Friday, March 16, 2007

The Birth Story

D: Today I had my postnatal wellness check up with my OB (AKA baby-delivery rockstar) who happily declared ‘all systems go’ and a clean bill of health. He also gave me a few more candid glimpses of the Deuce’s birthday that I was not aware of. And so, with the final perspective offering a much clearer picture of the day’s events, I thought it was time I documented the birth story before it (like so much of their short 7 week life) fades into a fuzzy memory.

Be warned: it is not for the faint of heart or stomach.

Days before the Deuce’s birth I was having a series of intense, consistent contractions. They were so frequent and painful that I was sure they were the fateful signs of labor I’d been waiting for. But on Sunday, January 21th, at 7:45am when my water broke onto the bathroom floor there were no such warnings signs to be felt. In fact, the painful contractions that followed, were not felt for almost an hour after the spill. As for the fluid, it was not clear, but rather a murky greenish black. The nurses later informed me that it was filled with meconium…AKA baby poop. It seems that my darling son, O, couldn't wait until birth to take his first dump.

The car ride to the hospital was intense. The pain of labor contractions can only be described as a surge that started in my pelvis and jolted my entire body with ferocious electricity. The brief moments between the contractions only offered relief for enough time to scream insults at W about his driving (too bumpy, too fast, too slow). Upon arrival W wheeled me up to Triage where they administered some antibiotics for me (because of the meconium) and quickly got me into my birthing room. I was contracting for only another 20 minutes or so before the anethstesiologist came with the epidural around 9:30am. It could not have come soon enough! The sharp electric pain was soon replaced with only strong pressure in my pelvis… uncomfortable for sure but much less painful.

My OB, Dr. M, arrived as the nurses were busy strapping me to the monitors that track the babies heart rates and my contractions. He quickly determined that O’s heart rate was much lower than it should be and declared that we needed to head to the O.R. to ‘get these babies out’. On the way into the OR, W leaned over to make sure I knew that ‘get these babies out’ meant an emergency c-section. Of course, this was not how I wanted it to go, but all I could think about was the safety of the babies.

Once they got me set up on the operating table the Anethstesiologist came back to administer heavy surgical anethstesia (which numbed my body from the neck down) and Dr. M began preparing for surgery. On the sidelines was W, diligently watching his son’s heart rate on the monitor. He noticed that it was slowly creeping up, and pointed this out to Dr. M, reminding him that we’d rather not have a c-section if it weren’t necessary. The doc agreed to postpone surgery and sure enough, O soon achieved a safe heart rate. Dr. M later told me that he’d never come so close to surgery and pull out. W and I take that as a personal victory.

The 3 hours afterward were spent laying in a cold O.R. waiting for the anethstesia to wear off. The anethstesia had pushed my contractions back to a near stand still, but fortunately my cervix was continuing to slowly dilate. At 1:00pm they brought me back into the birthing room and by 3:50pm I was 10 cm dilated and was ready to push. The nurses got me started, before Dr. M returned. W compares this experience with that of a sporting event. The nurses were my coaches, yelling encouragements during each ‘play’. Neither of us knew the rules of the game and to be honest, I was very doubtful that I was doing it right. I just kept searching for reassurance from my coaches. It was a strange feeling, having no idea of what I was doing, yet doing what my body was telling me to do. Despite my fervent attempts at pushing it seemed that there was something keeping O from joining us. He just wasn’t budging.

By 4:30 Dr. M sent us back into the OR for an ultrasound to see what the hold up was. He determined that O was “sunny side up”, facing up towards my belly instead of down towards my back. Dr. M decided he was going to give the baby a bit of assistance by using suction on his head.

By now I was beginning to feel waves of pain similar to what I had felt that morning, before the epidural. It was all happening so fast and I was so determined and focused on pushing O out that all I could do about the pain was scream. And scream I did! After talking with Dr. M today I now know why…the epidural had worn off by this time and the events to follow were all done without anethstesia. (Needless to say he was quite irritated with the Anethstesiologist and remarked at how he was surprised that I didn’t pass out.)

At 5:11pm Dr. M had reached his hand inside me to assist O’s head in rotation. He then attached a small suction disc, to his head as I pushed and seconds later O was born. O was taken to the other side of the room, but still hadn’t cried. I only had a moment to scream before Dr. M had his hand back inside me, reaching for F to conduct a Breach Extraction. (He had turned sideways once O was born). At 5:13pm Dr. M reached for F’s amniotic sack, pierced it, breaking the waters into a bag hanging at the end of the bed. He grabbed F by the feet and pulled him into the world just in time to hear O cry. F was soon crying in unison with his brother and his parent’s tears of joy.

As you can imagine there are many reasons why a Breach Extraction is never done without the assistance of an epidural, but somehow I managed to get through it…feeling every bit of excruciating pain along with it. But when I look back at that day the pain is the furthest thing from my mind. Soon I will forget the pain entirely, and only remember the feeling of jubilation and ecstasy when I met our children for the first time.

Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 10:36 PM

Read or Post a Comment

Breach without epi = you are my heroine.

Posted by Blogger Archana @ Saturday, March 17, 2007 12:10:00 AM #

Wowee zowee - you deserve a medal, a trophy, a million dollars! My water broke all on its own too and the ultrasound at the hospital showed that one of my twin girls was sunny side up and the other was still breech (we had hoped she would turn). Due to the breech situation we ended up having a cesarean. I had to wait awhile as we had a problem with the doctor on duty - he was a real jerk. Another doctor had to be called and a surgical team put together. In the meantime I got a good dose of laboring medication free though I can't imagine having to push them out, especially without any meds.

Posted by Blogger pokettiger @ Monday, March 19, 2007 4:46:00 PM #

Holy shit!! Something more eloquent is probably in order, such as, "What a beautiful birth story." It really is. Having given birth to one baby 7 months ago, I was hanging on every word of the story and can appreciate what you went through. Which brings me back to "Holy Shit." Way to go Dana!

Posted by Anonymous Ann Dicks @ Wednesday, March 21, 2007 10:09:00 AM #

You guys are doing an awesome job keeping everything so up to date. Great birthing story Dana. We were wondering here at work what the birthing process had been like for you! It sounded like quite an adventure to say the least.
The boys photos are so cute and the one with the dogs is excellent. Ollie and Finlay have gotten so big!
Walker, take more pictures with you in them too! I'm sure you're camera has a timer!
Glad to see you're all doing well.

Posted by Blogger Randy & Pilar @ Friday, March 23, 2007 6:44:00 AM #
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