Finally Wrote my Birth Story!So here is the story I wrote for my daughter's baby book! Finally had time to sit down and process what has happened!
The journey to your birth has been long and exciting for me, and even included a surprise ending I never expected.
Your daddy and I spent a lot of time considering if we should try for a third child. Was the time right, could be afford it, could we handle the extra time and attention each child would need in a house of 5…Well, the answer must have been yes, because I did become pregnant with you in May of 2008. Ironically enough, I took the home pregnancy test to confirm it the day your daddy was laid off from his job! We could only laugh at the timing….Daddy had lost his job a couple weeks after we found out about your brother too! It was stressful that time, but we made it through, and knew we would be fine this time too!
Just like with your brothers, I had morning sickness with you. I was still working swing shift at the time, and had to hide my illness from my friends since I didn’t want to tell anyone so early in my pregnancy. The worst month of it was July, and I didn’t work that month, so that was a blessing! When I started up another 5 month contract in August, I was starting to feel better.
I started my care in Tacoma with Dr. Boutry. I expected to deliver you at Tacoma General, since I didn’t know any other hospital that would allow me to labor with you. But I just wasn’t happy with the care I was getting. You were not a disease or a medical problem to be managed. I just wanted to be treated like a healthy, normal pregnant woman carrying a healthy baby! So I started to search again…I toured 3 hospitals this time, making my count 4 if you include Auburn, where I had Ethan. I called several OBs and midwives trying to find a supportive doctor. I found that the best fit for me would have been a midwife and a homebirth, but could not find one due to liability issues. My cesarean with Ethan limits my options!
Finally, I was referred to Dr Gramann in Enumclaw. So far away! But I went to meet him anyway, I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask questions. Even driving in I had my doubts. He is 1.5 hours away from our home. That’s a long drive in labor! But I liked him. He was calm and honest, and treated me like a smart, informed, healthy pregnant woman. We agreed in philosophy as to how your labor and birth should play out. So, at about 24 weeks pregnant, I switched to his practice.
Everything was great after that. My appointments were interesting and normal. Dr Gramann remained very supportive of me and my right to decide how I wanted to be treated. I looked forward to having you at Enumclaw hospital. The hospital is small, but the nurses seemed so very friendly and helpful. Everything was ready to go.
Except you! I was induced with both your brothers (Ethan by the doctor, Aidan with Castor Oil) at around 39 weeks so I assumed you would be ready about then too. Except you weren’t! And as my estimated due date approached and passed, I got a little nervous and cranky! I mean, you were a good size baby and had your feet in my ribs all the time. It was getting a bit uncomfortable for me to carry you around. I even took an ounce of castor oil on the 8th to try and nudge you along for a 9th delivery date. You were just not interested!
At this point, the calls started. Friends and family wanted to know if you planned on arriving any time soon. And some were worried because of my C-Section that I was placing both of us at risk by not inducing, or having another surgery to deliver you. They were making me irritable and worried. I needed support as a full term pregnant woman, not worry! My hormones were all over the map. So I talked to Dr Gramann and he assured me that everything looked great and I shouldn’t worry. We talked about my concerns, like having a faster labor and having to travel so far while having contractions. He agreed that I should come to Enumclaw at the first sign of labor, and hang out at a hotel so I would be close when I needed him. Having a plan helped me to relax. I also stopped answering the phone and started letting daddy field all the well meaning callers!
Your daddy mentioned that this Friday was a Friday the 13th. Daddy was born on the 13th of November and thought it would be neat to have you share his day, if not his birth month. So we started hoping for that. On Thursday night, I decided to give you another small nudge, using a couple home induction remedies. I took a very small amount of castor oil to help clear out my system, less than an ounce, around 9pm. I had eaten a heavy Mexican dish the night before and hated the idea of being uncomfortable because of that. It hadn’t worked before, but even if it just cleared me out, I was OK with it. Daddy and I watched TV until 11pm and went to bed.
At 11:45 I woke up with a very strong cramp in my bowels. I got up to use the bathroom thinking it was so stupid to take the castor oil. Now I wasn’t going to get any sleep and would be in the bathroom all night. Well, I went to the bathroom and quickly realized that this was not just stomach cramps. I think I might be in labor!
The pain was so strong though, I was getting worried. I was only 4 or 5 contractions into this labor and I was already thinking I needed drugs! So much for my natural labor convictions! In my defense, I didn’t realize how serious things were yet. I thought I was still in early labor.
I have read that sitting on the toilet can help you relax your muscles and make labor more effective and possibly more comfortable. All I know is that when the contractions came, I had to shift my hips so I wasn’t centered, either sitting or standing. So you probably weren’t descending evenly. I coped with some contractions by leaning sideways against the wall with one hip cocked. The intensity worried me for a bit, but the position helped me get through them. It is amazing to me that my body instinctively knew what to do to ease my pain and help you straighten out.
I yelled for daddy but he was sleeping so deeply he didn’t wake up. So I got up from the bathroom and walked back to bed to shake him. It was about midnight by now. He was drowsy, but when he tried to fall back to sleep and heard me yell at him, he knew something was up and got up quickly!
Daddy could see I was in labor but he didn’t realize how strong the pains were. He got dressed and went downstairs to get ready to go to the hospital. He was unloading the dishwasher when he heard the next contraction and realized he needed to come back upstairs. At that point, I was leaning against the side of the tub just trying to cope. That’s when I felt your head! I gasped to daddy to get me a wet wash cloth, and he hurried to get one. I used it to hold your head so you would slow down a bit, and told daddy that we were going to have you right now, right here in the bathroom!
Your daddy was a trooper! He didn’t question me or panic at all. He just said, “I am going to call the paramedics” and walked out of the bathroom. He was back in a flash after calling 911, unlocking the front door for them, and getting some towels for us.
I got down on the floor, leaning over the tub on my knees, and that is where I stayed. I had thought about getting in the tub in an effort to slow my labor with hot water, but I just couldn’t move another step. I held your head with my wash cloth the best I could (my big belly made the reach hard for me, but I did my best!) until daddy had towels down and was ready to catch. The 911 dispatcher was on the speakerphone giving directions, but I just ignored her. She wanted me to move, roll over and get in a different position based on her emergency manual. I was not moving from my fairly comfortable position (as far as labor goes, anyway!). And daddy is smart enough to know that it wasn’t the time to try and make me do anything! When the dispatcher told daddy to cradle your head once it emerged, I let go of the wash cloth and let daddy take over that job. Then I just let the contractions take over. It didn’t take long! Daddy was watching for your head, and saw you come out with your eyes open, looking at him. Then he cradled your head and body and caught you in his arms. What a beautiful moment for all of us! Time was about 12:22am on Friday the 13th, 2009. 35 minutes of labor.
You were born without medical intervention or violence. You were slimy, I was covered in blood and bodily fluids, but we both were pretty calm and relaxed. I rolled over, taking care to unravel the cord from your neck, where it was wrapped once. Then daddy handed you to me and we waited for your first breath. I held you sideways with your mouth pointing down to help drain any amniotic fluid you might have left in you. Those few seconds were the longest of my life! But you did breath just fine and I pulled you up to my chest and we covered you up to keep us both warm. That’s when the paramedics arrived! Daddy and the lady EMT helped me to remove my nightshirt, so I could lay you on my skin and try to nurse you.
Capt. Don Wilson of the Yelm Fire Department clamped the cord and presented daddy with a scalpel to cut it. He came in the fire truck, followed by an aid car, and a transport ambulance. Of the 7 EMTs, Don was the most qualified, with me being his third birth. Two he actually helped deliver, and then you, already out! There was the lady EMT who said I was her third placenta! She had missed the actual birth three times now! I don’t remember seeing any of the other EMT’s faces from my perch on the floor between the toilet and the tub. But I did see a lot of shoes! It seemed to get pretty loud then. Like there was a party in my bedroom. I was surprised that the boys didn’t wake up with all the commotion!
Then we waited for the placenta to arrive. Except it didn’t! My contractions had really slowed at this point, and you were not interested in nursing right away. So I didn’t have any help to encourage the placenta to detach. And it was just as stubborn as can be! If it had detached, I probably would have declined the ambulance ride to St. Peters in Olympia, and had daddy take us to Enumclaw as planned. But with the placenta still attached, I was facing a risk to my health and so we agreed to go to the nearest hospital for help.
Let me just tell you, it was a short walk to the chair the EMTs would use to carry me out of the house, but it was a strange walk. The umbilical cord was hanging out of me still, and by now it was cold and rubbery. Very strange to walk with that swinging between my legs! The lady EMT joked that it was my tail, and to not mind it! I just carried it with me, trying to not get blood on the carpet!
The EMTs carried me down the stairs in the chair while daddy carried you wrapped up in towels. Then we transferred to the standard ambulance bed and daddy handed you back to me. He also got my robe for me so I wouldn’t have to go to the hospital completely naked! Thanks daddy!
It was a quiet ride to the hospital. I continued to massage my uterus trying to encourage contractions, and you just watched the world go by. You were so alert and calm. You just weren’t ready to nurse at all! Too bad for me!
We arrived at St Peters in Olympia and met with the nurses and an intern who tried to forcibly pull my placenta out. That really hurt, and after a while, I had to ask her to stop. They could not give my any medications until they processed me, and were waiting for daddy to do that. So it was a bit of a painful waiting game until that happened. Then the doctor arrived! With him came my admission paperwork and a shot of morphine! Thank you Dr Bell! Now while the doctor tried to remove the placenta, I had a bit of pain relief to help me cope.
Dr Bell looked like a really cute teenager, and daddy was worried that he didn’t have enough training to be a real doctor! I just remember thinking he was really young, and hoping he knew what he was doing! Then I closed my eyes again to focus on coping with the pain.
St. Peter’s does not take VBAC patients, and Dr Bell was really uncomfortable with me. It was as if he didn’t know what he could give me, that wouldn’t affect my previous scar. Since the placenta was still attached after 3 hours at this point, his recommendation was a D & C surgery to remove it. He went over this long list of risks with me. I just wanted to know why he didn’t just give me a pitocin shot. I think he knew that pitocin is not recommended for VBAC patients, and wanted to avoid that. But I knew that my uterus was not going to rupture when the baby was already out, and I definitely didn’t want surgery as my first option! Dr Bell was reluctant, but finally agreed to try a small dose of pitocin. It took less than 5 minutes after that and my placenta finally gave up and came out all in one piece! Thank you placenta!!
You looked so good that we didn’t have to admit you at all. This saved us on the hospital bill, but created a bit of a hassle in regards to getting your birth registered and getting you a vitamin K shot. But we worked out the shot with your pediatrician, and Capt. Wilson was able to certify you so we could apply for a birth certificate.
Your birth was so fast, that it was over before we had time to process that we were even in labor. It took a while of thinking back to remember the details of what had happened. What an amazing experience! And I have a great birth story to tell. I have now done it all: Failed induction with a C-Section, home induction with a natural drug-free hospital delivery, and precipitous labor with emergency unassisted homebirth with daddy. What else is there to do?
All I know, is I am so happy to finally meet you! You have been a calm and easy baby this first week, aside from the nursing, and we love having you here. Nursing continues to improve each day and we look forward to having you in the family. Ethan loves to hold you and have pictures taken. Aidan loves to rub your brown hair and tell me “nice hair!” I think we will be fine!