Aww he IS so cute and has personality.Congratulations on your new son, you are one strong lady.
What a beautiful family. Thanks for sharing all the pictures.
Oh, and I wanted to say that your pain at the beginning pf BFing is very normal. It will pass as your breasts adjust. Everything about BFing gets better and better as the months pass. The first month, especially with the first, but also the second, third, etc is pretty hard. You will get through it though. I even spent night crying with my second baby when I knew what I was doing and what to expect.
Congratulations. Mat is absolutely beautiful!!! Way to go!!!
Holy Moly he's cute! Wow, Ayla, he looks so much like you.
Like the pp said, the breastfeeding thing is normal. I know we sometimes hear that it shouldn't hurt if the latch is right, but I've always experienced some level of discomfort, ranging from a nagging pain to a toe-curling one, but like you said, it got better after a few minutes. You said your mama-instinct is that something might be up, though...can you call the hospital and see if they can suggest a LC? Sometimes there are ladies who will come to your house.
Hope you're getting some rest and enjoying your sweet boy.
Homebirthing Mama to 4
I feel weird resurrecting my lodge, but I finished my birth story a while ago, and I feel the need to share it. I'm only posting the part from the day I went into the hospital, on Thanksgiving, until about an hour after my son's birth, on Friday the 23rd. If you want to read the whole thing without going back through my lodge, you can do so here.
We got to the hospital at 8am, but Rebecca wasn't there yet, so we waited around for a while in the lobby for her to show up. When she did arrive, we gathered our things and went upstairs to childbirth. I thought I'd get whisked into craziness right away, but instead they were über busy and didn't have a room for us yet. So we went into the waiting room and hung out there for about 45 minutes. I'm really glad we got that time. Rebecca is such a spaz, but she's a knowledgable spaz with experience in birth and parenting, and we talked about everything, both about what we were doing there, and about other random stuff. she told crazy stories about her kids. It really helped me to relax and chill before we started dealing with staff. I was anxious on arrival, but by the time I met my first nurse, Kim, I was much calmer.
Kim introduced herself and told me right away that she had read my birth plan. I was pleasantly surprised by this announcement. She asked me whether I wanted to stay in my clothes, change into something I brought, or change into the hospital gown. I chose the gown. I don't wear pajamas that are really suitable for birthing in, and I know from experience that labor and birth are messy processes. I didn't really relish the idea of bringing home a bunch of laundry. The gown they gave me was huge, but it covered me. I got in the bed for an initial 15-minute strip monitoring the baby and my contractions, which were mild if at all, and I did some more relaxing. Then I filled out a bunch of paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork. However, I'm familiar with paperwork and I didn't mind so much. It helped to pass some time and get me used to being in the room, as well as helping me get used to Kim.
Maggie came in and we talked about what we were going to do (pitocin) and how it was going to go. She also talked to me about Group B Strep, which I had declined to test for previously, since I was planning a homebirth and didn't want antibiotics anyways. Maggie suggested that I do the test at this time, since I was definitely giving birth in the hospital, since the results could change the way we treated the baby if he showed any signs of illness. A negative result could help me avoid antibiotics for the baby for longer, if we needed to. I consented to the test, and it was a quick swab. Then Maggie told me to take some time and mentally prepare myself for labor, and she and Kim would be back later to start the IV and get the Pit running.
How do you prepare yourself for something as individual and surprising as labor? I walked around the room, went to the bathroom, sat in the different chairs. I finally asked Megan and Rebecca what to expect, and their answers were as vague as my expectations. However, it did help me to wrap my brain around the fact that I would, finally, be having contractions. When Kim came back in to start the IV, I was ready.
I had her start the IV with me sitting in the rocking chair, because I didn't want to start in the bed and get stuck there. A hospital birth bed is a fantastic tool, but for beginning labor it can really cause problems. The best way to be while beginning some real contractions is upright, and that's where I was. It was about 10am when we finally got the Pit running. Early on, I asked for the birth ball, which was smaller than the one I had at home, but perfect for stabalizing myself with. At about 11, I got hungry, and wanted some toast, but hospital policy was ix-nay on the ood-fay when in active labor, so instead I got ice water. During these early contractions, which were spaced at a decent distance from each other, I had everyone leave the room so I could get in a groove. I think everyone left on their own at one point, except Alec and Kim, who was watching the strip. It really helped me to just be with Alec. When Rebecca and Megan came back in, I started focusing outwards, on them, instead of inwards, on my uterus, like I had been. I noticed this and that I was being my own patient, too cerebral, and I asked them to leave for a while.
I was facing away from the door, which was great for not being distracted by the people moving in and around the room, but bad for my sense of safety, since I kept hearing people coming in and out and I didn't know who they were or why they were there. I asked for a sign to be placed on the door asking everyone to knock and announce themselves, and it was, helping me to be less aware of the people in the room, if that makes sense. Blood was drawn at one point. And then my blood pressure was taken, and it skyrocketed. I saw the numbers on the monitor and knew what Kim's next sentence would be, and said it for her--she wanted me to get in the bed and get on my left side.
When I did that, the baby's heart rate changed. He had been running a baseline in the 130s, and it dropped to around 100 or so. That could have been my heart rate instead, or it could have been his response to my position, but I didn't stay on my side for long. Maggie came in and I heard her talking to Kim, and I asked for the music on headphones so I could tune out their nurse-talk. I kept wanting to participate in the work discussions, and it distracted me from working at labor. I found out later that maggie turned the pit off, and I thought I heard her say something about "bolus", but I wasn't sure. I just sat there and tried to do my work, while people put their hands on the monitors and i tried to ignore them. I was on my knees on the bed for a while, but my labor had slowed with the removal of the pit, and I didn't like the position, I wanted to be back on the ball. I said so, and Maggie said it was okay to get out of the bed and back on the ball.
Once on the ball, I tried to re-focus, but it wasn't happening and I knew my contractions were inefficient. People were talking around me and Maggie was squatted next to me, holding the monitor on my belly. I finally said to maggie, "I'm having a hard time finding my groove again" and she said, "we're concerned about your baby right now," and that was the first time I really registered that there might be a problem. I noticed her face, it was intense and focused. I snapped out of my zone and came back into the outside, and asked for an appraisal of the situation. Maggie told me about the heart rate. I realized I was shivering, and asked if I had really gotten a bolus of fluid, and she said I had. The rapid infusion of fluid probably caused me to be chilled. I got some warm blankets and hot broth, but the chill never really left me. Very soon after I became aware of what was happening, the heart rate went back up, and Maggie said something to the effect of me needing to make an informed refusal of interventions to lower my blood pressure. High BP in labor can lead to seizures, but my BP was never that high, and had been labile for much of my pregnancy. I wasn't worried about it, and I said to Maggie that I understood there was a risk fo seizure, but I was going to take it and not get in the bed. That was it, that was my informed refusal, and my BP from then on was stellar.
The pit was turned back on, and my contractions picked back up again. There was a change of shift, and Kim turned into Patti. Patti had dreds and was much more introverted than Kim, but I was so thankful for her later on. Patti came on at 3pm. The time had flown by.
The next couple of hours were a soft blur of contractions. Alec stayed in front of me, an anchor in my haze. The person behind me, providing counter-pressure on my back where I was having serious cramps, changed. Mom, Megan, and Rebecca all provided service there, and relieved each other when necessary. I barely noticed them changing people, and I was glad that there was constant person behind me. Alec took short breaks to pee and eat, though nobody ate in the room at my request. It's rude and mean to eat in front of someone who is forbidden solid food. People got me broth and juice and water and jello as I asked for it.
I do remember one thing--my contractions never HURT. Sure, there was cramping and discomfort, but not crazy pain that I'd heard horror stories about. More than anything, it was just overwhelming. Most contractions just took all my physical presence, but some took my spirit and my soul as well. I said at one point, "the baby's in my soul" and I meant it. It was exhilirating and powerful and overwhelming and wonderful. Despite the cramping, despite needing to pee every 30 minutes or so because of the fluids I was taking in by mouth and IV, despite the pain every time I peed because of my son's position and the diarrhea that came with labor, I really enjoyed my labor, I enjoyed the power of my body, I enjoyed the rhythm and flow and energy of the people around me.
I did NOT like the monitors or the IV pole, which wouldn't hold a charge for walking around, but they were accessories that came with the hospital, and I accepted them and adapted. I was never on my back.
I didn't feel like I was making progress quickly, but I did feel like I was doing something, and doing it well. Patti, however, gauged the way I was sounding and acting and prepared (she felt) appropriately. At one point ahe announced that she was getting warm blankets for the baby and I was shocked--I didn't feel we were at that point yet. I was pleased, though, and realized that I had done a lot of work already. I moved my thinking toward having a baby soon, which was premature. In retrospect, I wish I had waited for my body to tell me (or not tell me) that birth was close. With the expectation planted in my head, I think I misread some of my body's signals.
Contractions got more and more intense, and I thought eventually that I was pushing. I came out of the bathroom and asked for the birth stool (which belonged to Megan, the hospital didn't have one) instead of the ball. I loved that stool. It was shorter than I thought I wanted, but I was grounded beautifully in a semi-squat and my contractions were intense. I asked, "where the hell is Maggie?" and Maggie was called in. She came in and squatted on the floor next to whomever was in front of me at the time. I think it was Megan but I'm not sure. She smiled at me and looked proud of me, and I felt powerful and worthy of awe. I had a contraction and fell back into the person behind me, who I think was Alec, and I shook and laughed and cried all at the same time. As it subsided, I cried out, "when is it going to hurt? I keep waiting for it to hurt!" I felt, rather than saw, the women around me be touched and awed by me saying that.
In a calm moment, I asked Maggie to check me, and after the next contraction, she tried. She couldn't feel very well while I was on the stool, which surprised me. I really thought I felt the head moving through my cervix, and fully expected Maggie to tell me that his head was very low and I'd be crowning soon. She asked me to lay on the bed, and I did. When she checked me in this position, I was only 8cm, and the baby's head was still transverse and high. Of course, I was disappointed, but I quickly replaced that with ideas to help him turn. I got on my hands and knees for a while, and Rebecca massaged my belly from the outside, trying to encourage the baby to move that way. I asked if I could get in the birth tub, and it was filled. I got in for as long as I could stand it. When I needed to pee, Patti brought a bedpan over and had me straddle it, and I peed into it standing up. Maggie came in while I was on my knees in the tub, and her face lit up looking at me. She was filled in on the things we had tried. I feel like my contractions slowed down and mellowed out after I was told I was only 8cm, especially in the tub. Regardless, I didn't feel like I was doing the same quality of work as I had been before, and the energy in the room had definitely changed. I worked hard to try and get it back, but it never quite did.
Maggie squatted next to the tub and asked me if she could try and turn the baby manually. Actually, she said, "I'd like you and I to committ to a really long vaginal exam, so I can try and help the baby get its head where it needs to be." I liked the way she made it sound like a partnership, that we were working together. All through my labor, she was very good at empowering me and treating me as an equal and a colleague, even, instead of as a patient. I never felt disempowered or marginalized by her or by the nurses. I was ready to get out of the tub anyways, so the water was drained and I was dried off and warmed up, and I got in the bed. Maggie had me get on my knees with my chest on the bed. Not very comfortable, but she wanted the position to help her move the baby. Alec went up by my head.
Vaginal exams aren't a picnic when they're short, but this one was a good 20 minutes long and punctuated by intense contractions. This was the most intense and painful part of my labor. It was painful because of what Maggie was doing to my cervix, stretching it and pulling it and getting her fingers inside it and around the baby's head. I did some yelling, I think, because it hurt like hell. Rebecca held my head at one point and reminded me I was safe, that I was feeling my baby's head and it was safe. I loved that. Once I got Alec to kiss me really good, tongue and everything, trying to open myself up. It didn't work. Maggie stopped messing around and told me that she had gotten his head in the right position, but then when she removed her hand, he moved his head back to where it was. This was my first thought of a c-section, and I expected her to suggest it, but instead she suggested I do some lunges and stair-walking. I was exhausted, but since she wasn't talking surgery, neither would I. I got out of the bed and walked around the room. I tried to do stairs and lunges but my exhaustion was too much. While I was standing it was hard for people to support me physically, and when I was sitting I felt like I wasn't making progress. I started peeing more often, which was painful and complicated. It took a long time to get me to the bathroom, with the monitors and the IV. Finally I asked for a bedside commode to lessen the hassle.
I spent time on my side cuddled with Alec. I tried to rest but the contractions were too much for me. Megan and Patti played with my cervix, trying to figure out what the baby was doing and help move him to where he needed to be. Emily showed up at a perfect time, and was a nice burst of fresh energy to the scene. I put her right to work, and tried to update her as best I could, but events were hazy to me, too.
Patti needed to leave, and a new nurse, Danielle, arrived. Danielle was incredibly young, I think younger than I am, but she was wearing a wedding set. I asked when she graduated and she said May of 06, but from a nursing school out of my sphere of knowledge. This was 11pm, and I was done at this point. I asked for Maggie to come in. Maggie came and sat on the edge of the bed and I asked her what was going on. She dissembled for a moment, and I said, "I feel like it's the white elephant in the room." She said "what, the C-section?" and when I confirmed that, she said she felt that way, too. We got rid of everyone else in the room so we could talk.
Maggie told us that basically her bag of tricks was empty. Her only suggestion at that point was to turn up the pitocin and see if stronger contractions might not help the baby turn. I wanted a nap and a snack if we were going to do that, but a glance at the clock told me that it was really risky to keep drawing this out. I'd been in active labor for 14 hours, and my membranes had been ruptured for 26 hours or so at this point. ROM wouldn't have been an issue, except that everyone's hand had been in my vagina trying to help me birth vaginally, and that meant that my risk for infection was high. We still didn't know my GBS status. Armed with all this information, Alec and I had a brief, private conversation, and came to the same conclusion: it was better to do the section now, when the risk was high but there was no emergency, than to wait and have a dangerous situation on our hands. We were both exhausted, the baby was tired, and we could have kept trying but it was likely that we would have just gotten more tired and the baby would have stopped doing as well as he was. We brought Maggie back in and asked some logistical questions, then brought the midwives and my family in (my stepfather and siblings had arrived some hours earlier, when we thought I was pushing) and told them. Rebecca was in a mask, she had spiked a fever earlier and had been avoiding the labor room, but hadn't left, for which I was grateful. I asked her and Megan if they'd do my VBAC for the next baby, which they said yes to without hesitation. My biggest fear was that a primary c-section would rule me out for future homebirths, and with that fear allayed, I felt much better about moving on.
Liza came in and talked to us. I wasn't too impressed with her. I asked her what the official reason for the c-section was, and she told me that she wouldn't rule CPD out as a reason. I didn't like that, because I don't even believe in CPD in healthy, well-nourished women. She also said that she had told Maggie to try all her young midwife tricks earlier, but hadn't expected me to go anywhere. I'm glad I had Maggie with me, since she DID try all the tricks, and without them, I would never have been sure if the section was the right choice. The surgeon, Christie, came in, and we talked about the surgery. I asked if I could watch the birth and she told me that there was a mirror in the OR for just that purpose. The anesthesiologist came in and we talked about the spinal. Danielle brought in scrubs for Alec to wear, and had me take off all my jewelry. I got my earrings out by hand, which impressed me. They're easier to get out than to get in, but they still sometimes require pliers to get in. Alec took my wedding ring and my dog tags. Emily braided my hair and I tied it in a bun and put on the silly cap. I signed consents. Rebecca went home, as did my stepdad and the kids. Danielle tried to start a foley catheter at my request, since I was really tired of going to the bathroom, and she got it in, but didn't think she did, so she took it out. I was not pleased, but I let it go. I knew she got it in because it hurt differently, but she didn't believe me. Silly new nurse.
Finally, at around 2am, I got in a wheelchair and went to the OR. Patti was still outside my room at a desk, writing notes. I was helped to sit on the edge of the OR table, and the anesthesoligist started prepping my back for the spinal. I saw nurses prepping the warmer and reminded them that I didn't want the baby to have eye ointment or vitamin k, and that I wanted Alec to announce the sex. Someone said, "but we can do the gastric aspiration, right?" I had never heard of such a procedure, and said so, right as the anesthestist started stabbing my back with lidocaine. Nobody really could tell me what the test was for, but i was too tired and too distracted to say they couldn't do it. My instinct was to refuse it, since it sounded like something would be stuck down my baby's throat, and anything vigorous in the baby's mouth can interfere with breastfeeding, but I was too tired and too distracted to really put up a fight. The spinal was put in (I didn't feel a THING) and I was helped to lay down on the narrow table. The nurses spread my legs to insert the foley and to prep me for surgery, and the shade on the window was pulled down to protect my privacy. I saw this and thought it was silly, since the people watching (Alec, my mom, Megan, and Emily) had all seen enough of my vagina already, but again, I was too tired to protest. I had violent shakes, I felt freezing. It was all adrenaline, but still.
Finally Alec was allowed to join me, and everyone took their place around my body for the surgery. Alec had my mom's camera. I was shaking and crying, and so was Alec. I felt tugging and pulling and tingles all in my lower body, and then Christie had the anesthestist lower the drape. I looked in the mirror and watched as Christie pulled while Liza used her fists on the top of my uterus to push, and my son came screaming into the world. Alec told me it was a boy, and I said, "A boy! I have a son!" Liza told me he had a true knot in his cord, and held it up for me to see it. I said, "so THAT'S why!" but she quickly told me that there was LOTS of cord, so the knot probably wasn't the reason. I was annoyed, because I felt like SHE still felt like it was CPD. I knew I was looking for any other possible reason for why he wouldn't turn and decend, but that's my right as a mother and a patient. I still don't think it was CPD, and when I talked with Christie about it afterwards, she agreed with me that it wasn't.
I looked out the window at my mother, and said in tears, "I have a son!" She couldn't hear me, and I couldn't hear her, but she said back to me, "I know!" Alec brought him over to me and my left hand was released from its bond so I could touch him, and I thought he was beautiful. The drape was put back up, and I felt the tingle and the tugging that told me I was being stitched up. Alec asked me if it was okay if he took the baby and left the room to sit down, since he was shaking so bad he was afraid he'd drop the baby. I said it was fine. Once he left, I realized what was going on with my body, and I said, "Make sure you do a double-layer suture!" since I had suddenly remembered that there was a recent fad for single-layer uterine sutures that had some practitioners balking at "allowing" VBACs, and I didn't want my VBAC put at risk for my next baby. Christie said, "I've already done that part!" and I relaxed.
Finally, the stitching was done, the dressing was on, and I was log-rolled into a hospital bed and brought into the recovery room. Alec had been allowed to walk with the baby into the room, even though hospital policy was generally that babies needed to be in basinetts in the hallway; recovery was across a narrow hall from the OR, so it was no big deal. Megan left soon after we moved into recovery, but Emily stayed and helped me try and breastfeed. Our matching bands were put on, and I tried to get Mat to latch onto my breast, but my exhaustion and the anesthesia interfered. I was reassured that this was OK. A diaper was put on Mat, who had waited until he was outside of the womb to poop meconium all over the receiving blankets he was wrapped in initially, and I put his naked chest on mine, and we went to sleep.
I feel comfortable now, and felt comfortable then, that the c-section was the right choice. I do not feel like I was a victim of the cascade of interventions. Yes, I had an IV and CFM, but I remained upright, I continued to take fluids by mouth (I was denied food, but I did get sugar), I moved around. I did not get an epidural or other pain medication until the surgery, so the narcotics didn't interfere with my labor pattern. I was not coerced into the surgery by well-meaning professionals, but rather I suggested it and it was discussed with me by practioners who treated me like an equal, in charge of my care and an educated decision-maker. No, there was no emergency, but I did a risk-benefit analysis of my situation along with my husband, and we decided, together, that the risk of continuing to labor, when it was clear that the baby did NOT want to be born vaginally, was higher than the risk of surgery. The fact that Maggie had manually placed his head into the correct position for him to decend into the birth canal, and he had turned it back, was a key factor for me. I felt that he had sent me a message with that. We also suspected (and will never know) that he had a hand up by his head. We think this is what caused all my bladder pain, and I personally think he had it up there to protect himself from a cord accident. Yes, his cord was long, but we don't know what would have happened to that knot had he decended vaginally.
In a post-mortem in the hospital, Christie told me that he had been directly facing my right hip in what she called "military position". His head wasn't flexed or extended, but rather facing straight ahead in attention, and the first thing she saw when she opened my uterus was his ear. She said that his placenta did not look very aged. It did look term, but it didn't look dangerously old. Perhaps, if my water hadn't broken, I might have been able to stay pregnant another week, but it may not have made a difference. We'll never know. I know I was glad to finally not be pregnant anymore. Sure, that might be selfish, but he is healthy, and so am I, and that is the bottom line. I don't regret the section at all. I do mourn the loss of my homebirth and my vaginal birth, and there is a disconnect for me from the baby I had on the inside to the baby I had on the outside. I do not feel that I "gave birth", but rather that my son was born in the safest manner possible. I am still a little shaken up by the fact that it was really me on the table, I really do have a major surgical scar that I will carry forever, and I will, for the rest of my life, have a major surgery to list on health-history forms. It's a lot to wrap my head around. Mat did have breastfeeding problems in the hospital, where we stayed for four days after the birth, and I believe that most of those problems were related to the anesthesia and subsequent pain medication. He did NOT have trouble breathing at birth, which I attribute to my long labor, and Alec also met with the pediatrician before the surgery, and they agreed not to do the gastric aspiration, which I was grateful for. I think he was already overly suctioned at birth with the bulb, so I'm glad that they didn't stick a tube down his throat.
Maggie was unable to attend the surgery like she had planned, because another mother in labor required her attention. I saw her through the window after Mat was out, but I don't think she ever met him. I'm so grateful that I had her for my labor. Without her, and her respect of me and my midwives, I don't think I could be as sure as I am that the surgery was the right move. Finally, I'm grateful to her, and to my midwives, for all their hard work and support of me and Alec.
So that's it, that's the story of how my son came into the world. Our hospital stay will have to wait, if I ever write it down; getting computer time is difficult at best. We had breastfeeding difficulties, I think because of the anesthesia, but I knew that was a risk, and we overcame them and now have a great breastfeeding relationship. Most of the nurses were fabulous, and without their support and assistance my recovery would have been much slower. My incision is healing nicely, and never got infected. Instead, I got mastitis after I'd been home for a week, but even that was dealt with quickly and cleared up well. My next challenge is going back to work, but because I have the support of my husband, my family, and my friends, I'm sure that will be a smooth transition as well.
Thank you all for all your support through this lodge. I would never have made it as far as I did, nor have been as confident in my choices, without the support of the lovely women here. I hope my story can be a testament to women who have to make hard choices, so that they don't feel as alone.
Your birth story is amazing. I think that you did a wonderful job with all the knowledge you had at hand, and that it has helped you to recover well. Thank you for sharing your experience.
Wow!! I am so impressed with how well you did on pitocin, having had a pit induced labor I have to say I had the exact opposite experience lol I'm so glad that while you did labor that your experience was beautiful & empowering & that *you* were the one who was able to make the decisions, what a difference that makes!!
I'm so proud of you, I really am!
Wow, I'm amazed people read that. Aside from it being two months ago, it's hella long.