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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With some drama of course... and yes, it's a Megillah... hope your eyes don't glaze over...

Tuesday, March 24th. 40 weeks and 5 days.

Until now it seems all I've been getting is a run-around. I feel abandoned by my OB who should have told me I need to go for non-stress tests (NST), blood pressure and urine checks every 3 days. Instead he basically leaves me hanging. The nurses I've seen for the most part also seem unconcerned about my high blood pressure. (FYI: here in Israel, regular hospital births are attended to by midwives. OBs are only for pre-natal visits)

So it's been back and forth (Thursday, March 19th (my due date) and Sunday, March 22nd) between the local clinic where my family doctor seems to think the blood pressure is a concern and the hospital's labor and delivery. Did I mention the toddler at home who has never been left with a babysitter he's not blood-related to?

After Sunday's run around between the hospital and the clinic in Bnei Brak and then back to the hospital, only to be sent home again, I made an appointment to see the nurses at the local clinic for the next time I needed monitoring. I had an appointment already scheduled with the OB for 10:40 on Wednesday so the nurse's appointment was for Tuesday morning. I figured worse comes to worse the nurse will tell me they can't do it locally and I need to be monitored at the Bnei Brak clinic. I wasn't thrilled with a Tuesday appointment because until now the Tuesday nurses were the incompetent ones. But the only Wednesday appointment was in the late afternoon, after the OB.

I lucked out however and saw one of the good nurses, who actually knows what she's doing. She took my blood pressure and it was REALLY high and no amount of sitting back and relaxing would bring it down to an acceptable level. The urine came back, positive with protein. She didn't even bother to hook me up to the fetal monitor. She simply went to the family doctor on call (who happens to be my family doctor) and got me the paperwork to head to L&D at the hospital.

This time, I took my small backpack. I told Zach (hubby) on Sunday the reason we were being sent home again was because we'd schlepped the huge hospital bag with us and Murphy's Law being what it is, the time I have my regular backpack is when I'll be admitted. I put the camera, my medications and a spare pair of undies into my bag and off I went, yet again, to L&D. Suri (my almost 17 year old daughter) was home with Netanel (the almost 22 month old toddler).

My blood pressure was back to normal when checked at the hospital but there was still protein in the urine. I was having fairly regular contractions according to the monitor and when checked by the doctor on call I was back to being about 1 cm dilated and this time about 50% effaced.

This doctor, unlike the one I saw on Sunday, felt we should try for an induction after all. She said we'd go slow, they would give me a low-dosage suppository and we'd see how things go. So I said I'd be willing to try. I then called Zach (who was 10 minutes away at work) and told him they were finally going to admit me, induce me and we were finally going to have this baby. I also called my aunt Reena to let her know what was going on.

Once Zach got to the hospital, we went up to the high risk ward for monitoring (again). It was about 6 p.m. by now and I got to eat 'dinner'. Zach had his laptop with him and he'd put some TV shows on it for us to watch so that helped pass the time while we waited for things to start. The monitoring finally started at about 8 p.m.

Oh, and let's not forget the planned power outage in the hospital due to construction... from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. All non-essential outlets and whatnot were offline. Like... bathroom lights.

Can I say I really hate monitors... for one thing, you can't move. And for another, they don't always work. But for now it was lay either sort of on my right side or on my back. For 2 hours. It showed steady contractions, but nothing special. It showed the baby's heart rate was consistent and he was holding up fine during the contractions. So now it's time to head down to L&D for them to kick things up a notch.

I asked Zach if he wanted my aunt to be with us. This was Zach's first natural birth. He gets squeamish around needles and blood. Then there's the whole language thing - while all the various nurses, the midwife and the doctors all spoke English, it helps to have someone fluent in Hebrew. Also, my aunt has done the doula thing before with her daughters and a cousin of mine and I knew she wouldn't let us get forgotten by the staff if we needed attention. He said to make the call so I did just before they moved us down to L&D.

We (well, really, me) got set up in one of the rooms and were introduced to our midwife, Iris. They hooked me up to a pitocin drip and sort of hooked me up to a saline drip (it's 10 p.m by now. I've barely eaten, haven't had much in the way of hydration and I've spent several hours simply laying still on my side which is not as comfy as it sounds when you're having contractions in your hips). They started a slow drip on the pitocin.... and never started the saline (which I think was an oversight).

My aunt came at 11 and the contractions were pretty steady, but bearable. Of course if I could have MOVED, I would have been much better off. The baby was moving at various times and at one point I felt a shift and that was when the monitor stopped picking up the contractions and all the contractions were in my hips and pelvis. We tried to get a nurse or the midwife in to fix things, but the midwife was busy with another birth and it took them a good while to get anyone in to see me... At this point I also asked them if perhaps the saline IV should be started. The pitocin was turned off, the saline was started, the monitor adjusted and I labored on. Contractions were still bearable but again, if I could have sat up or something, it would have been MUCH better.

And now we have a deceleration in the baby's heartbeat. When it started, I had Zach (and my aunt) get someone in ASAP - told them to tell whoever was in the hallway that the baby's heart rate was dropping. So someone came in right away and we watched and waited and they had me shift again to the side and the heart rate went up. About 40 minutes later, we had another deceleration.

By now it's about 1 a.m. Have I mentioned I haven't been examined by the midwife or a doctor to see if the pitocin and contractions actually did anything?

After the second deceleration the midwife and an OB show up. The doctor examines me and says I'm still pretty much at 1 cm dilated... not what I want to hear. As he straightens up, I feel a trickle of liquid... he looks at me and I look at him and I say "I think my water just broke"... he says "I don't think so, are you sure?" I nodded and breathe through a contraction and there's more liquid... the midwife tells me to cough and there's even more liquid.

Sure enough, my water broke.

Ok, so maybe now things will get moving. They convince me to give it a little bit more time to try and have a natural delivery, saying the decelerations will be monitored (I remembered asking the doctor how many decelerations will be 'acceptable' before we go for a c-section. He wisely didn't answer my sarcasm).

At 2 a.m the contractions have gotten closer together and since my water broke, they're more painful... and I still can't move much because of the monitors. I'm breathing through them when suddenly my chest starts to hurt, my lower back goes into a spasm and I can't catch my breath. I tell Zach to get someone quickly and pretty soon there's at least 2 doctors, the midwife and a couple nurses in. I'm given an oxygen mask, they put a monitor on my finger and I'm told to simply breathe through this mini meltdown of mine.

It takes about 10 minutes for me to calm down enough for the pressure in my chest to ease and the spasms in my legs to stop and by this point, I consider myself done. I want a c-section or at the very least an epidural while being monitored. The junior OB decides to see how far dilated I am and she tells the lead OB that I'm about 2.5 cm now. For some reason he doesn't believe her and she holds up her hand, with 2 fingers and says "she's open this much, that's about 2.5 cm"... so I'm far enough along that I can now have internal monitors placed for more accurate readings (one measures uterine pressure during contractions and the other is attached to the baby's scalp to monitor heart rate) and then I can get my epidural.

Except nothing happens right away for course. Twenty minutes of laboring with bad monitoring and no pain meds and leaking water go by before the midwife and an anesthesiologist show up. First the uterine pressure monitor is put in and then I'm told to sit up so the anesthesiologist can insert the epidural catheter. The only good thing about that is I'm finally able to move more than a few inches. I've never been happier to be able to sit.

The way one sits to get a catheter inserted into the small of your back is you sit across the width of the bed, with the anesthesiologist at your back. You curve your back and spine in a 'C', sit with your head down towards your chest and your shoulders dropped. And you can't move a muscle.

Yeah.. well, I'm now having contractions every 2.5 minutes (my aunt was timing them) and I'm doing pretty good, breathing through the pain.

It took the anesthesiologist 30 minutes and over a dozen stabs... I mean tries... to get the catheter into my back. The midwife then helped me lay back down (my right leg was asleep by this point) to she could get the fetal scalp monitor inserted when... there's this HUGE gush of water and I need to PUSH.

I'm trying like crazy to NOT push because the midwife needs to first check and see how far dilated I am (remember, only about an hour and change has passed since I was last checked and I was only 2.5 cm dilated!) and they get the bed rearranged into a birthing bed and my aunt rejoins me. The midwife says I'm now 8 cm dilated and I have to breathe through the need to push. I hear her call for a pediatrician to come right away. So I'm breathing and chanting "I AM breathing..." and what seems like only a few minutes later, I can push...

And Elchanan Nissim was delivered at 4:05 a.m Wednesday morning. Except he didn't make a sound and when they put him on my chest he wasn't moving and he was purplish-bluish-only a tiny bit pinkish and completely covered in blood...

And I start praying. And so does my aunt and poor Zach is on the other side of the curtain and has no idea what is going on, other than the fact that he SHOULD be hearing a baby cry and doesn't. The cord was cut and the baby taken over to the warming station and there were a bunch of people around him, suctioning and whatever else they do... and finally a pitiful cry and then a stronger one and I can finally breathe.

The OB then delivers the placenta, except it's not whole and because of a risk of serious complications, he needs to make sure all the pieces are out. I won't go into details, but it involved his entire hand inside my uterus 5 times. I think that was more agonizing than delivering a baby. I was begging him to stop after the third time.

Because of the fast delivery, there was some tearing, so I had to wait to be stitched up (no painkillers or numbing spray for that either), finally cleaned up and then parked in a room for a couple of hours before being taken up to the maternity ward. At 6 a.m the electricity came back online completely.

So... I got my VBAC after all. And thank God we're both doing fine.

Mandatory photos:

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What a handsome little guy!! And congrats on your VBAC!!!

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He's a cutie.

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What a cutie!! and congratulations! you went thru quite an ordeal, but he is a doll! Congrats on your VBAC! must have been a busy night on the ward.
On the other hand, doesn't sound like they interfered with you too much. Did they ever figure out why the placenta came out incomplete? partial abruption, maybe? (that would explain the blood on the baby when he came out...and I see in his pic he has a "skid mark" on his forehead from coming down the chute so fast...he is a real cutie though...
congrats again! Was your husband on the other side of the curtain when he was born? Are husbands allowed to see thier wives have the babies there? Just curious...

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Originally Posted by cathicog View Post
Was your husband on the other side of the curtain when he was born? Are husbands allowed to see thier wives have the babies there? Just curious...
He was on the other side partly because he and my aunt were sent out when they inserted the epidural and partly due to religious modesty issues. And then when things started getting hairy, there just wasn't any place for him to be without being in the way.

In Orthodox Judaism, a man isn't supposed to/allowed to look at a woman's vagina. What often happens during natural delivery is the husband will stand at his wife's head, facing her, so his back is towards her spread legs and therefore he can't see anything. The ultra-Orthodox follow anything from the man needs to be behind a curtain or screen, he has to wait in the hallway and there's even an extreme opinion where the man can't even be in the building!
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