Sunday, August 16, 2009

allright then (birth story #1)

tents, vacuums, and trucks...

tonight a woman is coming for dinner who had all three of her boys at home, in a tub of some sort with lots of doula/midwifery support and everything was blissful and smiley and there was no trauma. well. I'm very happy for her that she was so lucky. (I'm just nervous and feeling a bit judged in a projection sort-of way because she's coming to my house o'plastic and I don't know what to do if I can't plop all the kids in front of the tv on a rainy day) But its an interesting environment in which to start trying to type out the story of my first son's birth. While I am not even remotely interested in having a baby in a tub, I would have loved to have no trauma with the birth of my child. I was ten days late, and my lovely dr. had listened to me along the way about how naturally I'd like to approach the birth, so we waited. and in the waiting, baby C. grew and grew. And in the end, as my cervix only





the he.lp o2f much pitocin 3and fast pitocin, the baby did come out with the help of a vacuum . and thats when the fun began. (baby E. helping to type... second time around was REALLY different)

I never chose midwife help or doulas (though I had wonderful friends offer) because I have always been too simple to be divided. It was my husband and no one else who could hold my hand and get me through it. He switched from side to side to be by my good ear and coached me bradley-style through some of my most intense times. I was able to calm myself in the storm, as he counted me through my contractions. I was very proud, later, of those moments, and was very connected to J. throughout them.

My mom and mother in law were in the room during the first birth and held hands throughout much of what would come. . . my mum rubbed me down with warm cloths when I reacted badly to the pitocin and J. went out for a cigarette.... and she watched the monitors on the baby to see him dipping precipitously into slow did not like the epidural... and it was the first time that I realized that if I died, I'd like for the baby to be okay... I can't say I ever could have predicted such a matter of fact reaction to my own impending demise. for As labor progressed and I was epiduraled to survive the speed of the pitocin contractions, 0 to 60 in a minute or less? I pushed for hours and hours and hours... (4) and then the vacuum at the end. (his head is fine and normally shaped! :) I couldn't hear what the gender was, so once the baby was pulled out, I started shouting, 'what is it?what is it?'... I just saw a large red hand go by between my legs, it really was a big hand. They checked him all out, footprinted him... (my father in law had come in and thought that C. had died and thats why his feet were black... it really was a hard time) . . .
I got C. to my breast and he latched and then I asked them to take him away because I was so exhausted and shaky that I thought I was going to drop him... I could hardly hold up my own head, much less his.

would i have lived if i had been at home? probably not. I had a tear the size of pittsburgh's lesser parts and about four hours after the healthy big boy came out, I needed to have the retained placenta pulled out through that tear by a very brave woman who had to get help to hold me down before I'd let her near those overly sore parts. not joking. At this point, all my support had been sent home - we lived 45 minutes from the hospital and all the time spent with cervidil (to get my cervix to open) and so on and so forth, we had been trying to share the room/bed for 3 days... and then the all night labor... so even hubby had been sent away, to sleep and to return ...

J. says he'll never forget the look of surprise on the man's face with the vacuum, at the size of the baby and the fact that the vacuum worked. huh. C was born at 8 lbs 11 oz. - not as big as you would think but too big for my unexpectedly petite bonestructure... sure. He also says that they usually cut a woman off after 2 hours of pushing like that, and that they didn't at the wishes of me and my doc, in the hopes of avoiding an emergency c-section.

with the folks all gone, I had the ehem, 'cleanup' procedure above, which frankly, I don't think I want to ever think about with any degree of accuracy. I have shadowy memories of brightly lit rooms and numerous blue and green figures. I remember saying 'no' repeatedly and loudly. Four hours after a loooong ass labor. I needed to have two transfusions of blood to bring me back to human levels and then I got the call that the baby had been breathing too fast and they had transferred him to the NICU.
when I called home to tell J. about the baby and the NICU, he was so discombobulated from his two hour sleep that I had to yell at him to get my mom, who was camped in the backyard in an old shiny tin rv. She was discombobulated too, but you know women are WAAAAY more quick to pull it together in crisis. She took care of J. and got us all together once J. woke up some more.

It was not really the best day of my life. I rode a wheelchair to the NICU, stood up and proceeded to bleed all over the floor. ( I don't know if you know this, but that isn't really their favorite thing in the NICU, for all their sensitivity, just not their favorite thing.)

hm. Compared to the other babies there, several of whom did not survive our week there, C. was enormous and healthy, and I learned a lot about babyhandling from the nurses there. My baby was clearly going to make it. His breathing settled and having swallowed the meconium was no big deal.

My recovery was long and my blood loss set me back. It wasn't til after the second baby was born that I fully appreciated how much all of that experience had been really traumatic for me, and really flavored my understanding of my 'natural' abilities as a mother. I was so tired, in the way of all new mothers, and shocked and incredulous that I had never heard any kind of story like mine. C. is a wonderful boy, full of magic and delight... proving that children sprout strong from the dirtiest of dirts... dirt is dirt baby....


Ocean State Holistic Medical Collaborative said...

I think being traumatized by that experience is a very normal reaction. I'm sorry C's birth turned out the way it did but I am glad you were able to write the story. And that you shared it with us.


Ocean State Holistic Medical Collaborative said...

One other thing, it's interesting that you noted that she was lucky because of her successful homebirths. I don't think any woman who intends to do a home birth hopes she'll get lucky that everything will work out. While there is a lot of unknown when a woman goes into labor, many women who choose to birth at home (myself included) believe that they are just as capable, if not more so, of having a successful birth at home as they are in a hospital. I've never heard anyone say that a woman was lucky it all worked out after a successful hospital birth.


Kate Hall said...

I think we are all lucky when we have a successful birth... as in, everyone makes it.