December 12, 2010

Sue,

We wanted to say thanks and tell you how our baby boy came into the world! I attached a couple photos too.

On Friday Dec 10, my doc felt that induction should be even sooner than we had talked about due to the insulin resistance, polyhydramnios, and edema I was experiencing and bumped the date up with the hospital. We went in the very next day on Saturday morning, at 36 weeks pregnant, and at 0 dilated, and not at all effaced despite all efforts to prepare my body with membranes stripped, numerous visits for acupuncture, chiropractor, and homeopathy, walking and so on in the last month.

So we began Cervidil at 11am and began waiting. I was having some cramping and contractions by supper but nothing major. A fingertip dilated, not even 1cm. It was a long night... Contractions and back pain to which I could not find relief, particularly could not lay down so did a lot of wandering the halls. I was moved rooms twice to different wards at Foothills. I was continually offered pain relief especially once Jimmy was out the door to go home for rest (I knew I needed him in top form later), which I continually refused.

I became exhausted, literally falling asleep sitting or standing and snapping awake. My blood sugar became dangerously low, dipping to a point that apparently would normally leave you incoherent. They wanted to start an IV... I asked for the IV lock to be placed in my arm to be prepared for an emergency but not a drip of fluid for now and to take food and juice, so that I could still feel mobile and voiced my concern that pain medication would be given through the IV. I also asked that the fetal monitor be taken off after an hour. My plan backfired somewhat as it took 7 tries to put in the IV, blowing 6 veins on the way (my arms looked like I had been battling a lobster) and later during labor having this one go and dripping saline into my arm tissue. I also started vomiting excessively which they thought was worrisome but I thought sounded like labor starting! My blood sugar came up enough that they allowed the monitor off and I agreed to being woke for a blood sugar check every 20 minutes. Not exactly restful, but I felt good that I had gotten what I confidently asked for.

By the time Jimmy arrived I was having contractions about 8 minutes apart. It seemed no one would believe me I was having contractions and the nurses and doctor insisted it was just minor cramping. 24 hrs was up, the doc checked and softening with only 1 cm dilated. It definitely crossed my mind that I didn't think I could do it as I was so exhausted already.

They inserted a second Cervidil and told us to expect another 24 hrs. Less than a minute later, my water broke in a gush and the doctor determined I was 2cm and in active labor! We were moved to the delivery suite.

We were so fortunate to have Nurse Leah in the delivery room. She shortly asked my plan for pain management and I said I didn't want anything, we wanted a natural childbirth. She looked me in the eye and said clearly, "I will support you in that." It was the confidence boost I needed and Jimmy and I instantly felt comfortable with her. We worked through a lot of things you taught us - positions, massage, moving, focus, breathing. Thanks so much for the tools!

Jimmy was an absolute champ. He insisted on water after contraction and totally supported me through every thing. I couldn't have done it without him. The nurses commented on what a great team we made. It has brought us so much closer together and really changed our relationship and how we communicate in such a positive way. It has carried over into our first weeks as parents.

I am not totally aware of what happened in the next few hours. I was just trying to breathe through contractions and help that baby out. Thinking about him giving his first little yell got me through a lot. I also had spent a lot of time reflecting in the week leading up to Camden's birth about how labor would compare to difficult athletic situations I have faced. Jimmy reminded me a few times to focus like it was a final game or to handle the pain like I had on the mountain. This gave me more inner strength. Apparently for quite some time I was falling asleep through labor, opening my eyes just at the peak of a contraction and then returning to what appeared to be sleep.

After 2 hours I had gone from 2 to 7 cm dilated! We were pleased! The next 2 cm or so took almost 2 hours. At 9cm it appeared to the nurse that the baby was coming past the lip. So pushing began in earnest and they were instantly impressed. However 15 min in or so they told me I had to stop pushing as baby was not coming past the lip and I needed to dilate further. (Baby was born with a large bruise on his head from this.) Not pushing was not easy! Was told to expect an hour more before pushing could resume.
The nurse needed a break so she was temporarily replaced. Within minutes the new nurse thought I should consider pain relief medication such as laughing gas. I turned her down several times and was not happy as she would suggest I change positions and if I didnt want to yet or was mid-contraction she was quite pushy and would begin to reposition me!

As the doctor announced I could push again, only 15 minutes after stopping (phew!), thankfully our first nurse was back from break. She really helped let Jimmy and I take the lead, giving support and ideas where needed. About 20 minutes of pushing and our baby boy was born on December 12th at 3:44pm, 7lbs and 20 inches, named Camden. Only 5 hours from the time my water broke and 45 minutes of pushing and we were done. The doctor and nurses respected our wishes in terms of the baby being placed on my chest, delayed umbilical cord cutting and so on. The nurse and doctor were so impressed and said they rarely get to watch natural labor progress and that they were honored to be a part of it. It definitely felt special, as I am sure all births do, regardless of the process.

Our little guy has been doing great(after a little bout of jaundice and some trouble figuring out how to latch that kept us in hospital for a few days), and I have felt good. My comment the day he was born right after was, "That wasn't so bad!" and I have been able to be active walking and doing yoga right away. I don't think there is any other way to give birth as so many friends who have had epidurals have horror stories of their body needing to recover and I know it was the best choice for the baby and I.

The next battle with the hospital personnel was to not supplement with formula... But we were already practiced at speaking up for what we believe at that point and have been able to breastfeed exclusively!

Thanks again for all your support and knowledge. We did it!!

Tracy & Jimmy

Calgary hospital birth story

Julie Williams Photography