The Baby Bean Blog

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Birth Story, Part 3

The following events took place on Tuesday, August 16, 2005.

I woke up sometime after midnight, probably around 1:30 or 2am. The epidural was still in full effect. I could move my legs, but they felt numb. The midwife was there, and she did another internal check. I was at 9.5 centimeters--almost fully dilated. We waited another half an hour or so, and she checked me again. I was just shy of 10 centimeters. She did this thing where she stretched my cervix with her finger to get me that last little bit dilated. Then it was time to push.

I couldn't feel the contractions, but we could all see them coming on the monitor. When one started up, I began to push. Again, a little bit tricky because I couldn't really feel what I was doing. I could kind of feel that I was tensing some muscles, but it was hard to know if what I was doing was effective or not. I relied on the midwife to tell me if I had it right or not. According to her, I did.

I pushed. And I pushed. And I pushed. I was told that I was doing a good job, but we didn't seem to be getting anywhere. I did what I could. I did the best that I could. I lost track of time, as I had done ever since I arrived at the birth center on Sunday. Eventually three hours past. The baby's head was still in the same spot it had been when I started pushing. She wasn't coming out.

After three hours of pushing, I was in a daze. Actually, after everything that had happened, I was in a daze. They told me to stop and that they were going to talk to a surgeon. This wasn't shocking to me. At some point, I'd started to realize that I was going to have a c-section. It wasn't what I'd wanted, but I was too tired and too confused and too everything to feel anything but numb about it. It was like the epidural was spreading to my heart and my head.

The surgeon came in and looked at the print-out of the baby's heartbeat and my contractions. The baby was still doing great, after all this. Everyone was still amazed at how well she was responding. Knowing that I was a birth center client and knowing that birth center clients strongly preferred vaginal births, she made a suggestion.

She said that we should let the baby "seep." Basically, I would stop pushing for an hour, during which the contractions would continue. Sometimes, babies would right their position in the uterus, and then when the woman began pushing again, the baby would finally be able to come out. The surgeon and midwife suggested this to me. It was the last little bit of hope being extended to me. Lethargically, I said yes, we should do it. I didn't really have any hope that it would work.

I catnapped again for the hour of "seeping." Then the nurse who had been with me since midnight (by this time, I had been through three shift changes) came and said that it was time to start pushing again. My midwife was sleeping, and the nurse wanted to let her sleep a bit longer. I was very comfortable with this nurse, so I was fine moving forward with her. She had a slightly different strategy for pushing, which she said was because she was used to helping women who had epidurals. I followed her lead. Again, she said I was pushing really well...but the baby still wasn't coming out any further.

After another hour of pushing, I said to the nurse, "I don't see much point in this." She looked at me and nodded. It was time to call the surgeon again. The midwife came and I told her that I was ready to go forward with a c-section. And then things swung into action.

The midwife explained to me and my partner what would happen as various people moved in and out of the room, getting everything ready for me to go. Basically, I would be given a spinal, a more powerful anesthesia that would completely numb my lower body. This would be administered through the epidural catheter that was already in place. Once I was numb, my partner would come into the operating room and she could sit with me at my head. When the baby was born, she would be looked over by a special team of doctors who were there just for her. After they had checked her out, my partner could hold her and bring her over to where my head was. That was the plan.

The anesthesiologist came in and had me sign some papers. He told me the same things that the midwife had told me about the spinal. He also mentioned that if the spinal didn't work for some reason, I would be put under general anesthesia where I would be asleep.

My partner was handed some scrubs to put over her clothes, and I was wheeled away to the operating room. My midwife came with me, and I was happy about that because she was the only one who paid much attention to me. The other doctors and nurses around my bed on wheels were chatting with each other, over me, around me, I felt almost like I didn't exist.

In the operating room, I was strapped down onto the operating table. My arms were stretched straight out and strapped down too. I felt like Jesus being laid on the cross. I hadn't had much time to get scared or nervous, but that got the ball rolling.

The only doctor to really talk to me was the anesthesiologist. His masked face would appear above me from time to time as he told me what he was doing. He put a shot of something into my epidural. Oh, I should mention here that my epidural had been losing its strength during my last bought of pushing. I felt much less numb than I had before.

So he pushes something through the epidural line. A minute or so went by and then I felt a pinch on my stomach. Not a pinch with someone's fingers. It felt more like my skin had been grabbed by some metal tweezers. "Ouch!" I said, confused. Then I realized that had been a test to see if I was numb. Even though the nurse or doctor, beyond the blue drape that blocked my view past my breasts, had pinched me, when I spoke, neither looked in my direction. Just to be clear with them that they shouldn't start operating, I said, "I could feel that."

The anesthesiologist pushed some more stuff through my epidural catheter. Another minute went by and I felt another pinch. "I could feel that, too!" I said. As I concentrated on my body, I realized that my legs weren't particularly numb anymore. Shouldn't they be? "And I can feel my legs, too!" I said. "I can move them!" which I did a little bit as proof.

Again, neither the doctor or nurse looked at me or responded to me. The anesthesiologist's masked face appeared above me again, and he said, "We're going to put you to sleep now, okay?"

I looked from him to the midwife. One of them explained to me that they couldn't give me anymore medicine through the epidural catheter. I wasn't responding to it, and this was the only way. What could I do? I nodded my head, and a mask was placed over my nose and mouth. I felt tears start to leak out of my eyes, and I'm not even sure why. I guess I was scared. Not much seemed to be going my way. The midwife put her hand on my forehead and said, "I'm so sorry." Then I heard the anesthesiologist say that I might feel some stinging or burning in my face. Shortly after he said that, I felt what he described, and that was the last thing I remembered.

I woke up in the recovery room. The midwife was on one side of me and my partner was on the other side, holding the baby. I couldn't see very well. Everything was in double vision. I looked at my partner and I asked, "Is it a boy or a girl?" She said, "It's a girl." I wanted to hold her, but I knew I was too drugged to be trusted to hold my baby. "Let me see her," I said. She turned the baby around so that I could get a look. Two babies floated slightly apart from one another. "I see two of her," I said. Everyone in the recovery room laughed. At least I still had my sense of humor.

Seeing her made me want to hold her even more. I looked down at my body and saw this air-inflated sheet of cylinders laying over me. I pushed at it with my hands and asked, "What is this?" I was told that it was a heated air blanket. Although I already knew the answer, I said, "I want to hold my baby, but I can't, can I?" My midwife shook her head.

I was going in and out of consciousness. I would feel my eyes close, and no matter if I tried to fight it, they closed anyway. Then I'd open them again. Somewhere in all of this, I insisted that the baby was hungry and that I must breastfeed her immediately. I don't remember this, but there are pictures to prove that it happened. The midwife tried to explain to me that the baby wasn't hungry, but logic was most elusive to me at this point. I kept insisting, so eventually, the midwife picked up the baby, elicted her "rooting" instinct, and put her on my breast, where she latched on a sucked like a champ. This made me feel better from what they tell me.

Eventually, I stopped seeing two of people and I got to hold my little Ella. I don't remember much of it except the feeling of warmth in my arms and struggling not to let my eyelids close. Here was my baby. I wanted to hold her forever and protect her from everything. Then a nurse came in and said that they needed to take the baby to do something or other to her. I said to my partner, "Go with the baby. I'll be fine." She wasn't surprised. We'd talked about this before the c-section. I wanted her with the baby the entire time since I couldn't be. They left and I fell back onto the bed and into unconsciousness.

5 Comments:

  • Wow - that is an amazing story. I'm glad that everything turned out well and you're both healthy.

    By Blogger Diva, at 11:57 PM, September 14, 2005  

  • Oh my poor dear Ozzilyn Bean... I'm so sorry you had to endure all that but I'm guessing that right now you think it was all worth it. Am I close? ~;^) She sounds like a strong l'il critter though. Good. Are you feeling better now Oz? I hope so. And next Saturday is your birthday. My, what a present you got! ~:^)

    By Blogger foxymama, at 12:22 PM, September 17, 2005  

  • I too am glad I knew the happy ending before I read that account. Again, many congratulations!

    By Anonymous Fyse, at 12:57 PM, September 21, 2005  

  • I'm coming out of lurk mode to say I'm so glad everything turned out ok for you, your partner, and little Ella. This third part made me cry because I was scared and confused right along with you! I was also glad that I knew the end of the story!!

    By Blogger Jadon's days, at 1:19 PM, September 21, 2005  

  • Diva, I'm glad we're both fine, too! Actually, Ella has been perfect from the get go. I've had some complications here and there, but hopefully I'll be 100% in the near future.

    Foxy, It was worth it. I guess I wouldn't have it any other way. I certainly feel like I did (and endured) everything I could to have the birth that I wanted, so no regrets there. And thank you for the birthday wishes!

    Fyse, Hey there! You and I have both been MIA this summer. Looking forward to hearing more about what you've been up to.

    Lurker, Thanks for posting and letting me know you're out there. I do think a story like this is better told when you know how it ends!

    By Blogger Oz, at 8:09 PM, September 22, 2005  

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