Monday, April 28, 2008

Georgia's Birth by Mackenzie

Thursday, December 27th
We were slated to head to the hospital at 9PM to start an elective induction. At 5 that evening, my OB called. L&D was PACKED, and she was asking if I could wait until morning to come in to start. I already was so anxious about the induction that I nearly cried thinking of changing our plans. Even with the caveat that I would have to spend much of the night in a triage curtain--till labor started OR a room became available that wasn't needed by someone further into labor--we were ready. That evening, we had a nice dinner and put Clara, our 18 month old daughter, to bed as usual. Then, I packed my bag and off we went. I arrived on time and got registered. Then we headed upstairs to a triage room they were using to start inductions for the night. Apparently, lots of folks were hoping for a tax deduction! The curtained areas were tiny and didn't have TVs. Thank goodness Dan was headed home--the room had a bed and a straight-backed chair, and that was it.

The nurse was great. She got my IV started and took all my info. Finally at 11 or so, the first dose of Cervadil was inserted. I was having sporadic contractions when I got hooked up to the monitors but nothing of note. I also got an Ambien to help me sleep. By midnight, Dan was gone, and I was sleeping. I slept soundly for about 3 hours when the Cervadil wore off. She also inserted the 2nd dose of Cervadil around the same time. By 5AM, I was up walking the halls because I was starting to get regular contractions and wanted to encourage them to speed up and intensify. STILL I did not have a room. Dan wasn't going to come back till I got a room. It just didn't make sense. And I didn't need him any way. I was coping fine--heck, it didn't even hurt!

7:30AM -- I'm finally in a room! And a nice one at that. Pitocin was started as soon as I got to the room. I was READY. Unfortunately, the contractions I had been having fizzled during the transition. Poop. My nurse was Diana. She was great. She kept coming in and jacking up the Pitocin when my contrax would start to space out again. And she even let me off to walk the halls periodically. Whew. I was coping fine.

9:00AM -- My mom and Clara came to hang out for a while. I was having noticeable contractions, but nothing I couldn't walk or talk through. AT all. Dan's mom also came to pick up Clara and take her home.

1:00PM--I hadn't been checked since 3AM when the last dose of Cervadil was inserted. So the nurse checked me. She pronounced me 2cm and 30% effaced. Ummm...I had been 2 and 50% at the DOCTOR the DAY BEFORE. WHAT???? All of this was doing nothing? I freaked out and started sobbing. Hysterically. Then she told me she had to leave to deliver a baby in the room next door. Damn it, I was supposed to be delivering. Not someone else. And nothing was happening. Nothing. I cried on and off for quite a while, and they continued cranking the Pitocin. My OB came to see me because I was so upset. She kept reassuring me that we were not out of options, that we needed to be patient, and that this WAS different from last time.

2:00PM--Finally the contractions were getting a little uncomfortable. My lower back was starting to hurt, so I got on the bed on my knees and draped my upper body over the birth ball. I also had heat on my lower back which felt great. I was able to zone out and relax a bit, though I couldn't quite reign in my emotions. My OB came back to check me, and I was now at 3cm and 50%. A little progress in the last hour. I felt a little more encouraged but still very emotional. We decided to wait a bit before deciding to go forward with the Foley bulb, which was our next step. My OB agreed with me that breaking my water wasn't the way to go yet.

At some point in here, a nurse I didn't know came in because the baby was off the monitor. She just waltzed in the room and told me I needed to sit back on the bed so that she could readjust the monitor. When I sat back, the baby got back on, and the nurse said, "Well, it's fine. Just sit like that." I FREAKED and started sobbing uncontrollably again and threw her out of my room. Dan was apologizing left and right, and my mom was horrified. I was just past coping, I think. All I could think was, "I WANT TO GO HOME!' I missed Clara, I was scared. I just wanted to be safe.

3:00PM--My OB was called back in, as was my original nurse. I couldn't stop crying. I was frustrated and scared. My OB sat down at the end of my bed and asked me what I was so afraid of. She acknowledged that I was having flashbacks and having a hard time dealing with the lack of progress because of my delivery with Clara. And she offered the option of stopping. I felt like I had so much invested already, and Dan was encouraging me to try the Foley. But my OB said that if we got much further in terms of dilation, she wouldn't be able to send me home. She also offered the option of stopping and starting again the next day. THAT I could not wrap my brain around at all. So basically, we could stop and go home OR we could try the Foley and know that we were committed OR we could take a break and try again later.

My mom was trying to be helpful and supportive but was just a bit too involved in what I viewed to be OUR decision (mine and Dan's), to the point where it was making me angry. So I asked her to leave as well while Dan and I talked. I know that made her upset, but I really didn't (and still don't) care. Dan and I held each other and talked about the situation. I could tell that he really wanted to keep going--that he didn't want to "quit". But he said that the insurance situation and the money didn't matter that much to him, and he was worried about me being so upset. As soon as I knew he wouldn't be disappointed in me, I knew that we needed to quit.

It wasn't 5 minutes after we sent my mom out that she came back in with the doctor. I don't know for sure, but both Dan and I think that my mom tried convincing her to tell us to quit. Because my OB came back leaning much more that direction. That made me a little angry, but since we already had made up our minds, it didn't matter. My OB said, "I want you to have the birth you want, and this isn't it, so I think this is the right decision."

We stopped the Pitocin, and within a half hour, my contractions had stopped completely. It was like I never was laboring--pretty much because I wasn't; the Pitocin was. I was pretty spent, though. Certainly, I didn't have the energy to talk about what had happened. Dan got to deliver the news while I felt sorry for myself for a while.

Saturday, December 30th
What is that? Oh, NO. I cannot be getting strep. But my throat wasn't sore—it was HORRIBLY swollen. I though I was going to swallow my uvula. It was rubbing on the back of my tongue and my tonsils and gagging me! This all happened at 5AM. I started crying and choking, and Dan and my mom thought I was panicking. So they gave me Benadryl and ice, and the Benadryl made me so tired I went back to sleep. At 10AM, it was the same. We headed to Urgent Care where they diagnosed me with an anaphylactic reaction to the antibiotics I was given for GBS. I got a shot of epi, a steroid shot, and a prescription for a course of steroids. Within 2 minutes of the epi injection, the swelling started to recede. NOW.... we waited. I sorely wanted to go into labor on my own. The thought of attempting an induction again was just a bit too much to bear. I had an OB appointment on January 2nd at 40w3d, and there was no change from my final status at my induction. My OB said that she wanted to induce the following Wednesday. I wasn't ready to commit just yet.

Thursday, January 3rd
Dan and I were DTD pretty frequently to try to encourage Georgia to make her appearance, and we did Wednesday night. I was having uncomfortable contractions during the night pretty regularly in the last couple weeks of my pregnancy, so that night I slept in the guest room. That and Dan was snoring horribly! I woke up at about 7AM, having to pee for the 4th time that night. As I sat down on the toilet, I felt a small gush. Definitely not urine! I lay back down in bed, and it happened again when I had a contraction. My contractions were noticeable and about 15-20 minutes apart. I decided to call my mom to give her a heads up; she needed to start planning her trip. During our chat, I laughed and felt another gush. That got all of us moving. We repacked and got showered and called Dan's parents to be ready to come get Clara at the hospital on our call. On our way, we drove through McDonalds for breakfast. No way was I going in hungry!! I was excited and optimistic, as was Dan. This was it!!

I got registered and checked into triage. The nurse was NOT in a good mood. Apparently, the mother of another nurse was killed unexpectedly the night before, and everyone was taking it pretty hard. My nurse was focused on getting through her shift so she could leave to visit her elderly parents. So being the "I-think-my-water-broke" girl wasn't a good thing for me; I was a nuisance. She pretty much started to dismiss me when I answered "Yes" to the "Have you had intercourse in the last 24 hours?" question. We did the 20 minute monitoring thing, and then she took me into the exam room to check me. When she did the speculum exam and said that she thought it looked like my membranes might have ruptured. But she couldn't do the litmus paper because of possible residual semen. So she got the slide ready for the ferning test, and I waited. She finally came back to tell me that she couldn't see any ferning. She even called in another nurse. NEGATIVE. But I had been so sure! She called my OB who instructed them to send me home.

Again, I felt defeated. I KNEW that my water was leaking, but if it didn't show on the test, what could I do? We stopped at home for me to change my clothes and headed to the Newport Aquarium with Clara for the day. All day long, I continued to "drip". I say it was dripping because it wasn't more than a couple drops here and there, but I constantly was wet. I also was seeing lots of "chunky stuff" when I wiped. We had a great day at the aquarium. Clara loved it, and it was SO fun seeing her get so excited.

Friday, January 4th
I had a chiropractor appointment in the morning and then an NST and ultrasounds for fluid levels in the early afternoon. Poor Dan was alone with Clara all day, though that was NOT the plan. The specialist where I had to go for the monitoring appointment was a zoo! I waited nearly an hour for the NST and then another 45 minutes, at least, for the ultrasound. Georgia passed the NST with flying colors in the minimum amount of time. The fluid levels on u/s looked great. I found it a bit interesting that the large pockets were up near her feet while the pockets nearest my cervix were barely measurable… The tech was chatty, and at one point said, "Wow, that's a chunky baby." She also commented on her head measurement and took and compared several to find the "best" one, saying, "I like this one the best, but it makes her even BIGGER." HUH??? She was estimated to be 10lb, 7oz!!! The tech said that they tend to overestimate, but she thought the baby safely would be 10lbs. DOUBLE HUH??? I was floored, especially since I measured correctly or a week or 2 behind all along.

I had tons of errands to run to prepare for my mom, sister, and the kids to arrive. Groceries, Target, belated Christmas gifts. As I was walking through Lowe's, I felt a BIIIG gush. Nice. More leaking. I also started to contract a little more frequently. But my water wasn't broken! And there was NO WAY I was going back. I called lots of people during my errand running to let them know about the ultrasound. I also called my OB because I was freaked out and wanted her thoughts. But she was gone for the weekend, and her partner said nothing wouldn't keep till Monday, so they just put a note on her desk. I wondered how the size estimate would change things… I was doing some last minute cleaning things including bathing Clara, and my pants were soaked. I changed into pj pants and soaked through them too. Still, I wasn't going back to the hospital just to be sent home. My mom and sister and kids arrived, and we chatted. My sister was bound and determined that I would have the baby that weekend. I wasn't so sure. She (being a former L&D nurse) thought that my water WAS broken and it was just a matter of time till labor started. But she also kept talking me through the possibility of a c-section to get me used to the idea.

Saturday, January 5th
We had grand plans to do SOMETHING, but the day got away from us. Kids with different nap schedules will do that to ya! I was having contractions all day. They actually hurt a little bit but weren't very close together at all. I was pretty uncomfortable all day—achy and sore and feeling pressure. And I continued leaking like Friday night. My sister kept trying to convince me to go in to the hospital. We had invited Dan's parents for dinner, so I wasn't even thinking about it till then. We had lasagna and had a lovely meal. The whole time, my sister kept hinting that I should go to the hospital. I didn't want to go until I was in labor. No way I wanted another false alarm!!
After Dan's parents left, I fell asleep on the couch. Waking up a bit more rested, I talked with Dan, and we decided that with Clara in bed, we should head in to L&D just to be safe. The timing was perfect, as everyone would be sleeping—no need to worry about having someone to take care of Clara! We got to L&D at about 10:30. I was contracting every 10 minutes…and after all the tests, YEP!!! MY WATER WAS BROKEN. (Well, duh—it had been that way for 2 ½ days…) The nurse (who was wonderful) put in a call to the on-call OB, and we waited. At first, he said that he would give me 4 hours to go into more regular labor on my own and then start Pitocin around 4AM. Then I brought up the fact that my ultrasound results were not yet in my chart. The nurse relayed that information to the OB. Dan and I talked a lot in that time about a c-section and my feelings about it. I didn't know what the OB was going to say, but I knew that my worst nightmare would be to be induced with Pitocin only to end up with a c-section after hours of labor and pushing.

The nurse came back. The verdict? The OB on call thought it wise to schedule a c-section. In his opinion, any baby with a predicted size of over 10lbs is a risk. So we were on the schedule for 8:30AM!!! I was moved into a room to be monitored for the night—with NO sleep aids, since this OB didn't believe in them. The nurse I had was awful. She put my IV in a horrendous spot on the back of my hand, and when I asked her about the c-section, she really didn't know and gave me a worst-case scenario. But perhaps the WORST part was that the entire time I'd been there, I hadn't had anything to drink (now over 2 hours), and only by asking for a drink did I find out that I was on strict "nothing by mouth" orders till after the c-section. I was so thirsty I cried! Dan offered to sneak me some Gatorade, but I decided to tough it out.

Sunday, January 6th
I woke early, partly because I was contracting a leaking everywhere, and partly because I was excited (and nervous!). I brushed my teeth and washed my face and combed my hair and sorely wished for a shower. My new nurse came on at 7—she was fantastic and really walked me through all that would happen. Dan and my mom and Clara arrived a little before 8. I was soooo happy to see them, particularly Clara. It's crazy how much I miss her when I'm gone overnight. At about the same time, the nurse anesthetist came in. He really put me at ease, providing me with more information about what would happen. And he was CUTE! I told my mom we should take him home; Dan didn't think that was such a good idea! At about 8:15, I took off my pants and put on another hospital gown. I drank the sour stuff, and then, we walked to the OR.
The OB surgeon met us at the nurses' station. I had never laid eyes on him before since he merely shares call with my OB's practice; he has his own practice. From what the nurses said, he's very well respected. He introduced himself to us as the name of my regular OB and we laughed! He went on to say that he'd "always wanted to try one of these c-sections", keeping the mood light. I liked him immediately. He walked the whole way to the OR with us. Once there, Dan went to change into scrubs, and I put on a funny cap and followed the scrub nurse into the OR.

How surreal! There I was, WALKING into the OR where my daughter would be born! I climbed up on the table, and a few people introduced themselves to me. The double-checked my identity and the procedure. Then, a nurse asked if I was getting my tubes tied. NO WAY!! The LOVELY NA came back and did the spinal. MUCH better than the epi. One quick, burning prick for the topical anesthesia, and some serious pressure (and zinging down my right leg) for the spinal, and WHAM! The numbness started! The staff described it as feeling "cold", and man, did it ever! A big, grey haired older lady nurse helped me to lie down. They put my arms out but did not tie them down and put a pulse ox on one hand and a BP cuff on the other. Before I knew it, the doctor was there, along with a resident who would be assisting. But WHERE WAS DAN? I started to freak out a bit because it seemed that they were going to start without him. That I could not have handled. But he got there just in time and sat right over my left shoulder, holding my hand.

As soon as the procedure started, Dan stood up to watch. He watched the entire thing. The surgeon and the resident talked the entire time, so I had some idea of what was going on. I felt fine! There was much debate in the operating room as to how big the baby would be. No one believed she was a 10lber. Most people were guess 8lbs, including the surgeon! The resident warned me that I would feel a lot of pressure and pushing—and her head was out! Then, the surgeon, "Well, maybe she IS big." More pressure, and I felt them pull her out. Relief, just like when you've pushed the baby out. And I saw her face from the nose up over the drape. She was SCREAMING as they took her to get cleaned up; she screamed the WHOLE time. There were bets being placed the entire time until they weighed her. 9LBS, 8 OZ! The nurse weighing her asked Dan how tall I was because she couldn't believe I'd had a baby that big in there. My response? THAT'S IT?? I said, 'What? All this for nothing?" The OB surgeon said, "Well, you saved yourself 12 hours of agony." Nice. He and the resident worked on stitching me up. While they were doing so, Dan brought Georgia over to see me. I barely remember seeing her because I felt really odd. I had a strange, burning pain in my sternum and was starting to get lightheaded. The NA told me that the pain was referred pain and that it was nearly over. Dan and Georgia sat next to me till I was finished, and then he took her to the nursery. At the end, The OB surgeon, "Well, your bladder and rectum thank you for having a c-section." I guess he thought we made the right decision after all!

The first few minutes of recovery were sucky. I felt tired and dizzy and kinda out of it. In hindsight, I think that was from the megadose of morphine they give you right at the end of the c/s. Quickly, I felt better. My mom came in to see me, and then Dan did. Soon, the nurses brought Georgia from the nursery. Her blood sugar was fine—they would have to keep checking due to her size—but she was having a bit of trouble keeping her body temp up. So after I nursed her, she would have to go back to the nursery for an hour to be monitored. She latched on right away, and she was an awesome nurser! I was so glad to have her in my arms within less than an hour of her being born! She was beautiful and chubby and so sweet.

When I was ready to go to my room, the nursery nurses took Georgia back. Then my nurse cleaned me up and moved me to my room. It wasn't long till I was ansty for my girl, and just in time they brought her back to me. She got to meet her sister and her cousins and Ga (my mom) and Grandma and Grandpa (Dan's parents). Then, Dan and I got to spend some quiet time with just Georgia. I was on such a high that I couldn't sleep, even thought I was tired.
While I was on fluids only for 6 hours after her birth, I was ready to EAT! Dan's parents brought subs around 6PM, and I ate an entire footlong chicken philly AND a large caramel frap from Starbucks plus fries. MMMMM!!!!!! By 3PM, I was sitting up on the side of the bed, and by 9PM my catheter was out, and I was walking! The only thing I'd change? Asking to do 'kangaroo care' instead of having her go back to the nursery for the body temperature issues. I was just a bit too out of it to think of that at the time. Overall, my c-section recovery was a breeze! But next time we're trying for a VBAC. Just so I can say I've done all 3!

Georgia Elaine's birth day was January 6th, 2008 and she weighed in at 9lbs, 8oz. She is the second of what Mackenzie hopes will be a number of children to come.

Clara's Birth by Mackenzie

After 5 weeks of bedrest, biweekly NSTs, and a trip to L&D for pre-eclampsia, my OB finally decided we should induce at my 40 week OB appointment. We had a few hours to prepare before we headed to the hospital. Dan and I made a list of what we would need to pack and/or buy. Then, we ate lunch and took a nap. The afternoon went quickly. Before we new it, we had to get packed and eat dinner. On our way to the hospital, thunderstorms began. Wow, was the rain coming down! By the time that we arrived at the hospital at shortly before 8 PM, tornado warnings had been issued for our county. In fact, the hospital was moving everyone ambulatory to the ground floor, and when we got to L&D, we were sent to wait in the hallway. The staff was wheeling all of the laboring women into the hallway as well because all of the LDRs had windows. It was wild to sit there with all of these laboring or recovering women, getting a preview of what I was going to experience.

Finally, we got into our room around 9 PM, when I was supposed to get my first dose of Cervadil. We waited and waited for a nurse to come. Because of all of the chaos surrounding the tornado, it took an hour and 45 minutes for a nurse to find time to get me admitted and insert the medication. In fact, it was close to midnight by the time I got the first dose of Cervadil, and I was supposed to have my 2nd dose at 1 AM! However, I was contracting pretty regularly on my own when the nurse hooked me up to the monitor, so she and the doctor decided to forego the 2nd dose of Cervadil and just head straight to Pitocin at 4 AM.

Dan stayed with me until about 12:30 AM and then went home to let the dogs out and get some sleep. I slept fitfully for a few hours. The contractions were more like cramps and were coming every 2-3 minutes. The big nuisance was the BP cuff. My pressure was high, so I was being monitored more frequently. Gosh, that sucker hurt. I also was showing +2 protein in my urine, so the staff started to get concerned about my pre-eclampsia. As long as I laid on my left side, my BP was fine. But that was the worst way to lay to cope with the contractions. At least I was able to sleep a bit. The nurse had to wake me at 4 AM to put in my IV and start the Pitocin drip. Shortly after, the contractions got a bit more intense, mostly longer, and I had a harder time sleeping. Good thing I brought a good book to keep myself occupied.

Dan got back around 7:30 in the morning. I was feeling fine but my BP was not great. Every time I would get up, it would go up to borderline dangerous. The nurses changed shifts, and my new nurse was GREAT! She had 37 years of experience and was very much like a midwife in her approach. When she first came in, I was sitting on the ball which she encouraged. Then my BP was taken, and it was back to bed. She checked me at the start of the shift, and I only was dilated to 2, although I was almost 75% effaced now. Not a lot of progress for 4 hours on Pitocin.

My OB came to check on my at about 9 AM. I was still at 2, and my BP was HIGH. She asked if I intended to get an epidural, and I answered, "Yes, eventually." She advised that getting the epidural now would help keep my BP down and recommended that we break my water and get the epi so that she wouldn't have to give me magnesium sulfate which could slow down or stop labor. So she broke my water and put an internal monitor on the baby. But it didn't work. And the whole thing was EXTREMELY uncomfortable for me. Afterward, I got up to use the restroom one last time before the epi, and I didn't feel any gushing. Strange.

The nurse anesthetist came in around 9:45 to administer the epidural. She was great at explaining it. I was a bit apprehensive, but she and Jane were wonderful. The worst part was that when she fed the catheter in, she rubbed a nerve, and I had a strong clenching feeling in my lower back. It was awful. But when she moved the catheter, it went away. The epidural taking effect was a very odd feeling. At that point, I didn't really need the relief, so I just got to kinda feel the numbness spread.

Right after the epi, my mom arrived. She'd driven in from PA that morning. I was SO glad to see her. I had been waiting (impatiently) all morning for her to get there. We hung out and chatted and watched tv as the nurses checked on me and moved me from one side to the other every hour to make sure that the epidural was taking effect equally on each side. We watched the contractions on the monitor and watched my blood pressure go up every time I moved from my left side.

At about 11:30, Jane decided she needed to check me again because the contractions hadn't gotten more intense after my water had been broken. She found that my water HADN'T been fully broken and the reason that the internal monitor wasn't working was that it was on my CERVIX, not on the baby. So Jane broke my water and put in the internal monitors for the baby and for contractions. Now it was a lot more fun to watch the contraction monitor because their severity was truly being recorded. Every so often, the nurse would come in and turn up my Pitocin because my contractions would start to "fizzle out". Thank goodness I had the epidural, because I don't want to think what it would have felt like otherwise! Eventually, my Pitocin was just about as high as it would go!!

Dan's parents arrived around lunch time and brought Panera for everyone…except me. I was STARVING at this point, having not eaten anything other than a granola bar since dinner. So I had jello and a popsicle while the rest of them had sandwiches and chips.

By 1 PM or so, I still hadn't made much more progress. So Jane dropped the bottom of the bed so I was laying with my hips slanted toward the floor. Then she propped my top let up on the tray table so I was essentially spread-eagled while lying on my side. She said the spread and the decline would help the baby move down the birth canal and put more pressure on my cervix to help me dilate. I hung out that way till about 4:30. In that time, the OB came to visit again and said that we were making progress, slowly but surely. I think I was maybe close to 100% effaced at this point? I kept telling everyone that I wanted to do whatever it took to deliver vaginally, and they were 100% behind that. Also during this time, I was discouraged and kinda retreated into myself. Everyone else was playing cards and chatting, and I just wanted to read alone.

Finally, the OB came back to check on me at about 4:30. I was FINALLY 5 cm and 100% effaced. She said the next 5 cm should go much more quickly than the first 5. I also started to get a bit more uncomfortable, feeling some pelvic floor pressure. I could feel the contractions, but only as a pressure. Even then, I was having to breathe through them a little bit. So they had the nurse anesthetist re-dose my epidural. That provided relief for most of the pressure. But within little more than an hour, the pressure was back, and it was more intense. D was now sitting next to my bed, and I was really having to concentrate to deal with the discomfort. My mom was there, too, on the other side. D was rubbing my lower back, and I was holding onto the rail of the bed HARD.

During all of this, D's parents returned with dinner from Wendy's for the troops. I couldn't STAND the smell and made them leave the room because I was feeling so nauseated. My mom headed out to the waiting room with them, and D stayed with me. I was crying because I was SO uncomfortable. D's mom offered to stay with me so that he could eat, and I nearly screamed, "NO!" at her. D called the nurse to check me, and I was at 7 cm. In just about an hour! The nurse put my legs down to keep me from dilating quite so quickly and in an effort to help me manage the pressure. And they sent the NA in to re-dose my epi again. By the time the NA got there, I was in a LOT of discomfort. Every time I had a contraction, I felt like I had to hold my insides in. Most of the pressure was rectal, just like you read about—it felt like I needed to have a bowel movement IMMEDIATLEY! I felt some of the same type of pressure vaginally. It didn't HURT, per se, but I was extremely uncomfortable.

It was now just before 7 PM…shift change. My great, midwifey nurse was leaving. What was worse at the time was that the nurses were having their shift change meeting and kept putting me off. That is, until I finally said, "I'm not kidding, I feel like I have to PUSH!" The NA, who was still in the room, RAN to the nurses' station to get my new nurse. She checked me, and sure enough, I was complete. So I went from 5cm to complete in an hour and 20 mintues or so. WE WERE READY TO PUSH!
Oh, did it feel good to push. It relieved the pressure SO MUCH. And yes, you poop during delivery, and no you don't care. Unless your nurse doesn't clean it up and you have to ask her to. Needless to say, I wasn't thrilled with my new nurse. Instead of coaching me on appropriate pushing and doing perineal massage, she was charting on the computer while I was pushing. What made that even more annoying was that she was hiding the contraction monitor, and we needed to see that because the pressure was constant whether I was having a contraction or not. So the only way I knew when to push was that D would watch the monitor and tell me when the contraction had gathered enough steam.

The nurse was thrilled with how well I was pushing and the progress that I was making. She jokingly asked if I had done this before! The baby had a few small decelerations, so I had to wear an oxygen mask. I was exhausted and shaking violently between every contraction, which made me even more tired. D was awesome, helping hold my leg and my shoulders and feeding me ice chips between contractions. He kept telling me what a great job I was doing. We pushed for about an hour, with both D and the nurse telling me what great progress we were taking when all of a sudden the nurse made me stop pushing and paged the desk to call the OB. Later, D said that we had only been seeing a bit of baby's head at the peak of each push, and then baby would recede…but suddenly, a LOT more of baby's head appeared with a big push, and it didn't go back. When the nurse told me I had to wait to finish till my OB got there, I said, "NO! Go find another doctor. Please!" She said it would only be 15 minutes. So I "blew away" the contractions for a bit and then was allowed to give little pushes. It was the longest 15 minutes of my life. Like a little kid in the car on a long trip, I kept asking how much longer I had to wait.

Finally, Dr. R arrived. She was great and positive and very excited. I pushed and pushed and started kinda hyperventilating. I was so, so tired at this point that I couldn't catch my breath between contractions. I was pushing for three 10 counts during each contraction, and the contractions were less that 2 minutes apart. My progress stalled. You could see baby's head, but I was losing the strength to push her out. Dr. R asked if I wanted her to use the vacuum to help me. I knew I needed the assistance. So on the next push, Dr. R attached the vacuum to the top of baby's head, and I pushed with all my might. You should have seen my tiny little OB standing up and pulling all directions on that vacuum with both hands! One more push, and baby's head was out. Oh, did it feel better already! I had to blow away a bit of a contraction, and then I pushed again to get her shoulders out. That was a bit easier!

And finally she was here!! It was 9:10 PM. D cut the cord. He was so funny when Dr. R asked if he wanted to. She barely got the question out, and he practically shouted, "YES!" She cried a little, and they took her straight to the bassinet because she needed to be suctioned. Probably because of the vacuum delivery.

I was so disappointed not have her placed right on my chest, but her daddy ran right over to her and watched the whole time. She never was out of my sight, either. While they cleaned her up, Dr. R put me back together. Mercifully, she had given me a shot of Lidocaine to numb my perineum. I wonder if she knew how badly I was going to tear? It took her as long to stitch me up as it took the nurses to check and clean up the baby. Everyone kept remarking on how big she was, and D and I both noticed her huge hands and feet right away. Someone asked, "What's her name?" D looked at me, and I answered, "Clara." D smiled really big. I had been having second thoughts about her name for a few weeks, but I knew as soon I saw her that it was right.

They finally gave her to me, all bundled up. She was PERFECT! She latched on the first try and did a great job, nursing for quite a while. My mom and D's mom came into the room and met Clara. They were so excited. After she finished nursing, D's dad came in, too. He took a lot of pictures. Then it was time for Clara to go to the nursery.

Unfortunately, the fun didn't stop there. As they nurses were monitoring my vitals after delivery, two causes for concern arose. First, my BP would not stay down. Secondly, I spiked a fever of almost 102 degrees. So, I ended up taking Percoset in addition to the Motrin I requested for the recovery pain. And then I got a migraine. By the time they moved me to my room, I was REALLY out of it. The nurse was giving us instructions, and I couldn't keep my eyes open. I had to keep my IV in to get 3 doses of antibiotics for the fever, and that was pretty uncomfortable. It was now midnight, and I was ready to pass out for a variety of reasons. D left to go home, and they took Clara to the nursery with the promise to bring her in when she was hungry. She nursed for an hour and a half at about 4 a.m. What a trooper!

By morning, I felt SOO much better. I had to have the IV until late afternoon that day to get my last dose of the antibiotics, but other than that, I felt pretty good. The headache was gone, and the pain in my "bottom" was completely bearable. The only outstanding issue was that my BP was still high unless I was laying on my left side. That continued until my discharge, and I was put on BP medication for a week and a half to help it regulate as I recovered.

All in all, it was a long and not uncomplicated labor. It definitely did not turn out the way I expected, and I was a bit disappointed in the experience. But Clara was worth every second of it, and I already can see doing it again in the not too distant future! The good news is that there's no guarantee (or even increased likelihood) that the next time around will be anything like this time.

Clara Louise arrived at 9:10 PM on Wednesday, July 12th after a long induction and labor (beginning 12 midnight 7/11). She is Mackenzie's first child.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lakota's Birth by Beth

My second pregnancy was a planned homebirth. A few days before my 42 week check-up, my midwife called and suggested that I take Castor Oil. I had 12 hours of mild contractions, but then they just stopped.

At my 42 week check-up, I was completely astonished when they urged me to go to the hospital. I was heartbroken. I knew the dates were off by at least 5 days and the baby was very active. I did everything possible to get labor going--more castor oil, sex, evening primrose oil, walked for miles, pumped, prayed, begged and pleaded for the labor to begin. I lost my mucous plug but was not in active labor.

Feeling I had no other choice, I drove 90 minutes south to the hospital where my midwife worked as an RN. Upon arrival (7pm) I was 3-4 cm dilated. An OB stripped my membranes and broke my water. Thankfully, being Saturday evening, the hospital was quiet and almost empty. I walked laps, used the breast pump, and waited. By 3AM there still were no regular contractions. The nurse said that if I wasn't in labor, pitocin would be started in the morning. So, I took the Ambien she offered and tried to get some sleep.

Around 8 AM, the OB returned and I knew labor was beginning. He still wanted me to have pitocin, so the IV went in. I barely remember the 2 hours on pitocin--I just kept waiting for them to get the IV out so I could get in the shower. Finally, satisfied that I was in active labor, they stopped the pitocin.

I stayed in the shower for most of the labor. With the heat and pressure of the water, I found the contractions manageable. When I got out, I used a birth ball and would yell to my husband "Front!" or "Back!" for counter-pressure.

Around 12:30pm I felt the urge to push. I know sometimes women are told to blow through the first urges, but for me, it is totally involuntary. My body just pushes. There was a flurry of activity as I climbed up on the bed. Lights dropped from the ceiling. Nurses flooded the room. I could still see my 4 year old daughter in the corner watching me. The sensations were so intense and happening so fast, I screamed. The doctor came in and told me not to scream. And just then, my son emerged. My daughter yelled, "Mama, you did it!" And, there was silence, as the hospital viewed my 42 + 6 days baby...Covered in vernix. No peeling skin. He looked up at me, wearily.

Lakota's birth is bittersweet. I was wounded by the experience leading up to his birth--I felt deeply disappointed that the midwives I chose did not believe in me enough to let him come in his own time. But, he was born with his sister present. Without pain medication. Without an episiotomy. And, as close as possible to our own terms.

Lakota was born at 12:43pm on October 1, 2006 at 7lbs, 12 oz. He is Beth's second child. She continues her Postpartum Doula Practice & Breastfeeding Counseling in NJ.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Braylon's Birth by Lindsay

I went in to labor on August 31st. I was having contractions and decided to go to the hospital at about 8 p.m. Once I got there, they checked me and I was at 4 cm. They checked me again about an hour later, still 4 cm. So they asked me to walk around the hospital for about 2 hours, which I did. They checked me again shortly after 11p.m. with only a little change. Because there was so little change, and my water still had not broken, they gave me an Ambien and sent me home, as the hospital was full and there were no nurses on staff (this is one of two major hospitals.... not really sure why there were no nurses on staff!).

So, I went home to sleep until I was "further along." I woke periodically through the night and was up at 6 a.m. At about 6:30, I was having to stop what I was doing to get through the contractions. Took a shower and got to the hospital at about 8 a.m. At this point I was having serious back labor that I couldn't get away from. So I asked for pain relief so that I could enjoy the labor. Well, the way this hospital works, you first have to go to a room so that they may determine if you are in fact in labor, and they monitor the baby at that time as well. Then they send you to the delivery room if they feel you are in labor and ready (when I was in there for problems with pre term labor back in June, there was one woman claiming to be ready to deliver who was not even pregnant, and one who was in labor, who had no idea she was pregnant!) The only way I could get some relief from the back labor was to get on all fours which messed up the fetal monitor reading. I was also 6 cm at this point. I kind of lost track of time at that point, but by the time they got me to delivery, I was 8 cm. I was in so much pain, and again I asked, no, more like demanded, an epidural. Then I remembered someone saying at one of the Dar a Luz meetings that some times it helps to open your mouth and let out a moan. So I opened my mouth and screamed. It was the only way I felt somewhat better. I screamed through each contraction. At some point I was told I had to remain on my left side and I could not move, as the baby was in stress. My doctor (who is a wonderful man that has been doing this for 25+ years) came in and decided to break my water, turned around and told the anesthesiologist who was just now arriving that I wasn't going to need him. About that time, I stopped screaming and told them I need to push, which I was also instructed not to do. Finally I was allowed to push and 16 minutes from the point of my water breaking, at 9:51 a.m. Braylon Truitt came into this world.

Now, I feel like I need to explain why I was told not to move from my left side and not to push until the doctor was ready. When I was in the first room of labor and delivery, they missed that the baby was in stress because I kept getting on all fours which messed up the readings. Once they got me to delivery, they caught this and monitored the baby. I was not allowed an epidural until they had so many minutes of an accurate reading, which is why it took forever to get the anesthesiologist to my room and why I was not to move from my left side. As it turns out, the cord was loosely caught around the baby's neck - which is why I was not to push until the doctor was ready.... Kind of scary, but all was fine in the end. I was really amazed at the relief from the contractions once I was able to push!

Braylon Truitt was born at 9:51 am on September 1st. Lindsay says she felt incredibly empowered by his birth.