Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Max's birth story

Max’s birth story (finally).

This is a long one...just to warn you :)

Our birth story is nothing what we wanted and yet everything that we wanted. I truly love the story of his birth.

I went in for my 39 week appointment on Tuesday, July 3rd. My doctor, Dr. Le, said I was still 3 cm dilated and now about 75% effaced. He did a cervical exam and had a look on his face like something wasn't quite right. He said that he didn't feel the “normal parts” he should feel, ie Max’s head so he was going to do an ultrasound. He came back with the ultrasound machine and confirmed that Max was in a breech position. Since the doctor had been in on all of our centering classes, he knew that we were hoping for a natural child birth (no medication and definitely not a c-section if possible to avoid one).
We talked to him about our options: elective c-section, or attempting an ECV (a procedure done to move the baby into a head down position) to flip Max around and then hopefully having a vaginal birth. Since I was already 39 weeks, they didn't want to leave him breech and risk my water breaking and then having an emergency c-section. I didn't want that either. We decided on the ECV. During the ultrasound, he said I still had a lot of fluid, which usually makes ECVs more successful. He said once the ECV was done, they’d induce me right away so that the baby didn't have an option to turn back around. He said that I’d be prepped for a c-section, they’d do the ECV on the operating table in the operating room, and if it’s not successful, we’d be ready for a c-section if needed.  If the ECV was successful, I’d go back to the birthing room, be induced, have an epidural if I wanted one, and we’d have a vaginal birth. I asked Dr. Le if he’d be the one performing the ECV, and he said it would depend on when the appointment was.
We went to Firestone to get my tires rotated and I thought it’d be a good time to call and tell my mom the news. Turns out it wasn't  and I started bawling in the lobby area as I was telling her. Dr. Le had called while we were waiting and asked how July 5th looked to have a baby. I didn't really have the option to say no (we still had things to do before he arrived!!) He said I needed to go to labor and delivery sometime on the 4th of July to get my blood work done prepped for a possible c-section, and then I needed to call the hospital between 5:30 and 6 am on the 5th to see when I could come in for the ECV/possible c-section.
We went home that night and I looked up things online to do at home to possibly try to change his position. I ended up lying with pillows under my butt, an ice pack on the top of my uterus and music playing at the bottom of my uterus. Apparently something with gravity makes the baby want to move if your pelvic area is raised. The ice pack was to make the baby move away from the coldness, and the music was because babies can hear sounds and want to move towards the sound. I didn't feel any major movements so I wasn't very hopeful.
We went to labor and delivery on the afternoon of the 4th of July to get my blood work done and got instructions on how to prep for a c-section. We talked to an anesthesiologist and she explained the process of getting an epidural. They sent us home with a pack of sterilization wipes to wipe my whole body down with after showering that night for the possible c-section.  We barbecued hamburgers for dinner and enjoyed a quiet 4th of July evening. My parents and sister were on their way up and got here around 8 pm on the 4th. We went out for ice cream to celebrate Max’s birthday a little early and saw lots of fireworks on the way.
I couldn't eat or drink anything past midnight because of a possible c-section. I showered (and had shaved my legs during my morning shower, which I later regretted…) and then Seth helped me wipe my whole body down with the sterilization wipes. Let me just say how much these sucked. They made my whole entire body itchy, I could not get comfortable and I wondered if this was normal or if I was having an allergic reaction. We went to bed late and had to be up early, and I was already anxious as hell and couldn't sleep as it was. The whole body itchiness just added to my not being able to sleep. I maybe got 2-3 hours of sleep that night, but it was more of a dozing type of sleep, not anything substantial.
I got up and called the number Dr. Le had given me to see when I should go in. My voice was shaky as I talked to the nurse who said I could come in now. We walked into the hospital at 6:40 am. They put me in a room, I met with the nurses and the midwife, Roxanne, from our centering classes came in. I immediately saw her and told her she jinxed us; in one of the centering classes, we did an ‘activity’ where we picked out word cards for our ideal birth. Then they took a few of our choice word cards out and gave us an unexpected ‘birth experience.’ They had given me the c-section card. Then I burst into tears again as I told her I realllly didn't want a c-section if I didn't absolutely positively need one. She hugged me and said it’d be OK and reminded me what we had talked about in class. She said her shift was getting ready to end, but she’d be back at 7 PM that night and she’d see me one way or another, still pregnant, or with a baby in my arms.
We hung out in the laboring room for a little while and shortly before I was wheeled back to the operating room, my parents and sister came into the labor room. The nurses brought Seth a pair of scrubs to put on to wear in the operating room. I think he thoroughly enjoyed wearing the scrubs! I had also met with the team of doctors who would be performing the ECV, the anesthesiologist and some other nurses. They also hooked me up to an IV and started giving me fluids.
They wheeled me back to the operating room around 9 AM. The lights were soooo bright. The doctors were there and there were other people standing in a corner, probably in case a c-section was needed. The nurse had me straddle the operating room table so the anesthesiologist could put in the epidural needle. They gave me an epidural to help relax my uterus, which usually makes ECVs more successful. I didn't really like the anesthesiologist, she just wasn't really friendly, I thought. She put in the epidural and after that was done, she said she had hit a blood vessel instead of the correct spot. She said she was going to pull it out and re-do it. Yay. She inserted it again and I could feel the medicine being injected into me. It had a cold feeling to it and I could feel it going up my back.
They gave me some other medicine that made my heart race (which they told me would happen) and apparently it relaxed me big time too. I thought I was just very sleepy and was doing a great job relaxing during the whole ordeal, but looking back, I’m sure it was the medicine that almost made me fall asleep. I don’t remember when exactly they started the ECV, but I remember at some point opening my eyes and seeing three grown men pushing really hard on my stomach (I could see their muscles from their scrub tops) trying to flip our baby around. That’s all I remember from the procedure – I didn't feel anything while they were doing it and surprisingly, I wasn't even sore in the days after. When they were finished, I remember one doctor telling me they were going to break my water (I didn't feel a thing) and put a catheter in. They told me it was successful and they were going to induce me when we got back to the labor room.
Like I said, that’s all I remember of the procedure itself. After talking to Seth about it (he was in the room and had been watching it all), I later learned that Max’s heart rate dropped significantly while they were moving him. Apparently this is semi-normal though; the baby holds its breath and then passes out. It dropped to the high 50’s, and it’s usually in the 140-160 range. Seth said the doctor was timing it, and if it didn't come back up to its normal rate within 5 minutes, they were going to do an emergency c-section. Seth said it was in the 50’s for about 2 minutes. He said the doctor told the nurses to tell him when it had been 5 minutes; luckily it was only about 2 minutes though before Max got his heartbeat back up. I’m so so so glad I was out of it and didn't know this was happening while it was. I would have been freaking out if I’d known what was going on, and Seth said he was terrified for those two minutes. (Side note, we had the centering reunion class when Max was about 4 weeks old and Dr. Le and Roxanne were there. We were talking to the doctor afterwards and he said to us, “honestly, I was getting ready to cut you open.” I always knew a c-section was very possible, but I didn't know it was THAT close to happening. Thank you Max for getting your heart rate up and thank you Dr. Le for giving Max a second to recoup on his own!!!!)
I don’t remember much after waking up, except for them transferring me from the operating table to a bed to be moved back to the labor room. I was shaking really bad, my whole body was numb and I couldn't keep my eyes open. Around 10 AM, they wheeled me back to the labor room and I was pretty out of it for a while until the epidural and other medicine ran off. They kept the epidural port in my back, but I had asked for them to turn it off and not give me any medicine. I was hooked up to a saline IV and was going through those pretty fast.
The medicine was finally starting to wear off and I wasn't shaking so bad and I began to feel the catheter. As soon as I could feel my lower half, I asked them to remove it. The only good thing about having it was that I didn't have to get up and go pee. Once they took it out, I had to get up seriously every 10-15 minutes to go pee. That part sucked BIG TIME because I was hooked up to all sorts of monitors and a blood pressure machine and it took a minute or two to get me unhooked from all the machines, wheel them to the bathroom (all while continuing to leak amniotic fluid down my legs and onto the floor…gross!), go pee and then wheel it all back to the bed and get re-hooked up. Sometimes we wouldn't hook them up all the way and the nurses at the nurse’s station couldn't hear/see the fetal heartbeat on their monitor so they’d come in and check on us and make sure everything was fine. I was also hooked up to pitocin to start giving me contractions.
From when I got back into the room in the 10:00 hour, until 8 pm, I had contractions. They really weren't that bad, to be completely honest. For the first hour or so, I couldn't really feel much except some tightening because the medicine was still wearing off. I was hooked up to a machine that monitored my contractions and it was cool to see how big they were but not feeling anything. Once the medicine wore off and I could start feeling them, the nurses kept asking what my pain scale was. I didn't know how bad they were going to get, so it was hard to know how bad they were compared to how bad they were going to get. I kept saying 2-3 for the longest time. Seth was very good about getting me jello, popsicles and chicken broth and water because that’s all I could eat/drink. He was very good about not having real food in the room, but my parents and sister ate their lunches in there. The smell didn't bother me at all, but I was starving and couldn't have anything but wanted something so bad.
One nurse had told me sometime in the afternoon to not be surprised, when the doctor checked me, if I hadn't progressed any significant amount - that was normal. Because I was being induced, progress was likely to be very slow. I didn't even want to be checked because I was already exhausted and hungry and didn't want to be discouraged.
All of my contractions were in my lower back. Every. Single. One. Towards the end, it got pretty painful, but still manageable. I had said to Seth a few days before that I was predicting all of my contractions to be in my back whenever it started and I was completely right.

I tried different positions, lying in the bed normally, getting on my knees and leaning my top half over the back of the bed, lying on my stomach with one leg up and slightly bent and my arms hanging loosely. They kept offering/suggesting the birthing ball, but it just didn't sound comfortable putting pressure in my pelvic region so I kept declining it. I did find sitting on the toilet felt rather good, but after hanging out there for a little while, the nurses came into check on me because I’d been unhooked from the monitors a little too long. I think it was at that point that I decided to try the birthing ball. Much to my surprise, it felt really good and I moved my hips in circles for a while.
Sitting on the ball circling my hips, I was completely exhausted and there was no way I could sleep through any of the contractions. I tried to lay my head on the bed but contractions hurt more when I was bent over, so I stayed sitting up. I threw up a few times while sitting on the ball too. I contemplated in my head for while asking Seth what he thought about me getting an epidural so I could sleep for a little bit to give me some energy when it came time to push.
At 7 PM, the nurses changed shifts and I got my midwife back, Roxanne. I was excited to see her and know that she’d be the one to deliver our baby. By this time, I was telling the nurses that my pain scale was an 8 or so, still not knowing how dilated or effaced I was and how much more I had to go. I think it was at this point that I asked Seth what he thought about me getting an epidural (we both so badly wanted a non-medicated birth). I don’t remember what he said, but a few minutes later, Roxanne checked me. Thankfully, she said I was fully dilated and effaced and could start pushing any time! (I do wonder how long I’d been fully dilated and effaced and how much sooner I could have started pushing). I didn't have the urge to push at that moment so I didn't  but shortly after hearing that I could, I did feel the urge. Roxanne left to deliver another baby and the nurses told me that I could still push whenever I felt the need and someone, maybe not Roxanne, would deliver our baby. Shortly after this, my parents got up and left the room on their own and I’m glad that they did. I don’t think I would have had the energy (or the heart) to ask them to leave at that particular moment.
The nurses put up a big bar on the end of the bed for me to put my legs up on and I started pushing. I remember screaming/groaning/yelling quite loudly. I may or may not have screamed something along the lines of “I feel like my vagina is ripping in hallllllllllllf!” By this time, Roxanne had come back and was sitting at the bottom of the delivery bed. I was squeezing Seth’s hand with each contraction and my sister kept getting me a cold rag to put on my head and neck. Roxanne told me to push and that she could see his head. She asked if I wanted to feel it (I didn't I could feel it enough as it was coming out, thankyouverymuch). Sometimes when she told me to push, I wasn't having a contraction so I told her I didn't feel the urge to push. I pushed when my contractions told me to push. I remember Roxanne saying his head was 1/3 out and to keep pushing. I so badly wanted to push because it felt like I was being ripped open with his head right there, but I didn't feel the need to push. It hurts to have a baby head partially out, ready to come out all the way, but just staying put while you wait for another contraction to push. I didn't push more than 10 minutes before he was completely out. After his head came out, it was another push or two and the rest of his body came sliding out. Seth and my sister watched him come out completely.
I’m so so thankful it was Roxanne that delivered him. The midwife that was on duty during the day shift only stopped by my room once. I’m sure she was good and all, but I’m glad it was our midwife that we’ve gotten to know over the last several months and talk to frequently. They immediately put Max on my chest. At this point, Roxanne ran over to the room of the other baby she had just help deliver and delivered that lady’s placenta. When she was done doing that, she came back to my room and delivered my placenta. (She was a busy lady that night!!) That was a really weird feeling…soft and rubbery. I can’t really explain it, but it didn't hurt at all. I didn't want to see the placenta but Roxanne pointed out to Seth and my sister all the parts of it. Seth also got to cut the umbilical cord, which was important to both if us.

A nurse had taken Max by this point and got him a little more cleaned up, put a shirt and diaper on him, gave him required eye drops, vitamin K and an immunization shot while Roxanne and another doctor stitched me up. Yep, I tore a few different places. They gave me a shot to numb me up down there and while getting stitched up didn’t really hurt, the thought of stitches down there creeped me out and I was tensed up, thinking it would hurt.  My sister had gone out to the waiting room and told my parents that he was born and healthy and as soon as I was stitched up, they could come back in.
There was a male nurse that was teaching/helping me breastfeed and get Max latched on. (The nurse offered to take pictures of all of us after he got done helping me breastfeed. He was showing Seth how he could help me breastfeed and massage my boobs…and in all of these nice family photos, Seth’s has a hand on my boob. Haha They’re hilarious to me!!)
They wheeled me down to the room where I’d be sleeping and luckily there was only one other lady in the room. I felt bad for her because she didn’t have any visitors (although she did get a few calls). This was her third child and she was only required to stay one night, but during the day her husband and other two kids didn’t even come visit her. They only came when it was time for her to go home. Seth got to stay late with me that night, after visiting hours had ended, because Max was born late in the evening.

getting his first bath

not a fan of bath time

cleaned up and swaddled! 

he hated his hands in the blankies

sound asleep

so sweet

i don't know how to rotate pictures in here...sorry!

view of mt. rainier from my recovery room!! 

sprawled out on daddy!!! 
The next day, Roxanne came to visit me and see how I was doing. She said that Dr. Le wasn’t scheduled to work since it was a holiday (July 4th and 5th were the holidays for everyone) but he came in just for me to help perform the ECV. I literally wanted to start crying when she told me that. I’m so thankful he came in on his day off to do this for me.
I was so beyond ready to go home, even 24 hours after giving birth. But the hospital has a policy that first time moms have to stay 48 hours. Lame. We didn’t leave the hospital until about 9 pm on Saturday (he was delivered at 8:41 pm on Thursday). I was so ready for fresh air, to enjoy some sunshine and get back to my own bed and house. And to see the dogs (ok, mostly Patrick!!).
This part might be TMI, but I’m putting it in here for my own sake. I honestly have to say that healing from my ripping was the hardest part of the whole thing. I think that’s partly because the pain lasted for several days, whereas the delivery was quick. Each time I peed, it burrrrrned ohhh so bad. It sucked because if I was dehydrated at all, it burned to pee so I’d drink a lot of water. But when I’d drink more water, I’d have to pee more frequently. It was a catch 22 in that sense. They gave me huge ice pads, which were like 18 inches long, to put in my underwear to help with the swelling and those felt awesome. Although they were uncomfortable, they did make me feel better. They also gave me a squirt bottle to squirt on myself and dilute the pee as it came out but that didn’t work as well as they said it would. Whether I used warm or cold water, it still burned like hell. They also gave me some spray pain reliever stuff that worked pretty well. Taking a shower was also painful from the water running down my legs and touching me where I’d been stitched up. And it hurt for about 5 minutes after I’d be done peeing and pulled up my pants and resumed whatever I was doing. The pain lasted for a few days after I was home.
All in all, it really went as well as it possibly could have considering he was breech. I would not change a thing about how everything turned out. If he wasn’t breech and everything would have happened naturally, our birth plan included being able to walk around freely (because I wouldn’t have been hooked up to machines) and I wanted to use a birthing tub to relax.  This would have been awesome (I assume!) considering all my pain was in my lower back. But it is the way it is and contractions really weren't unbearable all natural. 

I would definitely do a natural birth again (whenever that may be!!) and I can only hope that the baby is in the natural, head down position. I want to experience my water breaking and letting contractions happen naturally, at the speed my body wants them to go, and not be 'forced' with pitocin. But if it's another breech baby?! Please please please give me Dr. Le and Roxanne!! :)

1 comment: