Monthly Archives: July 2014

Finally…the birth

I felt a strange sense of relief when I knew the c-section was happening in the morning. I was sad that Activist Genius wouldn’t be there, but I knew the sooner we delivered the sooner we would all be at home, just our little family to bond and snuggle and kiss baby cheeks.

An interesting fact I left out in the previous post… We could see the monitoring strips of all the other patients in labor and delivery on the screen¬†in our room. I didn’t realize that’s what was on the screen at first, but someone pointed it out to me later. So, we are in labor and delivery and there are at least 6 other folks on the screen. I was the only one with contractions for the majority of the time, and even when other folks started having them, mine were the most frequent and the most intense. I could only wonder what they were all doing there. I certainly wasn’t supposed to be having a baby yet and wasn’t in active labor. They checked me twice and I was only 1 cm and 50% effaced both times. Weird right?

Anwways, I hardly slept at all that night. Between the awful labor and delivery bed (not designed for sleeping), the contractions, the hospital gown, fear of bleeding, and the nervousness/excitement, I tossed and turned all night. Dr. awesome speculum came in at about 7:00 am to get me ready for the surgery, which was supposed to happen at 8:30. A couple different anesthesiologists came to talk to me about the spinal and answer my questions. One of my biggest fears was that the spinal wouldn’t work and I’d be able to feel the surgery. They kind of calmed my fears but I didn’t fully believe it was all ok until the surgery started and I didn’t feel it.

The nurse had Wifey clean my belly off and give me a shave. There is so much romance and intimacy involved in pregnancy and birth ūüėČ I certainly couldn’t have done it myself and I’m glad Wifey did it instead of the nurse. Wifey realized that what she actually did was just smeared the goo they use for the ultrasound/monitoring all over me so we had to re-wash my belly.

We realized, in our rush back to the hospital, that we didn’t bring our camera. Yay for the smart phone era. I had recently dropped my phone for the 100th time and broke it for good and my replacement was just not getting the job done. Wifey had hers though and it was charged up and ready to go. Wifey called my parents, who called my sisters. My mom was way too excited to meet the baby to be worried about me at all. My dad had been, and still was, a silent nervous wreak and was terrified.

Then, they came to get me and wheeled me off to¬†the operating room. It was smaller than I imagined and kind of disorganized and old looking. I saw all the instruments¬†laid¬†out and quickly decided it would be better for my mental state if I didn’t look at them. It was cold, but not as cold as I had expected. The nurse started getting things ready for the Dr.’s. The anesthesiologists were getting their equipment ready and then they got me ready for the spinal. They gave me some warm blankets, which were quite nice. They put some numbing stuff in my back and then had me bend over for the spinal. We were at a teaching hospital, one of the best int he country, but it was a little unnerving to hear the attending explain ¬†to the resident what to do, especially given my fear mentioned above. It didn’t hurt at all and I quickly felt my body go numb starting with my feet and continuing upwards. It felt so weird. I can’t even describe it.

Wifey was waiting back in the labor and delivery room. Apparently Dr. K had been told that the surgery was at 9:30 and there was a lot of chaos¬†trying to¬†find her and get her ready. They also couldn’t find a mirror and were running around trying to sort that out. They only had a tiny hand-held mirror and Dr. K was saying something like “is this really the only mirror we have, we need to come up with a better set up than this”.

Back in the O.R. they started testing to see if the spinal worked. They poked me with a needle in my chest (which I could obviously feel), my stomach, my side (which I could also feel) cue panic. They lowered my head to get the medicine moving more quickly and then checked again a couple of minutes later and I couldn’t feel it. I was still not convinced though. I was also terrified of puking my guts out during and after the surgery, because that’s what happened to my sister for both of her c-sections, and I let the anesthesiologist know about this fear as well. He told me to let him know if I started to feel the least bit queasy. At this point I was feeling nervous, but not scared, it was all happening so fast and felt surreal.¬†

The Dr.’s started showing up and then someone mentioned they still needed to go get Wifey, thank goodness. They covered me with a giant plastic sticker and I’m not sure what was really going on but Dr. C was jostling my body around and it felt like I was on some kind of roller coaster. ¬†Wifey finally came in and sat down by my head. Dr. K was up by my head as well with the tiny little mirror. They played around with the mirror for a bit to try to figure out the best angle so that I could watch the baby come out. This might seem weird/gross/silly, but being I wanted to birth my baby and since I couldn’t do that I wanted to be as active as a participant as I could. I didn’t just want them to whisk him around a curtain and tell me he was mine, I wanted to watch him enter the outside world. The mirror wasn’t working too well, but eventually it seemed like it might work out. I tried not worry and/or be too disappointed about it. Initially I asked if they could just lower the drape but that was a no go. Maybe in a few years that will be an option for women.

They let me know they were just waiting for the pediatric team to get there and then they would get started. A couple (maybe 3) people came in and went over by the baby cage/crib and surgery began. I was finally convinced the spinal worked because I couldn’t feel anything. I started feeling a bit sick though and told the anesthesiologist. He gave me something in my I.V. and then I felt fine. Normally I would want to know what they were giving me and in my ideal world I would have, but oh well.

There was more roller coaster rocking. Seriously, I felt like I was being wrestled with and just wasn’t wrestling back. I guess he was pretty jammed in there. I heard them say something about how my muscles were strong. They started trying to get his head out and kept saying how big he was. He was only 36 weeks and 6 days, so they were expecting a smaller baby perhaps. They said they had to make the incision bigger to get him out. It felt like it was taking forever, but it was probably really only a couple of minutes. Dr. C was practically on top of me trying to get his head out. Finally, they got his head and out got the mirror ready for me to see. Wifey was trying to take pictures and then a nurse offered to take them from her side. They are pretty awesome I have to say and I’m glad to have them to accompany my memory which is a little fuzzy from the meds. The mirror didn’t give me the best vie,w but I did get to partially watch my son come out of my belly. It was crazy, amazing, exciting, bizarre and beautiful. They brought him around for us to see for a second and then took him over to the pediatric team. They told Wifey she could go over with him and she did after I told her I was okay. They only looked at him for a minute or maybe two at the most and brought him over for skin to skin. They put him on my chest and I couldn’t believe how tiny he was and bald! I was sure he would have been born with ¬†a full head of dark hair like I had. He was the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen and looked just like his ultrasound photos.

He didn’t try to breastfeed but he loved just lying on my chest. They finished the surgery and then wheeled us back to our labor and delivery room. We tried to get breastfeeding started, but he was too tired and unfortunately I was kind of out of it as well. It was also a pretty big fear/worry of mine that since he was early and came by c-section, breastfeeding would be hard if not impossible. They kept taking his temperature and said he was too cold and wanted to take him to the nursery. Wifey protested, but eventually we let them take him and of course she stayed with him the whole time. They were gone for about an hour and I drifted in and out of sleep during that time. The spinal started wearing off very slowly and the nurse kept assaulting/checking my uterus. It was the worst pain I think I’ve ever experienced. Every 15 minutes she pushed/massaged my uterus with what felt like was all of her strength. Yes, where I had just been cut open. OUCH! That went on for hours and I almost cried every time.

Finally Wifey and the babe came back and operation breastfeeding started again. He latched on pretty good, but was still so sleepy. We both wish we would have better advocated for him to stay with me, skin to skin would have warmed him up faster anyways. They really just wanted to weigh him and try to vaccinate him and give him eye goop. Then, Wifey called folks and let them know baby and I were safe and we’d call back later when we were ready for visitors. Originally, I didn’t want people to come visit at the hospital, but then I felt bad and decided it was okay.

It was finally time to move over to the postpartum wing. This was also one of the most painful experiences. I had morphine hooked up at this point and used it as often as I could. They gave me ice chips and then juice and crackers a while later. When those stayed down I was upgraded to the oral pain meds, which worked a lot better. We spent the rest of the day resting and snuggling and breastfeeding.

Getting the cathater out was pretty comical. As I menioned in the previous post, I had the best nurses because of my sister. That night (I don’t remember the time, but it seems like it was around 9:00 pm) they came and took out the cathater, which didn’t hurt at all. They helped me walk to the bathroom and instructed me to urinate. I sat there and tried and tried. I said maybe I had strage fright, so the nurse and HCA left for a minute. They came back and nothing, so they left again for a couple more minutes. They came back and still nothing so they started giving me tips, which didin’t work. The nurse grabbed the peri bottle and said she’d squirt while I tried, still nothing. They left again with the nicely worded hreat that if I didn’t urinate she’d have to re-cath me, this time without a spinal. Yikes! After a few minutes and lots of peri squirting…SUCCESS! I’ve never felt so proud.¬†

Apparently the nurses were all impressed with me and my strength. I was the talk of the nurses station, with adjectives like “rockstar” being tossed around. I certainly didn’t feel like a rockstar, but I guess I was moving better than most folks after a c-section. It didn’t feel too bad.¬†

I wanted a “natural” birth, the kind women’s bodies have been designed to have for thousands of years. I wanted to be at home with my wife and our amazing midwife; a group of strong women bringing new life into the world together. I didn’t view pregnancy and birth as anything medical, but I ended up with the most medicalized birth possible. It’s not what I wanted, and I am still grieving the loss of the birth I imagined I would have. For the few couple weeks after he was born I cried every time I thought about the birth and everything that led up to it. I still have a hard time talking about it, but it is our birth story. One that I hope to be able to share with out son one day from a place of strength and peace.¬†

His first moments and breaths on the outside (and yes the nurse’s finger is in all the pictures)

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Birth/Arrival Story Part 2

Sorry to leave you all hanging for so long. Newborns are hard work, especially when they think that your breasts are 24/7 pacifiers.

Okay…so Sunday the 15th was a super busy day. We did lots of last-minute nesting and working on unfinished projects. We went to a couple of nurseries and bought the rest of the veggie plants for our garden and planted most of them. We put the crib together. We didn’t pack a hospital bag though…oops. We finally went to bed and I got¬†up at about 1:00 to pee (yay third trimester!). I stood up and immediately thought I peed my shorts. ¬†I felt warm liquid running down my legs. Then, I thought this shouldn’t be happening my pelvic floor is like a rock, I do kegels all the time, I’m not even 40 weeks yet, I’ve never let out as much of a trickle of urine so far. I quickly waddled to the bathroom and sat on the toilet. I looked down and saw that my shorts were covered in blood. The toilet was full of blood. It looked like a crime scene from Dexter. I yelled to Wifey, but I didn’t think she heard me. ¬†I waddled to the closet and grabbed a towel to wash myself off and called for her again. She woke up this time and I told her we needed to go the hospital, lots and lots of blood, a trail from the bed to the bathroom, way more than on Saturday morning. I was freaked out, but tried to stay calm and quickly found some clothes to throw on and we rushed out the door.

We got to OB emergency and they started the same protocol as last time. They stuck long q-tips inside, looked at my cervix, hooked up monitors, started IV’s. They measured al the blood they took out of me and if I recall it was about 100 cc’s this time. Since it was my second bleed, they admitted me to labor and delivery and I got wheeled over there.

We had a lovely male OB for the night. I know a lot of women feel very strongly about having a female vs male OB, I am one of them. But this OB was great. He was the only Dr. throughout the whole ordeal, and my whole life really, who did a speculum exam that didn’t hurt…at all. AMAZING! He was also from Arkansas which was fun. He did more q-tipping around and I had monitors hooked up to me all night.If you haven’t had the pleasure of having to be monitored during pregnancy it’s impossible to sleep. You have an extremely tight ace bandage around your torso, and two very hard circles about 4′” in diameter ¬†(one for baby’s heartbeat and one for contractions) digging into your skin. It was not fun.The bleeding eventually stopped, but the nurse told Wifey I would likely be there until the baby was born. I was an emotional mess. I still had work projects to do, we didn’t have a hospital bag packed, we left our dogs home alone with no one to take care of them, the mural wasn’t done yet, I didn’t want a c-section, etc.

They didn’t have a bed for me in the “bed-rest” area so they had to put me in the area for moms with their new babies. I felt pretty out-of-place, one of the cleaning ladies came in and said “where’s your baby” and I pointed to my stomach. One of the great things about it though is that my sister is a nurse on the unit so I got the best care ever. She made sure I had great nurses and they all took good care of us.¬†Funny story…my sister works weekends and when we went to the hospital on Saturday I thought about telling her, but it was right after she¬†got¬†off work and I figured she was home trying to get some zzz’s. Then, while we were there she called and was not at all happy that I didn’t tell her we were there. She had forgotten something and came back to the hospital and randomly saw our car in the parking garage. So this time I called her when we were on our way up and since she was working she came to check on us and make sure everyone knew I was her sister and to take good care of me. It was cute and reminded me of being kids again, when I was known by the older kids as Em’s little sister.

So…for the forseeable future I was on bed rest, at the hospital. I could only get up to go the bathroom and shower. I emailed my boss to let her know, Wifey found someone to take care of the dogs for the week when my mom flaked and I spent a lot of the next few days crying. A different OB, Dr. N came Tuesday morning and said since I hadn’t bled again they would let me go home. I was ecstatic. We waited all day and finally had the nurses page the OB to find out what was going on. That’s when we¬†met a new OB, Dr. K. She explained that Dr. N was a resident and was wrong and he shouldn’t have said that without consulting with her first. ¬†Then, she said we should do a c-section right away, and that even though my placenta had moved it was highly unlikely that I would be able to have a vaginal delivery without hemorrhaging and needing an emergency c-section. She said that often times the bleeding gets worse each time and there was no reason to wait for it to become an emergency situation. We talked about our family centered c-section ideals and she assured us that we could have near immediate skin to skin, keep baby with us, breastfeeding right away and that they would find a mirror so that I could watch him being born (after they got his head out). We asked if they could do it on Saturday, because it was the Solstice and that would be an awesome birthday. She said she would find out and we asked her to come back later and we had a chance to talk. We decided we would schedule the c-section, but wanted it to be later in the week so that our little guy had at least 37 weeks on the inside. Dr. K. came back and explained that we could do it on Saturday, but Friday she could be there and so could Dr. C, our OB. Saturday would be whoever was on call, an OB we hadn’t met. So we talked to Activist Genius who said she could change her schedule to be there and we scheduled for Friday the 19th at 9:30 am.

Then, Wednesday morning Dr. N came back and said we could go home again. Because of what happened the day before we double checked with him and he said assured us that I could. We waited again all day and nothing. Then he and Dr. K came back and said I couldn’t go home. Talk about cruel. I cried a lot more. Then they said I could go home, but that they really didn’t want me to. Wifey and I talked about it and we decided she would go to work and we would head home that evening, just to have a couple of normal nights at home and so that I go to work and finish a couple of things, take one last belly bump photo. We got discharged at about 6:30 and headed home. ¬†It was so weird to be outside, just bizarre really, but wonderful.

My stepbrother and his girlfriend brought dinner to our house. We got home and I lounged¬†on the couch and explained the last few days to them while Wifey unloaded the car. We were just about to eat when I got up to go to the bathroom. As soon as I stood up I knew it was happening again. I shuffled quickly to the bathroom to find a massive amount of blood. I cleaned up and told Wifey it was happening again. I asked if we should wait and pack a bag this time, but Wifey was worried about having a significantly worse bleed so we left right away. My stepbrother and his girlfriend followed us up. This time they admitted me right away to labor and delivery and the same routine started. I was happy to see the awesome speculum Dr. again. This time Wifey watched him do his thing with the long q-tips. I looked at her and she was crying. I could tell whatever she was seeing was really scary. Turns out they were swabbing up blood they were using the q-tips to pull out blood clots. She said it was a pile as big as when you¬†make a circle by putting your thumbs together and fingers together. Does that make sense? If not…about as big as a grapefruit. They monitored me all night. The gang ate dinner while I suffered, not having eaten since noon that day. I barely slept at all.

Finally they came in and said they would do the c-section first thing in the morning. So many emotions. They started prepping me¬†and we called my parents to let them know what was going on. The actual birth story will be next and I ¬†promise it will be before two weeks. A couple recent photos to make up for taking so long ūüôā





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Birth/Arrival Story Part 1

On Monday, June 9th we had an appointment and ultrasound with our MFM OB. At our last appointment we had all pretty much decided and agreed that my placenta wasn’t going to budge and had agreed that this appointment would be to go over our birth plan and pick a c-section date. Activist Genius was planning on coming to the appointment with us, to advocate for a family centered cesarean and for scheduling purposes. Then, Activist Genius had to leave town at the last minute and wasn’t able to make it and it turned out she didn’t really need to be there.

Wifey missed the ultrasound because she had to work (the new job is very demanding…for now). This time they did a transvaginal ultrasound to get a better look because Bubbles’ head and arms were a little in the way the last time and now he was even bigger. Since it was a different type of ultrasound I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. It was also a different tech this time (all the other ultrasounds I had the same tech, who was awesome) this tech didn’t seem to know very much at all, or even why I was there. She asked me about cervical checks (not allowed with previa) and water breaking, etc. It was weird and a little concerning. Anywho, I asked the tech to show me the cervical os and the placenta. I realized it wasn’t covering my cervix at all and asked her if I was right. She said I was and measured how far away the edge of the placenta was, about 1.5 cm. I was beyond overjoyed. Previously, our OB said I could try a vaginal birth at 1 cm away in the hospital and home birth if it moved to 2 cm away.

Wifey came shorty after the ultrasound and I hesitantly shared the amazing news with her. I was trying not to get too excited until we met with the OB. When the OB came in, she said “Well we are going to have quite a different conversation than we all planned on”. She explained that I was still in the unpredictable zone, but that I could try a vaginal birth, in the hospital, if I wanted to. Or we could opt for a scheduled c-section at 39 weeks, but there was no need for the 37 week c-section anymore. And if I wanted we could do another ultrasound at 39 weeks, if it would impact my decision. We left the appointment ecstatic and trying to decide the best plan for our family. I was heavily leaning towards waiting for labor to start on its on and trying a vaginal birth. I wanted to talk to Activist Genius to see what she thought and was able to talk to her a few days later. She explained she didn’t have much advice because they don’t see these cases, they automatically transfer care with a previa, but she definitely supported my decision to try a vaginal birth.

Wifey and I had discussed how we could still have Activist Genius at the birth. Her last day at the hospital would be June 30th and with a due date of July 11th, it was unlikely I would go into labor before she left. We knew she’d be in Utah until at least mid July though. We came up with the idea of using her as a “doula”. I talked to her about it and although she said it was unconventional, she was happy to do it. Horray, our dreams of a vaginal birth, a full term baby and Activist Genius at the birth were all working out.

I told my boss the next day and said I’d be around for a few more weeks. I took on some new projects and procrastinated some things I should have done asap…oops. My sister cancelled her flight to be here to meet Bubbles and attend his naming ceremony. My dad went ahead and planned his road trip for the 29th- 6th, when the naming ceremony would be.

Then, Saturday the 14th, we were supposed to be interviewing a potential nanny. I woke up at about 7:00 am¬†to red blood. Not a lot of it, maybe like a period starting, but enough to call Activist Genius and head to the hospital. It’s crazy how many people ask you how much blood it was, like measuring blood is something we all do a lot, especially when it’s diluted in a toilet bowl. I had been spotting since the ultrasound, but when I talked to the MFM department they said since it was brown it was fine, I wish I would have known that it was a sign of what was coming.

Activist Genius met us at the hospital (seriously she is the most amazing midwife ever) and I got poked and proded and speculumed. They took out blood clots and weighed them, they said it was about 60 cc’s, plus whatever I lost at home. They kept me there for a few hours and finally sent us home and we continued to plan for the best.

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