Saturday, July 2, 2011

Birth story II

At the time that I became pregnant for the second time (or third time), I was relatively more relaxed and confident. I was able to sleep better than the last time. Given this, I started to make a perfect birth plan at the end of the baby incubation process. I wanted do-over natural birth. I even had chiropractic care to have the baby turned from breech to head down position so that I could give birth all by myself. Since my pragmatic husband did not seem to be the fan of any birth plan, I started to look into hiring my own supporter - a doula. After few interviews, I ditched the idea since I realized what I truly wanted was my mother. Yet I could not have her since she had rested in heaven for many years now. So, eventually I settled down and compromised to have my father, who came here a month ago from China to wait for the birth of his grandson, to be the supporter.

At 9 pm on January 29th of 2009, while emptying my bladder, I found that I could not wipe off the residue urine, it kept coming! It was sticky! It was transparent! And it was VERY STICKY! What the hell was that? I shouted loud to my hubby Fabrice who was getting ready to bed. As expected, he could not care less since this is the man who would not show any emotions unless someone just died here. "Could I be losing the mucus plug?" I suspected. A half of a roll of toilet paper later, I was still trying to clean off these transparent and sticky streaks of secretion. After continued failing, I decided to clean it with hot water shower. Yet after the shower, the liquid still kept coming and I could not stop it. Now I had no doubt that my water was leaking, again, just like the last time! Since I experienced the exact same thing about 2 years ago and I was determined to stick with my perfect birth plan, I was calm. Then I walked to the bed to report Fabrice this news. It was 5 days prior to my son's due day. Knowing how much I wanted a natural birth, he agreed to my "wait and see" strategy. It was not a big flow anyways. So, I went to bed at 11:30 pm with a thick period pad. At 3:00 am, I was woken up by a gush of liquid coming out of my vagina, I was then at high state of mind and could not go back to sleep any more. I got out of the bed to avoid further loss of the precious water. I was not willing to inform the hospital to avoid repeating the last birth story. To pass time, I turned on the computer and started to read birth stories of other women about their wonderful and jealous-inducing VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). In between those stories, I also tried to get some work done since there were few deadlines to meet, such as some paper reviews. At 6 am, ZhuZhu woke up and I told her that daddy would drop her to the daycare today. Mommy would need to stay home. She was understandably nodding her head as if she knew that Mommy would have a big day ahead!

However, contractions did not develop into regular ones quickly. I was disappointed. I absolutely did not want to be induced again like the last time. I then went out to have a walk. At the front patio, I found my father doing his morning exercise. He was surprised to see me in PJ. "Why aren't you going to work today?" he asked. I said flat out but calmly, "Because the baby is coming." He was not prepared for this news, "Oh, are you okay? Are you in any pain? No, how do you know the baby is coming? Why aren't you go to the hospital? Is Fabrice coming right back after dropping off Mia to take you to the hospital?..." He was now completely overwhelmed by the possibility that the baby could just drop out to the floor any minute. "It will take a while for his coming and I will keep close attention to his movements. No worries!" I tried to calm him and myself down. "I am going to have a walk, would you come with me?!" I asked him. He happily followed my lead and the two of us walked, miles after miles. What I did not tell him was that my water already broke and I was secretly counting the frequency of my slight contractions. One hour passed, no labor; 2 hours passed, still no sign of labor...

At 11:30 am, Fabrice came back from work and said it's time to check me in. I said, "They will again just induce the labor." I refused to go with him. Looking into my eyes, he knew that I would not change my mind. "You should at least call the ob's office" He said. I then made the important phone call. "What, your water broke 15 hours ago?" The receiving nurse this time did not seem to doubt my judgement and she asked me to come to the office immediately!

At 2:30 pm, Tammy, the very nice RN who I had seen twice recently at weekly check ups confirmed the water was broke. I was admitted into the Labor and Delivery directly.

In the hospital birthing room, I was monitored with the blood pressure, baby’s heart beating rate, and contraction status. As I suspected, no regular pattern of contractions, still. Out of desperation, I started to perform the acupressure that I learnt from Dr. Google to induce labor, but no help. My ob, Dr. S, then suggested not to prolong it any longer. "We would use tiny amount of pitocin to initiate the active labor," he said. Seeing me with no intention to accept his generous offer, he added,“The water had been broke for quite some time now, we really need to take some action to prevent complications.” But somehow he did not rush me into this. At 7:30 pm, I was starving and had some cake that my best friend Ling brought me behind the nurse's back. Ling was on the way to replace Fabrice who was then at home feeding ZhuZhu. She also came to bring back some news to my father who was anxiously waiting at home.

Being the sane one between the two of us, Fabrice asked me not to insist on the “natural” plan. At 10:30 pm, I finally caved in. By then, I had a new nurse Helen and new ob Dr. R. "Why have not I met you before?" I asked Dr. R while Helen was injecting and adjusting the dose of pitocin. (The tone of mine must have been accusatory. In order not feeling like strangers to each other, every pregnant woman is given the chance to meet every ob in my ob/gyn's office in a rotating manner at end of the pregnancy. Since my ob/gyn's office has 5~6 obs who take turns to be at the hospital to deliver babies each day.) Dr. R seemed to be very attentive and understanding, which was the opposite of my own ob Dr. S who delivered ZhuZhu and he definitely scared me! "Oh, maybe I am scheduled to see you at this week's check up?" He answered dutifully. "I only came here about a month ago from K state." He added. True, it was still 4 days prior to my due day and I could have just happened to have missed my last check up to meet Dr. R. before the baby decided to kick my water bag wall! Nurse Helen then told me that she would stop the pitocin once a regular contraction pattern was established and my body would take over at that point to produce oxytocin. At 12:30 am, the contractions started to become regular, like once in every 5 min. The pitocin was started at 1 mU/15 min – meaning every 15 min, it was increased 1 mU. At 7 mU, 1 hour and 45 min from the start of induction, my contraction still did not reach the goal of every 2~3 min/contraction so they kept pumping more pitocin into my system...

The rest of the birth story became fuzzy since the contractions started to hurt like hell before I even reached 4 cm dilation. I was fighting but failed. I begged for epidural so that I would not have to cry in front of people. Following the epidural, both Fabrice and I fell into deep sleep and by the time I remembered that I had a birth to give, it was like noon next day! What, what just happened? Was the baby in the womb even alive?! I did not remember seeing anyone other than Fabrice sleeping beside me.

At 4 pm or so, I began to believe that VBAC was not the best for the baby. The longer I waited, the more drugs they would pump into me and the baby. I said to Dr. R at his last check up, "Could you please tell me that a Cesarean is not that scary" He said, "No, it's not that bad." Obviously he knew I was ready to let the dream of a natural birth go. He then told me that my contractions were good and the baby seemed to be doing alright, but my cervix refused to open further than 4 cm! He did not believe another 2 hours would make any progress. "But one never knows" he said. At that point, I found myself became anxious to meet our dear son. "Okay, let's get him out now!" I willingly announced. I could feel the whole room suddenly lightened up by all the smiling faces of Fabrice, the nurse, Dr. R, even two anesthesiologists who magically showed up. As I really liked Dr. R and I did not intend to wait for the next random ob to deliver our son. We then went over the details of C-section and I made Dr. R and the anesthesiologists promise me no gaging and no stapling this time.

There, I was sent to OR and a brief Ceasarean was performed smoothly. Either they had been exceptionally good or overdosed me, I had no memory about the C-section part. Although months after that we met the attentive anesthesiologist at cafeteria and Fabrice was thanking him, which kind of reminded me he was standing by me the whole time and watched and monitored the whole process patiently...

The only thing that I did remember was what came from the mouth of the proud father, "I think we have gotten ourselves a very smart little fellow!" Somehow Remy was born with his eyes open and even made an eye contact with his Daddy already right after birth. Fabrice, the man who had never bragged about any of his achievements in life made this statement on the very day of Remy's birth. Seeing my jaw was dropping, he added, "Trust me, his eyes can talk!"

Do you think nurse Helen pumpped some of that pitocin into the Daddy by accident?

“Done! Our baby boy was born on January 31st at 5:46 pm by C-section, following 24h of unsuccessful contractions. The mommy has been great and is in a good shape as well as the baby. He is quite big, 9 pounds and 89 ounces, 54 cm, and full of hair. That's a man already...Nobody cares about the daddy on this occasion but I'm doing quite well too, thanks you..." Fabrice's email was out few minutes after.

After meeting Remy, I realized that he could have never made it out naturally anyways. He has a head size of an earth - he was practically a head with 4 tiny limbs and there was no way that head of him could have passed my petite pelvic opening!

My do-over birth story repeated the last one almost identically, except that I was not sad nor disappointed about c-section this time around. In fact, I wish I had made a Cesarean birth plan at begin with, which would have saved so much trouble and my NiuNiu would have not been drugged by the pitocin and excess epidural! 

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