Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Note to Self: Expect the Unexpected

Welcome to the world Baby Gavin!

Sorry this is so late, but the recovery from the little man's birth was a little more than I anticipated. Actually, more specifically breastfeeding was WAY more than I expected.

Gavin was born on April 24 at 9:53pm weighing in at a whopping 9lbs 14 ounces. How he made it here is the long part of the story.

My water broke at about 3am on the morning of the 22, and I freaked out told my husband, called my midwife, and proceeded to wait. I cleaned the house and when there was nothing happening at the end of that I went to bed. The next morning there was still no action so I went to an appointment with my midwife to check my progress at 1pm that day. I was about 2cm dilated and soft, but nothing really going on. Here I thought I might be one of those people who could dilate without really feeling much! My water had broken, and no one really tells you that you keep making amniotic fluid so you have to wear a pad and change it constantly to stay dry and comfortable.... weird.

At the advice of my midwife we bought some tinctures called blue and black cohosh to kickstart my contractions. Definitely some of the grossest tasting stuff I have ever tasted. Every fifteen minutes for three hours, but as nasty as it was I guess it worked because by 1am I was having contractions about every 8min and by 3am about every 5 or 6 minutes. I watched tv, showered, bathed, and tried to just relax as much as possible until they got really hard and closer together around 8am. My midwife came to the house around 10 and unfortunately there still really wasn't alot of progress... that was when I started to have nagging thoughts that maybe I really wasn't strong enough to do this. She suggested walking, stretching my legs and pelvis, and by then I was in so much pain I could hard ungrit my teeth let alone start exercising!

I did the best I could and like everyone always says it's almost impossible to describe the contractions. To me it felt like waves of pain that build to a peak and then slowly subside. It was hard for me to breathe and my husband did an amazing job of making sure I drank water and breathed through as much as I could. Now this is the part where I don't want to make this sound like a negative experience to anyone who hasn't done it, so I will make sure I mention what my midwife told me. My labour was "unproductive" labour and that has a very different feeling from productive labour, so please take what I describe with a grain of salt. The baby's position was posterior and wouldn't turn so his head was essentially butting into my cervix at exactly the wrong position.

At around 2:30pm I was done. I couldn't breathe anymore and I could barely think I was in so much pain. I felt like I had to "do" something to regain control. I told my husband we have to go to the hospital. I wasn't even sure that I wanted pain relief I just wanted to change my environment so that I feel like there was some progress. When we got to the hospital, I was quite the sight, I had tried to put makeup on at some point, but naturally it had worn off, and I was wearing my Lulu's, my husband's Led Zeppelin t shirt, and a big red fleece blanket over my shoulders. HOT.

At the hospital my second mom was working which was amazing. If she hadn't been there already I would have called her to come in. She was one of my biggest supports. She took one look at me and said, "come with me honey, I 'll fix you right up." She gave me a shot of Fentanyl to take the edge off and it was just enough to start thinking clearly again. My midwife checked me and I remember saying, I can keep going indefinitely if I am at least 5 and a half cm. I was 4-5, 'nough said.

They hooked me up to monitors and the baby's heartrate was insanely high in the 180's which meant that both the baby and I had gotten an infection from my water being broken for about 36 hours at the time. There was also a lack of variability.

My contractions weren't regular either, and as soon as they said it I knew exactly what was next. The first of many interventions... just what I wanted to avoid.

Oxytocin was hooked up, and the epidural was next. I knew that if I had to get oxytocin the contractions that were already unbearable would become even more so and closer together. Great., Another intervention.

I was much happier after that but I couldn't help thinking how much I had failed myself already. I truly thought I would be tough, tougher than that anyway.

At my next internal I still had made zero progress even after the oxytocin had been kicked into high gear. It was extremely disappointing. My epidural started to wear off and I could feel almost constant pain in my lower left abdomen. I was beginning to worry.

Then around 8pm at another check it happened. Meconium. The last straw. I knew what that meant. My favorite nurse and second mom just left the room without saying anything, and my midwife just told me and simply said, "I'm so sorry." I knew it meant c- section. The ob arrived to check me yet again and confirmed it. The baby and I both had an infection, the baby's position was posterior, the oxytocin wasn't working, my cervix was stuck at 5cm and swollen already, the epidural had stopped working, and now meconium. The doctor said that the baby was stressed but not IN distress, YET. So i had a decision to make did I want to continue until the baby was in distress or I delivered naturally... or a c section. I thought about it for as long as I had time and asked a million questions, and he was amazing. Finally, I asked for his personal opinion and he said he couldn't do that, but my midwife told me after he left that if it were her she would. She said she felt that the baby was more stressed than he did and that I had already labored for 12 hours with very little progress. She said that it would be hard to keep going and then push without risking the health of the baby. So I cried. I talked to my husband and we decided that it was necessary to go the route of the c section to avoid any further complications.

I was prepped and at just before ten they told my husband that he could look at the baby's head if he wanted. I was having alot of trouble during the operation. The spinal worked in the same way the epidural had so I kept trying to tell them that I could feel what they were doing. I felt like I was going to throw up any second and my nose plugged up. I had such a dry mouth that it was hard to breathe and I remember just begging them for some water or ice or anything. When the baby came out I did get tears in my eyes, but almost immediately I just felt so sick that I couldn't even focus my eyes. They tried to give me the baby but my arms and fingers were numb and I felt like I was going to drop him. They took him away to weigh him and my husband went with the baby. I didn't even care what was going on around me at that point I just wanted the sickness and pain to stop.

I had a huge coughing fit and needed to be sedated in order for them to finish closing me up especially because I was able to feel.

After they told me that even the c section hadn't gone smoothly because the baby had shoulder distocia, and was very difficult to get out of my tummy. Not to mention how BIG he was!

I am only writing what really happened here because I have so many mixed up feelings about it all. I really thought my baby's birth was going to be different. I really thought it was going to be beautiful, and I did everything I possibly could to avoid what ended up happening anyway. So forgive me, but it feels like I'm healing some of it by writing it all down. My midwife put it into perspective by saying, "if this were 100 years ago it would have been a labour that would have probably lasted five days and ended with the death of both you and the baby." Thank you modern medicine. The ob said, " this baby would never have come out vaginally with all the complications." Those two statements helped me see that although I tried everything I could to avoid it- it was impossible, and we are both healthy and happy, and that's all I should really be asking for.

Gavin is incredibly healthy and has no lasting effects from the Meconium or anything. He is a darling baby boy, and now that my milk finally came in we are working with each other really well. The first few days were so hard when I didn't have milk and was trying to avoid formula, but now I feel confident that I have what I need to take care of him.

His father loves him to pieces, and our families are absolutely enamoured by him. I am a little bit in awe of the experience and can't wait to see each and every milestone he hits. I know it won't be easy all the time, but there are rewards each and every day that outweigh the tough spots. I feel incredibly blessed to have him in my life and the experience of his birth has certainly humbled me.

I really wanted to add a picture, but they aren't on this computer so I will have to add one as soon as I can. I hope everyone is doing well and, again, sorry about the lateness of this post. I didn't anticipate how long it would take to feel comfortable managing everything long enough to write this enormous post.



  1. Congratulations on the birth of your precious Gavin! I am so sorry that it was a difficult experience for you and him. Wow, he is so big! I am glad that you are both happy and healthy now. Enjoy your new son!

  2. CONGRATULATIONS! I love the name Gavin.
    I felt the same after my experience (I didn't have a csection but I did have an epidural, oxytocin, artificial rupture of membranes, vacuum and forceps). I honestly thought it would never go away cause 3 months later I still felt upset about it. I can honestly say the feelings are gone now (my baby is 1) but I am pregnant again and just know that this time I NEED to have a better experience!
    I am an OR nurse in Canada and have to say I am very surprised they let you labor as long as you did with all the complications and lack of progress! You must be a very strong woman!
    Congrats again! Little boys and their mommas have a very special bond!

  3. Congrats on your little boy! :)

    I, too, was so sure I'd have a beautiful, wonderful, natural birth, but got an extremely long and painful labor and a cesarean instead. I am 100% sure it was necessary, but that's just not what I ever thought would happen to me. It's ok if it takes time to process. No matter how many people tell you that all you "should" care about is a healthy baby, it's still a major thing that happened to you. Don't feel bad about needing to heal from it. (((hugs)))

  4. CONGRATULATIONS! I had a similar experience (induction leading to a c-section), and although I have no doubt that it was necessary, it wasn't the birth that I was planning on. Don't feel guilty about being disappointed that what you dreamed of didn't work out - it's natural.