Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Lincoln's Birth Story

 I chose to use a midwife for the second time because I loved my experience with Desmond. I love that they let you be in charge and will let you go much further over your due date than most OBGYN providers. (Long pregnancies run in the family... I mean my sister had to be induced 2 days before her due date to TWINs who were 7 and 8 pounds!) BUT! at the beginning of my third trimester I started to suffer from over-production of the pregnancy hormone relaxin. This was making my (already weird) hips to separate too much, too fast. It was painful. It affected everything.. sitting, standing, walking, laying. So when my due date started to loom close I was SOO done. I scheduled an induction for 1 week past my due date.

The morning before my scheduled induction I woke up, swung my legs to the side of the bed, put my feet on the ground, and stood up. I then tried to lift one foot up to take a step, and I simply could not. There was no tension in my hips, they were totally separated. I tried for about five minutes (and I super had to pee, haha) and then I just started sobbing. Jerry woke up and thought I was in labor.. I wish. He carried his 9 month pregnant whale wife to the toilet. I then had a complete melt down. How could I ever have a baby naturally if I couldn't even walk?!?

After a few hours of feeling reallllly sorry for myself, I decided I should probably let my midwives know, just in case. I knew there was nothing they could do, and I knew the baby was fine. I called in and they told me to go to the hospital triage immediately just to be sure baby was okay. My mom told me to bring my hospital stuff, just in case. I scoffed at her. There was no way I was having the baby. But I brought the stuff just in case. O, and I curled my hair and put on make-up, just in case, haha.

After a few hours of monitoring, it was confirmed that I was not in labor and that baby was healthy. But, it just so happened that it was a slow day, so the-powers-that-be decided to just keep me and induce me! Mom's always right. I was very surprised and so excited to get that baby out of me and have my legs back!

Around 2:30 pm I started my first round of gels. I felt some contractions, but they were very manageable. I progressed a cm! But my cervix was still super high, and still posterior. 5 pm started my second dose of gels. Didn't feel too much, didn't progress. 7:30 pm started my last round of gels. Felt a lot. progressed some. Baby came down a little and I was to 5 cm.

Around 10pm the midwives decided to break my water. My contractions became real immediately. My mom and Jerry would both hold my hands and I would just try to relax through my contractions but they KILLED. Like some sort of alien was burrowing through my body. I could feel baby descending each contraction with immense force. Like someone was dropping a bowling ball from 10 feet up and it was landing inside of me.

My contractions were random and irregular. I would get 3 in a row with about 20 seconds rest between and and then nothing for 4 minutes. It was so different from my first two birthing experiences, because even when I wasn't contracting I was still in significant pain and discomfort.

After a half-hour the midwife checked me and I was to a 7, but my cervix was still oddly high and still posterior, which seemed to concern the staff. 

I then started to have the urge to push. I told the midwives that I wanted to, to which they told me it wasn't time. But I seriously couldn't not push. I would just slightly push and that would help calm my body down.

After a few half-pushes, the baby started to be in distress. His heartbeat would go super low during contractions and wasn't recovering very well during rest periods either. With every contraction it got more and more dire. Within ten minutes I had about 10 nurses in my room, and, as much as they were trying to keep a calm demeanor, the hasty whispers and panicked faces told me this was not good. The nurses were trying to get me into new positions to help get oxygen to the baby, and being completely unable to move my legs made this impossible. Suddenly I had an oxygen mask on and nurses sternly telling me I need to MOVE. NOW. BABY NEEDS OXYGEN. And I couldn't move. It was the most stressful experience I have been in. I felt totally unable to assist my child, and was as the mercy of the hospital staff to do what I could not do myself for the wellbeing of my child. At this point my midwife calmly told me that the surgeon had just arrived at the hospital and my operation table was being prepped. Not what I wanted to hear.

The midwife checked my progress and told me, I needed to get this baby out. NOW. So with the next contraction I pushed as hard as I could. With the next, I started to push and was told to STOP! Which, when you are in full labor, is really really hard. Like having a bite of the most satisfying chocolate cake you've ever had and being told mid- swallow to throw up. When I would stop pushing my midwife was manipulating my (still posterior) cervix. Although I was almost fully dilated, it was still thick and folded around  some edges amd she was trying to rotate the cervix to the birthing position. I have no concept of how long this PUSH! (BECAUSE YOUR BABY IS ABOUT TO DIE) and STOP PUSHING! went on for, probably 5 minutes, but it felt like 45. I then delivered baby's head. If you have ever seen a birth you know that once the head is out the rest of the body just follows. But not Lincoln. Babies turn as they come out, but Lincoln was still straight on. His linebacker shoulders wanted to come out together, instead of one after another. So after more cervix manipulation and an impossibly hard and long push that almost made me black out, Lincoln was born.

They placed him on me. It was the biggest sense of relief. He was significantly purple so they thought he was low on oxygen, but it was just that his whole face was completely bruised from descending so quickly. My (amazing) midwife made some sort of comment about how that baby was too stubborn and dramatic. I felt immediately defensive and just so in love with this baby. He was here. Safe. And he was perfect. Although I was so happy to have my baby, my body and mind began to be in shock. I was shaking and bawling uncontrollably. I had just gone through a traumatic experience and I didn't know how to cope.

About 25 minutes post-delivery I still hadn't delivered my placenta. I tried nursing Lincoln to spark some contractions. I tried just pushing without a contraction. 35 minutes post-delivery my room was once again filled with nurses and doctors and they hurriedly whispered to each other trying to decide what the next step was. They told me that they were going to start an IV. Although I had no pain medication for delivery I was given no choice for whatever they were about to do next to deliver my placenta. Another ten minutes passed, my IV was in, and my midwife and a doctor were quietly consulting in the corner. I was filled with absolute fear. I said a desperate, silent prayer. I felt a small contraction start to approach. I pushed as hard as I could muster. I tiredly announced, "It's out."

After you deliver a baby the nurses push hard on your empty womb checking for hemorrhaging. My phenomenal nurse started pressing and I could tell it was clear that something was not right. She informed the midwife that she thought she felt blood clots and she was ready to remove them. She firmly felt around my stomach and then found a spot she liked and then basically punched me. A baseball-sized blood clot popped out and traveled two feet away, reaching my feet on the table. She did this 6 times. It was seriously freaky. And once again my room was filled with worried and busy hospital staff assessing my condition. They concluded I was in no immediate danger but that my blood levels needed to be closely monitored.

I will spare you the blow-by-blow details of the following 24 hours. But it was a miracle. My blood levels barely moved. I didn't have any damage or tearing. My bleeding was the expected amount. Despite a traumatic birth, Lincoln's sugar levels were great. He nursed very well. His bruising cleared up by the time we went home. And I WALKED from my hospital bed to my hospital bathroom.

I am so grateful I had the midwife I had at delivery. During prenatal care, she was my least favorite midwife of the group, but she was exactly who I needed. She was able to force my body to do what it was refusing to do. She was confident and encouraging. There was another midwife who was shadowing her and she seemed in awe of what my midwife was able to accomplish. I have a new-found sympathy and a speck of understanding of why unplanned c-sections are difficult experiences for so many women. Bringing a baby into this world is no joke, and when the experience involves any sort of emergency treatment, it is terrifying. It is a type of horror I will not soon forget, but it does make me hold my kids a little tighter.