My husband left for a twelve-month deployment to Afghanistan when I was thirty-two weeks. Having been through a deployment and experiencing our parents deploying multiple times made saying goodbye a little easier. Hugs and smiles, no tears. We were living in Germany at the time and made plans to stay there and deliver. Many of my friends returned to the States, and I'm not emotionally close with my family, so I was going this alone. Thankfully I am fluent in German and I was really liking German prenatal care. I had my appointments at an OB/GYN practice and would be delivering at the local hospital with midwives. At my 37 week appointment I was found to be 75% effaced and 1cm dilated. At my 39 week appointment I was still the same. The doctor knew I was alone and that I'd been very uncomfortable lately, so he sent me over to the hospital the evening after the appointment. After an ultrasound for weight estimation and some monitoring, I was given a snack and a mild sedative tea, then sent to bed. The next morning around 0730 I woke up feeling some contractions and had very regular(10 minutes apart, 45 seconds long) contractions and was check for dilation at lunchtime. No progress. They decided to insert some gel to see if it would help things pick up a little. I also went on a walk around the hospital courtyard area. By 1300 My contractions were closer together and more painful. I meandered back up to my room and tried to get comfortable. I was feeling a little sick so I called my husband and tried to relax in bed for a bit. No such luck. I was having very painful contractions that were 3-5 minutes apart and lasting a minute each. All through the afternoon the midwives and I tried everything to lessen the pain, but nothing helped much. So distraction was the name of the game. Snacks, books, music, walks, and a shower. Around 1930 I was checked again and was 5cm and 90% effaced. Still having the transition-like contractions. Midnight brought be to an exhausted 7cm. I asked for another cup or two of the tea and had some liquid pain reliever so I could rest a little. 0700. Woke up at 0600 feeling a lot of pressure and having the urge to squat. Had some breakfast and then had a check. Time to push soon!!!!! I wanted to call my husband, but I was having trouble talking and concentrating on anything except the immense pressure and painful contractions. When I couldn't take the pressure anymore I began to push with gentle coaching from the midwives. Fast-forward to around 1115. After nearly four hours of pushing and the doctor getting out his forceps and trying to use his own hands, I was rushed two doors down to the OB surgical suite. What?!? I'm so thankful that I spoke German at this point. My son who was estimated to be "big" was posterior, had severe shoulder dystocia, and the cord was wrapped around his shoulders. This was causing it to be pinched between his body and mine. I had also been in labor for over 24 hours and my water had been broken for about 18. At 1122 on October 24, 2009, Moses exited his "cave" via the manmade entrance as opposed to the natural one. He had APGAR scores of 9/10/10 and after being measured( 9 lbs 10oz, 22 inches long, 37 cm crown) was placed beside my head while I was being stitched up. I was able to call my husband while I was in recovery. It was a joyous time! Even though my son entered the world via c-section we were able to bond almost immediately after his birth and were able to nurse several hours later after a much needed nap. While I felt like a failure for some months, I finally came to terms with my c-section and am very thankful to the wonderfully competent and compassionate team of midwives, doctors, and nurses who helped me to feel safe and cared for despite being without family or friends. I had a normal recovery without complications and Moses has been developing normally despite the distress he was in from the compressed cord and being stuck in the birth canal. He nursed for 15 months after a bumpy start. My husband returned for a break when Moses was six weeks old, then again for good when Moses around 9 months. Our family of three has been enjoying being all together since then!
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5/19/11 at 10:48am