Aili Faye: A homebirth that turned upside down - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 09-15-2007, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Before I begin, let me apologize for how unbelievably long this is, but it is a lot to process. I will give the birth story and then the postpartem addition that is such a big part of our birth story.

First, for those who just want the demographics:
Name: Aili Faye (pronounced like “Smiley” without the “Sm.”)
EDD: Thursday, August 30, 2007
DOB: Sunday, September 9, 2007, 3:10 pm
Weight: 7 lb 0.75 oz
Length: 19 inches

On Saturday, September 8, at 3 am, I woke up to discover that my water had broken. Finally, our little surprise was going to reveal him or herself. I called my mw, left a message, and then spoke with her assistant. Labor had not begun, but I wanted them to have an update. Mw's assistant said that dh could start filling the birth pool, maybe about half full and that I should try to go back to bed. First, we had a heck of a time getting the Brita filter off of the kitchen sink and then found that the hose and adapter did not fit. Fortunately, dh bought a beer making kit and had a 5 gallon bucket that he used to lug all the water from the bathroom to the living room. Then, I tried to go back to bed at about 5 am. Of course, I lay there for over an hour not being able to sleep. Eventually I did fall asleep and then spoke with my mw at around 7 or 8 am. Nothing was happening yet, so I said that I'd give her a call by afternoon to let her know what was up.

I think that around noon I started getting surges about once every 40-60 minutes. I had been practicing hypnobirthing, so I would just remind myself to let loose and allow my body to do what it must. It really kept the surges from hurting and I would circle my hips relieving some of the pressure as well. This continued throughout the day. I tried to sleep all day figuring that my baby would be born during the night and was quite successful in getting sleep between surges. When feeling tense, I would diffuse neroli essential oil in the air.

I started getting sick of waiting, so I had my dh massage my feet with some oil I had made with lavender and clary sage. Lavender helps to relieve pain of labor while clary sage can strengthen surges while providing a sedative-like effect. This REALLY worked! My surges got to be closer to 15-30 minutes apart at about 10 pm. I started to feel nervous about my mw arriving when I needed her. I did not need her then, but she is about 1.5 hours away from me and I didn't know if I would realize an hour and a half before I needed her.

I called and spoke with her. She said that she could come any time that I wanted and sleep here if I needed, but I said that I didn't need her yet. Then she said that maybe after my surges were less than 10 minutes apart she could come out. OK, I could work with that. I had my dh massage even more oil and then went to sleep on the futon in the living room. Dh slept on the floor to make sure that the cats didn't jump in the birth pool (we have one cat that would be stupid enough to do something like that).

I would wake with each surge and ideally get on the birth ball and spin a little until it ended. All of my surges, even the early ones lasted about 1.5-2.5 minutes. Sometimes, I could not get off the futon in time and those surges would be uncomfortable, but I would say in my head, “Relax, this is normal, your body is made to do this. Let your muscles be strong,” and it would feel 10 times better. This continued all night.

Dh made us breakfast burritos in the morning to give me all the nutrients I'd need for the day ahead. I could only eat half. My surges were about 7-8 minutes apart at this point, and becoming more noticeable, so I had dh call my mw. I also asked if it was ok to get in the birth pool. Mw said that if I felt I wanted to now, it was probably time to get in. It was about 10 am when I got in the pool. Oh, my goodness, that felt so much better.

Dh read from “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH” (a book we had bought to someday read to our little one) out loud while I relaxed in the water. I really don't remember a lot that happened during the time between 10 and around 12 or 12:30ish. At 12 or 12:30, I had to go to the bathroom and as I got out of the pool noticed some feces in the water. I said, “Oh, I hope I pooped myself and just didn't realize it.” I went to the bathroom and called to my dh to notify the mw that the baby had released meconium. I had an app't with mw's assistant on the Tuesday before and she checked the heartrate with the fetoscope. She was very clearly head down based on where her heart tones were found. I was petrified and started praying that everything was all right with my baby. I was too scared to even try to feel any fetal movement. Mw was about 10 minutes away. When she arrived, she checked the heartrate with doppler and said that it sounded very good, not distressed. She said that while she normally doesn't do cervical checks, she wanted to see how far I'd progressed. Later she said that at first, she thought that I was only 1 cm dilated, but then realized, no, that's the baby's butt! Apparently, my little girl decided to flip probably when my water release. It was actually a relief, b/c it meant that the baby had not been sucking in the thick meconium. I was 7-8 cm dilated and still progressing. My mw is not comfortable attending breech homebirths and I was not comfortable with her feeling unprepared to assist me.

She said that we needed to get to her OB backup's hospital ASAP (about an hour away). I hadn't packed a “just in case” bag or made a “just in case” birthplan. Dh was rushing around getting stuff. My mw insisted that he be as quick as possible and told him exactly what to bring. We brought towels in case we were still on the road and my body started to deliver the baby. I kind of feel like I was in transition. I didn't know if I just wanted a c-sec or to accidentally give birth vaginally. As my mw was walking me out to dh's car, the surges were getting painful b/c I was so nervous and pretty constant. I heard dh shout to mw to be careful b/c aforementioned “stupid cat” likes to try to escape. He normally gets in the entry way and someone grabs him and throws him back into the apartment. Not on Sunday. For the first time, Stupid Cat actually got outside. I'm calling him to come back from the other side of the porch, which thank God, he did and then, mid-contraction, I bent over and grabbed him holding him until dh got there to bring the cat back in the house.

We got in dh's car and I sat in front so that I could recline the seat. I needed to sit so that I was kind of on my side, b/c anything else was too uncomfortable. I then started my relaxation again. We got about ¼ of the way there and mw's OB backup called and told us to turn around and go back to the local hospital. He did not want to risk the baby being born on the way. He said that he'd call ahead and they'd be expecting us. I was so grateful and so was dh that we did not have to travel so far from home. The local hospital is only 10 minutes from our home and 15 minutes from where we were when we turned around.

We got to the hospital, I think around 1:30ish. Mw took me directly to labor and delivery. I was quickly brought into a tiny walk-in closet sized room. About 8 doctors came into the room, one was checking my cervix (8-9 cm), another was checking the baby's position with ultrasound (frank breech), and another was using the electronic fetal monitor. The rest, I don't know what they were doing. Even as it was happening, it made me think of that Monty Python sketch in the delivery room with the machine that goes “bloop.”

What is also funny is that I said, “I can't be on my back. It hurts so much on my back. Can I please roll onto my side?” The woman holding the EFM looked at her supervising MD like “what do I do?” The MD said, “ Don't worry if you're not getting a reading. We really only use that for liability purposes.”

None of the OB's at the hospital had any experience with breech delivery, so the decision for c-sec was essentially made for me. I was grateful to not have to make the decision. I had a spinal for the surgery and then our little girl was born. All I could say was, “I have a girl?! Its a girl?!” and then I almost cried. I couldn't see her for a long while after. She was on oxygen for 8 minutes. Finally, they brought her over and she was so incredibly alert. She had the most beautiful face I have ever seen.

End of Birth Story . . . Start of Postpartem Story

I truly believe that all of the difficulty following Aili's birth was carefully tended to by God. First, the doctors told me that I had a fibroid on the outside of my uterus that they wanted to remove. They did; it was the size of a golf ball. They had just shown me my gorgeous baby and then only moments later, they show me this thing that looks like an eyeball. I said, “Well, she's much prettier than that thing.” The most scary thing they said was that my little girl had to go to the NICU b/c she was suffering from acidosis. We later found out that her cord blood was acidic, but any measurements of Aili's blood in the NICU were found to be completely normal. The NICU doctor said that he was concerned b/c Aili seemed too alert for a newborn, overstimulated. (?) He also said that the acidosis may have negatively effected her organs, the blood would supply the brain and heart, but may not have been going to her digestive system and other systems. They wheeled my bed over to the NICU while we awaited some tests they had done on me. My dh and mw were both with me. Mw reassured me that Aili seemed really good and healthy. Mw stayed until around 9pm. I don't really remember much of the night, except that I had to get up and walk b/c of the surgery. The nurse was going to wheel me down to the NICU when I got up for my short walk, however I got faint, so I had to wait. Finally, at 5 am, I was able to see my little girl again.

When we had planned the homebirth, we were not to have visitors for a week, but since we ended up in the hospital, I ok'ed some visits. Big mistake; I was exhausted and hurting so badly and just wanted to be with my baby. Over the course of Monday, I could not move unless I had been heavily medicated and then I needed to sleep. I had to wait for the lactation consultant to get using a pump b/c they were not allowing Aili to feed in the NICU; she was on a glucose IV. Oh, and all the phone calls I received! Then dh's parents arrived and only 3 are allowed in the NICU at a time, so when all was said and done, it was 12 hours before I saw my baby again. Then I was down there for over 3 hours just holding her while my best friend visited and then my sisters came by. I also had to make sure to pump every 3 hours.

Throughout it all, dh and I knew that our baby was the healthy baby in the NICU, that she was there even though she would have been fine rooming with me without IV. We were just positive of this. So they were checking Aili's glucose every 4 hours and her poor little feet got so tender and bruised up. I would just get so upset b/c they would not even let me comfort nurse her. I could only try to talk to her as she cried.

This continued into Tuesday. Tuesday night, we were told that they would start trying to feed Aili the next day. I said that I wanted to be notified for all her feedings and asked if any feedings they provided could be syringe feedings. The nurse had no idea what I was talking about; she thought I meant feeding tube. Wednesday morning, I happened to be in the NICU when the doctors were doing rounds. They discussed her perfectly normal readings and then went on to tell me that my little girl was very sick. I thought, “No, she's not,” but said, “Well, I know that God is taking care of her.” I realized after they walked away, that I had just told about 5 doctors that God was looking after my “sick” baby, not them.

I was so nervous that Aili would have trouble breastfeeding, but she is so strong and nursed like a champ. I just kept saying to her, "You're so smart. You're so strong." The order for her feeding was that she was to be fed 1 oz every 3 hours. Of course, I was not producing that much milk yet, but I did not want her to be fed formula. I got so frustrated b/c I would go to the NICU, feed Aili, hang there as long as possible, go up to my room, pump an hour and a half after her feeding, try to rest for about an hour, and then go back for her next feeding. At each of my pumpings, I was producing between ½ and ¾ oz. Taken along with the breastfeeding, I was sure that Aili would have been eating at least 1 oz. every 3 hours. However, they needed to see a bottle filled with one ounce, so she did get some formula. I am so proud of myself that she had at the very most 1 oz. of formula during her time in the NICU, but I really tired myself out making that possible. I was crying b/c of her heel sticks and the formula and said to my dh, “When am I going to have tears of joy? This is supposed to be a happy time.”

My dh was very worried for my wellbeing along with Aili's, so he spoke with the NICU night supervisor about what I was doing and how upset I was about our baby being given formula. I just felt that I had promised this little girl so much and THAT was the ONE thing that I could deliver for her after everything else had gone so awry. The supervisor indicated that they had no idea how well Aili was feeding from the breast and how much I was producing. It turns out, the NICU supervisor that night is also a lactation consultant, so dh asked if she could come back for Aili's next feeding and see how we do. That woman is an angel. She stayed with us for 45 minutes while Aili fed, took a break, and then finished eating. She said that I couldn't keep feeding and then pumping an hour and half later, b/c I needed to heal too. She instructed me to feed and then go upstairs and pump what I can; Aili would not be given any additional formula even if I did not produce the full 1 oz. b/c we nursed very well. Of course, after that weight was off my shoulders, I was able to pump more than an oz. right after feeding. I was to be discharged at some time the next day and they wanted to keep Aili for another 2-3 days. She still had an IV in, and their policy is to wait at least 24 hours after the removal of IV fluids before discharge. She was due to have the IV removed later that morning.

In the morning (Thursday, September 13), we ran into the Aili's neonatologist. He said that he didn't do Aili's rounds today, but that she was probably to be discharged that day or the next. My heart jumped for a moment. As we rounded the corner, we found the person who had done Aili's rounds that morning. She said, “If you promise to get off those swollen feet, you can take your baby home this evening.” I started crying so hard and so did my dh. I hugged him and said, “Finally, tears of joy!” I don't know why they allowed Aili to come home earlier than protocol dictates. Maybe they realized as dh and I did all along that this really is a healthy baby or maybe they just saw how committed we were to taking care of our little girl. Regardless of their reasoning, Aili is so happy now and we are completely in love with her. Although last night, her second night home, she was awake and feeling miserable all night . . . I promise that I will not eat broccoli again!

Through all of this, I just felt strengthened, that I could do it b/c I had to be strong for her. Even though everything went crazy, I am ok. I will be much better when my stomach starts to feel normal again though. I am also so grateful to have such a wonderful, strong, and supportive partner. I think that we know each other so much better after all this.

Well, if anyone read this entire novel, thanks for your interest. You can see our little love in my signature below.
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#2 of 20 Old 09-15-2007, 07:13 PM
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Congratulations, I am so happy for you and your family! You handled this so well, be proud, you are truly a strong mama!
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#3 of 20 Old 09-15-2007, 07:42 PM
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Awwww Momma~

She is beautiful!
Even though it didn't turn out like you thought it would you did a wonderful job! You are a strong momma!!
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#4 of 20 Old 09-15-2007, 07:45 PM
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Oh I am so glad your liitle one is doing well. Congrads and big hugs.


Mama to 2 Boys...Nurse and IBCLC to the rest of the world!

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#5 of 20 Old 09-15-2007, 10:21 PM
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She is absolutely beautiful!!!!

And what a strong mama she has!! Congratualtions!!!!
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#6 of 20 Old 09-15-2007, 10:52 PM
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Copngratulations! Glad you are both home & healthy!
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#7 of 20 Old 09-15-2007, 10:54 PM
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Awwww she is just gorgeous. She looks just like you. Congratulations. I am sorry things went crazy but it sounds like you handled it all with grace. I am glad she is home with you. You were a strong advocate for her in the hospital, you should feel great about that.
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#8 of 20 Old 09-15-2007, 11:12 PM
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Oh mama, it must have been so disappointing to not get your homebirth, and then to deal with all that NICU crap on top of it. It does sound like you handled it with grace, but please give yourself time to grieve if that's what you need to do.

Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful daughter, and I'm glad things are going well .

Mama to M (7/05) and S (5/08) my surprise !!!
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#9 of 20 Old 09-15-2007, 11:42 PM
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Congrats! Shes beautiful!

Give more**Expect Less
There is no such thing as bad weather. Only bad clothing.
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#10 of 20 Old 09-16-2007, 03:29 AM
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First off, congratulations on your beautiful little girl!! It's been a long 9 months, but I so clearly remember when you got your BFP! Amazing to see the "beginning" and the "end!"

You have been such an awesome and strong mama to her already, in just the few short days of her life! It will take time to heal both physically and emotionally from the difficulties you've encountered in this last week - take care of yourself throughout the process. Aili will always be very proud to have such a wonderful mama!

Enjoy your babymoon!

HeatherB ~ mama to 3 wonderful boys:  reading.gif 03/02; modifiedartist.gif09/04; sleepytime.gif 09/07 - and Eliana, babygirl.gif 11/13/10!  
Founder of Houston Birth Alternatives: Be Informed, Encouraged, Supported birth support group and aspiring midwife.

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#11 of 20 Old 09-16-2007, 04:21 AM
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AIli is absolutely gorgeous!

You are such a strong woman and mama! I'm sorry things got off to such a rough start but glad that you are now home and enjoying your sweet girl.
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#12 of 20 Old 09-16-2007, 08:22 AM
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She is so sweet! Congratulations!

Unschooling Mommy of 3: Lilith (14), Panda (6), and Fox (4)
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#13 of 20 Old 09-16-2007, 10:51 AM
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Oh mama!!

Congrats on your sweet little girl and many blessings for a great recovery!

I am sorry the birth didn't go as planned and I second what a PP said about greiving for the birth that didn't happen the way you wanted it to.....I wish someone had given me that advice 3.5 years ago.....when my planned homebirth didn't go as planned and we ended up with the Dystocia in the hospital and NICU involved.....

My birth this time allowed me to heal from my disappointment and fears from way back then.......and to realize that sometimes it's just out of my hands...

I am sooo happy she got to go home with you!!!!!!!!

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#14 of 20 Old 09-16-2007, 04:04 PM
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What a beautiful little girl! Thanks for sharing your story!

Tis the season, for hot apple cider!
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#15 of 20 Old 09-16-2007, 05:20 PM
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congratulations! what a beautiful girl!
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#16 of 20 Old 09-17-2007, 11:18 AM
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Thank you for sharing her birth story.. I'm sorry it didn't go as planned, but the miracle of life is in your arms at home today.. And that is a beautiful thing...

Please be gentle on yourself and enjoy your precious daughter.
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#17 of 20 Old 09-17-2007, 11:38 AM
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s mama and congratulations! Aili is beautiful!

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#18 of 20 Old 09-19-2007, 03:44 PM
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Congratulations! That's a great story!
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#19 of 20 Old 09-21-2007, 10:16 AM
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Congratulations she is so beautiful!:
Seeing her early pics brought back the painful memories of seeing my second daughter in that same isolet with the IVs and the bruised heals and her little head stuck under an oxigen hood that looked like a clear hat-box
I feel for ya moma! It's so hard to see our babies that way and not be able to comfort them the way we know they need
Sorry her first days were so needlessly painful (for her and you )
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#20 of 20 Old 09-21-2007, 07:37 PM
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Congratulations on your beautiful girl. You are such a strong mama for getting through this experience with such clarity and conviction to breastfeed her. Way to go, mama! Hope your healing goes fast.
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