I popped in here a couple of weeks ago to say hello and I've been meaning to post an abbreviated birth story ever since, but have been lacking in time. I can't read my birth story that I wrote after Liam was born--it's too hard.
I am going to post, and then go back and read a little so forgive me for not responding to posts yet!
My son was due May 17, 2003. Except for feeling a little sick at the end of pregnancy (I had the beginnings of pneumonia), everything had gone great. I was seeing a group of midwives at a birth center and was confident that I would have my baby there, with no pain medication and as few interventions as possible. The midwives were all very supportive, and the birth center had only an 11% hospital transfer rate. The cesarean section rate was only 4%. I felt there was no way I'd be in that minority.
DH and I took Bradley classes, I followed the Brewer diet and I read lots of books about natural childbirth and how to achieve it. I was scared, but also excited, to meet our son. I was excited to breastfeed him immediately, excited to hold him right after he was born. I was excited to have him in a setting that would allow me to eat, drink, move about, and labor in the tub. In fact, I was hoping to have a waterbirth, assuming I was comfortable in the tub.
On May 8, in the early afternoon, I started to feel very crampy. It started out kind of constant, but quickly progressed to the point where they were obviously contractions. They weren't very strong yet, and were pretty far apart, so I wasn't concerned. I took one of our dogs for a walk to try to get things moving. All day, I had bloody show, as well.
That evening, the contractions were starting to come faster and harder, but they were tolerable. I called my MW, and she said to call back when they became strong enough that I had to stop what I was doing to get through them.
I didn't sleep very well that night, and when I awoke Friday morning the contractions were MUCH harder and closer together. I called my midwife again--they were starting to get really rough. IIRC, they were about 45 seconds long, too. She asked if I wanted to come in to be checked, and I agreed; if I wasn't far along, I would just go home. We went to the birth center, she checked me, and I was at 1 cm.
I was devastated. We went home. I spent the entire day laboring and getting through contrax as best I could. During the late afternoon, I spoke to my MIL on the phone. She timed the contrax for me. They were a full minute long, and 2-2.5 minutes apart. They hurt. Badly. I called my MW again, and she said we should come back in.
I was 2 cm dilated. Again, devastated. How much worse were the contrax going to get before they started working? They were coming fast, lasting a long time, and I couldn't do anything during the contrax except breathe and wait for it to be over. The baby wasn't dropping, and was still very high up. My MW sent me home, saying this was prodromal labor, and that I should have a glass of wine and take a bath. She was pretty confident that the contrax would stop. DH and I stopped at Whole Foods on the way home, and I remember squatting in the aisles to get through my contractions.
We got home, and I was absolutely miserable. I never dreamed labor would hurt so much. This was awful. I cried, screamed, everything. I was angry at myself--I thought I would be able to handle the pain better. Well, the contrax did not stop. They got stronger and stronger. We went back to the birth center at 9 or 10 pm; I was checked again and was at 2.5/3cm. Very slow progression, and the baby was still very high.
They admitted me, gave me a hep lock since I was GBS+ and took my temperature. I was running a fever. Great! So, they pumped some fluids into me. My MW came in and listened to the baby's hr w/the doppler, and lo and behold--she thinks it's decelerating during contrax. Oh, no...So, yes, she recommends that I transfer to the hospital so they can put me on the EFM to make sure baby is ok.
My entire birth plan was beginning to go down the tubes.
My MW accompanied us to the hospital, which was wonderful of her. I was checked in (all while having incredibly intense contractions very close together). It was about 11pm. The nurse asked if I would be wanting an epidural, and I said no, I would not. However, I did ask for some pain relief. I got some fentanyl in an IV and tried to rest.
I had the same type of contrax all night; they absolutely did not let up. They just got worse and worse, stronger and stronger. I was checked again in the morning, and was at *almost* 4 cm. I had progressed maybe a centimeter in ten hours. This seemed like active labor, but I just wasn't progressing. Something was wrong.
When my doctor got there, he checked me, said I was at 3.5. At that point, I did what I never thought I would--asked for an epidural. I had been in active labor for well over 24 hours and I couldn't rest. In retrospect, I'm glad I got it. I simply couldn't go on anymore. At noon, I talked to the doctor, and asked for pitocin. Maybe the baby needed some help. He agreed, administered it, and we waited. I had a pit drip for three hours.
At about three pm, my doctor came back, checked me, and I had progressed barely half a centimeter. He broke my waters, and there was meconium in the fluid. he wasn't worried, but since I had been in labor so long, didn't like it.
He suggested that maybe we should do a cesarean. I cried.
At that point, I'd been in labor for over 50 hours. At least 35 of those hours, I had had intense contractions very close together. I don't know what else anyone could do to get the baby out. He simply would not drop.
So, at 4:13 pm on May 10, 2003, my doctor made a low horizontal incision and removed my son from my uterus. I was shaking with fear, disappointment and relief. But the worst was still to come. When he was born, he cried, but it was a weak cry. It didn't sound right.
The nurses took him over to the warming table and I heard murmurs of "he's not pinking up," "he isn't breathing well." I panicked, of course. They rushed him to the NICU (dh went with them) while I was taken to recovery. A couple hours later, I was wheeled down to see my son, intubated, lying in the NICU.
No one could tell us if he was going to die.
At about 11 pm, the doctor assigned to him came to my room. He explained that Liam had aspirated meconium in utero, and had developed a pneumothorax, which is a small hole in the lung. They were going to monitor it overnight. It could close on its own, but if it did not, they would have to do surgery.
I was in shock. I still can't express how much everything hurt when I had the c/b, but I told myself at least he would be healthy. But--he wasn't. It was a nightmare.
The next morning, though, we found out that the hole got smaller overnight and was closing up. Liam would not need surgery. YEAH! He was going to be OK! The next few days, I trekked down to the NICU, to work on breastfeeding, to hold him (which i did not get to do until two days after his birth), to tell him how we loved him. However, I was still a wrack. Leaving the hospital without him, I felt empty. I should have been bringing my baby home with me, but he wasn't ready to leave.
He was discharged just two days later, though, for a total of five days in the NICU. Taking him home was the happiest day of my life. Somehow, we never had trouble nursing--he was a pro from the get go and it's been wonderful.
Still, every day, I wonder why everything happened the way it did. Was he in the wrong position? Why couldn't he engage? I don't know who could give me these answers, or where to look. In my heart, I do not believe my pelvis was too small to fit his head. I know how babies' heads mold, how the pelvis separates to accomodate the baby. I picked up a copy of Silent Knife the other day and had to put it down after just a minute of reading. I guess I just wasn't ready.
So, that's my story. It turned out really long! If anyone reads it...Thanks. It felt really good, actually, to get that out--much better than I thought it would.
Hope everyone is doing well, and that we can help each other get through any grieving we may be doing about cesarean births.