Friday, April 13, 2012

how it all went down: part 3

i promise this is the final installment to my long-winded birth story!
if you're catching up, here are part 1 and part 2

4.5.12, about 6 pm
ahh, where were we? oh yes, i had felt a snap near my back while attempting to sit up and was extremely dismayed [ <-- severe understatement] to find out that my catheter had snapped off. i have to admit i started to freak out a little -- but was in good enough spirits to compare the incident to when my iPod broke down at mile 20 during my very first marathon. only this time, a bit more was at stake than a finisher's medal that i've long since thrown away.

after what seemed like an eternity [it was probably 10 minutes -- and the midwife stayed put in the room and said she wouldn't leave until it was fixed!] the anesthesia team returned. apparently, part of the catheter was still in my back, so putting things back together wasn't such a big deal. i did start to feel some of the contractions again, but not for long. i have to admit i was incredibly relieved that i would NOT be pushing sans medication.

finally, i got to sit up in bed for a while in attempt to 'labor down' [ie, get baby's head to flatten out that last part of my cervix]. i was feeling pretty hopeful, but continuing to have chills and our heart rates were still both pretty high compared to where i had started.

4.5.12, about 6:30 pm
another cervix check. by now, the midwife had gone off shift and the OB was back -- the same one i had seen earlier in the morning, so decent continuity of care! she reported that i still had just a bit of anterior cervix still left that would not allow me to safely push. and then it came:

"i'm getting very concerned about the risk of infection given both of your heart rates, your temperature, and the length of time your membranes may have been ruptured. if we can't get the cervix ready for pushing in the next 30 minutes, we are going to have to go to a C-section."

AHHH! here i was at 10 cm, at least 24 hours into labor, and THIS was going to be the ending?! i honestly couldn't even believe it, but was willing to go with whatever we needed to do. the OB had one more suggestion, which was to get up on my hands and knees on the bed. because my epidural was fairly light, they thought i'd be able to handle it, and the gravitational pressure would potentially help things along.

so of course i did it -- i spent the next 30 minutes alternating between hands-and-knees and full-on child's pose on the hospital bed. gradually i did start to feel some pressure -- sort of the urge to push! i told the OB this when she came back into recheck and she said she had a good feeling that maybe the tides had turned. THANKFULLY, my cervix had cooperated. the end was in sight -- the C-section was [at least temporarily] off the table, and it was my turn to be an active participant in labor again and GET OUR BABY OUT.

4.5.12, about 7 pm
so push i did! this turned out to be hard work but doable. i still found it easier [and less painful] than the unmedicated contractions from the morning, and it was empowering to finally feel like i had some control over the situation. with every push i thought about how badly i wanted to get annabel out of the potentially infected environment she was swimming in. josh stayed at my side the whole time, calmly counting. i was supposed to push to 10 seconds each time, but kept going for 12 -- i wanted to give it EVERYTHING i had.

fairly soon, the OB remarked that we were making progress and all of the sudden, the room got very busy again. she pulled on the disposable waterproof boots -- and i knew what that meant from previous deliveries. there was going to be a BABY and there was going to be one soon!

it started getting more intense -- i could feel all of the pressure from her tiny head trying to make its exit. as the pain mounted and i didn't think i could take much more, i think i asked the OB desperately "how many more pushes!?

the answer the i didn't expect was "just this one!". with that, i gave it my all and OH MY GOD. THERE SHE WAS.

[i'm crying right now writing this!]

4.5.12, 7:45 pm
she was slippery and stunned and absolutely perfect. i was half laughing and half crying and josh was too. she was here and she was ours and she was precious.

it did take a couple of minutes before she was breathing well [medical nerds: i later found out her apgars were 7 and 9] but she transitioned beautifully. and credit to susan who was astute enough to notice an IV in one of her pictures: she did end up having to get IV antibiotics for 48 hours to rule out infection given the whole fever/heart rate situation. however, she did beautifully and i didn't even stress TOO much about all of the extra blood draws and meds.

1 week old!

so that's that: the story of how annabel made it into the world! even though it was somewhat of a rocky course, i don't think i would have done any of it differently. and obviously it was all 100% worth it in the end :)