March 16, 2013

 

One week past the due date, our doctors and midwives confirmed that our little boy was healthy and happy but as the 42 week mark approached, time was running out. At 11 days overdue we tried acupuncture to no avail and the next day we tried herbal induction with verbena and castor oil.

Early afternoon on Wednesday Lua started contracting. Cam came home from work and we began our routine of hydration and finding the positions that worked. Unluckily for Cam, the only position that relieved the pressure from Lua's spinal injury was one where he had to lift Lua up from behind while standing, making things a little tiring for the both of us.

12 hours later we began hoping for Active Labour but contractions never reached 411. We had 50 second contractions every 5 minutes, 90 second contractions every 8 minutes, even one minute contractions every minute... for half an hour. Everything but one minute contractions every four minutes for an hour straight.

When the sun rose on Thursday, Lua's contractions slowed to every 10 minutes, and one even waited an hour. We slept in spurts and called the midwives later in the morning. We decided to try Verbena again with the plans of taking a double dose in the afternoon if things slowed down again.

Contractions started much faster this time. Lua went straight to 5 minute intervals with strong, minute long hauls. We were encouraged.

Another day passed without hitting 411 and no Active Labour. As the sun rose in our 40 something hour of early labour, we knew it was time to go to the hospital to discuss options.

We met our wonderful midwife at the hospital on Friday morning at 11am. We were expecting an oxytocin induction but Sarah discovered we were 4 cm and fully effaced! Hopes were high for day 3.

An OB came and broke Lua's waters and contractions induced once again. Progress was made quickly and we got close to 411 again. But, by 4 in the afternoon it became clear that the same pattern was emerging, we weren't going to hit active labour. It was time for oxytocin. 

We fought with the heart rate monitor for a while before deciding to install a FECG (that screw thingy that we saw in class), then it took about 5 tries to get the IV in, which was strangely challenging at this point. Once that was in, we started the oxy and it worked well, active labour started right away. 

Soon after active labour started, the heart rate started dropping. The midwives immediately transferred care and a team came to fix the emergency. They installed an amniotic fluid injector to help reorient the baby in case it was lying on its cord. It worked, but only when Lua was in one specific position, lying on her left side. Later I found out that this technique only has about a one in ten chance of success.

The Anaesthetist installed an epidural to prepare for an emergency c-section in case the heart rate dropped again. With the epidural, amniotic fluid, FECG, and oxytocin, Lua was able to get a little rest and labour proceeded (relatively) normally. 

As Lua rested on her left side we continued to see "decel's", where the heart rate decelerates during contractions, but with careful monitoring we got a couple of hours of rest. 

In this precious moment of rest, we talked and reassured each other that everything was going to be ok. We made decisions in advance regarding a c-section and sang prayers together. This is where Cam had a bit of a meltdown and had a good cry.

When the OB returned everything looked great: 9 cm with a little lip. She turned off the amniotic fluid and said she'd be back in an hour to see if it was time to push.

Shortly after the OB left, Lua started experiencing extreme pressure. Even through the epidural she started acting the same as before. This caught the nurse's attention and it turned out to be because the contractions were 'stacking', i.e. not finishing before the next one starts. This can be dangerous if it continues for too long, but we seemed to be close to the end.

Lua wanted to push, contractions became agonising as she fought the urge. The nurse told her to wait for the OB. At first I thought that was stupid, but then I saw what she was looking at. The baby's heart-rate was dropping fast.  In the precious minutes that the OB took to get to the delivery room, the heart rate fell to nothing.

The nurse (Ashley Kenny, one of our heroes) went into emergency mode, she flipped poor Lua over and over trying to find a position that would stabilise the heart rate. When the OB (Jennifer Procyshen, hero #2) arrived, Ashley had done all she could to get the heart rate up to 70 bpm from almost nothing.

Then the heart rate fell again. As Lua "decelled" the room went silent.  Instead of a c-section, the OB decided that baby was coming out right then and there.  

PUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSH.

Like a cheering squad at the finish line of a horse race, everyone started yelling.

Lua was an absolute champion, she pushed in silence, blocking out the yelling doctors and nurses. Head down, focused, she pushed back to back to back to back to back and 6 pushes and a few minutes later, little baby Dawson was safely on the outside.

Cam collapsed in tears.

At 15 days overdue, after 3 days of labour, Dawson  was born at 6 lbs 12 oz on March 16, 2013. Lua suffered 3rd degree tearing but Dawson was perfect, nothing but a little bruise and some moulding. 

We had a hard time believing people when they said that tearing was the least of your worries, but now we see it as a manageable issue that is part of the recovery process.

Dawson has a great latch and has been eating like a champion.