The Birth Story - Part One
I don't know if anything in my life ...anything ... has felt better than pulling into my driveway last night with my family. My entire family. All of us alive and breathing independently. The symbolism of seeing the white picket fence surround my yard as we pulled in did not escape my very hormonal self. Home. Safe. Healthy. All four of us. I think I'm still in shock.
I never stopped contracting after the amnio. They slowed down to seven minutes apart but kept increasing in intensity. On Wednesday morning I had a mini-meltdown because I was exhausted and the fear of going into a c-section that tired was terrifying. I hadn't slept since Saturday night. Around 7 or 8 I managed to develop crazy wretched diarrhea - which includes a story so flipping disgusting and funny that it deserves it's own post - and thought ..umm.... uh-oh. My blood sugars had dropped significantly. Even without any insulin at all, my after breakfast reading was 78. And I thought ..ummm..not good. Because the only reason for that to happen would be a sudden drop in hormones - so I'm either in labor for real, or there is something wrong. For some reason, I proceeded to run errands! Went grocery shopping for our "last meal", went and picked up some meds at the vet's office, stopped at the office for a second, and went to the pharmacy for Monk's medicine. On the way home, I timed the contractions and realized I was back to 4 minutes apart. I got really dizzy and lightheaded, called Monk, and we went to the hospital for the NST and BPP. Contractions continued to worsen. The NST was actually fine. The Biophysical profile looked a little worse ...the score went from 6 to 5. She measured him and thought he was probably 8 lbs 8 ounces which made me feel a LOT better. No attempts at breathing. Very little movement. We had a lot of "do you want to wait" and "I'm scared as shit about stillbirth" conversations. She knew this - because we talked about it endlessly at every visit. It was the reason for the frequent NST's, the hyper-management of blood sugars ..everything. She thought I had OCD about it and needed to relax for most of the pregnancy. The OB/friend decided to do the section that day. I, of course, had eaten lunch trying to improve the NST and BPP so she scheduled the section for as soon as possible after anesthesia cleared me. Anesthesia agreed to 7 pm. We called and told family. Contractions promptly became excruciating and 2 minutes apart. I thought ..Hmm. Maybe I should just Vbac?? I really didn't want a section and things seemed to be moving along swimmingly well. The OB came into the room to chat about the possibility ...and the baby promptly had some late decelerations. They decided to take him right then. The NICU team was called in for the delivery. They warned me that he might need to go to the NICU because of the kidney and immature lungs. I watched the isolette roll into the delivery room and started to panic.
Can I just say that spinal anesthesia with duramorph is the best invention EVER? Never hurt going in and I literally never felt a thing throughout the section. Nothing. No pressure, no pain. It couldn't have been more different than the golden child's section. I was amazed all the way through. I did, however, lose my blood pressure right after the medicine went in and that was less than comfortable. Someone asked if I was okay ...I couldn't talk ...looked at the monitor and saw 60/22 as my blood pressure. I started to pass out and throw up. I had a very real but fleeting thought that I was dying ...then the reversing meds started to work and my blood pressure came back.
Monk did amazing throughout the entire thing. He was nervous before the section ...tearful at times. Took xanax. Thought about maybe taking three. But in the room? He was extremely calm and reassuring. Even stood up to look when they pulled out the baby. He started crying immediately. Screaming, in fact. My OB/friend pulled him out and said, "He's beautiful, Shauna. He's healthy." Monk and I started crying. She handed the baby to the NICU team. I said, "How are his eyes??" which was supposed to be our code for "does he have Down's?" She said, "I didn't look that close!!" The anesthesiologist asked what was going on ...I told her ..she took our camera and went to take a picture of the baby's face and brought it back to me. He was fine. Absolutely fine. I kept telling the OB/friend that I loved her because I couldn't imagine a more comfortable birth.
All of a sudden the OB/friend said, "Ohmygod, Shauna. Ohmygod...this was the problem." And she held the umbilical cord up for me to see. It had the largest, tightest, true knot that I could ever possibly imagine. Ever. If my water had broken or if I had attempted a VBAC? The baby would have died. The months of early contractions? Likely due to his distress and not getting enough oxygen and nutrients. Even now, I can't stop thinking about what might have been. What easily could have been. It's overwhelming.
Continued tomorrow . . .