Sunday, April 22, 2012

Micah's Birth Story

Happy one month Micah! It's fitting that I finally got his birth story written. It's pretty long, but I want to have  the entire story online so I can easily find it again.

Julia was born two days before her due date, so I hadn't expected to go very far past my due date, if at all past, with Micah. On the morning of March 22 I was four days past my due date and I was starting to get ancy. I had an induction date set and I couldn't sleep well because my mind was all over the place thinking about if Micah would come on his own or if I would have to be induced or wondering if my contractions were starting up. I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and was finally falling back asleep around 6:00 a.m. when I felt a pop or a jolt or a big kick. I thought "what was THAT?"

A minute later I started feeling a little wetness so I jumped out of bed and made a beeline for the bathroom figuring I had just felt my water breaking. It took me about twenty minutes to convince myself that the trickle of water that I was feeling was in fact my water breaking and not that I had lost control of my bladder or something. I just wanted to be sure before I left the bathroom because I knew once I wasn't sitting on the toilet anymore I would be second guessing myself.

I put on a pad and did what any woman would do who knows they are about to have a long day; I went to eat breakfast before anyone could tell me I couldn't eat anything anymore. I wanted to wait and see if I started having contractions before I called the doctor, so then I took a shower and figured I should clean the bathroom since I probably wouldn't have much time for that from now on. After that I went back into the bedroom where Robert was just waking up and wanting to know why I was up already since I never get up early.

I told him my water broke and he told me to call the doctor to see what they wanted us to do. I was having some very light, spread apart contractions by then. I called the advice nurse but just got a message machine so I left a message and went to finish getting ready. By the time I called back and dialed the emergency number instead it was almost 10:00 a.m. and they didn't even ask about contractions. They just told me to go ahead and go into the hospital right away.

We checked into the hospital right around 10:00 a.m. (the hospital was literally five minutes away). I overheard one nurse tell the other nurse she needed to check if my water really did break. I kind of just laughed to myself because it was very obvious to me by then that my water had broken. And when the nurse went to check me to she definitely agreed and said I was "grossly ruptured."

Unfortunately by then I still was not having regular contractions so my doctor had them start me on Pitocin right away. This was a little disappointing because I was hoping to avoid Pitocin altogether this time because I had it with Julia and she did not respond well to the strong contractions it produces. I also wanted to wait a little longer this time before getting an epidural but knew that once the Pitocin really kicked in the strong contractions were going to be too much for me and I would have to get an epidural pretty quickly. So when I first checked in I told them I wanted to wait as long as possible for an epidural, but by the time they were ready to take me to my own room I told my nurse might as well get the epidural right away.

I was started on Pitocin around 11:00 a.m. and changed my mind again about the epidural. By about 2:30 p.m. my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and I was not handling the pain very well. Since I had an IV and Pitocin drip I felt very limited in my mobility and could pretty much just stand by the bed and sway during the contractions when I really wanted to be able to have full mobility. I theoretically could have walked a few feet, but it was annoying and uncomfortable to have to move with tubes sticking out of my arm. At this point I requested an epidural and got one by about 3:00 p.m.

They hadn't checked me in the hospital to see how far I was dilated yet, so after the anesthesiologist left and I was feeling better the nurse checked me. I was only a one at my last doctor appointment two days earlier and now I was...a two! "A TWO?!" I thought. "All that, and I'm still only a two!?"

After my epidural it seemed liked one thing after another wasn't going well. My contractions slowed down to every five minutes. My blood pressure and heart rate were both pretty low. In fact, now that I had an epidural and could finally relax I would try to take a nap, only to be awakened by the beeping alarm of my heart rate monitor as soon as I stared to fall asleep because my resting heart rate would dip too low.

Since I hadn't progressed much my doctor wanted to try this weird method of stretching my cervix by inserting essential a balloon filled with saline that would stretch me open to a five. They inserted it (and I was very glad to have an epidural for all that), but my contractions were so strong that during the first contraction after it was inserted the device was pushed right out.

What was most worrisome however, was that as my contractions got more intense every time I had a contraction the baby's heart rate would go down as well (the same thing happened with Julia). They eventually put me on oxygen and turned down the Pitocin (just like with Julia). They soon discovered that if I laid on my right side the baby's heart rate wouldn't go down, but if they tried to turn me on my left side his rate would go down again after each contraction.

It looked like a classic case of an umbilical cord problem, the cord was likely wrapped around Micah's neck (which happens in about one third of births, including Julia). Since it had been a while since my water had broken the doctor decided to insert more water into my uterus to buoy up and loosen the umbilical cord to take some pressure off the baby after each contraction. For a while this seemed to work, but eventually the nurse turned the Pitocin off all the way because the baby's heart rate was still going down after contractions.

Around 5:30 the nurse checked me and said I was a seven and things seemed to be going well. 
But then, around 6:30 there was a shift change with the doctors and my new doctor came in to check me. She said I was only dilated to a five and then looked at my contraction history. I pretty much had not progressed at all since they turned off the Pitocin. The new doctor said that things could just not continue on like they have been because it had been 12 hours since my water broke and I was still not really in active labor. Soon it would have been too long since my water broke and they would have to do a c-section, or my cervix might be swollen in which case they would also have to do a c-section. 

The doctor wanted to try putting me back on the Pitocin for awhile, and if baby continued to not respond well we would have to do a c-section. They slowly increased the Pitocin dose over half an hour and the baby still did not respond well with a dose high enough to dilate me. However that entire time I was on the side that Micah had not done well earlier. At 7:00 p.m. the doctor came in and started talking about doing a c-section and asked how far we were willing to go before we had a c-section. She basically asked if we wanted to go ahead and do the c-section now or wait a little more. Meanwhile the nurse helped flip me to my other side and baby started responding better. I told the doctor I'd like to wait and see how he does on this side. 

The doctor said that was okay, but only if we put a heart rate monitor directly on the baby's head. At 7:10 p.m. the baby was still doing good and the doctor went to put the monitor on the baby. 
To everyone's surprise she said I was a ten and lets deliver this baby! I was shocked because according to them I went from a five to a ten in half an hour. 

The doctor said the baby was was really low and she could literally see his head already. It took a couple minutes to get everything ready for pushing, then I pushed two or three times and he was out! He was born at 7:20 p.m., so we went from talking about a c-section at 7:00 p.m. to having a baby 20 minutes later. It was the most surprising and eventful half hour of my life and in the end I'm just glad that Micah was born healthy and safe.

Micah did have the cord wrapped around his neck, twice, which is why his heart rate would go down right after the contractions. The doctor said it was lucky I was able to push him out so quickly. Apparently I'm pretty good at pushing because Julia was born after just 20 minutes of pushing. I say apparently because for both births I had no feeling at all and was just doing what I thought it should feel like. 

He did great afterwards. They set him up on my belly right away and got him breathing and wiped off. Robert cut the cord, with a little coaxing from the doctor. I had a small tear so they stitched me up, and by the end of the week I could hardly feel it anymore. I felt a lot better after this delivery. Micah was nursing before we left the delivery room and he thankfully hasn't had any problems nursing (besides that he eats a lot!).

We love our little  man!

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