exile in kidville

Auden’s birth story
May 27, 2008, 11:15 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This story will be a long one. . .but long overdue as my little man turned four weeks old today.

On Monday evening, April 21st  I got up to check my email and felt fluid come out of me.  I went to the washroom and had soaked a panty liner with pinkish fluid.  I thought I had started to leak amniotic fluid, but apparently this was just my body’s version of some show.  I went to bed and proceeded to have contractions about every 10 minutes all night long.  

On Tuesday, Husband and I were certain that something big would be happening at any moment.  He went off to a morning workshop as my contractions had actually slowed down once I got up.  They continued throughout the day at random intervals.  I grew confused, as I foolishly thought that contractions were supposed to get closer and closer together….not further and further apart. 


This was the norm for the rest of the week.  That’s right.  WEEK.  Contractions of varying intensity, but rarely closer together than 10 minutes, and if they were, they were only seven minutes apart.  These weren’t any practice contractions either…some of them actually brought me to tears and lasted for two minutes each!


By Friday, I was close to loosing it as we had zero sleep the night before because my contractions were really intensifying.  We were in daily contact with the practitioner on call with our Birth Program throughout all of this.  The constant advice was to rest, walk, have a shower/bath, have a glass of wine in the bath, rest, walk, take the stairs, rest….  Right. How was I supposed to rest when I was contracting all the time?  Contracting all the time to no apparent avail at that!  I was exhausted and frustrated.  We called the Birth Program yet again.  Martha, a midwife, offered to come over and check me out.  One of our doula’s back ups also called and offered to come over.  Finally, we were getting some hands on support.


Martha came over around 11am on Friday.  She examined me only to find that I was only about 2cm dilated after four nights of contracting.  I cried.  My cervix was practically non-existent though and the baby was at the -2 position, so she was happy.  I wasn’t quite as happy as I expected a bit more for my trouble, but was glad to hear that something was going on.  At my previous check, baby was at -3 and I was only 1cm dilated.  Still, it seemed like a lot of work for such a small change.  She recommended Grav0l to help me sleep, which I happily took.


Aimee, one of the Program’s doulas, also came over that day.  She spent the afternoon with us, which was fantastic.  She gave me wonderful massage and helped put me to sleep.  She was a really wonderful presence and really helped both of us relax a bit and get some rest.  She was truly a life saver.  


Martha the midwife checked in with us later that day and advised that if we couldn’t sleep again that night to go to Women’s hospital for a shot of morphine to help me sleep.  It was hard to wrap my head around this, as I couldn’t see how morphine would be good for either me or my baby.  Hello?  Morphine?  Did you know that I’m pregnant?


Caroline, another doula, also came over that evening.  She was going to be our doula throughout the rest of the process as our original doula wasn’t able to tend to us.  We were really working our way through all possible care providers at this point.  It turned out to be the best possible situation though as Caroline was AMAZING.  We LOVED our doula.  I’m serious when I tell you that we couldn’t have done it without her.  I might actually still be pregnant if it wasn’t for her.


Sunday night at 11:30 I could tell that we were in for another night of contractions that wouldn’t take us anywhere promising.  We called the on call practitioner (again!) and arranged for me to go into Women’s for a shot of morphine.  Amazing how that eventually started to make good sense.  Desperation + a week of contractions = longing for hard drugs.  After some fetal monitoring and the medication, I happily rolled over and took the morphine in the bum.  The midwife also did an exam only to find that I was still only 2cm dilated.  Depressing. We got home from the hospital around 1am and I fell into a sound sleep until the next morning, grateful for the drugs and the rest.  I was groggy until around noontime which I didn’t like, but found it worth it for the rest.


Monday, April 28th…..a full week after prodromal labour began, we headed off to Women’s for some more monitoring and an ultrasound to check my fluid levels.  The 28th marked the one week + 3 days overdue milestone that enables care providers to begin to think about induction, and when some monitoring and an ultrasound are called for.  The monitoring was fine, if a bit long as baby was sleeping (hello — baby was on MORPHINE).  Then the ultrasound.  Ultrasounds trigger me in the first place, right?  I find I can’t look at the screen, and am just a wreck while they’re going on because I associate them with my last miscarriage.  So when the technician came out into the waiting room to tell us that the Doctor wanted another look at baby, I nearly panicked and started to cry.  He wanted to look at his bowels again.  I felt faint.  He saw a “high level of contrast” in his bowels, but told us that upon second look he thought it was just a “variant of normal” and that baby probably just needed to take a big poop.  This did little to soothe me.  What the hell is “variant of normal.”  Does that not mean abnormal?  We paged the Dr. on call again who came in to look at the report.  She reassured us that everything was okay and “variant of normal” is something like having your uterus tipped one way or another….fine, not a problem, just a “variant of normal.”  Feeling better, we went back home to see what would happen next.


Later in the evening (around 7pm), my contractions got more and more intense, many of them of the variety that brought me to tears and lasting nearly two minutes.  Maddeningly they were still only about seven minutes apart at their closest, and were still rather randomly spaced.  We called our doula and she came over.  Did I mention that she was AMAZING?  She stayed with us for a while, laying in the bed with me and helping me work through my contractions.  We phoned the Dr. on call with our program again, as earlier in the day she mentioned that breaking my water was an option at this point.  I was just TIRED at this point and needed to get things moving, so we agreed to head on over to the hospital and get admitted.  Ordinarily they would send you home if you were dilated as little as I was but being that I was at that magic one week + three day mark they could admit me with the intention of breaking my water/induction.  Caroline went home for a bit (to nurse her own baby who had fallen down the stairs and nearly bit through her tongue but she was still being our doula HELLO SUPERWOMAN) while we were admitted and got settled in the hospital.    


We were admitted to one of the fancy birthing rooms with the nice bathtub and shower.  I went into the tub right away, but didn’t stay in too long as I just couldn’t get comfortable.  Showers really helped me when we were at home, but as the intensity of the contractions increased, the water just couldn’t touch it anymore.  Also, my back was becoming the main issue in labour. It hurt so badly I could barely stand it.  I told Husband at one point that it felt like my back was torn right open and all of my nerves were sticking out.  Labour continued in this way until about 8am on Tuesday when Bernadette broke my water.  The fluid was tinged with meconium, and I was still only about 5cm dilated.  At around 9am, Dr. Joan Robillard came on to relieve Bernadette.  She continued to monitor contractions.  At 11am I simply couldn’t handle the back labour anymore and received an epidural.  I slept until about 1pm — right through transition.  


From 2pm – 3:30 or so I was actively trying to push baby out.  Here we learned that baby’s head wasn’t in a great position (either left or right occipito posterior) and would need to be rotated.  I spent much of my labour on my hands and knees, so I did what I could in that arena…. At 3:30 an ob/gyn was consulted and she examined me.  She tried to rotate baby, but no luck.  At this point we had to start discussing options.  Also, my back was in serious pain again.  I could barely stand it.  We tried different labouring positions, massage, heat packs, you name it, but nothing helped.  I finally reached a point where I couldn’t do anything further.  My body just completely broke down.  I hit my second wall full face on.  The doula was trying to move my body into different positions and I just subconsciously clamped down and refused to move…I just couldn’t do it.  This is the part that kills me.  I know that it makes good sense….after all, I had been in labour for over a week at that point and was just exhausted.  It still just upsets me though.  


At this point our options were forceps and/or a c-section.  I started to feel like the baby just needed to get out of my body in any way possible.  I was worried about the baby because they kept telling me that his head was really molding a lot and that they could feel soft tissue bulging out, but no progress was made beyond that.  My back pain kept increasing and increasing.  All I could do was lay on my side, gripping the side of the bed.  I felt like I was screaming with every contraction.  The anesthetist was called back in as the docs decided on a forceps trial.  Here we discovered that my epidural had COME OUT – hence the increase in pain.  By 4pm they decided to take me to the OR and give me a spinal.  I found out later that they were pepping me for a c-section in case the forceps didn’t work.  


I HATED being in the OR.  I kept thinking about my D&C last May.  The spinal was awful.  I couldn’t feel anything from my neck down.   There were so many people in the room, it was so bright, I had to have oxygen…I just hated it.  It was so far removed from the birth experience I hoped to have.  I desperately wanted to have my baby on my own, without intervention, and here I was in the OR.  I still just bawl thinking about it.  


Baby and I were of course hooked up to every monitor known to humankind.  I was literally surrounded by people, completely numb, and in the dead beetle position.  The only way I knew when to push was when the doctors, doula, and Husband told me to.  Even then, I wasn’t sure if I was actually pushing because I was numb.  I can still hear our Dr from the Birth Program…”alittlebitmore alittlebitmore alittlebitmore”.  I was operating on auto pilot at this point.  I felt I needed to get this baby out to keep him safe so I just did what they told me, and what I thought was right.  


Sure enough, at 4:38 baby Auden was born.  I still don’t know how I did it, but he was born vaginally, without an episiotomy….although with forceps in the OR.  His first moments in the world were scary.  He was limp and unresponsive at birth, and it took 10 minutes for his apgar scores to hit 9.  They were 3 at one minute, 7 at five minutes, and finally 9 at ten minutes.  He was wheezy, and covered in meconium.  I was still numb, but Husband was able to be with him.  Finally they were able to bring him to me and put him on my chest.  I was still numb so I was scared to hold him, but they wheeled me into the recovery area with him on my chest.  Once in the recovery area, I was able to put him to my breast.  He latched on like a champ right away.  That’s my boy.  So strong, so amazing.  


I know that I did the best I could bringing baby Auden into the world…I just can’t help but wish it was a more gentle experience.  For all of us.


By 6pm we were transferred into a regular room where we were monitored every three hours.  I was tethered to the bed by my catheter, but it took a long time to really get my legs back anyway.  My blood pressure rose during labour and stayed rather high for a while so people kept coming in to check on that as well as baby’s vitals.  After Auden’s temperature stabilized with lots of skin to skin contact, a nurse came in to give him a bath with us.  The monitoring continued through Wednesday.  At 4pm they came in to do the PKU and jaundice testing.  His bilirubin levels were elevated so we had to stay another night so he could have more blood work in the morning to see if he would need phototherapy.  


Thursday morning’s blood test showed decreasing bilirubin levels so we were discharged.  The usual home visit from the community health nurse was arranged, and we were on our way. 


Thursday was a rough night.  Auden was inconsolable.  I grew increasingly worried about him as he seemed lethargic to me, and eventually wasn’t even interested in my breast.  Friday was to be our last meeting with our Birth Group.  We weren’t planning on going as we just got home from the hospital, but a phone call from one of the docs and my worry about Auden’s behaviour changed our minds.  We packed up and went to group.  It was a good thing we went – not only because we got to show off Auden and meet all of the other babies that were born, but when they weighed him we discovered that he lost 12.5% of his birth weight.  The lactation consultant jumped into action, reserving a breast pump for us and trying to get us donor milk.  We were given a very strict feeding plan involving breast feeding, pumping, and formula supplement.  We left group and went straight back to the hospital to rent the breast pump and then to the drug store to get formula.  The milk bank didn’t have anything for us so we had to go the formula route.  Every three hours I was to breast feed him, then pump (5 minutes/side) for 20 minutes while Husband gave him formula.  It was a bit grueling, but it worked.  


The community health nurse came the next day (Saturday).  She weighed him and found that he hadn’t lost any more weight, but hadn’t gained.  We were to stick with the three hour plan, ensuring that he got at LEAST 30 – 60 mls of formula per feeding.  


She came again on Sunday and baby Auden showed his strength yet again – he gained 300 grams in one day.  The community health nurse was so happy – she was hoping for 30 grams and he gained 300.  Things were turning around.  We were to continue with the three hour feedings though.  This was getting increasingly difficult because Auden is a sleepy baby.  We had to consult with the nurse later in the day to find out what to do if he was just too sleepy to nurse.  She advised us that since he had such a tremendous gain we could start taking our cues from him instead of the clock.  We fed him later and all was well. 


Monday I went to see the lactation consultant at our Birth Program.  We weighed him again and he gained ANOTHER 300 grams.  The LC was so excited and happy for us, she jumped up and down and hugged me.  We were officially “released” from the three hour schedule, although advised that we needed to feed at least 8 times/day based on baby’s cues.  My milk production was still under what Auden needed, so we were still to supplement with formula.  


Wednesday we had our one week visit with a physician at the program.  He was still gaining weight like a champion.  We decided to put me on D0mper1d0ne for my milk supply, and that I would visit the lactation clinic at the hospital (the program’s LC was leaving) the following week.  Baby Auden checked out well in every other way, so we were sent home with another appointment in two weeks.  


By Thursday, we were in the emergency room at Children’s Hospital.  During his bath, Husband noticed that he had a hard lump on the right side of his face and another on his neck.  We were a bit panicked by this and just went to the Hospital. The lump on his cheek turned out to be a fat necrosis – a harmless thing that is the result of the forceps delivery.  It will be reabsorbed into his system eventually, so no worries.  The one on his neck was a a pronounced lymph node — the Dr. wants to follow him a bit for that but thinks it is also somehow related to his forcep delivery.

Since then, it’s been relatively smooth sailing.  


Our boy is big, strong, and healthy.  He’s only getting breast milk now and still growing like a weed.  I just couldn’t be happier.  I couldn’t be more enchanted or in love.  He was worth all of the heartache, all of the waiting, and all of the labour troubles.  Every last moment. 


11 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Sounds like a slightly rocky start, but to get by with just a little help from the forceps makes you a champ! And also to get on to exclusive breastfeeding from that start. Well done.

Comment by Bea

I’m glad to hear everything’s working out so well now.
It’s rough when you don’t get to give birth the way you imagined, but it’s all good in the end when you’ve got that baby in your arms!!
Congratulations again!

Comment by Cara

Geez, what a trauma. After all that, it’s no wonder he’s a sleepy babe. I can’t imagine he got much rest either during that labor process.
Glad you are all doing well now. Can’t wait for more updates.

Comment by carlarey

What a story! I’m sorry it didn’t go the way you would have liked it to, but you came through with a strong, healthy boy. And to be in labor for, what? a week? you amaze me.

Comment by furrow

Thank you for writing that story. It’s good for me to read right now. I too want a non-intervention and natural birth, but I need to know that if it doesn’t happen that way, there is still a healthy baby at the end who will attach and love and breastfeed. Thanks again for telling your story.

Comment by Nicole

Thanks for sharing the story. It sounded like quite a rocky ride, but I’m glad things are working out now.

Comment by Samantha

Megan, the doula isn’t SUPERWOMAN, you are! I am shocked at all you went through to get Auden here! I hope you are feeling well and enjoying your time as a family. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Comment by Equipoise

I, too, found my doula was a lifesaver. I don’t know how anyone can deal with birth without one.
I ended up with way more intervention than planned as well, but don’t really feel disappointed. The fact is, it’s still YOU that gave birth, and that lived through a week of labor to deliver your son.

Comment by mrs spock

whew! you have certainly come through battle tested and victorious! (don’t you love how we infertiles really know how to put a good spin on a thing?)
congratulations on four weeks!!

Comment by Sarah

That is SUCH a marathon. Well done for getting through it all.

Comment by May

A lot of torture with a big payoff!

Comment by Dr. Grumbles

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