blank'/> A LITTLE BIT OF LACQUER: Liv's Birth Story

November 4, 2013

Liv's Birth Story

Happy Monday everyone!! A shiny new week to get things off on the right start. Can you tell I did? I finally was able to go the gym this morning and feel like a new woman! My OB finally gave me the ok to get back to heavy lifting, so that's just what I did in the gym! It took a while because Liv's delivery was not the smoothest of deliveries and holy hell did my body take a beating. I actually thought that for this edition of Med School Mondays, I'd share with you all Liv's birth story, from a medical perspective. I know a lot of you are interested in OB and neonatology so hopefully you'll enjoy the read, and for those of you not I hope you'll enjoy anyway! {I also warn you that this is sort of long as far as my posts go, if you just want pictures, scroll down to the bottom!}


I got home from work Friday feeling great - I was still walking to and from work everyday even at 39 weeks - and this day was no different. I didn't, however feel like going out like N and I had originally planned. Instead, we ordered pizza, cuddled on the couch, and watched movies, who knows when we actually fell asleep. At 4am I awoke to pretty strong contractions. I tried to go back to sleep figuring they'd subside, but they continued getting stronger. By 6am I gave up on going back to sleep and got in the shower, washing my hair and just letting the hot water hit my back, which seemed to be bearing the brunt of the contractions. I walked around the apartment letting my hair air dry, and decided that this was the real thing, so I definitely needed to do my hair ;) I also knew I shouldn't call my midwife yet - she was only going to tell me to walk around and continue laboring at home which is what we tell all of our patients. I woke N up around 7 and he started actually timing contractions for me as I straightened my hair in between contractions. They were already lasting almost a minute at this point and coming every 2-3 minutes (aka the real deal). For the bad contractions I just had to curl up completely bent over on the bed with N rubbing my back, for the really bad contractions I had to run to the toilet and vomit the pain was so intense. By 9 I had had enough and N called the midwife. I made him call a cab first because regardless of what she said I was in labor and going to the hospital (it was the pain talking). By the time she called us back I was already right outside of the hospital, and she was about to tell me to "wait it out"- I had to break it down for her that I had most definitely waited it out and was at the hospital - she had me come right up.

Waiting at OB triage was surreal - N and I had both done our OB rotations at the hospital I was delivering at and it was so weird to be on the other side. I wanted to use my I.D. and just let myself in, hook myself up to the toco (the tocometer, which measures contractions and fetal heartbeat), you get the idea. When they took me into a triage room I politely waited for the nurse to ask me questions before I answered (in between contractions of course), instead of being the med student douchebag who rattles off the whole history because we already know what they're going to ask. I did have to laugh though when she looked at the tocometer and remarked "wow, you're having real contractions!" "Uh, yeah... I know" was what I really wanted to say. My midwife came and checked me and I was 4cm dilated, which was quite the change because less than a week earlier I had a cervical exam in the office and I was still zero and floating (meaning my cervix had not dilated at all and the baby's head was not yet engaged and still "floating" up higher). Instead of sending me home (which we do to a lot of women who are still in early labor), I got a labor room ASAP.

I was completely open to an epidural all my pregnancy. If you learn anything working on the OB wards it's that birth plans are silly (and I mean no offense, having a general idea of the way you want things to go is great, but they rarely go as planned and that's no reason to get upset) and primips (women having their first baby) trying to go au natural are pretty funny (again, no offense meant, but they almost all ask for the epidural eventually. I have so much respect for the women who do do it naturally, but just as much respect goes out to the women who do it at all). I definitely wanted to see how much my body could take, but was not at all against a little pain relief. I got my room around 10am, asked for the epidural around noonish, and got it around 1pm, which was really fun. The most painful part is the burning of the local anesthetic they use to numb the area, and then of course the fact that you need to remain completely still with an arched back as you're still being hit with contraction after contraction. I'm pretty petite as you may have observed, and apparently have very tight ligaments, so after attempting to place the epidural in the normal space, she had to remove the needle and place it one space higher. Another injection of local anesthetic and another insertion of the huge needle and we were set to go.

I finally started getting some pain relief and was actually able to chat with N, we called our parents so they could come, and watched some college football. I felt something weird down there and was really hoping I hadn't wet myself now that everything was pretty much numb - we had the nurse check and it was my mucus plug (ewww),  and shortly after at 2:30 I SROM'd (aka - spontaneous rupture of membranes, meaning my water broke on its own). My midwife checked me again but I was only 6 cm. So we hung out some more, watched some Scandal on the laptop. My contractions hadn't decreased in intensity, frequency, or duration since the epidural (which is sometimes a concern) so there was no need to add pit (pitocin, an artificial oxytocin that stimulates stronger contractions). Around 7pm I got checked again, this time by the new midwife who had just come on. I was 8 cm, but she thought baby's head might be in the OP position (meaning occiput posterior, so the back of her head was against my back and her face was up - which is the wrong way - we prefer to deliver babies in the OA, or occiput anterior, position). This explains why I was feeling most of my contractions in my back (aka back labor) - it also could have explained why things were progressing pretty slowly. So out came the bean. This is a huge balance ball like blow up that's shaped like a bean and wedges in between your legs while you lie on your side in an effort to spin the baby OA. By 10pm I was 9cm and baby was developing some caput (caput succedaneum, or swelling of her scalp), but I still wasn't 100% effaced. So we waited some more. By this time both of our moms were with us so we chatted and I dozed off here and there before the pushing had to start.

Finally around midnight I got checked again and it was time to push! We sent moms out and into the waiting room and the nurse and midwife got their waterproof gear on (it's really so that things are "sterile," but I'm convinced that its bodily fluid protection is wherein lies its real value). N and I had made a conscious effort all throughout my pregnancy to cut back on our cursing but I couldn't help but hype myself up in my head with a quiet "LET'S DO THIS SHIT!" With each contraction I pushed as long and hard as I could, and I kept doing this, until we realized we had been doing it for three hours. Towards the end of that three hours I had spiked a fever which granted me a diagnosis of chorioamnionitis (most often associated with a prolonged labor, which I guess I was having seeing as we were already on hour 24), and most concerning was that we were starting to see some late decels in baby girl's heart rate (decelerations are just slowing of heart rate - early decels are usually due to head compression which is normal, variable decels are usually due to cord compression and can be alleviated with change in maternal position, but late decels are due to fetal hypoxia which is never a good thing.) Antibiotics were hung and the OB was called because this definitely wasn't good. The OB came, saw the tracing, and immediately said "We're going to give this 3 tries with vacuum assist, but if that doesn't work we're doing an emergency c-section." I loved her no-nonsense approach and N and I totally knew this was where we were headed after seeing that tracing. She got the vaccuum, I pushed my hardest, and we could tell her head was going to come out, except it couldn't, I was likely going to tear, so instead she cut the biggest episiotomy I had ever seen (well, N had ever seen, thankfully I didn't have to watch that part), and with the next push we had a head. But then baby girl seemed stuck, and now we had a shoulder dystocia. They were amazing and did a quick McRobert's and applied suprapubic pressure (meaning they hyperflexed my legs practically up to my neck and pretty much sat on top of my pubic bone), and with the OB pulling and me pushing she finally came out. But there was no cry, and she was blue as can be, and my feeling of joy and relief for getting her out quickly dropped to utter terror. They suctioned her and rubbed her off on my chest as I cried and prayed that this little girl would actually be mine, and then she cried, and then I really cried, and felt my fears melting away with each one of her little shrieks. She pinkened up, the neonatologists took a look at her, and her and daddy headed off to the NICU so she could get prophylactic antibiotics given my chorioamnionitis. My placenta delivered with no difficulty, they repaired my episiotomy and cleaned me up, and I got to hang out with my moms until they brought baby girl back down. They eventually rolled her back in a few hours later, daddy strolling in like the man with his little pride and joy, and all three of us, for the first time as a family, got wheeled off to the elevator to head up to my recovery room. I felt like it was our little victory march. Little did I know we'd still have to battle my bladder not wanting to work (I had to stay an extra day or risk leaving with a foley catheter because I simply could not pee, a condition know as postpartum urinary retention, which added up to lots of painful straight cathing), but I made myself pee and got out of there darnit!

During our OB rotation I'd always ask the OB mommas how their labors and deliveries went, and there were always complications. They joked that it was the OB gods making sure they really knew all that could go wrong, firsthand. We definitely felt like a lot went "wrong," but so much went right. I had an amazing midwife, OB, and team of nurses. My labor nurse and I hugged and both teared up when we said our goodbyes. I had an amazing family by my side, especially N there through every second of it. And most important of all, we got what we all were really there for, a healthy little human being, who weighed more than any of us thought was possible, who was more beautiful than anything I could have dreamt up, who latched onto my breast almost immediately and took to breast feeding like she had already been practicing, who smiled in her sleep, who was ours, we got it. And I wouldn't trade that for anything.

35 comments:

  1. Wow just wow. That sounds so intense and amazing at the same time, I definitely teared up. I'm glad that you are now healed because what your body went through was really one heck of a beating.
    I've always had this idea of going without epidural because my mom did for both of us but now I've read this and I don't know anymore lol
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amazing story! Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  3. i definitely teared up reading this.
    but if i wasn't nervous about childbirth before...haha.
    congratulations again on your precious olivia.
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I didn't bother making a birth plan for exactly the same reasons! And good thing because it was a 30 hour labour with vacuum assist followed by emergency c-section. I look back and honestly don't know how I did it. But I did! Hoorah! And hoorah for you, momma! Doesn't it feel awesome to get to work out again?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you so much for sharing your story Laura. You have a beautiful family!! Love, Julia

    ReplyDelete
  6. I teared up too reading this! What a beautiful story and baby!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I did not plan to read all of this, just a quick skim.... BUT you had me at "then I really cried" *tears* ... I quickly scrolled up, and started reading the post from the top and took in every word. This made my heart smile.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I was due November 2 but this little bunny seems to be comfortable inside the womb. This is my first child and i'm really starting to freak out. I appreciate you keeping it real that things dont always go as planned. Congrats on your precious baby girl!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Laura this is amazing! Well all of your posts are. You have inspired me to create a blog for grad students with lives outside of school as well. Thanks for all of your tips and sharing your journey. Your baby girl is beautiful and I love when you dress her up in little furry animal suits.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh my goodness. This really tugged at my heartstrings. You are one amazing lady!!! Congrats on your beautiful family, and thank you for your posts. I think these kinds of posts are what set you aside as a wonderful blogger. Thank you for letting us into your life, and I hope we can continue to accompany on your life's journey.
    xoxo,
    Yessi

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow! Thank you for sharing your story. It was just beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  12. i started crying in lab lol. how embarrassing if anybody saw me. congrats! I think you will love reading it again in the future :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. My face line, Let's do this shit! I don't think I spoke at all the entire time. When in pain, I retreat to my private place. I do remember the nurses were appalled when I called her little hands man hands- they were just so big compared to the rest of her! I loved reading this, so much.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I always wondered if working in a hospital gave you a different perspective on birth / the birthing process, and as a FTM I have so many fears about things going wrong, but as long as a healthy baby is delivered in the end, that's all that really matters. Your words at the end had me tearing up, they are such beautiful thoughts, and I can't wait to experience that!

    ReplyDelete
  15. This definitely made me tear up! Liv is beautiful, I'm so happy she came out healthy. I'm scared of all the things that can go wrong during labor, but the end result is so worth it! It's getting me excited for February! :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Such a beautiful story and it definitely reminds me of my difficult labor with my son. But you guys got through it and you'll always be able to think back to this moment and remember just how blessed you all are.

    Congratulations again!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Loved hearing your story! What a crazy/painful/beautiful/LONG labor. I love how everyone has a different story. My first son also had shoulder dystocia, and I had NEVER heard of it, so I'm glad you're talking about it. Congratulations and enjoy all those newborn snuggles!!

    Shelly

    ReplyDelete
  18. Who watches the baby when you are at work ?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Baby Liv, is absolutely gorgeous! Congratulations and Best Wishes to you and your Fiancee on your new family!!

    - BraidsNGlasses ( at http://braidsandglasses.blogspot.com/)

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is so sweet! Congrats again girly! She is prescious!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I don't know why I hadn't read this sooner! Beautifully written...I felt like I was there with you. Thanks for sharing & congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a beautiful story about a beautiful little girl! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  23. So, let me say. I'm just a sophomore undergrad, but I'm thinking about the future of course. Going into OB and Neonatology has always been one of my options when I get to the point of choosing, but I have to say when you mentioned the episiotomy and tearing and what not, I freaked out a little. Lol. Maybe OB won't be my thing. hahahahaha

    ReplyDelete
  24. I enjoy everything that you wrote but found it interesting that you think women that want to go "au natural silly". Women around the workd dont have access to epidurals and silly them have to do that all the time. Im just a nurse. But also a first time mom and i find that attitude discouraging. Everyone chooses what they feel is right for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for reading! But I really wish if you take the time to try and quote me you would do so correctly - nowhere did I say women that want to go au natural are silly. I said "birth plans are silly." Because I've seen women at the end of a crazy delivery with a perfect outcome (ie, a healthy baby) still upset at the end of it because they ended up getting an epidural or having a c-section or something that was not a part of their "birth plan." And that's silly. And I did say first timers who want to go naturally are usually funny (which admittedly wasn't the best word to describe what I was trying to say), but when you see enough deliveries you just know that many of them end up getting epidurals because they have no idea how much pain is really involved in giving labor. But again, as I said in the post, "I have so much respect for the women who do do it naturally, but just as much respect goes out to the women who do it at all." Because there's also lots of unnecessary shaming that comes from women who have done it naturally (or plan to) towards those who use an epidural. Just like you say, everyone chooses what they feel is right for them.

      Delete
  25. I am crying my eyes out reading this - absolutely beautiful. thank you for sharing your story <3 I felt every emotion as you described the feeling of holding your little angel for the first time. God bless you and your family x

    ReplyDelete
  26. I even have been getting a lot of helpful and informative material in your web site. app progfinance

    ReplyDelete
  27. I have to agree with you. The shaming and battle between natural vs epidural needs to stop. Let's all just celebrate these wonderful new lives coming into this world. Child birth is amazing, let's not lose the meaning of it in the minor details that truly don't matter.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I am interested in neonatology! I haven’t had any children yet and I think I want to go au natural but since I haven’t even been pregnant yet I’m very open to changing my mind (especially in the moment)! Lol Another thing women do is compare who had a natural birth, who used an epidural and who had a C-section vs a vaginal birth. All of the previously mentioned are mothers & that’s what matters! I know that this post is a few years old, but still congrats on your two beautiful children.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I love your birth story. I'm trying to get down to your very first blog since I just can't get enough lol

    ReplyDelete
  30. Great post! I think so too, and I know those kids are blessed!! Thanks again for your comment about teaching - it is amazing how much you can grow to really love kids you've only known for 9 months!!!!!!
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I'm very appriciate your article. It's help me alot

    ReplyDelete
  32. Amazing post !
    The image here is a rather fanciful portrait of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and shows his tonsure. Again, a runaway monk would be easy to spot. The style is reminiscent of male pattern baldness, which it may have been intended to suggest, and required that the monks have the tops of their heads shaved weekly.

    ReplyDelete

I love getting your comments, they make my day! If you have a specific question you want answered, please send me a message by clicking the Contact tab at the top, or even better, contact me on twitter or facebook and I'll get back to you ASAP! Thank you so much for reading!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Designed by Minimalsphere