HAILEY'S BIRTH STORY
...sorry to leave you hanging from the last post, but Hailey's actual birth was THE beginning of my quest and simply needs its own space.
However...it does come with a warning label! DO NOT read any further if you:
- are easily grossed out when hearing about birth stories OR
- might be pregnant and do not want to hear of any negative birth experiences
So lets pick up where we left off...
I was full term in my pregnancy, but 10 days from my due date.
We were living in a brand NEW city in a NEW home provided by Jon's NEW ministry job and our NEW congregation! God is Good!
I had only met my OB/GYN twice. I had not had a chance to go over the birth plan in detail like I had hoped. I knew that I had put myself in a bad position, moving states in the 3rd trimester and all. BUT, I had printed it out and it was in my hospital bag and I was confident that I would not wimp out or change my mind in the heat of the moment.
THEN, I went into labor TEN DAYS EARLY?! AND on the day of my baby shower, which the ladies at our new congregation were so sweet to throw for me.
Here's how it fell into place...
It was Friday night, 11-14-03. I had just made a heart-felt dinner for Jon (and I will admit it was not too tasty...) and I had told him I wasn't feeling too good. Around 8pm I was trying to clean up, but I started having cramps. These were strong cramps but not unbearable. I called my parents in Austin and let them know something was going on. I did the normal warm shower to see if the cramps stopped and then I went to lie down in bed for a little while, but they progressed. So we decided to head over to the hospital just in case. Luckily, the hospital was not too far away, so Jon did not have to panic too much. My waters had NOT broken and there was no other signs of an immediate baby.
IMPORTANT: At this point, I must talk about my family history of birthing....rather, my Mother's history of birthing. My brave mother birthed 4 babies just like me. My sister was a 5 week preemie, but born naturally and monitored in the hospital before going home healthy. My baby brother and I were born naturally in a hospital, probably in less than 2 or 3 hours of labor from beginning to end. THEN there was my baby sister...oh boy...she was born in MY bed at home (but not on purpose)! Ironically, my older sister and I were at the neighbors house at a sleepover the night this took place. So we missed all of the drama, except hearing the ambulance and wondering what had happened. Here is her story...my mother slept through her contractions, got up out of bed (realizing she was in full-blown-labor and only made it down the hall) where she stopped to give birth on our full-size bed?! At that time, we lived in "far" south Austin, and when my Dad called 911, a (young) volunteer fireman arrived first, scared half to death. So my Dad ended up delivering the baby's head right before the ambulance arrived. Everything was fine...but now you can understand my concern with having our first baby pretty fast. Most importantly, I want you to see what a wonderful example my mother was for me and my sisters, showing us that natural birth is possible, preferable and potentially very QUICK.
Jon pulls up to the hospital, we go inside to the ER and are admitted. They check me to find that I am only 2cm dilated. They tell me that I will need to walk around the hospital and try to get the labor to progress, or they will send me home. We called my parents and let them know and they decided to head to Houston along with my older sister. By 2am or so, I was feeling pretty strong contractions at that point, so going home was just not an option in my mind. I would take a few steps and then grab the wall and bend over in pain. I made a few squeaks here and there and Jon even said "Baby, there are people sleeping, it's in the middle of the night?" and I quickly answered "I DON'T CARE, I AM ABOUT TO HAVE A BABY"!!! PLUS, we had not been admitted, so there was really nowhere else to go but the hallway or the ER bed I was given.
FINALLY, they checked me again to find that I was at 4cm, so I finally got admitted...we were about to meet our baby girl!!!! Then we heard that my OB/GYN was NOT on call that night...uh-oh...so his partner was being called...oh no....WHICH WE HAD NEVER MET?!!! That was not what I wanted to hear...but I was too busy laboring and I didn't really worry about that honestly. My trustee "birthing plan" was tucked away in my hospital bag and still fresh on my mind. BUT, I quickly realized that the nurses and this strange doctor were probably not too interested in what I had "planned". Below are a few highlights of my plan:
1. NO IV PLEASE - I wanted to be able to labor and move and not be held down (this did not happen)
2. NO EPIDURAL and NO PRESSURE TO HAVE ONE - I wanted this baby to come out on its own and with nothing holding me back. I had researched enough to know that the drugs often slow down the birthing process and I wanted it fast and over. (this did happen, thank goodness)
3. NO NURSERY - I did not want my baby to be whisked away from me at any point, plus I wanted to nurse as much as possible in the first 24 hrs especially. (this partially happened)
It is now 3:30am or so...my parents are getting close to the hospital. I was told to go to the bathroom just in case I wanted an enema (NO I DID NOT) and to prepare for a possible epidural (NOOOOOO???!!!). They had asked on more than one occasion if I wanted one. Once I got back from the toilet, bowels emptied (on my own thank you very much), they checked me again and said I had progressed to 7cm and it was too late for an epidural. Well thank goodness - no pressure there! This is where things got tricky tho...
By 4am...there was STILL NO DOCTOR to be found. Then my parents and sister walked in. The nurses started looking kind of nervous when they said I had quickly gone to 10cm the baby could come any minute. My dad and little brother went to the waiting room and my mother (the natural birthing pro) and my sister (who had birthed her first child recently...had a FAR WORSE experience than me...and therefore was very well researched and supportive of natural birthing and hospital issues) ended up staying. I was laboring on my own and having pretty severe back pain....I didn't know why at the time, but I figured it was supposed to hurt that bad...it was natural birthing pain, right? WRONG - I (days later) found out the Hailey was posterior in the birth canal - OUCH?!! Meaning: she was sunny-side up and with every contraction her head was pressing on my spine...which was excruciating, especially since I was laying on my back after all (I DON'T recommend that for any birth btw). Did the nurses care to tell me that? Um..no. I was naturally birthing a posterior baby with NO drugs....and NO DOCTOR! But remember, I did not know any of this while it was going on. Did not actually figure it out until days later. I just wish they could have communicated that with me, that's all.
By 4:30am or so I clearly remember starting to bear down and push on my own. My body wanted the baby out and so here she comes. Then guess what? (although no sane person would EVER guess this...) The nurses took my legs off the stirrups, twisted them to the side on top of each other and said "Stop pushing hun...the Dr's not here yet". I looked over to my mom and my sister, I remember my sister biting her nails just wanting to scream at them. SO I start to panic and hyperventilate - wouldn't you after all???!!! I screamed, "I'M NOT PUSHING ON PURPOSE?!?!?!"
So I am holding this posterior baby in my birth canal, causing the worst pain of my entire life (blood vessels broke and busted in my face, eyes, and upper body btw). They now say the baby's heart rate is dropping (no...really, you think?) so they put an oxygen mask on me, which I peel off over and over, crying. Then they say I need some medication for pain and inject Demerol into my IV (which I did not want to begin with). I go to sleep...for like 45 seconds in between the contractions. Then I wake up and sit up and SCREAM....then I sleep....then I SCREAM...then I sleep. This was insane and NOT the beautiful birth I had envisioned AT ALL! Just in case your wondering, the Demerol did NOT help the pain, only knocked me out in between contractions and made me loose my bearings completely.
FINALLY the DR shows up at 5:04am...
They finally open my legs back up (after what seemed like an eternity of unnecessary misery) and out pops Hailey at 5:10am. The DR literally catches her...with her little head all long and squished from being in the birth canal WAY TOO LONG! She was technically fine, but unfortunately I don't remember most of the first hour of her life because of that unwanted DEMEROL! I was drunk and loopy and could barely talk or stay awake. Again, NOT what I wanted to happen. Poor Jon was crying, I do remember that...wow, what a emotional roller coaster I just put him through. But he held Hailey first I believe, which was good.
SAD SIDE NOTE: I did read that they would use this type of "torture" in Auschwitz...force women to hold their babies in during birth until both the mother and baby died. YIKES...what a horrible thing to think about, and partially experience!
Now for the GRAND finale...
After delivering the placenta (which I don't remember either, ugh) the DR starts to stitch me up. NOTE: I did NOT have an episiotomy (one thing that went right from my birthing plan) but I obviously tore when Hailey torpedoed out of my body. SO the DR goes to stitch me up...and he DID NOT REALIZE I DID NOT HAVE AN EPIDURAL AND I COULD FEEL EVERYTHING!!! So the first stitch goes in with no meds and I (drunk with Demerol) don't even know what has happened...I tense forward and manage to pull my groin muscles (so severely that I could not walk the next day). The DR said "Uh, did you feel that?"..."yes" I said crying. Wow...that just sums up my experience right there.
Post-birth, the other issue we had was Hailey's eating problems. I was able to nurse her (despite being drunk with Demerol) within the first hour or so. I had no problems getting my milk in over the next 24 hrs and I had PLENTY of it. But once we got home from the hospital I had a hard time keeping Hailey awake to eat. This seemed normal, but then she only had one wet diaper in about 12 hours and we started to panic. Jon drove us downtown Houston and rented a breast pump to start pumping and making sure we could see how much she was drinking. I would have to constantly wake her up while at the breast and encourage her to keep eating. After much stress, my sister researched and found that Demerol had been banned in Australia because it caused "sleeping baby syndrome". YIKES?! What? Seriously? I was so furious that something they did within an hour of her birth had caused so much unneeded stress in the first 2 weeks of Hailey's life. It went strait from my blood to hers....which is why I did NOT want it to begin with.
Phew...that was exhausting just reliving it all. It is important for me to share my story though. Simply so that others can maybe relate...possibly compare what they experienced...know what to avoid...and ultimately see where and why my quest began.
....also, just in case you were wondering, my mother and sister were nice enough to attend the baby shower in my place that Saturday morning =) They surprised the ladies in attendance and they found a newborn picture of Hailey on the front table (taken by one of the early morning visitors)...which is still in Jon's office today.