Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Birth Experience

"I want to be a mom more than anything, and having PCOS makes me have to fight for that right & privilege." 

"A healthy baby is the goal. A safe delievery is the goal."

March 3, I spent the evening with back pain. I knew my body was changing and things would be happening soon. I had slight spotting and a lot of mucus discharge which I confided in my doula, Jen about. I woke up throughout the night with back pain which I later determined was small back contractions. At 4:59am, March 4th, I looked at my phone and saw the time change to 5:00am and felt a strong contraction. 10 minutes later, another one. So on & on for about a hour and then they became 7 minutes a part. I spent the early morning in bed contracting and timing them. At about 5 min a part I took a hot shower around 8am. I then notified my friend, Heatherann that it was time to head into Missoula. My contractions were 3.5 min a part. Upon arriving at labor and delievery "ER" (Triage) my contractions were shorter than 3 min a part. I was 0 centimeters dilated. There wasn't anything they could do for me besides tell me to go walk around and keep my two appointments I had that day (ultrasound and 40 week prenatal). At noon, we had lunch and walked to my next appointment a building over. I informed the ultrasound office receptionist I was in labor and was ordered to keep my appointments and find out measurements on my little girl. The ladies thought I was insane to be in labor and getting an ultrasound, especially since I was having strong contractions. Due to an emergency, the specialist doctor was late so we waited patiently while my contractions became closer together at about 1 min and 20 seconds. The pain intensified. The receptionist tried to track down the specialist who needed to review the scans I had taken by the tech. About 45 min later, we were told to walk two buildings over and go to the prenatal appointment I had with my doctor, Dr. Mayo. The specialist was in an emergency. The office was aware I was in "labor" and let me have a back room to contract in outside of the waiting room. From noon to 2pm, I had dilated a half centimeter "finger tip dilation". I was devastated. The hospital wouldn't admit me unless I was 2cm or more. Because I needed a break and sleep, my doc prescribed me Laratab (2 doses). She said it would relax me to get some rest. Wrong. Nothing happened. I continued to labor throughout the day & evening and waited patiently for my family to arrive from Washington. They arrived and I labored through the evening, waking people up I'm sure because I didn't sleep at all. The next morning, March 5, I was at 30 hours without sleep and called the labor and delievery line and advice and was told to come in again to get checked. My mom & nana went with me. Again....half a centimeter only. I remember looking at my mom and nana and we all started crying because of my pain and exhaustion. I begged the nurse for an answer and she kept using the term "failure to progress". I googled it. First pregnancy related google search, ever. "Stress, mental, psychological, and emotional struggles can cause failure to progress; among not being relaxed" I had myself breathe and relax through every contraction the first probably 24 hours but I was so tired. The nurse returned with a shot of morphine and said it would let me sleep for 4-5 hours. I took it. I was hesitant for about a minute and realized I had a long way to go. I went and slept for 4.5 glorious hours while my family toured Missoula. When I woke, the contractions came back in a steady pace. My family and I had dinner around 7 and by 8 we decided a swim in the hotel pool would be a good idea. For almost 2 hours, I swam laps, lunged, high knees and even galloped like a horse. I even did some water acrobatic dance moves I've seen on the movies. Some nice couples in the hot tub had looks of terror and they heard me yell "time!" & had my aunt shout out the time so I could track my contractions. The couples probably thought I was going to have a hotel pool baby. We all went to bed about 11-well my family did. I labored and kept my sister awake with my noises. Her concern told me that they were getting worse (at this point I couldn't tell you my pain rate because of how tired I was). At 2am I called my doula, Jen who said she would come to help me with positions and even help me labor through the pain. When Jen arrived, we both decided (I don't remember how we got to the conclusion) but it was time to go get checked again. At 3am on March 6, I was at 3 centimeters! 

Show time!!!! 

The next part kind of comes and goes in the memory department because I was in a lot of pain & sleep deprived. We immediately got into my labor room and had to be monitored for 20 min (that's hard when you need to bend over and rock out contractions and baby's heart rate keeps getting lost on the monitor). After the initial 20 minutes, my Doula, Jen got a hot bath going and it was a saving grace. I labored through contractions for almost 2 hours in the tub and it was amazing. The pain was still intense but I felt a little relief between each one I got to close my eyes and "relax". I truly believe that's what made me dilate even more. After the shower, I found my spot back on the bed (on all fours) with a pillow for support and rocked through contractions with music playing and Jen rubbing my lower back. Contractions came harder and stronger and after being checked at a 5 (later was determined more like a 4), I needed relief, my body was screaming. I kept saying to myself "no pain management, no pain management, this is what your body was made for." But I thought "do you want to push? If so, relief now may help." I asked for an epidural through gritted teeth and while sobbing. By this time, I think it's roughly 10am? Dr. Mayo broke my water-like it was just another day on the job and she said she would see me soon! After I got the epidural, they gave me something to rest. I still had the contractions. I then realized they had given me pitocin. I can't remember if I requested it or if I just approved it. I didn't sleep, but was able to have a little relief to relax my body more. I continued to labor through the afternoon. Roughly around 2 or 3, I felt the urge to push and became really angry that my cathider was still in and nothing was ready to go. The nurse checked me, and I was 9.5 so after a few big contractions and fighting the urge to push I demanded to push, and was checked and it was push time!!! 

My body was already shaking with each contraction which scared me. My legs were heavy but I had feeling in them and the nurse instructed me to hold my legs but I physically couldn't hold my legs and focus on pushing so I had people hold my legs. My worst part was how my body was hyperventilating after each push. I hated that I couldn't hold the push the full 10 seconds without feeling like I was going to pass out or my face was numb. I got really discouraged, fast. So again, I got outside of my own mind and stepped back and realized "I could do this". I kept saying "I can do this" before and after each push. Everyone kept encouraging me & being positive. I had never pushed a baby out before but I felt like the pressure wasn't being relieved no matter how many times and how long I pushed. I didn't know if it was normal. Again, I started worrying. At one point, I pushed hard and long, i couldn't hear anyone else in the room. My body then just went limp. I knew, I couldn't keep going. I was spent. The nurse then requested another dose of the epidural to help. I was supposed to have relief within 15 min, but nothing. It was like I never got anything. I could see the nurse wonder what the deal was. 

Laurel's heart rate wasn't being picked up because of her placement and they came in with this long stick thing and went inside to place a "tag" on her head to pick up her heart rate. That was the scariest moment of my life, and I think it was because I didn't understand what was happening.  After the nurse realized the epidural wasn't placed right or working, Dr. Mayo came in and told me what I knew was coming but didn't want...a c section. She checked Laurel and she gave me two options. 
1. C section immediately. 
2. Take out old epidural, get a new one and push for several more hours, with the option of a c section in case baby gets stressed. 

Dr. Mayo knew my plan, she knew either option would be a hard one to make because it would mean a completely depleted body or depleted spirit. I truly believe she knew that and that's why she was so kind about how she approached the situation. She reminded me of how long I had been doing this and what the ultimate goal was. "Healthy baby". After sobbing, my family and I were left alone to decide. I remember saying "mommy, I'm done" over and over. I chose the c section. While Dr Mayo got prepped for surgery, so did I but I still felt like I had to push. Not pushing or pushing "a little" as instructed by the nurse is more painful than pushing. Don't try it. It was horrible. My body was wanting to do something but I couldn't. 

I'm not sure what time I was wheeled into the OR, but it was like you see in the movies and when I saw all the lights and tools, I just "gave up", I truly just stopped fighting and accepted I was going to meet my daughter!!! I was getting the spinal black (not being able to move) through contractions is a torture method I'm sure. It was horrible and it felt like the OR staff was just hanging out taking their time, but then again, time went much faster after I got the drugs. On the operating table, my body felt "free". I know that sounds crazy but I truly felt relaxed for the first time in days. I then got a heavy chest, twitchy eyes, and could feel my arms twitching and the nurse confirmed my body was relaxing and I was okay. I remember closing my eyes because the lights hurt my eyes because of a headache I had. I immediately awoke to heart the sweetest cry. My daughter. Mind you, I had NO voice and I was screaming "Jake, go check on her!!" Only to turn my head and see he was next to her. He shot me a look & beamed "she's so beautiful!". I smiled and closed my eyes, only to fight the sleep and see her little foot and all her hair. I couldn't figure out why they didn't bring her to me or let jake cut the cord, so I was getting mad. She was supposed to be brought to me immediately and wasn't. I started panicking. Jake brought me a picture while they cleaned her up. 

The next minute will always stay in my mind, and I'll remember it when I doubt my decision making as a mom. 
Dr. Mayo said "Chelsea, I want you to know you made the right decision. Your baby was sunny side up and her forehead was coming out first not her crown and she was stuck, you would have pushed and pushed and stressed her out and have gotten a c section either way. You have a healthy baby!" 

I got to hold Laurel in recovery for the first time and I'll never forget how she snuggled my chest!