Sunday, February 28, 2010

Moe's Birth Story

On Wednesday, I had an appointment with Dr. S., and he determined that my blood pressure was higher than normal. Since I'd just nicked the side mirror on the way to the appointment, it was possible that was the cause. He asked me to come back the next day to recheck. So on Thursday at about 11:00, I was checked again, and the blood pressure was still too high. He said I would need to be induced within the next 48 hours. Staggered, I asked for a second opinion. Dr. H. was able to see me about 45 minutes later, and he explained everything to me really well and said that in medical terms, this was pretty much a no-brainer. Induction, and soon. 

Bundy was pretty floored, as he prides himself on being prepared for everything, and we were feeling distinctly unprepared for this. He left work and we met back at home at about 3:00 pm. At about 4:00 pm, the phone rang - it was the Civic, offering us a spot that evening. We asked for 15 minutes to think about it, and decided that whether this happened now or later, it was going to happen, so we'd better just do it. We called back, and they told us to come in for about 6:00 pm. We both showered and ate, and showed up at the Civic with our bags. 

And a good thing, too. Because when you're induced for pre-eclampsia, they want you to stay there the whole time. Our birth room was fantastic - so nice and large, and with a lovely and inviting tub. They hooked up the fetal heart rate monitor to me almost right away, and at about 8:00 pm, they administered prostaglandin gel to start the induction. I was able to sleep until about 2:00 am, when they gave me a second dose. Not a whole lot had happened in the meantime - my cervix had started to prepare itself, I'd had some cramping, but nothing major. Bundy remembers waking up around 2:00 am and seeing three people around me that he'd never seen before, and they were performing a rather painful and traumatic exam. He jumped up and got by my side pretty darn quick. They broke my water, which meant the clock was now ticking - if I didn't give birth within a certain amount of time, they'd do a c-section. No one said that, but we knew. 

After that second dose of prostaglandin, actual contractions began, but quite slowly. We could see them on the contraction monitor. At 8:00 am, they started oxytocin by IV at 7 ml an hour. They got me on the wireless fetal heart rate and contraction monitor, and around 11:00 am, I got into the bathtub to labour there. I stayed there for two hours, and the contractions were getting stronger and stronger. Bundy and the nurse, Julie, put pressure on my back - I was having back labour. Julie was concerned that this might mean the baby was facing the wrong way (he was head down, but facing the wrong way). At about 1:30 pm, the contractions were strong and steady enough that Bundy called his mom to come in to be with us. 

We were trying a variety of poses. I was using the yoga ball, I leaned on the bed, I threw myself into Bundy's arms in something called "slow dance pose". But by 3:00 pm, it was time for an epidural. I was getting worn out, and the contractions weren't progressing. I was 4 cm. 

The epidural was no picnic. Bundy stayed in the room, and faced me, while the anesthesiologist prepped my back. I was sitting upright on the bed. He injected a freezing, and then began administering the epidural right away. Well, I wasn't frozen, so I screamed. He told me I shouldn't be feeling anything, but I begged to differ. Bundy just about jumped over the bed, and only barely resisted saying, "She screams again and I jam that needle into your spine." The second attempt went a bit better, and as the epidural took effect, I was able to sleep. I slept until about 5:00 pm, and that couple of hours of rest made quite a difference.

At 5:00 pm, they checked me again and I was 4.5 cm. 

We watched Firefly on the laptop, we listened to mellow music. Bundy joked that as he was wearing his Yoda t-shirt, and I was drinking raspberry leaf tea out of my Star Trek Experience mug, and we were watching Firefly, Moe was likely resisting coming out because his parents were just so darn geeky. 

Throughout that afternoon, from about 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, we tried different positions to get the baby moving and facing the right way. I spent a great deal of time in Child's Pose, which I knew from yoga, but with my bum right in the air. At 7:00 pm, our awesome nurse Julie left, and Beth replaced her. Beth was more aloof, but knew her stuff. 

At 8:00 pm, Dr. A. came in and checked me again. She checked me in a slightly different position, and declared that I was now actually 9 cm. "SHUT UP!" I exclaimed. (Why is it that I seem to say that at all these important moments, like when I was told I was pregnant?) 

I rested up until about 11:00 pm; there was little progress and the contractions, while strong, weren't terribly steady. As the clock was ticking down from when they broke my water, they said it was time to start pushing. 

It took me a few tries to get the hang of it - three years of yoga training has taught me never to hold my breath when exerting myself, which is what you have to do to push. But I figured it out, and was able to use the squat bar. (I marveled at how the epidural removed the pain, but left the pressure, and I was still able to move my legs.) I pushed until 12:45 am, when Dr. A. came back in and reached inside me and managed to turn him around. She told me I could push for another 15 minutes, but then we'd have to change tactics. I knew what that meant - an emergency c-section. My contractions were still really sporadic, but I kept pushing with each one, as hard as I could. 

She came back in at 1:00 am, ready to tell me that it was time for the c-section, but saw the progress I was making. She said we'd use the vacuum, and I had three contractions to show her I could do this before we'd move ahead with the section. They attached the vacuum (which wasn't at all what I thought it was) at 1:03 am, and at 1:08 am (three contractions later), our son was born. We had escaped the c-section by minutes. 

He didn't cry, so they took him to give him some oxygen, but he was fine, he just wasn't crying. That was ok, I was crying enough for everyone. My whole body was wracked with sobs - six years of emotion rushed through me and I sobbed my heart out. The doctor kept telling me he was fine, and I said, "You don't understand! It's been six years!" Bundy cried a little, too, and held me and told me what an amazing job I had done. As soon as I got to hold Moe, I fell madly in love with him. He was perfect, he was beautiful, and he was ours. I barely noticed them sewing me up as I just stared at him and held him close to me. 

They weighed him and he was 6lbs, 3oz. 

It was only afterwards that Bundy told me that at the very moment he was born, the song "Thank You" by Natalie Merchant was playing. That's our song, and the fact that it played as our son came into the world was just magical.