I'm Anne, married to Allen, and I've decided to start a journal here. I'm hoping that I can share some of the day to day joys and challenges of life with our beautiful miracle, Will, and make some friends in the mean time.
Let me start by posting my birth story. Please keep in mind that this was written about two weeks after Will's birth and I have not edited or changed it since. Since then, I've started working through some of the trauma from the first part of my birth story but the emotional trauma of it all hadn't really completely sunk in yet at this point. Anyhow, here's the story for you, copy and pasted from the birth stories thread on my birth board...
William Allen, Jr.
October 19, 2007
20.5 inches long
13 3/4 inch head
27.5 hours of labor!!
My water broke around 7am on Thursday, October 18th. I woke up that morning and had LOTS of energy despite being up every two hours with contractions through the night. I kissed Allen goodbye and sent him off to work and then had some breakfast. I was online checking message boards and email when all of a sudden I felt this big gush. I stood up and it kept flowing and made a mess on the floor ( ). I noticed that the fluid wasn't clear though. It had a green tint, meaning there was meconium present. I was SO excited that my water broke but of course concerned about the meconium. I called Allen right away and told him that he might want to turn around and come back home because my water broke. He was very excited! I then called Amber to let her know and to ask her about the meconium issue. I called my Mom and also spoke with my Grandma (my Grandparents were staying with her for a couple of days). They were very excited. I posted a quick update on the message board, called the doctor, and got to gathering the last few items I would need to throw into the suitcase for the hospital. Allen was home about 15 minutes later. He hadn't gotten very far away from the house when he got my call!
We were both so excited that in our efforts to get out the door we left alot of things behind ( ). We got to the hospital around 8:30 and they got us checked into a room. My blood pressure was slightly elevated so they had me lying on my left side in bed. They checked me and I was dialated 1.5 and Will was at a -2 station. I was having contractions but they were mild and irregular. They let me labor on my own until about noon and then decided that they needed to start Pitocin since I was on the 24 hour clock for infection after your water breaks. As soon as they started the Pitocin on the lowest level my contractions became regular so they thought they wouldn't have to use a larger dose for me.
Sometime right after this, Allen's cell phone rang. His Mom and Stepdad had driven down (from 4 hours away) as soon as they heard I was in labor and they were on their way to the hospital. They got to the hospital and sat in the room with Allen and me while I was laboring. It was great to see them but at the same time it was another distraction from laboring, along with the nurses coming in and out, the Pitocin, and the pressure to have this kid before my 24 hour window was up.
The hospital staff wouldn't let me get up and move around to labor after the Pitocin except to go to the bathroom. I was totally pinned down to the bed and that was one of the hardest things to deal with. Also, they allowed me clear fluids so I was trying to drink juices and things to keep my strength up. They wouldn't let me eat, so I couldn't have anything with protein to help balance out those carbs and that made my energy sort of like a rollercoaster. By 2:00 I was only at 2 cm. They kept upping the dose of Pitocin every 40 minutes at this point and by 4:00 I was a 3 and Will was still -2 station. By this point the contractions were STRONG and HARD (no building of contractions, they just punched me). Along with this, I was having back labor. I was doing a good job of breathing through the contractions but since I was not progressing as quickly as they would have liked they wanted to keep increasing the dose. Since I was pretty much at my pain threshhold they decided to place an epidural. At this point, Allen's Mom and Stepdad decided to leave the hospital.
I got the epidural around 5:30. The actual process of them placing the epidural was really no big deal. It didn't hurt at all. But, then they administered my test dose of medicine and instead of my blood pressure dropping like most people's, it SPIKED. Next thing I know, they had me lying down and they were taking my blood pressure every two minutes. I could feel my heart pounding out of my chest and it was very scary. I couldn't focus on laboring because I was too focused on trying to bring my heart rate and blood pressure down.
After they placed the epidural, my labor stalled despite their continually increasing my dose of Pitocin and the hard contractions I was experiencing. Due to the back labor I also still had some nerve pain. The epidural cut down on the overall pain but it also rendered me nearly paralyzed so I couldn't get into different positions to relieve the back labor. At 11pm the doctor came in and said I was still at a 3 and Will was still at -2 and she said that his head was swelling and she didn't think my pelvis was large enough for him to get out. She wanted me to agree to a c-section right then and there. It didn't feel right in my spirit. I told her that I heard what she was saying but that I was not there yet and so I told her I needed more time. She sort-of snidely said, "well, we can keep doing this just as long as you like," in a tone that made it sound like I was stupid. She made it abundantly clear that she felt my labor was going nowhere, that I wouldn't dialate, that Will couldn't get out, and that we'd be in a c-section...that there was no other way. She tried to scare us by talking about infection risks and such. She even told me that I wouldn't care how the baby came out. It didn't work. She acted like it would be no big deal, but having had many surgeries in the past (and knowing that I do not heal quickly or well from them) I knew that major surgery WAS a big deal, especially if I had to have it and then take care of a newborn.
Allen and I were both extremely upset by all of the talk of c-section and even though we were strongly against it (since niether Will nor I seemed to be in distress) we began to doubt ourselves and question my ability to have a vaginal birth. It felt like we'd been put on a rollercoaster ride that we couldn't get off of. Other people had taken charge of our experience and it was no longer ours or what was meant to be. It was at this time that we decided that we needed to pray together and pray hard. We prayed that if there was a miracle to be had that God would give us that miracle and that if there wasn't one that we would feel complete peace and ease with whatever happened. We asked that God show us what we needed to do and give us strength.
After praying, I felt strongly that I needed to call Amber. I called and left a message for her and then talked on the phone with my Mom. Finally, Amber and I connected and I told her my situation and then she reminded me of the portion of Ina May's book that talks about the lady who used imagery to turn the baby and move the baby down to open her cervix. I decided at that point to give the imagery a good full shot to see if something might happen. After I got off the phone with Amber I told my nurse that I was going to do the imagery and that if after a couple of hours of doing that there was no change that then we would talk more about a c-section, but that I felt I needed to give this and my body the chance it deserved to do a vaginal childbirth.
When I made this decision I changed the nature of our childbirth experience. While the first part had been an out of control rollercoaster I realized that it didn't have to stay that way and I felt God's presence with me. I focused deeply inward and began to visualize Will turning to the optimum position for delivery. I imagined his head dialating my cervix and him moving down through the birth canal in a perfect vaginal birth. Anytime I felt myself losing focus at all I turned deeply to prayer asking God to continue to guide me and to keep working on our miracle. The epidural began wearing off. The nurse said she could get the anesthesiologist to come in and give me a booster, but remembering what happened with my heart rate and blood pressure the first time, I declined. I also felt strongly that being able to feel what was going on and what Will was doing would help me to know how to use the imagery and how to talk to Will to move things forward. I was still having some back labor so it wasn't comfortable, but it was productive and it felt great. I used deep breathing to manage the pain and just kept focused on the imagery. I blocked out anyone who came into the room except for Allen. His presence in the room helped me to feel calm and at peace, protected, and more able to focus. I knew when I hit transition because I started throwing up. I told myself, "this is transition and we can do this." I started using the imagery at 12:00 and was at 3cm and -2 station. By 2:00 am I was at 6cm and -1 station. The doctor was amazed (and seemed annoyed) and said she didn't undersand. My nurse was amazing and just told me to keep doing what I was doing because it was working. A couple of hours later I was at 8cm and 0 station. By 9:30 I was complete, at 1, and ready to push. I pushed for about an hour and was doing really well but all of a sudden Will's heartrate dropped and wasn't coming back up again. So, the doctor said he needed to use the vacuum to get him out. I knew it would hurt but I didn't care because I just wanted my son out safe and sound. He put the vacuum in and let me say....OUCH! He used it while I gave one mamoth last push and out came Will!
I saw his beautiful moving, squirming body and they set him on my tummy while they suctioned him well. I started screaming and crying, "Oh my God, MY BABY!!!! MY BABY!!" over and over. Allen was jumping up and down and saying, "CUTE STUFF YOU DID IT!!!!!! YOU DID IT!!!!" It was the most overwhelming and wonderful moment of our lifetime to finally be there with our son in our arms after everything we went through to get there. The spirituality of the moment was overwhelming. God did perform the miracle. Peoples' prayers worked and were answered. We were all safe and sound and I was able to have the vaginal birth that I so desperately wanted so that I could enjoy the son God finally gave us without recovering from surgery at the same time. The two words just describing that moment are "GOD'S MIRACLE." There is no other way to say it.
It turned out that the reason Will's heartrate dropped was because he had the cord wrapped around his neck twice. So, I do believe it's a good thing they used the vacuum to get him out. The vacuum hurt like heck though (epidural was pretty much worn off) and I did get a second degree tear so I had to have some stitches. But, honestly, I don't care about that. It was all worth it to have my son safe and sound and in our arms.
The doctor who was there to catch Will at his birth was a different doctor than the doctor who had been trying to get us to go for the c-section earlier. Shift change occured about 30 minutes before I started pushing. Apparently the other doctor had still wanted to take me in for a c-section even though I had progressed and the doctor that ended up being there for the birth had disagreed with her and pushed for me to be able to labor on my own even though the 24-hour window had expired. I am so grateful for that and for his consideration of what we were going through and our wants and needs. I also feel that he was in-tune with God and the whole spiritual nature of what was going on and that was good. It made it easier for me to focus while pushing. Incidentally, this doctor also delivered dh's cousin's two kids and he was also there for us (along with my main doc) for the ectopic pregnancy and so it was special for him to be able to be there for the healthy birth of our son.
Overall, I am grateful for my entire birth experience. I learned alot and learned what works for me and what doesn't work for me. While I know that medical intervention is sometimes necessary and it can be helpful for many people (and people in general just have different preferences), I learned that for me it tends to get in the way more than anything else. I learned that I do better on my own and keeping a spiritual focus and going inward rather than focusing on anything external. For my next birth, I will do things differently. As long as there are no major risk factors I will labor at home as long as possible. I will not get an epidural and will try to avoid any other interventions such as Pitocin. I will probably have an all-natural childbirth that allows me to move into different positions to get the baby into my pelvis and to relieve back labor, etc. Due to my own medical risks, I'll probably still opt for a hospital delivery but not a hospital labor, if that makes sense.
Tomorrow is the 1-year loss anniversary for our ectopic baby, baby Grace. It's going to be a bit easier getting to that day with a baby in our arms. I hope that Grace is looking down on her brother and smiling. He's lucky to have someone like her looking out for him.
So, here we are...totally HAPPY, at peace, and grateful. After years of struggle we have a healty little baby boy in our arms. I feel like I was able to close the door on a chapter of my life that was beyond painful and scary and like I have set out on a new era where I can relax in knowing that I am right where I want to be, doing what I want to do, living how I want to live.
Will is the most precious little baby and everytime I look at him I can't help but smile. I enjoy every feeding, diaper change, sleepless night, cry, smile, and breath. Every single one of them are his and for them to be his that means that he is alive and living life and I am blessed to be the one to care for him in the early days of his journey. What a gift of God.
Things have been going well since Will arrived. The stay in the hospital was annoying. We all just wanted to get home to our nest. Amber, Mike, and Evan came to visit though and that was a bright spot (and she makes REALLY good zucchini bread, btw ). Will had jaundice and had to be in the bilibed for a bit. The way his numbers were going we had to supplement with formula for a couple of days but still established breastfeeding. He latched on and nursed from both sides during the hour immediately following his birth. We've been going strong since. After his jaundice improved and my milk came in I was able to pump enough to get him totally on breastmilk, which is wonderful. We came home on Sunday afternoon and have been enjoying getting into our routine since then. Will is such a happy little baby and loves the calm atmosphere of home so much. I have been enjoying doing skin on skin contact with him in the Moby wrap from Amber. He loves that thing more than life itself . Allen has been doing some skin on skin as well. We had the first pediatrician's appointment today and all is looking well and healthy. Allen is off of work and at home with us until November 1st.
Here are some pictures for you.....