Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Labor Story

So, I promised and I finally have a chance to share... let me say that this story has a perfect ending in that there was a healthy baby delivered vaginally at the end of it. But, for awhile, it was not looking like it would end that way.

A week ago Thursday, my bag of waters ruptured around 12.30 at night. We headed in to the hospital and discovered that yes, my contractions had started (although they were all over the place and not yet painful), yes, the membrane had ruptured, but I was still just 1 cm dilated with 50% effacement. I was being seen by a resident who wanted to immediately start on a bunch of interventions. When we asked if either mom or baby was in distress, she said no. When we said, "well, if we don't have to go the route of interventions yet, can we talk about other options?" She said, "sure, I'll get you a midwife." Apparently doctors don't talk, they just dictate?? (We were surprised by that, but after we received such wonderful care from the midwives and nurses, I'll never go the OB route again. They were really spectacular!!)

So, we were given the option of me either staying at the hospital or going home and being back by about 7am. At this point, we were afraid about possible infection, plus it was probably about 1.30a. We decided it would make more sense for me to stay and try to get as much rest as possible. The midwife made clear that if nothing happened by morning, we would have to start down the road of interventions.

By morning, I was no more dilated. The contractions were painful, but not bad at all - more like menstral cramps. They told me that they wanted to start me on Cervadil, an insert with a 12 hour cycle. They said for some women, it kick starts them into more active labor. If it did, great. If it started enough things moving but not active, we could talk about the next intervention. If it did nothing by the end of 12 hours, we were looking at a c-section.Hospitals being what they are, I didn't get the Cervadil until about 12n. Because I was on this, they made me have a saline drip and also a baby monitor for her heart and a monitor for my contractions... so, no walking, active labor with showers or hot tubs or anything.

I couldn't even move to get comfortable or sit up in a chair because Chloe was so active the entire time that she kept moving and we kept losing her on the monitor. I was glad she was ok, but frustrated that I couldn't be comfortable at all while I just laid back and waited for the next contraction. They started to get worse thru the afternoon and evening, but still no pattern. My doula (and dear friend Diane) had arrived and was helping Ed take care of me... and gave him the chance to go out and get food.

By 10pm, nothing was happening - still 1cm, contractions, but not on any rhythm. They told me that if nothing was going on by the end of the Cervadil (so midnight), that we'd have to have a c-section as it would be 24 hours from my water breaking. They gave me benadryl in my IV to help me sleep and it hit me really hard and actually scared me. I was afraid something bad would happen, so Ed and Diane didn't get the break I promised them and they stayed with me so I wouldn't be scared. We all tried to get some sleep, but Chloe kept moving, so we'd get to sleep and then 5 min later the alarm would go off and we'd have to find her again. Ed was sleeping on the floor and Diane was in a chair, with her head on my bed while holding the monitor in place. At about 12.30 they came in and said, "Well, this is actually something." My being able to get some rest enabled the contractions to get on a cycle and start to be something. Plus, I think I was at 2cm, so there was some movement that way, too. They said they could give me another intervention with a 4 hour window that would also allow them to introduce pitocin. But at the end of the 4 hours, if we didn't have enough progress, we'd be looking at a c-section.

So, we moved ahead. The contractions started coming really hard and really fast and I was utterly unprepared for how fast it all changed. After about an hour into the process, I was crying and spitting and hysterical... you know, REALLY PRETTY, and couldn't take it anymore. I hadn't wanted an epidural and had said that I might go with morphine or something if needed. But, they told me that the morphine wouldn't help me sleep and the only thing that would do that would be an epi. Because Ed and Diane and I had talked so much about it previously and because I had been convinced that I would have this baby with no problem the way my mom had hers, I was in a really bad way. I needed the epidural and knew it, but felt like to ask for it would be letting down the team. Plus, the midwife that was on shift at that time was very nice, but we didn't communicate well. (The one who delivered us rocked, though, so no worries there.)

Finally, Diane took her aside and said "she needs you to tell her it's ok to have it." Also, Ed looked at me and said "Heather, you're only 1 hour into the 4. After three more hours, if you're not closer to having this baby, they will give you a c-section AND an epiudural! So, have it now and save yourself this agony."

Truer words were never spoken. My anesthesiologist ROCKED. She had the most calming, amazing manner about her and didn't scare me at all. She was really helpful. So, we were all able to sleep and they could position me however they wanted and up the pitocin. I was about 3cm by about 3am.

In the morning, things were progressing at about 1 cm every 2 hours. The midwife who delivered us, Estella, told me afterwards "this was against all odds - everytime I came in here to check you, I told my back up doctor that I was going to finally tell you we needed to have the c-section." But, every time, there was reason to be hopeful, plus neither of us was ever in distress. If there were too many contractions in a row, Chloe's heart rate would decelerate, but it always came back up. We finally sent Ed out for some food for himself. I had been 6 cm at 11.48a and he left around 1.30p.

At 2p, they checked me again and I was 9+ cm and they wanted me to start pushing!!! No one could believe it, I was like "Someone call Ed!!" LOL

He made it back, plus my friend Lucinda had sort of stormed the gates because no one had called to tell her what was going on. So, I had three amazing people in the room with me, plus the midwife and nurses I had come to really trust and lean on. We were the little engine that could - everyone on the floor was invested in us... even if they hadn't been in the room.

So, they had the vacuum standing by, just in case, and the neo-natal people standing by, just in case. After 1.5 hours of pushing (and it didn't even feel that long to me) she was born! I remember the feeling of her sliding out and in the next second was processing what happened, looked down and saw her on my tummy and in the next second processed that, and saw her being whisked over to be checked out by the docs. And this is too funny, she was pooping! I just remember a little booty going past me while pooping. LOL

Ed looked elated, Lucinda looked amazed, Diane (a nurse herself) ran over to be with the baby. Ed came up to me and was so happy and proud and I told him to go be with the baby, but he said, "no, we'll see her together." And then I could hear her start to cry and then I started to cry and then Ed started to cry. And after what I thought was about 30 min, but Ed told me later was 5, they brought her to me and she is the most precious angel baby.

The end.

Or I should say, the beginning.

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