Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Part 1, Pregnancy and Birth Story One: Amelie Muriel

Valentine's Day 2004
40 weeks pregnant with Amelie
For a while, I've wanted to record my birth stories. I've seen many people do it on their blogs and I've enjoyed reading the details of their experiences. Ultimately, however, I've wanted to get them written down before I forget the details. Since this is the birth month for both of the girls, I figure it's an appropriate time for it.

To begin with, I can tell you that every one of our children was planned. We started trying to get pregnant in the fall of 2002. I got pregnant in January of 2003 and miscarried very early on. I got pregnant again in May of that year with Amelie.

My pregnancy was not without complications. I had a weird, yet harmless, problem in the beginning. (I'll spare you any details.) It was freaky until we found out what it was. I had one episode of bleeding on the fourth of July, but then everything continued normally until February. I was due around Valentine's Day, which came and went.

A friend told us about the birthday cake trick. You know, you bake the "birth"day cake, so the baby will come. Stephanie, Duncan's mom, arrived on the evening of Tuesday, February 17th from Erie, PA to help before and after the baby's arrival. I had seen the OB that day and had been told I was about a half a cm dilated. She "stripped the membranes" at that visit and I was scheduled to return later that week, if I hadn't had the baby yet. Fortunately, I didn't have to go back.

On Wednesday, Stephanie and I hung out all morning and went grocery shopping after lunch. We bought the strawberry birthday cake supplies. Since we were having a girl, the cake needed to be pink, right? When we got home from shopping, I was tired and decided to take a nap. Stephanie was going to make the birthday cake and get dinner prepared. At about 4:30 in the afternoon, I woke up, smelled the cake baking, and my water broke. No joke. (Now, please understand that I do not believe that the cake baking MADE my water break. It was all a joke, to begin with. I just think that God allowed for some humor in the situation.) However, I wasn't sure that my water had broken. I had the "trickle" rather than the "gush." I wasn't feeling anything in the way of contractions. So, I called the doctor and, since it was the end of office hours, they told me to go to the hospital.

Duncan got home from work and we headed to Holy Cross in Silver Spring. Which, if anyone knows where we are in relation to HC, you know we had to get on the Beltway at 5:00 in the evening! Our birthing class instructor told us to make "Woman in Labor" signs for the windows, in case we needed to drive on the shoulder, or something crazy like that. So, when Duncan got home, his mom and I were making them (rather than finishing packing) and he was kind of annoyed, he admitted later. Needless to say, traffic was minimal and we didn't need our signs. During the 30 minute or so trip to the hospital, I began to feel contractions.

I got there, went into Labor and Delivery and got changed, so I could be examined. It was determined that my water had broken and I was only one cm dilated. So, I was there until I had the baby. When I got up to use the bathroom they noticed my amniotic fluid was "stained" with meconium. That started the use of all of the interventions I had heard about during childbirth class that I DID NOT want to experience.

I was never a natural childbirth person because I know myself and my very low tolerance of pain. My goal was to get as far as I could (which ended up being not even far enough to WAIT for the epidural, they tied me over with some stadol or something, at about 3 cm) without an epidural. However, I looked forward to being able to walk around during contractions and using many of the positions we had learned in class, to manage some of the pain. But because of the meconium, I was immediately hooked up to an internal fetal monitor, and consequently a catheter, which had me stuck in bed at one cm! They gave me some cervical gel to help labor progress.

I truly believe had I been able to move around, I would have been able to hold off on the epidural and labor would have progressed better and the c-section (oops, I gave away the ending!) would not have had to happen. However, we will never know and ultimately, I must have been meant to have Amelie the way I did, since I believe I have a sovereign God, who is sovereign over every detail of life.

So for the next 18 hours, I sat in bed. As I said, I was given some Stadol before midnight at about three cm, which allowed me to sleep. At around one or two am, the doctor said I was up to 4cm and that I could have the epidural. I waited what seemed like FOREVER for the anesthesiologist. He arrived, successfully started the epidural, which allowed me to sleep a bit more. At around 7am, I was only at 6cm. At that point they started the Pitocin. I finally got to 10cm at around 11am. At that point, the catheter was removed and I prepared to push--finally! However, I can honestly say, I was already exhausted.
I pushed off and on, for four hours. During that four hours, my epidural needed to be replaced--the original one "slipped." I pushed, and pushed, and pushed, and pushed, and she barely started to show her hair. At about 3:30, the doctor gave me two options:
1. She could try the vacuum extractor (during which I need to push and I had NO energy left)
2. She could perform a c-section, which might need to happen any way.
I was approaching the 24 hour point since my water had broken, so the baby needed to born one way or another very soon. Fortunately, she never went into distress. The doctor said she thought the baby was "trying to tell us something" by not coming out. We would find out what that "something" was shortly.

I've just looked at how huge this post already is, so I've decided to make this "Part 1." Check back later for more, unless you've already been bored to tears!

This is me sleeping in Labor and Deliver under the influence of some pain management medication.
Either very late on February 18th or very early on February 19, 2004.


CA Skellys said...

Oh you're story sounds all too familiar. Ironcially, your Linus story is similar to my 3rd baby, too! Although in both cases you were more severe (sorry!) But Jason was born 18 hours after water broke and took 3 hours of pushing and I was told 2 hours in that they would only let me go one more hour because they were pretty sure I wouldn't be able to get him out anyway! I like to think that that negativity is what gave me that last bit of energy to get him out! Anyway, thanks for sharing (I could talk birth stories all day :)

Anonymous said...

I had the "vacuum extractor" after two hours of pushing-- even with an epidural, it was VERY painful. I had been awake for twenty four hours, pushed for over three before they relented and let me do c-section, and then, when the baby arrived, he was badly bruised from all my pushing! (he was "sunny side up" and got stuck on pelvic bones.) He had a headache similiar to being in a car wreck, he was quite jittery and they kept in in NICU for a few days to verify that he wasn't having seizures (he wasn't). I have never wanted a c-section so desperately! After a half hour of pushing, I was ready to give up... so tired... anyway, that was child number four. My other three births (1 c-section, 2 vbacs) were a piece of cake, [vbacs] complete with potosin, epidurals, and healthy deliveries.

So good choice! :-) --chris f.

Lynn said...

So fun to read this post. Can't wait for part 2...even though I've heard the story before. Praise God for Amelie! This story couldn't have a better ending.

Annie said...

I love hearing labor stories, and so have been enjoying every bit of yours! I wish I could make time to write mine out, too! Good for you for doing it before you forget! What a great idea!