Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Finally an update!
These are my three sweet boys. I thought now was as good a time as any to share some about their births, since their births are what made me who I am today.
Darien is on the left. He is 4 - he was born on August 12, 2000. I was 39 weeks pregnant, and I thought I was leaking fluid on Friday morning, 8/11. I went in with my husband to get checked, and they said it wasn't amniotic fluid, so I should go home. But they thought I'd be back later that day, or over the weekend. I was sure I'd go past my due date. We took the rest of the day off, and spent it walking in the mall. We came home for a nap, and my water broke. Like good little parents, we rushed to the hospital like we were told. They put me on the monitor for 30 minutes, said I wasn't contracting, and said they were going to start Pitocin. I managed to hold them off for two hours, and then they started it. I labored flat on my back all night, painfully. They wouldn't let me out of bed because my cord might prolapse. I asked for, and got, an epidural at 3 cm dilation. In the morning I was fully dilated and ready to push, so they let the epidural wear off. I pushed for three hours (with no urge to do so, but they told me to do it, so I did). By the time I finally started getting the urge, I was too tired. My doctor came in and said I could stop pushing, they were going to do a C-section while the baby and I were 'still healthy'. I was grateful and scared at the same time. Darien was born at 12:34 pm on Saturday, 8/12, weighing in at 8# 8 0z. and 21 3/4" long.
After Darien's birth, I experienced postpartum depression, and I was also unable to breastfeed successfully. I felt like a real failure: not only could I not birth my baby, but I couldn't feed him either! What kind of mother was I? A friend steered me toward an organizations called ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) and it changed me. I learned so much about my C-section, why it was unnecessary, and how to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) next time.
Adam is on the right, he's 2. I got pregnant with him in December 2001 - we found out on New Year's Eve, and we were so happy. We had only been "trying" for 1 day and we got pregnant! The first half of my pregnancy was uneventful, and I was super-educated from reading, and also my ICAN mailing list. Every time I brought up VBAC, my doctor would change the subject. This put up red flags for me, so I went about searching for a different care provider. Long story short, I found myself at Doctor #4. She said "Sure, you can VBAC, but on my terms. You have to be induced at 37 or 38 weeks, immediate surgical-strength epidural (because one little decel and I'm going to be standing there ready to cut you), internal continuous monitoring, and lastly, I'll allow you 12 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing, then you get a C-section." LOL! I didn't know whether to cry, laugh, or run away screaming. A friend suggested just ONE more doctor, and I gave him a try, at 39 weeks. I sat there in his office and explained what all the other doctors wanted, and he said, "And what do YOU want?" Music to my ears! I blurted it all out: "No induction, I'm allowed to go to 42 weeks before we even DISCUSS getting the baby out, I get to the hospital when I'm good and ready, no continuous monitoring, no drugs, no IV, no episiotomy, no time limits on pushing or labor." He said, "Sounds reasonable to me", and away we went. I did allow him to examine my cervix at one visit and he said, "I hate to tell you this, but I'm pretty sure you won't deliver this baby vaginally." I asked why, and he said, "You have an android pelvis. It's misshapen, the outlet is fine but the inlet is incredibly small. You'll never birth a baby through there, especially not one over 7 pounds." Good thing I decided not to believe him, because at 41 weeks, after a nice 8-hour labor, Adam came out vaginally, just like I wanted him to! I did end up getting some Stadol in an IV during transition. He weighed 8# 10 oz. and was 22" long. I guess he fit through there after all! Not a surprise to me at all. I did have a 2nd degree tear, but it was NOTHING compared to the c-section!
Mason is in the middle, he's 12 weeks. My third pregnancy was my most difficult. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The doctor I chose was my favorite one, I've supported many labors with her and she's fantastic, as far as doctors go - she's great for VBAC. But she was really leery of GD, wanted my baby out for sure by 40 weeks, wanted NSTs and all these ultrasounds to check baby's size. I decided to go with a midwife instead, and have a homebirth. I continued to go to my OB for prenatals, and I bought a birth kit and was prepared to have my baby at home. I had prelabor for several nights, but they would always quit when I went to bed. Saturday night, 10/23, they continued throughout the night, waking me up once in a while. At 6:30 on Sunday 10/24 I finally got out of bed. I putzed around, checked email, and got very sporadic contractions that weren't painful, but were different from the prelabor contractions I'd been having. At 8:00 I woke my husband and said I thought today was the day. He got the kids up, dressed and fed, and suggested I call the midwife. I called her and said I THOUGHT I was in labor, but I wasn't sure. She lives 3 hours away, and she asked if I thought she should come. I said yes, but call me when she reached the halfway point in case labor quit. By this time it was 8:30. I got in the shower, and realized that yes, this was labor, when I started leaning on the shower wall during contractions. I got dressed and tried to have some toast and juice, but didn't finish it. Dan called my parents to come get the kids, they came at about 9:45. At that point the contractions were getting much more intense, and as soon as the kids were out the door, I started moaning with contractions. Dan got the kids buckled into their carseats, and when he came back in, I REALLY needed him to apply counterpressure. He tried to call Paulette (the midwife) but couldn't reach her. At about 10:30, I told him I could feel my water was about to break, and then it did. I walked to the shower and took off my pants and underwear - the pad was light green. The meconium was light but it scared me a little, and the contractions really took off then! I knew I was in transition, and Paulette had still not called to say she was even halfway! I cried and told my husband we needed to go to the hospital. I so did NOT want to go, but I didn't want to have the baby unassisted. So we went. He drove like a madman, because I was pushing, and I felt Mason's head duck under my pubic bone. I found a way to quit pushing. We parked in the ambulance bay, and I was wheeled up to a room. As soon as I got in, I stripped off my bottoms, laid down on my side on the bed, and PUSHED! Three pushes later, out he came! My doctor breezed in just in time to catch. My midwife showed up a half hour later, LOL! Mason was 9# 1 oz. and 21 3/4" long. I did not tear.
Well, those are my kids' birth stories, in a very large nutshell. Darien's and Adam's births are what inspired me to be a doula. During my pregnancy with Adam, I searched high and low for a doula and couldn't find one. So, instead of whining, I decided to pursue it myself, and become my city's only certified doula! I attended my first birth on November 2, 2003, and became certified in May 2004.