Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Best Laid Plans - My Birth Story, Part I

You know by now that I'm the type of person who likes to know what's going on. I like to have a plan, even if it's just a loose one. It doesn't have to be intricate and detailed, but I like to have a general idea of what's happening. Call it controlling, call it Type A personality, call it what you will - that's just me. And I approached my upcoming birth no differently. I didn't do a lot of research, as I'd done this thing before, and my vision really was just that things would go a lot like last time. You know, I would have some contractions, feel the time getting closer, my water would break, then we'd go to the hospital and have a baby.
Simple. To the point.

My "birth plan" if you could call it that, had two main bullet points: I wanted drugs and Brent wanted to cut the cord. Beyond that, the rest was just details that I didn't have any need or desire to know about. Easy, peasy.

I'd like to tell you that I got exactly what I had envisioned or what I wanted. That would be a GREAT story to tell, even if it would be a bit on the boring side. Boring is ok with me, by the way. But I don't have a boring birth story. I got the exact opposite of my "birth plan." I had excitement, drama, high emotions. You name it. I had it.

So here goes. My birth story.

It all started innocently enough. I wrote here about some problems with increased swelling, which prompted an emergency visit to the drs office to be check for pre-eclampsia. If you read that post, you know that they checked me out and sent me home, with instructions to come back the next day for my regular weekly appointment. It was my 39 week appointment. I went home a bit disappointed, but relieved that nothing major was wrong with either the baby or myself.

The next morning, it was all that I could do to get out of bed. I was literally dragging as far as energy levels were concerned, but I could feel the need to go into work for as long as I could so that I could wrap some things up. Deep down inside, I just knew that things needed to be as wrapped up as I could get them today, just in case. I went to work, did my thing, and was relieved to get finished by 11am. I knew that staying until my normal time of 1pm was out of the question, as my legs were starting to swell right above my ankles already and all the "fun" stuff the day before happened between noon and 1pm. My goal was to be on my way home before noon, and I was able to leave around 11am.

I came home, settled into bed, and took a quick nap. My alarm went off at 1pm so that I could wake up with enough time to make myself some lunch before a 2pm conference call that I couldn't miss. I made a grilled cheese sandwhich and had some Pringles, and then dialed in for my call. It ended around 2:30pm, which worked out well for my 3pm drs appt.

Just as I got into my car to leave the house for my appt, Brent called to tell me that he was running late. He had been sent home earlier during the day due to lack of deliveries needed that day, and had gone to lunch with his Dad while I took my nap. While at lunch, his boss called him back in to work, and he had to go in to make two "quick" deliveries. Those deliveries ended up taking almost 2 hours, and he was calling to tell me that although he was done with his last delivery he was about 30-45 minutes away. He was rushing as fast as he safely could manage to make it to the drs office in time, but realized that being there at 3pm was out of the question.

I encouraged him to drive safely and take his time. I reminded him that the week before we had had to sit in the waiting room for an hour before being seen in the back, and that he probably had plenty of time.

Yeah, you know how this is going to go, right? When I walked into the drs office to check in, there was one other person in the waiting room. And I wasn't early. Yeah.

I spent ten minutes in the front before being called back. I texted Brent to let him know and proceeded to be weighed and measured. You know, the fun stuff. Turns out that it's not so much fun to get weighed during week 39. The scale was showing that I had gained 5 POUNDS in one week. Now, for some people maybe this isn't alarming. But for someone that had gained a total of 18 pounds through the WHOLE pregnancy, this was alarming. Then I looked down at my feet and knew the reason for the big gain. My friend, water. Once again, despite laying down for the past 4 hours, my legs were swollen all the way up to my knees.

Which meant that I had to pee in a cup again. I was slightly more talented at accomplishing this task than I had been the day before, and managed not to pee on my hand. Probably just luck, not skill. While they tested my protein levels again, my blood pressure was checked (normal) and I was all set to wait another 20 minutes to see the dr. Thus buying Brent a little more time.

And she walked in 5 minutes later. It was REALLY not my day!

We talked for a few minutes (as I hadn't seen her the day before) and discussed that although the swelling was uncomfortable and slightly alarming, all other signs of pre-eclampsia were missing - which was a relief. Then she took out her tape to measure me. And got quiet. When she started feeling around my belly in different spots and making "hmmm" sounds, I couldn't take it any longer and I asked what was wrong.

She said maybe nothing, but had I felt any large movements in the past few days. I answered honestly that the last day or so there had been a decrease in movement altogether, but had felt nothing that I would classify as "big." This apparently was the wrong answer. She told me that she wanted to hook me up to the fetal monitor to count movements, but that first she needed to take a sonogram to confirm her suspicions.

As I got settled into the sono room, she confided in me that she felt that Jax had "disengaged" and was free floating again. Further bad news revealed that he was no longer in the head down position favorable for birth, but that she thought that he was sideways. Now, if you've been following along for any length of time, you might recall that him being breech has been my biggest fear all throughout this pregnancy. I don't really know why, other than normally when babies are in the breech position, it leads to a C-section for delivery, which I would be trying to avoid at all costs. Me and needles are NOT friends. Ergo, me and major abdominal surgery would also NOT be friends.

When I said something about him being breech, the dr was "nice" enough to correct me and explain that Jax was not breech - breech is feet down. Jax was apparently nice and happy in a transverse position - totally sideways across my abdomen. And Jax wasn't JUST transverse, he was also backwards, with his butt to my cervix. The most completely unfavorable position for birth possible. Any type of birth, by the way, even a C-section from this postion was almost impossible to safely deliver as there would be nothing for the dr to grab onto to pull him out once she had me opened up. At least, not without "feeling around in there to find something" and possibly doing some damage to me.

At this point, I asked her to stop talking. I was FREAKING OUT!

She concentrated on the sonogram pictures that were coming up, and was happy to report that she was right and Jax was transverse. And backwards. I'm not sure, but I think that she was expecting me to be happier for her being right. That didn't really happen.

By now she could see that I was freaking out, not that I was trying to hide it or anything, and she suggested that we call Brent. I had mentioned when she first came in that he was on his way but running late. As he's only missed one appt throughout the whole pregnancy, she understood my need to have him there, and wanted him with me before we started discussing options. Since she wanted me to spend half an hour or so on the fetal monitors anyway, I could call him and tell him to hurry and then we could do the monitoring while we waited on him to arrive.

Naturally, getting a phone call that he needed to hurry because the dr wanted to discuss "our options" was enough to send his speedometer up another level. It was already running pretty high. He arrived in less than 5 minutes, much to my relief. I tried to explain what I knew at that point, but as it was very limited information he wasn't satisfied and we were both anxious to see the dr.

Luckily, she came in right away to talk to us. She explained to Brent again what was going on with Jax's position and why delivery of any type would be difficult.

Then she started in on our options. Since I was at 38 weeks, 6 days I could technically be induced the next day or midnight that night since that's when I would hit the important 39 week mark. (It's a hospital rule or something.) But that option wouldn't be recommended as he wasn't in the right position. She strongly encouraged one of two other options.

Option 1 was to allow her to attempt to turn Jax around into the right position. It's called manual aversion therapy or something like that. She explained that the process to us, she would admit us into the hospital right away then come down once I was all checked in and attempt to turn Jax into the right postion from the outside. This mainly involved pushing him around through my stomach with the use of sonogram gel to make it slick and "easier" on me. She explained the risks of this option being that he could turn back around before I went into labor, or that Jax might not respond favorably to being pushed around and she would have to go in and do an emergency C-section.

Oh, and turning him around meant turning him in a 3/4 circle since he was backwards. You see, his head was on my right side, so she would have to turn him head up, then head to the left, and then finally head down towards the pelvic region. Just so you get the full picture.

The pros to this option would be that the aversion would work and Jax would get into the right position. That I would stay admitted to the hospital and she would induce me immediately in order to hopefully keep him from turning back around. I might be able to deliver normally (vaginally) and stay far away from the OR.

Option 2 was to schedule my C-section for early the next morning. I could go home and relax for the night (as if!) and come back at like 4am to be admitted and readied for surgery that might be a little more difficult due to his position.

To sum it all up for you, all roads seemed to be leading to C-section. Because my dr was VERY honest about the slim chance that I had of the vaginal delivery that I was wanting. She was willing to let me attempt it, but also honest enough to tell me that it might not be doable. We both knew that the options were really broken down into two steps, with the first step being doing the aversion therapy to turn him. Either way, letting her attempt that first would give Jax and I a better chance, no matter if the birth was vaginal or C-section. After only a moment of eye contact between the two of us, with no words spoken, we agreed to let her do the turning and increase our chances at a safer delivery.

She released us from the office and told us to move our cars around to the front of the hospital and go straight to the Maternity Services desk and check in.

Wait. What? You mean NOW? As in, right now, do not pass Go, do not collect $200 or your bags from the house NOW? Oh. And that's when the tears started.

As I left the drs office, I was trying really hard not to cry, but totally not succeeding at it. The tears were streaming down my face and Brent was trying unsuccessfully to console me. We made a few phone calls - parents, work, friends and such - and I cried through it all. As I talked with my Mom, I totally lost it and wailed out "I know that it's going to be OK, but this is NOT how I pictured this happening?!?! This isn't what I wanted!"

Because you know, it matters what I want at this point...yeah, not so much.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

OMG - I can't believe this happened to you! I hope it all turns out to your favor. I'll be on my toes until you post Part II!!