Baby Jedi’s Birth Story – Part 3

baby, c-section, cesarean, birth, birth story, hospital

I continued to sit for hours enjoying my popsicles and my husband and mother.  We waited.  And waited.  A nurse came in to check my progress and determined that it needed a little help.  Baby Jedi was not moving past my pelvis.  They hooked me up to Pitocin.  I wasn’t thrilled but since I had started labor on my own, they said I wouldn’t have the same issues as someone who is induced.

And we waited.

And waited.

The nurses kept coming in, checking me, upping the Pitocin, and leaving me to wait.  With popsicles.

8 o’clock rolled around, which meant I had been in labor for around 16 hours at that point.  Dr. Russell made his appearance to check me himself.  Though the nurses stated that I was around 9 cm and just a teensy bit shy of fully effaced, he stated I was closer to 8 cm and still had a little bit of a lip.  And Baby Jedi was still not coming through my pelvis.  The dreaded C word got thrown around with a lot of the typical reasons to do it.  Maybe the baby was too big.  Maybe I was worn out.  If they didn’t, I could lose my whole uterus.  Yadda yadda.

Needless to say, i got a bit touchy.  OK, angry.  I was angry.  I didn’t want a C-section.  I did want to undergo what I knew was major surgery for no reason.  I told the doctor point blank that I really really didn’t want C-section.  I asked if I or the baby was in danger.  The only issue was that my uterus may tire out at some point, which would increase the risk that my uterus wouldn’t contract after birth and I could hemorrhage.

I asked for a moment to discuss things with my husband.  We agreed.  One more hour.  Give me one hour to do more than eat popsicles.  To actually work this birth.  Cause, let’s face it.  I had spent the last several hours, with an epidural, like I was on holiday.

So, I worked it, while my husband and mother napped nearby.  I could fill the pressure of the contraction, without the pain and I really worked it.  An hour went by, though it only felt like a few minutes.  And the doctor was back.

Another fun check up my nethers and we get the news that nothing has changed.  The baby is still not past my pelvis.  I took a deep breath and decided, if I can’t have it all my own way, I’ll have as much as I can get.  I started asking about double suturing the uterine wall, and the possibility of VBAC if I want to have another.  To still delay cord clamping,  and skin to skin contact will they stitch me up in the OR, and nursing in recovery as soon as possible.  And they were agreeable to everything.  The doctor, I think, realized that I was more intelligent than I must have looked at the time.  He said all that I requested was not an issue.  So, I said yes.

I looked over at Daddy Jedi, and before I could even ask if he would come with me, I knew he was out.  He almost looked like the dad in a comedy show that needs to breathe in a brown paper bag.  While the usual surgery talk didn’t bother me, (you know, you could be fine, you could need a hysterectomy, you could die) it really upset Daddy Jedi.  So, I turned to my mom, and asked her to go with me.

I almost laughed, because while her lips said yes, her face said, “OMG, what am I doing?”  She kept this look the whole time she put on the OR gear.  They adjusted my epidural for surgery and got me prepared to go in.  The anesthesia nurse going with me was super nice, and in less than 5 minutes, they were wheeling me to the OR.  They got me set up, told me to hold on to the straps, and promised me they would fill me in on what was happening.  And my mom sat next to me, and held my hand.

Let me pause for a second here.  I started off wanting a home water birth.  Where the miracle of life would overtake me like an ocean wave.  Where my visualizations would help me open to welcome my son and I would help catch him as he came out.  Where I would hold his new little body to my bare chest and this new little family would stare in wonder at what God had done.  Now, I’m flat on my back in an OR after getting an epidural and Pitocin, preparing for a C-section.  I have read that a lot of moms are upset by this.  One thing I had done from the beginning is say we planned to have a home birth, so that, in the back of my mind, I would also remember that plans change.  This plan changed.  But, for whatever reason, I was ok.  I wasn’t upset.

Back to the story.

The OR was, frankly, a blur to me.  I couldn’t see or feel anything, so I lay there with no clue.  There was the point where they applied pressure to my chest.  Then they asked my mom to stand, if she wanted, to see the head being birthed.  Finally, I heard his cry.  And my heart exploded.  Not literally, but even now, as I think of it, my eyes tear up.  I started saying, “My baby!” over and over.  My mom kept telling me it was ok.

I heard a familiar voice and looked over to see Dr. Whiles.  That was such a huge comfort in the midst of the madness.  I had called, and planned, and researched myself blue in the face finding a good pediatrician for Baby Jedi, and Dr. Whiles had been the best fit.  I felt like his arrival at 9 PM on a Saturday night was the biggest kindness.  Of course, I know he was who I had listed, but I wasn’t in my right mind at this point.  I could also see Baby Jedi for the first time while they worked to measure and clean him.  I forgot about holding onto the straps and started reaching for him, because I so desperately needed him.  I could hear him crying and I knew that I needed to touch him, hold him.

The anesthesia nurse was awesome!  I don’t know your name but you were fantastic!  They were stamping his decorative birth thing, and she told them that if it wasn’t necessary, it could wait til later.  That I wanted my baby now.  So, bundled with his little cap on, they brought him to me and laid him on my chest.  I held him with one arm, looked into his eyes, and said his name.  Gareth.  And he stopped crying and he looked back.  My mom was amazed.  “He knows your voice!”  And I just laid there, oblivious to everything else now, drinking him in.

C-section, birth, baby, operation, new parent

It seemed to last a long time, but it was only a few minutes.  Then my mom got to hold him and take him to meet Daddy Jedi.  They finished me up, and I was wheeled to recovery.  There, another fantastic nurse helped me nurse the first time.  And it went like clockwork.  I honestly think, with how everything else went, that if breastfeeding had went poorly I would have lost it.  But Baby Jedi was a natural.  I watched him eat, while Daddy and Granny stood nearby, and was once again lost on the tides of my emotions.

baby, hospital, birth, birth story, mother, God

The rest of my hospital stay was adventurous, to say the least.  I had to have follow-up surgery to deal with a bleeder.  I had to have transfusions to replace my lost blood.  I had ileus, which if you haven’t, I pray you never do.  Green vomit.  That is all I’m going to say on that front.  But, we finally made it home.

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Was it picture perfect?  No.  But what in life ever truly is?  I have a healthy son, who is amazing and sometimes, even a bit ridiculous.  And that, my friends, is enough for me.

Baby Jedi’s Birth Story – Part 2

gareth csection

When we got to the hospital, I felt pretty sure we needed to go to the ER so that I could get admitted.  Daddy Jedi dropped me off at the front door.  While most would want a wheelchair, I knew walking and staying on my feet would help me cope with the contractions.  I walked down to admitting while Austin ran ahead to find someone that would have some idea of what we needed to do.  It was around 5 am, so, needless to say, there were few people around.

I was approaching the ER, I heard my husband getting irate.  Apparently, someone in the ER was not being very nice.  I walked in and the man started asking me questions slowly, while I continued to moan and scream, depending on where I was in the non-stop contractions.  I think I would have happily punched the man repeatedly, except I think he quickly realized that I needed help immediately.  He got a nurse, who insisted I sit in the wheelchair.  She wheeled me up to L & D.

We arrived at the nurse’s station, and an older grey-haired woman was standing there.  She explained they would have to triage me to verify that I was, in fact, in labor and that my water had broken.  There was the snarky part of my brain that had to wonder how many pregnant women they get, screaming, who were, in fact, not in labor.  It’s like the warning on Preparation H not to take it internally.  It wouldn’t be necessary unless someone had actually done it before.

I was to the point of screaming and stomping very hard during the peak of every contraction.  The grey-haired lady was named Maggie, and she was Scottish.  For me, that was a blessing from God.  Considering my Scottish and Irish ancestry, it was like having a wonderful friend in a time of pain and torment.  She was firm but kind, allowing me to stand and stomp and scream when I needed to.  She paged a Resident, who would need to do a pelvic exam to confirm everything.  My midwife ensured I was in good hands and that they had a copy of my medical records before saying good-bye. When he arrived, he kindly got everything ready before I laid down so that the pain wouldn’t be intense for long.  

And guess what?!  I was in labor.  It wasn’t Maggie or the resident’s fault.  Policy sucks.  Anyway, they paged anesthesia and got an IV placed, despite my dancing around screaming.  They took me to a room, which I felt was back away from everyone else due to my screaming.  Maggie left to find out about the epidural, which meant poor Daddy Jedi was left alone with his crazed screaming wife.  I couldn’t lay down so I instead gripped the IV pole for dear life and screamed and stomped my right foot as hard as I could. It seemed like hours before Maggie came back to let us know that anesthesia had an emergency intubation in ICU which meant I had to wait.  I wanted to cry.  

I begged her for something, and she said she could give me an injection of Stadol to take the edge off until anesthesia could get there.  Never in my life have I been that eager for drugs.  After the injection, I was loopy and felt great.  I could lay down, relax, and stop trying to stomp my way to China.  

I honestly don’t know how long it was before the anesthesia nurse came.  I was in a happy place, though the Stadol was wearing off when she did arrive.  She was another blessing.  Her name was Sharon and she was amazing through my whole hospital stay. She was getting me setup for the epidural when the anesthesiologist arrived. I honestly can’t remember his name, but he actually put me before his other pages and got the line placed in just a few seconds.  

After he left, Sharon stayed to make sure the epidural was working well and to explain the button to give myself more if I needed it.  Daddy Jedi was immensely relieved. He had his wife back. He suggested calling and having my mom come down since I was no longer at home and screaming.  And I actually wanted her.  He called her and let her know.  She told him she would get ready and head down immediately.  I asked for something to eat and enjoyed munching on orange Popsicles and being able to carry on multi-word conversations with my husband for the first time in hours.

Stay tuned for part 3 . . .

Baby Jedi’s Birth Story – Part 1

Sorry for the long absence, but I am happy to say that Baby Jedi has finally entered the world.  After a couple of weeks of recovery, I have decided it is finally time to start blogging again.  And his birth story seems like a good place to start.

gareth

My due date was April 27.  And I knew that he wouldn’t come on that day.  I mean, almost no babies come on their due date and I was OK with that.  Because of my girth and the fatigue that was really affecting me, I went on maternity leave the Thursday before my due date.  And that same day, I started noticing tightening in my abdomen.  Not painful, but I began to get hopeful.  I was having nesting energy.  I was needing to go to the bathroom a lot.  I started to expect that I could finally have my baby.

And the days went by.  And nothing.

Nothing.

Daddy Jedi would take me on walks several times a day.  We spent considerable amounts of time in and out of the bedroom to get things going.  Walking would increase the tightening in my abdomen, but then it would slowly decrease.  This went on for 2 weeks.

The roller coaster of emotions left me at times elated that something was working.  At other times, it seemed hopeless.  As the 42 week mark was approaching, I began to wonder what would happen if I reached that point and still had not went into active labor.  I knew that I didn’t want to end up being induced at a hospital.  I also really, really, REALLY did not want to end up taking castor oil.  I just have read way too many yucky stories of the effects of castor oil.

The Friday before I would hit the 42 week mark, I went out to walk by myself.  It was 10 am and it was a beautiful and warm day.  I walked until I was sweating. And the whole time, I kept thinking – “I am going into labor today, no matter what.”  I went back inside and got in the floor on all fours while Daddy Jedi played Skyrim.  I was reading while doing pelvic tilts.

Around 1, I noticed that things have started to change.  I could no longer focus on my book or on what Daddy Jedi was doing on the game.  I had to focus on breathing.  We had already had a couple of chances to practice timing contractions, but I just couldn’t bear to time these and then have them stop again.  So, instead we just looked at how many I was having per hour.  By 4, I could tell they were more intense and more frequent.  I started having Daddy Jedi time them, and they had now settled into a regular 45 second long duration every 5-6 minutes.

I texted my doula, letting her know what was happening.  She suggested we keep timing and if things continued to increase in the same way, to call my midwife. The next couple of hours passed as I continued to experience stronger contractions.  Around 7, I called my midwife to let her know I was now having them every 4-5 minutes lasting a minute long.  She told me she would come check me.  While we waited for her to drive to the house, I continued to breathe through the contractions.  I was to the point of having to groan through the contractions, while Daddy Jedi helped fill the pool and encourage me through each one.

birth pool, home birth, midwife, birth, natural

They weren’t necessarily unbearable.  I could work through each contraction and then relax and talk.  Even laugh a little.

My midwife arrived around 9:30 pm and had me lay down on the bed.  That was when I discovered that laying down greatly intensified the contractions, but I was still able to breathe/groan through it.  She said I was 70% effaced but still only 3 cm dilated.  She told me to keep timing and working through them, but that she was going home to get some sleep as it would probably be a long night.  She wanted me to call once they were steadily around 4 min apart and lasting at least a minute and a half.  She also told me I could get into the pool at that point.  So I wandered the house.  I would sit on the exercise ball and rock.  I found the most comfortable was still to be draped over something on all fours.

Around 1 in the morning, I was in the pool.  I found the hot water really helped as long as I stayed off my left side.  I was almost unbearable to lay on that side.  I draped myself over the side of the pool and tried to relax between each contraction.  But I was beginning to notice that the breaks between them I had been having earlier in the day had stopped.  I was starting to hurt even when I wasn’t having a contraction.

At this point, I had Austin call the midwife and ask her to come back.  She arrived around 2:30 and wanted to check me again.  This time, laying down on my back was ridiculous.  I would almost thrash from the pressure and pain until the contraction eased.  She checked me.  I was now 90% effaced, but had only made it to 4 cm.  She also told me my amniotic sac was bulging through my cervix.  This was hopeful, but I admit I was a little disheartened that I was only at 4 cm.  I was to the point that I needed to stay in the pool as much as possible to deal with the contractions.  It definitely required work.  After about an hour, I was checked again.  While she checked me, my water broke.  And the pain amped up to 11.  There was no breaks now, just continuous contractions back to back.

My doula had mentioned to me about a para-cervical block my midwife could give me to numb just my cervix.  At this point, I was desperate to make progress.  I requested the block, and though she encouraged me to try without it, I insisted.  My thoughts were, if I can make progress to 6-7 cm without feeling it and have a break, I can probably make it to pushing.  She had me lay down and gave me the block.   The relief was instant.  I could breathe and laugh.  I got on the birthing stool, leaning forward on a stack of pillows, and tried to rest while letting gravity work on my cervix.

At the end of the hour, when the pain started coming back, I asked if we could check my progress.  And the disappointment was devastating.  I was still at 4 cm.  One hour of pure gravity working on me and I had made what I felt was NO progress.  I started panicking.  How would I make it through transition when this stage of labor was so bad?  I got back in the pool, but felt trapped in there when a contraction hit.  I could no longer keep my moaning low pitched, rather making very high pitched yells.  Standing was the only way to give myself any slack.

I asked about having the block one more time, but the only way I could get it was to make progress to 6 cm.  My midwife estimated that that could take another 30 min to an hour.  And I gave up.  I cried and begged Daddy Jedi.  I wanted to go to the hospital.  I wanted an epidural.  I needed the pain to stop.  I have always managed pain well, I thought.  But the mental defeat of no progress stopped me from being able to do anything but crying, punching, and praying for it to stop.  While I could tell my midwife was trying very hard to get me to work through it, I no longer could.  I lost control of my mind, which meant I lost control completely.  So, after several minutes of agonizing deliberation with Daddy Jedi, I quickly got dressed while he grabbed the diaper bag and we headed to the hospital.

Stay tuned for Part 2 to Baby Jedi’s birth story . . .