Monday, July 27, 2009

Not meshing (Gracie part 2)

Make sure you've read part 1 first.

So we headed to the hospital around 7 or 7:30, to be joined by my mom later, who I had asked to help coach me. My mom delivered four children (between 7 and 9lbs) without any medication or intervention--and three of them were home births attended by a doctor or midwife. I knew she would be a huge help.

Because my water had broken, the contractions were getting painful. Of course, as all first-laboring moms do, I thought I must be progressing quickly. I think I was just dilated to 2cm when they first checked me. I began to doubt my ability to cope without an epidural, especially since there was little chance of me actually walking or being on my feet because they required constant monitoring due to my previous c-section.

I did end up getting that epidural. I just felt like it was not the time for heroics. Had I been able to labor out of the bed, I may have been able to cope without it. The few contractions I experienced while changing or using the bathroom were much more bearable, then the ones experienced tied to the bed.

And yes, that epidural was delightful. Except for the fact that it didn't take completely on my left side. Most of the pain was alleviated however, so I was still thankful. Later in the night as my labor intensified, so did the pain on my left side. It meant that there was no napping in between contractions, just active resting.

Around 5am I started feeling a lot of pressure, and sure enough I was completely dilated. It was a small victory for me, to have labored in the bed, with an epidural and dilated without any pitocin or other form of induction. I was proud of my body and what it accomplished.

Shortly after I was checked, the pushing began. And I pushed and pushed. It helped some that my left side wasn't completely numb because I knew when the contractions were coming and could feel the effects of pushing. At some point a mirror was brought in and it was amazing to see the small portion of my baby's head trying to make it's way out.

After about an hour, not much progress had been made. The doctor suggested I rest a bit and labor down. So I did. And then I pushed again. With all my heart. But still, not much progress was made. At one point I even asked Bean to get firm with me while counting as I pushed so that I would get fired up and have more energy to push.

Another hour of pushing passed, and the doctor came in again. Although the baby had descended much more, she wasn't much closer to actually coming out. The dr. did a rather thorough (read, up to his elbow practically) exam of my pelvis and the positioning of the baby. After his exam, he felt that everything just wasn't meshing well. I was pretty delirious by then after being awake almost 24hrs and laboring and pushing, so my memory is pretty fuzzy. I doubt he said things weren't meshing, but that's what I took from his explaination of my pelvic structure, baby's head and positioning.

The doctor decided to try the vacuum. The delivery team descended upon the room and it felt like we were about to meet our (gender yet unknown) second baby. After a few tries with the vacuum, the baby still wasn't coming. At that point, the dr. said that he felt we were at the point of another c-section. After pushing so long with no significant progress, and with my history, he wasn't comfortable with me continuing to try for a vaginal delivery.

Although I was emotional about it, I trusted him. Through my whole pregnancy I prayed for God's wisdom. I prayed for a good doctor. So when he gave his recommendation, I agreed. It was time to move to the operating room.

As they were rolling me out of the delivery room, towards the operating room, I remember feeling intense pressure and pain, especially on that left side, where the epidural didn't fully take. I thought, maybe the baby is closer than they think. What if the baby just starts to come out as they move my bed, or while they prepare me for surgery?

Bean was whisked off to change into his surgical scrubs and would be escorted into the OR right before my c-section would begin, as is the usual procedure at our hospital.

**well, I intended this to be a two-part series, but I think it's going to be three. Recounting all the details seems to be cathartic, so I'll just roll with it. More tomorrow.

And she lived (gracie part 3)


  1. Oh man... that sounds rough!! I felt your pain while reading that. My epidural had to be administered THREE separate times because it wasn't going "into the right areas" either (until the last time). I'm tired just reading about all you had to go through! Can't wait to read the rest...

  2. Can't wait to hear (read) part three! I totally understand the "delirious" comment, with our first I had 41 hrs. (2 nights) with no sleep and when they asked if I wanted to see the head with the mirror I shook my head slightly (no energy left) knowing that I needed every last ounce of energy to get him OUT! :)


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