✍ All sorts of new and exciting things coming up for the cast of L to the Third so stay tuned!

Sammy's Birth Story

Snug as a bug

My official due date of June 18, 2010, had come and gone without a whimper.  Now that I was officially overdue, I had to go in for extra appointments to make sure that everything was okay in the baby-baking department and had my first such appointment on June 22nd.  Captain Husband had flown home from Oklahoma to be with me the weekend that I was due (I think he could hear the desperation in my voice and realized that it was come home or face my wrath via phone and email) so he was able to attend my first fetal-wellness appointment with me.  There we learned that I was actually having contractions, had dilated to 1 ½ centimeters, and was effaced about 25%.  However we knew that this news meant that CH would likely miss the birth since he was scheduled to fly back to Oklahoma later that afternoon.  On our way back to the house, we stopped by the Potomac Mills Mall to walk and try and get things moving, but no such luck.  We went home and met up with my dad and got CH’s things ready so that we could head off for the airport for his flight back to Oklahoma that afternoon.

The drive to National Airport was uneventful and we dropped CH off at the terminal.  About 5 miles into the drive home, however, I started noticing some odd pains that can only be described as mild rectal discomfort.  I know, too much information, but that’s how they felt.  They weren’t what I was expecting contractions to feel like though, so I chalked it up to the baby’s position dropping lower and putting added pelvic pressure into the mix.  These feelings started occurring at more regular intervals and were more and more uncomfortable as the evening progressed; by the time 11 pm rolled around, I was certain that I was having real contractions and started to track them on my iPhone with an application called “Labor Mate,” which I had fortunately downloaded the day before.

The discomfort kept increasing through the night and I decided to try and wait until 3 am before calling the labor and delivery department at Dewitt (I wanted to be really sure that I was truly in labor before waking my dad).  The nurse I spoke to was very nice and reassured me that the feelings of “extreme rectal discomfort” were in fact actual contractions and, since they were occurring about every 4-5 minutes and lasting about 45 seconds a piece, urged me to make my way to the nearest hospital.  That was all I needed to hear.  While waiting for 3 am to finally come around, I had kept myself busy by re-packing my hospital bag and gathering things like my laptop and new digital camera.  I woke up my dad and told him it was time to go to the hospital and we were on the road by 3:15 am. 

Using my trusty iPhone as a navigator, we headed off into the night to Stafford Hospital Center, but I need to give you a little back story on the location.  The original plan had been for me to deliver at Dewitt, which is the military hospital located at Fort Belvoir.  But a freak gnat infestation in its surgical department put a sizable wrench in that plan; my physician, Dr. Brown, had called me the day before to tell me that the infestation made it no longer possible for me to deliver there solely on the off chance that I might need a c-section.  Cleaning and sterilization was expected to take up to a week, so I needed to find a different hospital, stat.  Fortunately for me, hospitals are a dime a dozen in northern Virginia, so all I had to do was ask around for recommendations.  Stafford Hospital Center was a brand-new facility located about 30 minutes south of where I live and was deemed the best choice; this decision was made all the more easier by the simple fact that one of the nurses who had attended to me at my 1 pm appointment at Dewitt earlier that day also worked at Stafford and made a compelling case for me to deliver there.

There was absolutely no traffic on 95 south, but having contractions while traveling at 75+ miles an hour still wasn’t all that much fun.  We made it to the hospital without incident and went straight to the emergency room where I explained my situation and waited to be admitted.  Fortunately, we were the only ones in the emergency room and the whole process went by pretty quickly.  While waiting for the wheelchair to be brought down, I called CH to let him know that I was in labor and at the hospital waiting to be examined.  He was excited yet disappointed that he was going to miss everything; he had actually considered cancelling his ticket at the airport and postponing his flight home by a day due to a hunch, but decided to play it safe and got on the plane back to Oklahoma.

Dad and I were taken upstairs and I changed into a hospital gown and was examined by the doctor on call (Dr. Odom) who determined that I was dilated 3 centimeters and was 75% effaced; I was elated—at my appointment the day before I was only 1 centimeter, 25% effaced, so this meant that I was truly in active labor and that my contractions were doing what they were meant to do.  I was hooked up to two external monitors that followed my contractions and the baby’s heart rate and was left to continue laboring on my own.  Unfortunately, the hospital didn’t have portable monitors, so I was confined mainly to my bed and the small area around it.  I think my labor may have been different had I been able to move and walk around more, but who knows. 

I texted my friend Gretchen to let her know that I was in labor and to see if she felt like playing hooky from work to come up to the hospital and serve as my unofficial doula; I knew my dad wasn’t really up to the task and that was perfectly fine by me.  But I did want someone in the delivery room with me and Gretchen had let me know earlier that she was more than happy to do it.  She excitedly responded that she would call out from work and was there in the hospital with me by 6:30 am.  Now it was just a matter of waiting.  I called CH periodically to update him on things and breathed through the contractions, envisioning them slowly bringing the baby into position for birth. 

8 am rolled around and the doctors and nurses changed shift.  I was introduced to Dr. Vogel, who would be delivering me.  I immediately liked him much more than Dr. Odom and was relieved that she wouldn’t be the attending physician.  He did a quick internal exam to determine how my labor was progressing and determined that I was still no more than three centimeters dilated.   I was bummed.  Adding to my discomfort was the fact that whenever I changed positions, either the fetal heart monitor or the contraction monitor would stop registering information.   Apparently the only way I could get both to work in tandem was to lie in what was possibly the most uncomfortable position with my legs straight out in front of me, but my upper body and torso twisted to the side.  The baby seemed happiest when I was contorted like that, and the doctors and nurses were adamant that there be a strong, continuous read-out on the baby.  Because it was so difficult to monitor me, the decision was made around 10 am or so that an internal pressure monitor would be put in place to measure the strength of my contractions from the inside.  Yay.  The insertion went about as smoothly as it could, but it meant that I was now confined to my bed and would have to use a bed pan if need be.  Fortunately (ha!) it never came to that.

After about an hour with the internal pressure monitor recording my every contraction, it was determined that my contractions simply weren’t strong enough on their own to cause labor to progress any further than they already had; I was basically stalled out at around 4 ½ centimeters dilated.  At this point, I had been awake for more than twenty-four hours and in labor for twelve hours without any sort of pain management; I was exhausted.  Apparently the baby felt the same way, as his heart rate kept dipping down every so often, so I was put on a glucose drip in an attempt to keep the baby active and happy.  Dr. Vogel came in and told me that since my contractions weren’t strong enough to keep things moving that I was going to have to go on a pitocin drip. 

I decided that I wasn’t about to go through pitocin contractions without some sort of pain management so I told the Dr. Vogel that I wanted an epidural.  I figured at the very least I’d be able to relax while my labor progressed and therefore able to save enough energy to push when the time came.  The anesthesiologist was called to my room and soon I was being prepped for the epidural.  Gretchen stayed by my side the entire time as the procedure was explained to me; I was so, so nervous about the whole thing.  It also didn’t help that the anesthesiologist’s assistant kept making remarks about how tall I was and that she had never performed an epidural on a woman of my height and that she hoped she had the right amount of drugs and so on and so forth.  Fortunately everything went off without a hitch, and soon I was feeling pretty darn comfortable (which is saying something, considering I had to be catheterized now that I was numb from the waist down).  I reclined the hospital bed and tried to relax while the pitocin did its work.

Dr. Vogel came in to check on me around 1 pm or so, which was after about an hour on the pitocin drip, and we were both surprised to learn that I had progressed significantly from 4 ½ centimeters to 6 centimeters.  Things were looking good at the time, although the nurses were still having problems keeping the baby on the monitors, so it was decided that an internal fetal monitor would be the best way to keep tabs on the baby’s vitals.  I wasn’t too happy about this but it was in the baby’s best interest so I had yet another medical instruments inserted.  Good times.

Two more hours went by and I was feeling good; my dad, Gretchen and I kept ourselves amused by tracking my contractions on the monitor.  My dad would place bets on whether or not the current contraction would peak higher than the previous one, while I came up with new ways to describe the sounds that they made; at first, they sounded like a musical saw being played, then they progressed to a galloping horse, and then finally, someone walking really fast while wearing wide-wale corduroy pants.

3 pm rolled around and I was really starting to feel the pressure of the contractions; Dr. Vogel came in and determined that I was 9 centimeters dilated.  I was so excited—I was making some excellent progress and was also feeling pretty good all things considered.  And that’s when the alarms went off; the baby had completely dropped off of all of the monitors.  Nurses and doctors ran in and began checking all of the machines; before I had time to even process what was going on, an oxygen mask had been placed on my face and I was told to roll over onto my side so that the baby could get more oxygen.  I had no idea what was going on—it was the scariest minute and a half of my life.  Fortunately it was over nearly as quickly as it began; apparently the baby just needed some extra oxygen and was back to normal on the monitors.

At 4 pm the contractions were coming right on top of each other; Dr. Vogel checked me and I was fully dilated and effaced.  Finally!  Nurse Diana explained everything that was going to happen next and Gretchen prepared to coach me through everything.  The catheter and the internal pressure monitor were removed so I was in charge of letting the nurses know when it was time to push.  Dr. Vogel returned and I asked him if it would be okay if I cut the cord; he looked at me and said, “In all the years I’ve been doing this, not a single mother has asked to do that, but I don’t see why not…barring any complications, of course.” 

Everything seemed to happen pretty quickly from this point on: the bed was dropped down into position while Gretchen and Diana held my legs (and complimented me on my new pedicure).  I was told to push when the next big contraction came and so push I did; I did this a few more times, waiting between contractions so that I could give my body time to adjust and minimize tearing.  Another contraction came and I informed the group that I was going to start pushing and closed my eyes with the exertion only to hear, “Open your eyes!  Here comes your son!”  I did and was amazed to see a rather huge, purple baby appear from out of nowhere; Dr. Vogel then said, “The cord is wrapped around his neck—I need to get it off right now, so you won’t be able to cut the cord.”  It turned out that his umbilical cord was wrapped twice around his neck, which is probably why he had been so difficult to keep on the monitors.  I held my breath as I waited to hear the baby cry; after what seemed like an eternity I soon heard my baby’s hearty wails.  He was wrapped up and placed in my arms while I laid there in dumbfounded amazement.  I had pushed for a total of seven minutes and was rewarded with an 8 pound, 9 ounce, 21 inch long baby boy at 4:46 pm on June 23, 2010.

While I basked in the moment, Dr. Vogel began stitching me up (I had sustained a minor tear, which the doctor later informed me was much better than what I would have wound up with had I agreed to an episiotomy—the only thing on my birth plan that I was actually able to stick to).  Sammy was given his first bath while I excitedly called CH and informed him that we had a healthy baby boy.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...