Monday, April 11, 2011

Birth Story Monday . Baby Noah's Story

(Martha’s Notes: I can’t remember the first time I met Rachel. She was a grade ahead of me in school, so I’m sure I always ‘knew of her’. But, the first time I really got to know her was in band. She played the clarinet and just happened to play it so well that she was first chair. I aspired to be like her in many ways, her gentle spirit, positive attitudes, and musical ability. Rachel was a great role model for me in high school – 
whether she knew it then or not! Anyway, on to the main event… the birth story!)

Guest Writer: Rachel

Blair and I decided to try to have a baby in May of 2009. Six weeks later, I found out I was pregnant!

After a healthy, normal pregnancy I went to the doctor for my 39 week check-up. It was four days before the due date, and I was feeling great. I was teaching at the time, and I had even spent 30 minutes dancing with kindergarteners that morning. I had to wait a little longer than usual to see my midwife, and I started developing a headache in the waiting room. When the nurse came to get me she did the usual weight check and then led me to a room.

She took my blood pressure. And took my blood pressure. AND TOOK MY BLOOD PRESSURE!
After a few odd looks at me, she quickly left the room to find my midwife. Jan came in, sat down, and took my blood pressure. Again. She looked at me and asked how I was feeling. I mentioned that I had a bit of a sinus headache, but other than that, I felt great. Jan said that I most likely did not have a sinus headache. That's when the blood pressure taking became very important. The week before, like every other week, my pressure had been 110 over 80. This week it was 195 over 135. Wait. WHAT? 195 over 135?! How did that happen?! Jan said she wanted us to go to the hospital immediately, and I asked if we could run home first and get my bags. She said no. She didn't want to take the risk of me having a stroke. WHAT? How did this happen? I was completely baffled. This was most certainly not a part of the birth plan.

Once we were at the hospital and checked in it didn't take too long to get a room. We were blessed to get there at a slow time, so we were able to get a LDR room (labor, delivery, recovery) where Noah would be able to stay with us after he was born. It even had a private shower. My pitocin drip was started and we were off!

I was only dilated to 2 cm when we got there, so they had the drip on pretty high. Several hours and no further dilation later, they continued to up my dose. And up it. And up it. For most of my pregnancy, Noah was head down, with his head planted firmly into my left pelvic bone. He liked it there. A lot. So much that he decided he was not going to rotate any further. The nurse practically insisted that I get an epidural. After three attempts by the anesthesiologist, the epidural catheter was in. It did me no good. Noah's position caused labor pains very similar to back labor with is unaffected by epidurals.

After thirteen hours of labor, the doctor (my midwife couldn't make it) decided it was time. They brought in the delivery team, and I got to pushing. Pushing was actually my favorite part of labor and delivery. I was in control of every bit of it, and the breathing techniques I learned as a voice major in college were extremely helpful. An hour-and-a-half later, I was holding my dear sweet Noah.

Unfortunately, my story doesn't end here. There's no, "And the next day the three of us went home with Blair and me smiling at our new bundle of joy." The doctor who delivered Noah was an unsupervised first year resident. I had second degree tearing due to Noah's 8-pound, sideways birth, and he was more concerned with the fact that he didn't really know how to suture my tear than he was in the fact that his hasty deliver of the placenta has ruptured my uterus, and I was bleeding out. I lost three units of blood before someone came in to check on him. It took a very long time and several different techniques to get the bleeding to stop.

Once it did, I settled in to learn how to nurse. The hospital had a great lactation team. They did everything they could to get us off to a good start. It was a struggle to get started. My breasts weren't quite made right for nursing, so we had to use some "products" to get going. But once my nurses figured out what needed to be done Noah and I hit the ground running.

Running, figuratively of course, because after all of that blood loss, no one thought to replace any of it.

Twenty-four hours later my new nurse noticed my levels were "off" and checked with the on-call obgyn. Sure enough, I needed a transfusion. Unfortunately, the wing of the hospital I was in didn't perform transfusions. So, remember that great LDR room I got? I had to leave. I was taken to a different part of the hospital. My new room barely had its own bathroom, and there was no shower. The walls were dingy. And my hormones were starting to crash. Quickly. With the transfusion I received several bags of fluid and two units of blood. 

During all of this, my medical team had been trying unsuccessfully to stabilize my blood pressure (what landed me in the hospital in the first place). I was unable to get out of bed on my own. A shower was out of the question. The blood loss hadn't helped the situation at all. Each afternoon I was told to expect to be there another day.

Unfortunately, I discovered in my second day after birth that I fall into the category of women who struggle with postpartum depression. By the third day, I found myself severely panicked and being loaded with anti-depressants and sleep aids in addition to the never-ending flow of fluid bags to lower my blood pressure.

Four days after delivering Noah, I insisted that my doctor discharge me. I was not going to stay any longer. He let me go with the condition that I stay on bed rest at home. I agreed and left the hospital with prescriptions for two pain killers, antibiotics, stool softeners, anti-depressants, birth control, and blood pressure meds.

However, none of that mattered as I sat in the back and stared and the most perfect little face ever created. Moments after I delivered Noah, my nurse asked how many children I wanted. I replied "Four," because no matter how difficult labor and delivery might be, it is worth it all for the privilege of raising a child.

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