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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sophia's Birth Story

It all started the night of January 23rd. I was 3 1/2 weeks from my due date, and very much ready for the pregnancy to be over. With months of Symphasis Pubis Dysfunction causing me constant pain in my pelvis, and claustrophobia setting in, I couldn't wait for it to be over. But at the same time, I did not believe I would be having little Sophia any time soon.

I was putting my other two children to bed, when all of a sudden I felt something warm in my pants. I immediately was annoyed because I thought I had just peed my pants, but then upon looking at it, I knew it wasn't urine. I couldn't believe it, could this be my water? I very much doubted it, and with company over to watch a movie, I decided to just wait and see if anything more happened.

After the movie, our friends went home, and I decided reluctantly to go to labor and delivery to check things out, since it kept on trickling, and my midwife encouraged me to go. I didn't bother packing a bag or bringing anything, and told my parents to not get excited, that we would more than likely just be coming back home in an hour or so. After all, even if I was in labor, my plan was to labor at home with my hubby and doula as long as possible, so I knew I wasn't going to be staying at the hospital. Wrong!

We got to L&D at about 10:45 pm, and was checked in to triage. They told us they would be doing a strip test that will automatically give you a good idea if it truly is amniotic fluid or not. The test came back looking like it could be, so then they did a more advanced test. As we waited, I kept thinking this was such a waste of time. I should be home in bed.

The nurse came back, and low and behold, it WAS amniotic fluid, and I wasn't going anywhere, I was going to have this baby within the next 24 hours! I was floored! I asked if I could go home, and come back when I was closer to delivery, but I was told that it would be against doctor's reccomendations, and could affect insurance coverage if I left and then something went wrong that could have been controlled had I stayed. So I made the decision to stay, even though my body wasn't in labor yet. I hadn't felt a single surge, or any indication that labor was starting. So after we were transferred to a L&D room, my job was to try and get my body started, with nipple stimulation and walking. The problem was, since I was going for a VBAC, they put me on constant fetal monitoring, which got in the way of walking, since it couldn't read it well. I thought this was one thing I could ask not to have, but apparently it is required in every hospital in Utah. I had less power than I thought, and I was a bit frustrated, but I knew that wouldn't help anything, so I stayed positive and decided to enjoy this experience as best I could.

After a few hours of trying so hard to start labor, nothing was happening. My midwife came in and talked to me about giving me pitocin, I was so surprised, because again, I thought pitocin was a no-no for VBAC patients. I guess I was wrong on a few accounts. She explained that it is used quite often and is safer than other forms of induction, because it is a controlled drip that you can shut off immediately, versus creams that cannot just come off if there was a problem. She told me it was my choice, but if my body didn't start progressing, eventually this baby would need to come, since the barrier was broken and the risk of infection goes up after 24 hours, and I could end up having a c section. So my options were labor with pitocin, or risk a c section. I reluctantly chose pitocin, and so we got started.

By early morning, my surges were becoming more consistent and stronger, and I decided to have Laurel come. I had been keeping her informed throughout the night, and I wanted her to get a good night's rest before she came. I also told my hubby to go get some breakfast, since I knew things would start getting intense, and I wouldn't want him to leave my side after that. So I found myself alone for a bit, but I felt calm and peaceful with Laura's tracks playing in my headphones, and the lights dimmed. I loved Your Healing Place, and the Birth affirmations tracks, and pretty much put them on repeat. When my surges started getting strong, I was fortunate enough to have an amazing midwife. She was very Hypnobirthing friendly, and was right there with me reminding me to breathe and moan low and drop my shoulders and jaw through each surge. She was there the entire time until Scott and Laurel came. I kept thinking how lucky I was, and how happy I was that I didn't choose a doctor, who I might not have even seen once until I delivered. She was just like a doula for me, and I just wanted to hug her. She made such a big difference. Once Laurel and my hubby Scott arrived, we all went to work. I needed them immediately. What a wonderful team I had. My mother was also there, and I think she felt a little out of place, but I was glad to have her mothering vibes in the room.

With each surge, they steadily got stronger and stronger. For anyone who doesn't know, pitocin is tough stuff. It is much harder than natural oxytocin that your body produces. My nurses kept upping the drip, and by the time it got to a 10, I was ready for the tub. Once we got all the monitors sorted out, I got in and immediately felt relief. Warm water is heaven in labor!! Laurel and Scott were there with each surge, and I felt a little break in between surges and we were able to chat a bit. After awhile though, apparently I was too comfortable, because they upped the drip again to a 12. This was hard, REAL hard to handle. I couldn't get on top of the pain. I couldn't relax anymore, and for the first time, I was dreading the coming surges. The water had lost it's magic, so I got out and tried other positions. By this time, my surges turned into back labor, and I felt an incredible amount of pain in my back and tailbone. It was unbearable, and after 20 hours of no food and no sleep, and over 12 hours of pitocin-induced labor, I was spent. I tried so hard to keep going, but once the tears started and my body started shaking, I knew I needed to rest, or I wasn't going to make it. I remember begging Laurel and Scott to not hate me or be disapointed with me for asking for an epidural. They both quickly said that they were very proud of me, and that I had made it through most of it so strong, and that I needed to listen to my body, and do what's right for me. I felt better after hearing that, and once the epidural was working, I had no regrets. My poor body needed a break. I fell asleep pretty quickly, and so did the rest of my team. It was a much needed break for all of us!

I'm not sure exactly how long, but I think it was only 3 hours before I was ready to push. The epidural had worn off enough that I could feel a decent amount of pressure. I could feel her pushing down, and after a look, the midwife said it was time! I remember right before she came, feeling a sense of anxiety, and fear, that I wouldn't be good enough, that I wouldn't be able to be everything my children needed with one more baby to take care of. Feelings of inadequatcy were mounting, and I started to cry. But Laurel, Scott and mom were all there to tell me everything would be fine. I could feel her crowning, and was able to control my pushes and not bear down too hard too fast. I used my breathing to breathe her down, and after only 3 pushes at 5:45 pm, her head was out, and I didn't tear a bit! Her body quickly followed, and she was put right on top of me, It was the most incredible moment of my life! All I ever wanted was to have my babies put right on me after delivery, and in this breathtaking moment, I felt an enormous flood of love. Hear she was, 5 lbs 8 oz and 16 in of beauty; my first daughter, beautiful and perfect in every way.  All feelings of self doubt, fear and inadequacy vanished in that moment, and I was soaring.

After delivery, they had to take Sophia to the nicu for a short while to help her breathe, so my husband followed her, and my mom and I watched TV while I (finally) ate. Laurel said goodbye and I thanked her a million times for all she did. She is worth her weight in gold!! My breastfeeding consultant, Wendy, showed up and was ready to help me as soon as Sophia was back. The staff commented on how I hardly bled at all, and were very happy with everything postpartum. After I was done eating, a nurse came to take me in a wheel chair to see my baby in the nicu. I got up from the bed, a little shaky from the epidural, and went to sit on the chair, when all of a sudden blood was dripping down my legs and on the floor, fast. My nurse was surprised, and then looked at the bed and saw much more had been pooling as I sat there and ate after delivery. I asked her if this was normal, and she said she was getting the midwife back in here, and that I needed to get back on the bed. Once my midwife came in, she took a look and started pushing on my uterus to try and get it to clamp down like it is supposed to. But pad after pad was soaked in blood, and I started to realize this was not normal. I was hemorrhaging. I found myself quickly being surrounded by lots of staff, and I kept asking if I was ok, and what was going on. My midwife was very positive and upbeat, but I could tell once they started weighing how much blood I was losing, that it was serious. I was so glad that Wendy was there, acting as a doula and helping me breathe and stay calm. She was the voice that kept me here. She was right in my ear, telling me I was going to be ok, that I was strong, and she used the shoulder press a lot to calm my shaking. Apparently I was shaking very hard.I vaguely remember this. But Wendy was my angel. If any of you know her, you will agree with me that she has such a calming presence, and I could feel her transferring that to me. I started feeling dizzy and could feel my body barely conscious. I could hear voices, but was too weak to keep my eyes open. The thought occurred to me the possibility that I could die. I said a prayer, asking my Father in heaven to let me stay, that I wanted to raise these kids, that I wasn't ready to go. I was glad that Scott wasn't there to see all this blood. They gave me pitocin, cytotec, (another one I never thought I'd take) and another I can't remember to contract my uterus to get the blood to stop. They worked, and after 1000 CC's of blood loss, they took my blood count and determined I didn't need a blood transfusion, but my white blood cell count was elevated. Almost immediately I felt the fever. I had an infection, so I needed to start on antibiotics. I felt horrible, and realized my ear hurt quite a bit. The midwife took a look inside, and apparently I had ruptured my ear drum! Oh my! It all happened to fast, but with the bleeding controlled, and the antibiotics flowing and pain medication given, I was ready for recovery. Feeling very weak and tired, I was super out of it. Sophia was wheeled back into my room, and all I wanted was her. I pulled her close to me, up against my cheek, and smelled and felt her warmth. She was all I needed to feel whole. She was my medicine. She made all this so worth it.

So although I did not give birth 100% without intervention, I truly feel that Hypnobirthing and Laurel and Wendy and my husband helped me make it so much farther than I ever could have without them. I feel like I did everything exactly the way I needed to, and I have no regrets. I felt very empowered and in control, and felt completely surrounded and supported with peace and love and joy. I never once felt alone like I did with my first birth. I am so grateful beyond words that I educated myself to know all my options, to listen to my body, and to know that I could trust it. I am in love with birth, and with the power that comes with it. It is not to be feared, but rather embraced and accepted as the most amazing miracle of our existence.

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