Thursday, February 21, 2008

labor + delivery

here's the story of jackson's birth. you know, typing it all out brings tears to my eyes, not becaue of the pain, though, because i can't for the life of me remember the pain. thank goodness for that... no wonder people still have babies. all i can remember is the joy of our baby boy coming into this world, our perfect little creation...

so, after being sent home, pete and i were super frustrated -- to say the least! i continued to have contractions - about 12 minutes apart, not 6, but much more intense for the next 24 hours. i noticed some changes in my body again and after testing with some litmus paper, we realized i was leaking amniotic fluid. my bag of waters hadn't 'burst', so it wasn't as noticeable. we called kaiser again, and they suggested we come in. we arrived around 10 am and they determined my bag was leaking and therefore i was admitted. i was still only 1 cm dilated, as i had been for years (it seemed), and my labor wasn't progessing as it should. since there was a leak, the chances of the baby and i getting an infection were high, so medically they like to get the baby out = inducing labor. i began receiving pitocin to help my body along. after not sleeping for two nights and after the months of planning on having as natural a childbirth as possible, i was not happy. the only light was that we were on our way to meeting our baby.

anyway, pitocin is brutal! after about 6 hours the contractions were excruciating! pete went to get some coffee and mom came in the coach me through the contractions. during this time, my water burst completely. that was scary, i must say. i couldn't see the fluid and didn't know what was going on. my nurse, belinda, and my mom really helped calm me. but after that, i was done. i asked for an epidural. the doctor had offered one right after they admitted me because she knew the pitocin would be rough, but i refused. i thought i could make it. no way, jose. pete came back in and we talked about the decision i made (all split-second, so it was good he was there to talk it out with me). we decided after my exhaustion and the strength and frequency of the contractions, it was a go.

no one is allowed in the room for the epidural, so he and mom were asked to leave. the anesthesiologist came in, belinda held my hand and they were in! see you have to sit up for the injection, and i guess baby didn't like that much (esp. coupled with the intense contractions) because it's heartrate dropped suddenly and dramatically. a team of nurses + the doctor flew into the room, flipped me on my hands and knees, reached in to jar the baby and gave me a shot to stop the contractions. heartrate back up, phew. pete was still out of the room, so he had a scary moment seeing all of them run in to his wife and unborn child. i feel so sorry he had to watch all of this pain -- he was so great to me, i never knew how scared or stressed he was, i am so thankful to have such a supportive, loving husband.

i was getting quite sick of all these unexpected events. and frustrated. tired. emotional. thank god for pete, my mom, and belinda. i really tried to quit several times. all of this hurt, and bad! i couldn't wait for the epidural to kick in! finally the contractions didn't hurt, amazing, but i was shaking all over. my blood pressure and oxygen levels kept dropping so they measured my b.p. every 15 minutes, and i wasn't to take off the oxygen mask. baby's heartrate fell a couple more times, each time aggravated by me moving or the nurses having to check me. we figured out my left side was the best side and my hands and knees also allowed for a healthy rate. that was hard to do with a numb lower body, though, so left was best. pete and i watched tv and i tried to rest up for the big event.

my dad went home for a quick nap, my mom came back right away, and pete was constantly by my side. he monitored all of the readings = my oxygen levels, heartrate, and blood pressure, as well as contractions and baby's heartrate. i was back on the pitocin, and they kept kicking it up a notch to get things moving. my temperature spiked, a sign that my body was fighting an infection, so they started me on two types of antibiotics. then, as the nurse was trying to flip baby around (it was face-up) more fluid gushed out. this fluid showed that baby had a bowel movement in utero, probably due to the stress of labor. this up'd the ante on getting baby out asap. meconium + mother infection = chance of very sick baby. i was dilated to 8 cm, so dad came back to the hospital and we started getting anxious - baby green bean should be here soon!

at about 1am, i felt the need to push. no pushing was allowed, though. that is the hardest thing in the world!! my epidural was wearing off and we were too close to the end to get a booster, so i had to go it alone with all the pain labor brings. that's ok, couldn't be too long, i told myself. at 2am, we were allowed to push. the nurse helped coach me, while pete held my hand, leg, head, whatever he could to support me in the process. baby still didn't like me on my back, so i pushed on my left side and on my hands and knees. didn't really know these were options, and it was soooo hard to push this way! the doctor came in about an hour later to check on me and the baby and things looked ok. half an hour later, no baby, things starting not to look ok. i wasn't making progress getting the baby's head past a certain point. they explained that if i wasn't able to get it there in the next few pushes, they would perform a c-section. after all we had been through, pete and i said, go ahead, get out our baby! after a little discussion, the doctor gave me 15 more minutes of pushing, then we'd have to decide. i made enough progress to open up another option = the vacuum. enter the standard risks speech. also enter the pediatric team (they had to make sure he didn't get meconium in his lungs), the c-section team of nurses with the table, and the doctor with his regular vacuum team. kaiser will try to vacuum out your baby three times. if the baby doesn't come out, c-section it is. obviously we were going to go for the three tries. i had three things on my mind. the first, of course, the most important = healthy baby. two = i was hungry. after a c-section, you are very limited on food, like, just liquids for a day or something crazy like that. three = i was not down with the recovery involved with a c-section. yeah, if i had to, okay. if we planned it that way and i hadn't been through all these hours of pain and pushing, sure. but after everything we went through, i was going to walk out of there! so back to pusing. push one, no dice. in fact, i didn't even know it was one of our three chances. i may have been able to muster up enough umph to get the baby out. push two (pete yelling the count to 10), push two (you can do it, push, you've got it shouted from the team of onlookers), push two (doctor and nurse encouragements)! success! you got it! there's his head! pete is crying, out he comes, 'it's a boy!' i hear pete shout. he's crying, i'm in shock (i couldn't belive we did it!), doctor shouts, 'it's a boy!'. then i hear him crying, yippee! next the a-ok from the pediactric team. apgar = 9. a healthy baby boy, jackson steward green!

** I forgot to mention that Jackson was 'sunny-side up', which affected all the natural processes. I didn't drop, dilate, or birth normally because he didn't engage in the correct area to send all those signals to the rest of my body. I've seen a few Baby Storys and heard about other babies in this position, and most went to c-section. We are so lucky our team of docotrs worked so hard to get Jack out and that he was extemely healthy when born. I am so thankful.


devon lorraine ... said...

wow! i tried not to get teary, but you got me right before the end on the second vacuum!

i can't imagine the strength it takes for childbirth! you're a brave mama!

Michelle said...

Yikes! I sure am glad I didn't hear your saga before I went into labor. We have to get together for lunch so we can compare stories!

trish said...

that is an amazing story, i'm not sure if i could be that brave! jackson is absolutely precious.

jen said...

i'm commenting to have this on record. wow, tears are streaming down my face right now. our amazing 2year old is sleeping and it's mother's day. i can't believe we did this. so thankful, so happy.