Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Whole Story

I had a baby and here's the story. It's going to be way more than you wanted to know...

As you probably noticed from previous posts, I was not going into labor naturally. I went in for an appointment Monday morning and he told me I should be induced, soon. I was 9 days overdue. I still wanted to give myself a little more time to go into labor naturally, so I asked to be induced the next day. Unfortunately, there were already 5 inductions scheduled, but Monday was pretty quiet so I was scheduled for 4 pm that day.

I was a little disappointed about it because I had never been induced and just didn't know what to expect. I had always heard that inductions made your labor much harder. I know I should have been more excited about having the baby that day, but the whole process was sort of a let down. I didn't even want to tell anyone I was going in because of it.
Family of 5--right before we went in

Let me back up. Six years ago, I found out Erin was breech at 37 weeks, which was too late to try to turn her or do anything else. I ended up having to have a C-section. I am grateful for modern medical intervention because the position she was in (double footling breech) could have endangered both of our lives had I tried to have her normally. Of course everything turned out fine, but there were some things that I hoped never to repeat. Like having major abdominal surgery (without a good reason anyway) or sticking a needle into my spine. I didn't take it as a good sign when half my body started tingling and the anesthetist said, "Huh, I guess that spot didn't work. Let's try again." I would say this is one of my main motivations for never wanting an epidural. (See? I'm not just crazy, I have a reason.)

Because of the C-section and because we live in Florida, it was very difficult to find a doctor who would deliver Alex. I eventually found a maternity center that would do a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and the next two births were amazing! At the maternity center I was encouraged to walk around, eat, drink and eventually have them naturally in a jacuzzi. Everyone was on my side, reinforcing the idea that I could have a great natural childbirth experience. And I did. I hoped to have all my kids there.

Then last year Florida passed a law stating that no maternity center can perform a VBAC anymore. Not only that but about 50% of Florida hospitals will not even allow a doctor to do a VBAC at all and it is harder than ever to find a doctor who will do one at the hospitals that do allow it. Yes, even though I have already had two successful VBAC's--dumb! There are way fewer risks involved in a VBAC than a C-section, but thanks to politics knowing what is best, I was trapped. Can you tell I have strong feelings about this topic?

Anyway, I was referred to a crazy Russian doctor who is evidently a dying breed; he delivers breech babies, twins, does VBAC's, etc. Everyone at the hospital had great things to say about him and they told me he has the lowest C-section rate in the whole place. The office was really weird though. Half the time the place smelled like smoke because the staff forgot to shut the door on their smoke breaks, the majority of patients were a class of their own and I found myself disagreeing with the doctor on more than one occasion. On Monday one of the staff went on and on about how crazy I was for not wanting an epidural. Hello, personal choice... butt out! The whole thing was a frustrating experience, especially since I really had no other choice if I wanted a VBAC. And now I was being forced to be induced.

Of course I didn't want anything to happen to the baby, and I wanted to have him, so I showed up at about 4:30 on Monday. I'll be honest though, I was in a bad mood. I'd never even been hooked up to an IV before and now I was literally being confined to an uncomfortable hospital bed. I had two monitors, a blood pressure cuff, an IV and Pitocin hooked up when I asked if I could go to the bathroom. "Oh no. You can't get out of bed." Huh? I had to use a bedpan! After all the times I jokingly begged Jared for a bedpan when I was too lazy to get out of bed... well, turns out, it's not all that it's cracked up to be. Ridiculous.

Confined to the bed, all hooked up and in a bad mood

We also handed a copy of our birth plan to the nurses and they basically told us how we couldn't do half of the things we wanted because this is a hospital. I'm not talking about anything crazy here either. One of our main requests was that the baby remain with us after his birth. "Nope, the nursery is a different department than labor and delivery and the baby must go up there for two hours." But why? What has to be done up there that can't be done here? AGH! So annoying! It's really hard to tell us that our baby will die if he's not put in a warmer when the last two babies didn't die and they never had a warmer. Okay, so we were the difficult parents, but I was twisted up in wires and being forced to pee in a pan--I had to fight for something.

At this point I was just praying for a good nurse when the shift changed. When she walked in I knew my prayers had been answered. She told us she looked over our birth plan and would do everything she could to accommodate us. She even called the nursery to see if they could come down to the room so we wouldn't have to be separated, and because it was a slow night, that is what ended up happening. She showed so much empathy and supported all our decisions--finally! She even let me get out of bed so I could sit down in a chair--way more comfortable. I will be ever grateful that she was my nurse during delivery and not the first one.

So they started Pitocin at 5:30 and I began having contractions every two minutes, but they were not that hard. I could definitely talk through them, do logic puzzles, and watch 4 episodes on HGTV without distraction (definitely a high point). I didn't even think the contractions were doing anything because I barely felt them. The good nurse got there at about 7:30. The first time they checked me was at 8:42 and I was only at 5 cm (again, why the other nurses never checked me is beyond me). At 8:45 I started to shake and I knew transition was starting. She checked me again at 8:53 and I was at 8 cm. This is when she had someone call the doctor, who was at home. The doctor arrived at 9:10, broke my water at 9:12 and shortly thereafter I felt one uncontrollable urge to push. I don't think anyone was quite ready for that one because they were still setting up the bed or something and the doctor was still changing his gloves. But believe me, I couldn't help it... and the baby just came out in that one push, at 9:17 pm. So basically everything was easy until the last 30 minutes, which were just as bad as I remembered with the last two. That part would not have been any different whether I had been induced or not. And I always figure that I can handle 30 minutes of pain in order to avoid the whole needle in the spine ordeal.

My first time holding Connor right after he was born

After that I stayed in the hospital for two nights. Even though we were the difficult parents in the labor and delivery stage, at least we were the easy parents up in postpartum. They just figured it was our fourth baby and pretty much left us alone, as much as possible anyway. I still couldn't believe how many people kept popping in: the regular nurse, the baby nurse, blood pressure lady, baby photography lady, food service guy, tray pick-up guy, housekeeping lady, birth certificate lady, the pediatrician, the hearing specialist, lactation lady and (my favorite) word search lady--did she really have to wake me up for that one? At any rate, we survived a hospital birth and ended up having a really good experience in the end. And after all that I went through with this doctor, I honestly have to say that he is a good doctor who allowed me to have a baby how I wanted (even if he was only there for 20 minutes--total). I guess the most important thing is that we have sweet little baby Connor who finally made his way into this world. What a blessing!


Mrs. Potts said...

What a cute little guy! I can't wait to meet him. I'm glad that you were able to have a mostly good experience despite the imperfections and the dumb hospital rules. I am curious about why Florida passed that law - it would be interesting to hear what facts they back it up with, or maybe they are just politicians who are being funded by the big hospital corporations.

Marinda said...

isn't it interesting that the nurses can make or break your experience in a hospital? i am so glad that i haven't had to deal with the breach baby situation... i'm not sure what i would do. as for having a c-section, i don't know why anybody would want one (i.e. celebrities, etc) if they didn't have to! glad everything went okay and i am happy for you!

Sarah said...

He is adorable!! That's so annoying that they didn't do what you want at first, but looks like he is worth it!! Love you guys!

Alan Daniels Family said...

He's beautiful! Congrats again!

Kristine said...

Glad to hear everything went good. Congrats again.

HeatherWasHere said...

I love birth stories. Every detail. I am so glad things went as well as they did for you. My favorite part was the "good nurse" of course. They really can make a good situation lousy, or a lousy one good. I would love love love to be a L&D nurse one day.

Glad you made it, glad he's here, glad you can not be pregnant. Hope you get a nap today!!!

Rachel and Family said...

Hey Laura,
I hope you don't mind me spying on your blog.:) I can relate to your experiences--I also preferred natural labors and had a VBAC. I'm so glad that you found a doctor that could give you what you wanted. I can't believe they are becoming so strict about VBACs--Is that just Florida or everywhere? I didn't have too much trouble in Iowa in 2006--I delivered with Nurse Midwives at a university hospital, but I haven't heard of anyone having one recently.

Jason D said...

Finally got a chance to read your story. Good nurse ROCK! Bad nurses should be put in the Iron Horse. The story is way cool and thanks for sharing!