenting?  I don't know.  L was born with a clubfoot, so I could document that journey here...but again, I don't know.  We will see.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Birth Story, Part 2

Where was I?

Oh right, we had just survived a super crappy night in which neither the husband or I slept.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014:

After finally falling asleep for a couple of hours, I was woken up by Dr. A during his rounds around 6 am.  He came in to check me, and I had finally dilated to 1 cm!  This may sound like nothing, but it had taken me almost 42 weeks to get there.  Because I had finally dilated somewhat, we had a couple more options than the night before.  Dr. A did not want to put me on pitocin because I was contracting on my own and he was concerned that baby wouldn't handle it well.  The problem with pitocin is that it is designed to make your contractions stronger and closer together, however, mine were already close together.  He didn't want to risk having them get any closer which would cause different problems.

Since I was still opposed to receiving drugs of any kind, Dr. A suggested using a bulb catheter, which is inserted into your cervix and then the bulbs on the end of it (one on each side of your cervix) are inflated with saline to put pressure on your cervix.  He explained that the catheter should fall out on its own once my cervix had dilated a certain amount.  Sounds painless, right?  Wrong.  He had quite a bit of trouble getting it in since I was barely dilated and it was definitely painful.  He said the pain would go away once the catheter was in....he was wrong.  Silly doctor.

Once the catheter was in, I was in quite a bit of pain.  I was cramping pretty much constantly, and the contractions were more intense.  However, they were not unbearable.  I walked and bounced on my birthing ball and tried to keep my mind off things.  I had finally been cleared to eat, so that was amazing as well.  My mom showed up some time after this and she helped me to walk the halls of the birthing center.  She kept commenting on how quiet I was, which I didn't know how to take.  Did that mean that things were not progressing or was I just handling things well?  I didn't know, of course, but at that point I was confident that I could continue with my "birth plan" even though I had already had more intervention than I wanted.

After about 8 hours, Dr. A came back to check the progress.  He removed the catheter (which hurt like a bitch!  P.S. don't ever look at that thing after it comes out of you.  Gross.) and I was so happy to hear that I was dilated to a 6!  Wow, this was great news.  I really thought things were going to start going my way.  Dr. A broke my water to move things along quicker since baby's heartrate was still having late decelerations.  There was meconium in the fluid, but I had expected that since I was so late in the pregnancy.

Once they broke my water, I expected my contractions to get stronger, but they didn't.  They were still coming steady, but I actually felt better since the catheter was removed.  I was looking forward to getting back up and walking the halls again since I knew laying down just made things more painful and slowed progression.  Finding out that I was so far dilated had really motivated me... I thought the rest of the night would go as originally planned!  Unfortunately, before I had a chance to get up, the nurse came in and asked me to roll onto my left side and started getting the oxygen mask out.  She was trying to act calm for my sake, but I could tell that she was concerned.  They rolled me over and strapped the mask onto my face and hooked me back up to the IV fluids.  She let me know that the decelerations were happening more often and they wanted to see if the extra oxygen would help.  Right about this time, my doula showed up.  I was scared, but felt much more calm than one would expect.  I knew I had to keep my own heartrate and blood pressure in check.  My mom looked terrified, though, and I told her she should leave.  She didn't listen, but I asked her to move out of my line of sight because seeing her look so concerned wasn't helping me any!

Dr. A came back in to talk to me at this point.  He was getting more concerned and wanted me to know my options.  Pitocin was still not an option to move things along because my contractions were coming too quickly.  He wanted to check and see if my contractions were actually doing any good---if they were causing my cervix to actually dilate or not.  He inserted a tool that would monitor my contractions more accurately.  Once it was in, we would wait 15-30 minutes to see how strong the contractions were.  I had discussed it with my doula and my husband and decided this option was still better than a c section.  I had handled the contractions so well at this point according to everyone around me that I figured I was doing great.

Once the internal monitor was in, the contractions got much more painful.  I was having to concentrate fully on each one and force myself to relax through them.  I still wasn't making any noise, but I was deep inside myself.  My doula rubbed my feet and my husband held my hand.  Whenever he tried to touch me anywhere else, I told him to stop.  The extra touch was too much for me.  Based on all my reading, I figured that I was in the transitional phase at this point, which is the phase between 7 and 10 cm of dilation.  I had all the telltale signs, even throwing up at one point.  I felt like I couldn't make it any longer, which I knew was another sign.  I was sure the doctor was going to come in and let me know I was almost fully dilated and would be pushing soon.

I was wrong.

Dr. A came in after about 20 minutes and showed me the results from the contraction monitor.  According to the data, my contractions were not strong enough to cause any cervical change.  Since of course this information can vary from person to person, he asked if he could check me again.  I agreed...if he found that I was even 1 cm closer than before (meaning a 7), I knew I could make it the rest of the way.  That was not the case.  Dr. A informed me that I was now at a cervix was going in the wrong direction!

I finally broke down in tears at this point.  I had tried so hard to have the best possible birth for me and my son, but I couldn't go any further.  I had started this process at 7am and had been through so much without sleep or a was now after 11pm.  Before he even gave me my options, I consented to a c section.  It was time to throw in the towel because my son's heartrate decelerations weren't going away and I didn't want to risk his life.  I signed the consent form and they went to prep the OR.