39 weeks 5 days: Baby has engaged posterior after being posterior for two weeks. I’ve lost two centimeters in fundal height and I can hardly walk because of back pain. I go to church with the kids and the back pain changes from a constant ache to waves with a definite start and stop. Rotating my hips in a circle helps. I had back labor with my first daughter, and this feels the same, only not as intense. Some women notice my discomfort and focus and ask if I am in labor, I say “I think so!” Later that afternoon it slowly peters out to nothing.
40 weeks Baby has disengaged and moved back up.
40 weeks 4 days I notice a dramatic decrease in fetal movements. I call the midwives and talk to Linda. I ask if babies can have a decrease in movement before labor begins, and she says yes, but recommends getting an NST just in case. I eat some protein, drink some juice, feel nothing and then decide to go in. On the way to the hospital baby starts moving. We have the NST and they point out I am having contractions 10 minutes apart. I start noticing that the cramps I’d been having do have a beginning and an end. I go home very excited and clean my house and walk around the block. They increase in intensity. We take the kids to a Halloween party. We stay for a few hours and then decide to go home because the contractions are getting more and more intense. They stop the next day..
40th to 41st week I’ve noticed that I only have contractions on Edward’s days off and at night. All night I cannot sleep because of contractions but each morning when he leaves for work they stop for the day. He decides to take two days off work in hopes that the won’t stop during the day. We schedule a routine NST and amniotic fluid check for 41 weeks and 3 days.
41 weeks 3 days We all head out to the NST and ultrasound. The kids are excited to get to see the baby again. The NST sounds great, baby is doing well. The ultrasound shows only one small pocket of fluid. We wait while the technician tries to contact Linda to see if she is on site. She is not, but we talk to Laura on the phone then go down to Labor and Delivery at the hospital. We go to triage and the midwife on call is one who attended our second birth. She checks for ferning, to see if I am leaking amniotic fluid, and we decide to start drinking tons of fluids before doing a second ultrasound to verify it is not dehydration. Laura is not on call, but she comes and waits in Triage with us anyway, she does a second kind of test for amniotic fluid, which confirms with the first that I am not leaking any fluids.. My sister gets in from the airport and takes the kids home. Eventually Linda arrives and we do a second ultrasound. The fluid levels have not increased at all, ruling out dehydration. I am now risked out of a homebirth and they advise immediate induction.
I freak out. Edward freaks out. We sit and talk with Linda and Laura for at least an hour, maybe more, about risks, options, and choices. I decide to induce tomorrow morning instead of immediately. The hospital is very full tonight and there is no guarantee of a labor and delivery room in the morning so we may have to call every couple hours to see if there is space, or just show up and get put in an operating room until a room opens up.
Linda does a membrane sweep to help get things started. I am two centimeters and partially effaced, the cervix is still high. We do a GBS culture, and hope the lab can rush it. I had postponed it because of insurance issues, and just never bothered to do it after those got worked out. I am now crampy, angry, sad, disappointed and kind of in shock. We go home and talk to my sister and the girls about what is going to happen and make a plan for them for tomorrow. I start obsessively packing, and reorganizing my birth supplies, and eventually get a little bit of rest.
41 weeks 4 days Some friends drive us to the hospital in the morning so that my sister can bring the girls up later in the car. We get in and Linda does another membrane sweep. I am now 4 centimeters, more effaced, and the cervix has moved down. Baby is closer to ROT then ROA today so we decide to monitor heart tones, try to rotate baby to a better position and then walk to see if I continue to progress before rupturing the membranes. Our nurse is pretty awesome and we talk a lot about how I want things to go. The lunges and belly sweeps to move baby tire me out so I take a short nap then Edward gets us some lunch.
I start walking the hospital. Apparently 41 week pregnant women don’t typically roam around too much because I heard a lot of quiet comments, and a LOT of people were looking. We walk every skybridge, plus around several floors. It’s at least a mile and half. I’m having regular painful contractions about every two minutes apart. We go back to the room because I am tired. I sit on the birth ball. Amy Jo arrives, she will be staying with us through everything. Now my nurse is too chatty, too perky. I’m tired, and I don’t want to be here. We monitor heart tones again and as I sit in the room my contractions slow down to every 5-10 minutes apart, and become much less painful.
Linda and Edward bring in the birth pool and they start filling it halfway. I was only in active labor with Julianna for three hours, so we want it prepped before I get to that point. We call my sister and ask her to bring the girls in about an hour, go to the cafeteria to get some lunch and do a little more walking to try and perk the contractions back up. They don’t. We go back to the room and Edward goes downstairs to meet the girls and my sister, Kim in the parking lot and bring them up. Linda checks baby’s head position again. I am not any more dilated, and she says it seems like I’m in latent labor and it could go on for hours so we go ahead and rupture the membranes, even though this starts me on an 18 hour time clock before the hospital will want me to have antibiotics. It’s likely we will need to do it anyway during labor if there is cord compression and need to introduce fluid to help out the baby.
The girls get up to the room and we head out to do more walking. We decide to take the girls on the sky tram. Amy Jo walks with us. The contractions immediately get more frequent and painful. We are almost to the sky tram when the most horrible, awful, painful, contraction in the world hits me. People stare and offer wheelchairs. Kim takes the girls on the sky tram alone. When I can speak again I announce that I must have just dilated at least 3 centimeters, Amy Jo agrees that I probably did. We go back to the room. I collapse to the floor in the little nest between the birth pool and bed that I’ve made with my birth blanket and a birth ball. The contractions are non-stop and I’m feeling pressure. Amy Jo asks if I want in the birth pool. I say no, afraid that things will slow down if I get in. I’m feeling almost a little panicky, like the baby has to be out RIGHT NOW. I start feeling pressure and I get a teeny break between contractions. If I’m moving it has to be NOW. Edward helps me get undressed and into the pool. I get a little space, a little immediate relief.
Our plan at home was to have Edward and the girls fill the birth pool for them to play in it before I wanted to get in. The girls ask to get in the water with me and I say yes, but then the contractions start in again non-stop and the girls keep bumping into my back as I hang over one edge. I ask for them to leave and go to the family waiting room. They get out of the tub, but someone says there isn’t enough time for them to leave, they will miss the birth so my sister takes them out into the hall in their swim suits instead of taking time to get them dressed again. Julianna has an accident and they come back into the room, I suggest they get into the bathtub in the bathroom. They do, and I can hear them mimicking my noises. My arms are weak, I can’t support myself in an upright position. Edward gets in the tub to hold me up. I have to be perfectly upright and not moving and yell at him if he even wavers a little bit. He struggles to be on his knees so long, but he does it anyway.
The contractions are the most awful things in the world. I have to yell, moan, and generally be noisy through them and usually I am a pretty quiet laborer. I worry I am scaring the girls, my other two birth were not this painful. I have to grab and squeeze Edward’s leg to get through them. Later he tells me I was pinching a leg nerve and made his whole leg go numb! I’m feeling lots of pressure, but I’m feeling frustrated that she is not moving down. Amy Jo is behind me applying pressure and giving Edward quiet moral support. Linda is in front of me monitoring heart tones with the doppler. Our biggest fear is cord compression and a plummeting heart rate. Her heart is steady, but I still feel panicked, and start asking “Why is she TAKING so long?” I’ve never had an urge to bear down in birth before but now I am feeling her head and pushing my cervix off of it during contractions while bearing down at the same time.
There is small rest between contractions. I can tell the room is full of people. Later Edward tells me they had a full team ready if the baby was compromised, and a full team ready to deal with a potential hemorrhage from me (Given that I have had hemorrhaged twice I wanted to have everything ready at a moment’s notice, but I don’t want to know or think about it beforehand). I feel self conscious in birth for the first time, but I don’t move from my position of kneeling on one leg with the other leg up, because I have to be touching her head, making sure she is still moving. She’s moving so slowly.
The girls are dressed and back in the room. Libby asks if she can see how the baby comes out. I say yes and the girls move in front of the pool. I worry it is too much for Julianna, but she says she wants to watch too. Kim gets stuck watching too. She really didn’t want to be in the room for the birth, but I am glad so glad she is here.
Crowning, stinging, I hate this part. She keeps going backward, then forward, then back again. I just want her out! Amy Jo asks to feel her head. I say yes, Amy Jo says something about the cord, and a hand by baby’s face. More fire.
She’s out! She’s all twisted up in the cord. Edward and Amy Jo unroll her and I can see she is blue and limp. My other girls supported their own heads as the came out of the water. I start chanting “time to breath baby, come on breath” and rubbing her head. Someone is rubbing her back briskly with a towel. One minute and then Linda cuts the cord. We had planned to let the girls do it, but baby needs help and the hospital won’t do it in arms. Edward goes with baby to the side of the room. After what seems like ages I hear a little “eh eh” from her. I’m talking to my baby, then talking to my girls, telling them what is going on. They have moved into a chair in a corner to stay out of the way. The hospital bed is moved right next to the birth pool with my birth blanket on it. I get out to deliver the placenta on the bed. I want an accurate number if I bleed, unlike with my first. I feel so weak in my stomach, like I can hardly push, but I do. I bleed and ask someone to rub my uterus. I gush and there is a clot, but then it stops. Only small gushes, they are okay. My nurse comes to rub my uterus again and I tell her no. She starts to, saying I had a clot, I will bleed unless she gets all the clots out, but I am not bleeding right now so I slap her hands away. Amy Jo and Linda are busy getting me a piece of placenta to tuck in my cheek.
I’m talking to my girls, they are sad because the baby is crying now. We talk about how crying is good. I hear from the other side of the room that she is getting oxygen and is still full of fluid. Edward does not take his hand from her body even though they don’t like him in the way. People clear out of the room. One person and Edward are with the baby. I ask for her, but she is still having a little trouble. They give her to me all wrapped up in blankets and a hat. I rip them off and latch her on. She’s very happy with that. The cord clamp is hard plastic, I should have brought my soft one from my birth kit at home.
Talking, nursing, pictures. The girls are so excited. Julianna snuggles on the bed with me. They are tired, and hungry. Libby gets very physical when she is stressed. They need to go home. Edward is going with them and then coming back after they are asleep. The placenta is all packed up to take home for encapsulation. He asks what the baby’s blood type is, and we realize in all the rush no one typed the baby’s cord blood. They pull the placenta back out and try to get enough blood. The eldon card says O-, and we send some more off to the lab to double check. Edward and Kim get the girls home and I nurse baby while my room is cleaned up, waiting for my recovery room to be cleaned as well. I let them weigh and measure the baby, she’s done nursing and is sleepy. I could go right to a semi-private room, but I wait for the private room. I ask Linda if it would be possible to just go home. She would be more than happy to get me home, but it’s likely the baby would have to leave AMA. I decide not to ask about the baby. Edward will be more happy if she stayed the night anyway.
Nurse change. They’ve been told not to touch my uterus and I will check it myself. The labor and delivery nurse is okay with that. I go to my room. The nurse there is not happy that I will not let her check my uterus. The lab says the baby is O+ and there are orders for me to get Rhogam and have my blood checked for antibodies. Everyone is hassling me to get vitamin k for baby because her face is all bruised. Probably from being posterior with no or low fluids for two weeks. I tell them I am tired and just want to rest and I want to talk to Linda about rhogam, anti body levels, and vitamin k dosing in the morning. They want to take baby to the nursery to be weighed and I say no, not until Edward gets back and can go with her. I ask them to cut off her arm bracelet and move it to her foot. She puts her hands next to her face and it is scratching her. They do, and get vitals for me and baby, and write down her measurements on the card for the bassinet. I wait for Edward to get back from home. He gets back and I tell him he needs to let the nurses know they can weigh baby now. He carries the baby out to the hall to tell them and gets scolded for not putting her in the bassinet. The nurse and Edward walk back into the room and I have the id card pulled out of the bassinet because I didn’t know how big she was and is was written there and I wanted to tell everyone online. The nurse asked if I had a problem with the card, and I realized I wasn’t imaging that she was rather put out with me so I tried extra hard to be nice and compliant for the rest of her shift and that helped a little although I was just really angry to have to be dealing with people when I just wanted to be home with my girls and my baby.
Edward got back from the second weigh in and we sat and talked for a long time alone with the baby for the first time. We decided to give her the vitamin K, and I had Edward pull out my vitamins, laboraid, a sandwich, cramp bark tincture, and the oral vitamin k drops and put them next to me, then he left for home. When he got home he moved the girls from their beds and into the big bed for extra cuddles, which they really needed. The nurse came in and asked me about all the things I had sitting out, then said “well, I’ll just pretend I didn’t see everything” which I suppose was her way of letting me know she was giving me space (found out later Edward had chatted with her on the way out to try and smooth things over). I really really really just wanted to be home.
The next morning I did the blood draw for Rh antibodies and then the pediatricians came and said she looked good, but they didn’t like that I had declined or postponed most of the standard procedures. Linda came in and we chatted for a while then she got my discharge paperwork all set and ready to go. The nurses changed shifts and the new nurse was VERY helpful because at this point I was just sitting around waiting for pediatrics to get their stuff together, but they were basically bullying us into staying at the hospital. They tried to tell me the baby had to have HIV testing before she could leave and I was told by a pediatric resident that because my GBS status was unknown if we left with the baby before 48 hours it could only be AMA. We couldn’t get a hold of our insurance to see what they would cover if we left AMA because it was weekend and we couldn’t get a hold of the lab to find out my GBS status. It was probably the longest day of my life. Linda got back to find out what was going on and she contacted pediatric faculty about the GBS issue because we should have been able to just decline additional monitoring and leave, and she filed a formal complaint. We got our discharge papers shortly after. Edward and I will be sending in a written complaint as well.
Our friend Tish popped in for a visit and baby got to go home in a new hat that matches her big sisters, then Edward and Kim and the girls arrived to take us home. Once we got home the baby settled in and had a long stretch of sleep. Kim held the baby for the first time while I got to cuddle Julianna to sleep and talk to her about the birth. She asked to nurse for the first time in a couple months and she actually remembered how to latch! I’m super sore and have blisters, so I put her off a little the next time she asked, we will see if I end up tandem nursing. Then Edward and I laid down with Libby for a long time while she screamed and thrashed and de-stressed. Of everything that happened, the most stressful part for her was waking up Saturday morning and having her mommy and daddy gone, even though we warned her the night before. This was a HUGE reason why I initially sought out a homebirth with my second birth, because I knew she wouldn’t be able to handle a separation at just 21 months old. I assumed that at four it wouldn’t be such a problem, but she was afraid that we would be gone in the morning if she went to sleep.
This morning she was VERY excited that we were still here and the girls cuddled and loved on their new baby. I’m tired because Eowyn was trying to nurse my supply in all night, but I have never felt so energetic after birth before. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t lose half your blood supply. I have no tears, but my abdomen muscles will need physical therapy to repair the separation. It wasn’t completely healed after Julianna’s birth, so it is quite a problem right now. I have to hold my stomach together in order to walk around without too much pain.
Being home and writing everything out have gone a long way to getting a lot of my anger out at how things didn’t go as expected, and the bureaucracy issues we encountered. I expect the girls have more de-stressing to do as well, but we are absolutely enchanted with Eowyn and so happy to have her here safe and sound at last.
Edited by Paigekitten - 11/14/11 at 11:25pm