August 2, 2010

Birth Story: Christine's Birth of Acadia

Early on in my pregnancy I knew I wanted to have a natural birth. Sure, some friends and family thought I was crazy, but it was important for me to at least try. I took a Natural Childbirth class and had a birth plan prepared and thought that I was ready to go. I figured if I really needed some relief, medication was always there as a backup.

A week before my due date my husband and I went out with some friends. One asked me, “so do you think it’s going to happen soon?” My response, “I have plenty of time. I don’t feel any different.” We went home and I was in bed at about 11:00pm. At exactly 12:00am I woke up and said to my husband, “Either my water just broke or I wet the bed.” After we turned on the lights I knew my water had broke. I hobbled to the bathroom, leaking everywhere, and ended up just sitting on the toilet for the next 30 minutes. I heard that if your water breaks, it usually doesn’t gush and in general it doesn’t happen to most women. Well mine gushed and I couldn’t really move anywhere without a trail of fluid behind me. So I sat and relaxed thinking about what was about to happen.

After about 30 minutes my contractions started and they never let up. From this point on I had a contraction about every five minutes. This I expected because the same thing happened with my mom. We called the doctor’s office (yes, even though I wanted a natural birth, I still planned on giving birth at the hospital and they said to get some rest and if nothing progresses come in by 6:00 a.m. With my contractions already close together, I wasn’t able to sleep. I tried to rest in bed or on the couch, but it was tough. Slowly my contractions got stronger and at around 4 a.m. we left for the hospital.

Now, in the past, I’ve had numerous “female issues.” I’ve had more abnormal pap smears than I can count. I’ve also had a few biopsies of my cervix as well as a LEEP procedure. I always asked if this would affect my having children and was always told no. Soon I was going to find out what this did affect.

When I got to the hospital I went straight to triage and was seen by the midwife on staff. I immediately felt comfortable because I saw her at an earlier date when I was having early contractions. By this time my contractions were really strong, but still manageable. The midwife examined me to see how far along I was. After a very thorough exam, she still couldn’t tell (due to the scar tissue that had built up from my procedures) and called another midwife in to check. To this day I think her arm, up to the elbow was inside of me. I’ve never felt pain like this. They said they thought I was 4cm dilated, but still couldn’t be sure so they would have me rest and then do another exam. I broke down and cried. By this time I had been in labor for over eight hours and because of the extent of the exam, my contractions were now coming faster and stronger. I knew I couldn’t have another exam without a little help.

I was moved to a birthing room and was soon met with the anesthesiologist. I got an epidural and almost immediately felt better. I was able to sleep on and off but now I wasn’t able to walk around. I was okay with that since I had another exam and I was progressing nicely. Around 6:00 p.m. my nurse came in to check me and I was told it was time to push. This I was not expecting. I thought I would feel pressure, or something to indicate it was time. I didn’t get any of that so I wasn’t really sure what to do. I pushed and I pushed, and I pushed some more. Sometime in the middle of my marathon pushing, my epidural wore off. Now I felt the need to push and push hard. Unfortunately, my baby wasn’t budging. After three hours of pushing I broke down (again). I needed help. My options were an assisted forceps delivery, or a C-section. Both had risks, but, as I found out later, my baby was now in distress and had to get out. I opted for the forceps but was still taken to the OR in case that didn’t work. Luckily I was given a little more medication to numb me.

At 9:42 pm Acadia Ann Vogel was born. She was a little bruised from the forceps, but otherwise happy and healthy. I cried when I heard cry knowing that it was over and I had a healthy baby girl.

While things did not go as planned with Acadia, I’m happy that everything turned out okay. I have a healthy baby and would have done anything to ensure that. Maybe things will go more smoothly with the next one, maybe not. The most important thing for me is that I did what I had to do for me and my baby.

* Editors Note: Click to find out more about the LEEP procedure that Christine had previously had referred to.

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