Here is my version of Patrice’s birth story. I say my version because parts of it are a blur. And for all I know, the parts I think are clear, may have happened a little different than I perceived them.
Really her story begins with an e-mail I received Friday morning about 2 am. My grandfather passed away Thursday night about 11:30.
We had visited him in June as things did not look good, and my time of not being able to travel was quickly approaching. During our visit, he and I talked about the coming baby. I told him about our plans to name the baby with Dussel as the middle name if it was a boy (that is my dad’s side of the family’s last name). My grandpa liked that. And told me to bring that baby back to meet him when baby came. A couple weeks later he was asking about us. He rallied and we hoped he would make it for baby’s arrival.
It was heartbreaking, for me, to hear he went to Jesus before baby came, but I know he is enjoying his great reward now.
But, I did not get to sleep after getting that e-mail. I was kept up by my whirling thoughts and some random contractions. Then later that morning I talked to my mom and my other grandfather had a minor heart attack on Thursday as well. To say I was a bit stressed by my midwife appointment would be an understatement.
I was not having any major contractions by the time hubby got up for work, so I told him to go ahead and we planned for him to meet us at the midwife office. Thankfully I was able to get ahold of him when the office called to have us come in earlier. So the whole family tromps in for our appointment.
They hooked me up to a non-stress test. My midwife came in a couple times to buzz baby to see how baby’s heartrate was doing and how baby was handling the few contractions that came during the test. Sue touched the machine a few times, so I leaned over to get her away from it.
Then they finished the NST. My midwife came in and looked the printout over. There were a few drops in heartrate that she found concerning. I thought the dips were from when I had leaned over to get Sue.
“Can’t we blame it on Sue?,” I said.
“No, there are too many for it to be that.”
She explained how those dips could be an indicator that my amniotic fluid level was low. Fluid levels can be measured by ultrasound so she went and got the scanner. First we got GOOD news, baby was still head down and in perfect position for delivery. I was thrilled. I mean, thrilled. Then the news got a little dicey. She found a few pockets of fluid, but got just barely 5 when she measured, and that was the cutoff for needing to deliver a baby. When the fluid levels get too low, it is possible for baby to crush their cord. So we talked about possibly needing an induction.
As you know from other blog posts, I am very set on natural childbirth if at all possible, so I was not thrilled with the thought of induction. I was bummed when she checked my cervix to only be at 1 cm and 70% effaced, the same as the week before. So no membrane sweeping to see if that would move things along.
But my midwife was very confident we could likely do an induction without any pitocin and regardless, it would be up to me how much pain medication I used.
She asked me how I felt about all of this. I said, “honestly, I don’t know, all I know with this kid is not to expect anything. I kind of expected blood pressure issues with this one, never had it, kind of expected sugar issues, didn’t have that either. Instead we ended up with breech issues and now fluid levels.”
From there, she sent us to the hospital to get a more thorough scan to see if they could find more fluid and another NST. The bright spot in all this was my midwife was on duty for deliveries that night. And I wanted her there more than anything for this baby.
First, we made plans for the girls to stay with a friend while we went to the hospital, grabbed some lunch, I drank a ton of fluids and we headed off to the hospital. We had to wait a long time for the scan, but the results came back quick, they got about 6 for a fluid level, still pretty low for that point in pregnancy. My midwife, hubby and I talked again about how that could mean the placenta was starting to break down and/or may not be functioning properly. She still felt we should have a baby that night; if she sent us home, we could not monitor baby, we wouldn’t know how baby was doing. I knew if I went home, I would be totally stressed worrying non-stop about lack of movement, too much movement, etc. So we opted for the induction.
They got me in a room. Hubby left to take the girls to a friends house where they had stayed the night previously.
At my midwife’s insistence, I ordered dinner. I found that reassuring the induction would go smoothly, otherwise I did not think they would want me to eat.
After I ate, I waited, for hubby, for my midwife, I waited. Not patiently. Then I started contracting and they hurt, they were enough that I had to walk around to get through them. Someone came in to put in my hep lock for antibiotics I needed before baby was born. It was hard to sit still for some of those contractions. Then my midwife came back. Hubby was still not there. She asked me, “so is he coming back or is he planning to sleep at home?”
She checked me and found I was already 3 cm.
“So were you going to tell us you were in labor before the baby was born?”
“Well, I was hoping they were doing something, but I didn’t mention I was in labor til almost 6 cm with Sue.”
She gave me some medication to for the induction and told me to lay down for an hour and hooked me up to the monitors for two hours. She also decided to start the penicillian at that point instead of waiting til I was 4 cm as originally planned.
Hubby arrived shortly after and the contractions were already really strong. I only laid down for about 40 minutes and then had to get out of the bed to survive each one. Baby’s heartrate dipped a bit, so they added 20 minutes to the monitoring time. I can not even tell you how I hated that extra time. I just wanted to be able to walk around.
Hubby and I started our rhythm of counting each contraction. We had learned during the birth of Sue, if he started counting when he saw a contraction hit me (my face is a good indicator), we would find out how high he had to count to get to the end and I would know how long I had to “survive.” With Sue it was a count of 42. With Patrice he counted slower to try and help me to slow down my breathing and focus, so it was about to 28.
I must say these contractions were much more overwhelming than Sue or even Caitlyn’s had been. I was about 4 cm when I was unhooked from the monitors and could walk around. I was having a horrible time “getting on top” of the contractions, I felt like each one overwhelmed me. I knew from all my studying and preparation, it was counterproductive to scream, as it wasted energy that could be better used to get baby moved down and closer to being born. Even during the labor, I knew that, but many times ended up giving in to the desire to yell. This labor felt more primal. It felt like the energy came from deep within and was washing over me each time.
My midwife suggested I try getting into the jacuzzi tub to labor. It did not take all the pain, or even a measurable amount, but it took some. After a bit more yelling at the beginning of each contraction, I was able to breathe through more of them, and even put my head down on the edge of the tub to rest for a bit. Then I did a few on all fours, with hubby counting and my midwife doing counter pressure. I got through a few more, about 1 1/2 hours of labor.
With my two previous births, I was proud to say I never yelled at anyone. I can no longer say that. I was yelling at hubby and at my midwife. I kept yelling at hubby, “this hurts, no really, you don’t understand, this really hurts!!!” And at one point, he didn’t start counting soon enough and I yelled “Count you Idiot!” Now mind you, I do NOT think my hubby is an idiot, I think he is rather brilliant, but right then…
And I was begging for someone to help me with the pain.
I have never been so thankful to be surrounded by two people who knew my desires for unmedicated birth and helped me to stick with that. I must admit there was a point that if someone would have said, do you want the epidural, I would have said yes, even though I did not want it. Not really even at that moment.
They helped me breathe through several more. And I kept crying that I couldn’t find my place. With Sue, even when they hurt, I felt like I found this place where I climbed inside of myself and could survive each one. A place where I didn’t care what went on around me. This time I could not find that. And missed it. Cried for it. My midwife said maybe this time the place would be different and reminded me these contractions were coming really fast which might make it harder to get on top of them. I was frustrated, but felt affirmed to know there was a reason I was struggling.
Then I started begging for help again. And yelling at hubby and my midwife. I remember hearing my midwife ask hubby what the sta-dol had done for me during labor with Sue. He explained that it did not noticably take any pain, but allowed me to relax in between contractions just a bit. So she asked me if I wanted something in my IV. At my agreement we started the process of getting out of the tub and across the room. We had to stop several times as I got hit by contraction after contraction. Even once I got laid down, I had to tell my midwife to wait before checking me, as I worked to get through each one as it came.
By that time I was about 7 and progressing rapidly. It was good to hear her say that I was at transition, which is the hardest, but quickest part of labor. They started to give me a non-narcotic medication in the IV, but baby’s heartrate dropped, and they had to stop. I got a little and it was enough.
The next thing I know, I hear someone saying, “Get me an OR (operating room), get the OR opened now.” I vaguely remember thinking, well how is that going to work, I’m not drugged and then it was time for more contractions. Then there was talk of a vaccuum (extraction) but that faded away. And then I heard, “push Charity, just push, don’t wait for a contraction, push now.” And me thinking, I am pushing, what do you think I am doing here??? And then, “push for your baby, push NOW!” And from somewhere I pushed more. And out baby came. The cord was wrapped around the neck, baby was blue.
My midwife cut the cord, tied it off and handed baby off to the waiting team. And Praise the Lord, by the time they got baby half way to the warming table, she was screaming her head off and nice and pink!!!
Miss Patrice was soon handed over to daddy and she was ours. Our third daughter was here, safe and sound.