Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Moving forward and looking back

I'm not sure how much I've posted about Wyatt's birth story, but lately I have been trying to make as much sense of it as possible, in an attempt to have a different experience this time around. Of course I am thrilled with the outcome, who would complain about a healthy baby? But I found the induction experience to be somewhat traumatizing, especially when I give thought to the spiral effect my choice to be induced caused.

When I found out I was pregnant March 15, 2010, my due date of November 15th seemed so far off I didn't know what to do with myself at first. 9 months seemed like such a long time, and all I wanted was that baby in my arms. A couple weeks later that due date got moved back to November 28th, and I thought for sure he would be here by then, especially with my pre-term labor scare back in October... but no. November 28th came and went without incident and December 8th I gladly walked into the hospital to be induced.

all of my pretty bracelets... I think I had one more by the end

I was told by my doctor right away that because my cervix was nowhere near ready for birth, the induction could take several days (sign number 1). I signed my life away without giving it much thought, got my IV and had the Cervadil inserted. I completely trusted my doctor and her decisions, she was much more qualified than I was, after all. I was told I could leave the hospital but to call back every 4 hours to give them an update on my contractions. Sounds fair enough.

being monitored on day one after Cervadil

Lance and I made the decision not to drive all the way home, but instead to go to his grandparents house where everyone was waiting on me to have the baby. We walked around the house stopping for contractions that were getting progressively worse, Lance used a massager to help with the pain in my lower back, and I managed to handle everything very well. Around dinner time I decided to sit down and eat something, but before I got the chance my contractions started coming on top of one another. We called the hospital and were told to get back right away.

At Lance's grandparents waiting for labor to become active

About 15 minutes later a nurse came in to check me. I thought that by this point, with all these contractions getting so bad I MUST be dilating... nope. After 9 hours of labor I had gone from .5 to 1cm. This was the beginning of my spiral. After a couple of minutes tracking my contractions, the nurse told me that my uterus was over-stimulating and they would have to remove the Cervadil. At this point I suspected they would send me home, but they didn't. They had me stay for observation as I continued to labor throughout the night. To make things worse, in the same room was a young couple who'd had their baby by c-section that afternoon. Rather than being attentive to their sickly, jaundiced newborn (who was under the lights most of the night), they watched MTV (loudly) until 2am.

Finally around midnight I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't sleep through my contractions so I let Lance take my bed and I went for a walk. The nurses told me to get back to bed more than once, but there was no point when I couldn't sleep. Around 2am, the nurses sent me to a surgery recovery room for the night. By then the contractions were starting to peter out and I was able to sleep... until 6 am when they woke me to take my vitals.

Day two, exhausted and in no mood for pictures... yes, I look like shit.

The next morning I had no idea what to expect. The removable form of Cervadil was too much for my uterus to handle, so I didn't expect for them to use the gel form as they had suggested the day before. I was wrong, however and they told me what to expect from the day. They told me that in 6 hours they would know whether or not the drug was having the desired effect, and where to go from there. Unlike the Cervadil, the gel did nothing for several hours. We were stuck in the hospital for the rest of the day, walking around aimlessly with no clue what to do with ourselves, stopping for random contractions that came and went throughout the day.

After 6 hours of having the gel put in, I had lost all hope of having a vaginal delivery. I assumed at this point, having had nothing work, they were bound to say 'this is taking too long' and cut me open. I called my sister (who has had 3 cesareans) and asked her advice on what to expect of my recovery. She told me not to be scared, that it is a routine procedure that doctors do every day, and that her recoveries were not all that difficult. Even though the thought of needing a c-section made me feel helpless, what she said did make me feel better.

At 6pm (9 hours after having the gel placed) my doctor came in to check me... no dilation whatsoever. She told me to go home for the night and to come back in the morning, get an epidural (which is not often used at our hospital) and be put on pitocin for one last attempt at a vaginal delivery. If I had not dilated considerably by 5pm (it would be a Friday), they would wheel me into the OR and 'put me out of my misery'. After hearing this I was thrilled! I had one more chance, one more day! They weren't planning to cut me open for almost another 23 hours, so I had time... right?

Lance and I headed home right away to get some rest. It felt weird looking at the backseat and remembering how we had felt leaving home Wednesday morning. We had expected to have baby in our arms by now, it felt wrong going home without a baby to show for it.

The moment I stood up from the car, everything finally started. Immediately I felt an unbelievable amount of pressure, which could not be relieved no matter what position I was in. Once we got in the house I ran myself a bath and stayed there for a couple hours. As time went on the pressure got worse, but I was still having no contractions. After my bath I went into the living room and rocked on all fours, trying to relieve the pain. Several hours had passed when I finally decided to get up and go to bed. I laid there for a long time trying to get comfortable, the last time on the clock I remember seeing was 2:04am.

3:30am I woke up to a overwhelming feeling of relief. It was the best feeling I've ever experienced, it was as if all of the pressure was gone for just a moment, and the I realized what had happened. I woke Lance up right away 'My water just broke!' I said, and he looked at me as though I was crazy 'are you sure?' I flung off the covers to see water everywhere. Lance grabbed me a towel and I ran to the bathroom, not 100% sure what to do. I was not expecting this.

Lance covered the passenger seat with more towels while I got dressed and then we were on our way back to the hospital. By the time we got there, the seat (and my pants) were soaked, regardless of my pad. My contractions had started on the ride there, and by the time I reached L&D they were very strong, and finally meant business. I was checked at 1cm again, and the nurses offered me Morphine right away. I refused, but it wasn't long before my exhausted body refused to do anything but sleep between contractions. The nurses kept coming in and offering drugs... maybe it was because I had resorting to moaning through my contractions for relief. Lance fell asleep on the floor, and with no one to coach me through, I finally asked for some morphine.

Day three before the epidural. Not handling the pain well anymore

If I can say one thing about morphine, it's that it makes things worse more than it makes things better. After getting the shot not only was I still in pain, but I became very nauseous and threw up what little food I had managed to get in the night before. It took the edge off for an hour or so, and then it was 7am. The doctor came in, told me that they were going to continue with the plan from the day before because my contractions were still not 'regular' (5-8 minutes apart). I was checked at 4cm... 4CM!!!!! I had dilated, not because of their drugs, but because my body was acting on it's own!

I asked meekly if I could continue going naturally, and the doctor advised me that I could be in labor for up to an entire extra day, which was not safe for the baby, and would be exhausting for me. I trusted her and got wheeled into the delivery room to get my epidural. My mother-in-law showed up shortly before I got the epidural, and she commented on how bad I sounded when I had a contraction. I felt so weak and helpless. I felt as though I had lost all control, and maybe getting the epi would be enough for me to feel strong enough for the task at hand. I was checked before the anesthesiologist came in at 5.5cm... it had been 4 hours since my last check, and I wasn't progressing fast enough, so things went ahead as planned.

Within moments of getting the epidural (of which Lance is NOT a fan) I had relief. I had energy, and a new found hope that I could get this done. After an hour of monitoring my blood pressure (which had plummeted), they started the pitocin and I was allowed to have a nap, and Lance was sent back to our recovery room to sleep as well. An hour and a half passed when my nurse told me she was going on break, so to tell the other nurse if I was feeling rectal pressure. Just as she was leaving I knew what she was talking about, and asked the nurse to check me. Immediately the nurse called the other one back and said 'We're having a baby! Go get Lance!'

Definitely in a better state of mind at this point, about to nap

I was thrilled. It seemed as though it couldn't be possible, I had been in 'labor' for 2 days with almost no progress, and then had been in active labor for 18 hours with only a 4 cm progress, and in an hour and a half I was ready to go?? The nurse told me that they would have to find the doctor right away because I had '2 pushes and you'll be done!'... then when Lance came in she asked what Lance and I thought baby would be, we both said 'Girl!'.

Everyone came in and I started pushing. 2 pushes came and went quickly, and after an hour I could tell something was wrong. They kept saying 'baby is RIGHT there!', but baby wasn't moving. The doctor told me that baby was stuck behind my pubic bone, and after a few more attempts she pulled out the vacuum and explained how it was used. I consented to using it. Obviously he wasn't coming out on his own. Twice the vacuum popped off my poor baby's head, the sound was like a gun going off and at first I didn't understand what had happened. 'Is the head out?' I remember asking, Lance had laughed at me, but how was I supposed to know? I couldn't feel a thing.

After one helluva push and the doctor pulling on the vacuum as hard as she could, the head was finally born. I expected to have to give a couple more pushes to get the body out, but the head never turned, and my pushing did nothing. All of a sudden I had both nurses hoisting my knees up to my ears, and the doctor pushing down on my belly... when that did nothing the doctor reached her hand inside me... I'm still not 100% sure what happened but after one more hard push he was out.

Meeting Wyatt for the first time. The most amazing moment of my life

Everyone was relieved when he finally came out. I was shell shocked and didn't even realize for a moment what had just happened. I laid back as they put him on top of me and I heard Lance say 'It's a boy'. He didn't cry right away. He had the same expression I'm sure I had 'What the fuck just happened?'. I could see he was breathing and wasn't concerned. Then, too soon it seemed, the nurses whisked him away while I started getting stitched up. When I asked the doctor how it was she simply said to me 'not good... I don't see this often'.

She and an intern spent the next 45 minutes sewing up what was left of my lady parts. I remember thinking that I would never have to worry about being embarrassed of anything ever again in my life. Finally after what felt like forever they brought my baby back to me. The nurse told me I'd birthed a football player, and my doctor told me how she proud she was that someone my size could have a baby so big. He weighed in at a whopping 9lbs 8.75oz and was 21.5 inches long...

Welcome, baby! looking just a little cranky...

It took a little while for Lance and I to name him. We had decided on a girl's name, but had a whole host of boys names to argue over. As soon as he was here the answer seemed obvious, but we decided to go through them all so to make the right decision. Finally we settled on Wyatt Thomas Blake, and to this day it suits him perfectly. I couldn't be happier with it.

Breastfeeding was difficult to get started. Between my milk taking 4 days to come in, and Wyatt being too drowsy from the epidural to open his mouth and latch, it took us 3 months to establish a regular nursing relationship. I used nipple shields until he was able to be weaned off of them (amazing what they'll do when they're hungry).

My recovery also took a very long time (8 weeks to be specific). I had a third degree tear, which I believe is from a host of different complications. Mainly, when Wyatt came out crooked after being stuck at the shoulders (shoulder distocia), they came through and ripped me right open. I was told not to walk for at least a day, but by the end of the day I chose to be up on my feet. It would be 2 months before I could sit down/stand up without pain.

The other complication that I am not sure about, is the calcification of the placenta. My doctor showed it to my mother in law and myself and warned that in only 48 hours tops, it could have cut out and stopped working. I don't know if I believe this. For a long time I trusted it, and thought that it had been responsible of me to listen to my doctor and follow her advice. Now I'm not so sure. Wyatt never once went into distress during my labor (except at 33 weeks, which we figure is due to a knot found in his cord later on). , and wouldn't he be in distress if his placenta was not working properly?? An organ like that doesn't have a time-limit so who is to know? I am starting to feel as though it was an easy scapegoat to cover up an induction that my body was not ready for.

Wyatt's cord knot. It was NOT that tight when he was born, she
tightened it so we could see it better

Going into my next pregnancy is somewhat nerve wracking. I'm not 100% on what is right, but I know that what happened with Wyatt's birth cannot possibly be considered the right way of doing things. Induce a mom until she's exhausted and then push more drugs on her when things are finally starting to go on their own?? I feel like I was trapped into a birth that I had no control over. I should have went home after day 1 and let nature take it's course. No, birth is not something that you should try to control but isn't that the point? I would have felt more in control with my body progressing naturally doing what it needed to than to be jerked around by doctors and labor controlling drugs.

All I know is that this time needs to be different.

13 months later, still so in love :)

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