Monday, October 25, 2010

A Baby Story- Luke Edition

Let me start by saying I am a nice patient. I am cool, calm, and collected during labor. I am super sweet and nice to all my nurses and doctors. I even bring them all goody bags with cool little pins and candy. I consider myself a pretty calm person in stressful situations and my husband is the same way. So, why do I keep having these miserable hospital experiences?

Well I guess it is just that. I truly believe that women should NOT give birth in hospitals. I wish I would have coughed up the extra money and had Audrey at a birthing center. Hospitals are great for sick people, but labor is not a sickness. It is a natural process. A hospital room is the opposite of natural.

I was not able to go to a birth center this time because I had an unnecessary cesarean section with my first child. Birth centers do not accept VBAC patients because of the small chance of the uterus rupturing during child birth. There is a small chance it can happen, but if it does the baby has to be taken out immediately or mother and baby can die in minutes. I understood that part, but I do not understand why so many hospitals ban VBAC's. Hospitals can do a cesarean section in five minutes, so why don't more hospitals perform them? I mean if they love doing surgeries, they should welcome a woman who is trying to do a VBAC since there is a chance they are gonna need one anyway.

Well let me get to the story. I was due September 20th. Well that day came and went and I never went in to labor with Luke. I had a doctor's appointment 10 days later and she sent me to get fetal monitoring at the hospital. Well during the ultra-sound they found that my placenta was mature and that Luke was running out of fluid. Luke was head down, but he was still floating. He wasn't ready to make his appearance. I was also only a centimeter dilated. Most women do not even go to the hospital until they are 4-5 centimeters dilated. I knew I was going in to this situation with a lot going against me already, but to my surprise the hospital was really supportive of my VBAC. I went in to labor naturally while I was waiting to be admitted. My contractions were about five minutes a part. They let me walk around, squat, go potty, dance with my hubby. They checked on me a lot because I kept taking my fetal monitor off, but I thought it was going super well, but then my contractions stopped. No surprise. I had been having false labor for about a month before. I thought this could be fake again. Low and behold they put me on petossin instead of making me have a ceserean. My doctor told me that they would not induce labor because of the risk of uterine rupture, but my doula told me that if petossin is used right it does not make the contractions any stronger than they would have been naturally. My contractions started getting closer together and a little more painful. I still did not have to do my patterned breathing, so I knew this was still pretty early. Then that cursed fetal monitor went off. All of the sudden the doctor, intern (he looked like J.D. from Scrubs), and two nurses came in looking panicky. They said the babies heartbeat was dropping with each contraction and the needed to turn down the petossin. I was bummed. Everything was going so great for an all hospital birth, but part of me knew this wasn't going to happen. Luke was still showing a lowered heart rate after they turned down the petossin and the doctor said I needed to have a Cesarean section. I cried a little, but tried not to show my disappointment. I joked about being in the hospital longer and I get more disability insurance. The thing was I wasn't scared of the Cesarean. I had done it before. I knew what to expect. I really wanted to experience something I had never experienced before. Now I can never do that. Two Cesarean sections means no more VBAC's. Midwifes are not legally allowed to take on a previous Cesarean because of the small chance of uterine rupture and I am a little scared of that too. If we decide to have more children it will be a scheduled Cesarean section. I will know the date and even the time.

They had to give me a shot to stop my contractions. They were increasing in strength on their own, even without petossin and I just wanted to get this over with. I had been in labor for twelve hours and I was only 3 centimeters dilated. I remember them taking forever to get to me. I found out later some lady kept pulling out her epidural, so they were waiting on the anesthesiologist. I was ready to meet my little guy. We had waited for so long to meet him.

They finally wheeled me in to the operation room. They didn't let Philip come in again, even though we both heard them say that he could on the tour. They said he had to wait until I was prepped for surgery. Phil asked, "Are you okay with this?" and I said a little teary eyed, "I got a spinal without you before, I will do it again." Honestly, I wanted Phil to tell me how huge the needle was that they were putting in my back. The hospital I delivered at is a teaching hospital, so they narrate everything to each other, so I knew exactly what they were doing every step of the way. I sat sideways on the operating table and the anesthesiologist prepped me for the spinal. I had to hold my shoulders and back in a weird angle. I held my nurses arms. She narrated everything she was doing. She said, "Injecting, injecting, swishing swishing." I felt a tingly sensation come over me and it felt good, but artificial. They helped me lay down because it works that fast. I never take pain medication, even for headaches, so I get numb fast.

When they laid me back I started seeing stars and I felt like I was gonna pass out. I told them I was gonna pass out and they injected my IV with something and elevated my head. I felt fine after that. I did not want to be passed out for my son's birth. Philip came in and held my hand. They were loosely strapped down. Last time they taped my boobs. They didn't do that this time. Phil narrated everything to me. He did good not making to many grossed out faces. It looks like a horribly violent horror movie. I told Phil that I felt some pressure and he looked at me and said, "Oh baby, if you could see what they are doing to you." Within seconds after the pressure Luke was born. The doctor said, "He is hungry, he is sucking my finger." Phil stood up and said, "He is here. He has a lot of dark hair." We cried and hugged. They held him up for us to see over the curtain. He was adorable. He looked smaller than Audrey and he was very bloody, but the last hospital did not hold Audrey up for me to see, so I was happy I got to see him before they whisked him off to the transitional nursery. They didn't let Philip go to the nursery, but they said they would call him in a couple of minutes. Phil and I talked while they stitched me up. It felt good to have someone to talk to. We kept getting updates about Luke, so I wasn't too worried about his health. He was 8lbs, 3 ounces. Over a pound smaller than Audrey, but still bigger than most. I remember thinking, I could have delivered him naturally. My mother delivered my sister naturally at 10 pounds, 2 ounces, so I knew I could have done it. He was 19 inches long and he scored an 8/9 apgar. They called for Phil and I told him to take care of our son.

As they finished stitching me up I thought about my baby boy. A mother who gives birth naturally actually releases a hormone that is kinda like a love drug. You only release this hormone if you give birth naturally. Women who give birth medicated or surgically do not release this hormone. It didn't matter though. I felt connected to him. He was my son. I had a son. I couldn't imagine feeling more love in my heart, yet I only saw him for a couple of seconds.

How can you not believe there is a God? After going through pregnancy twice and giving birth twice it is amazing to see that this little person was created from the love of a father and a mother. I guess it comes down to this. I was extremely disappointed in both my birthing experiences because of the over intervention of the hospital, but it did not take away my sense of pride about being a mother. Nothing can break that.

Like I said, I thought about this as they finished putting me back together. I had my bonding with my son, by myself (in a room full of medical people). They wheeled me to recovery and I got to see Phil hold his son. It looked like he had his own bonding experience as well. After Luke was born the hospital overly intervened again causing Luke to have a Nuemo Thorax which is like a collapsed lung. I am glad I got those two little moments with my son because he was admitted to the NICU shortly after he was born. I didn't get to see him again for 4 hours. I didn't get to hold him for 18 hours and I didn't get to breastfeed him for almost 2 days. Phil and I had to yet again, fight more battles against a hospital, but isn't that a big part of being a mother and father. You know what is best for your child, even though others try to tell you what is best, deep down, you know. Luke spent 4 days in the NICU and I refused to leave the hospital without him. I am going to save that story for another blog.

Cherish your birthing experience, no matter how it happens. In the end you will have a little bundle of amazingness. I do recommend, if you are healthy, and have had no pregnancy complications, to labor at home as long as possible or give birth in a birthing center, you can always be transferred to a hospital later. That is the only regret I have about my birth story. I am still a proud mother, but if I can help even one future mother with my stories, all this hospital stuff will be worth it.


Today's Mom


  1. Oh Janelle, that was a beautiful story. You are such a courageous and insightful mother. Your kids are very lucky. My midwife does VBACs all the time. Something to think about if you have more kids. Your options may be better than you think.


  2. Really? I will definitely keep that in mind. Especially after reading your story.