Saturday, March 1, 2008

6 Months and A Labor Story

The Princess is 6 months old today!!! She is getting so big, and she is so beautiful! I am blessed every day to be her Momma. I can not thank God enough for this amazing miracle of a gift He has entrusted to me.
In honor of the Princess's 6 month "birthday," I thought I would post our labor and birth story. It is long, but it is good!
The Beginning
Our Birth Story really started in January in Orlando. I was about 8 or 9 weeks pregnant and very excited. A fellow pastor’s wife had recently had a baby, and I asked her about her birth experience. She told me that she had had a home water birth. While I thought the idea was interesting, I also thought she was a little crazy. *Sorry Jess!* However, her story sent me on a journey to find out how I wanted to have my baby.
I got on the internet and did a lot of reading. The idea of water birth was very intriguing to me. I really felt that that was the best option for our birth experience. That sent me on another journey for a midwife. I finally found a midwife that I thought would be ideal for us who did homebirths. However, the King and I were still a little nervous about a homebirth. We decided that we would hire a doula to help us to have a natural, non-intervention birth in a hospital.
And another search was on. This time we were searching for a doula. I talked to a wonderful woman named E She was so nice to me on the phone and I felt very comfortable talking to her. We met E and her doula partner H, and we knew that they were right for us.
Not only did I find my doula, but they directed me to FB Childbirth Center. FB is the only Childbirth Center in a hospital in Ohio where you can have a water birth. We toured the facility, and found a great group of providers that delivered there.
The King and I also took a childbirth class with H to prepare to have a natural, non-intervention birth.
Labor Begins
On Thursday, August 30th around 2pm I lost my mucus plug. I wasn’t really sure what that meant. I heard you lost it anywhere from a half an hour to ten days before you went into labor. But I knew that I was getting closer to having the baby. The King and I decided to go to the mall to walk. At the mall I had a few contractions. Around seven that evening, at home, I noticed my contractions a lot more. I thought that I should start timing them. The contractions were about 4 minutes apart, kind of intense, but not very long. We called H to let her know that we were in labor and would probably need her services soon.
Water is very relaxing, and I was getting pretty uncomfortable, so I got in the shower around eleven or so. Not long after that I decided to have H come and help me out. It was great having her here. H made a nest of pillows for me, and I rested all night. I had read about women sleeping in between contractions, and I thought there was no possible way. But I did it! I slept in between contractions! And it was great! I got to relax all night and prepare for the next day. My back was hurting and H put a heating pad on my back. It felt great in between contractions, but when I was having one, the heating pad felt way too hot on my back.
Because H was there, the King got to sleep a little too. (Although I don’t think he did really). H stayed up and kept track of my contractions. She said they were 4 minutes apart all night and about 1 minute long. We really thought we would have a baby soon. In the middle of the night we called the birth center and the midwife on call to let them know that I was in labor and would probably be in soon.(I remember thinking about 8:30 Thursday night that I couldn’t believe what I had gotten myself into. The contractions were really intense, and it went through my head that there was no way that I could go through this labor without drugs. My attitude completely changed toward early morning. I knew that I could do it, and I was really excited about having this baby naturally.)
Friday morning changed a bit however. When I woke up and got ready for the day, my contractions had slowed to about every 10-15 minutes. the King and I went for a little walk and we were deciding what to do for the day. I had one contraction that really hurt in my hip. I thought it was weird, but didn’t think it would make much of a difference. That contraction ended up changing my whole labor. The rest of the labor I had a lot of pain in my left hip. The pain in my hip really hurt more than the contractions themselves-clear through when I was transitioning.
My midwife called late in the morning and wanted us to come in to the office to be checked out. I really did not want to go because the drive was so long (the office and the birth center are an hour away from our house). But we decided to go in anyway (L, the midwife was very convincing). H went home to spend time with her family. She was going to join us later when we decided what we were going to do.
The office visit was fine. L had us do a non-stress test to check out the baby. The baby was great! Everything looked fine. L checked me and I was 4 cm dilated and 100% effaced. We were excited about the progress. L told us to get some rest because we were having a baby soon. We knew that we needed to get some rest, but did not want to drive the hour back home and another hour back. So we decided to get a hotel room near the birth center. We took a good, long nap and really got a chance to relax. I was still contracting regularly, but they were still about 15 minutes apart.
Around 4 pm, we decided to call H to have her come meet us. Because of a family situation, H was not able to come right away. E came to help us out for a few hours. H and E both kept apologizing that they switched in the middle of labor, but I thought we were privileged to be able to labor with both of them.
The hotel had a pool, so I decided to get in. I spent about an hour in the pool. It was very nice and relaxing, but my contractions were still not getting any closer together. At one point, while I was in the pool, a pool attendant noticed how large I was. She smiled at me and made some comment like, you must be due soon. I smiled and said yes, but inside was thinking, I wonder what you would say if you knew I was laboring in your pool.
We went to eat dinner and just did our best to relax. Dinner was mexican. I loved the restaurant, and I ate a lot considering I was in labor. When we were leaving the restaurant, I had a contraction and leaned against a booth. A lady walked in a rushed over to ask if I was okay. I remember thinking it was really nice of her, and E just grinned at the lady and said I was fine.
I don’t remember anything significant during the night, except that E and H switched again. So H was back with us.
Saturday brought more contractions, more frequently. Yea! They started about 6 minutes apart and then moved to about 4. We got breakfast and decided to call the provider on call. My providers are a group with two midwives (L and M) and an OB (Dr. G). Dr. G happened to be on call, and we let him know that we would be in to the birth center in a few hours. (It turned out to be such a blessing that Dr. G was on call. If one of the midwives was on call, a Doctor we didn’t know would have had to do the C-section.) We had planned on taking our time checking out of the hotel and taking a walk before going in. But then my contractions got more intense and increased to about 2 or 3 minutes apart. We decided about 10:30 am to go in to the birth center.
At The Birthing Center
When we arrived and got checked in, the nurse checked me and I was about 6 cm dilated. I was a little disappointed that the last 24 hours of labor had only progressed me 2 cm. But I had to be glad that I was progressing. All I wanted to do was get in the tub to labor. My contractions were really intense at that point and I think I yelled at the nurse to fill the tub with water. They had to put an antibiotic I V in because I was strep B positive, and they wanted me to wait. But I was bad and got in the tub anyway.
That turned out to be a really bad choice. When they had checked the baby’s heartbeat, it was high. It got even higher when I was in the tub. So even though I loved the tub, I got out. Very reluctantly! I had a fever and they thought this was the reason the baby’s heart rate was high. They thought my fever was because I was dehydrated. They hydrated me and that did not help my fever or the baby’s heart rate.
Dr. G came and checked me. I was 8 cm. The baby’s heartbeat was still very high. Dr. G said we had to do something to get the baby to progress, so we decided to break my water. When Dr. G broke my water there was meconium in the water. I went into transition almost immediately. The contractions were right on top of each other and the most intense that I can imagine. I said to H that I knew why women ask for epidurals at that point. However, it would have been completely manageable if it wasn’t for the pain in my hip.
Dr. G came back 2 hours later to check me. I was still only 8 cm. and the baby’s heart rate was getting higher (at one point it was over 200). Dr. G said that we really had to do something to get the baby out. He suggested that we move to labor and delivery and get pitocin. I definitely did not want pitocin without an epidural. I had heard too many horror stories about pitocin. So Dr. G said we could just do the epidural and see if it settled me down and the baby too. So we moved to labor and delivery and got the epidural. The best part was that the pain in my hip went away!
After Dr. G checked me again, I still had not progressed. The baby’s heart rate was getting higher. We were told we really had to do a C-section. I just started to cry at that point. I don’t think I was that upset about the C-section, I was just scared. I knew at that point that I couldn’t take care of my baby anymore. The only thing I could do was pray. And have the King pray. It really was a scary time. But they prepped me for surgery and a half an hour later our precious baby was born.
Awesome Daddy!
I have to say that I have the best husband in the world. And our little girl has the best daddy in the world. I know that through the labor and delivery, the King had to be scared. But if he was, he did not show it. He was so supportive through the whole 45 hours and did everything I asked of him. When I was getting prepped for surgery, he was calling people asking them to start prayer chains for me and the baby. And when he was finally able to come in to the OR he stood right beside me and held my hand. Then he did the strangest thing. He asked if he could watch. That’s right. The King watched my entire C-section. He watched me get cut open. He watched them pull the baby out. He watched them sew me up. It was very cool that he did that. A few days later I asked Dr. G if he had many dads watch C-sections. He said “Only the weird ones!”
The King and I had a deal that if something were to happen to the baby, he would leave me and stay with the baby. We ended up needing that deal. When they pulled the Princess out of me, I heard them ask if the dad was going to cut the cord. Dr. G said no! And I knew something was wrong. They kept talking about the resuscitation team. And they would not let the King go with the baby. The Princess was not breathing when she was born. When they did get her breathing, she was breathing too fast and her heart rate was very high. They finally had the King go back with her. He has an amazing story when he first met her. He should be the one to tell it though.
God’s Peace
God totally gave me peace through this time. As I think back on the situation, I am amazed that I did not come off that table, epidural and all. Even though I knew that something was wrong with my baby, I felt totally at peace. I just knew that she was going to be okay. I had to place her in God’s hands. And I know that I continually have to place her in God’s hands.
Our Little Trooper
It turned out that the Princess's blood sugar level dropped when she was born. This happens a lot with big babies, I hear. She ended up needing an IV with fluids. And then they had to put a feeding tube in her nose to get her blood sugar up. She was great though. And she fought hard to get her sugar up. Only 11 hours after she was born, she was able to leave the transitional nursery and come stay with us in our room.
1. Ironically, the reason we went to FB was for the tub and the water birth. I was only in the tub for a half an hour.
2. This was hardest for me. One of the reasons that I wanted a natural child birth in the birth center was so the baby would not leave us. She would stay with us in the room. But because of all that happened with her, she did not come to our room until 11 hours after she was born. I did not even get to hold her or see her until 2 hours after she was born.
Things We Learned
1. Having a doula was a major help to us in labor. Had we not had a doula, we would have gone to the hospital way too early. And had we been in the hospital on Friday morning when my contractions slowed down, I would have been put on pitocin to speed up my labor. This was something we really wanted to avoid.
2. It is so important to have a provider that you trust. I felt so comfortable with Dr. G. And even though I know now that I didn’t really have a choice about the C-section, I felt like he was giving me a choice. I think that if I didn’t trust him in his abilities, I would have felt like I was being bossed around. I trusted him in his decisions. I knew that he wanted me to have the birth experience that I wanted. But more importantly he wanted me and my baby to be safe.
3. Things aren’t always what you expect them to be. Of course the C-section was not in our plan, but little things too. I thought I would want to hear music when I was in labor. But when they put the music on, I wanted it to be quiet. I thought I would really enjoy massage and counter-pressure in labor, but during a contraction I did not want to be touched. And these are just a few examples.
Our Praises
We just have to take a moment and praise the Lord. Most importantly for our beautiful baby girl. She is a miracle that God has blessed us with, and we are more blessed each day with her life. It truly is a miracle that she is here with us. Through the fertility trials, high miscarriage risks, and her scary birth experience, she is a miracle baby and we praise God for her life. We continue to give her to God. She is in His hands.
Our second praise is for the amazing way that God made our bodies to carry, birth, and sustain babies. Through preparing for a natural childbirth, we found out some amazing things about the human body and pregnancy, labor and birth. God has given women this incredible strength to go through labor and give birth, not to mention carrying the child through pregnancy. I can’t say enough about it without giving an anatomy lesson, but praise God for life and how he gives it.
At the opposite end of that is the technology that he has given us. Praise God for the people he made smart enough to develop C-sections, epidurals, IVs and feeding tubes. Praise God for medicines and doctors. The Princess may not be here had it not been for some of those things. Praise God that she is!
Even though it turned out that we did not have the birth experience that we expected, we have a beautiful baby girl. I love our birth story with all its crazy twists and turns. And I am excited to share it. Through 45 hours of labor and a C-section, the Princess is the reason we did any of it. And I would do it all again just for her. I truly do praise God for being with us throughout labor and delivery. And most of all, I praise God for the Princess's life!
The Princess was born on Saturday, September 1, 2007 at 4:04 pm. She was 23 inches long and weighed 10 pounds 4 ounces.

1 comment:

Tonya said...

Wow what an amazing birth story. I had a c-section with my baby girl on September 14th. We knew she was going to be a section because she was breach. But I know what you mean about it being scary and having peace.