Sunday, July 06, 2008

Katie's Birth Story - Part 3

I began to post Katie's birth story the night of her birthday... almost two weeks ago. Exciting things broke the next day (the Supreme Court ruling), and I've been distracted ever since. Tonight, I finally have had the opportunity to get the next section ready. And whether this is a warning or a promise depends on how you feel about birth stories, but Katie's will be by far the longest. At least, as best as I can guess!

Part 3 - The Hospital (and Looking Back on Preparation)
As instructed, we entered the hospital via the Emergency Room entrance, something that quite honestly irritated me. I was having a baby, not an emergency. I walked up to the admission desk and informed them that I was there because I was in labor. The woman behind the desk looked at me in astonishment, then announced, “You're not in labor. You're way too happy to be in labor!” I assured her that truly, I was in labor, I had a great deal to be happy about, and that I was to meet my midwife at the hospital. She acquiesced and got things in order for me to be taken up to Labor and Delivery.

An orderly brought out a wheelchair, and I about had a fit. I was indignant – I was not sick, and walking is one of the best things for me to do in labor. They were pretty insistent and Jonathan urged me to go ahead and have ride (the whole “pick your battles” business, I think). So we headed upstairs.

I believe Cindy, our CNM, was waiting for us at L&D. I don't remember being there without her, anyway, for which we were thankful. I don't remember when Barb (our doula) arrived, but I remember being so thankful to see her face! If I recall correctly, Cindy first checked to see if I was dilating. I was 8 ½ centimeters dilated! I remember thinking, “yep, just what I thought... about 8 cm.” I didn't have long to glory in my accurate assessment of what my body was doing (or to wish that someone would go tell that woman at the desk in the ER), though. As Cindy checked me, her face mirrored her concern.
The next step was to palpate for Baby's position. The look of concern increased. I was not surprised when Cindy said that she would like to bring in the ultrasound machine to get a better idea of how Baby was lying. My first ultrasound ever... and sure enough, Baby was lying face up and horizontal across my belly. With contractions, Baby's hiney would drop down toward my cervix.

Cindy's agreements with the hospital and her supervising physician required that a doctor be called in at this point. She told us that her supervising doctor was out of town this weekend, and that it was a good thing, because she would have insisted on an immediate C-Section. Since the supervising doc was out of town, her backup was called in.

While we waited for the doctor to arrive, we relaxed and prayed as best with could with all the activity going on around us. It was during this time that I had one of my few testy moments of the evening. There were (what seemed to me) multitudes of people in and out of our room, ob nurses, peds nurses and doctors, etc, etc. We were in a large, very nice room. But as a woman accustomed to the intimate environment of my home (with only attendees I've chosen) for the very private matter of birthing my babies, there was probably no room big enough! As the room filled with various people trying to do their jobs, I asked in the sweetest voice I could muster, “Do all of you need to be in here at the same time?” Miraculously, the room emptied! And maintained a wonderfully low population for most of the evening.

While we waited for the doctor, we addressed many issues with and signed any number of forms for the hospital staff. We were well informed parents who had obviously researched the issues, and were willing to discuss things rationally and logically. For the most part, we found our decisions honored, though there were disturbing exceptions we discovered later.

One of the key issues for the hospital staff was the question of Group B strep. It's the only issue that I'm going to go address specifically, as it relates to the later story. I had actually tested positive for Group B a month or so earlier, though I'm not certain to this day that it was a clean test. Group B strep can cause serious, life threatening complications when it is passed from a mother to a baby. Though we were not sure of the accuracy of my positive Group B test, we agreed to allow the hospital staff to administer antibiotics to me in order to pass that protection on to the baby.

As we waited, I lay on mostly on my side - my best position for maintaining focus. This was somewhat hampered by the IV antibiotics and by the monitors strapped to my belly. Neither of these were part of our plan, but under the circumstances, we didn't find them wise battles to fight.

One of my preparations for this momentous event was to print out some of my favorite verses to put up in my room. Jonathan taped my verses up for me, and wow, was I thankful for the reminders! God's Word helped me focus amazingly, and reminded me that I and Baby were safe in His loving hands, no matter what circumstances were to come.

One section of verses I felt the Lord had given me for this birth was posted on the TV screen across the room from the bed in large friendly letters.

This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise,
In the LORD, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
Psalm 56.9b-11

God's wisdom and grace in preparing me for this birth astound me till this day.

Remember all that birth story reading I mentioned earlier? I read all kinds of birth stories while I was pregnant. Home births, water births, twin births, breech births, unassisted births, births with midwives, births with doctors, etc. I even read a few hospital birth stories (big grin). My one requirement was that the stories I read reflect a positive outlook on birth, and a belief in the design of the female body for giving birth.

Did you notice “breech births” in that list above? For some reason (also known as Providence) I had read a lot of breech birth stories during this pregnancy. Even as we were on the way to the hospital, I realized that I knew what I needed to do to birth this baby (who, I had admitted to myself by that time, was in some sort of breech position). As I breathed my way through the drive to the hospital, I watched in my mind's eye as my uterus and cervix did their work. I opened myself up to willingly let my body do what God had designed it to do. And I knew that He would help me to be patient and to wait past any point that in previous births I would have labeled as “have to push.” He would help me let my body do its work, and let Baby have the time and opportunity to have the best possible entrance into this world.

As I lay on my left side, breathing and praying, these are the thoughts that went through my head. Jonathan was there praying with me, as was Barb, who was also doing wonderful things with counter-pressure to help relieve my lower back.

Katie's Birth Story -
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, The Power of a Picture


Tracy Crowe Jones said...

Eagerly waiting Part IV

Wayne and Genene said...

Like Tracy, I'm eagerly awaiting part four. I've always regreted that I was in Kansas instead of in Missouri with you.

Love, Mama