the saga has a happy ending
...and he is asleep on my lap. unfortunately i have to type left handed because we were nursing before but he fell asleep after his last nurse.
Thanks to Steph for posting Tristan's vitals. We came home today and it feels very good to be here finally.
On Fri 17 Sep I spent the day feeling queasy. I had a mw appt and she stripped my membranes. I woke up from a nap at 4:30 pm with strong, regular contractions. We finally met our back-up doula that evening who was one of Steph's L&D nurses. After she left I got into the tub. Jo realized that she needed to put up the mini blinds before we had a baby and found she could not do it herself. We summoned our dear friends Cheryl and Bill to help. While C&B were here I called the mw who thought that /i should come in. Ctx were 2-3 min apart and 1 min long. We left for birth center at 9:30 pm on 17 Sept.
Got there, checked in, good ctx, labored in a million and one positions and the tub, progressed from 2 to 4 cm by about 5 AM. Lost mucus plug at 7 AM (Jo did a great job not gettinng sick, she was helping me out of the tub). Bag of waters had been bulging for hours. Head was -2 to -3 which was making progress slow. MW suggested breaking bag in hope that head would come down. Agreed, and she tried for an agonizing couple of minutes to break my sac - all in vain. It would not bust! She ended up poking it with a scalp electrode! And I leaked a lake. His head descended but not enough to really engage. He kept twisting and turning trying to find the way out.
In the meantime I continued to labor in as many positions as possible but pretty soon the only position that I could handle was hanging around Jo's neck. Contractions were about 45 seconds apart and around 2 minutes long starting around 11 AM. In the meantime I found out that I was leaching ketones in my urine and was getting severely dehydrated despite how my doula and Jo were pushing fluids. I kept laboring, they pushed Emergen-C and miso soup and water, but I continued making no progress. A monitor inserted into the uterus behind baby's head showed that it had to do with the fact that the contractions were weak and not helping to bring the head down. Around 4 PM I realized that I couldn't keep it up anymore - I had no power left, no steam at all. And I was not getting any closer to bringing baby into the world - I had been at 4.5 cm for about 12 hours. This was disheartening but mostly I realized that I - and baby - needed help. His heartrate was showing that he was exhausted too. The midwife suggested an epidural (actually I asked for one first!) and some pitocin augmentation to which I agreed between roaring contractions. Roaring through them was the only way I could manage. toward the end I had to start counting roars per contraction, too, and know that when I had roared 5-6 times, they would start to taper off. I had two contractions during the placement of the epidural and I give major props to that anesthesiologist who did such an incredible job with a woman who was in such pain. Once it was working they started pitocin. I was thrilled, honestly, to be confined to bed; even if I could have walked I was too exhausted to do so. They also gave me tons of fluid to try to quell my dehydration and bring my blood pressure up which was already low before the epidural (I had been running below 90/60 for several hours before the anesthesia); the fluids alone didn't work so I was also given a few shots of adrenaline which surprisingly also didn't work. The pitocin didn't work either. We gave it 3 hours to work. I never moved from 4.5 centimeters. Baby's head tried to come down but all he ended up doing was getting a little caput from the pressure because the uterine contractions were too weak to push him into the birth canal.
So there I was faced with the situation I assumed I'd never find myself in: if I want this baby in the world, it has to be a surgical birth. Here I was, Ms. Natural-childbirth-there-are-too-many-cesarians-look-what-they're-doing-to-women, faced with my own c-section. And you know what? I've not looked back. I know I did my damndest. No one can fault me for a full day of unproductive, unmedicated labor. There was nothing more I could do. I gave my body permission to go into labor naturally despite being post-42-weeks, and it did, but things got uncoordinated and I have no idea why - but I know there is no blame to be placed. This is why I said to the midwife that it was time to start getting things rolling for a c-section - it was time to be done with this and move on to the reason why we were there in the first place, which was to have a baby. She had conferred with the OB on call who has to be the nicest doctor I've ever met in my whole life, he was incredibly sensitive to our situation and needs and feelings.
Labor officially ended at 7:00. They wheeled me to the OR. Jo and our backup doula Katie went with me. Jo was, pardon my language, scared sh*tless. That's where our doula was a big help. Tristan was born at 7:15 on September 18, very quickly (skilled doctor) and was quite blue. I missed the trauma of the intermediate care nursery and am grateful that Katie was there for Jo because Jo nearly had both a mental and physical breakdown when she saw and accompanied her blue child who needed intubation, suctioning and bagging before starting to pink up.
I began shivering in the OR - not from cold but from stress and adrenaline - and couldn't stop until they put Tristan in my arms.
My placenta was ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. There was no calcification whatsoever and no sign of deterioration. Everyone was amazed by this fact. I got to see it but didn't want to keep it.
Tristan, also, showed no signs at all of being postdates. He was covered in vernix, was 7 pounds 13 oz, 21.5 inches long, head circumference of 13.
The days in the hospital were very trying. One, who wouldn't be sore from major abdominal surgery, despite how good the surgeon was? Owie. Two, it's hard to handle your kid with an IV in your arm. I made them pull it on day 2. Three, it's like living in a fish bowl in a hospital, there are people coming in ever freakin' 15 minutes for one thing or another. We had some nurses who were less than ideal. The one who took the cake was the one who came in at 12:45 AM, proceeded to tell me how badly I was doing breastfeeding and how I wasn't feeding enough and how inappropriate it was that I had nursed twice on the left side in a row. That was the start of a bad, BAD day and thankfully the last day that we were there. A lactation consultant hypothesized that my milk won't come in in as much quantity as tristan needs and I'm going to need to supplement with formula, because my milk hasn't come in yet. Well, hello, I just had a c-section and it is my first kid, too. That upset me so much (I cried my heart out yesterday!) but honestly, he was getting really, really, REALLY hungry. Jo offered him a bottle of formula and he drank a whole whopping ounce before dropping off to sleep. In the meantime I am taking an herbal supplement to give my milk supply a boost.
Tristan has some normal jaundice but a nurse had the audacity to do a bilirubin heel prick while she took him away to weigh him and DIDN'T EVEN ASK US. His bilirubin level was 10 something. We were hopping mad. It affected his entire day, he wouldn't nurse well, he wouldn't fill a diaper... grr.
we are home now;
Tristan is healthy and very charming; he has a very wise look in his eyes;
I am healing well;
my milk is coming in and Tristan's latch is improving and getting quicker;
Jo's and my relationship has really been strengthened by this difficult experience, and I am in extreme awe of how strong she was throughout the whole thing...
and holy crap!!!! I'm a mom!!!!!!!!!!
My dinner is waiting, and then I have to rouse my boy to get him to nurse!