Birth Story part 2

Sunday, August 19th, we checked into OSU Wexner Medical center for our scheduled induction.  It was a very bittersweet moment.  We were so excited knowing we were going to meet our son very soon but very nervous for what was ahead of us. 

Once we were taken back to our room, our nurse came in and the first question she asked us was, “What kind of birth are you hoping to have?”  I was literally speechless.  I couldn’t believe she asked us that!  Doesn’t an induction mean you are at the mercy of the medical professionals?  I then explained to her how we are hoping to have as little intervention as possible and were planning for a natural pain med free birth.  She said, “I love working with natural birth moms!”  I immediately calmed down and knew God was taking care of us. 

So within 30 minutes they had placed the foley bulb catheter and started the pitocin.  My blood pressure reading came back at 142/90, which for a girl who’s highest reading her entire pregnancy was 122/80 was a bit concerning.  So Ryan and I started doing hypnobirthing relaxation scripts and within 10 minutes my blood pressure was back down to 125/78.  We did scripts for about 30 minutes and then I just focused and listened to calm relaxing music and Ryan went to sleep.  I wanted him to get as much sleep as he could because I would need his full strength in the hours to come.  They started me off on the lowest dose of pitocin and every hour they increased it.  I could feel my abdomen tightening and would have to watch the monitor to know if I was having a contraction or not.  The catheter was no big deal.  It made me just a bit crampy but really wasn’t that uncomfortable.  {The foley bulb is a catheter with a balloon like bulb on the end of it.  They use this to artificially dilate your cervix.  They inject saline into the bulb which puts pressure on your cervix to help you dilate to 4-5 centimeters.}

Around 3am the foley bulb catheter was able to be removed as I was dilated 4 centimeters.  This was also around the time that the baby’s heart rate started doing weird things.  His heart rate was taking big dips and was very irregular.  We tried several different positions but nothing was making him happy.  So they decided to stop the pitocin and give him a break.  The exciting news was that I was still contracting on my own!  I was so excited because I thought, this is exactly what I hoped would happen.  The pitocin and foley bulb would get me going and then I would be able to stop the pitocin and just natural labor on my own.  Sam’s heart rate stabilized after about 30 minutes once I found a position that he liked.  At this point I still wasn’t that uncomfortable.  I had some pressure in my back but wasn’t in any pain.  I asked to be able to walk the halls since I wasn’t on pitocin anymore.  They agreed to 20 minutes off the monitor and then back on for 20 minutes.  So Ryan and I did this for about 2 hours.

Slowly but surely my contractions started getting farther and farther apart.  The resident checked me and I was 5 centimeters, 80% effaced but I was still at a -3 station.  It was apart my body was not going to be able to get this baby out on its own.  Around 11 the midwife stopped by and discussed a plan with me.  She wanted to restart the pitocin and have me switch positions every 30 minutes.  Once the baby dropped we would then break my water.  I took an hour nap before we got started… yea, like I really slept lol. 

We restarted the pitocin around 12:30pm on Monday.  This time we started at 4 units {The range is from 1-20}.  Again, I felt some tightening in my lower back but really didn’t feel any pain and wasn’t too uncomfortable.  Every 30 minutes I changed positions.  I was on all fours, then on the birthing ball, walking around my room, squatting, etc.  Trying anything and everything to get this baby to drop.  Every 30 minutes they were upping the pitocin by 2 units.  By 5:30pm I was on 14 units of pitocin and wasn’t feeling a thing!  I kept thinking either I am a pro at hypnobirthing or this isn’t working.  Well, I was checked and there were no changes.  Still 5 centimeters, 80% effaced and at a -3 station.  The let the pitocin continue and by 8pm I was up to 24 units!!  They need permission from a doctor to go over 20 units as they won’t typically do that unless my water is broken.  However, they decided to keep going.  When it clearly wasn’t working the resident came back in and talked to me about what our options were.  The of course mentioned a c section but said because the baby looks so good on the monitors and doesn’t appear to be in any distress we can keep trying the pitocin.  They mentioned that sometimes it takes starting and stopping the pitocin a few times to trigger my body into labor.  The midwives were not ready to give up on me yet.  They wanted me to go off the pitocin for about an hour and then restart it again. 

Once everyone left the room Ryan and I talked for a good while.  I cried uncontrollably.  I kept apologizing to Ryan because I felt as though I was depriving him of the experience of watching his son being born.  I felt at that moment that we were headed for a c section.  I just kept crying and saying, “why isn’t this working?  What am I doing wrong?”  Of course Ryan said all of the right things and assured me that he doesn’t feel cheated at all.  He said, “I don’t care how Sam gets here as long as you both are safe.  The experience I’m looking forward to is being a family.”  So of course I cried even harder after hearing that.  Ryan let me know that whatever decision I made he would be behind me 100% and everything would be just fine.  So I decided to give the pitocin one last try.  At this point I hadn’t slept in 36 hours and other than the peanut butter sandwich I snuck at noon, I really hadn’t eaten anything in 20 hours.

Unbeknownst to me, my parents and sister had been in the waiting room for the entire day and were still there at 8pm.  I told Ryan to go get them and let them come back.  I had a good cry once they came in and we let them know the plan was to restart the pitocin for the third time and see what happens.  We prayed and then they retreated back to the waiting room.  Ryan was so cute at this point.  He was full of energy and kept saying, I think it’s going to work this time Leah.  I really do.  I asked to get a shower before we started the pitocin again.  I’m so glad I did that!  I felt so much better and felt re-energized.  At this point we had gone through 2 shift changes and were on our 3rd nurse, Heidi.  She was amazing!  She knew everything there was to know about pitocin.  Again, God was placing the perfect caregivers for us through out every step of the process.  Thinking back it truly amazes me how much He took care of us by who was apart of our care through out the process.  Heidi’s sarcastic and bubbly personality is exactly what we needed at that time. 

The 3rd round of pitocin was started around 9:30pm on Monday night.  I instantly knew things felt different this time.  I was really crampy and could feel the contractions.  There were even a couple that I had to breath through and really focus.  I was so excited!  I knew I wasn’t in hard labor but it seemed to be a step in the right direction.  The resident came in about 2 hours after starting the pitocin and to her much surprise said, “Well, the baby is lower.  However, he’s not low enough to break your water but it seems we are making progress.”  I was so excited!  For about the next 2 hours things stayed about the same, even though the pitocin was being increased every 30 minutes.  This time they didn’t go over 14 units.  Around 2am, I was checked again and wasn’t any further progressed than when they checked me at 11pm.  The resident said the midwives were fine with me staying on the pitocin and then re-checking me in the morning.  Again, Sam looked great on the monitors and was showing no signs of distress.

At 5:30am on Tuesday, the resident came back in and checked me.  There was no change.  She talked with me about our options again and explained that the mid-wife on call would be in later that morning to talk with me.  I then told the resident, “I think we need to move forward with plan F” {you can imagine what the F stands for.}  I told her, “I’m not sure what your beliefs are but God has now shown me 3 different times that this baby cannot arrive safely the way I want him to.  I need to listen to what I’m being shown and move forward with a c section.”  The resident said, “I hold those beliefs too and strongly believe in them.  I truly believe you are doing the right thing for both you and the baby.”  She sat with me while I cried really hard.  This was by far the hardest decision I have ever had to make.  It was so much to wrap my brain around.  

Ryan was sleeping at this point and as soon as the resident left I woke him up.  Tears filling my eyes I told him what the plan was.  His response, “I’m so proud of you.  Let’s go meet our son.”  Ryan was amazing through out this entire experience.  In fact, as I write this I’m crying just thinking of his strength and love for us.  He never wavered and was always as solid as a rock.  I am so blessed to have him as my husband and the father of our children.  He is truly Gods example of what a husband and father should be.

Within 20 minutes of making the decision to proceed with a c section, the resident returned with Dr. Kelly, the OB on call, on the phone wanting to speak with me.  He said, “Are you ready to do this?”  I said, “As much as I’ll ever be.”  He applauded my efforts and said he feels this is the best decision for the both of us, I agreed.  Heidi told me that Dr. Kelly had delivered all of her babies and that he was a fantastic doctor.  I hadn’t ever met him before but was hearing wonderful things about him.   The office I went to allows for all non high risk pregnancy’s to be delivered by the midwives and if a c section is necessary the OB on call at the office will come in.

By 6:30am, Dr. Kelly was at the hospital and came into our room to introduce himself and discuss the process.  He was awesome.  Very laid back and calm.  They asked if I wanted to be wheeled back to the OR or if I wanted to walk.  I chose to walk.  As we were walking down the hallway, Heidi turned to Dr. Kelly and said, “Have you ever seen a woman walk to herself to the OR after a 36 hour induction?”  He said, “Nope.”  That made me feel really good 🙂

I kissed Ryan, we said a quick prayer and then I walked through the OR doors.  I couldn’t believe how quickly things started happening.  Within 5 minutes they were placing my spinal.  That was the worst part of the entire process.  It didn’t necessarily hurt but was very uncomfortable.  Just knowing they are poking around in your spine is unnerving.  Once they had the spinal placed everything seemed to move really quickly.  Another 5 minutes went by with several individuals prepping me and making sure I couldn’t feel a thing, which I couldn’t.  The entire team from the nursing student to the anesthesiologist to the nursing staff was incredible.  I started hyperventilating a bit.  It was all so overwhelming.  I remember one of the anesthesiologist, an older woman, come over and put her cheek to mine and just whisper soft, calm, reassuring words in my ear.  She told me that soon they would put up the Hawaiian skyline, also known as the blue sheet.  She was so sweet and did the trick until Ryan could join me. 

As soon as they brought Ryan in and he sat down next to me I asked him to just talk to me and don’t stop until Sam gets here.  I could here the doctor asking for instruments and from working in the medical field I knew what those instruments did.  Blah, I needed to not hear that but rather focus on Ryan and meeting our son.  Ryan talked to me about all the things we have to look forward to with Sam.  Long walks, trips to Cincinnati, etc.  At one point Ryan started asking me questions like, “What are you looking forward to?”  I quickly replied, “Oh no, you just do the talking for now, not me.”  I needed to stay in my zen place which was getting harder and harder to do.  The closer Sam got to arriving here the more pressure and jiggling I felt.  About 10 minutes after they started Dr. Kelly said, “Lot’s of brown hair Leah!”  I was so excited!  I had hoped our little man would have tons of hair.  Another 2 minutes went by and Sam arrived at 7:15am on Tuesday, August 21.  He let out a couple short cries.  Once Dr. Kelly pulled him out he said, “Oh Leah.  No way was he coming out.  He’s sunny side up and a big boy.”  Ryan kept wanting to look over the blue sheet and I kept reminding him to sit down!  Don’t look over!  The nurse gave us a quick glimpse of Sam and then rushed him over to be assessed.  Ryan immediately went over and even cut the remainder of the cord!!  I was so proud of Ryan, who in the past has had a horrible phobia of hospitals and needles.  I’m pretty sure he is cured of this after this whole experience.  When asked about how he did in the OR he responds, “There wasn’t anytime for me to focus on my fears, I had to calm Leah’s.”  Like I said, Ryan was a rock.

Our sweet Sam weighed in at a whopping 10lbs 4.7oz and was 22 3/4 inches long.  He isn’t a chubby baby by any means, he’s just big.  He has skinny little legs and arms but he is very long. 

It’s still crazy to me that I am a c section momma.  I know this was the right decision for us as pushing forward and being more aggressive for a vaginal delivery might have not led to safe birth for mom or baby.  Towards the end I just kept thinking, “Leah can you live with yourself if your baby breaks his shoulder or worse just so you can have a vaginal birth.”  The answer was obviously no.  Some have said to me, “Geeze, don’t you wish you wouldn’t have gone through all of that time laboring?”  For me, I needed to do that in order to be at peace with my decision for a c section.  I truly believe c sections are performed far too often in America and should only be used for emergency purposes or in cases like mine where it seems to be the only option.  I’m glad I was given the opportunity to labor and try for a vaginal birth.  I never felt pressured into a c section but all of the medical professionals were always very honest with me about where it looked as though we were headed.  I remember one resident saying to me, “These are the options but ultimately you are the captain of this ship.”  I really appreciated that.  I will have a post shortly on my emotions surrounding this experience and what I’ve learned.  But for now, I am enjoying every single second with my son and not dwelling on what I wish could have been but rather what I have.  I have a beautiful, healthy baby boy who is the love of my life.

2 thoughts on “Birth Story part 2

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