Saturday, January 22, 2011

Judah's Birth - A Beautiful VBAC Story

It was 5 am when I woke to contractions on January 11th, 2011. I lay there, wondering if this was the real thing.  After all, for a week or so I had been having regular spells of time-able, but painless, contractions. I got up in the dark and went downstairs.  As I passed the side door, I saw snowflakes falling in the pink light of our neighbor's street light.   Hmm.  That worried me a bit.  Nashville tends to shut down at the slightest flake.  We had already had some snow, but it had seemed to be clearing out the day before. 

I put a load of laundry in, ate a little breakfast and just as daylight began to show, I went back to bed and whispered to Matt that this might be the day.  For being half awake, he took it surprisingly well!  I assured him we had a long journey ahead of us, so rest up.  Twenty minutes later, our daughter woke up and wanted out of her bed.  So much for sleep!

The hours of the morning passed quickly with packing and laundry and getting Cora off to a friend's house, each passing 5 minutes punctuated by a contraction.  Around noon, my contractions got to be 2 and a half minutes apart and we decided to head to the hospital.  We were so excited and I was all dressed and showered.  We really thought this was it!

Four discouraging hours later, we were sent home.  My contractions all but stopped when they put me on my back to be monitored.  I was only 1 cm dilated.  Frustrated and hurting, I was told that this was only 'first grade' and to come back when I was in 'fourth grade'.  I disagreed, but what could I do!  I had all the right signs at home, but on my back in the hospital, it looked a lot like false labor.  As soon as I got up and began getting dressed, the contractions piled back on and by the time I got home, they were 4 minutes apart again.  We were both angry and frustrated. I got in the tub to labor and Cora came back home.  A friend came to watch her and spend the night should we need to go back in and my Doula, Angel, came over.  We put Cora to bed and then Angel sent Matt to the store and then to bed while she timed and helped me manage my contractions.  I tried to sleep, but woke for every contraction and then fell back to snoring and dreaming in between.  At 10 or 11 pm, I woke up and told Angel we needed to go back. I was tired of hurting and wanted to go to the hospital.  Surely it was time now!  My contractions were 6 minutes apart, but lasted one and a half to two minutes, each.

This time I arrived at the hospital raggedy and exhausted, wearing my robe and P.J.s.  We entered the garage but the elevators we had used hours earlier were closed for security reasons.  We had a time just finding our way into the building!  Matt absconded a rolling office chair from somewhere to push me in so I didn't have to walk (my sweet hubs!).

This time, I refused to lay down to be monitored (I stayed standing up, 'dancing' with Matt through each contraction) and the contractions stayed strong and close together. (4 minutes) Sadly I had only progressed from 1cm to 3cm.  By this time, it was midnight on Tuesday. (19 hrs had passed)  The hospital didn't 'admit' me, but the put me in a room and gave me some pain killers via i.v. for 'therapeutic rest'.  I slept some and Angel went home to sleep too.  Matt kept vigil over me, dozing as he could.  After a few hours, the drugs wore off, and the contractions increased.

Wednesday morning, January 12th dawned cold and cloudy with snow, so they tell me.  The hours ran together by this point.  The next clear memory I have was being told by the midwife I was only at 4cm and this was somewhere around 9am on Wednesday morning.  I was so disheartened by this news. I had really hoped to be almost done, not hanging out at at 'fourth grade'.  I got sick then, vomiting up nothing (my stomach was beyond empty) and kind of freaking out.  The contractions were so painful and after some convincing, I decided to get an epidural and to start Pitocin to speed my labor up.  I had heard so much about how bad Pit was for VBAC mamas and could cause rupture that it took some serious discussion before I was willing, all in between contractions.

At 10 am I got the Epidural placed in my back.  I was 29 hours in at this point.  I slept on an off most of that day, waking up for 10 or 15 minutes here or there to be checked or to be flipped from one side to the other.  At some point I asked my midwife if I was headed for another C-Section.  She very honestly said "I think so."  I responded, "Well, I've done that before, so I know it's OK."  But we weren't there yet, so they let me rest and watched me and the baby on the monitors.  Somewhere during the middle of the day the midwife checked me, accidentally breaking my water and I was at 5cm.  I slept on.  Matt and Angel talked to me at various points about things I can't remember.  The sun set.  The hours grew long again.  Matt fed me the most delicious orange jello I'd ever had.  I drank juice and slept and slept and slept.  Just before seven pm, it felt as though my epidural wore off.  The contractions grew painful and the anesthesiologist came in to check on the epidural.  The midwife checked me and I was at 7cm.

Then things got more painful.  Suddenly, a lot of people rushed in, flipping me over in the bed, searching for the baby's heartbeat and handing me an oxygen mask, telling me to take long slow breathes.  I was panicking, Matt was in my ear telling me everything was OK, to just breath.  I couldn't catch my breath and then someone said "It's not about you right now, Ariana, you need to breathe, for your baby" and I did.  They found the heartbeat and it was fine.  The midwife checked me again and I was at 10cm, but the baby was at a high station.  It was 7:20pm.  They arranged my body in the bed so gravity would do it's work, turned the epidural and the Pitocin back on and I slept, wearing an oxygen mask. 

At 9:30 pm, I asked Angel to get the midwife.  I felt the most tremendous pressure!  She came in about 9:45 and checked me, asked me to give a test push and then told me to stop while she put on her gown.  They dropped the end of the bed to prepare and I was surprised.  I didn't think we would get to this point!  Matt held one of my numb legs and Angel the other.  I focused on a point on the wall and pushed through 4 contractions and at 10:04 pm, Judah entered the world, straight to my arms.  I was just so surprised!  I really didn't think it would happen.  I had resigned myself to another C-Section and here was my baby after a few short pushes!  To top it off, my darling, but very blood squeamish, husband watched the entire thing and even cut the chord!  (I was shocked!)  It was the most beautiful moment and we got to share it with each other. 

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Everything that I had asked for in prayer had happened.  A healthy baby, a natural (mostly) delivery, health and protection for us both during labor and on and on!

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It was a grueling forty-one hours from start to finish, but it was such a blessing.  Later the midwife (I saw four of them during the two day ordeal) who said we were headed for a C-Section came to see me and was overjoyed that I had had the baby normally.  She said she was SO glad to be proved wrong.  I thanked her for letting me just continue to labor.  She told me that anywhere else, they would have taken me in for a C-section, but that day (and night) the Labor & Delivery wing was slammed with mothers delivering and as long as I and the baby were stable, they left us alone and tended to other mothers.  I believe God was in that too.  Judah's name means 'I will praise God' and it was even more fitting after everything that happened.

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5 comments:

Allison said...

Precious! I am so happy for ya'll. Praise God for His protection and strength. Can't wait to me meet the new "fambly" member!

Anne said...

CONGRATULATIONS! This is so awesome! I LOVE the name Judah, by the way—strong, fantastic meaning, uncommon but absolutely not mock-worthy. Great choice!

Kendra & Tobin Kirk said...

Wow! I can't imagine having been in labor for that long, of course it was all worth it and you didn't have to have a c-section! Congratulations and if I was there I would send over a meal but I think it might spoil if I mailed you one, lol.

Jaime said...

Wow, glad you were able to hang in there! What a blessing to have him naturally, but what a "journey" over those days! He is absolutely beautiful!! Congratulations to you guys!

Composing Hallelujahs said...

awesome! :) so happy for ya!

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