Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Birth

On Wednesday morning, September 3rd, I began having pain near my hip. It seemed to get worse as the morning wore on and by 11am I was very uncomfortable. An hour later I called Jason and asked him to come home. I was in tears and he knew that something was definitely wrong.

I quickly decided that I needed to do something because the tricks I was trying to relieve the pain were not working. I was using my TENS unit, a heating pad, ice packs, getting in the tub, laying in an inverted position, and anything else I thought might encourage the babies to move.

By 1:30pm I was on my way to the chiropractor. He was so sweet and came back early from lunch just to see me. He tried to adjust me but it did not help. He could tell that I needed help and walked me out to the van to tell Jason to take me to the hospital.

I arrived at the ER just before 3pm and was quickly ushered upstairs to L&D. I was in so much pain that I could not think straight but kept assuring them I was not in labor. Nobody believed me. I let them monitor the babies and took a Percocet to relieve the pain. Unfortunately, the pain continued and the Percocet only made me sleepy.

Eventually I decided to go home. I was still in pain but wanted the freedom to move and planned to get into the birth pool and see if that brought relief. At 8pm I left the hospital after signing out AMA.

I returned home and again tried to relieve the pain by encouraging the babies to turn. I was sure that one of the babies was compressing a nerve. I was praying for guidance and that God would relieve my pain. The kids were worried about me and the girls were trying to console me by kissing my belly and rubbing my back.

Around 11pm I called my friend to see if she could drive me back to the hospital. I was in tears as I told Jason that I'd be having a hospital birth for sure now. He didn't want me to go at first and kept asking if I was sure that I wanted to go back. I told him that the pain was unbearable and that I needed to go.

After getting back to L&D they again hooked me up to the monitors and this time I agreed to an IV and a cervical check. I was 1cm dilated. (I told them I wasn't in labor!) They gave me a shot of Demerol and I was able to relax enough to sit in the bed. It was around this time that we noticed Baby B (Ryan) having some slight decels in his heart rate. They weren't major and he only had 2 or 3 but it did take a while for his heart rate to recover.

Eventually I fell asleep and awoke around 3am to find another friend in my hospital room. She camped out there with me overnight and was there when things really got crazy. Baby B's decels became more frequent and more severe. Sometimes they dipped to the 90s and then to the 70s. They would take a minute to recover. I got a dose of morphine for the continuing nerve pain.

By 6:30am I was very concerned. I pretty much knew that a vaginal delivery was out of the question. If Baby B couldn't stand the stress now, there was no way he would survive labor. I asked when the OBs would be doing rounds and found out that my OB was coming in that morning. He was not scheduled to work so it was a pleasant surprise. I would obviously prefer the care of a good midwife, but I have had a good relationship with this OB throughout this pregnancy and my pregnancy with the girls. If anyone was going to operate on me, I wanted it to be him.

Around 7am I called Jason and told him to pack a bag and come to the hospital. I called my friend to come care for the kids. I called my mom and let her know that I'd be having the babies that day. As I'm sitting there making phone calls, Baby B's heart rate plummets. It dropped down to 50 bpm before disappearing. My room filled with activity as everyone rushed to have me flip onto hands & knees, gave me more oxygen, and tried to stimulate the baby.

That was it. I knew it was time. I cried as I asked about the details of the cesarean. My OB was en route to the hospital. (He told me today that he drove 80 mph and ran a red light trying to get to me.) The nurses quickly prepped me as I called Jason again and told him I was going to the OR now.

Within minutes I was rushed down the hall and into a cold, sterile OR. The doctors made a quick attempt at a spinal because I had specifically requested to be awake and not restrained so that I could hold my babies after they were delivered. The spinal did not take and there was no time to try again so I was put out with general anesthesia. My last memory was watching them put up the blue sheet for the sterile field.
Nathan was born at 8:08 am and Ryan followed at 8:09 am. Jason was waiting for them outside when they brought them to the nursery.

I woke up in recovery. Jason and my friend were there. I think that the hospital lactation consultant (a friend) was also there judging by the pictures. I have no memories of it, but apparently I nursed the babies for the first time. I also called my mom (which I don't remember) and the nurses brought me my placenta to bring home.

My only memory is when they wheeled me to my postpartum room. As we rolled down the hallway they played the lullaby song (twice) for the boys. Then I was left in my room to get to know these new little boys who had just rocked my world.

As I sit here, 5 days later, I'm still struggling to process what happened. I'm definitely grateful for the cesarean and I know that I made the right choice. I'm grieving the loss of my homebirth and staring at the empty birth pool was a painful reminder so Jason deflated it yesterday. That just made it seem even more real. No more babies? No more births for me? I can't beloieve it.

Today I had my staples removed. I'm feeling good aside from some wicked back pain from the spinal attempt. I ran to get groceries today and I'm feeling capable of moving without my insides falling out on the floor.

After talking to the OB I have figured out a few things. First of all, my nerve pain was just that-nerve pain. The severe pain was caused by my obturator nerve and was unrelated to the babies' conditions. I firmly believe that the pain was God's way of telling me to go to the hospital. I wasn't in labor and had my next OB appointment scheduled for today. There is no way Ryan would have survived another week-or even another day. God got me to the hospital so that Ryan would live. I am 100% sure of it.

Ryan's umbilical cord was very thin and had almost no Wharton's Jelly. He had stopped growing as well as he had been and although there were no signs of it on ultrasound, the beginnings of acute TTTS were at play. There were no complications (unlike the girls where one had anemia and one had polycythemia) but Ryan did need to be resuscitated after his birth. My uterus looked great and there were no issues with the placenta-no accreta or previa. We are all healthy and doing well!
I'm sad that I couldn't give these boys the peaceful birth that they deserved. But I'm incredibly grateful that they are both here in my arms where they belong.
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