Sunday, October 16, 2011

Birth Story

I had a really hard time at the beginning of this pregnancy choosing a midwife.  I really wanted to use the one I used with Afton, but it wasn't a possibility this time.  I found two others that would work, but I just didn't feel comfortable with either of them.  There was no real reason for those feelings, but I couldn't get over them and I was feeling very anxious about the whole thing.  Then, I found out that a group of midwives that had formerly only done hospital births were now doing home births as well.  I was a little nervous about even meeting with them, because they were after all, "hospital midwives" and I didn't have much hope that I'd be able to get the birth that I wanted with them.  I did meet with them though and I was thrilled to find that they had the same ideas about what birth should be that I do.  I was still feeling a little sad that I couldn't use my other midwife, but I felt good about choosing this group.  Actually, I felt more than just good about the decision, I felt like it was right (more on that later).

My pregnancy was uneventful (just the usual all day nausea for about 7 of the nine months).  By 8 months, I had my pool and all my birth supplies ready.  I felt really ready to have the baby and be done with pregnancy.  Then, a week before my due date, I woke up in horrible pain.  It was pain I'd felt before, it was a kidney stone.  I spent hours switching back and forth between the couch with a heating pad and the shower with water as hot as I could stand it but this time the stone didn't pass.  Finally the pain was so unbearable that I had Ben call the midwives to see what I should do.  They had me call their backup OB and he said I should take some of the oxycodone I had left from my last kidney stone and try to wait it out a while longer.  By then, the pain was so bad that I was feeling horribly sick and I couldn't keep the medicine down.  I just absolutely felt like I wanted to die.  I've had three unmedicated births and this pain was so much worse than my most difficult labor.  

I finally ended up going to the midwives office and they started an IV both to rehydrate me and to try to flush the stone out.  They gave me something for the nausea and had me try the oxycodone again.  I still couldn't keep it down so they took me in to the hospital to get some relief.  During all this, one of the doulas who works with them and also works in their office (and also happens to be in our ward) had been calling around trying to find someone who could take the other kids for me.  One of my wonderful friends met Ben in the hospital parking lot and took them home with her for the rest of the day.  At the hospital, I was hooked up to a fetal monitor and given a dose of morphine through the IV.  I felt almost immediate relief.  After that, I was taken down for an ultrasound to see if the stone was visible, but because the baby was in the way, they couldn't tell where it was.

There was nothing they could do about the stone as long as I was still pregnant, and I couldn't keep taking morphine so we discussed inducing the next day if the stone hadn't passed on it's own by then.  I started having contractions on my own that were strong enough to wake me up on and off during the night and the next morning so my midwife checked me and I was three centimeters dilated (the stress from the kidney stone had made me go into labor).  My midwife decided to give me just a little bit of pitocin to speed things up.  Soon after that the anesthesiologist arrived to give me an epidural.  He told me he wasn't sure he'd be able to insert the epidural high enough to block the pain from the kidney stone without having it affect my lungs, but he'd try.  I was so afraid at that point.  Afraid of the epidural and afraid of the kidney pain coming back.  They wouldn't let me have the IV pain medicine during the birth and I couldn't even imagine trying to have a baby with that horrible pain.  Fortunately, the epidural completely took away the kidney pain.  It also took away ALL of the pain of the contractions.  I was having really intense contractions about 3 minutes apart at that point and I didn't feel a single one after the epidural was in.  The insertion wasn't as horrible as I had expected in to be.  I hated not being able to move though.  My legs felt really heavy and I was numb all the way to the middle of my ribs. 

I felt my water break about half an hour after the epidural was in.  In my previous labors, I always felt really terrible pain when that happened and my contractions intensified a lot but this time, I felt it break, but there was no pain and even though I could see on the monitor that the contractions were stronger, I still couldn't feel them at all. 

My midwife checked me again and told me I could start pushing.  Pushing without being able to feel the contractions felt so wrong!  I absolutely hated that!  As I started pushing, the room suddenly filled with doctors and other hospital staff.  I'm not completely sure who they all were, but one of them had a blanket draped over her arms and she was obviously waiting to be handed the baby as soon as it was born.  That really made me uncomfortable.  Right before Hanneke was born though, my midwife told everyone that she would be giving her to me.  She put her on my chest immediately and one of the people protested saying that she needed to take the baby and examine her since I had had the morphine the night before.  My midwife told her she was welcome to come and examine her while I held her, but that she wasn't cutting the cord yet so she couldn't take her.  The doctor looked really irritated, but went ahead and did the examination with me holding her.  She decided the baby was fine and left the room and everyone who had come with her followed.  I was so grateful to have my midwife there to speak up and not allow my newborn to be taken away from me and out of the room.  I was so grateful that I had been prompted to go ahead and meet with the "hospital" midwives even though I had thought there was no chance I would choose them.  I was so grateful to have a midwife with hospital priveleges so I was able to have someone I already had a relationship with there to deliver my baby instead of whatever random OB happened to be on call that day. 

Hanneke was born at 1:38 pm after just 2 hours of real labor.  She weighed 8 lbs 12 oz and was 20.5 inches long.

The rest of my time in the hospital was pretty miserable.  People wouldn't stop asking if I wanted them to take the baby to the nursery for a while I could get some rest.  I couldn't get them to understand that it wasn't the baby that was keeping me up.  It was all the different nurses coming in every few hours through the day and night to check me and check the baby.  I finally asked to be discharged a day early and went home to get some real rest. 

It wasn't the birth I was hoping for, but things went as well as they could considering the circumstances.  The kids all love Hanneke and she fits into our family perfectly.  We're so grateful to have this wonderful little baby.