Friday, February 15, 2013

Birth Story

Ezra's Birth Story
January 12, 2013

The evening before I went into labor, my husband and I went out to dinner and did some shopping, I was feeling an urge to get some last minute things purchased before the baby came, and insisted we go that night. I had no signs of labor, besides some light cramping like I had been having for days. Walking around Target, I saw a newborn baby in a car seat, and ached for my own. I was only a day over my due date, but it felt like forever. I had had two false preterm labor scares, one at 32 and one at 35 weeks. After all that, combined with high blood pressure and signs of preeclampsia starting at 38 weeks, I was antsy to not go too far over my due date. I had already been on bed rest for almost two weeks with the high blood pressure, and didn’t want to spend the next two there, still pregnant.

We were both tired, and went to bed early, around 9:30. I fell asleep fast, which was a blessing, and slept well for the next two hours. I woke up suddenly at around 11:30 with a strong, very noticeable contraction. Definitely felt different then I had had before. I felt like I needed to use the bathroom, so I rolled over to get out of bed. As I did so, I felt a “pop” and knew my water had broken. I rushed to the bathroom, and by the time I got there my underwear and pants were soaked. I cleaned up and went back to the bedroom to wake up my husband and ask him if we were supposed to call the midwife right when my water broke, or try and time contractions first. He said he thought we were supposed to call right away, so I left the room again to call her, with the intention of letting him rest. I called Sue and let her know, and she said she would pack up and head over, and to time some contractions and call her back.

I made one more call and texted my mom, letting her know I was in labor. She asked if I wanted her to come, which I wasn’t sure of right away. We hadn’t planned on having anyone else at the birth expect Jacob, Sue, and I. I started trying to time contractions, and got around eight minutes between them.  But I was confused… they didn’t seem to let off all the way for eight minutes, and seemed to be coming in shorter waves then that. They couldn’t be any closer, I told myself. I just started labor! I started timing them more closely, just from peak to peak. Two minutes. No way. That was way too fast. I called Sue back and told her, and she suggested I have my mother in law come over, just in case (midwife was an hour and a half away, my MIL ten minutes). I woke up Jacob again, and asked him to change the sheets on the bed, and start getting things ready.  At this point the contractions were definitely noticeable, and getting more intense with each one, but I was still walking and talking through them just fine.
My MIL got there about 12:30, and by then I was having to consciously breathe through the contractions, and make myself relax. I was feeling slightly panicked, and kept saying “This is so fast… This is happening too fast!”.  The contractions were lower, and wrapped around to my back, but the back pain wasn’t super intense, just unpleasant.

I was quickly finding out the only position I wanted to be in was sitting cross legged on the bed, with Jacob behind me, occasionally putting pressure on my lower back. I rocked back and forth slightly, still quiet.
Sue arrived (I think) about 2:00 am, and by now I was really feeling the contractions. She and my MIL pretty much left us alone in our room, and I labored with my husband in the dim, warm room.  I started to feel a lot of pressure, and asked Sue to check me around 3 or so. I was at an 8! However, she found a cervical lip she thought was preventing me from dilating, and said I would be a 10 if not for that. She tried holding it out of the way and had me push, but I didn’t feel right, and it felt awful pushing against the lip, so I knew I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t feeling the overwhelming urge to push I was waiting for, either, so Sue suggested we just wait, and that I get up and try to use the bathroom. I was NOT a fan of this idea. It felt horrible to move, and I was feeling very nauseated. I hobbled to the bathroom and had a contraction on the toilet, which was very painful and intensified my nausea. I asked for a bucket just in time and threw up while having another contraction and still sitting on the toilet (not fun…). Jacob helped me back to the bedroom, and I gratefully got back to my sitting and rocking. Sue checked me again, hoping the vomiting had helped the lip, but it hadn’t.

At that point I was getting tired and the contractions were much more painful. I was having a hard time relaxing and started getting emotional and saying I didn’t want to do it anymore. The contractions were still two minutes apart or less, and I nodded off between each, feeling very sleepy and shaky. I was vocalizing a lot more, and had gone from relaxed breathing and gentle groans to louder groans. It was harder to keep my voice low, but I didn’t really feel like screaming or anything. Jacob did a great job of quietly supporting and reassuring me, and keeping me hydrated. I didn’t want to eat anything, and with it looking like a shorter labor, thankfully no one forced me. I still felt lightly nauseated, but the throwing up helped a lot with that.
Sue was in and out to check on me, and occasionally stayed in the room for a bit, but I preferred just  Jacob and I, because I felt more relaxed and able to be vocal around him. Sue would occasionally check me, but the lip was still there and she told me I couldn’t push and risk inflaming the cervix. I hated hearing that, I just wanted it to be over! She suggested a couple times I change positions, but anything besides sitting cross legged on the bed was so much more intense and painful I refused, and she didn’t push it.
Around 4:30 my parents arrived, which I vaguely heard but didn’t really acknowledge. I was definitely in labor land now, and didn’t really care what was going on around me.  They and Shari stayed out in the living room, and I didn’t see any of them again until after he was born.

I think about 5:30 or so (really started running together at this point), Sue came in and said the lip was still there, and she thought that my position on the bed was really stopping it, and had me move to end of the bed and sit on my knees, leaning my elbows on a chest in front of me. This was a lot more intense, and I felt slightly pushy and very emotional. I started begging Jacob to help me and make it stop, and was definitely not handling the contractions as well as I had hoped I would. Sue checked me again, and was able to push the lip back so I could start pushing.  I still only felt slightly pushy, and was confused as to why to was so hard to push, and why I felt so ineffective doing it. Wasn’t there supposed to be some huge urge? Wasn’t it supposed to feel good to work with the contractions? I was loudly vocalizing at this point, alternating between loud groans and crying and saying I couldn’t do it, it wasn’t working. Jacob and Sue encouraged me, telling me I could, and was doing it. My legs were numb from sitting on them, and I remember being glad for that, it was a distraction from the pain and intensity.

I didn’t want anyone touching me now, and shed all my clothes except my bra. I remember Sue saying it was getting serious now, and Jacob commenting about how he remembered that from the Bradley class.
At one point, Sue said she could see his head, and he had lots of dark hair. I had so desperately wanted him to have lots of dark hair, and for someone to tell me that when I was pushing. I felt slightly encouraged, knowing I was at least making some progress, despite feeling like my efforts were totally futile. Sue asked me if I wanted to touch his head, and I reached down. I could feel his hair and his head, which felt a lot more squishy then I was anticipating. It helped so much to feel his head, and I stopped saying I couldn’t do it and just pushed.

Sue tried for his heartbeat again, and couldn’t find it. We weren’t sure if something was actually wrong or not, but Sue said something along the lines of getting the baby out now, and that combined with fear for my child made me push in earnest, and I finally felt an overwhelming urge to push, and knew my body was getting him out with or without me. On that giant push, he slipped out of me all in a gush, and Sue laid him on the floor behind me. I was kind of in shock, and when I looked behind me I saw him laying there quietly, not crying, but breathing and he had good color. His head, however, was very cone shaped and he had a large bruise/hematoma on his head from how he was born. Sue told me later he had been posterior, which she didn’t catch, had crowned “military style”, where his whole head crowned at once, instead of just the tip in a normal delivery. I looked down at him, thinking about how I just pushed that out of me. And it was over. Thank God it was over… I didn’t sit down right away until she urged me to. I sat down and leaned back against the chest and she put him on my belly. I looked down at him and knew he was a boy without checking. He just had a little man face. J He still wasn’t crying, but his eyes were wide open and he was just staring up at me. I looked up at Jacob and said “I did it, I really did it!”. I didn’t have a huge rush of mommy hormones and fall instantly in love, but I did feel very protective of him immediately. I held him against me, and he promptly pooped meconium all over myself and him. I think I shed my bra at this point, as well.

The cord stopped pulsing within a few minutes, and Jacob cut it and Sue clamped it. I stayed where I was until the placenta was birthed about fifteen minutes after he was born. Right after the placenta came, I started to bleed a lot heavier then Sue would have liked, and she had me hand Jacob the baby and told me to lie down. She tried to feel my uterus, but said it was so loose and boggy she couldn’t feel it at all. She had to put her hand and arm up inside me to the elbow and press down from the outside and do bimanual compressions. I was feeling shaky, which had started right when he was born, but otherwise felt fine, but I could feel blood pumping out of me and soaking the pads underneath me. Shari and I think my mom came in at this point, and Sue told Jacob to call an ambulance. First responders were there within ten minutes, and a woman came into the room and took my blood pressure and asked how I was doing. I told her fine. I had been in shock before, and I felt fine besides having someones arm inside of me, and being cold because the door was open and I was lying on the floor. I wasn’t having any other symptoms of shock, and the bleeding was slowing, so when the ambulance got there we decided not to go. They monitored my oxygen and HR/BP, and said I seemed okay, so I signed a consent refusing their care, and they left. I had lost a significant amount of blood, a liter or more, as well as a large amount of stringy clots.
I was too weak to move, so I stayed on the floor and they gave me Ezra back so I could try and nurse and keep the uterus clamping down. He latched right away, and sucked strongly. Sue and my mom cleaned up the blood and pads, and my dad came in to see the baby finally. I think this was around 9 am. Ezra had been born at 6:49.

They took him again and weighed and measured him, and took his foot prints. 8 lbs, 4 oz and 20 inches long (actually 20 ¾ the first day because his head was so coned, we re-measured him again in a couple days and he was 20). My parents dressed him while I ate some yogurt and drank some celery pineapple juice. I was getting sore from laying on the floor at that point, so they readied the bed for me and helped me to it. I was finally able to get a shirt on again (I had been covered in blankets on the floor), and they helped me to bed. I wasn’t feeling very sore, but my whole body was very stiff and seized up, and I felt pretty weak and faint.
Sue left about 10 or 10:30, and everyone else left the room and we rested as a family. Jacob was pretty tired and slept a little, but I was so excited I couldn’t, and started texting and making phone calls to immediate family and close friends.

The first day I was just stiff and very weak, the second day I was very sore all over, and very grateful for the perineum bottle of warm water and essential oils, and frozen pads for my downstairs area. :P I had a minor tear, which thankfully didn’t need stitches.
My recovery was much more difficult then I had anticipated. Because of the lost of blood I was very weak, and nursing was difficult because of an inverted nipple on one side. I couldn’t get him to latch on that side for the first week at least, and had to pump it instead. Nursing was horribly painful, and the worst part of my recovery by far. I spent many nights in tears because of the pain and frustration trying to get him to latch properly. Hindsight I probably should have had a lactation consultant to help, but ah well.
I developed a uterine infection at one week PP, which was accompanied by high fever and extreme pain, worse then labor. The worst pain from that was the Sunday after he was born, then I was better Monday, but started developing a breast infection, and by Tuesday I was very sick. Jacob had gone back to work, but I had to have him come home from work since I couldn’t get out of bed. He insisted on taking me to our chiropractor, despite my reluctance, which is where we discovered the uterine staph infection and was put on high doses of Vitamin C for that.

At 2.5 weeks PP, I started having episodes of extreme blood loss, cups at the time. It happened three days in a row. I would have a huge dumping of blood, then I would stop bleeding. I also passed some large clots. The extra blood loss was leaving me exhausted, and we and everyone we called was stumped as to why this was happening. I called Sue and she suggested that I take goldenseal to help the uterus clean out, which did help me pass some large clots and we thought it was done with. That weekend we had my baby shower, and I was pretty worn out by the time we got home. Jacob took the baby at 10:30 pm, and I went to sleep. About 1:30 he brought Ezra in to get changed, and I felt a pop and a gush, and knew I was bleeding again. It was pouring down my legs, and I left a trail of blood to the bathroom. This was the most I had lost by far, and I started to feel very bad. I was light headed and nauseous and felt considerably worse then I had with the previous episodes. We changed our minds quickly from urgent care at 9 am to the going to the emergency room, and headed out. We arrived at the ER about 5 am, and over the course of the day they did an ultrasound and found a large chunk of retained placenta, probably a placental lobe. They removed it via D & C, and in surgery I lost more blood, bringing me down to the line of needing a blood transfusion. The surgery took longer than they hoped, as it was very attached and still getting a blood supply.
I was extremely weak, and had a hard time waking up from the anesthesia. Jacob was able to stay with me in my recovery, and I was finally released at around 3:30. Three weeks to the day he was born. I am slowly recovering from all of this, but we are thankful we found the reason for the bleeding and probably uterine infection, and praying this will be the end of it. J

My labor was harder at times, but a lot easier over all then I expected. I would say I had a good birth, and don’t feel traumatized by the experience. Motherhood came pretty easily to me, and I bonded very strongly with Ezra within the first couple hours. I have so much more patience with him then I ever have had with other children, and am amazed at how much I miss him when he is away from me for even a couple of hours. I won’t say it hasn’t been difficult and frustrating, and that I haven’t shed many tears of frustration, anxiety, and pain, but was it worth it? Every second of it. Am I ready to do it again? NO. :P But I am loving my baby boy, and thank God he healthy and strong!
Dressed for the first time by Grandma. :)

Being weighed. 8 lb 4 oz.

Getting his footprints done. :)


  1. What an amazing birth story, Catherine! You are a strong woman and a wonderful mother. I'm sorry you experienced an immediate and delayed postpartum hemmorhage but glad you received the much needed care to resolve the retained placenta. May you and your beautiful family stay healthy! God bless you guys!

  2. Wow!! I am so glad you are starting to recover!! Both of my girls were born by c-section and at the hospital, but I experienced a LOT of bleeding with the first one and an awful urinary tract infection and was in so much pain from pumping since Lilly was far too premature to nurse. So I feel you in some aspects. Hope you heal well! For me, the second birth was SO much easier and better. Hopefully the same will go for you! :)