Thursday, August 28, 2008

Birth Story

WOW! It's been a while! I guess the first and foremost exciting news is that we had our baby born on August 14 @ 1:08pm!! She is an absolute angel and I'm loving every minute of mommyhood so far!!

Her birth story is quite amazing and I am going to try and post it all right now... we'll see how successful I am as I'm on the computer while baby naps and I can't predict how much longer she'll be asleep right now.

So on August 13 around 10:30am, my water broke. It was not the soap opera-style gushing that you see on tv by any means, but more of a trickle. It honeslty felt like I was peeing my pants without the actual peeing feeling (if that makes sense). It was just a constant warm trickle. Of course this happened while I was taking a walk (back from Tim Horton's no less). I told John that I thought my water had broken but wasn't 100% sure... so I just put on a pad and decided to walk to the mailboxes to pick up our mail. By the time I got back, I was much more sure that it was definitely my water that had broken. So we chilled out for a bit and then I decided to page my midwife to let her know (around 1pm). The MW gave us the option to come into the clinic to get assessed or she would drive out to our place, so I decided that a drive into town wouldn't be too bad and arranged to meet with her at 2pm.

At the clinic the MW tested to make sure it was amniotic fluid that I was leaking (it was!) and did an internal - I was still only 3cm dilated but 80% effaced (up from 50% on Monday) so she said the best thing to do right now is to go home and she would come out after work to our place to assess me again. At this point I was having regular contractions about 5-6 minutes apart but they weren't productive according to the MW as they were more focused around my lower abdomen and not the top of my fundus.

The MW came out as promised at 7pm and assessed me again - still at 3cm dilated but 100% effaced! She also felt a contraction and said that they were getting stronger but still not true labour despite their regularity of being 4-5min apart now. So we agreed that she would go home, have dinner and come back around 11pm for another assessment.

Up to this point, the contractions were more than bearable and I didn't have to do any breathing or anything to get through them....

At 11pm the MW was back at our place and did another internal. And finally I had progressed and was between 4-5cm dilated! So she decided to stay and labour with me as part of my birth plan was to labour at home as long as possible before going to the hospital. Around 11:30pm we decided to take a walk around the block and this turned into an hour and a half walk! It was quite nice though as it was warm out and almost a full moon. My contractions were definitely getting stronger at this point, but I could still breath and walk through them. Back at home I laboured on the exercise ball, on all fours, in any position that seemed comfortable.

Unfortunately, one of the things we discovered is that the little one was "sunny side up" in my pelvis so the back labour I started experiencing around 2am was not fun. The back pain seemed to intensify as my contractions became more progressive. The MW talked to me about sterile water injections which at first I declined to help with the back labour. At 3am the MW did another internal - in four hours I had progressed to 8cm!! So at this time, we had to make the decision to transfer to the hospital to continue (part of my original birth plan) or to continue labouring at home and try for a home birth! We talked about the pros and cons of both really quickly and decided to stay at home and try for the home birth. At this point I asked for the sterile water injection because the back pain was becoming close to unbearable. I have to mention that the stinging of the injections (there are 4) was undescribable. And I'm not a wuss or a stranger to needles and pain by any means seeing as how I have subjected myself to hours and hours of tattoo work... but seriously, this sterile water injection hurt!! But it definitely did provide a tonne of relief within 30 sec if not less. I'll be honest, I think I was a different person for a while and the MW even commented that she's never seen someone in Transition who was this calm. I was able to easily breath through my contractions and actually watch some tv!

Since we had decided to try for a home birth, the MW started setting everything up. I had received the home birth kit at my appointment on Monday and the MW had brought her equipment as well. We got our bedroom ready and were set up for a home birth! At this point, I was quite excited at the prospect of delivering at home and having a baby before 7am (MW's prediction). Around 4:30am, we decided to move to the bedroom and my MW started making phonecalls to get my secondary MW to our place. Unfortunately, the MW who was actually designated as my second had been up all night at a home birth herself, so she was unavailable. Same with my backup MW. So we ended up meeting a fourth MW who was wonderful!

Around 5am I entered second stage labour and started having the urge to push. I laboured in almost every position imaginable: on all fours, on the birthing stool, in the McRoberts' position, on my side. Unfortunately, the little one was having different ideas and she continued to remain high in my pelvis (around +1 station) and was not descending whatsoever. From what the MWs could tell, in addition to being posterior (sunny side up), the baby had her head cocked a bit which resulted in her cheek being caught up in my pelvis. Not fun. So that is why we tried all the different positions we could to try and open up my pelvic cavity and dislodge her. Unfortunately, after two hours of pushing, it just wasn't happening.

So at 7am (Aug 14) we decided to transfer to the hospital. This was not fun. By this point, my urge to push at each contraction was so overwhelming that it just completely overtook my body. I was actually quite worried as to how I would survive the car ride to the hospital as I was physically and emotionally exhausted and just ready for this baby to be born. I have to mention here too that the car ride to the hospital from our place is about 25 minutes so this made the idea of the impending transfer just that much more daunting. I was also secretly kicking myself for not opting to stick to my original birth plan and going to the hospital at 8cm.

But it had to be done. At this point, my primary MW, having been up for more than 24 hours tagged out and the secondary MW accompanied us to the hospital and would remain with us through the delivery. We came up with a plan which involved her following behind us in her car, just in case my labour progressed and the baby descended more (and would be delivered!). Luckily nothing happened on the way to the hospital - except for five or six contractions which had me crawling up the walls in the car.

I was admitted to the hospital and luckily, the anesthetist on call was readily available and was able to give me an epidural quite quickly. Equally amazing was the fact that I only had one contraction while he was administering the epidural and it was mild enough that I could breath through it and prevent my body from pushing. The epidural itself was a godsend at this point. I was so exhausted and ready to take a break. However, the OB on call still had to examine me (not a pleasant experience even while on a epidural due to the amount of internal swelling I had by this point) and he managed to flip the baby while doing his exam so that she was now facing the proper (anterior) position. The game plan at this point was to allow my uterus to do some work and hopefully get the baby lower in my pelvis to try for a vaginal delivery. However, most of the medical team were pretty convinced that I'd end up with a c-section birth.

The epidural let me rest and I actually caught some sleep from 9am - 11am. This was wonderful! At 11am, the MW and one of the residents encouraged me to start pushing with the contractions and upped my pitocin drip. The experience in pushing without the epidural and now with the epidural really helped in knowing what muscles to use. The epidural really dulled any sense of pain and all I could feel throughout was some pressure.

Oh, I have to mention here too that the MW gave me a catheter upon admission to the hospital but took it out before I started pushing. Surprisingly the catheter was not painful at all and really just uncomfortable (I had a huge fear of the catheter prior to this experience).

From 11am onwards, I pushed with each contraction I felt. Apparently I was making some small progress and the resident reported back to the OB on-call every 30 minutes or so on how I was doing. I don't know at what time but I'm guessing around 12:30pm or so, he came in and did another exam and decided that he could do a vacuum-assisted delivery. So more medical staff were laid on (staff from pediatrics had to be called) and they prepped for a vaccuum delivery. I don't know what time the vaccuum was attached to the baby's head but after that, quite a tug of war ensued. I know I pushed through two or three contractions with the help of the vaccuum and after a while, the OB told me just to continue pushing.

He kept on pulling and at 1:08pm our little one was born!!!

She screamed right away, was wiped down and placed on my chest. It was absolutely amazing staring into her eyes and seeing how alert she was after such an arduous birth.

I delivered the placenta shortly afterwards (and even got to take a look at it!) and then the repair work began. According to the hospital notes, I had second degree lacerations but the OB also gave me a medio-lateral episiotomy to accommodate the delivery by vaccuum. The MW and resident stitched me up (took about a good 30+ minutes or so I think) and I got moved up to the maternity ward about 1.5 hours after giving birth.

~~ and baby awakes so I'll write more later

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