Thursday, December 17, 2009

birth story

this is a long one, so you might want to go get a snack and a drink:)

monday, november 30th, i woke up after an odd dream. i was shopping with my mom and i told her i was having a cramping feeling. she responded with great concern that we needed to leave. as we were walking across the parking lot, i started crying. i had inferred from her response that i was going to need a c-section, and that meant the end of our birth plan. it went on to get a little weirder, but didn't relate to the baby/birth.

i did have an odd feeling in my uterus when i woke up, but didn't really pay attention to it. just took notice. i went on to have that feeling occasionally all day. i didn't tell my mom or anna. by the time we were having dinner, i was noticing the contractions had some regularity. i told them, and we began timing at 8pm. the contractions were around 5 mins apart and 30-45 sec long.
i called the midwives around 10:30. she, of course, told us to go to bed. that was a joke:) i tried to go to sleep at 11:30, didn't happen. anna didn't come to bed until 12:30, she slept a bit. mom was the only one able to sleep for real. i tossed and turned as my contractions increased.
around 2:30 i had to get up to throw up- unfortunately this became a theme for my labor. i woke anna up after that. we called the midwives to check in. she said to hold on a bit longer, and that, when i notice a "shift" in my contractions/over-all state, that would be the time to come in. we woke my mom up at 3:30 to get things together. i noticed that i was no longer able to focus on the outside world as well as before. this was the shift.

we moved into high gear and got out to the car. we made sure to have airline puke bags on hand, as well as water and saltines. i wasn't feeling very well. we got on the road at 4:15 and called the midwives. this was a bit out of order; we should have called from the house. we found out the on call midwife was at the hospital with another birth and that the second on call would need 45 mins to get to the birth center. we were going to beat her there for sure. i figured i would be fine laboring in the car for a while.

we got to the parking lot at 4:45. the time in the car ended up feeling like forever. i got sick again and really just wanted to go to bed. finally at 5:15, our midwife (we'll call her S) let us in. she had already prepared our room. the lighting was dim, candles were lit, and the bath was running. it was instantly comforting. i stripped down and got into bed.

S did an internal exam to determine were i was in labor. as she was checking my cervix, which hurt a lot, i had a strong contraction... and i threw up all over the floor. bad news. S said that during that contraction it felt as though i had gone from 4 cm to 6 cm.

the next five hours were a blur of laboring in the tub, on the toilet and in the bed. i was sick some more. they kept trying to feed me saltines and give me water. a big mistake we made was not bringing a drink with electrolytes.

around 10 S wanted to check me again, and asked if i could sit on the birth stool. when she checked me, she discovered that there was a bubble of my bag next to arden's head. i had thought my water had broken when i was on the toilet at one point, but it wasn't all of it. S moved the bubble and the rest of my water spilled out. this is when we discovered our first problem. there was meconium in the water. this meant an instant transfer to a hospital because they don't have the equipment to handle the potential problems related to meconium.

this was very hard to accept. i had always wanted to do a natural birth outside of the hospital. i felt that the transfer to the hospital was the first step towards interventions i didn't want. it needed to be done though. i didn't want anything to happen to arden.

we were transferred to a hospital that had a good midwife staff so we would have a chance of continuing the birth the way we envisioned. i managed to nap a little on the drive because i was given a shot that eased contractions for a short time.

at the hospital, i remember getting into the room and instantly throwing my clothes off. :) i don't think they were prepared for that, but i wanted to be comfortable. i got an iv, since i had been throwing up the whole time at the birth center. they strapped on fetal and contraction monitors. i had another internal, and found out i was at 5 cm. i hadn't progressed at all. the midwife mentioned pitocin, but wanted us to have time to continue unassisted.

i labored till the early afternoon. though i had the iv and was feeling better, i was exhausted. i hadn't slept since 8 the previous morning. the midwife (we'll call her M) came back and again suggested pitocin. i conceded. i was so tired and hadn't progressed beyond 5 cm still. so i got an epidural and pitocin. then i slept and it felt soooo good. unfortunately, my appetite came back then too, and i couldn't have real food. i ate loads of jello and drank oodles of apple juice. :)

time gets a little fuzzy here for both anna and i. at some point i had another internal and they discovered that arden was face up. i tried doing different labor positions to move arden naturally, but to no avail. they brought in an OB to try to turn arden face down. i was told the doctor had the smallest hands. they didn't feel so small when she was up there. damn that hurt. i did allow them one more try later on in the evening. arden wouldn't cooperate. the doctor said that arden actively turned her head back into the face up position. she's never had a baby do that before. we have a stubborn girl on our hands:) by this time i had completely dilated.

finally, at 9 pm the midwife said it was time to try to labor arden down, since she was a bit high still. i did this for an hour. arden moved down some with this. the midwife wanted me to start pushing at 10 and coached me on how to do this since the epidural erased any urge to push.

i pushed for three hours. i ended up with incredible shoulder pain that was distracting me from pushing. i've neglected to mention what mom and anna were doing through all this. they were being a great team. encouraging me, feeding me. anna was awesome at coaching me on breathing during pushing. i ended up needing them to hold my legs while i pushed because the shoulder pain was too great. i labored on my back, on my sides, and sitting up. the sitting caused major tailbone pain.

i was told that i pushed very well and effectively. i pushed hard and strong for three hours, and arden wouldn't come. she would move down a bit and then back up. by this time, i was feeling my contractions again. i was beyond exhaustion. the contractions were often coming right on top of each other so i didn't get much of a break.

the midwife decided to mention what we feared the most: c-section. anna and i started bawling. even now i makes me get choked up. i could still continue to push and hope to get arden out, but that hope was very, very slim. i couldn't continue. it was 1 in the morning and i was physically and emotionally spent.

i went into surgery at 3:30 with anna at my side. the local anesthesia didn't numb my right side. i had to have general anesthesia. that meant anna had to leave the room. that was hard. but at 4:14 on wednesday, december 2nd, our little girl came out into the world. she was nice and healthy. the meconium had caused to problems. she was very sleepy though and wouldn't cry for the doctors no matter what they did:) again, our stubborn little girl.

i woke up to anna handing me a little bundle she called our daughter. i was so out of it, but so happy. she took to nursing wonderfully. and i couldn't stop staring at her.

we stayed in the hospital till friday. she was cleared, i was cleared. we've had some rough patches since being home: the night before my milk came in, the night my milk did come in. trying to figure out what she needs to calm down. trying to get a semi-adequate amount of sleep.

it's such a new world we have now. i could keep writing on this subject, but i should probably end this incredibly long post:) i do intend to keep this blog up, and i hope you'll all bear with me while i try to figure out time-management with a baby. i know we have a lot to share with all of you:)


  1. Thank you for sharing your story! I am sorry that the birth did not turn out the way you had imagined it could. Luckily, the interventions are there when you need them, and it sounds like you fought the long, hard fight. you should be proud of yourself! I can't wait to see more pictures of the little lady!!

  2. Wow Kat, sounds like a couple of crazy hard days you had. I'm sure it's all worth it. Arden is spectacularly beautiful!

  3. That picture at the end is worth every second of reading the story! So happy for you!!

  4. I'm glad you are home and healthy. You have a great attitude and I look forward to reading all about your new life. xoxo

  5. thanks for sharing your story. im sorry you didnt get the birth you envisioned. i hope you are proud of yourself for trying so hard - you are a rockstar! and i love the picture at the end...beautiful!

  6. What Kat doesn't mention is how incredibly strong she was...our mom was there the whole time and couldn't stop talking about how impressed she was with Kat. She said she'd never seen anyone push so hard, and try so hard to have a natural birth. I love you my strong sister and can't wait to see the fam again.

  7. Congrats ladies! Arden is quite beautiful. i am sorry your birth story didnt play out quiet the way you wanted it to but it ended great :]
    enjoy that angel

  8. Wow, thanks for sharing! I'm sorry that things didn't go quite as planned, but very happy for you all and how things ended up :-) Take care of yourselves! I hope to see you all the next time I'm in Seattle

  9. Such an amazing birth story! Happy to hear everyone is healthy!

    That beautifully strong baby sure has strong mothers!

    Congrats ladies!