I was visiting the hospital every day or every other day for Non Stress Tests, Amniotic Fluid for a full week after my midwife first suggested I consider an induction or c-section for low amniotic fluid. I had low fluid with my first and I had no choice at that time. The midwife said my fluid was so low that if she let me leave they would be unable to let me return because it would be dangerous. So, what choice did I have? I started a long induction process that ended in a c-section. I was scared that this would again be an issue and tried hard to gear my body up for labor. However, I found myself facing the same situation. This time I tried to put off an induction and bring my fluid back up for an entire week.
That week I visited the acupuncturist twice and she used electro acupuncture. I also visited the chiropractor twice and she used the Webster method to try to get the baby into a favorable position. I visualized my cervix opening like a lotus and talked to my baby to try to convince him to come out. I had pumped using my breast pump and it had caused slight contractions.
On Thursday, Feb 21 I went to the hospital for a full biophysical test to see how Judah was doing in the womb. I had noticed that he had not been moving much and although I had voiced that concern to my husband often, I had kept it quiet at appointments and ate candy and drank juice before my tests to try to get him to be a bit active. At that appointment the midwife noted that he was not moving and used a device to try to scare him into moving but nothing really worked…not the candy, juice, yelling, nothing. My fluid was still low despite drinking non-stop for a week. I felt like I had put off the inevitable for as long as I could. I reluctantly scheduled an induction for the next day feeling somewhat defeated and disappointed in my body.
That night I went home and pumped and used black cohosh and it resulted in some substantial contractions and some mucus loss. In retrospect I wish I had put the induction off for a day and continued my own induction at home but I was a bit nervous considering I was basically causing an induction without the safety of the hospital.
On Friday morning I went in for the induction and was happy to find out that the contractions had opened my cervix enough to put in a Foley balloon. They also started a slow, low level of pitocin. Within a few hours my cervix opened enough so that the Foley balloon fell out and I was now dilated to 4 centimeters. I was pleased that things were moving along, was feeling the contractions and getting through them. I labored for a few more hours and the contractions got stronger and closer together. They lasted for only 30 seconds but were coming every minute and a half. I had the midwife check me again after another 4 hours after the balloon came out. I was still at 4, maybe 4 and a half. At this point I made a decision that I thought I would never make again after my first birth. I asked for an epidural seeing that I could not foresee myself lasting another 10-12 hours with contractions coming so close together and still having energy to push.
After the epidural I rested, my doula left, and I tried to sleep through the night. Unfortunately, Judah did not tolerate me being in any position in the bed and I had to stay on my sides. There were a few points where his heart decelerated and I had to keep oxygen on to keep his heart rate up. At one point the nurse rushed in as his heart decelerated quite a bit. It was scary but only lasted a minute and then he was back to normal. My water broke at one point and the nurse noted that there was meconium. They checked my progress at that point and I was 7cm! But then a few hours later I developed a fever and had to start taking Tylenol and anti-biotics. Through the night I started to feel a lot of pressure in my rear end and was excited thinking that this meant that the pushing phase was not far behind. The midwives and nurses changed shifts and I said goodbye to their calm presence. I texted my doula to let her know she should probably be on her way soon. Things were feeling good even though it hadn’t been the easiest road.
The new midwife wanted to check my progress and unfortunately discovered that I was still at 7 cm. I was crushed but also not sure what that meant. She explained that the baby’s head seemed to be cocked to the side quite a bit and this might be slowing his progress down the birth canal. There was also the possibility that my contractions were not strong enough because of the infection. They could insert a device into my uterus to measure the strength of the contractions and decide if more pitocin would help. The midwife and nurse made it clear that this was their last shot and if the contractions were in fact strong that there would be not much else they could do to aid with the progress and that I was most likely looking at another c-section.
The quickness of the change in mood and expectation was hard. I went from feeling excited and anticipating the last phase of labor to feeling helpless in a little less than half an hour. I talked with my husband and called my doula. We decided to have them insert the device as it seemed like our last hope and at least we would know that we tried everything we could. They instructed me to lie flat on my back and began to insert the device. At that point Judah’s heartbeat began to decelerate quickly. They called for everyone to come and move me onto my side, I put on oxygen and his heartbeat slowly came back up. But I got really scared. My doula came and I talked with my husband and told him I think our options had run out and I just wanted to hold my baby healthy at this point. I called my mom and told her to come support me and my husband. I told the midwife and she began to make preparations. I was distressed that my hope and prayer for a vaginal birth was not to be recognized but also felt assured that I had done everything in my power to make that a reality. I came to accept that God does not always give us what we want but always provides what we need and I needed to hold my Judah.
The operation was an operation. It hurt more than I remember from my first c section thanks to the progress that Judah did make down the birth canal. He had to be wiggled out of me and it took quite a long time. The anesthesiologist was very nice and gave me what I needed to get through it. When I heard Judah cry the pain seemed far away. My husband held him up close to my head after they made sure he was okay. He was great Apgar scores of 8 and then 9. They took him off to the nursery to do what they had to do and eventually wheeled me into the recovery room. My husband brought me the camera to show me photos of our guy. Apparently the nurses were trying to run an i.v. on him but having little luck and I got very impatient and yelled at the nurse to bring me my baby already. They eventually brought him without an i.v. …he has veins like his mama and had to get his injections intramuscularly.
I am currently happily cradling my little guy in my lap feeling extraordinarily blessed to have such a cutie in my life. Of course, I have questions about some of my decisions. Maybe I should have put off the induction a few days and given the black cohosh more of a chance to work. Perhaps if I had delayed the epidural a few hours I could have gotten him into a better position with walking or squatting. But, honestly, I feel like I did what I did at the time based on how things were presented to me. Of course, I wish things had gone differently but I feel at peace with the way they turned out …I have Judah, he is a great sleeper, a great nurser, and a very cool customer. Now I know why he wasn’t moving much in my womb…he is a sloth..a very cute sloth but definitely slow going. And he is a big guy. At his one week check up he already gained almost a pound!
Judah is most likely my last child and even if we have another the midwife and obstetrician said that a trial of labor would probably be out of the question and I would have to have another c-section. I have to mourn my loss of the birth I had always envisioned for myself and mourn the fact that I will never get that experience. For whatever reason this is the way things have worked for me and it is sad but however my body has let me down in some ways it has made some amazing children and I have to be grateful for that and grateful that we are all together.