Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bennett's Birth Story: Part 2

SO, it's 7 am on Thanksgiving morning and my contractions are 3 minutes apart.  I calmly called to Brian who was sleeping soundly in our room.  He stumbled into the bathroom, and I told him that I really thought I was in labor, and that he needed to call my parents to come over and watch the big kids. Brian called my mom and told her Happy Birthday (yes, Bennett was born on my mom's birthday!) and Happy Thanksgiving. She told him to cut the chit-chat and tell her if I was in labor.

I also figured I should call my doctor's office just to make sure I should come in. I had to call and leave a message with the answering service.  While I waited for them to call back, I decided to attend to truly important details.  You see, when Camille was born, my water broke at home and I went into immediate hard labor.  I was so stressed that I didn't stop to shower or put on make-up.  I vowed that regardless of the circumstances, I would be wearing make-up when I delivered my 3rd child.  It's important! So, I had Brian bring me my make-up bag in the bathtub.  The contractions were getting increasingly strong and painful, and I did not want to get out of my warm bath!  When Dr. Fogwell called me back (he was the doctor on call on Thanksgiving, thank goodness!), he confirmed that I needed to come in right away.

By 7:30, I was dressed, I had make-up on, and I walked out into the living room and was greeted by my parents, Brian, Brian's friend Noel and Reid.  I was trying to grab a few last-minute things for my hospital bag.  I was walking around normally and then a contraction would hit and I'd end up on all fours on the floor breathing and rocking back and forth.  The pain was getting VERY intense by this point.  I'm pretty sure that my dad and Noel were tremendously disturbed by this.  I kissed Reid good-bye, decided it was best not to wake Camille, and Brian and I got on the road (after he covered my seat in a waterproof outdoor blanket in case my water broke).

As soon as we pulled out of the driveway, I started throwing up.  I threw up a lot while in labor with Camille so it wasn't totally surprising, but it made for a miserable car ride.  Brian and I were SO thankful it was Thanksgiving morning at this point because we live almost 20 miles from the hospital that I was delivering at, and on a typical weekday morning we would have been driving in rush hour traffic.  It could easily have taken more than an hour, but there was no one on the roads, and we made it in just over 20 minutes.  I had to survive the dreaded admissions process while in labor.  I literally could not sit up in the chair in the little cubicle to fill out all the forms so I ended up kneeling on the floor and leaning with my head on the chair while Brian did the majority of the paperwork.  Finally, a little after 8:30, we made it to L&D Room 11.

At this point I met our L&D nurse Mary--she was a great match for me--nice, compassionate, witty and sarcastic.  She was not a perky cheerleader type, thank heavens!  My perfect, Plan A birth plan was to have a non-medicated birth with as little intervention as possible.  To recap, Reid was a c-section because he was breech.  Camille was a VBAC, and I had an epidural around 6 cm then pushed for 3 very painful hours during which I seriously doubted my epidural was functioning as I could move freely and was in lots of pain.  By the time I was I was checked in L&D, I was 5 cm dilated.  Because I had previously had a c-section, I was required to be on continuous electronic fetal monitoring and to at least have IV access started.

What I remember about this period of time is that I was in bed, with the monitors on and having lots of very painful contractions.  I was trying to stay relaxed, and I was breathing through contractions.  I would ask Brian to put pressure on my lower back during contractions only to discover that his touch was causing more intense pain.  I just could not figure out how to manage the intensity of the contractions.  The nurse had a lot of difficulty starting my IV--after an unsuccessful attempt she called in the charge nurse.  It took at least half an hour to get IV access, and all the while the contractions and nausea kept coming.

Honestly, from the time we were in the car on the way to the hospital, all I could think about was the feeling of sweet relief that washed over me when I had my epidural with Camille.  During all the IV drama, all I could think about was--"you don't have to feel this pain--just get the epidural and the pain will all melt away". I hadn't voiced these thoughts at all to anyone so I think they were pretty surprised when they finally got IV access but were about to do a saline lock since the IV didn't need to be used if I wasn't getting an epidural.  I waited until I was not contracting, and calmly said, "I'm not having a contraction right now, I'm not panicking, but I want the epidural.  I've decided I just don't want to feel the pain anymore, and all I can think about is how good the epidural will feel."  At this point, it was sometime after 10 am, and I believe I was close to 8 cm.

I got the epidural, and it was awesome!  A very small part of me regrets getting it because I wonder if I could have done it on my own, but most of me is just thankful for medicine!  Dr. Fogwell came in right after my epidural was placed and checked me (I was 8.5 cm and almost fully effaced), and he broke my water.  As soon as my water broke, Dr. Fogwell told me that there was a slight problem.  Apparently, my amniotic fluid revealed some serious meconium staining (basically, Bennett had already pooped in the womb.  This was dangerous because there was a possibility that he could aspirate the meconium after he was born and started breathing on his own.  This could lead to pneumonia and all sorts of yucky complications.) The doctor told me that it was protocol to have a NICU team present in my L&D room during delivery so that they could immediately evaluate the baby and thoroughly suction him.

The sad news was, this meant that when the baby was born, he would immediately be taken from me (but kept in the room as long as he was okay).  I was a little sad but mainly just concerned about the baby's health. 

The next couple of hours seemed to pass quickly to me because I was feeling good.  Brian watched a little Thanksgiving day football.  We chatted with Allison Duckworth, our birth photographer.  I realized that I had caused everyone to miss Thanksgiving dinner--Brian's mom had been about to put the turkey in the oven when Brian called to say I was in labor.  They decided to postpone the meal and headed to the hospital.  By the time I had my epidural and felt like talking, I realized that Steve and Connie (Brian's parents) and Matt, Cat and Teegan (Brian's brother, sister-in-law, and niece) were all in the waiting room eating the hospital cafeteria version of a turkey dinner.  My parents were back at our house with our kiddos.

By 1:15 pm I was dilated to 10 cm and ready to push.   Brian still had football on, and I remember the TV was directly in my line of site, and all I could see was Kid Rock performing the halftime show.  I told him to turn off the TV because the last thing I wanted was the image of Kid Rock in my mind when I gave birth to our child :-)  By this time, my doctor was having the nurse call the NICU team fairly urgently because although I hadn't started pushing, he indicated that this baby was going to be born SOON.  After the 3 hours of pushing with Camille, I was SO thrilled that I only pushed 3.5 times and out came Bennett James McFarland at 1:28 pm weighing 8 pounds 1 ounce.

Dr. Fogwell suctioned him a lot right away then cut the umbilical cord and handed him to the NICU team. He cried a tiny bit which was such a relief to me! The poor baby was green because he was so covered in poop.  It was in his hair and his eyelashes.  The umbilical cord stump was bright green.  The NICU team suctioned him vigorously, and he started getting a bit pinker and wiggling around.  After about 5 minutes of suctioning and monitoring, the nurses indicated that overall he looked pretty good but that his breathing was much too rapid (normal respiratory rate in a newborn is 40-60 breaths per minute, and Bennett was breathing about 120 times per minute).  He was also using a lot of accessory muscles to breathe.  These factors caused enough concern that the NICU nurses wanted to transfer him up to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to to be evaluated.  So, they handed me my bundled up baby for less than a minute and I gazed at his sweet face.  I immediately saw that he looked SO much like his big brother Reid.  I kissed his little button nose, and away he went to the NICU with Brian walking next to his little hospital bed.


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