Oct 12, 2012

Hi Sue,

It seems like almost everyone had an unexpected twist in their birth or the days following so why should we be any different? My whole pregnancy I’d rub my belly and say “stay in there and get big and strong.” Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

Last Thursday, at 10 days overdue, I went to my first biophysical. I still felt great and baby was moving a ton, so I figured all was well and I geared up for verbena and a membrane sweep. However, the doctor that explained the results afterward said that although he couldn’t see any medical cause, the baby was only 6 lbs and there was no reason to keep her in there any longer. I took it with a grain of salt, but a call to Anne (my midwife) confirmed it. The doctor had already spoken to her and she told me I needed to meet her at Rockyview within two hours. The floodgates opened. Anne said that it wasn’t safe to have a home birth and we needed to get things started. I had mentally prepared for the idea of being transferred to the hospital during labour because of meconium or fatigue, but I didn’t ever think about going in before anything had actually started. I was a wreck, but luckily my mom was with me and kept me calm enough to drive home.

Shamus met me at home, we grabbed the suitcase and some extra sustenance and headed out. I’m not sure if I was more upset by the direct trip to the hospital and knowing what interventions were bound to come or by the new knowledge that my baby was so small (3rd percentile for the age). Either way, I was definitely not in an oxytocin friendly state. Shamus was my rock. He managed to stay calm the whole time (at least in front of me) and kept me as calm as possible. If it weren’t for him, I would have been a constant mess.

All checked in to the hospital and baseline established, I was checked by both Anne and the on-call OB. The OB explained what could happen and mentioned the possibility of every intervention we learned about and a few more for good measure. At 1 cm and 75% effaced she broke my water and gave me two hours to get things going. Anne said if we needed to start Pitocin, I wouldn’t be able to eat, so off we went for diner and a romantic walk up and down the stairwell.

My time was up at 7 pm and I wasn’t having anything more than some random cramping. Back hooked up to the fetal monitor, it was Pit time. Within about 10 minutes I had my first tiny contraction. Baby hated it. Her heart rate immediately dropped from a content 130 to 60. Anne’s eyes got big and she jumped up to turn off the Pit. No Pit, no problem, and baby’s heart rate went back up. We had to call the OB back in. Second consult meant transfer of care and I was pretty sure I knew what she was going to say.

Much to my surprise, Dr. Lyndon gave us two options: put fluid back in around baby and try the Pit again as there may have been pressure on the cord that caused the drop, or, C-section. Shamus asked for some time for us to discuss it alone. We then asked Anne a few more questions, but had made our decision. Since baby didn’t like such a little contraction, we didn’t want to chance more distress and an emergency trip to the OR. We opted for a caesarean birth for baby’s health (and mine, as Shamus reminded me).

The Panini I’d eaten at 6pm saved my mental state. Since I’d eaten, we had to wait until midnight for the C-section. At that point, it gave us 4 hours to sleep (ya right!), talk things over, for me to second guess our decision, cry some more, and finally get comfortable it. By the time I walked into the OR, I was calm and ready.

Our little girl was born on October 12th at 12:38 AM, tipping the scales at 5 lbs (2.265 kg) and stretching out to 16 inches (41 cm). Thankfully, she just hit the weight benchmark to avoid going to the NICU. Other than that, she was strong and healthy.

It turns out that Kaylyn was small because of an issue with my plancenta. It was highly calcified (basically old and worn out). I hope that the lab results will give me some answers as to what went wrong with it, but it takes a couple of weeks.

In recovery, Anne explained that the nurses would be testing Kaylyn’s blood sugar on a regular basis to ensure she was getting enough to eat. With the threat of formula, Anne latched Kaylyn on almost immediately (thank you for that!) and she ate like a champ. She was up to 5 lbs 4 oz on the day five weigh in!

Shamus and I are both very happy with our decision to go with the caesarean birth. We are grateful that we were able make well informed decisions along the way. Neither of us could imagine going through the experience without the knowledge we gained in class.

Jill, Shamus, and Kaylyn