6/09/2012

Birth Story

I started this post a couple months ago, but didn't get past the title. Since it's closing in on a year since Soren was born, I thought I'd finally document the l-o-n-g birth story. So here goes.

I was originally due on June 1, 2011, but at my 5-month ultrasound the technician changed the date to May 29 - which I then decided would be THE day I gave birth. We didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl, and to be honest I was pretty sure I was having a girl. I may have even named 'her' and talked to 'her' in my belly. My last day of work was May 13, because I wanted to have 2 weeks off before 'she' arrived. None of these plans happened as I was expecting them to.

I enjoyed the weeks off leading up to the due date. I refolded all of the little clothes, cleaned the house, made some meals and caught up with all the household tasks that are easy to get away on you when you work full-time. By the time May 29 rolled around, I was more than ready to meet this little person. May rolled into June, and still no baby. I walked MILES every day and ate whole pineapples each day. I tried all the old-wives tales to get this baby moving, but he was clearly content in there. I had a couple doctors appointments, and everything checked out ok. I went for a fetal assessment at one week past due, and everything still looked good. By this point (around June 6th or 7th) I was practically begging my doctor to induce me. No such luck. I was FINALLY added to the induction list on June 11, and the hospital called me bright and early on the Saturday morning to tell me to come on down.

With excitement, we grabbed our bags, stopped for a Starbucks, and headed to the hospital. Today would be the day! My baby's birthday would be June 11, or so we thought. Upon arrival at the hospital I was given cervagel and hooked up to a fetal monitor. Apparently the cervagel is supposed to be the first stage of induction, although I had no idea how long this stage could last. Everything looked good on the fetal monitor so I was told I could walk around, eat, and do whatever. Every hour I would have to be hooked back up to the fetal monitor. I was not technically admitted to the hospital at this point, as I was not in labour. I was in the triage area, which was not the most comfortable. The room was fine, but it felt very unsettled as I didn't know how long I would have to remain there, and I didn't have my own nurse.

My mom came to hang out with us and we went for a walk outside. It was a beautiful day out, and I was thinking this was such a perfect day to bring a baby into the world. Just as we headed out for a walk I felt something weird, and realized my water had broken! I wasn't really feeling any contractions, but I was excited that my water had broken because I knew then that I would have my baby within 24 hours. (Apparently this is NOT the case... I had some nurses tell me later that I could still wait several days after my water broke, depending on fluid levels.)

We headed back into the hospital to let them know about my water breaking, and again I was hooked up to a monitor. Around this time I started to get some minor contractions, but they were manageable and not overly painful. We hung out in triage ALL day, alternating walking around, reading, trying to relax, and getting hooked up to the fetal monitor. I was checked a couple times and never dilated past 1-2 centimetres, although the contractions were beginning to become more frequent and more intense. After I'd been in the hospital 12 hours, so around 9pm, I was given another dose of cevagel.

I think this is around the time the contractions picked up a lot in terms of intensity and frequency. I was having strong contractions every 3-4 minutes and they were lasting close to 60 seconds. I was getting tired of hearing 'no change' every time I was checked, and I was still in triage. It was hard not having one nurse - instead I had rotating nurses come and check me and all of them would differ slightly in their technique and advice. I wanted to know how long I had to stay in triage, and when they would determine that it was time to move me on to the next step, seeing as how I was having contractions every couple minutes for nearly 14 hours - and I was still not dilating.

Around midnight I began to get really discouraged and I was feeling pretty awful. I wanted some medication, or some sort of relief from the continuous pain. Since I was still in triage I did not have a room with a shower or tub, and I also could not get an epidural because I was not yet at 3 centimetres. A nurse came in and I started crying... and she was wonderful and offered to 'sneak' me into a room where I could take a shower. The shower was AMAZING! I must have stayed in for at least an hour and I felt way, way better. When I came out, I had to go back to the triage area and the pain picked right back where it left off.

The nice nurse checked me again and proclaimed I was 2-3 - which meant I could officially 'check-in' to the hospital and get out of triage. Since I was being induced, and they wanted to start me on pitocin, I had to be checked in to the High Risk unit which was unfortunate because the regular unit (where we snuck in to shower) had beautiful single rooms with walk in showers, rocking chairs, flat-sceen TV's, and mini-fridges. The high-risk unit was no-frills.

Around 2 or 3am I was checked into High Risk and finally assigned my own nurse. She was unreal. It felt so wonderful to have someone with you all the time... sitting by your side and offering support and advice. They wanted to start pitocin so I opted to get an epidural as I was in a ton of pain and was realizing this labour was taking a l-o-n-g time.

A sleepy-haired anesthesiologist came in an gave me an epidural, and I felt immediate relief. They started the pitocin and I fell into an exhausted sleep/rest period. I don't really remember what happened next, but I heard the story from Tyler who was by my side during all of this, and he describes what happened as the scariest thing of his entire life.

The baby's heart rate dropped, a lot, so all of the machines started beeping and going crazy. The nurse jumped into action, and then my blood pressure plummeted and I passed out. I guess the nurse ran into the hall yelling for help, while poor Tyler feared his wife and un-born baby were dying. No one told him anything as they rushed in and stabilized us. I kind of remember feeling really groggy and hearing the machines beeping away. The doctor determined that the baby was not handling the pitocin well, so she stopped the pitocin and told me to get some rest. She suggested that we may have to have a c-section, but they would wait a couple hours and re-assess.

A couple hours later, around 6:30am, the doctor came in and told me that she wanted to do a c-section. I was thrilled! My original birth plan (non-medicated, natural, etc) was obviously out the window and I just wanted to get this baby out of me. She explained what would happen, walked me through the process, and then said she didn't want to do the c-section herself as she was at the end of her 24-hour shift. This seemed fair enough as it was not an emergency that I get the c-section that minute. A new doctor would be on around 8am, and I could rest for an hour until then. I happily lay back down thinking that I would soon meet my baby.

Around 8:30 a new doctor came in an introduced herself, and I assumed I would be having the c-section soon. Wrong. She reviewed my chart and decided to start me back on pitocin!!! If the baby's heart rate dropped again, or I passed out again, they would stop immediately and proceed with the c-section. I burst into tears - I didn't want to put the baby or myself in more danger, and I was tired of waiting. I wanted to meet my baby! It seemed so unfair to me that they were making me try the pitocin AGAIN. I still had not dilated past 2-3 centimetres.

The pitocin and epidurals were re-started and I had to stay in bed. I was also not allowed to eat or drink anything, so it was not a very pleasant day. All day they kept increasing the pitocin more and more, while I lay in bed helpless to do anything. Our family and friends were shocked that the baby still had not arrived, since I'd been in the hospital for over 30 hours.

Around 6pm I started to feel weird, and I started shaking. I had some pain but it was numbed from the epidurals. All of a sudden the machines started beeping again and nurses and doctors came running. The babies heart rate had dropped again, but this time there was some news! I had dilated to 10 centimetres within about an hour! They told me it was time to push.

I was shocked, but also exhausted. I'd been in the hospital for almost 36 hours and had not been allowed to eat or drink anything for close to 24. As well, the doctor had prepped me (mentally) for a c-section 12 hours before, so I had put the idea of a vaginal delivery completely out of my mind. I didn't feel ready to push a baby out. I somehow knew that it wasn't supposed to happen that way.

The hospital must have suspected a vaginal delivery was unlikely, so they took me to the Operating Room to push. I was on a very narrow bed in the middle of a huge room with spotlights pointed at me. There were at least 6 people in the room including Tyler, of course, but also several nurses, a doctor, and a paramedic in training. The doctor checked me and said I was actually only 9 centimetres, and she didn't think the baby was low enough down. Regardless - she told me to go ahead and push.

I must admit this was not my finest hour. After attempting to push (but fully doubting myself), for awhile I told everyone I wanted to go home, without giving birth. Tyler and a nurse had to physically hold me down on the table as I tried to make my escape. I then insisted that the GET THIS BABY OUT OF ME, over and over until the poor nurse went to get the doctor.

At long last the doctor came in, checked me, and decided to do a c-section. The baby was not budging and was also sunny-side up, not an optimal way to enter the world. The anesthesiologist - who was this AMAZINGLY calm, wonderful man - came in and started testing me to see what I could feel on my stomach. I could feel everything. After hours and hours of pitocin, epidurals, and other drugs, my body was a mess and no amount of drugs that he was giving me were numbing my stomach. He finally announced that he couldn't proceed, and we would have to do a general anesthesia. Tyler was told to leave the room, and more people had to enter the room. A general anesthesia is more dangerous for both mom and baby, so they needed a different team of people in the OR.

Right before putting me under, the doctor tested my stomach again for feeling, and I didn't feel much. He said I was 80% frozen and lets try the c-section. He sat right by my head and told me to tell him if I felt anything. Tyler was brought back in. I didn't feel the incision... and a few minutes later heard crying!! All I wanted to know was - Boy or Girl? Tyler stood up and looked over the curtain, and exclaimed BOY!

Soren Gordon Linden was born at 10pm on Sunday, June 12, 2011. He weighed 8 pounds and 1 ounce, and measured 20.5 inches in length. 

Soren was wrapped up in blankets and they showed him to me quickly before they sewed me back up. When I was brought into the recovery room half an hour later, Tyler walked in with our baby, all wrapped up and looking around with huge eyes. He handed him to me and I finally got to have my baby in my arms, after months and months of anxiously waiting. He was perfect.

I later found out the Soren had the cord wrapped around his neck, twice. That explains the drop in heart-rate, and also why he wasn't descending low enough. Every time he tried to descend into the birth canal the cord tightened around his little neck, and his heart rate dropped. When the doctor came out of the surgery, she told my mom and sister that had this been 100 years ago, both Soren and I would have died. What a thing for the doctor to say!

3 comments :

Francis said...

Oh my goodness. What an ordeal! Sorry your birthing experience was so rough. It stinks that you had to go through all that pain just to end up having a c-section and I can't believe they wanted you to try to push at 9 cm. I remember being stalled at 9cm for about an hour.

Sean Marie said...

Every time I read someone elses birth story I think how easy labor was for me! I'm sorry your experience was so hard. Of course it was worth it to have your precious little boy though. BTW, your son and I were both born on the 12th of June. :)

Deanna said...

Wow! What a story. So glad that everything worked out well and the medical staff was there to safely get Soren out. It would be completely different giving birth 100 years ago - thankful for medical advances for emergencies like that.