Nolan's Birth

NolanI started having contractions on Monday, December 1. They were about 5 minutes apart the whole day and we were excited that it finally seemed to be "IT." I was due November 23, so I was ready! The contractions slowed down in the evening and I went to bed and slept until about 8 am the next day. As soon as I woke up the contractions started again: five minutes apart and lasting about 30 seconds.

I went to the midwife that morning and allowed the first cervical check: I was 4 cm and 90% effaced. We expected me to go soon and quickly. Hahaha! I had contractions all day long, easy ones though. My sister came over to hang out just in case. I took a bubble bath that night and the contractions slowed again so I went to bed.

I woke up Wednesday morning at 5 am to some stronger contractions, still coming at 5 minutes apart. My mom came over that day so get things going, we went to the mall. We walked around the mall for about 3 hours -- not buying anything -- just walking in the warmth of the mall to get the contractions stronger. Then we came home and walked up and down the stairs of my eleven floor apartment building. The contractions got a little bit stronger, coming every five minutes and lasting about 30-45 seconds. Then, around 10 pm they slowed down a little bit to allow me to sleep. I slept until about 4 am then got up. I hung out with my mom until 10 am when we woke Chris (my husband) up. We had plans to go out for lunch. They fell through. Around 11 am the contractions started getting really strong. I needed to stop and breath through them instead of walking and talking.

I was supposed to go to a non-stress test and biophysical profile that morning but didn't go because of the contractions (and because of my low-intervention beliefs). My midwife called and stressed that I should have gone but when she heard my voice during a contraction she changed her mind and decided to come over and check me. I would have hated myself for going and having an ultrasound done. I went the entire pregnancy without an ultrasound. I certainly didn't want one the day before I gave birth!

The midwives arrived around noon. I labored hard for the next four hours. I needed someone to hang off of during contractions. They were hard contractions! But, I could get through them. I also made sure that I thanked everyone who volunteered their body for me to hang off of. I knew that it was hard work holding up all 195 lbs of me! The best thing was when this one midwife (I had 4 there) pushed on my hips during a contraction!

At around 4:30 pm we decided to check me again. I was 5cm and 100%. Not enough progress for my midwife so we decided to break my water. I crawled onto the bed made up for the birth in the spare room and they pulled out the hook used to break water. My mom sat on the bed at my head and they broke it. There was meconium in the very little fluid there. Immediately the midwives left the room to start making plans to move to the hospital. I felt so alone. This moment changed everything that I thought my birth was going to be and they left me alone, dripping amniotic fluid with my pants around my ankles. They didn't explain the situation. They just left. Finally they came back and told me that we were abandoning a homebirth and moving to hospital. They said it wasn't an emergency -- just a precaution. I was fine then. We knew it was a possibility, especially since this was my first baby.

The car ride was the worst. I made Chris drive so slow! We got to the hospital and into the birthing room. The OB on staff (Dr. Fingers, I named him because he was a huge man with enormous fingers!) checked me and I was 7 cm now. Too late for drugs. I didn't want them anyway but it was nice to know they were an option!

They hooked me up to a monitor and started timing contractions. The monitor was really distracting. One of the student midwives would only look at the monitor and wasn't supporting me, so my mom, a midwife, took me off the monitor and sat me in the bathroom (where the monitor couldn't go). I labored on the toilet for a couple of hours. I remember staring at the label on my moms overalls.

Finally, at 10 pm on the Thursday I was complete: 10 cm and fully effaced. The baby was in a +2 station. Perfect! I started pushing in a lying down position on the hospital bed. I pushed and pushed! I pushed for 3 hours.

I changed positions to squatting and side-lying. Side-lying was my favorite. At that point the OB came back into the room (after the 2.5 hour mark the midwives needed an OB consult). Dr. Fingers said, "I.m just going to cut a small episiotomy."

I yelled, "NO EPISIOTOMY!"

He let me push for an other 15 minutes but the baby's heartbeat was dropping. When the baby's heartrate dropped below 50, Dr. Fingers told me he was going to cut me. He cut one episiotomy and I pushed for another few minutes but nothing happened. So, he cut another I pushed Nolan right out! It was 1:43 am on Friday morning then.

There was a neonatal team there waiting for Nolan to be born because they knew that he would have swallowed some of the meconium in the fluid. They needed to make sure he was breathing properly. Dr. Fingers caught Nolan and was ready to hand him over to the team when my mom grabbed Nolan out of Dr. Fingers hands and put him on my tummy so I could see what I worked so hard for! He was beautiful! I don't even remember his face, just that I got to announce for the first time that it was a boy!

They wisked him away and up to the NICU for suctioning and oxygen. Chris went with Nolan.

It took them 3 hours and more than 25 stitches to fix me up. I had 3rd, almost 4th, degree tears. And I was hemorrhaging. I lost a ton of blood. They were considering a transfusion. They put me on a pitocin drip and gave me a shot of pitocin. They gave me two Tylenol 3's, a foley catheter and a shot of demerol, too. Yay! Drugs! This was worse pain than the labor!

I finally slept. I slept until the next morning. Then, I got to see Nolan around 6 pm the next day. He was beautiful and so worth the work and pain. There isn.t much that I would change about his birth. I had no drugs.that.s what I wanted. He was safe. And we got to attempt a homebirth. But, at the first warning sign we moved to went perfectly as planned. I would plan a homebirth again for the next baby.but I would use different midwives.

Nolan was 9 pounds 13 ounces when he was born. No wonder we had trouble getting him out the old-fashioned way!

I have to say though, the labor and delivery wasn't the hardest part. In fact, it was fun. The hardest part was not getting to see my baby for almost 24 hours and the 3 hours they took to stitch me up. That was more painful than my labor and delivery.

Ironically enough, I continued to hemorrhage so they thought that I'd retained a lobe of the placenta (one of the student midwives was checking the placenta but she mangled it so we couldn't tell if it was all there). So, to determine whether or not there was a piece in there, they gave me an ultrasound. I had my first ultrasound ever the day after my baby was born. I thought it was funny.

We're both doing great now! My poor perineum has healed nicely and my hemoglobin is back to normal.

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I have to say when I read your story I have to say to you how lucky you are.
my daughter aspirated meconium and she was hospitalized for 2 months.

Meconium is a very dangerous condition and my daughter almost died in the first 3wks of her life it was touch and go.

She was born in Erie, Pa and immediately transferred to Pittsburgh childrens hopital and put on a lot of machines and paralyzed by medication so she could not move. After 5days of getting no where and she was totally reliant on a ventilator they put her on a machine that inserted tubes in her jugular vein and removed her blood oxygenated and warmed it and returned blood to her body.(she could not oxygenate her body and it was destroying her lungs). The longest a meconium baby was on this machine was 14 days and they didn't' survive. She made almost 10 days then decided to see how she would be if they took her off. she did good on a ventilator for the next few weeks till she could get off.

She stayed in Pitt. for 6wks and spent another 2 back in Erie hospital. That is where she had to learn how to eat, which she came home on a feeding tube and heart monitors.

Ijust wanted to let you know how lucky you are, even though my dauhter made it she wil always have her problems she was on a lot a of drugs and only has one operating jugular vein. so ultimatly what they did to save her life hurt her a little in the end. i hope all is well i enjoyed your story.