His journey outward

Longer Birth Story:

Here's the longer version:

At 2pm on Tuesday I went for a walk around our local lake, and did the 3.5 miles in an hour, then went to my midwife appointment, contracting and sore. She checked me and said I was 1, maybe 2 centimeters dialated, and suggested I schedule a 39 week appointment anyway. The exam was very rough, and the contractions got worse, and were worse through dinner. We went home and tried to go to bed, but when I rolled over in bed at 12:45, I heard a pop, and the waters were broken.

Then the contractions got worse, and, like with Rory, were all in my back. A shower and stretching didn’t help, so we called our doula, Carolynn, and headed to the hospital. The triage nurse was sweet until she heard that I didn’t intend to be strapped down, on my back with unnecessary needles in my arm. Then she was all curt brusqueness and “you can do whatever you want if you go AMA.” It took 3 hours to get us into a room, where the ignoring of my birth plan began. My nurse, Kate, was wonderful, though, and we were able to reach a compromise: I’d let them put in the heplock and I’d wear the external fetal monitors (all “standard procedure” for VBAC patients), but she’d get the waterproof monitors and let me spend as much of her shift as I’d like in the shower, and she’d do all my checks, bloodwork and blood pressure from there. She was true to her word, got soaking wet over and again, but I was able to walk around in my room, get on my birth ball and live in the shower for 5 hours.

The next nurse was just a nice about the monitoring, even letting us walk away for a while (out of range) to go outside to the rooftop gardens. The contractions were killing me, and so we finally asked that my midwife be paged. She came to the hospital, found me on the birth ball, and decided to check my cervix. 2cm and 40% effaced! Those 10 hours had done us nothing! Midwife told me that Julian was VERY posterior, and that since I wasn’t getting any pressure on my cervix, the contractions weren’t doing much. He was mashing his head into my spine, though, so it was going to hurt. She suggrested a low dose of Pitocin and a low-dose epidural to try and force him into position.

Normally, Pitocin isn’t allowed in VBACs, because it increases the chance of uterine rupture, but my midwife seemed to think it was the only way to do this. I was ready, at that point, to admit that my body wasn’t able to do this (especially since we’d determined he was posterior because my abdominal wall hadn’t closed after Rory’s birth), do the Csection and be done…but the midwife, doula and Pablo had other ideas. Pablo, who’d been against doing any Pit from the start, was willing to let us try it, and the doula and midwife were very subtley calling me a quitter if I opted to section again. I agreed to try for another few hours only.

So, there I was, in the same room I’d labored in to have my daughter, hooked up to an IV, wires, tubes, and an epidural in my back. My midwife had them put in a catheter and an internal contraction monitor, even though I asked her not to. The epidural gave me the shakes, somewhere between those of someone freezing to death and someone having a seizure. I couldn’t keep my mouth open, could feel all my contractions (epidural was only keeping my legs numb, it seems), and was having trouble breathing.

At 3pm, I was at 4cm and 80% effacement. I wanted out. I begged Pablo and cried and accused my midwife of running roughshod over my wishes (which I still believe she did). She admitted to not being particularly sensitive to the “little details” because she was going to make the VBAC work and was focused on the big picture. I didn’t believe her and told her so. She toyed with the idea of leaving right then, but told me that in an hour she could have him in the right position, but that it would hurt like hell.

In a little over 45 minutes, she reached up and under the guise of checking my cervix, pulled it forward while leaning her weight on my belly. I screamed, and when I could see again, I could see her smiling. “Now, maybe those contractions will do something.” She’d repositioned him.

At 6pm I was 90% effaced & at 8cm. I’d never been in so much pain in my life, and we weren’t even at the hardest part yet. They had me lay on my side and propped my legs apart, my doula holding one leg while Pabs massaged my feet through every contraction. Finally, I was told I could push when I felt the need. And oh, how that need came! I ended up having to hold my own legs while pushing, and it was horrible. If Pablo hadn’t been there telling me he could see him, I wouldn’t have made it.

Julian’s head came out, with MASSIVE posterior molding on his forehead (it looks like he’s trying to grow a rhinocerous horn), and Pablo got to see his little face. The midwife helped ease (ha!) his shoulders out, and then with the last push, he slid right into Pablo’s hands. He promptly put Julian on my chest and turned off the camera. Then he cut the cord and the nurses checked the baby’s vitals.

All done, right? Wrong. In the course of the 25 minutes of pushing, I’d developed a fever, and still needed to expel the placenta. It was nothing compared to Julian, and actually was a relief to get it out. It weighed 5lbs…almost as much as he had. I then had my 1 stitch done (I tore a little bit), and got to hold and cuddle the little guy. I am eternally grateful to my midwife, who, whole a bit brusque and pushy, knew EXACTLY what she was doing, and wasn’t going to let anyone, even me, get in the way of my VBAC.

Then we had my tubal done (which hurts way more than I’d expect for such a minor surgery), and between the two, I’m a huge sore mess. He continues to thrive, though, and we got home around 8:30 on Thursday night.

Now, pictures:

Meeting Mama for the first time

Meeting Rory for the first time

Rory, this is Julian

Mama and son

See what it did to his head?

My little guy

Sleeping again

A very happy big sister


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