Saturday, July 31, 2010

Grant's Birth Story

Well, I never thought my second little boy would be so, so, very overdue! I expected him anytime after June 15th, but he decided to hang out till July 3rd. My mom and sister even came up the weekend of the 19th to stay with us – thinking that the baby would arrive any day because the official medical due date was the 21st. I spent the following weeks trying just about every folk-remedy to induce labor, but nothing worked. My OB even stripped the membranes twice – both times started labor, but each time the contractions quickly dissipated instead of strengthening. I even had contractions during a non-stress test! Eventually, my OB decided to schedule an induction for July 3rd at 10am. I anxiously awaited the day with foreboding – this was not the birth I wanted for Grant.

Disappointed that Grant did not join us, I sent my mom and sister back home after a week – hoping that doing so would bring labor on. Liam also spent part of the week in Fort Wayne, first with my mom and sister and later with my in-laws Bev and John. After a few days, I was missing my eldest and asked my in-laws to bring Liam back on Thursday the 1st. On the 2nd, in preparation for being induced I cleaned the house, played with Liam and took him for a walk in a park with my mom, went grocery shopping, and decided to make a nice dinner for the family. I cooked up crab cakes and we all had a great dinner. Shortly afterwards, I started feeling a few contractions.

I didn't want to get too excited at first, because I'd had false labor twice the week before. We watched a movie together – who Framed Roger Rabbit – and I sat on the birthing ball. The contractions steadily got more intense but stayed around 10 minutes apart. I got Liam ready for bed and read him "The Cat in the Hat" - had two strong contractions while I read - now the contractions are about 9 minutes apart. I got myself settled in for bed at 10pm and dozed between contractions. At around 1am they became too much to sleep through and I had to get up and rock on all-fours during the contractions.

I woke Sean and told him I thought this was the real thing. Now the contractions were 5 minutes apart. We got up and he fixed me a little snack of yogurt and granola. I called my doula, Mitzi and told her to meet us at the house. While Sean and I got ready the contractions decreased to every 3 minutes. I called Mitzi and told her to meet us at the hospital as we headed out the door. My mom stayed home with Liam – I think she was disappointed that she would not be there for Grant’s birth, but she had an equally important job looking after Liam.

Sean and I arrived at the hospital some time after 2am. At the registration desk I told the nurse that I was in active labor and the contractions were 2 to 3 minutes apart. They quickly got me into triage room 7 – the farthest room to walk to – where I was checked. I was already 6cm and Grant’s heartbeat was nice and strong! Soon Mitzi arrived. We waited briefly to get a birthing room. The nurse asked me what the weather was like outside because apparently they had a number of women come in that night! I joked that it wasn’t storming – not like the night I went into labor with Liam.

I waddled to delivery room 6 with Sean and Mitzi. I labored on the edge of the bed for a few minutes, while the nurses looked for a birthing ball for me. My delivery nurse was named Kelly. She was a super sweet gal and very supportive. I spent a while on the ball and my contractions were getting more and more intense. Mitzi warmed rice bags and placed them on the front and back of my pelvis. She and Sean fed me ice-chips because all the breathing was drying my mouth out! Then next time they check me I was 8cm already and the nurses called Dr. Takyi. Mitzi snapped a photo of me – I was still smiling and joking with everyone.

As I neared transition, my legs beg to tremble with the intensity of the contractions. I felt the need to lean over as I rode out each contraction. They set up the back of the bed and I leaned over it with my backside in the air. Mitzi rigged up makeshift handles for my to grip with a sheet. She and Sean massaged my aching legs and back. The need to bear-down was incredible at this point!

When Dr. Takyi arrived he wanted to check me. I really didn’t want to turn around and lay down and for a minute I felt defeated when he suggested that I wasn’t as far along as the resident had thought. But I kept focusing on the baby and I. We talked about the option of breaking the bag of water – it still had not broke on it’s own. At first we decided to wait, but I quickly reconsidered because the pressure was so great and I felt that it really needed to be done.

As soon as Dr. Takyi broke the water, I felt a huge relief of pressure and pushing became much “easier”! I could tell Grant would be here soon. Dr. Takyi asked me to turn around and lay down again. The nurses readied the room for Grant and prepared the bed for me to push. I was kind of started by how fast everything was progressing. Mitzi, Sean and the nurses were cheering me on as I pushed. Once the mirror was in place I could see the progress myself. After a few pushes, Grant’s head was already visible. A couple more mighty pushes and the crown of his head was right there! I laid back, just waiting for the next contraction. I was frustrated when it didn’t come right away. Everyone assured me that it would come and that my body knew it was good to wait and stretch – boy did it stretch!

Finally the contractions came and I pushed as hard as I could! My eyes were closed as I pushed, so I didn’t see him arrive, I only heard the sweet sound of a crying newborn. Grant was born at 5:28am. He was so big and healthy and beautiful when they put him on my chest. I cried with joy and kissed him, so happy and relieved that it was all over and he was finally here!

Sean and Grant and I snuggled for a few minutes. Then Sean cut Grant’s cord – it was so big that he had a tough time at it. Dr. Takyi began to worry that the afterbirth was not coming out on it’s own, so I let them take Grant to be weighed while the doctor attempted to massage the placenta out. Everyone was taking bets on how big Grant would be! He turned out to be a whopping 11lbs 5oz!

Meanwhile, more time passed with no sign of the placenta coming out. Dr. Takyi began to talk about doing a DNC procedure, which we were reluctant to do at first. I asked for more time. But then without warning, I began to hemorrhage. Soon the worry turned to panic and they were rushing to get the OR ready for me while I signed the release forms. As I said goodbye to Sean and Grant, I was bleeding even heavier. By the time they wheeled me to the OR I was lightheaded and had trouble moving to the OR gurney.

Even though I never wanted an epidural, I was very grateful for it that morning while they removed the afterbirth. Dr. Takyi was glad that we did the DNC because he discovered that the placenta had a second lobe – a smaller one about the size of a hamburger was attached to the main placenta by blood vessels. Without the DNC the second lobe and the membranes that were also there may have been missed and I could have developed an infection.

I was also extremely grateful that someone with A-positive blood had just donated that morning. After the procedure, I received two transfusions of blood because my hemoglobin had dropped to 5 from 14!

Coming out of the OR, I felt pretty scared because the epidural had numbed my whole body, not just below my belly button. I felt like I was struggling to breath and swallow. Thankfully, the horrible sensation dissipated after about 30 minutes. Mitzi cuddled with Grant for a while so Sean and I could rest a bit. Once I was strong enough to hold Grant, she went home to rest as well. We had to wait in the post-op area until the first transfusion was complete. I wouldn’t have minded if it wasn’t for the fact that the bed I was in was about a foot too short and my feet were hanging off the end of the bed. By around 11am Sean, Grant, and I got into our regular room. I was famished at this point and ordered a hefty breakfast.

I am so relieved that everything turned out so well, despite the difficulties! Grant came quite smoothly on his own even though he was a big, big boy! The DNC and transfusions saved my life when there were complications with the afterbirth. Grant came so late that he and his big brother share the same day of the month for their birthdays – just like my sister and I!

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