Friday, February 17, 2006

My Birth Story

Meeting Anastasia...

I went to the doctor on February 6, 2006 after working half a day to have my progress monitored for the second time. The week before I had been 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced, so I had been forewarned that my doctor may very well send me straight to the hospital. I had spent the entire week afraid that I might go into labor at any time, which made me nervous because I really wanted my own OB to deliver the baby. However, my appointment did not go as planned.

My doctor was having a really hard time checking me since my cervix was playing a game of hide and go seek. So, basically she asked me to pull both of my legs up into a labor and delivery position in order to check me. That’s when things became hectic. After checking me she asked whether or not I had been having a discharge that day. When I told her I had not, she told me she thought she had broken my water. I almost burst into tears! She had to then check me with a speculum, which hurt dreadfully, and I was in fact leaking water. I was horribly upset. I had never thought that was how the decision would be made on inducing my baby. Actually, there wasn’t a decision to be made at all. My baby would be born three weeks early because my water had been broken in the office: something my doctor said had never happened to her. It seems I can’t do anything the normal way.

My doctor volunteered to call my husband for me to tell him what happened, an offer that I took her up on. However, she wasn’t able to reach him because he was in a patient’s home. She told me I could go home and get my things together as long as I wasn’t in a lot of pain. On my way home I tried to call my husband again, but he wasn’t answering the phone. So, I decided to go ahead and call my Dad and dh’s parents because there was no telling how far away my husband was.

So, I ended up with both sets of our parents in the house while I was trying to finish packing my bags. Thank goodness I had created a list of everything else I needed that wasn’t in my bag so that I could just check things off as I packed! When dh finally called me I found out that he was over and hour and a half away from home, so I had my FIL drive me to the hospital. I ended up going into the hospital with my FIL, MIL, and Mom while my Dad stayed at my sister’s house to watch her baby since the sitter needed to go home.

I ended up having to wait a long time at admissions because the paperwork I had completed during childbirth class had not been entered into the computer yet. By the time I finally made it into the labor and delivery room my husband entered only five minutes later. He had even gone home to change his shirt. I don’t want to know how fast he must have been driving.

I was started on pitocin since I was 3 cm dilated. However, my body did not respond quickly. I was having contractions, but wasn’t making much progress. I was lucky that the contractions didn’t bother me for hours, even though they were registering a ten and above on the monitoring equipment. I wanted to wait as long as possible before getting an epidural. However, by 9pm I was advised to go ahead and get an epidural because the doctor who does them happened to be in the hospital at the time and was about to go home. It would take her 30 minutes to get back to the hospital when I finally decided I wanted an epidural. The internal checks were excruciating, even if I could handle the contractions, so I gave in and told the nurse to get the epidural started.

I had completely dreaded getting the epidural started, but it honestly wasn’t any worse than getting an IV started. It didn’t take much time before my toes started to feel tingly. I couldn’t even feel my next check 30 minutes later. The down side was that I had to have a catheter, but fortunately that wasn’t put in place until the epidural medicine was in effect.

The first two phases of labor wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t progressed so slowly. I spent hours making no progress at all. I also had the misfortune of not being able to get any sleep because one of the pieces of equipment monitoring the baby and I would sound every 30 minutes. The nurse would come in and get me to shift positions every 30 minutes. Well, unfortunately the nurse and the equipment were not on the same timing, so I went through all 18 hours of labor without any sleep.

At 2:30 a.m. my husband went out into the waiting room to tell our families that I just wasn’t making any progress and we weren’t going to have a baby any time soon. He told them that they might as well go home and get some sleep. So, everyone left.

By 3:00 a.m. my doctor felt as though we needed to consider a c-section, and she was prepared to do one at 5:30 a.m. I was still only 6 cm dilated. In addition our daughter’s head was not lined up properly for delivery. I was so frustrated with my body, and I burst into tears from exhaustion. My labor and delivery nurse spent a lot of time with me explaining the process of c-sections the hospital followed, because there were parts I couldn’t remember at that point from child birth class. My doctor decided to try one last trick. She told me that I had another bag of water, and she was going to break it. She was also going to turn off the pitocin because apparently my body was getting so accustomed to it that it wasn’t effective. However, by 4:00 a.m. my cervix had only progressed to 7 cm dilated according to the nurse. My husband called our family members to let them know I was probably going to have a c-section in an hour and everyone returned to the hospital.

However, my doctor considered some progress reason to wait. She decided to turn the pitocin on again at half the previous dosage. By 5:00 a.m. I was 9cm dilated! So, at 5:30 a.m. I was checked and told that it was finally time to start pushing. I could hardly believe that I wasn’t going to have a c-section after I had mentally prepared myself for one.

Our daughter’s head was even finally lined up properly so that there was a real chance that it would be able to fit through my pelvis. I ended up pushing for two hours. My doctor, who has spent tons of time with me over the last 5 years through my health problems and infertility, spent a lot of time with us. However, she finally had to go to a meeting with a doctor from who was here from another hospital. She was hoping she wouldn’t have to go since I was in labor, but apparently it was something she couldn’t get out of, since this other hospital takes the babies who are in critical condition from the local hospital, and she had to learn the protocol changes.

Around 7:30 a.m. we were all completely frustrated. Anastasia’s head was just not getting past my pubic bone. I was so afraid that I would be having to have an emergency c-section after two hours of pushing. My doctor was called out of her meeting, and it was decided that she would use the vacuum to help with the delivery. I had hoped to deliver without the assistance of forceps or a vacuum, but I couldn’t put up a fuss. I had exhausted myself and I was told that the risks to the baby were in fact low.

My doctor used the vacuum for almost 30 minutes. During this time I became really scared because Anastasia’s heart rate was dropping. I started to close my eyes when pushing because I was afraid of what I would see. My husband actually accuses me of falling asleep at the end as a result. It’s a good thing I closed my eyes. When Anastasia was finally delivered she almost flew out of me. She came out all at once, and I could see an almost shocked and horrified look on my doctor’s face. She suctioned Anastasia’s nose and mouth. I can’t remember if she had cried or not before that. She was born on February 7, 2006.

Anastasia was taken to the back of the room to be measured and weighed. Before that was accomplished I had delivered the placenta and only minutes later she was placed on my belly. I just cried and cried tears that were a mixture of exhaustion and joy. She seemed to be all arms and legs! At only 37 weeks she was bigger than my doctor had ever thought she would be. She weighed 6 pounds and 7 ounces and was 20 inches long. Her Apgar scores were 7/8.

Minutes later she was taken to the nursery and my doctor began to sew me up. I had a second degree tear and was horribly swollen. She ended up using three rolls of the dissolving thread before she was satisfied that my tears were appropriated sutured. A few minutes later my husband returned with Anastasia from the nursery. He showed me our families’ reactions on the video he had taken. He told me he thought that our daughter had his legs, feet, and hands, but my facial features.

So, after a slightly unexpected induction, Anastasia was born. Her head is almost better from the use of the vacuum, and everyone tells me that she is just beautiful. And I’ve come a long way in recovery myself. At first I could hardly get out of bed without my husband’s help, and he hurt his back because sometimes he actually had to lift me up. Now I’m moving around and able to forget about my stitches at times. I will say though that at this point there are still times when it is hard to take care of myself and Anastasia as well. I’m in love with my little girl though. She is the most snuggly baby I have ever seen. Without a doubt, she is the child that we were meant to have, and my eyes still tear up when I think about the journey we went through in order to have her. I’m so thankful for the talents of my RE and the embryologist who cared for her during her first three days of life before transfer. I thank God for bringing my RE’s team together and am grateful that they seemed to have faith that my husband and I would be parents despite what seemed like insurmountable odds.

Interestingly, one of the nursery nurses who was helping from a local hospital came with a nurse friend to my room one evening while I was still in the hospital. (Apparently our hospital was very full while I was staying there.) She had some questions for me about how things were going and then asked if it was okay for her to ask me a personal question. Somehow all of the nurses in labor and delivery, the nursery, and the postpartum floor had learned that our baby was an IVF baby. This particular nurse asked how many times my husband and I had done IVF. I think she was really encouraged to hear that one cycle had in fact worked for us. I have the feeling that maybe that’s all she can afford. I told her a little bit about the process I went through learning about the procedure before I officially began. I can only hope that she found what I had to tell her to be encouraging. I can only imagine how painful it must be to work in a hospital nursery while dealing with infertility.

Now we’re home and Anastasia’s grandparents seem to be here constantly. We have almost finished putting together her things and putting the final touches on her nursery. It’s been hectic getting things ready when she came so much earlier than expected. However, I guess it’s a good thing she came three weeks early considering her size at birth.


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