Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My first daughter

5 years ago right now I was laying in a hospital bed in with my first dose (of two) of cervidil sitting on my cervix...ripening an already 4 cm open cervix because my midwife threatened to drop me as a patient on my due date...I thought I was leaking fluid on my due date, the day that I happened to have a MW check. She couldn't tell so she sent me to the hospital to get a fluid level check. My very inexperienced sono tech discovered I had an 11 lb 8 oz baby and sent me straight back to the office....below I will insert Madeline's birth story as written right after she was born: (warning, it's pretty long)

The pregnancy
I truly had a wonderful pregnancy and felt that I enjoyed every minute of it. Of course I had all your basic complaints but they really seemed insignificant compared to the happiness I felt to be carrying around a new little baby.I was so happy every morning to wake up and be pregnant and also every night to feel those little pushes and nudges from this perfect creature.
My son was induced 9 days early by an OB because he was "too big". It was a horrible experience but I can say that it taught me a lot, especially that I was not going to go that route again. For this birth I choose a Midwife group, which unfortunately only did hospital births, I took and studied hypnobirthing classes, and hired that instructor as my doula. I read up on everything I could get my hands on about natural, drug free births. I asked a ton of questions (which I was always afraid to do with the OB) and wanted to make sure I was prepared for everything. I took my hypnobirthing practice very serious and taught myself how to use it.The pregnancy was pretty uneventful. I always had great blood pressure, all tests were normal, and I continued to feel great. The only problem I did have was a low lying placenta which did correct itself by 34 weeks but caused me to have extra sonograms to check it's progress.
Towards the end of the pregnancy, the midwives would comment about the size of the baby but it never seemed to be an issue. The baby always measured pretty big in the sonograms but we all knew how inaccurate they could be. My final sonogram a week before I was due showed the baby to weigh 9 lbs 2 oz which sounded nice and healthy to me and again, there was no concern by the midwives.At my last appointment I was checked and dilated to 2 cm, 50 % effaced, and the MW could feel the hair on the baby's head. She was pretty sure that I would go into labor on my own over the weekend. I walked all weekend long, had sex, ate some spicy foods, relaxed and slept a lot, set up an appointment with an acupuncturist for the day before my due date, did an enema, and just tried to prepare everything I could. The baby did not come!
My Due Date

I woke up on Wednesday feeling as normal as usual. I had zero contractions and no feelings whatsoever that today was "the" day. I went to the bathroom a few times that morning and seemed to feel wetter than usual.I called the midwife because I was worried about leaking too much and she wanted to check me. I went in at 11:30 and the strip test showed fluid leakage but the fern test did not.I did not pool when I coughed but there was excess fluid in there. I was also dilated to 3 cm and still 50 % effaced. I should have just left after that but she wanted to send me to the hospital for a sonogram to get an accurate fluid level since they didn't measure it the week before. So across the street I went to the hospital back to have yet another sonogram that I really didn't want. My fluid was just fine but the tech was floored when the output for weight was 11 lbs 8 oz. She faxed the results back to the midwife's office and I went back to the office. Everyone knew there was no way the baby was that big. It was too late in the pregnancy to get an accurate reading, it was a different tech that did it than the week before, and I really didn't look by measurements to be that big.
Here's where the problem lies. That weight was documented and written down and my midwife's office has to work under an OB. She told me that they were liable to deliver me with a baby that large. She said it was a legal issue because of the problems that could arise. What bothered me a lot was that I had only seen this particular MW a couple of times during my pregnancy so I felt I didn't really know her and she had no clue as to what I wanted out of my birth. She wanted to admit me that night to start pitocin. I said I was going to have no pitocin in my body. She then suggested we do cervidil and see if that would push me into labor. I did agree to do this but I was still devastated.
This was not the way it was supposed to happen. This was not the way I was suppose to go into labor. My vision had been shattered. I felt like at that moment I had lost control of my ideal birth and it was my fault for going in and having that damn sonogram. I should have refused but now I felt stuck. I could not stop crying in my car, I was extremely disappointed and terribly sad.
I called my doula, Dee to see what she suggested. She told me that I still had a choice. I didn't have to go into the hospital that night. She said I could switch midwives and she knew one that would take me that day and do a water birth at her birth center whenever I did go into labor. She told me to go home and hook myself up to a breast pump and get some contractions going. I didn't feel right about switching MW and I knew that the one that I loved, Carrie, would be at the hospital that night. Plus, I didn't know anything about if my insurance company would cover a birth center and having to switch everything stressed me out so I knew that was out.
I drove home and told my husband to get home so we could have sex. He was pretty happy about that! I got in my car and drove until I found a place to rent a Medela breastpump. I drove to the health store and she gave me black cohosh tea to drink and blue cohosh drops to put under my tongue every hour. I put myself in a nice hot bath and just relaxed and visualized. While I was in the tub, I drank my tea and put the drops under my tongue and just about threw up, they were so disgusting. My husband and I had sex and then I laid on my side and hooked myself up to the double pump and just relaxed. An hour later, I put more drops under my tongue and started to pack my bags and get everything in the car. So far I had no contractions. I went to the bathroom again and lo and behold, my plug fell out!! I was so excited to see that little form of progress. I again felt like I had my control back and I knew that this birth was going to be beautiful and I was going to make it what I wanted. I was going to finally meet my baby and that alone made me so happy that it covered all the heartache that I felt earlier! I was going to be holding and nursing my baby in just a few hours.
Madeline's Birth
I was supposed to be at the hospital at 7:30 but Johnny was being very needy and clingy like he knew what was going on. I didn't want to up and leave on him so it was a gradual process to get out the door. I was at the hospital at 8:00 pm and had to get checked and all that nonsense. The good news was that I was at 4 cm and having some small contractions I couldn't feel. I had to get hooked up to the monitor and have a hep lock put in. She inserted the cervidil at 9:15 and I was confined to the bed for 2 hours and had to keep it in for 4 hours.
Dee came by at 10:30 to see me but I felt I didn't need her just yet. I just wanted to get some sleep. She left me her Clary sage and told me to sniff it occasionally to get some good contractions. We discussed what route we would take if the gel didn't work, whether I would let them break my bag or let them slowly start pitocin. I think we both agreed that the bag of water would be the best route if it came down to it. I prayed all night long that that gel would work and I wouldn't have to make that decision.After 2 hours, I got up to pee and had a bowel movement when the strip fell out. The nurse had to put another one in and again I couldn't get up for 2 hours but that was fine because I wanted to sleep. By 2:00 am I was having some pretty strong contractions and had John put on my hypnobirthing tape so I could relax more.
A little bit later I started to moan through the contractions and had John call Dee to come out and she arrived at 7:30 am. The most comfortable place for me to be was on the toilet and then also in the bed. I tried the birth ball several times but just couldn't get comfortable enough.Dee had me smell cedar oil to help calm me down. I tried sitting in the rocking chair but that made me miserable. I was checked again at 8:00 and was 6 cm and she wanted to break my bag but it was hurting so bad I was screaming at her to get her hand out. Next, I started crying and saying that I wanted my mommy so John called her and she was there by 9:00 when I was 8 cm. The MW then broke my bag at about 9:15 am. Almost immediately I felt the increased pressure and was in so much pain and got nauseated when Dee had me sniff some peppermint oil. I just wanted the baby out and wanted someone else to do it for me! I asked everyone in the room to make the pain stop and someone else to finish this up. I was so done with the pain and wanted relief! If Dee had not have been there, I am pretty sure I wouldn't have made it. Between her and my midwife, they kept me focused.
I started to push a little while everything was being set up and within minutes the baby's head was out. One more push and I looked at John and he told me we had a little girl! I was so relieved that the pain was gone and so happy to have my little girl in my arms!I held her close as I delivered the placenta and it was huge! I started to nurse her and it was beautiful! She latched right on and had a strong suck almost instantly. When she was done, I handed her over and had to get stitched up. I pushed her out so fast and was on my side that Carrie couldn't really support me and ended up with a 3rd degree tear. I didn't want to feel anything they were doing down there so I asked for pain relief and just thought they would give me a shot but instead gave me Stadol. Whew, I hated that stuff!Madeline weighed in at 9 lbs 12 oz and was 21 inches long. Her apgars were 8 and 9 and she started to have a hard time maintaining her temperature but after being in the warmer for a few minutes and then swaddled in my arms, she was fine as was her blood sugar. I was moved into another room and everything went fine for our hospital stay. She continued to nurse just fine and we were released the next day. Now, at home, our family is doing wonderfully!
I can so remember this like it was yesterday. It was my first drug free birth and I knew then that I would never birth with drugs again. The feeling of euphoria and bliss and accomplishment like no other followed me for days, months, still. I had always said that I was afraid to have a daughter, scared of loving her different than my son, afraid of how hard she would be....I never knew I wanted a daughter so bad until I had Madeline. She is so intelligent beyond her years, always questioning, always so insightful, she feels so deeply and expresses herself the same. She is a lover, a fighter, a caretaker of all. She is so strong and so reluctant to accept help from others, always giving of herself, so selflessly. I am so proud to call her my own. I am so proud she is my daughter.

Oh, and she is talking in her class! More of that later.

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