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Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Birth Story: Part 1

On Friday night, April 8th, Amanda and I went for our regular "girls' night" expedition to Wal-Mart. As usual we didn't get home till very late, around 1:15 a.m. Richie and I settled in a bit and didn't get to bed until 3:30 a.m. At the end of my pregnancy I could only sleep about 2 or 3 hours before waking to use the bathroom. At 5:30 a.m. I woke and stumbled through the dark to the bathroom. I noticed something strange as I was about to flushthere was blood and a lot of it. I said "Oh my God" in a fairly quiet but scared tone of voice. It woke Richie, and he rushed into the bathroom to check on me. I explained what I'd found. We called our doula, Bobbi Sue. She asked lots of questions. No I didn't have any pain; no I didn't feel any cramping; no I wasn't uncomfortable; yes it was quite a lot of blood. She told me that she'd meet me at the hospital, to drink lots of cold water and do what I could to stir our little pineapple to get some kick counts. Richie and I woke my parents, explained we were going to the hospital but that I was NOT in labor.

As we drove to the hospital I called our friend and small group leader, Christina while Richie spoke with Bobbi Sue. Christina prayed for me and our little pineapple and agreed to let a couple other ladies know what was going on (going to this hospital notification) so they could pray as well. Upon arriving at OB Triage we met the same nurse, Mary, who had done our hospital walk through just a month earlier. Thankfully she remembered us; the familiar face was a real comfort. The doctor came to my room, did the exam and explained that it was "old blood". Now, to me blood is blood and THAT much blood can't be good.old or not! They had no explanation of why I was bleeding. At 6 a.m. they admitted me to the hospital for observation. Mary was kind and helpful; so helpful, in fact, that she hand selected our Labor and Delivery nurse based on our wishes and birth plan. It was nice to have a nurse and a room handpicked just for us.

The nurse I had that morning in Labor and Delivery was Dawn. She was also a God send. She took some of the same classes as a friend of mine, Raechel, had birthed her child at home and was a Christian. Dawn was amazing! She was very encouraging and positive. She reinforced the fact that we were, in essence, purchasing a service from the hospital; she reminded us that we were in charge and that they were all there to work for us not against us or around us. How amazing is that?! That morning we met with lots of folks. We were told that the Director of Phoenix Perinatal Associates was one of the doctors on call and that the other PPA doctor on call was Dr. Huls. Dr. Huls is the doctor who wanted to induce me early; he is the doctor who was very eager to administer a Pitocin drip; he was also the same doctor who warned us of the huge chance of us having a stillbirth. The resident doctor on staff was Dr. Low, and there was a med student shadowing that day as well. Needless to say we had lots of people to meet and talk to that Saturday morning. Dr. Low came first with the med student. They checked to make sure our little pineapple was head down-check! She was aware that there was a birth plan and had actually read it! Eventually Dr. Huls came in to speak with us. By his attitude and tone I felt like he derived some sick pleasure in being the on call doctor there that day. Thank heavens Dawn, Bobbi Sue and Richie were all in the room with me when he wanted to talk. I can't tell you how many times he mentioned stillbirth and Pitocin. I explained that I would comply with the continual fetal monitoring, because they had wireless monitors. We talked and eventually my point was made clear; Richie and I stood our ground. *side note: each med staffer we encountered agreed with natural everything except him*

Saturday was spent trying to naturally induce labor because they were not about to let me go home, not with that much bleeding. We tried to sleep, but being in a hospital we weren't left alone long enough to doze off. Some friends surprised us and showed up that morning just in time for breakfast around 8 a.m. They checked my cervix; I was still 100% effaced, only dilated to 4 cm, and my water bag was bulging. I was surprised that no one, at the point, had mentioned induction. Everyone was extremely supportive of our use of natural induction methods.
While I was in the tub relaxing Richie and I attempted nipple stimulation. I say attempted because it turned into a very intimate & emotional time for the two of us. I'm not entirely sure how to convey the feelings I had at that point. I didn't "look" pregnant until almost 28 weeks; I never felt strong kicks (only squirms); I didn't have a round belly until about 32 weeks. I felt like I hadn't been pregnant long enough. I had such a hard time truly enjoying my pregnancy early on. I didn't feel like my pregnancy had really started until January. I wasn't ready to have the baby. I wasn't ready to lose my belly and my time with our little pineapple. I wanted to keep things just as they were so that I could enjoy things as they were. There were too many things I hadn't done yet. I was not emotionally ready for our little pineapple to enter the outside world. Richie would rub my belly and tell me that I needed to tell my body that it was okay to have this baby. I needed to start feeling instead of thinking. I needed to get my mind/thinking straight. He kept saying, "Feel with your heart; don't think with your head." I criedno I sobbed. I was so selfish; I wanted our baby all to myself. I didn't want to share our little pineapple with the world-not yet anyhow. Richie spent a lot of time reminding me of how much I wanted to hold our baby, smell our baby, kiss our baby and raise our baby. He reminded me of how much he wanted to meet our little one.

Later that afternoon, after lots of walking and a failed attempt at a nap, our acupuncturist & his family came to the hospital. He worked me over for several hours. Just like the last 2 visits, during the treatments I was contracting regularly; yet they all stopped when the treatment stopped. Bobbi Sue went home, and we settled in for the night. I rubbed my feet down with Clary Sage oil (another natural induction method) and got comfy in bed. Well, as comfy as one can in a hospital bed. By this time we'd been there 16 hours and I was still not in labor. I was still awake at 11:30 p.m. when I needed to potty. I passed a clot, or at least they think it was a clot. It was quite large and alarmed the nurse. Of course she had to notify the doctor, which was supposed to be the resident, Dr. Low. But oh no, as fate should have it just as she was about to call Dr. Low, Dr. Huls came to the unit desk. She informed him of the "clot". He came into my room, for what I thought was a regular patient check, only to discuss this clot I'd passed. He asked me how I was doing and then proceeded to tell me that he wanted to induce me. I sat up a bit in the bed and said, "Excuse me?!" He repeated himself with more detail. Because I'd passed "another clot" he felt it was necessary to induce me with Pitocin. I asked him, "What time is it?" He answered that it was 11:40 p.m. I told him I was confused. He clarified that he wanted to induce me right then. I outright refused. I told him "NO!" I told him it was not an option to induce me at 11:40 p.m. after I'd been up all day trying natural induction methods and reminded him in a stern tone that we'd only gotten 2 hours of sleep the night before. He proceeded to politely argue with me. My response was simple, plain to understand and pointed"Are my vitals okay? Are my vitals stable? Is my baby's heart rate okay? Is the baby's heart rate stable?" All answers were yes. I further explained that I had consented to the 24 hr. fetal monitoring, that I was in the hospital, and that if anything were to go wrong I was in the right placeI reiterated the fact that I was not going to allow him to induce me with Pitocin at 11:40 p.m. He continued to fight with me and finally asked me, "What do you want to do then" in a most sarcastic, condescending tone. I answered him in a most informed, deliberate and unwavering way. "I am going to sleep tonight. I will wake in the morning, eat breakfast, have a shower, walk until the baby drops and then we can discuss breaking my water." He was fit to be tied! He said, "Well, first thing in the morning we'll break your water and hook you up to a Pit line." I said, "No." He repeated himself in several different ways, each time my response was "No". Then he told me that breaking my water wouldn't send me into labor, "breaking your water won't induce labor". He made the mistake of asking me what I wanted. (don't do that when I'm upset) I said, "Do you want me to be honest with you?" He nodded. I went on, "I want you to leave my room and let me sleep." He gave up his fight and left the room.

Two restless, sleepless, worrisome hours later Dr. Low came in. She was concerned about my emotional state. I explained to her the conversation I'd had with Dr. Huls. She was shocked; literally rolled her eyes, shook her head and apologized repeatedly for that horrible encounter. She explained that she did not understand why he'd do such a thing because he'd agreed (earlier that evening) to let my body do its own thing. She agreed that I was being closely monitored and that little could happen that they wouldn't be able to address immediately. I explained my history with Dr. Huls. After realizing that my Pitocin battle with him had spanned several months she assured me that he'd be off duty the next day and that I wouldn't have to deal with him. Only then was I able to sleep.

YOU ARE A TRUE WARRIOR!!!!! meaning, you are speaking from your HEART :) i am in love with all of it :) nice work, pretty lady...nice work!
holland koenigs   Friday, May 13, 2011
OMG. What a jerk. I am so glad you stood your ground. I think it says a lot about how ready you were, even if you didn't feel like it.
And, girl, how can you be so confident in birth and so unconfident at home? Reach inside and find that! You know what Noah needs now just like you knew then.
girlcarew   Saturday, May 14, 2011
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