Thursday, August 28, 2008

Asa's Birth Story

Over at Life As Mom, FishMama had a baby. She encouraged us to post our birth stories. And since I LOVE birth stories, I am going to.

Here is Asa's....beware, it is LONG.

I had a great pregnancy, with a very short period of morning sickness and extreme tiredness. I began getting massages and going to the chiropractor and I really think that helped so much with aches and pains. Many of my friends who had planned homebirths were having hospital births instead, and it caused me some worry. I even remember mentioning my fears to some friends. They said it could possibly be God's way of preparing me or it could just be my fear..guess it wasn't just fear.

About 6-7 months along my blood pressure started creeping up. Protein was fine and I didn't seem to be having any other problems. In hindsight I could feel the difference with my blood pressure...I would be very tired and short of breath. I thought maybe it was low iron. At the end of November my bp was so high that Jeff put me on bedrest. For about 4 weeks I didn't do much of anything. Any activity sent it skyrocketing, so he just wanted me laying on the couch. The church sent food to help out.

As my bp got higher, I started to swell a little bit. Protein was still okay for a while. One evening we checked it and it was +2, the highest the test strips registered. Looking back on pictures, my face was so swollen. I wasn't using the bathroom as much as I should have been bc I was holding all the water inside and swelling with it. We prayed but Jeff really wanted me to go to the hospital. While I felt I was fine, I agreed for him. Maybe I thought they wouldnt make me stay.

They did. We ended up with a really nice doctor, well recommended around here. Open to whatever parents want. They checked my urine and blood pressure and recommended a csection. I refused. She wanted to induce me immediately but I needed some time to process and get ready. I thought about Millicent not knowing where I was in the morning. I had also hoped I would go into labor on my own. I DID NOT want to be induced. We told her we had planned a homebirth and wanted to be as natural as possible. Jeff wanted to catch the baby, we didnt want any suctioning, we wanted to let the cord stop pulsing before cutting. She agreed to all our requests, in fact she told us we wouldn't even have to admit the baby. So we agreed to let her induce.

Early the next morning we came in. I was miserable. I couldn't stop crying. Jeff prayed many times for us and for me. But I just wanted to have my baby at home the way I had planned. If Jeff had not made me go in, I still would have waited to go into labor on my own.

They started the pitocen on the lowest dose, as agreed upon, and slowly increased it every 30 minutes. I didn't know if I could handle the induction the same way I can handle labor, so I told her my desire was for a med-free birth (natural had gone out the window) but that I reserved the right to ask for an epidural. It would have to be pretty bad though. I did without it.

The pain never got terribly bad, in fact it wasnt even as bad as Millicent's birth. I slowly went into labor, just as if I was laboring on my own. They left me alone for most of the day, only coming in to check my blood pressure and increase the pitocen, every 30 minutes to an hour. My nurse was so sweet and helpful and never complained when I unhooked from the monitors to get up. The doctor had told me I could get in the bath when needed and walk around, but they didn't want me doing any of that once I was there. I did have to endure 2 pelvic exams. One the night before, even though Jeff had already checked and I was at 3. And one a few hours after the pitocen was started. I would not let her do any more after that. When we reminded the doctor the next day what we wanted and to be as hands off as possible, she said she is so used to doing things that she might accidentally cut the cord and suction. (Of course, now that we were there, she was changing her position.) Missy said she would be there too and would try to remind her. After that, every time the doctor came in she tried to get me let her break my water. I would not let her. What happened to hands off???? That drove me nuts! (But it wasn't like I said, YOU ARENT DOING THAT. No, I'm too timid for that, I just told her each time that I didn't think I needed that, or that I didn't think I could handle the pain if she did it, or maybe if labor doesn't pick up.)

I was in the bed for a long time watching TV and playing scrabble with Jeff, Ashlea, Hal and Linda. Carol had come up with her kids and decided to stay until the baby came. I was grateful bc Millicent didn't really like having me in the bed. She kept trying to take the IV out and saying OFF. She wanted me to leave. Carol and her kids kept her entertained in the waiting area. Linda and Hal went for lunch but Jeff didn't want me to get anything since hospital policy is not to eat. At home I would have had whatever they were having, but I got a shake instead.

As the pitocen increased and my contractions picked up my bp started getting REALLY high. So I laid on my left side a lot. It did help to lower it, but it wasn't that comfortable for me. Later Missy (the nurse) let me sit up and be a little more comfortable. At one point the pain in my back was just too much so I had to unhook and get in the bathtub. It was the best pain killer. I felt nothing. In fact, I thought I may have slowed down my labor by getting in too soon and that the contractions had stopped. But no, as soon as I got out they picked right back up. I really wanted to stay in the water but I knew I couldn't. I rocked in the rocker until she came in and made me get back in the bed. I got in the bath again later, and I also did some squats and rocked some more, but mostly I was in the bed.

As labor got to be a little more work, everyone had gone to the waiting room. We dimmed the lights and turned up the air. (Later Jeff told me it was like a freezer in there, but it felt great to me, until I had the baby and then I was freezing.) Jeff and Ashlea talked quietly. Ashlea stayed with me almost to the end. Jeff prayed uring the contractions. I love that. We make such a good team when I'm in labor. When I knew for sure that I was in transition, the contractions were long and harder and I wasn't having much of a break in between, I told Ashlea to tell everyone the baby was almost here, that I was in transition. They later told me they already knew, but I wasn't going to say it until I was sure. Jeff prayed through every contraction (at the end) but the only prayer I remember was him thanking God that after labor the pains are forgotten. I remember asking him if I could get in the water, as the contractions were getting more painful and I knew that would relieve it. He declined. He later told me he was afraid they would hear the water running and check on me, and either make me get out or push him out of the way as they delivered the baby. Glad for that!

I labored quietly and peacefully for a while longer until Missy came in. She needed to do all the checks. The bp wasn't a big deal and was still okay. But she couldn't get a reading on the baby, so she had to lay me down. That was excrutiating and almost had me in tears. She had me down for 2 contractions and I told her I couldn't do it anymore. She raised me up and waited patiently through the contractions. The rest period was maybe 30 seconds but she some how managed to get a reading and was able to leave me. My water broke while she was standing there, but I didn't say a word. She got off at 7 and it was after 7. She was waiting through with me since I wanted this done differently. Jeff went to follow her out and let her know she didnt have to stay, but I didn't know where he was going so I franticly called him back. Once she was out of the room I told Jeff my water broke.

Within minutes I felt the urge to push. Jeff was reminding me to breath and relax, as I had asked him to do. I had managed to stay relaxed through every bit of it including transition. At this point I wanted to squat...I wanted to get off the bed. I had the IV still hooked up and Jeff couldn't get it moved around and he was afraid I was going to have the baby before he could get it moved. So I stayed on the bed. After 2 contractions that were pushy I finally said between pushing, that I needed to push. I also asked him to remind me to push slow so he was also doing that. As the baby crowned and I could feel the burn I started panting like a dog. That makes me laugh now. Once I got through the burn I gave a good push, but not terribly hard and he came out in one contraction. I quickly pushed out the rest of his body. The rest of my water came gushing out. Jeff later told me that it was like a damn being lifted, water whooshed out and barely missed getting him splashed. The cord was around the babies neck, but Jeff didn't worry a bit. (All I could see was hands and legs flailing.) He unwrapped the cord and handed the baby to me. Then I saw I had a boy. Our first boy!!! Asa started crying as soon as Jeff handed him to me. I told Jeff we had a boy, but he already knew. We were so excited to have a boy! It was unbelievable. Meanwhile the bed was COVERED in water. My legs, were literally swimming in water, it was so thick.

Missy heard him cry and said we cheated. She left us alone and Jeff went to got all the girls. Linda came in and had tears in her eyes. When the doctor came she had to look at Asa and make sure things were normal. (Though we didn't let her hold him.) The cord had stopped pulsing and she was ready for me to expel the placenta. She did let us do it our way, even though I could tell she had her own plans. I had actually asked everyone to leave the room, so I could have privacy, but she would not leave. They still wouldn't let me get off the pitocen. Millicent (whose first words to her brother were “OOEEY” bc he was covered in goop) didnt want to touch Asa and therefore didn't want to cut the cord. So we let Kori. The doctor commented, while Kori was cutting, that if she had known the little ones were going to do it she wouldn't have let us.

They later told us that lots of people come in with their long lists of the they way they want their birth to go (the nurse from the night before had told us to make a list, so we did) and as soon as it gets painful they want an epidural....something like 90% of the women delivering there get one. So we were definitely an anomoly at that hopsital and with that doctor. In fact, I'm not sure Missy had ever seen anyone labor so peacefully. She had NO idea I was in transition.

I went to take a bath. While I was getting clean, she was worried about his breathing. He was making a weird sound that to her sounded like he wasnt getting enough oxygen, so she checked it on his finger. (His nail beds and part of his face were blue....Jeff researched it and found that was normal.) He was fine so she left us alone. No one else touched him, other than to help with the cord cutting (she put a hosptal clamp on it). And we were left alone to enjoy our baby.

Four hours later we got to go home. The nurse checking us out was very angry and Jeff overheard her complaining about the doctor letting us go.

Asa didn't nurse for 2 days, he slept non stop. He was all red and got even redder when he cried. He had a terrible time latching on and would fall asleep within minutes of nursing. We later realized he was just too early. He wasn't ready to be here yet.

All in all, my hospital birth wanst as terrible as I had anticipated. It certainly could have been better but certainly LOTS worse. Really I wish I would have talked Jeff into letting me wait a few days to go to the hospital, in hopes of getting my protein down. Obviously I had preeclampsia, so I don't know if that would have worked anyway. There was some calcification on the placenta, but no damage to my liver or anything else. Next time I will eat better and take better care of myself. I take responsibility for allowing myself to get so out of shape and eating terribly. I'm already planning a better pregnancy and birth.

Asa is the cutest little thing, but still is having a hard time adjusting to the world. He mostly cries. All things point to him being born early, which is a chance you take when you induce. Plus we weren't positive of our dates, within about a 2 week window. We had to get out the SNS because he just isn't efficient at getting the milk out. Now we are in week 5 of his life and he's finally starting to perk up.


JessieLeigh said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story! I can imagine it was extremely frustrating to feel that your wishes were not being completely heard/followed. I, too, would have had a difficult time being assertive about it.

So happy to hear that you were able to bring your healthy son home so soon, though, and praying that all goes smoothly for you in the future!

Laura said...

I have something for you over on my blog!!

Kara said...

Michelle, I had never read this!! It was amazing to read. I love everything about childbirth, except I've never done it. :(
I do have one question for you... email me or message me on fb and I'll ask you there.
Love you bunches!!!!