Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rosebud's birth story

I've included some photos of Rosebud's first couple of hours -- nothing graphic, so don't worry. (This first is of me holding her for a quick photo after they first bundled her up -- I got to hold her a little when she first came out and The Map Man was dealing with the cord, etc, but of course neither of us were thinking of photos at that point!)

I went into labor the morning of Wednesday, January 11. When I got out of bed at 7am, I lost my mucous plug, and contractions began soon thereafter, although they weren't particularly organized. We went about our day as scheduled, although I did call The Map Man to come home from work at noon, just so I wasn't driving around in labor in case things suddenly got serious. While we sat in the ballet studio during J's classes, the contractions settled into a good solid pattern of every 5 minutes for about a minute each. I called my OB on the way to pick up dinner, and since I was going to be a VBAC, she wanted me checked at the hospital, so we took a drive over there around 6pm. They confirmed that I was in early labor, but I hadn't really dilated yet, so I convinced them to send me home until my scheduled induction the next morning at 7am. We dropped the kids off at Laurel's (our incredibly wonderful friend and support system!) and went home, where I continued to labor at about the same level all night, but also managed to get in a couple hour's worth of sleep.

(This is a photo I must have taken of The Map Man and one of our nurses working on Rosebud at the warming table in our labor/delivery room. Honestly, I can't remember taking it, or even having had the camera in my hands, but apparently I must have!)

We awoke to snow and ice and a treacherous drive to the hospital. The highway was closed due to a serious accident, so we poked along on back roads and called to warn them we'd be a little late. My labor was still in the quite early stages, but we discovered that I was dilated to 2cm when I was examined, so I was pretty thrilled with that. They hooked me up to pitocin and began augmenting the contractions, which picked up right away into a good solid rhythm of every 3 to 4 minutes for about a minute. We spent some time walking in the hallways. My OB checked in on me around noon, but I was still only at 2cm. She broke my water at that point (and I have to say, the fluid gushing out of me for my subsequent contractions was by far my least favorite part of my labor -- I found it quite disgusting, actually). They continued increasing the amount of pitocin. At some point I started running a fever, which continued to climb throughout my labor until I was about 102.5 a couple hours before pushing, at which point they hung a bag of antibiotics on me. Rosebud was giving them a really hard time with the remote monitor, she kept shifting her position, and finally they asked to place an internal fetal monitor, which ended my ability to walk in the halls, but I could still sit on my birth ball or the edge of the bed to labor.

(Rosebud on the scale for the first time -- 8lbs, 7oz.)

My OB checked on me again around 9pm and found me to be at 5-6 cm. I was absolutely thrilled -- so far I had been managing the contractions without pain meds and felt like I could keep going for awhile more like that. However, Rosebud's heart rate had started dropping at the peaks of the contractions, and they realized that she too was running a fever. They wanted to push my pitocin even further, and they suggested that now was a good time to get the epidural, as not only might it relax me and get me to dilate faster, but also would also ensure that if I did wind up needing a c-section, things would go much smoother if the epidural was already in place. I debated over this for awhile (I was going through a period where I could not make up my mind about anything, The Map Man said it was a definite shift in my attitude). Finally I did ask for the epidural (around 9:45), and got it at 10:30. What a horrid experience that was -- at that point my contractions were 3 minutes apart and 2 minutes in duration, plus I was on a blood pressure cuff that kept triple-inflating because my blood pressure had shot up so high (due to my fever), and I was shaking uncontrollably also due to the fever. That wasn't exactly conducive to relaxing and holding still while they stuck a big needle in my back. But I got through it with help from The Map Man and a really wonderful nurse, and soon I was comfortable, although still shaking. Warm blankets helped me relax enough to be able to sleep.

(Rosebud receives her first IV antibiotic infusion on a warming table in the nursery.)

At midnight the OB checked on me again. I was still at 5-6 cm. Everyone was getting worried about our temperatures and the heart decelerations, and I had a strong impression that if things didn't get moving, I was going to wind up with another c-section by dawn. I tried not to let that bother me, reminding myself that a healthy baby was the important thing, and I agreed to do whatever my OB decided was right. We went back to sleep for awhile. Around 2 am on Friday morning, I began feeling a lot of pressure in my vaginal area. I told the nurse and she checked me, but felt that I was still at the same dilation level, although my cervix seemed to be completely thinned out. The pressure continued to increase, and they woke my OB and had her come check me around 3am. She said "almost there!" and did the happy "almost there" dance. I heard her tell my nurse "we're pushing in 10 minutes," so I woke up The Map Man by saying "Hey, honey, wake up, we're having a baby!"

(Our sweet little Rosebud, back with a very happy Mommy a couple hours later.)

I began pushing at 3:15am. Our nurse had a couple of other nurses join her as back-up. She assured me that I was pushing correctly. I couldn't believe how much it hurt, or how strong the need to push was, but I still didn't feel like it was really going to happen until my OB came in. Then I shifted into a whole different gear -- she sat down and said "alright, we're having this baby right NOW." And a few pushes later, at 4:51am, out came Rosebud! I could tell we were getting close when I heard The Map Man begin choking up -- he was counting for me during my pushes, and I knew that he must see her. I had my eyes closed and was very focused on what I was doing, but very clearly was thinking "I can't believe I'm doing this!" The feeling of seeing her beautiful little self placed up on my belly was the most amazing thing!!!

Her fever was as high as mine, and they decided to send the placenta off for pathology and start her on antibiotics, just in case, although everyone assumed her fever was due to mine. My own fever dropped immediately after giving birth. They let me nurse her quickly (she latched on like a pro from the start!), then she went with The Map Man and the pediatric team to the nursery for evaluation, blood tests, catheterization, and her first doses of antibiotics. We were all shocked when the pathology report showed a severe infection in both the placenta and the umbilical cord. Even though Rosebud's blood culture came back negative, they feared that it might be a false negative due to the antibiotics I received during labor, so it was determined that she should stay for a full 7 day course of antibiotics. But more about our adventures in the NICU later!


Mrs. Bacon said...

God Bless You All!
What a story!
Mrs. Bacon from

Diane Menard said...


Heather said...

Congrats on the VBA2C!! We will be attempting one in a couple of months and I've been looking for inspirational stories online to give me hope that it can be done!!


Stacey said...

Wow- thanks for sharing your story! So glad all is well with you and baby. COngrats on the VBA2C- empowering, isn't it?!