Wednesday, April 18, 2012

birth story

My dear cousin "R" agreed to share her birth story, too! She and her husband also prepared for a Bradley Birth, but not everything went as planned. I think main message to take away from this is still the importance of educating yourself on labor and delivery and creating a birth plan so that you are in charge of your own child's birth. Remember, you can't control EVERYTHING but you can still be IN control. They're story is really incredible! My "baby" cousin has grown into such a strong woman!

Matthew’s Birth Story
Matthew was “due” on April 12, but decided to be stubborn, and go past his due date, so I had to have an U/S on Tuesday 4/19 to evaluate the placental function, and estimate fetal weight, etc.  Well, at this U/S, everything checked out perfect and at the end when they put all the measurements together to estimate the weight- it estimated Matthew’s weight at 9 lbs 15 oz!!! Yikes! We were shocked to say the least! However, we also had an NST (non stress test) and Matthew passed that with flying colors, so we weren’t worried.  The next day (Wednesday the 20th) my doctor called me to discuss the U/S results. She said that if I wanted to be induced, it was medically justifiable because of Matthew’s size. She wanted to know if I wanted to do it that evening. I was like; no way!!! She understood, and we made an appt for me to go into the office on the 21st (the next day) to discuss more, and get checked to see if there was any progress.
That night I began having some pretty hard contractions, and I could not get to sleep. I wasn’t comfortable lying in bed so I let Michael sleep and went downstairs to sit on the couch and walk around. I was up until 3am, and couldn’t take the back pain anymore, so went back upstairs to wake Michael up to do some counter pressure on my lower back. He was also able to use a relaxation technique we had learned to put me to sleep for the rest of the night (thank you Bradley class)!
Later that day (Thursday the 21st) we went to the doctors and I was 0 station, and 85% effaced though she wasn’t able to tell how dilated I was because of the way that my cervix was tipped. We decided to just play it by ear, and made an appt to be induced on 4/25/11 just in case nothing had happened by then. That began to look unnecessary pretty quick, because after I got home, I went into labor pretty much immediately. I was having regular contractions that became stronger and stronger.  Late that evening they were coming 5 mins apart, (or less) and were lasting 90 seconds (or more) and this went on for well over an hour so we called the doctor, and got the go-ahead to go into the hospital to get checked out. 
When we got to Highland (about 2:00am Friday the 22nd), the resident checked me, and I was still 85% effaced, 0 station, but was 3 cm dilated. We were happy to know where we were and wanted to go home, but they told us we needed to stay an hour and be rechecked before we could leave.  Well, after lots of walking and squatting in the hall ways I was rechecked and was at 5cm! We were very excited! 2cm in less than an hour! So we get admitted and the contractions continue to be regular. We used the birthing ball, the bath tub, and walked as much as we could. I was having horrible back labor (he was occiput posterior/sunny side up ), so around 5am I got 4 injections of sterile water intradermal papules injected under the skin in my lower back- this was to act as a counter pressure, and stimulate the nerves in that area. Those shots hurt to get! A lot! The nurse and my doctor were like, “Now, these will sting a little bit, and will feel like a bee sting. “ I was like, “I’ve never had a bee sting!”  Needless to say, I’m glad I’ve never been stung by a bee! Anyway, they did the job, and gave me a little back pain relief.
We labored in the hospital all night, and my doctor came in to recheck me around 11am. WELL- she checks me, gets this weird look on her face, and says, “You’re only 2 cm dilated, not 5cm.”  Imagine the shock we felt!  So, it turns out that the resident that checked me the night before wasn’t sure how dilated I was, because my cervix was so thin. So, instead of saying she didn’t know, she tells me I’m 5cm, and we stayed in the hospital overnight for nothing! So, we pack everything up, and head home. There was no way we were staying there at 2 cm, and my doctor agreed.
Well, that afternoon, the contractions became even stronger and closer together, and we did everything that we learned in class, but I couldn’t relax anymore. I had already been laboring for 36+ hours, and was running on no sleep and little food (it’s no fun to try to eat something during contractions! However, I do credit my wonderful husband for trying to get me to eat… he even tried honey, which was disgusting, lol). So, around 10pm, the contractions became unbearable, and we thought for sure there had to have been a change, so we headed back to the hospital. The emotional signposts all pointed to Transition. I got checked, and was only 3cm. I wanted to die.  The contractions were so close together for so long, that I could barely get a break between, and I was only 3 cm?!  By this point, I was very loud during the contractions. They were so intense I couldn’t handle the pain, and as much as we tried to do the relaxation techniques my body was so physically exhausted that it wouldn’t let me relax. After discussing options with my doctor, and weighing the pros and cons, we decided to get a shot of Morphine and Phenergan (sp?) to help with the pain and help me get some sleep so I’d have energy to push him out. Although that was definitely not part of our birth plan, it was a great decision at this point during my labor. I was able to sleep about 5 hours, and they kept coming in and checking on Matthew, which we requested they do more often, because of the potential effects it could have on him. He handled it perfectly.
I woke up that morning (Saturday the 23rd) feeling refreshed, and was able to get on top of the contractions and breathe and relax through our contractions like we had been taught. This was the first time in a couple days that I could relax through the contractions the way we had planned. I was checked yet again that morning (how many vaginal exams is this?! Lol ) and hadn’t made any progress with dilation, but Matthew was now at -1 station, so we decided to go home again, and try to labor at home for as long as we could, since contractions seemed to pick up and be stronger at home than they were at the hospital.
That whole day, but particularly the afternoon, was so intense. I couldn’t sit, stand, lay or walk without intense back pain, because Matthew was so low, and still was turned the wrong way. We did A LOT of pelvic rocking and positioning to try to get him to turn into the right position, and by late afternoon he turned. That evening I was screaming because the contractions were so powerful, and had been coming under 3 minutes apart for a few hours. We called our doctor once again (our poor doctor! ) and as she listened to me go through more than 3 contractions in the 6 minute conversation that we had, she had us go back to the hospital as a direct admit, rather than having to go through triage for the third time in as many nights (praise God! ). Off we went in that dreaded, uncomfortable 20 minute car ride to the hospital… again. We got there a little after midnight, and the contractions continued to be extremely strong and right on top of each other.  While they were monitoring Matthew, his heart rate was in the 170s-180s because I was dehydrated, even though I had been keeping up my fluid intake steadily because I knew how important it was.   Much to our disappointment, I had still only advanced to 4cm.
We tried to labor as long as we could without medication, but after 70+ hours of labor, I could just not handle it any longer. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.  Our doctor recommended an epidural and we both agreed without any hesitation.  I told the anesthesiologist that I loved him. If my husband wasn’t there, I probably would’ve given him a kiss J Just kidding… kind of. I did have two contractions during the epidural procedure which was not fun, because I had to be completely still. Praise the Lord, the anesthesiologist got the epidural in the correct spot, and numbed everything correctly, and we had no lasting side effects of it. I of course had to get hooked up to an IV during all of this for fluids, and they started Pitocin to help my tired uterus. They kept looking at the monitor saying “Wow, that’s a strong contraction!” and I couldn’t feel a thing- it was heaven.  
That night, our third in the hospital, we actually got some sleep, and in the morning at 9am (on the 24th- EASTER morning!), my doctor came in to check for any progress, and low and behold, I was fully dilated and effaced! Matthew was so low that my doctor was like “Whoa, he’s right there – do you want me to…. Oh! I just broke your water!”  At this point my husband, my mom and I were all like, what the?! Is this realllllly happening?! We were super excited! We started pushing around 9:45am. It took a contraction or two to get the hang of pushing when I couldn’t feel that much pressure. Even though I had the epidural, I was able to move into different pushing positions, which was nice. We tried the back, which obviously didn’t work J. We then went to the right side, and also tried the left side, then went to hands and knees. That’s when we ran into some complications. After two hours of pushing in various positions, Matthew’s heart rate would drop (which we knew was normal), but it dropped as low as 70, and was taking a VERY long time to come back up. They put the oxygen on me, but that didn’t help. We tried pushing a couple more times, and then they were unable to find Matthew’s heart rate (which was terrifying), so they had to place an internal fetal monitor in his head L We weren’t planning on using this, but at this point, we could see it was a necessity, and once she got it in, you could hear the heart rate.
SO, anyway, his heart rate still wasn’t coming back up, so my doctor slipped out to make a call to the on call surgeon, and asked him to come in and observe me pushing, and see what he thought. He got there quickly. He was very nice, and calm, and put us at ease when he began talking with us. He thought that we could still do this vaginally, and that there wouldn’t be a need for a c-section. He gave us a few different options, including moving to the O.R. and pushing in there, and if things did not improve he could act as a last resort. (How many surgeons do you know get called in from home on a holiday and recommend alternatives to surgery?!) He watched me push a couple times, and then had me move from hands and knees back to pushing on my right side. This was key!  As I moved to my right side and pushed, his heart rate didn’t decelerate as much, and came right back up - they were thinking that the cord was getting compressed somewhere when I was in the hands and knees position. I pushed a few more times, and then he literally FLEW out! None of this shoulder presentation stuff we learned in class, lol- his head came out, and then the rest of his body all at once!  
Now, when my water had broke, they noticed that there was some meconium in the water, so they had the special care nursery team in the delivery room, waiting for him, in case there was an issue with that. Praise the Lord, that once he came out, he started crying, so he was able to be put directly skin to skin on my chest, and didn’t even have to see the special care team J We were unable to do the delayed cord clamping, because since my uterus had been working so hard for so long, they were afraid of me hemorrhaging, though my husband did get to cut the cord! It was amazing to see Matthew; this little person who had been growing inside of me for 41 weeks and 5 days J Once they put him on my chest, one of the first things I think I said was, “You are so naughty!” Lol His apgars were 8 and 9, and he did well with everything. Oh, and his size? He was 8lbs 4.5 oz, 21.5 inches long. So much for that ultrasound estimate. Grr.
Breastfeeding is going great; at his 1 week appt, he already exceeded his birth weight! We are definitely glad we chose to room in exclusively at the hospital, because it helped us become more at ease with him when he came home from the hospital with us. Now, don’t get me wrong… we both still jump up when he makes a weird noise that we’ve never heard- it just made it a little easier to realize that babies make weird noises, and have weirder breathing patterns!
Lastly, we cannot say enough wonderful things about the people at Highland. They were totally supportive of our birth plan and although things were not progressing or going like we had planned, they never tried to push us off the plan. We didn’t meet one nurse that we didn’t like, and since we were there so many times, trust me- we had a lot of nurses! (We looked out for the infamous Denise, but never had her J) Everyone was very caring, and didn’t bother us, but was quick to help us when we needed something. Some that we met earlier in the week even came to visit us in the postpartum part of the hospital (where the nurses were also all great) when they heard we had finally delivered.
Even though his birth didn’t go at all the way we had planned, we were able to make informed decisions that we were comfortable with, and never felt pressured into doing anything.  All in all- we couldn’t be happier because we’re all safe and healthy and doing great! We are truly blessed, and now have a precious little boy who we are totally in love with.


  1. Totally worth it to be informed about your own decisions. I'm amazed at how many people talk about their experiences, and when I ask them why they chose a certain thing- they didn't know they had a choice. You ALWAYS have a choice!

  2. I TOTALLY AGREE! It makes me so sad when couples are like "Well, that's what the doctor told us we should do."