Friday, February 25, 2011

Slideshow of my pregnancy and L's 1st year.

Okay so his name is in the video. Oh well! I'm not redoing the video, it took me weeks!  :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

L's Birth Story - Part 3 (as observed by my birth doula)

This is my secondborn's birth, as described by my birth doula. I have changed it only to remove my children's names, the rest of her writing is intact :) I can't get the included pictures to copy over, sorry! Most were the same as the ones I posted already though.
The Birth of Baby #2

Friday, June 26, 2009   11:23 a.m.

As Observed by Barbara Pal, Trained Birth Doula (DONA)

Dear Baby,                               

I first met your Mom in the Autumn of 2008. We were at a weekend doula course together, learning how to help a Mommy who is ready to have her baby. Mom told us that weekend that she had just learned you were growing in her womb, and everyone was very happy for her. I remember thinking Mom was a thoughtful, quiet, smart woman. I was impressed that her Mother (your Grandma) ran a business helping birthing Mothers, and I thought Mom must know a lot about birth.

During the course, we all got to know each other and enjoyed each other. After the course was over, we were invited to be part of a group that would keep in touch online. We were all excited to start our work and keep in touch with each other, sharing stories and helping one another.

In December, a couple of weeks before Christmas, Mom asked me to get in touch with her. She asked me if I would be her doula and we would meet with Daddy so we could be sure that we were all comfortable with each other. I was very excited and honoured that Mom asked me to help her when it was time for you to be born. Mom said your family would be busy with Christmas activities, so we agreed to meet in the new year, after things settled down a bit.

We agreed to meet in January, but Mom got very sick, so we decided to put it off a bit. Also Dad was busy with school on the weekends. Eventually we agreed on a time I would come by to have a visit and a chat. We drank tea while Big Brother played around us, and Dad came over so we could all meet each other. It was a nice visit and I felt excited because I liked Mom, Dad and Big Brother a lot, and was so happy Mom asked me to be a part of this special time of their lives.

We spoke on and off over time. Mom got busy sewing diapers for your arrival. She did some more reading to prepare for your birth. She had some aches and pains that reminded her just how much her body was changing as you were growing inside her womb. Soon came spring, and then came the summer. Mom, Dad and Big Brother waited for you to come.
Then one morning, on Friday June 26th, 2009 Mom woke up at about 4 in the morning with strong contractions. They were coming every 3-5 minutes and lasting 1 minute long. Mom went to the washroom and sat there for awhile, went to the living room and sat on the birthing ball for awhile, and then she tried to go back to sleep. But the message from her body was strong and would not let her fall back to sleep -- it was your day to come. Mom went to the living room and called Daddy. Dad was in the basement working on the broken computers. He didn’t hear Mom for awhile and then heard a noise. He thought that was Big Brother calling out from his bed. Then he realized it was Mom calling him. “What?” Dad shouted. “Come here!” Mom said. Dad came upstairs and then realized Mom was in labour. It was finally time for you to come.

Dad called me at 6:00 a.m. I answered the phone from my bed, where I was sleeping with my baby. I hopped in the car and called Dad back to see how Mom was doing. She was doing fine and Dad's voice sounded very excited. When I arrived at around 7:30 a.m. and Dad was on the porch, talking on the cell phone, with a huge smile on his face. I knew he was excited that you would finally be born and it made my heart smile to see it. Mom was in the washroom with Grandma, hugging and breathing through contractions. The midwives, Tracy and Carla, were there when I arrived. Tracy had come from another birth and was a bit tired. Big Brother was already gone. We slowly moved into the living room and Mom sat on the birth ball. People were excited and chatting. Mom leaned forward to hug Grandma, and then later hug Dad, while I rubbed her back. Aunt Rebecca arrived and her eyes were sparkling with excitement and joy. She kneeled down at Mom’s side waiting to see how she could help. So many people were excited for your coming! Mom told me she couldn’t believe that this was it, you were really coming now!

 After awhile people quieted down so we could give Mom a chance to focus on her breathing and her body. Her contractions started to get stronger and Mom was feeling tired because she had gotten very little sleep. She leaned over the ball while Aunt Rebecca rubbed her back. I stroked Mom’s head and hair, shoulders and arms. We helped her relax between contractions and breathe through them. All of a sudden Mom turned and vomited on the sheet set up on the living room floor where she was planning to birth. The midwives rushed to bring a bowl to Mom. We were excited and happy that she vomited because we knew this was a good sign that her labour was progressing and we were getting closer to meeting you.

I asked Mom when was the last time she had a pee – and it had been sometime early in the morning. We slowly walked Mom over to the washroom so she could pee – we knew this would help you move further down because an empty bladder would not block your way. I sat on the edge of the tub and hugged Mom during her contractions, rubbing her lower back. Tracy popped her head in to see how things were going since Mom felt a little pushy.

Mom returned to the living room and leaned over the birthing ball again. The contractions were getting very intense and Mom was tired. She leaned forward quite a bit and her shoulders came down low to the ground while her hips stayed up. Grandma, Aunt Rebecca, Dad and I were trying to help Mom feel comfortable by rubbing her, breathing with her, stroking her hair and body. I spoke to Mom in a calm, comforting voice and helped her use the time between contractions to rest and relax. At times the room got completely quiet while we were in tune with Mom’s birth rhythm. There was a quiet power in the room.

Tracy suggested Mom sit on the birthing stool for a little while – or not. Mom sat on it while leaning back against Aunt Rebecca. Grandma stood between Mom’s knees and helped her breathe. I brought her a cool wet cloth for her forehead and neck. Mom was feeling discouraged and was in a lot of pain. She said, “I can’t do it! Take me to the hospital for an epidural now!” Dad, Grandma, Aunt Rebecca and I all told her that we were totally confident she *could* do it. It is normal for women at this stage of labour to feel this way, and we would help her work through it. She prepared so much for this day to have her baby born at home, without drugs or needles, to be able to walk around, to rock and sit and step, to move in the ways that felt right to help you to be born. If anyone could do it, we knew Mom could! We offered a warm rice sock for the pain in Mom's lower tummy and even some frozen juice cans, but these things didn't feel right for her. So I suggested Mom step in the shower because sometimes warm water helps labouring Mothers feel less pain.

Tracy checked the opening of Mom’s birth tunnel to see if Mom was ready to push you out yet. Her contractions were very strong, close together and long. Usually this means it is close to the time that a Mommy is ready to push her baby out. Tracy felt that Mom still had some time to go and noticed that Mom’s low shoulder/high hip position got you moving back up into her womb. We wanted you to come the other way, not go back up! Tracy said getting up, walking around and getting into the shower was a good idea. Aunt Rebecca and I each took a side and hoisted Mom up under her arms. We put her arms over our shoulders and slowly shuffled over to the washroom, telling Mom all the while that she could do it! We were so proud of her. She was at a very hard part of labour and was working so hard in body, mind and spirit.

In the shower Aunt Rebecca hugged Mom and rocked with her while Mom cried. Mom knew it would be very hard work for her body to bring you out and she was tired. I turned on the shower and we found a warm temperature that felt good to Mom. Aunt Rebecca sang a hymn in her beautiful voice to comfort Mom. Tracy the midwife popped her head into the bathroom and smiled -- Aunt Rebecca's voice was very comforting. Dad came by to see how Mom was doing and she told him, “Don’t leave!” When Mom was feeling very scared and tired, wanting to go to the hospital, Aunt Rebecca told her, “No, you can do this! We all believe in you. This is what you have been wanting. You are a strong woman! You can have this baby at home naturally.” She gathered her arms around Mom even more tightly and swayed and rocked with her. Aunt Rebecca told her many wonderful encouraging soothing words to help Mom get through this difficult time. It was very beautiful to hear and see. I rubbed Mom’s back and poured water from a little cup on her body to help comfort her. Mom later said the water helped a little bit and was distracting. After awhile Dad left when Mom was unhappy with him there, and we all chuckled at the things she said. We knew it was normal for a Mom at this stage of labour to be feeling like Mom did.

When we moved back to the living room, Tracy again checked Mom. She suggested breaking Mom’s water because Mom felt soooo much pressure, and your little watery bag had not burst yet. We knew it would help you be in Mom’s arms more quickly. Mom agreed. Tracy and Carla also helped stretch the last little bit of cervix over your head so Mom could begin pushing you out.

Mom growled like a Bear Mama and called out like a Warrior Woman. She prayed and worked very hard to get you moving down and out. She leaned back against Aunt Rebecca's lap and pulled her knees up to push you out. Aunt Rebecca held Mom's hands as Mom pushed. "Baby, get out!" Mama Bear said to her Little Cub. The midwives knew you were a big baby making your slow way out to meet the world, and this was very hard work for Mom. Everyone made a circle around Mom and the midwives told everyone to be quiet so they could work with Mom and help you be born in a healthy way. Suddenly Tracy said, I see hair! Mom did not believe her, but she brought a mirror and Mom's eyes popped open. She touched your little head and was so happy to see it that it gave her a burst of energy to keep pushing you out.

My favourite part of your birth came next. Mom was resting after having pushed your little head all the way out. You were halfway between two worlds: the warm dark world inside Mama's body, and peaking out into the bright wonderful world where your loving family and life were waiting for you. We all sat there in great excitement because Mom was doing it and you were about to be born. I was amazed at the beauty of Mom's power and strength through this difficult mind, body and spirit battle. It was such a beautiful and powerful moment. Tracy noticed you had your umbilical cord wrapped around your neck. She went to cut it but decided to see if she could slip it over your head. She was able to do so. Your shoulders were a little sticky and Tracy the midwife placed her hands carefully on either side of your ears, and gently but firmly eased you out while Mom pushed. You were born at 11:23 a.m.

Tracy placed you on Mom's chest when you were born and everyone was so excited and happy. Mom was relieved. After a few moments Carla, the second midwife, took you over to the table so she could help clear the fluid from your airway, and help you breathe the fresh air from the world. Mom felt cold lying on the living room floor on the bed sheet, so Aunt Rebecca and I got socks, a warm rice sock, and blankets for her.

A short while after, Carla brought you over to Mom and lay you on her warm chest, hoping you would catch the rhythm of Mom's breathing. You were still grunting and Carla took you back to the table. She asked everyone to be quiet, turned the lights down low, and placed her hands on your little body. Dad, who had been a firefighter, said they were trained to put babies on their stomach after they were born to help clear the fluid out of the baby's lungs. Carla turned you over and it worked. She did a Newborn Assessment and found that you were 8 lbs and 13 oz. and 21.25" long. A big lovely round baby!

At 12:30 p.m. we set Mom up by the sofa to breastfeed. You latched on and did just great. Grandma went to get juice, muffins and Timbits. I decided then to say goodbye, because I wanted to get out of the way and let Mom to have this special loving bonding time with her little family.

Time passed and you grew. Big Brother was so happy to have a little brother. There were some rough nights for you and Mom with crying, and Dad helped rock you to comfort you. You and Mom had some breastfeeding troubles but got some good help, so things got better. Once in awhile Mom went in to Grandma's store to work and help out there.

I visited you, Mom, Dad and Big Brother with my little girl Emi, later in the summer, after you had grown a bit. You were a very beautiful baby and I was so pleased to be able to hold you close! The grown ups chatted and you napped.  Big Brother and Emi took turns riding the car outside, figuring out how to share something they both wanted. (This is something we do our whole lives!)

I had really enjoyed working with your family and could see you were surrounded by love.

Baby, may you be inquisitive, resourceful, and determined like your mother. May you be independent minded and adventurous like your father. May you live a healthy, joyful life surrounded by love.

Peace and blessings,

Barbara Pal
Trained Birth Doula (DONA)

Monday, February 21, 2011

L's Birth Story - Part 2

So after about 7 hours of labour, Tracy announced that I could start pushing. I did not feel an urge to push, but wanted it to be over ASAP so I push anyways.
Tracy manually dilates me because I’m so exhausted and well past my limit (so I feel). She helps position his head into a better position as I try to push by pushing the left side of his head BACK IN since his head is tilted to the right. This hurts badly but I’m in so much pain that it doesn’t really matter. I’m desperate. I beg again for an epidural.

Tracy tells me she sees hair. I debate in my mind whether she’s lying to me to try to encourage me. I think to myself that if she is, it’s awfully mean of her as I’ll find out at some point.

Hubby says he sees the head is coming. I think he’s still way up there so I reach my hand down and am surprised to feel about a 2” diameter of head. It’s very squishy. Now I believe that they’re telling the truth. Someone grabs a mirror and I’m thrilled to see his head. The mirror makes a huge difference and is very encouraging to me.

His head rocks in and out for about 10 minutes, it feels like forever to me. Tracy is concerned about shoulder dystocia. She has me pull my knees up as close to my ears as I can get them (McRobert’s position). I'm flat on my back. I don't want to be here. His head finally comes out. The cord is around his neck. Tracy reaches to cut and clamp and then changes her mind and lifts it over his head.

His shoulders are stuck and take some huge pushes and assistance from Tracy to get them out. I feel something crack just before his shoulders were born, I think it was my tailbone. It’s so loud that my mom said she heard it too. I feel so good after he is out and I am shocked and amazed that I did it. He was born at 11:23 am.

They put him on my chest for a few seconds but have to take him to the table for suction and oxygen because he is grunting. They guess he’s around 8.5 lbs.

Hubby, Baby, Carla

The placenta is born 6 minutes later. Tracy tells me not to worry, there’s no bones, it’ll come out easily. That one statement – there’s no bones – makes all the difference for me and I push it out easily. The placenta is big, much bigger than they’re used to seeing. Tracy tells me that it has grey spots on it which means it was starting to not function as well. I’m not concerned as I know this is often what triggers labour to start.

Tracy recommends that I get a shot of pitocin. We’d discussed it previously and I wanted to avoid it if possible. Due to his large size, difficult birth, the large size of the placenta (and thus a large wound left behind), and the manual manipulation of my cervix and his head on the way out, she recommended strongly that I get it. I agreed. I also allow fundal massage, something I’d wanted to avoid, for the same reasons.

I ask if I’ve torn. I have only a small skid mark, no tears at all. I didn’t need any stitches. I tore in 3 places with Five, all of which required stitches and left me in significant pain for several weeks.

I’m cold and shivering so Barb and Becca put warm rice socks by my legs and pile blankets on top of me. It feels so good to be at home, with my own blankets on me, instead of in the hospital trying to get warm with those thin sheets that they call blankets.

11:36, they bring him back to my chest to see if that helps stop the grunting. It doesn’t so they take him back to the table and discuss with Hubby which hospital they should take him to.

They try one more thing. They tell everyone to be quiet and turn down the lights to try to get him to relax. Hubby is sitting with him. I’m praying. Hubby is a former firefighter so he has first aid training and has delivered babies on the side of the road after car wrecks. One of the things they are told is to put the baby on its stomach to help it expel mucous and breathe more easily. He suggests this to Carla, who flips him to his stomach. He stops grunting.

Baby, Carla's hands

They weigh him and he is 8 lbs, 13 oz! 1 lb and 4 oz bigger than A was! He has a lot of fat on his body. I tell them that I am very glad that I did not know he was that big as I would have had an even harder time birthing him had I known that. 12:34, they bring him to me to breastfeed. He does great.

Hubby and my mom go out to get coffee, muffins, and timbits (at my request, I’m ravenous and craving timbits!). Barb has to leave.

Vitamin K shot is given. He doesn’t cry until after the shot. We declined the eye goop (ask me why if you want to know more about it).

My dad arrives with flowers. Gerbera daisies – my favourite – are among others in the bouquet, and an “It’s a boy!” balloon.

After 30 minutes or so, Becca takes L so I can go pee. I’m not bleeding a lot which is great.

Auntie Becca with Baby :)

My mom makes up my bed and I settle down there with L. Everyone drifts out. Hubby naps on the couch and L and I nap in the bed. The house is so peaceful.

Mom comes back in the evening with dinner and cleans up the house. I’m sore and stiff but able to walk much more easily than I was after A was born.

Baby holding Hubby's finger

The next day I’m bleeding like around the middle of my period. The day after that, it’s like the end of a period. I bled a lot more after A's birth, and for almost 5 weeks! I’m pleasantly surprised that, despite his larger size, I’m recovering from the birth much more quickly.

Wendy visits me the morning after he is born (Saturday). She notices that he’s tongue tied. After she points it out, it’s so obvious that I’m surprised no one noticed it the day before. (I regret not taking a picture of it as it was quite a sight – his frenulum was all the way to the end of his tongue, and very tight.)

Saturday afternoon A comes home. He’s thrilled to meet L and also thrilled to get two new transformer toys. He begs to hold L and I get some great pictures. So far, he’s very gentle with him and runs to him all concerned if he cries.

My 2 boys!

My milk comes in 2 days after he’s born, almost to the hour. After 3 days, my tailbone is still quite sore. I’m barely bleeding at all. I’m able to manage stairs, although I only use them when necessary (our nicer shower is downstairs).

3 days after his birth, Wendy visits me again. He’s 8 lbs, 15 oz! I didn’t expect him to lose much weight, but I totally didn’t expect him to actually gain weight! (Five was 7 lbs, 9 oz at birth and 7 lbs when we left the hospital 1.5 days later.)

Baby in Wendy's scale

He’s peeing and pooing well, the meconium is gone now. We took him to get his tongue tie released. The next day, the difference with breastfeeding is incredible. He’s able to open his mouth about 50% wider and take much more of the breast into his mouth. I have very little pain, which lessens more with each feeding.

Baby on the way to get frenulectomy done. 1st time in the carseat and NOT happy to be there!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

L’s Birth Story - Part 1

I had a very uneventful pregnancy with L. I was hospitalized only once. At 28 weeks, I had a bad flu and was dehydrated which was causing contractions. This was scary as it was the same timing (28 weeks) that I’d gone into preterm labour with A.  I called hubby to come home from school and he took me to the closest hospital. My midwife doesn’t have privileges there, but they did check me to see if I was dilating, which I wasn’t. Phew. So, since we knew we had time, we went over to the hospital that my midwife does have privileges at. After 2 bags of fluid in an IV and some Tylenol, the contractions stopped. She said that she could have done a fetal fibronectin test that would tell us if the baby was going to try to come in the next 2 weeks but it requires a total sterile environment and since the first hospital had checked me, she couldn’t do the test. Oh well. I went home and took Tylenol and gravol and slept well and was much better the next day.

I had Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD), combined with sciatica, from about 6 or 7 months on. I bought a pregnancy support belt and was able to walk with it on.  I also went to a chiropractor regularly throughout my pregnancy, hoping to avoid the back labour of last time.

I was very excited to be seeing midwives for my prenatal care rather than my family doctor. This was for several reasons.
1. My midwives would spend 45-60 minutes per appointment with me. They had no problem just chatting with me about how the pregnancy was going and making suggestions here and there. My appointments with my family doctor during my first pregnancy averaged 5-10 minutes. I always felt she was rushed (she was) as she had many clients. I often had to stop her at the door as she was headed out in order to ask her questions.
2. I could have a homebirth! I was SO excited about this opportunity. The midwives discussed my husband's concerns and my mom even came with to one appointment to discuss it with them and left fully supportive of it. I didn't have many concerns because of all of the research I'd done. I'll discuss why I was so excited about homebirth in another post.
3. I wanted a more physiologically normal birth. No interventions if possible, no drugs, etc. I felt that getting prenatal care from midwives was the best way to achieve this goal.

My estimated due date was July 3rd, which is my father-in-law’s birthday. We thought that was cool – July 1st would be Canada Day, July 3rd would be his birthday, and July 4th was... well, the 4th of July lol. L didn’t pick any of those birthdates though! I think he wanted his own day :)

36 weeks

I woke up on Friday, June 26, 2009 at 4:14 am with contractions 3-5 minutes apart and 1.5-2 minutes long. They were very strong and took my full concentration to cope. I tried to go back to sleep but it was not going to happen. I sat on my exercise ball for awhile.

I called for Hubby at 5:20 to come and help me. He thought my moaning was A. He cleaned the house quickly, timed a few contractions, and questioned whether it was true labour – I assured him that it was and begged him to call the midwife IMMEDIATELY.

I had all of the supplies gathered for the birth, but nothing was set up and Hubby didn’t know where anything was. I’d expected labour to start slow and ramp up and that I’d have plenty of time to set things up. I actually planned to bake the baby a birthday cake while in labour in order to distract myself and have something to do. Instead, I was immobilized. Hubby did a good job setting up despite not knowing where anything was or where it was supposed to go.

About an hour later, he tried to figure out how to page Wendy Wong, my primary midwife. He finally just handed me the phone and I called her. She was off call so I paged Tracy Franklin, my secondary midwife.  When she called back, I was on the toilet so Hubby answers. She was just finishing up at a birth – baby was already born – so she paged another midwife to come to me. The toilet was making the contractions worse – same as with A’s labour. Hubby suggested that I take a bath. I decided to shower instead and quickly changed my mind and filled up the tub - go ahead hubby, say "I told you so" :). The water helped somewhat – more as a distraction between contractions than anything else. Contractions spaced out a small amount, which I was thankful for.

Tracy arrived at 7:10. The midwife she’d paged had happened to walk into the hospital for a meeting so Tracy got her to finish up at that birth so she could come to me. I was VERY happy to see her. I’d been having visions of birthing my baby myself in the tub, the labour was that intense. She checked me and I was 6, maybe 7, cm. Hubby called my mom, doula Barb, and sister-in-law Becca to come. Noone answered at Josh & Becca’s house.

I was coping fairly well through the very intense contractions – moaning and singing. I couldn’t wait for someone else to arrive so that I was not alone as Hubby and Tracy were setting up for the birth. I didn’t need anyone to tell me what to do, just someone to be there with me. “Hold the space” as we learned in my doula class.

Shortly after Tracy arrived, my mom and younger brother Rich showed up. Rich took A to Josh & Becca’s house. I had originally wished that he could be there, but I was relieved that he was gone as I was in so much pain, more than I ever imagined I could be in, and I didn’t want to scare him. He’s not one to sit quietly and observe what’s going on. He asks a million questions and tries to help and asks me for things and I just couldn’t deal with that in the moment.

I got out of the tub as the water was getting cold and sitting on the hard tub bottom was not helping (throwing folded towel into the tub would have helped to cushion my bottom – I’ll remember this for next time). I leaned on my mom for awhile and we swayed through the contractions.

I don’t remember when the other midwife, Carla, arrived.

Barb arrived around 7:30. Becca had finally been reached and was on her way. Contractions were getting more intense and the pressure was constant even between contractions. After ½ hour or so, I sat on the birth ball for awhile with Barb behind me on the couch and Hubby in front of me on a chair.

Clockwise from left: Becca (SIL), Hubby, me, Barb (Doula)
Barb rubbed my back. I was surprised and disappointed that the double hip press, which had been SO helpful during A’s birth, was painful during this one. So Barb just brushed my back lightly with her fingertips, which didn’t really help with the pain but it felt nice so I guess it was a good distraction at least. Becca arrived around 8:00.

At some point I turned around, kneeling on the floor and leaning forward over the birth ball. This felt a lot better, some of the incredibly intense pressure is relieved. This is the only position that I found during my entire labour and birth that I was remotely comfortable in. While in this position, I threw up. One of my midwives said “That’s usually good for 1-2 cm!” which was encouraging to hear.

Becca, me, Barb
Barb had to remind me to go to the bathroom to pee. I didn’t want to move and didn’t want to sit on that uncomfortable toilet, but with her encouragement, I did. When I got back, I went on the ball again then Barb suggested that I change position since I’d been on the ball for awhile.

I attempted the birthing stool and didn’t like it at all (too much like sitting on the toilet – it put pressure on the wrong places and made me more uncomfortable). The contractions were really getting away from me. I was getting very discouraged and begged to transfer to the hospital for an epidural.

Becca, me, Barb
Tracy checked me and said I was 7-8 cm. (Barb told me long after the birth that when Tracy checked me, I’d gone backwards 1 cm and she recommended the position change, I may have regressed because my shoulders were a little lower than my hips while I was leaned over the ball so the baby’s head wasn’t well applied to the cervix. I am VERY grateful that I was not told that I had regressed 1 cm as that would have crushed me. I was on such thin ice as it was, trying to keep it together.)

L was at -2 station and his head was bent off to the side, towards his right shoulder. Tracy wanted me to get upright and move so Barb suggested that I take a shower. I was whiney and didn’t want to move, I just wanted an epidural. Barb and Becca nearly carried me to the shower. The whole time I was pissed that I did all that work for “one lousy cm” and did the math that if it took 3 hours for 1 cm, how much longer it’ll take for the remaining 2-3 cm. I didn’t want to do it. This was at about 10:15 am.

Becca and I in the shower

The shower helped marginally but the contractions were still getting more intense. Becca sang hymns to me, trying to help me relax. Her voice sounded so sweet and I think it helped me come down from full-blown panic. I begged each person in turn to take me to the hospital for an epidural or caesarean. I was convinced that I absolutely cannot continue. Every person refused. I was frustrated that I didn’t get my way. I yell at them, “You’re not listening to me!” although I knew they were. Hubby told me that there’s nothing they can do to help me and I yelled at him, “You don’t know how much pain I’m in!” I told him that he’s going TOMORROW to get a vasectomy. Hubby told me that at one point I complained to him that he was “just being mean.”
I thought to myself that something must be wrong that I’m in such extreme pain. I begged God for a break. Just 20 minutes with no contractions. Everyone assured me that I’ll get a break after he’s born.

Tracy gave me some homeopathic medicine that might help turn his head straighter. I liked the taste of it, it tasted like sugar.

Around 10:45 I started to feel pushy so I get out of the shower and head back to the living room. I knelt and leaned on the ball and tried a few pushes. The first one felt really good, but after that the contractions consumed me and I could not conceive expending any energy with pushing, it’s all I could do to get through the contractions. I told Barb that he’s too big to come out. I ordered Hubby to call 911. He didn't of course.
Tracy reminded me that she could do AROM and told me to let her know if I wanted it done. I told her to "do it now". I was SO tired and desperate for anything to shorten the labour. I was no longer concerned about AROM making the labour more difficult as it was already way past my tolerance level, it didn't really matter if it was any worse. I tried to moan through them but they were so intense that it came out as a scream much of the time.

I got a brief moment of relief when she broke my water. I was then a solid 7 cm and his head, which had been floating, was now well applied but still wasn’t straight. The fluid was clear (no meconium).

Around 11, Tracy checked and I was a stretchy 9 cm, maybe 10 with a lip. It was time to start pushing!

(To be continued...)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lack of posts

I sincerely apologize. I've been meaning to post One's birth story but life has intervened. I'm now sick so I don't know when I'll get around to it - whenever I'm feeling better and have the time and mental capacity to write. My brain is too foggy right now.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Five’s Birth Story - Part 3

If you haven't read parts 1 & 2 yet, here they are:

What I learned from the pregnancy and birth of my first child.

When his amniotic sac leaked at 16 weeks, I learned to trust my intuition and the words of wise women around me more than that of my doctor. I’ve heard of women in similar situations who have gone in for D&Cs after a few days when their body did not expel the baby. I refused to believe the bad report that my doctor gave and clung on to the hope from my cousin that all was not lost.

When I went into preterm labour, I learned just how necessary hospitals, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and everyone else involved in emergency care really are. I am eternally grateful to those who helped me during what was the scariest moment of my life, up until that point and even since that point. I do believe they are too involved in the care of low risk pregnancies and births, but there truly is a place for them and a role for them to serve in caring for high risk pregnancies and births. They’re great to have around during true emergencies

I also learned that yes, they are indeed human. I cannot rely on them 100%. They do make mistakes and I have to be on my toes and hopefully, between the whole team of caregivers and my hubby and I, we can catch all of the mistakes or at least the major ones. If I were to do it over again, I would have mentioned immediately to the nurse that I had the nitroglycerin patches, just to make sure she was aware.

I learned that having a reliable support person is crucial. If my hubby had not been there to stop them, they would have done the cesarean and I probably would have died on the table. My baby also would have been born a 28 week preemie and likely had problems because of it. Because of my hubby, I am still alive and our baby stayed on the inside for 13.5 more crucial weeks necessary for his development. Also, Hubby was the one that remembered that I had the patches. I was in such a fog of fear for my baby and being in a strange place that I’d totally forgotten about them. Who knows how much longer they would have been on me, putting medication into my skin before I remembered or someone found them, and what affect that would have had on me?

Also, when he left when I was in labour, I fell apart. I vowed that I would have a doula there next time around as it was left to my mom to support me on her own and while she tried (and I REALLY appreciate her efforts!) it would have been better to have another person there as well.

I learned where (at least part of) my tax money goes. It went to paying the doctors, nurses, and paramedics who helped me. It paid for my medical care and for the ambulance transfer to the other hospital. It paid for the ultrasounds to make sure he was okay and for the steroid shots for his lungs. If the labour had not stopped, it would have paid for his NICU stay. In all of that, we did not pay a single cent out of pocket for all of that health care. We would have had to declare medical bankruptcy if we’d been in the states and may have made different decisions out of fear of the cost. I am so grateful that Canada has socialized medicine and can’t understand why any country that is a first world country would not want to take care of its citizens likewise, why they would leave their pregnant women and unborn children out in the cold so to speak. It’s disgusting. I’ll get off my soapbox now.

I learned NOT to go to the hospital when contractions are 5 minutes apart! I could have saved myself many, many trips if I’d waited until they were 3 minutes or less and I couldn’t talk during or between them.

I learned to be patient with my body and my baby. Had I not been induced, I believe I would have gone into labour very soon anyways. The ease of the induction (only one pill, no pit) makes me think that. I determined during #2’s pregnancy that as long as baby and I were healthy, I would wait until 43 weeks before inducing.

I learned that dilation is just a number and has very little to do with where you actually are in your labour. I went from 3cm to 7cm in 2 hours (3-5pm). I then stayed at 7cm for 7 hours (5pm-12am) and went from 7 cm to 10 with a lip in 15 minutes. Doctors like to see 1cm per hour when realistically, very few women labour that quickly (start to finish in 9-10 hours is fast!) and most women dilate in spurts. Just because you are not dilating does not mean that progress is not being made! You could be effacing (cervix getting thinner) or baby could be moving into a better position. Sometimes labour will stop altogether and you’ll get a nice little rest for 20-60 minutes or so before it ramps up again. Don’t stress about it, just take a nap and enjoy the break!

I learned afterwards that I have the right to refuse treatment from ANYONE whom I do not like. This means mister fat-hairy-monkey fingers (who was reported afterwards by the way, as were the nurses who kept pressuring me to accept drugs). I learned that I can refuse to have students present, or at least insist that they are introduced to me and that I approve of their presence before they are allowed to be there.

I learned that there is a whole spectrum of nurses. Some are some wonderful, doula-like nurses, like Anna and Anne. Then there are some nurses who have no business being in the maternity ward, nurses who push drugs harder than a street cocaine vendor and have no respect for how God created women’s bodies.

I learned that MY dedication to my goal is directly related to my chances of achieving that goal. I can’t just say “I’d like to have a natural birth” and then leave it all to my caregivers. I have to know exactly what my goal is and what I need to do to get there and then make sure that my caregivers follow my wishes (and fire them if they don’t). This is NOT to say that if someone did not achieve their goal that they were not dedicated enough to it. I know a few women who were very dedicated to having a natural homebirth who ended up with emergency cesareans for various legitimate reasons. What I mean is, I can’t just wish for a natural birth and get it – just as an athlete cannot wish to complete a marathon, do no preparation, and expect that her support people will make up the difference. If she is truly dedicated to her goal, she will learn as much as she can about the marathon, exercise beforehand, make sure she is healthy, strong, and well-rested at the beginning of the marathon. Likewise, I took a natural childbirth class, exercised regularly, and got a good night’s sleep the night before my induction.

I learned that my body will listen to me, and my mom too. When we told my body to keep the baby in, it did. When she told my body to let the baby out, it did. Not that this will always work, but it can’t hurt!

I learned to trust my instinct and not abdicate my decisions to others. I had wanted to homebirth but let my mom talk me out of it. She said that hospitals had improved drastically since she chose to have me at home and had they been then like they are now, she would have had me in the hospital. Fair enough, that would have been her choice, however, I wish I would have stood by my wishes. I didn’t even do any research into it which I feel so silly about now because I now research EVERY minute decision when it comes to my kids.

I learned that hospitals are not a nice place to be. They’re loud, bright, cold, and strange. Nurses come in and wake you up during the night to take your vitals. There’s no way to get food at 1 am when you’ve just birthed and are absolutely starving. There are NO PILLOWS!!! Or at least not nearly enough. What they call blankets are little more than a sheet. The one redeeming quality is that my parents paid for a private room for us so we stayed in one room the entire time once we were checked in. Not having to transfer to a postpartum room was awesome.

I was surprised to learn that breastfeeding could be easy! Five took to it like a pro and I felt like he taught me how to breastfeed, he was so good at it. I was all prepared to seek out help if needed but it was unnecessary.

I was surprised how much a new baby sleeps in the first 1-2 days! It’s nearly constant. Literally just “eat, sleep, poo.” Perhaps this was related to the drugs I had during the labour though, as baby #2 slept for a few hours and then was WIDE AWAKE while I was still expecting that he’d sleep and I’d get a rest. Grr.

I learned just how crazy a sleep-deprived mama could be. I had a breakdown in the middle of a shopping mall at 2 weeks postpartum when Hubby caused a few wipes to fall out of the wipes case onto the ground. My mom went and bought me a whole new package of wipes and I felt terrible for having lost it. I always feel a lot better after I’ve caught up on sleep. It took about 6 months for me to feel like a human being again after #1 was born.

I could probably write more, but I’ll leave it at that for now. Stay tuned for One’s birth story!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Five's Birth Story - Part 2

So after a terrifying exciting pregnancy... I’d finally made it to full term.

We got to 38 weeks, then 39, then 40! At my 40 week appointment, my doctor scheduled an induction for a week later but said I likely wouldn't need it. I went for non-stress tests twice a week to make sure he was fine, which he was. The hospital had to reschedule my induction so I ended up being induced at 41 weeks and 2 days. They said they'd normally induce sooner but I was measuring small and said he'd be about 5 lbs according to the ultrasound so they "let" me go longer.

I went in at 11 am on Friday, April 15, 2005 and a wonderful doctor, Dr. Fruitman (not sure of the spelling) did my initial induction. He applied prostiglandin gel to my cervix and then told me to go walking for 3 hours. We went to Ikea and walked around. I was pretty tired by the end of it.

Hubby and I laughing at something my mom had said.
We went back to the hospital at 2pm and they said we came back too soon and sent me walking around the hospital for another hour. I got back after that and a doctor inserted a speculum to apply the 2nd dose of prostaglandin gel. There was a student nurse standing beside him who was obviously not used to being in the maternity ward. She had this horrified, disgusted expression on her face as she looked at my exposed body. (In retrospect, I could have, and should have, asked her to leave.) After the speculum was in place but before he applied the prostaglandin, I had a huge contraction. He told me that because I was contracting, they wouldn't do the 2nd dose of prostaglandin as the 1st dose had been enough. He then removed the speculum and used his short, fat fingers to check my cervix. He checked me right in the middle of a contraction (might have been the same one, I'm not sure), he couldn't be bothered to wait a few seconds until it ended. It REALLY hurt. Like I said, he had short, fat fingers (not the long, thin fingers that my family doctor has) and he was very rough with me. I was 3 cm.
Then he informed me that they would be starting me on pitocin to make sure the contractions kept going. I was still in so much pain from him checking me that I couldn't speak. All I could do was shake my head no so Hubby spoke up for me and told the doctor that I did not want pitocin. This made him very unhappy. I could finally speak so I said I wanted to try to labour naturally for awhile. The doctor was more angry but said he'd "allow" me to labour for 9 hours and then they'd start the pitocin. I agreed, thinking that hopefully I'd have a baby within 9 hours and if not, I'd tell him no again. I was in triage at this point and the doctor and triage nurse were trying to convince me to accept pain medication. I'd only had a couple of contractions and told them "I'm aware of the pain medication options, I'll request it if I need it" and they were still already pushing it on me. (It had also been pushed on me when I was in and out during practice labour episodes too.)

I got checked into my room and was very excited when the nurse told me that I would for sure have the baby. At that point I was sick of coming to the hospital and leaving pregnant! Her name was Anne. I told her that I wanted a natural birth. She told me that water was the way to achieve it. She told me that when I was ready, they'd fill up the jacuzzi tub for me. Awesome!

Labour came on fast and strong. I was not prepared for the intensity of the back labour. My mom and Hubby took turns doing the Double Hip Press which helped immensely. I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 13 or 14. Despite chiropractic treatment, the curve of my spine causes the baby to settle into a position that is not 100% ideal for birthing. With #2 it was confirmed that his head was tilted towards his right shoulder. #1 also had tilting of some kind but I don’t remember now what was said about it. The double hip press provides counterpressure and helps to open the pelvis so that his head can move into a better position.

At one point I tried to walk and made it 6 or 7 feet to the wall opposite my room door - that took me about 30 minutes. I made it back into my room in only 5. I felt safe in there - it was dark, quiet, unlike the loud and cold and bright hallway. Perhaps I should have had someone push me to the other end of the hall in a wheelchair and had me walk back to my room, it would have been more motivating :)

At 5 pm I was 7 cm and asked to go in the birthing tub. She told me to take a shower first while they filled the tub. The shower did nothing to help with the pain/pressure so I was excited when she said the tub was ready. It felt wonderful when I got in. I did not like the jets on, just the warm water felt so good. After only 1/2 hour though, my doctor arrived at the hospital and wanted to check me so I had to get out. In hindsight, I should have asked to go back in the tub after but I didn't think of it at the time. I also could have requested that she check me in the tub, as my midwife did during #2's birth.

Jacuzzi = heaven!
 During my contractions, I visualized a wave that I was riding on like a surfer. I pictured myself standing on the surfing board and riding that wave. Up and down, as the intensity of the contractions increased and then lessened. Most of my contractions had double peaks. I felt angry at this, just when I’d be relaxing at the thought that the contraction was almost over, it would come back again. But I still stayed up on that surf board and rode it out.

Hubby helping me focus

Hubby was my rock. He’d sway with me if I was standing, hold my hand if I was sitting. He held a hot pack on my back and his strong hands were wonderful for the double hip press. After a couple of hours though, my dad noticed that he wasn't looking so good so he took him out for a coffee. He did not ask me or even inform me before he left. My mom told me later when I asked where he'd gone. I couldn't handle the pain without him there and felt out of place, lost, that he'd unexpectedly left. I asked the nurse for Demerol. She said okay but didn't move to go get it. A few contractions later, I asked her for it again. She said she was just waiting for me to ask for it twice to make sure that I really wanted it. What a great nurse! She went out and came back in but did not give me the shot! Again, a few contractions later, I asked her when I could get it. She said she had it right there but was just waiting again for me to ask for it.

She said it would take effect in 5-15 minutes. I had 2 more contractions and then the drugs hit. I had never taken drugs like that before in my life (or since!) I was HIGH. My senses were super heightened. When Hubby came back an hour later, he asked, "What did you do to my wife?" In between contractions, I would often pass out. During the contractions, I had lost the ability to mentally cope with them. I think most of the time I would rock in the squeaky rocking chair and wave my arms in a downward circular motion, thinking of the baby moving down and out. On the outside I appeared totally in control but on the inside, I felt terrible. I couldn't think right. I couldn't use imagery or a focus point. I couldn't remember all of the techniques I'd learned in childbirth class for coping with the labour. I couldn't walk because of the back pain so I just rocked in the rocking chair. (My mom had suggested sitting on the toilet as this often is a very comfortable place for labouring women. I found it extremely uncomfortable though and got off it as soon as I could when I had to use it.)

My mom holding me up in the chair as I slept between contractions
I wanted to moan but my mom told me that it was a waste of energy and to save my energy, I should stay quiet. So I’d speak in tongues instead. I figured (rightly so) that, being a Pentecostal pastor’s wife, my mom would not tell me not to pray during the most difficult trial I’d ever been through in my life! It did help to vocalize. A few times I remember saying something like “Oh Jesus, have mercy on me.” or something similar. We joked later that I had no clue what I was praying but there were probably people all over the hospital getting healed suddenly.
The waves that I’d been imagining were now crashing over my head and I was swirling around, caught by an undertow, drowning. The contraction would end and I could make it to the surface and catch my breath for a few seconds just in time for the next wave to come and crash on top of me. Overall, I hated my experience with Demerol. I just felt out of control – and not in a good way at all.

Around midnight, my doctor came back to check on me. (This was 9 hours after the doctor had said he'd start pit in 9 hours. There was thankfully no mention of pit!) I was STILL at 7 cm! I'd been there since about 5 pm. She said it'd obviously be awhile so she left to go home. (Thank you Dr. Tors for your patience! I know many other doctors would have ordered a cesarean at that point which would have been promptly refused by hubby and I lol) My mom realized that all these months, we'd been telling my body to keep the baby in, and telling the baby not to come out. We'd never told the baby it was safe to come out now. She told my body to let that baby out. Right away, my water broke. It was like a light switch had been turned on. I went from totally out of (stroking Hubby's hair saying, "It's SOOO soft" or sleeping) to wide awake, totally aware. I told Hubby that my water broke. He got the nurse who checked me and announced that I was 9.5cm, or 10 with a lip. She paged the dr to come back - fortunately she hadn't left the hospital yet.

At 12:15 am I started pushing. I still had the lip and didn't feel an urge to push but they said his heart rate was going down so just push him out. It was the scariest moment of my life. The most incredible amount of pressure. I thought for sure my stomach was going to just pop, like if you take a plastic bag and blow it up, then tie the opening and clap your hands with it between... how it bursts. I know I felt pain but I don't remember it. I remember them saying not to make any noise, not to groan. To hold my breathe and push. I couldn't feel him moving down, I just felt the pressure and I couldn't focus on anything going on. The nurse had to yell at me over and over before I could hear her. I saw Chris there, on my left, holding my leg. I saw the handles at my sides that I was gripping. I saw the bright light at the end of the bed.

"Purple Pushing"

When his head came out, my mom told me to look down. I looked and it suddenly dawned on me that yes, this really is how babies are made lol. I saw his head and said, "Oh my God" as that realization hit me. Then I had to push again. I thought I was going to die. His shoulders got out, then, whoosh, the rest of him came out in a gush. I remember the gush lol. Such relief.

Welcome to the outside world, Baby!
He was born at 12:42 am on Saturday, April 16, 2005. He was not the 5 lbs they said, but 7 lbs, 9 oz!

Hubby said he just lay there for a couple of seconds. He looked like one of those fake realistic baby dolls. Then, like a switch was flipped, he started moving and crying. They suctioned his nostrils and mouth and Hubby cut the cord. Then they put him right on my chest. And he peed on me lol. I didn't care, after what I'd just done, it was just a little pee.

I knew that the afterbirth had to come out, but I did not expect it to be even more painful than the birth! The nurse pushed down on my uterus while I pushed too. My doctor gently pulled on the cord to get it to detach. I remember giving the nurse a dirty look lol.

Then they wanted to take him away to put ointment in his eyes and give him a shot of vitamin K. I'd waited my whole life for this moment and did not allow them to cut it short. I asked them if they could wait a few minutes because I knew that they could. She was able to do it without taking him away from me.

"Oh my God... my baby... my baby..."

I had 3 tears (one minor, two a little deeper) so my doctor had to give me some stitches, which I barely felt because I was so focused on my baby lying on me. I barely even noticed Hubby next to me lol.

My dad came in after everything was cleaned up to see his first grandchild. Sorry the picture is so blurry.

My dad meeting his first grandchild.

Hubby called my sister-in-law, 3 months pregnant at the time, to let her know. I talked to her and she could hear the baby crying and she started crying, and I started crying lol.

They took the baby to weigh and measure him (my mom went with him and videoed the dr measuring him).

I had to get up and walk to the washroom and show them that I peed so they could make sure everything was okay. I was shocked at the trail of carnage that I left from the bed to the toilet! The nurse assured me that it was okay, they would clean it up. I was so embarrassed I wanted to get down and clean it myself but I couldn't even sit up without support lol.

After I got back and they were done with the baby, my mom helped me to get him to latch on. He was a real pro! We slept together the first night at the hospital. The second night he slept in a bassinet next to my bed.

The next day I kept reminding myself what everyone told me, that I would forget the pain. 2 weeks later, it was true.

The whole time I was in the hospital, it felt like I was in a dream. I thought the nurses were going to take him away and give him back to his real mom, like he wasn't really mine. What had I done to deserve such a wonderful gift? When we put him in the car seat and took him home, I wanted to run home with him in case he wasn't really mine and they would take him back lol. I just couldn't believe it.

Five's Birth Story - Part 3 (What I learned from the pregnancy and birth of my first child)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Five's Birth Story - Part 1

I had an eventful pregnancy with Five.

We'd only been married for 2 months when I got pregnant. We were living in Nevada at the time and I had to come back to Canada because I had no health insurance. I was 3 months pregnant when I got back. I was super excited to feel him move for the first time at 14 weeks.

2 weeks later, his amniotic sac started leaking fluid. My doctor said there was nothing that could be done and that I'd lose the baby. I told her that I thought he was okay, I could still feel him moving regularly and she said it was impossible to feel him move that early. My mom called my cousin who was a midwife in the Philippines. She said that the fluid gets replaced and holes can close over. Additionally, there are actually 2 layers to the sac so sometimes the outer layer can rupture and leak some fluid but the inner one is still intact. She recommended that I go on bedrest for a couple of weeks so that's what I did. I didn't leak any more fluid and I think I was on bedrest for about 2-4 weeks, I don't remember the exact timing.

Nov 12, 2004 - 4 months pregnant
The 20 week ultrasound was great. The tech isn't allowed to tell us the gender, but did focus the screen on his parts and my mom was able to very clearly see that it was a boy. It took Hubby and I until 6 months in my pregnancy to agree on a name. We had a lot of fun going through baby names and suggesting totally random names that we'd never choose.
When I was 6 months along, Hubby was finally able to join me in Canada. 1 month later, I went into preterm labour. I woke up at 4 am on Saturday, January 29, 2005 with strong contractions. They were 2 minutes apart and 90 seconds long (yes, only 30 seconds' break between contractions!) The nurse said this was impossible and we must be timing wrong. We went to my hospital where I had a nurse named Anna and a doctor who I'd never met but he was very nice to us and gentle with me and also considerate of our fear. I lost my mucous plug and was told I was 1 cm. Contractions were coming ever 3-4 minutes. I was given nitroglycerin patches to hopefully stop the contractions and a shot of steroids to develop his lungs in case the patches didn't work.

I was then transferred to a hospital about an hour away. They said I was lucky - because my baby was only 28 weeks, he'd need a level 3 NICU (these are for the sickest babies). Beds in these NICUs were hard to find and they had been having to airlift patients 4, 6, or even 8 hours away! It was reassuring to have all the paramedics AND nurses AND doctors caring for me. One of the paramedics was also named Anna - we had 3 Annas in the ambulance! I felt safe, in good company, even though I was terrified. I remember just feeling so relaxed as they wheeled me from the room through the hospital and into the ambulance. Hubby sat at my head, facing the back of the ambulance. My nurse sat to my left, keeping constant watch over me. She noticed every 3 minutes when my eyes went to the clock and asked if it was another contraction, which I confirmed.

We arrived at the next hospital. I was a bit uncomfortable with everybody in the hospital staring at me as we went, but I just focused on the people with me. I got to my new room and met my new nurses. I was sad to see the other two Annas leave. My new nurse was nice. She told me not to worry, the baby would be fine and I'd leave the hospital still pregnant.

Jan 30, 2005

One of the nurses gave me 2 nitroglycerin pills and explained that in a few hours they'd give me another set of pills. Hubby asked if the patches I had would replace one of the sets of pills. The nurse replied, "What patches?" Yikes. She read my chart (apparently for the first time) and freaked out. She ripped the patches off and washed my skin to try to get as much of the drug off as she could. As my blood pressure plummeted, they pumped me full of (cold!) fluids to try to get my bp back up. It got down to 52/24. My mom called my aunt (a nurse) and told her where it was and she said to check again, because that was impossible. She said that anything under 70 is life threatening and I shouldn't even be awake, let alone alive still. The nurses asked if I felt dizzy and I didn't. I didn't feel any different really. The contractions continued, and were ramping up in intensity. I remember one particularly bad one when I grabbed Hubby's arm and looked in his eyes and barely kept from screaming. Five's head had engaged in my pelvis. At some point they gave me another steroid shot for his lungs.

The doctor had come in to explain what would happen when the baby was born - that he'd immediately go to the NICU and as soon as he was stable, we could go see him. He assured us that he'd arrange for us to have a tour of the NICU as soon as I was more stable to move around (assuming the baby would take awhile and I'd have time for a tour before he was born.)

I did pass out for awhile. My bp had gotten so low that the doctors actually had given up on me. Hubby was standing by the door and heard them discussing in the hallway that they were going to do an emergency cesarean "to save the baby." They came to get me to take me to the OR. Hubby stood in the doorway and would not allow them into the room. He'd assisted hundreds of animals during birth, as well as was a volunteer firefighter for 6 or 7 years. He said, "If you cut into her with her bp this low, she will bleed to death. I won't allow you to do a cesarean as long as she's still alive." While all this was going on, my dad (a Christian minister) had called his friend who was the senior pastor of a church and got the prayer chain going.

Eventually I came to. The contractions slowly got further apart. I wasn't allowed out of bed for quite awhile. We spent the night in the hospital. By Sunday morning, the contractions were maybe every hour or so. They said if the contractions did ramp up that they would just let the baby come since I'd had both the steroid shots (and I think they were afraid to give me any more nitroglycerin!) By Sunday evening, they released us. As I was leaving in a wheelchair, the nurse I'd first met coming into that hospital was just coming on shift. She asked if I was going to the NICU to see my baby. I told her that I was still pregnant and was going home! She was surprised and said she had thought I'd have him. This surprised me as she was the only one that reassured me that he'd be fine and gave me hope that I'd leave the hospital still pregnant.

I was put on strict bedrest, allowed to get up ONLY to use the bathroom and to shower quickly. I was on bedrest until 34 weeks (6 weeks!) That's a very long time to be in bed, but of course totally worth it for the sake of my baby. I was forced to quit my job, which I wasn't too upset about at that point as I was tired of working and it was a job that required me to be on my feet for 4-6 hours straight (excluding break times).

At 30 weeks, I had amniotic fluid leaking again. It was a Friday night and the ultrasound tech had left for the weekend so they hooked me up to an iv for fluid and put me on a mild antibiotic. On Monday, the ultrasound showed that there was plenty of fluid and he was happy and the bag appeared to not be leaking any more. The doctor said it was my choice if I wanted to stay or go home so I went home. I was terribly lonely in the hospital, especially at nights when I was all alone.

At 34 weeks I came off the strict bedrest but was still taking it easy until 37 weeks. I was still in and out of the hospital frequently with off-and-on labour and round ligament pain that came and went and I thought at first was labour too. Each week was a milestone. Each week, each day even, that he stayed inside increased his chances of survival and his chances of not having any negative side effects from being born too early. I spent most of my time learning about preemies and how NICUs were run and how I could express breastmilk for him and all the different ways for getting that milk into him (cup feeding, finger feeding, syringe feeding, putting it into a feeding tube, etc).

When I reached 37 weeks, I felt a huge burden lifted. I wouldn't have a preemie! I was full term! I was astonished that I'd made it, as was my doctor. She assured me that I'd birth very soon.

March 22, 2005 Beer Belly! (Not my beer!!!)

To be continued...
Five's Birth Story - Part 2 (Birth)
Five's Birth Story - Part 3 (What I learned from the pregnancy and birth of my first child)