|Meeting for the First Time|
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Ethan's Birth Story
Tuesday afternoon, my birth plan went to hell. I was called by one of my midwives saying that my blood pressure levels had risen to the point where they were no longer comfortable having me labor and deliver at the Waterbirth Center. I would have thought this to affect me more, but I suppose I had prepared myself, and felt thankful that this Blood Pressure counting game would soon be over.
By Tuesday at 5, we were on our way to drop off the dog at the boarders, and on our way to be induced. I was still hopeful that I could have a natural childbirth, but supervised in a hospital, I could have an eye kept on my blood pressure.
I arrived at the hospital at around 7 pm, and was greeted by friendly staff and nurses. This put me at ease right away, and we moved into our palatial labor suite. They checked my vitals, and my BP was high (shocker) and they started to talk with me about being co-managed with the OB to make sure that it didn’t go any higher.
I got a horrible IV in my arm, right below my wrist. The reason being that I could labor with it in that location and be able to move my arm around. Jon had settled in at this point and got all our stuff pseudo unpacked.
They checked me at this point (Which was VERY painful), and I was still at 1-2 cm and 80% effaced. This was somewhat discouraging, since I was that far along back several days before on Friday. So, they decided to give me Misoprostol to ripen my cervix to be able to work with the contractions later on. This is a little pill that’s put on the cervix. Jon and I then spent some time just playing cards and watching TV, expecting labor to begin soon.
Early Wednesday morning, I was checked again, with little progress, so, onto Pictocin I went. I was anti-Pit for sure, but knew that I had to do something to kick contractions into gear. Very quickly after starting the Pit, I started to feel the roller coaster of contractions. The first few took me by surprise, and the pain was extreme. After a few contractions though, I got into a zone. I could feel them starting and as soon as they started I went into my own head, focusing only on breathing, and was able to cope with them excellently. I felt proud that here I was in labor handling decent sized contractions. This is what my body was meant to do!
So, I moved around a little and was able to deal with each contraction with a feeling of primal strength. Jon knew that anytime I went silent, to leave me alone or give me smoothing hands on my hair or something non-distracting. I rode them out and felt like I was finally being productive!
My BP was still high at this point, and by midday, it was still climbing despite medications to help it go down. The midwives were talking about risking me out of their care altogether. This scared me a lot, and I felt my hopes of a vaginal delivery were slipping quickly away. By midday, I was only 5 cm along and about 90% effaced, so I had a lot of work to do, after hours on the Pit.
Mary, the midwife on call at this point (as we had gone through a few shifts by now) ended up being the mother of a high school friend of Jon’s (Follow?) and I felt much more comfortable. I continued to labor on the Pit, dealing with contractions well… until the early morning where everything changed.
Thursday in the early morning I was still laboring, and feeling pretty good. Then in walks Mary and the nurse, they check me and I’m still the same, and my BP is up. So, this meant three things…
1. the Pit was too low, but they wanted to make sure that the pressure on the baby was ok before increasing it… meaning an internal monitor. But being that I hadn’t dilated too far, I was concerned about the pain of placing the monitor. I would need an epidural to prevent this pain.
2. My BP was quickly getting me to the point where a C-Section was going to be the only option. A way to avoid this was to get an epidural, which had been shown to reduce BP in many laboring mothers.
3. I had to decide whether to continue to labor, with the potential that I wasn’t going to progress and have to endure a C-Section.
My feelings were so extreme about the choices I was being offered. There was still no certainty that I would have my vaginal birth, but there was suddenly a certainty that an epidural was in my future. I sent Mary and nurse out of the room so I could have a major meltdown with Jon, where I explored how I felt that I had been laboring so well, and handled it well and all the hard work I’d done was now starting to look like it was going out the window.
We decided to do as much as we could with the natural childbirth, so Thursday mid-day I got an epidural so they could turn up the Pit to get me more dilated, to hopefully be able to move labor along, and avoid a C/S.
The epidural placement was absolutely vile. It hurt a while lot, and they had to adjust it a few times to make sure it worked. I then fell asleep for several hours while they turned up the Pit. I didn’t feel the contractions anymore, but I did see them on the monitor and they were large.
Around the middle of the afternoon on Thursday, I woke back up, but I had pinched something in my hip. This hurt very badly, and I had to work hard to keep control, as I also started to feel the contractions as well. One large contraction later, I was screaming in pain due to the pinched nerve on top of the contraction. They started to move in baby related items, thinking that birth was a lot closer than it was, but then the midwife and nurse went off in the middle of a major contraction leaving me alone with Jon feeling pain on a whole new level. I was very frustrated because I felt that the odds of having a baby in this very minute was high.
At around 8 in the evening on Thursday, the midwife checked me finding that I was fully dilated, so they let me start pushing, but the baby was only at +1 station. They let me know that if it felt better to push, to go ahead. So I started to push with each contraction. They let me know that I was pushing very well, and I felt confident that I could still have my vaginal delivery.
So I pushed.
…4 hours later, I was still pushing… and he was only at +1 station. Mary, the midwife Jon knew from before came back on shift, which gave me a lot of peace. She apologized that I couldn’t accomplish what I wanted from my birth.
At this point, I realized… I wasn’t going to have the vaginal birth I wanted. And I was actually ok with it. I had done EVERYTHING I could do
I labored hard
I worked hard
I pushed hard
And my body just wasn’t going to do it.
So, at 1:30 Friday morning, we started to prep for a C/S. Thankfully, I had my epidural line in place, so they were able to give me my medication through there. It was an odd experience, being wheeled into the OR. I never knew a room could be bright and sterile looking. If there was a heaven, it would be as bright as that room.
I met my Anesthesiologist who was very kind and explained everything to me. Jon couldn’t come in until I was all prepped. They used a sharp tool to find out where I was numbed and made sure I was ready to go. I asked them to double check the numbing and then off they went. I was so relieved to have Jon come and sit next to my head, and I saw Mary too who was such a mothering and calming presence in this room of intensity.
Though I’d seen quite a few C/S on TV, nothing could quite prepare me for the weird sensations like your body being shaken around with the force of pulling a baby out. After just a few moments I felt remarkably empty, and the room went silent for just a split second.
Then at 2:04 AM on December 16th, I heard my baby cry. It was surreal, to hear the voice of something that up until then seemed like such an abstract idea, and in that moment, my life changed… I was suddenly a mom.
Immediately, Jon went off to meet our new son, and I was left alone. This moment was one of the oddest, as my job of baby incubator was over, and I was empty and alone. Out of nowhere popped Mary’s hand, and she held mine as the overwhelming effects of the past 54 hours of labor and the anesthesia drugs took over. This joyous moment was punctuated by getting very sick from the drugs and shaking uncontrollably, and I was thankful to not be completely alone.
Only then could I ask if my son was ok, and everyone said he was perfect. He got a 9/9 on his Apgars, weighed 9 lbs even and was 21” long.
I then recalled that I was still undergoing major surgery and asked if I was ok, which I was. A few minutes later, Jon came over and I was able to formally meet my son, Ethan.
He really was beautiful, and he looks just like Jon.
After a few more minutes, my body was hauled off the OR table and back to my bed where I was wheeled back to my room, holding my brand new son.
We spent several whirlwind and exhausting days in the recovery unit, where Ethan learned to breastfeed, and Jon and I learned how to survive on no sleep. We were so blessed to be surrounded by quite a few wonderful nurses and doctors, but I was eager to get home as quickly as possible. Nothing felt better than the idea of being able to be in my own house, so no nurses could barge in at 2 in the morning to check my vitals and where I could shower in my own house.