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Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Birth Story: Part 2

I've tried to divide this up into parts.


The following morning Richie and I woke up to the new resident doctor, Dr. Meschtner. She started off our conversation with, "I know you are totally opposed to Pitocin." I stopped her there and clarified our desires for the least invasive and most natural methods before the use of Pitocin, and explained that if, in the end, that was what was needed then we'd go with it. She wanted to break my water and start a Pit line, and then admitted to having read all of Dr. Huls' notes from the night before. I told her what I told him. She and I went back and forth a bit before she said, "There is possibly another option." Um, hello?! Where was that when she came into the room? She suggested a prostaglandin insert. We discussed both of the types they use. She explained that she'd had some luck with them dilating the cervix enough to get labor started. I told her that I needed to consult with Richie and my doula before committing to anything. Bobbi Sue, Richie and I, after much discussion, decided that it wasn't a bad idea. After breakfast and a hot shower we notified the nurse that we were on board with the Cervidil insert. At noon my 1 hour pre-insertion heart monitoring started. Around 1pm when it was inserted, I was still only dilated 4 cm. I remained in the bed for 1 hour. The medication in the insert lasts 12 hours, but the protocol is to remain in bed the first hour to get things going, medicine wise. My parents had shown up to the hospital and visited with us for a while. Because everything was so slow going and very boring in the room they decided to go for lunch. Richie walked them out and headed down to the cafeteria for his lunch. At my 1 hour mark I needed to use the bathroom. When I did the insert had almost completely come out. The nurse replaced it and I began walking. I walked for about another 30 minutes when I used the bathroom again, this time the Cervidil had come outall the way out.

Sometime after 3 p.m. my parents had come back and were there when Dr. Strong, the Director for PPA, came in to meet us. He was such a lighthearted and funny man. He told me that he'd be there all night but he'd only be sober till 5 p.m. We all roared. I told him that he was fine to deliver my baby after 5 p.m. but only if he brought some to share with me. He asked if I was having contractions; I said I thought so. He seemed amused by that. They weren't painful, and to be honest I hardly noticed them. He checked me and confirmed that the Cervidil had, in fact, come out but because I was contracting he wanted to let me go and see what my body was going to do on its' own without inserting another Cervidil. Around 5:30 (after only 2 hours since the Cervidil) they checked my cervix again, and I'd dilated to 6 cm. Bobbi Sue was on her way!

By the time she got there my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart and still not painful. Actually, I napped through quite a bit of them! Dr. Strong came back in sometime around 7-7:30 p.m. to check me again. He was very excited and wanted so badly to deliver my baby! He was like a kid at a birthday party! Well, I guess he kind was at a birthday party. I digress. He was eager to break my water and said it'd be easy because my bag was really bulging now. They said at one point they were surprised it hadn't broken on its own because it was so bulged. By that point I'd dilated to 7.5 cm, and once my parents left the room he broke my water sack. It was warm and flooded the bed. Almost immediately the contractions came on like a lion!
I must interject a tidbit about my nurse. On the 7's they change shifts. My new nurse was a part-time employee and worked full time at the county hospital-a much different clientele there. She was from India. The cultural differences and the fact that she worked primarily at a county hospital made her difficult to work with. She was fast, rough and had HORRIBLE bedside manners. Throughout the labor and delivery she stepped on my IV line 3 different times. She panicked easily and was the crazy nurse who would step to the doorway and scream, "I need some help in here" as if I were coding! Not very professional.

A piddle pad was taped down to the birthing ball which is where I labored most of the time following my water being broken. But before assuming my position on the ball I politely asked my parents to leave the room because I wasn't comfortable showing them all my glory. They understood, left the room, and my labor began.
With Richie and Bobbi Sue at my side I was able to hypno-birth and labor very well. So well in fact that I can honestly say that there isn't much beyond this point that I can actually remember for myself. With each strong contraction I would grimace, and Richie would guide me to relax, and I would. As I rolled around on the ball I'd feel the water gush. I labored on the ball for more than an hour when Bobbi Sue had me get in the bed. My contractions were coming fast and hard.

I labored in the bed for some time. During my labor many things were going on. That crazy nurse was checking my blood sugar, discussing the insulin IV, and freaking out about my vitals. Because they couldn't find our pineapple's heart rate with the external monitor anymore they had to use the internal monitor. I was quite unhappy about the whole thing, but Bobbi Sue reminded me of how important it was to prove to them that my baby was okay during labor. My blood pressure was on the rise and had spiked higher than 150/90. I kept explaining to them that I did not have pre-eclampsia and that I'd been checked for it the week before. At just the right moment another nurse came into my room. It was Mary! This is what she said, "I was supposed to have tonight off but they called me in. But I have no patients. I saw your name on the board and had to come see you." I was so amazed that she remembered me enough and cared enough to seek me out. We were chit chatting when the crazy nurse came in with a handful of stuff. She said, "I need clean urine." I didn't understand what that meant but knew it couldn't be good by the way Bobbi Sue was looking at me. I asked what that meant. She said she needed urine to check for pre-eclampsia. I wouldn't say we argued, but I did put up a strong fight over the catheter. I didn't realize that a "clean catch" meant cathing the patient. I was almost panicked! Mary begged the crazy nurse to let her try to get a clean catch without using the cath. The crazy nurse argued with Mary right in front of all of us. Mary did not argue back, but simply pleaded with her on my behalf. I announced to the room, in between contractions of course, that I did not have an epidural and wasn't fond of the idea of a cath. Finally, Mary turned to me with a very determined expression and said, "Ashley, trust me. I can do this; let me do this. I can do this fast and it won't hurt. Please let me do this." I looked to Richie and Bobbi Sue. I agreed to let Mary do the cath. It was fast and it didn't hurt.

As my labor progressed I told Richie and Bobbi Sue that I felt like I needed to have a BM. She asked me, "Do you feel the need to push ONLY during contractions or all the time." I pondered on it a minute; long enough that they laughed at me. I told her only during the contractions. She told me to wait until it was there all the time. Bobbi Sue told me that I would know the difference. She assured me that the sensation and the pushing would be a different type of pain and would feel more like relief than anything. I trusted her. Mary had been in and out of my room throughout. Around 10:30 p.m. I announced to the room that I needed to push, it was the real thing and that I wasn't waiting on anyone! At that point I immediately began pushing and am told that's when the staff began bringing in their tables, tools and other necessities. Dr. Meschtner and Dr. Strong appeared. There were, at times, as many as 4-5 nurses in my room because the crazy nurse kept screaming for help. She wasn't doing anything; I'm not entirely sure what she needed help with. They never hooked up the insulin IV because my last blood sugar was 120, which was taken while I was pushing. I was in the classic "C" position, but even with Bobbi Sue and Richie pulling my legs in towards me my pushes weren't as effective as they could be. Mary, my angel, suggested the squatting bar. Bobbi Sue and Richie got excited because I was excited about it. But the contractions were so hard and coming so fast that I couldn't get myself from my very reclined position onto my knees. So, taking charge as I love to do, I announced to them all, "I've got this" and threw myself back into the bed, propped my feet up on the squatting bar and wedged myself into a very strong squatted position while on my back. The pushing was still lacking a little something. So Bobbi Sue threw a sheet over the top of the bar and tied a knot for me to hold onto. At that point I grabbed the sheet and pulled myself up while pushing. EUREKA! It worked! Everyone declared what wonderful pushes there were now that I had that sheet. I kept hearing "there you go!" and "you've got it!"
Following each push I'd let out a yell, a scream, a moan or some other noise. I'm told that after each noise I apologized for being so loud. Everyone was very supportive of my natural labor. No one offered me drugs, only kind and encouraging words! They all told me that I was a real fighter; that I could scream all I wanted because I was, after all, in labor. At one point I heard another faint scream. I opened my eyes, looked at Bobbi Sue and asked, "Was that scream me?" They all laughed and she told me that another woman was also in labor; that I was not the only one screaming. I spent 99% of my hypno-birthing labor with my eyes closed. Richie and Bobbi Sue repeatedly asked me to open my eyes and focus on them. I would say, "I can hear you. I'm present." They were both so attentive. About half way through delivery I announced to the entire room, "I will be the reason every other woman in this unit gets an epidural!" The room roared, and then everyone said that was okay because I was doing a good job. As I pushed Noah further down they brought in a mirror. I wasn't in the mindset to take advantage of it, but as I got closer to the end (which I know now was the end) I began looking, watching and using it to my advantage. Because of the internal heart monitor I could see how far/hard I was pushing. I could see him descend and tell if he was moving back up or not. I watched him crown.

As he crowned Bobbi Sue told me to reach down and feel him. I did. I have no words to describe how real, natural and amazing it felt. It was spiritual. As far as I was concerned there were only 3 people in that room and we three were delivering that baby. I know there was a lot of buzz in the background, but it was just thatmerely a buzz. I was so focused on riding the waves of the contractions and not allowing myself to 'feel pain'. I was focused on them and my body, so focused that it was as though the three of us were in my own little fog, my own little world and no one else existed or was needed. I felt my baby's head. That was all the motivation I needed. Dr. Strong said that for the first time during labor and delivery that his heart rate was dropping. He said, "Just a couple more pushes and you can meet your baby." I asked Bobbi Sue, "Really? Just a couple more?" She nodded in agreement. I bore down and pushed as they counted all the while focusing on some random object on the table. Following each push I'd scream and cry out. I could feel Dr. Strong's hands and would push against them in an attempt to keep from ripping. Out of nowhere I hear Bobbi Sue tell me, "Look down. Look down and see your baby." There he was, even though we didn't know he was a 'he' yet. I saw my baby as I pushed and as he entered this world. When that little head turned to the side I laid back in the bed and continued to push. I felt his head, his shoulders, his little bum and his kicking feet as each part of him was delivered. YesI did say kicking feet.

As they rolled him over I asked Richie, "Is it a boy or a girl." In total shock and amazement he said, "It's a boy." It was a moment I'll never forget. They laid Noah on my chest. I looked at that precious little face. Bobbi Sue grabbed the camera for a couple pictures. As the cord came out Dr. Strong announced in total shock that my cord was double knotted! He made Bobbi Sue take pictures. He could not believe that I had a completely uneventful pregnancy, labor and delivery with a double knotted cord. What a strong little man I had growing inside my belly. I said, "We have a Noah!" Then I handed to Richie and said, "Here, hold your son."

WOW, Ashley-there are no words. This is just so well written. You definitely are a Warrior Woman!
dannie   Thursday, July 21, 2011
Tears. Thank you for sharing your story, Ashley. I can't hear enough of them!
pegi   Thursday, July 21, 2011
I know this is so long. thank you for reading it. :)
there is an additional chapter to this story that, fortuntely, most women don't have.....that comes soon.
Richie & Ashley   Thursday, July 21, 2011
thank you for sharing this. thank you.
holland koenigs   Thursday, July 21, 2011
That is so amazing. I remember (or not as the case may be) that fuzzy hazy laborland. It is such an amazing experience and I am so glad you were able to experience it as natural as possible just as you'd hoped. It is truly an experience I treasure, and I know you do too.
girlcarew   Tuesday, July 26, 2011
I am sorry that i am just now reading this! Thank you for sharing your story!
Spike   Saturday, October 1, 2011
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