January 29, 2007

Katie's Birth Story

After almost 12 weeks, I figured it was about time to post the details...


Friday, the 10th of November, I was getting around to head onto campus to print a poster for B. He was headed to Indianapolis on Saturday morning and needed it ready to go before he left. I got out of the shower around 2pm and like always, had to go to the bathroom. Sat down and peed but after I finished I started to get this trickle of fluid. At first I thought I just hadn’t finished but then quickly realized that my water must have broke because the fluid kept coming and coming and coming and coming. I literally sat there on the toilet for 2 or 3 minutes waiting for this trickle to stop. At one point it was gushing hard enough that it squirted between the toilet bowl and the rim!I sat there in disbelief, wondering how I was ever going to get up off of the toilet and call C. The OB’s office said to come in to have them check whether or not it really was amniotic fluid, but to bring my bags just in case. They said it wasn’t a drop everything and come in immediately kind of thing, but to get there as soon as possible. I called B, told him he’d have to take care of the poster himself and then called C, telling him he needed to come home. He had just sat down for a meeting and as soon as I told him my water had broke, he replied “oh sh!t” and I could hear the girls in the background get excited as they knew what was happening. C was home within about 15 minutes and rushed around trying to get everything in order. I put my makeup on, blow-dried and flat ironed my hair, finished packing my bags and off to the doc’s we headed.

We got to the office about 4:30 pm and Susan, my midwife, confirmed that it was amniotic fluid. She walked me over to the hospital to be admitted while C took the dogs to the kennel. At this point I was having some contractions but they were really light and sporadic. They felt more like uncomfortable menstrual cramps than anything else. An internal exam showed I was about 2cm dilated and 50% effaced. Hospital policy is to do continuous fetal monitoring, but Susan convinced the nurses to check me for 15 minutes every hour, giving me the other 45 to get up and walk around. Since the contractions were still so sporadic she wanted me up moving around as much as possible to increase their intensity. Susan went home to get some dinner, said she’d be back later to check on me.

Around 9 pm, I was checked again and had dilated to 4cm and was about 75% effaced. I was excited to be making progress. We continued to walk around the hospital when I wasn’t hooked up on the monitors. The nursing staff was already talking pitocin augmentation but Susan kept persuading them to hold off and let my body kick into gear on its own. She knew how much I wanted a natural childbirth with little intervention. Next check around 11pm showed that I had regressed back to 2cm and the contractions still weren’t coming very regularly. When I heard "2cm" I had to choke back the tears; I was so confident that I was still making good progress. Because my water had been broken for 9 hours already, they were concerned with the risk of infection and we decided to start the pitocin. It was a hard decision to make but I knew that the lack of progress wasn’t good.

The pitocin was started shortly after midnight and the contractions were quite manageable to begin with. Every 20-30 minutes the nurses would slowly amp up the rate on the IV. Due to the pitocin, I was continuously monitored to watch the baby’s heart rate. About 1:30 the monitors showed an erratic heart rate (we’d been having problems all night keeping the probes in a good place to get strong readings). They put me on oxygen, turned down the pitocin and had me lay on my side until the heart rate steadied. After it stabilized, the pitocin was slowly cranked back up again. About 3am the heart rate went crazy again. The pitocin was turned down again to allow the heart rate to stabilize and I was put back on the oxygen. I was only dilated to about 3cm at this point. The nurses consulted with Susan (and the OB on call since I was now under her care as well) and it was decided to put a monitoring probe on the baby’s head and to insert one of the internal contraction monitors. The baby was really high in my pelvis still so this was a horrible, horrible procedure without an epidural. I felt like they were trying to tickle my tonsils and it took 3 tries and two nurses before they could get both in place. About 4:30 the contractions started to get quite strong and were coming much, much quicker. I was using the birthing ball to work through them and Cris and Susan were helping to rub my shoulders and do hip compressions. Every time I would have a contraction one of them, whoever was sitting behind me, would put their hands on my hips and push inwards as hard as possible to help relieve the pain/pressure.

At 6am I was only dilated to 4cm and was exhausted. Pitocon contractions do not allow your uterus to relax between contractions like it does with natural labor so your body doesn’t get much of a rest. With the fatigue, I was having a difficult time dealing with the contractions and opted for a shot of stadol. It took the edge off enough that I managed to sleep for an hour or so. They also started antibiotics at this point because it had been 16 hours since my water broke. By 8am it had worn off and I still didn’t have much energy to deal with pitocin contractions. After struggling through for 2 more hours of contractions coming about every 90 seconds, I opted for the epidural. I knew that I wouldn't have any energy left to push if I didn't get some rest and that wasn't happening with the intensity of the contractions. Upon doing an internal, I was still only at 4cm, almost completely effaced, but the baby was still very high (-2 station). After the epidural, I crashed, barely able to keep my eyes open for anything.

Around 1pm, the baby’s heart rate started to get very erratic again. And once again the pitocin was turned way down. Without the pitocin my contractions pretty much stopped. I was only 5cm dilated at this point and was mentally exhausted. It was such a roller coaster of emotions to deal with the erratic heart rate over and over again. I knew everyone was talking a c-section at this point since I had been in labor for almost 24 hours and just wasn’t making good progress. Susan and the OB were concerned that the cord was wrapped around baby’s neck – hence the slow progress, the heart rate decelerations and the previously breech baby – and it was keeping the baby from “dropping”.

When Susan came into the room to discuss my options, C and I told her we’d already decided to do the section, before she even suggested it. At this point I just wanted the baby safe and the erratic heart rate was starting to worry us. C made 4 phone calls – my mom, my dad, his folks and Kristen (to post an update on here). Everyone was asked to pass the info along to everyone else that needed to know. The anesthesiologist had to be paged (he’s not at the hospital continuously on the weekends) so it was after 2pm when they wheeled me to the operating room. Just as they were wheeling me in, I could hear Susan and the OB disagreeing on Susan being in the OR. Since she’s a midwife she doesn’t get paid to assist during the surgery and the OB was trying to convince her to go home. But she wanted to stay and see us through to the end, pay or not. It made me feel good knowing that she was going to be there and wasn’t just going to walk away so close to delivery. Plus I think she was curious to finally find out if the baby was a girl or boy! I was struggling horribly to keep my eyes open as they opened up my belly. C kept rubbing the side of my face to wake me up. At 2:51 pm, the doctor announced, “it’s a girl”. I looked over at C and he had the biggest grin on his face and tears in his eyes. After I held Katie for the first time, I gave into the exhaustion and closed my eyes, knowing that my little girl was safe and sound.


Sami said...

I had this great comment and blogger ate it. Anyway- I remember that night - I talked to C and he was so happy that you guys had a little girl. Not that he wouldn't have been happy if KT had been a boy, but he was happy because he wanted a girl for you and I thought that was the sweetest thing I've heard him say. I also thought it was quite comical his response when I told him- the pictures didn't work. Fortunately he resent them and it finally worked, but I think he was very happy not to be getting angry calls from family members saying where are my pictures!

Jessica said...

Well, I know this family member was happy to know when KT was finally born safe and sound! Pictures or not, I was glad to hear she was here, and everybody was okay, including mom....

A, this is a beautiful story, and I'm glad I finally know the details. It's amazing how much the body goes through during a time like that for something so beautiful. You are a very strong person to be able to get through something like that, and will be a wonderful mom!

Lots of love

Nickie said...

Congrats on doing everything you could to ensure your daughter got here safe and sound. Sounds like it took a lot out of you!

If/when you guys do this again, if you go for a sched c/s it's quite a different experience, not nearly as exhausting! LOL