Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Birth Story, or the Best Laid Plans

Warning, this story could be a trigger for those with negative birth experiences or birth trauma.

We had originally planned a homebirth, but around 37 weeks I "risked" out of homebirth. So then we planned on laboring at home and transferring to the hospital before I was in transition. However, at about 38 weeks we discovered I had polyhydramnios (excess fluid). By the day before my due date my fundal height was measuring at 57 weeks. They estimated the baby to be at least 9 lbs but more likely 10. So we opted to induce because the extra fluid was putting me more at risk for uterine rupture (I was a VBAC) and cord prolapse if my water broke.
So we tried on Tuesday, the 16th, nothing happened, and we were sent home. We were very optimistic that a few more days would get us to where we needed to be. And I did everything during that time. I walked, did acupunture, moxibustation, castor oil and the list goes on.

Well after starting contractions at home at 2:30 am Saturday morning, we checked into Overland Park Regional for our second try at induction. We tried to break my water and couldn't, so we started pitocin. It took about 6 hours to get to 1 cm. Since I was a VBAC, we couldn't use cervical softening gel. At midnight, now at 2 cm, we broke my water, which was interesting since I had such an excessive amount.
The internals were as bad as with the first induction. My cervix was very high and hard to reach. They tried using a speculum to view it and break my water several times. I screamed a lot. DH actually made the doctor stop at one point. So my nurse had the brilliant idea to give me a little staydol (sp?) to help take the edge off. I was told I would still feel pain but I wouldn't care because I would feel sort of drunk. Ok, if it meant getting the water broken, I was game.
Take away all sense of rational thought and leave the pain while people are holding you down to do an internal. I think this was the moment when everyone realized the internals were causing me genuine pain. My husband actually gave me his belt to bite down on, which everyone thought was weird according to him, but I thought was genius. Because I know I was screaming at the top of my lungs. I felt her break the water and started screaming, "You did it, now get out!" They ended up giving me 2 grams of staydol. So now my contractions were incredibly intense and coming every 2 minutes but I had no capacity for rational thought. Some of this was funny. I told my husband that we were all fruit salad and that I knew we weren't actually fruit salad, but we were (pretty much direct quote). But mostly I was convinced my uterus was rupturing based on the pain and I kept asking them if Syd was ok and to check the monitor.

It's amazing how hard those contractions got when there was less water in there. I was still only at 3 cm and the contractions were coming every 2 minutes still. At 4 am, after being up for over 24 hours with contractions, I talked epi. Everything about the birth so far was unnatural. I had like 5 monitors in my hoo-ha alone, so all my grand notions of beautiful natural birth were shot. I knew that if we could get me to 10, I would have nothing left because it was going to be hours and hours more. My MW actually just looked at me and said to get it. There was no way we could keep going at this rate. So I did it. I hated the feeling, but I was able to sleep. Four hours later, I woke up to feeling pressure down there. We thought this was a great sign, since we were told I would start to feel the contractions more when I was getting closer. So the nurse came in and we were all so optimistic. At 9 am after checking my measurements over night (very strong contractions 2 minutes apart for 4 hours), we found out baby was engaged but I was still only 3 cm. Due to the excess fluid, she had engaged at an angle. The doctor offered to let us go a while longer, but with the issue of the fluid broken, and a baby that was in a poor position to help my cervix dilate, we decided on a c-section. I couldn't see putting her and myself through more stress, when it had taken me 9 hours to get from 2-3 and the situation looked poor. When we finally got into the Operating room, we discovered her head was tipped to the side (her temple was against my cervix so there was not enough pressure to dilate) and her cord was around her neck, so in the long run I'm glad we didn't try to deliver her under those circumstances.
The doctor against hospital wishes went ahead and took out the cyst they had found. It was a dermoid and it was huge. They had to remove part of my ovary. By far, the most painful aspect of recovery has been from that part of the surgery.
The surgery took forever. The doc opened along my original single layer incision and made it a double layer so i only have "one" scar on my uterus. They kept her in the room with me and let me cuddle her and then took us all down to my room to do the rest of the tests and what not. My MW was with us the whole time and it was comforting to have her there so Josh could go and get pics and video when she was born.  She weighed in at 8 lbs 11 oz and was down to 8.4 later that day, which I think is her adjusted weight after all the IV fluids.  She was born on her due date.

It was a much better c-section than the first, but DH and I had agreed that likely we wouldn't have more kids if we wound up with another surgery, so I have been struggling a little with that.
I also developed anemia and an infection and my pain meds make me black out, so I am under constant supervision. I'm not very good at feeling vulnerable, so this is hard for me. But Sydney is perfect and we both adore her.

Update: At 9 days postpartum I was readmitted for severe mastitis, a UTI, and an infection in my incision. It was pretty scary. I was released on oral antibiotics after a 2 night stay.

As you can imagine, the transition has not been easy. I'm struggling with a toddler and newborn at home and with memories of my birth. I'm in no way disappointed with my baby, but I am very disappointed in my body.