Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Lucy's Birth

I thought I'd share my kiddo's birth stories. Lucy's is already written, so that is easy peasy. I need to write Ben's. I hope to post it later this week. Until then, enjoy Lu's!

While pregnant with Lucy, I went to the OB/GYN that I had seen since moving to Fort Worth. He was nice. I liked him alright. I knew I wanted to have a natural (meaning no drugs/intervention) childbirth and that Nathan and I would take childbirth classes. We chose The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth for our childbirth classes. We knew these were obviously geared towards natural childbirth and had heard great things about them. So, we signed up.

Our instructor, Donna, was great. We both liked her, but she seemed a little anti-medical community and really encouraged those of us with OBs to look for a midwife. Nathan and I both were not interested at all in a midwife. After all, they really don't know what they are doing, right? They aren't doctors, right?

Well, we had a lot to learn. Probably in the middle of our 12 week class, we realized that we really needed to talk to my OB about what we were looking for with our birth. Nathan and I both went to the appointment and were REALLY concerned after leaving. It was obvious that the intervention-free birth we wanted was not going to happen with him. He had a 25% c-section rate, 50% episiotimy rate, couldn't eat or drink during labor, had to have a IV, no walking around, etc. You get the picture...the "normal" picture for most people. It was at that point that we decided we needed to look elsewhere.

I was 32 weeks pregnant at this point and we were a bit nervous about changing so late in the game. But after much prayer and discussion, we decided to interview some midwives in the area. We found a group that we were really happy with and made the switch.

So, we finish our class while I am 36 weeks pregnant and wait...and wait...and wait. My estimated due date was August 19, 2006...right between my sister Suzanne's and Nathan's sister Erin's birthdays. It was a sad day when it came and went. I was beginning to think that this girl was never going to come out. Well, I knew she would, but I was ready to meet this little person already.

I had an appointment with my midwives on August 21, 2006 at 1:30 pm. It was uneventful and disappointing. I was still dilated to a 1-2 1/2, 60% effaced and at a -1 station. The same thing I had been a week earlier. I went home and cried after that appointment...cried and took some evening primrose to continue to soften my cervix. I was so sad thinking I might have to be induced (knowing that your chances of a natural childbirth decrease by 30% when you are induced).

After my nap I called Nathan at work, ready for him to come home. It turned out that he was really busy at work and needed to get this one project done. I was even more upset and emotional. I didn't need to be home alone after that kind of day...I needed company. So, I called up my good friend Nicole.

We ran some errands (mainly shopping at Target) and then went back to her house to have banana splits. While we were at Target I began to feel some light contractions. I didn't think much of it since I had been having braxton hicks contractions for weeks. When we got back to Nicole's they seemed to be increasing a bit in intensity and frequency. At about 8:30 or so I told Nicole I thought I should go home to concentrate on them more. I wanted to be sure this was actually labor and that Nathan would be home soon.

I got home at about 9:00 pm and Nathan at about 9:30 pm. In between the time I got home and Nathan did, the contractions were about 3 minutes apart, but not very intense. I decided to take a shower just in case this was labor since it could be a while before I got another one. For the next hour or so I would call out to Nathan when a contraction began and stopped. He had on a stop watch to time everything and was writing it all down. Nathan called our families to let them know that it looked like we were in labor, but would be taking it easy at home. Our goal was to labor as much as we could at home and get to the hospital when contractions for 2-3 minutes apart and 60 seconds long. He also packed up the car with all of our stuff for the hospital.

At some point (maybe around 11 pm) Nathan called our childbirth instructor. She advised that we try to get some sleep since it could be a while. So, I climbed into bed and would lift my hand to indicate the beginning and end of contractions. They were getting more intense, and I was definitely having to make myself relax through them.

I think I probably fell asleep in between contractions, because the time went by really fast. Nathan was asleep on the bed next to me. I did, however, have to go to the bathroom a lot. It finally got to the point where I was having to go with every contraction, but if I moved I would have another contraction. At this point I still really felt like we probably had a ways to go and I wasn't sure if I could keep this up for a long time.

At 1:30 am I woke Nathan up to see when he thought we could go to the hospital since I wasn't sure how much longer I could take all this. This was the only indication he got that I was in transition. So, Nathan got the last few things into the car (including lots of towels in my seat). The walk to the car was not fun, neither was the car ride. It was somewhat surreal. I couldn't believe after 40 longs weeks of waiting, we were going to finally meet our daughter for the first time.

We got to the hospital at about 2:15 am. I was admitted into the triage area, where I changed into a hospital gown and waited for Nathan to park the car. Our friend, Rebecca, met us in triage to take photos during the whole event.

I have to admit that I was not looking forward to being in the hospital, and especially triage. So, I was ready to get out of there and into the room with our midwife.

At this point I was really having a hard time relaxing through the contractions. They had slowed down a bit, but were still really intense. The triage nurse came in within 10 minutes or so to check me. To everyone's surprise, I was completely dilated. Yes, I was already 10 cm. I was immediately wheeled into a delivery room. There seemed to be lots of nurses moving about to get things set up and the contractions were getting easier to deal with (but that probably had more to do with my perspective and attitude).

Nancy, the midwife on call that night, came in to check on things. Since my labor had progressed so quickly, she wanted to rupture my bag of waters to be sure there was not any meconium in there. Well, there was...and lots of it...more than she had seen in her 30 years of practicing. Specifically, she said it looked like split pea soup.

This was a problem mainly for Lucy. If she breathed this in, she could have permanent lung damage or worse. So, things weren't going to be exactly as planned, but very close.

In retrospect, I had the urge to push when we got to the hospital, but didn't realize it. I believe I started to push at about 3:15 am. That was probably the most interesting of all, pushing a baby out.

Once Lucy's head was out, I had to quit pushing. The midwife then suctioned Lucy for a few minutes to get out as much of the meconium as possible, then I was able to push Lucy out completely and she was born at 4:16 am. Nathan cut her cord and she was taken to an area in the room to be suctioned and cleaned by NICU nurses (who were in there "just in case" things didn't go well).

Thankfully, they were able to get all the meconium out and there was never an issue. Lucy's apgar scores were 9 immediately and the second time taken, which was great!

I probably wasn't able to hold Lucy for 10-15 minutes, which really makes me sad to this day. I am so grateful that she is healthy due to excellent medical care, but mourn not getting to hold right after I delivered her and for breastfeeding to be postponed by an hour or so. But, she was healthy, and that is what matters.

I love to think about that night and morning. What a special time to experience the birth of your child. It was a precious time for Nathan and I, and we are so glad we chose this route and that we switched medical providers. It turns out that the midwife that caught Lucy had worked with our OB during his residency. She said that without a doubt I would have ended up with a c-section had we stayed with him. Unnecessary intervention was exactly why we switched, thank God we did.

I also want to add for anyone reading this and wondering if they could delivery naturally - YOU CAN! It is totally worth it. Childbirth is not as much painful, as it is intense. It has so much to do with our preparation, attitude and outlook before and during labor. Our childbirth class was awesome, and we highly recommend The Bradley Method and our instructor.


Haley Frederick said...

I loved reading that. I'm still hoping for a different outcome with the next one. I can't wait to hear Ben's story.

Mommypotamus said...

What a beautiful story! I'm so glad you had the courage to switch providers and work toward the birth that you wanted!