Sept 16, 2011

This Birth Story has been put together by Myself & the two wonderful people who help me achieve our goal of a 100% natural birth I could not have done it without the two of you. A deep heartfelt thanks and sincere gratitude to my loving partner Blaine & our fantastic teacher/friend/ mentor Sue!

Michelle's due date was Sept 7th but an ultrasound showed it might be Sept 4th.  We were more confident it was the 7th.  On Sept 12th we went in for a NST exam after which the Doctors suggested we go for induction the next day as we were not dilated and baby's heart rate had fluctuated when Michelle was given an internal exam.   We had gone for a bio physical profile the previous Friday and had scored 8/8 so we were comfortable continuing until labour started naturally. Doctor said we were now 1cm dilated but still wanted to get the show on the road and weren't thrilled about us not wanting to be induced yet but we promised to go for another bio-physical profile the following day, Tuesday and go from there.

In the meantime we scheduled an appointment on Wednesday with Wendy Powel in Okotoks for Acupuncture to see if that would help get labor going. Christina Appave my awesome masseuse came over to the house that night as well to do Acupressure on me I was trying everything I could think of to help get labor going naturally I also continued to insert evening primrose oil capsules vaginally at night to help soften the cervix as well as taking Homeopathic Caulophyllum (3 pellets under tongue every 30 minutes) to hopefully encourage contractions and Gelsmium (3 pellets under tongue every other 30 minutes) to calm Michelle's nerves* Both pills are 100% natural.  The ultrasound was 8/8 again so we were confident baby was doing well.

Sept 15, 2011

Michelle's Labour started around 6:30am Thursday morning.   She woke up with an extremely bad leg cramp once the charlie horse stop she got up & had a bath to relax the mussel well in the bath she started to have cramps. There was some bloody show which gave us the sign we might be dilating and this might be labour!  Contractions felt like strong menstrual cramps and not like we expected them to and they were only 30-45 seconds to the peak and less than 1 minute long all together so around 9:15am we called our prenatal instructor Sue and asked for her thoughts on things.  She thought it definitely sounded like labour had started.  Blaine was a bit surprised that things were so painful for Michelle already if this was just early labour.   Sue said she'd stop by quickly to give some support and see if she could help us assess where we might be in labour.  Sue arrived around 10am and within moments of arriving could see that Michelle was in active labour already even though contractions were not longer than 1 minute in length.  She had just went to the bathroom and noticed some meconium indicating our water had broken as well.  There was more bloody show.  Sue suggested we go to the hospital due to the thicker meconium to make sure baby was ok.  Also considering we were already showing signs of active labour even though we had only been in labour for 3.5 hours.  A sign that labour might be progressing more quickly.

We arrived at Rockyview around 10:30 and Sue met us there.  Around 11:30am we were assessed to be 3-4cm dilated.  We were a little surprised it wasn't more because Michelle was having some really strong contractions - but the contractions were still not peaking any longer than 30-45 seconds.  They said we could be admitted to L & D.  We decided to stay because Michelle couldn't imagine going back home and her instincts were telling her to stay.  Another good sign that we were in active labour.   We timed some contractions and noticed that even though the contractions weren't longer than 2 minute all together, they didn't gradually increase in strength but rather were strong immediately.

We waited in Triage for 2 hours for a room, which was a little frustrating because we had a small room, the nurse wanted us on the monitor continuously so it was difficult for Michelle to cope while lying on her side on the bed.   The triage nurse Karen was not very friendly to make matters worse.  Baby's heart rate which base lined around 150-155 was rising to 160-165 with contractions.  The nurse didn't like that.  Also she said contractions weren't very strong so they needed in increase in strength for dilation to happen.  We worried this might lead to augmentation so decided to try taking homeopathic Caulophyllum.  We took 3 pellets around 1:15 and within 15 minutes contractions increased in strength.

We were moved to a labour room about 1:30pm and were happy to be able to move around more.  Our nurse Natasha was so awesome and went to find a Telemetry monitor so we could move around and go in the shower while still monitoring baby.  Contractions really kicked into high gear and we knew we'd start making good progress now.  Our nurse was so great and even offered to help take turns with Blaine and Sue to give Michelle counter pressure as she needed it now for every single contraction.  Michelle sat on a birth ball in the shower and really liked that but the Telemetry unit just wasn't working well enough so after a bit the nurse suggested we move back to the EFM to she could be a good read.  We were very happy that Natasha didn't give "routine" vaginal exams and we really only a had a few done the entire labour.  She was also very flexible and understanding about what we were trying to achieve.

At 2:30pm, Dr. Watson came in and checked dilation.  Michelle was 4cm dilated still.  We were really surprised because contractions had increased in strength so much but kept a good attitude about it.  Dilation isn't everything.  We tried to get Michelle to go pee but she had a very hard time doing so even though she was drinking tons of water and Emergen-c for energy.  Michelle did a great job of keeping her spirits up and coped very well with obviously hard contractions.  They were now much longer and stronger and all the signs of hard labour were present. The doctor wasn't happy with the baby's fluctuating heart rate so asked if we would be ok with inserting the internal fetal scalp monitor.  We asked if we'd  be able to go back in the shower and can it be hooked up to the Telemetry unit and she said yes so we agreed.  The EFM was not working well and we wanted the reassurance and knew that as long as they knew baby was happy, we'd get to keep labouring without pressure and avoid talk about c-sections and such.  Michelle was becoming far more vocal with contractions and found it really helpful to make low "ooooh" sounds to keep the control focused downward.

Around 5:15pm Michelle started to feel little bouts of pressure and grunted softly at the peak of contractions.  This was a great sign and we thought for sure we were getting close to 10cm!  The nurse was also convinced things were really starting to pick up and she was happy for us too!  She wanted to know what kind of prenatal classes we had taken and said it was inspiring to see Michelle doing so well.  She said the epidural rate at Rockyview was 80% and for first time moms way higher so this was exciting to see!

At 6:30 a resident doctor came in to check dilated and said we were 7cm dilated and the top of the cervix was pretty puffy so wanted Michelle to NOT push when she felt the urge until we knew for sure that swelling was not there and she was in fact fully dilated.  We were all very surprised she was not 10cm dilated but Michelle was so awesome at keeping her spirits up so how could the rest of us not too!

We got a new nurse around 7:15 and this was Kim - she was awesome too!   She asked if we were ok with students being in the room and helping with her care and we declined as it would be too distracting when we were planning a natural birth.  She said, yes I figured that and that's no problem.    It was really obvious that Michelle didn't like bright lights and unnecessary sounds during labour.  She didn't want anyone to talk to her during contractions and didn't have patience when people didn't just "get to the point".  When they did have to speak to her.  She also was covering her eyes with a cloth and asking for lights to be turned down in the room, bathroom and such where ever she could.  She liked the sound of the water running in the bathroom to muffle out distractions as well.  Not to mention to help her pee because that just wasn't happening as often as we thought it should.

The urge to push kept increasing in strength, especially when Michelle laboured standing up on the side of the bed.  The baby however didn’t much like some of the contractions and we could definitely manipulate how she handled contractions based on Michelle's positions.  Usually her contractions would increase to 160-168 range when she wasn't happy and that's how we knew to move positions - once we did - every time her heart rate would go back down to 150-157 range which was fantastic.

Michelle now had to hold off pushing with almost every contractions.  She'd huff and puff ("he he he ho ho ho") her way through them but it was getting harder and harder to deny the urge.  She was starting to get exhausted

Dr. Watson came in again around 8:30pm to check dilation and by now contractions were super difficult for Michelle to not push during.  She was grunting and wanting to push with nearly every contraction.  The doctor did a vaginal exam and found her to be still only 7cm dilated.  Again with the puffy cervix in front.   The doctor said we had 2 problems to talk about.  One is that the baby is not as happy as she'd like to see with contractions which might suggest cord compressions.  To avoid c-section she suggested amnioinfusion where they replace the amniotic fluid with a solution to maybe give baby some room to move around and hopefully handle contractions better.  The next issue is that contractions weren't quite strong enough to make dilation happen quicker so she suggested Pitocin.  Michelle said she'd agree to the amnioinfusion to help baby be happier but wanted to hold off on Pitocin until we waited to see if this helped before taking that route just yet.

After this was done, we decided to take 3 more pellets of Caulophyllum to see if it would help increase the strength of contractions again.  Even though Michelle was experiencing obvious hard labour and even signs of transition she just wanted to do everything she could to get things going so if it was harder contractions, bring it on!  She moved and swayed her hips, moved from bed, to toilet, to shower, leaning over bed, sitting on birth ball, etc.  Within moments of taking the Caulophyllum, contractions were back to being one on top of the other and not much, if any, breaks in between.  It took everything in her to hold off pushing when contractions peaked and many times impossible so she had to.  Michelle was handling things like a pro and everyone was amazed.

Blaine was so awesome and asked a million questions about the Doctors suggestions and discussed all the options while Sue & Michelle were in the bathroom breathing through contractions.  Blaine came in we talked and decided that if when they check us next if we haven't made any progress that we'd agree to some intervention to get things moving.  After Blaine asked a bunch more questions to the nurse we realized that Pitocin would also mean epidural and an increased chance of c-section but Michelle could only cope so much longer with holdback pushing so we knew it was going to be time to do "something" although it still wasn't 100% decided on what it was that we'd try first.  Well focusing on being thankful for going into labour naturally and having given baby so many hours of good labour thus far.  We were prepared to do whatever we needed to do to have a safe outcome.

There must have been a lot of c-sections on the ward because we kept hearing conversations between the doctors and nurses of problems here and there and doctors needed in the OR. It was obviously to our advantage because they just kept letting us labour without interventions even though according to their opinion we were not dilating "normally".  Our doctor didn't seem too interested in us having baby naturally at this point but our nurse was eager to help us achieve our goal.

At 11:30 Dr. Watson came in to check dilated and said Michelle was 9cm dilated!  The past 2 hours were so hard for Michelle but this brought much encouragement.  The doctor agreed to let us keep trying because baby was much happier now with the amnioinfusion and suggested we start an IV because perhaps the lack of dilation was due to maternal dehydration.  We didn't think this was a big deal and knew we were likely close to fully dilated now.  Michelle regained her focus and continued forward like a warrior.  The nurse helped us decide on good positions to try to take the pressure of the swollen part of the cervix.  We tried hands and knees with butt in the air which was good, we trying side-lying and then once in a while we'd stand or sit on the toilet.

At 12:40 the doctor came in to check Michelle again and we were fully dilated!  What a relief. Doctor said we were welcome to start pushing next time the urge came.  I think Michelle pushed "as" the doctor was saying that she was so relieved. Almost 6 hours of not getting to push when she had such a strong urge was insanely hard to watch & we were all so relieved for her.  Sue & Blaine had been giving almost constant counter pressure and hard back rubbing for at least 11 hours by now and thinking Michelle's pour back must be raw!

Michelle moved up into a sitting position with the bar and began pushing.  It was obvious right away that this wasn't going to take long.  The nurse agreed and decided to get things set up.  In the meantime we focused on technique so we could get it over with quick as possible.  Within only a few contractions we could see black hair!  After only 30-40 minutes of pushing baby was crowning.  The doctor said because they are expecting this baby to be big, that she may need to really push her legs back as the shoulders are born.  Also because of the heavy meconium the NICU team was there to take baby right after.  The cord would need to be cut immediately and baby suctioned.  The doctor commented on how amazing Michelle's pushing was and how controlled she was. Blaine was encouraging Michelle by telling her how close she was to meeting Callie.   Michelle liked Sue's counting as it helped her keep focus too.  The doctor gave really good directions for easing baby out so Michelle wouldn't tear and at 1:21am Callie was born weighing 8lbs, 8oz!  She cried right away and although covered in meconium looked pink and healthy!   The NICU team deep suctioned her to make sure they got all the meconium out but because she had already cried they were a little worried she breathed some in.

As they kept an eye on Callie we were waiting for the placenta to come.  It just wasn't coming even though contractions were very strong.  There was no heavy bleeding but it just wasn't budging!  In the meantime the doctors and nurses said they noticed a funny smell that was more than meconium.  They wondered if it was possibly an infection. We thought maybe the placenta wasn't coming because she hadn't gone pee much and perhaps the bladder was really full so the doctor did a catheter but only 200cc came out. But it still didn't come.

After a while they gave Callie to Michelle for some skin-to-skin but it was really hard for Michelle to hold her with the strong contractions still coming so after a short little visit the doctors took her to the NNICU for more observation. They pushed on Michelle's tummy to try & manipulate it out but that was also not working. After an hour had passed it was decided that Michelle needed to have it manually removed so she would have to head off to the OR to be given a spinal tap so the procedure could be done.  Just before the procedure they did another catheter and removed another 500cc of urine.  When they removed the placenta they realized it was in fact infected which would explain the odd labouring and retained placenta.  All the nurses and doctors commented on how strong Michelle was and said if women were categorized based on pain tolerance and ability to cope she'd be at the top for sure.

The procedure went as smoothly as possible, Michelle was back in her room by about 5:30am. Callie was in NNICU, at that point everyone rested and looked forward to the next day, or the first day of little Callie's life!

The next week was a real adventure. As a first time Mommy I was absolutely terrified for our sweet angel (as I am sure any mommy would be) for me the first few days are kind of a blur but I do recall that I could not sleep at all for about 4 days I would just lay in that hospital bed shaking & feeling a fear I don't think I ever have in my life.  Those days of seeing her in NNICU with an IV in her head and heart rate monitor on her chest were tough. With the presence of meconium at birth there was a need for deep suction to ensure that her system was cleared of this meconium, one of the side effects of this and the Infected placenta was that Callie & Mommy both needed to be on antibiotics. Callie for the full time she was in the NNICU, as you can imagine being a few days old Callie’s veins are very small and the nurses in the NNICU had a hard time finding her veins ( She get's difficult veins from Mom ) they poked at her arms & legs with no luck so the IV went in her head but the first one fell out and they had a few problems  trying to get it back in & had to move the IV around, they ended up having to shave both sides of her head and the first few inches of her forehead.

On the 3rd day in NNICU Callie decided she didn’t want to feed and the nurse put in a feeding tube, which I was NOT happy about. Luckily this only lasted 3 days. I was done my antibiotics before Callie & was discharged to go home on Monday afternoon which happen to be my Birthday & let me say I was not happy to have to leave without my little girl. I called Sue so very upset I was crying like a baby & as always she was amazing knowing just the right things to say to make me know it was all going to be ok & that it was normal to feel so sad with dropping hormones also with all we had been through.  The next night we got called back to the hospital to do an over night assessment. Blaine,Callie & I stayed in the NNICU family room & they monitored us to see if she could be taken off her feeding tub. They had us feed every 3 hours for 30 min then they would weigh her diapers it was a long night cuss my milk was not in & I was pumping like crazy between feeds to make sure she was getting enough cuss she was still not yet feeding with out being very fussy. This assessment continued all next day as well, doing the same thing over & over it felt like a marathon of Pumping & feeding. The growth & culture of bacteria on placenta came back negative so she was getting her last dose of antibiotics. Then head Doctor came in and did another examination told me good job we got her to eat enough to get off the tub &  that Callie could go home that evening what a feeling of much relieved anxiety. That night with great Joy & feeling so blessed it was finally time for us to step out into the real world & start our lives with our little peanut! We love our sweet angel Callie more then anything in this world & the rest of our beautiful family story is to come day by day precious moments by moment!

We believe we could not have had such an amazing Birth out come without all the knowledge & support from our Healthy Birth Choice class & the wonderful lovely Sue. In our minds HBC is a MUST do course for all Mommies & Daddies To Be!