Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Goody Pearl is Born: a Birth Story

On Friday, April the 6th, which was to be my last day of work at the office, I left early because things were slow, and my husband Tim wanted me to go out to dinner with him. We walked to the restaurant because I had mentioned to him that I would like for us to start going on evening walks every day until the baby was born. We had a nice dinner, I ate a huge prime rib and baked potato, which suprised me because I didn't even think I was hungry! Then, right in the middle of dinner, I had to excuse myself for an *immediate* bowel movement. That really should have clued me in to what was coming, because I am normally very regular in that department. After the walk home from dinner, we settled in for a night at home, only I couldn't really "settle". I listened to most of a hypnobabies session (I can't remember which one), but got up instead to do some straightening around the house. About 10:30, I was overwhelmed by the desire to bathe our yellow lab, Misha, but talked myself into "waiting until tomorrow" (she's still dirty, by the way). So at about 11:00, I went to sleep on the couch, since lately I had been unable to sleep comfortably in thebed. At 12:42, I woke up and looked at the clock, and remember thinking, "Oh good, I can have the baby now. I'm officially on maternity leave." And then went back to sleep. At around 2:30, something woke me up. I remember just feeling a sense of urgency, like I have to get up now! And when I stood up (probably the fastest I've gotten out of bed in months), my water broke and poured down my legs. I checked the color and smell, all clear! I cleaned myself up in the bathroom and went to wake Tim. He was a little disoriented at first, it was the middle of the night! He was ready to leave right then once he realized what was going on. I asked him to pack the rest of the stuff in the bag using the checklist I had created. Once my water broke I started feeling what I guessed were pressure waves. They were very mild, just a tightening sensation, and were coming every 3 minutes, and lasting about 30 seconds. I called the midwife (I haven't asked if it's ok to use her name) and she suggested waiting until the intensity level changed. So I took a shower and then laid down on the bed again. Not 5 minutes after the shower, the intensity level did change. I had 2 big surges in a row, and the second one was accompanied by a twinge of push urge. So I called the midwife back and we agreed to head to the birthing center, a 25 minute drive from our house. We waited a few minutes for our friend and doula Molly to arrive. Talk about short notice, we had only asked her to be at the birth just the day before on Thursday! I listened to the birth day affirmations while we waited and on the drive. I remember being more concerned about Tim speeding than anything else, and told him several times, please don't go too fast. In retrospect, I don't think Tim was actually driving fast, but I wanted to make certain that things stayed mellow and calm, not frantic as speeding would imply. The ride seemed to take no time at all. When I arrived at the birth center somewhere between 4:15 and 4:30 AM, Molly and Tim helped me into a nightgown and the midwife checked me. I was already at 7, almost 8 centimeters! This was going to be a breeze. I breathed through some waves on the bed and tried to listen to the rest of the birth day affirmations, but decided to jump on to the "easy first stage" track, since that stage was almost over! After a while, the midwife suggested the tub, and I thought that sounded like a good idea. I really did feel wonderful in there, to be weightless in the water. It was sort of a physical version of how the hypnobabies sessions can make me feel. During each wave, I would turn my switch "off" and just float through each one. After a little while, I decided to get out, and this is where things get a little blurry. I remember the waves getting more intense, and then I started asking questions like "when do I get to the pushing part?" and then I started throwing up. I remember thinking, this must be transition. But then it just kept going, and going. So different than the first stage. Somewhere in all this, after trying the bathtub a second time, the midwife suggested letting her check me and I agreed. I was at 9+, practically complete, but she said she could feel a bulge in the bag of waters. I remember thinking that what strange since my water had already broken, and each vomiting session was accompanied by a gush of fluid. But, hey, she'd done this before and this was my first time. She suggested that if she could rupture the bulge with the amni-hook that it would probably get things rolling again. I agreed. She stayed inside me trying to rupture the bag during (I think) 3 waves, which were now coming virtually on top of one another. Finally, amidst my pleading for her to stop, I saw a look of realization come across her face (or did I imagine that?). Then she said it. It's not membranes, it's a bottom. I heard Molly say "Oh, no." The baby was Frank breech. The midwife said that we're going to do a hospital transfer, as her practice does not deliver breech babies and went to call the hospital to let them know we were coming. When she came back into the room, I asked her what were they going to do, and she answered 99.9% of the time they do a C-section. I said ok, and stood up to let my husband and Molly re-dress me. It didn't even cross my mind to be upset. At this point, whatever is best for the baby took over, and I knew she wasn't going to come out the way she was turned. I already had the suspicion that something wasn't quite right before I knew she was breech. At this point, the waves were getting to be unbearable, and the 5 minute ride to the hospital was not a fun one. I think that I was fighting the waves, not wanting the labor to progress and harm my baby. Once insidethe hospital, which they tell me was at about 7:30 AM, I was whisked away to labor and delivery. I had to ride backwards in the wheel chair because the pressure waves wouldn't cease. Just one after the other. It was all a big whirlwind of nurses giving orders and bright lights and forms to sign, but it all happened so fast. A nurse put in a catheter while I was having a contraction, that I remember! I know I was in real pain at this point, and was so grateful to have either Tim, Molly, and the midwife to hold on to. I was also relieved that the doctor on call was my normal OB/GYN; I had switched from her to the midwife once I knew my pregnancy was normal (another long story). She is a wonderful, caring doctor and very respectful of natural childbirth. Anyway, before I knew it the epidural was in, and the surgery had begun. At 8:13 A.M., they pulled little Goody Pearl from inside me as my Tim watched over the curtain. She weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. It was all over in less that 6 hours from waking. What a night! I spent the next 2 days rooming in at the hospital with Goody while I recovered. I had declined anti-biotics for Group B strep, so they were insistent on watching her as well, although they did not insist that she receive any anti-biotics unless she showed signs of infection. We are both home now; Goody is healthy and back up to her birth weight and I am recovering nicely. I know I still have some issues about the birth to deal with. But for the most part I am okay. I have the most precious part, my little girl. I can't imagine having gone through this without the peace and calm state of mind that the hypnobabies program allowed me to have, or without the wonderful support of the people who were there with me. Nearly the entire first phase of childbirth was pain-free. I honestly believe that had she not been breech, Goody would have come into the world via a completely pain-free experience, like I had learned to believe from the hypnobabies course. Maybe next time...

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