Hi, I wanted to update you all on what happened to DD2. My midwife requested the records from the ambulance and last week we finally got an answer to what caused my daughter's hypoxia and anemia. It was a cord prolapse/cord accident. Somehow the info got lost in the ER, but it didn't make a difference to her treatment or her outcome.
I never imagined this could happen to us. We had none of the risk factors for cord prolapse - she was full term, vertex, at -1 station my last appointment, so not totally engaged but not really high up either, and most second babies don't engage totally before labor. It happened during the second stage of labor, she was my second baby (both decrease the chance of mortality with cord prolapse because the mom is likely to push the baby out faster)..... and so on. And the only two things that can be done for cord prolapse are emergency c or immediate, like in the next few minutes vaginal delivery and resuscitation/NICU-level support. Sometimes babies can be held up by someone's hand while waiting for the c-section, particularly if the prolapse happened because the baby was high and not engaged. But it happened in my kitchen. Two minutes drive from the hospital. While I was getting uncontrollable pushing contractions on top of each other.
I'd been it what seemed like early labor all morning. Irregular contractions. Talked to nurse at ten, decided to take a bath. Took a bath, contractions came almost to a halt. Got out of bath around noon, had a painful one, decided to head for the hospital. We got our stuff together, called a friend to pick up DD1, and DP went to pull the car around. Right as he was doing that, my contractions started coming faster and faster and I got the uncontrollable urge to push, and my water broke. I was crawling around on the kitchen floor trying to take my pants off. Out of mind with the sudden intensity and pain. At that time, DD2's cord prolapsed - just a little, just a tiny bit - but we did not know this. DP found me pushing, water broken, and called 911.
While waiting for the paramedics, I put my hand down and felt her head and also something about finger thick and rubbery laying against her head. The whatever it was laid tight against the outer circumference of her head on my right hand side. I felt it and thought, "Is that cord?" Then I thought I was being silly and tried to feel if it went the whole way around and was therefore my cervix. It had to be my cervix. I remember my heart beat faster and I thought to myself, "No, no, no, it can't be the cord, babies die of that." I couldn't reach all the way around, and then I had a contraction and had all thought wiped out of my mind. Later, after she had died and it was still a mystery, I remembered what I had felt but kept forgetting to ask about it. You can't feel your cervix when the baby is coming down. I learned this later. If you feel anything other than baby, something is wrong.
When the paramedics arrived (probably within 3-5 minutes of calling) they found me pushing on my hands and knees. I later learned that the lead paramedic saw the cord as DD2 was crowning. I remembered him touching me lightly around DD2's head, on my right hand side, same place I felt the whatever it was. At that time I thought he was just doing the crappiest job ever of attempting to support my perineum. But now I know that he was probably trying to tell if her cord was still pulsing. I guess that it probably was because they said she had a heartbeat when she was born.
For us, when the paramedics got there, it was basically too late for them to do anything but set up for resuscitation and transport. I had probably been pushing for 7-10 minutes when they arrived, and so, at that point it was almost certainly too late for her. It ended up taking about half an hour total to push her out, in part because she was posterior. The whole time, I didn't know why - maybe some part of me understood what I'd felt - but I was pushing with all my might, even trying to push her out between contractions. I mean it hurt a lot and the pain made me desperate to get her out. But sometimes I think I knew, too. :( She just never had a chance. It was such a lightening strike, just this stupid perfect storm of circumstances. I think it was a miracle she held on as long as she did and was not stillborn.
I have a lot of what ifs and regrets about that morning - it's a part of the grieving process I guess. I can imagine all these perfect case scenarios where she lives, happy and healthy. But the truth is that I can't ever know what could have been, what really could have been. So I cling to what I know for sure - that she lived surrounded by love and died in peace, and that we loved her, and still love her, so very much.
DD1 has handled everything remarkably well. DP and I joined a support group for parents who've lost infants. I'm in counseling and taking Zoloft. We are getting through the days, little by little, and some days it hurts less and other days the pain is breathtaking. I know that some of you have had similar heartbreaks, and that you are all holding your babies tight. I'm grateful, so so grateful for the time I got to spend with her. The forty weeks and five days she spent inside me, the five days outside. Glad DD2 and I got to be on this journey with you mamas. Lots of blessings for your precious babies.