Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ezekiel's Birth Story

In May, 2013, at 40 weeks pregnant with our third child, my husband and I found out that our baby had turned breech. My Ob/Gyn had already agreed to let me go into labor on my own no matter how long it took (I'd had 2 induced labors before and wanted an all natural birth this time), but now my doctor said he'd need to schedule a c-section for 42 weeks at the latest. My doula, Samantha Trebilcock, came over that week and talked me through vaginal breech birth. We talked about what it would take to make it happen and what I could do in the meantime to try to turn the baby. I was having excruciating rib pain and was very emotionally spent, coming to terms with the fact that my natural birth might turn into a c-section. I tried Webster technique chiropractic adjustments; all of the spinning baby techniques; homeopathic remedies; if it worked for someone, I tried it. Nothing worked. My only choice was to inform my doctor that I wanted to attempt a vaginal breech delivery. He knew my baby was in good position, frank breech with his bottom already engaged, and that I'd had 2 easy, healthy births previously, with relatively big babies and no complications. He finally agreed that if I got to the hospital ready to push, he'd deliver my baby breech. He was convinced that my waters would break before my scheduled c-section at 42 weeks 1 day.

41 weeks, 4 days
On Saturday morning, at 41 weeks 6 days, I had my 3rd nonstress test and I had regular contractions through the whole thing. The nurse mentioned them to me and I kind of fibbed and said it was because I had to go to the bathroom and my pants were too tight, but I was hoping I was in labor. (My biggest fear was to go into labor in the hospital, where they would wheel me straight to the OR for a c/s.) That afternoon, my husband Josh and I tried some tricks to get things going, which for the first time ever actually worked, and I started having regular contractions at 4:30 PM. They were going pretty good all throughout the evening, and I was getting hopeful. I even had to concentrate while reading books to my boys before bed. But then after they were in bed, I started changing positions and leaning forward, and contractions slowed down significantly. Finally at 10:30 PM, I gave up, decided I wasn't in labor, sat down on the couch to rest and finish watching a movie with Josh.

Hours before birth
Almost as soon as I sat down, pop! My water broke. I've always had my water broken at the hospital, so it surprised me so much I shrieked, "My water broke! My water broke!" and I ran to the toilet. I ran so fast I barely got the couch wet. I just sat there in a daze while Josh told me to calm down and called his parents to come get the boys. My doctor had said previously that he thought that if my waters broke, the baby would come fast, and I should go to the hospital immediately. I had decided with Samantha and Josh that we would wait until contractions were strong before going to the hospital to avoid a c-section and because we knew Ezekiel's cord was not near his neck and his bottom was fully engaged, eliminating the danger of a prolapsed cord. I wasn't having any contractions when Josh's parents got there, but they kind of lollygagged and chatted for awhile while deciding whether to take the boys to their house or to sleep at ours.

I sat there texting Samantha and my mom, wondering when they were going to leave so I could get in the shower. I was in the downstairs half-bath and needed to get upstairs to the full bath. Finally they left around 11 PM with the boys after I said goodbye to them from the bathroom (so much excitement!) and I was having light contractions. I got upstairs and into the shower to wait for Samantha, who had just gotten to work and had to turn around to drive to my house. The water felt really good, and I meant to leave my shirt on, but it got wet, so I just took off everything. By 11:20, my contractions were strong enough that I had to lean forward and rock and breathe. Samantha and my mom got there soon afterwards, and I immediately needed Samantha's help to get through contractions from then on. I said, "What does it mean if I don't want to be here anymore?" and she said, "That you're in transition." Looking back now I can tell I was transitioning because I didn't care that I was standing there naked in front of everybody and I couldn’t figure out what to do.
We had called the doctor around 11:30 and he hadn't called back yet, so Samantha called again. I didn't think I could get out of the shower, let alone put my clothes on and get to the car, so I said it was time to go to the hospital.

Finally, as I was putting on clothes (which Josh couldn't find for what seemed like ages), my doctor called. We made our way to the car sloooooowly. I asked my mom to sing to me. She sang familiar childhood songs, and it helped calm me. Those were some good contractions and that baby was dropping fast. I grouched at Josh for putting the towels for me in the front seat and my hospital bags in the back instead of the other way around so I could sit with Samantha. He kindly switched them around, and I kneeled on the slippery leather seats after asking if I had to buckle up and tried to hold on while Josh drove us to the hospital. Eventually I slid down to the floor and leaned over the seat. We only live 5 minutes away, but it felt like twenty. Baby was wiggling around the whole time, and I really felt like he was about to fall out. I kept yelling, "He's coming out!" Samantha assured me he would not, in fact, fall out, as long as I didn't push. It was the weirdest feeling.

There was no way I could sit down, so when they brought the wheelchair out at the hospital ER, I squatted on my knees and held onto the back. They tried to turn me around, but I refused. I felt like I was going to sit on my baby if I sat on my bottom. It was 12:13 AM when we got there. We went through the ER and the admitting nurse left the desk and the line of people waiting to immediately push me upstairs. I remember thinking, What a nice lady! Samantha was also amazing. She kept me calm as I was freaking out because I was so excited (and in pain). I had resigned myself to my Monday morning c-section. My poor mom was left to park two cars (she had followed behind us) while we all headed upstairs to Labor and Delivery. We got up to an admitting room and they made me lie on my back while the resident OB/Gyn did a quick ultrasound to confirm baby was still breech. The nurses monitored his heart rate and they put the heplock in my wrist in case I ended up needing a c-section. All was well - baby still breech, with a good heart rate, and, though they had to try both of my wrists to get the heplock in, I kept telling them to stick me again because it was good "substitute pain". I was ready to push that baby out!

The nurse checked my cervix and said, “She’s complete.” I wasn’t surprised. I think I had been 10 cm for awhile. The resident Ob/Gyn asked if my doctor was going to deliver me breech (after I kept yelling, "I only want Dr Michael! Dr Michael has to deliver the baby!") and Samantha said yes, which put a funny look on his face. It's against policy, both the doctor's and the hospital's, to deliver babies breech vaginally. We got into the operating room, and I was told I had to pick Samantha OR Josh to go in with me. I said, "I can't do it without her!" I climbed onto the skinny OR table in between contractions and immediately turned onto my hands and knees and started to rock. It felt SO much better. Then I felt something on my foot and saw poop. "I pooped!", I said, but all the nurses and Samantha said, "No, that's from the baby!" I was really confused, but they wiped me off and said I had to lie on my back because the table was so skinny and if they ended up needing a c-section, I had to already be on my back. Actually, they didn’t explain any of that to me then, so I turned over and lay there complaining and moaning, "I don't want to be on my baaack." My plan had been to push on my hands and knees, like I’d seen in the YouTube videos I’d watched of delivering breech babies. (I wanted to be as prepared as I could be!)

The lights were painfully bright and I wanted to push with all my might now, so I couldn't keep my sounds down and I half breathed/half yelled through each contraction. Samantha helped me "stay above the wave" of each contraction; she was indispensable in every way. The baby was just waiting there. It seemed like forever, but finally my doctor got there. I yelled, "Where have you been?!" and he went straight to the baby and said, "Ok, let's see if you can move him down." I said, "I can push?!" It was time, and the relief was enormous.

One of the pictures Samantha took
Finally, I pushed. One contraction's worth of pushing while everybody yelled at me, and his bottom was out. One more big push and I felt a little more baby. I sat out one contraction because it was so mild, and I don’t know if anybody realized it. They didn’t coach me to push, so I remember thinking that I got away with it. One more big push, and I felt his body plop out. It was my first "ring of fire" experience, but it really is like they say - such a relief to finally know the baby is almost out. At this point, my poor husband finally got his scrubs on (after it was obvious that I was having a vaginal birth rather than surgery) and he made his way into the room. He took my hand, but I didn't even notice. After baby's body came out, I had relaxed and stopped pushing. Everybody yelled, "You have to push again and get his head out! We can't do anything!" Nobody can touch the baby til he's completely out so that he won't take a breath inside or tilt his head back and get stuck. Samantha was giving me feedback and helping me remember the plan. One more push, which was confusing because I couldn't feel anything because his head was so small after birthing his backside first, and at 12:34 AM, only 21 minutes after getting to the hospital, he was OUT!

Relief and a baby!
I started crying with joy, and the doctor put him on my stomach as high up as he would go. His cord was so short. I tried to pull him up to my chest and my doctor laughed and said to wait! the cord was too short, and we wanted to delay clamping. I lay there saying "I can't believe it!" at least two hundred times while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing, and baby Ezekiel lay there crying. I couldn't believe the pain was completely gone. I asked how badly I tore because I knew my doctor had needed to help my skin stretch enough for Ezekiel's bottom to be delivered, but he said it wasn't bad – only 2nd degree, and I only needed 2 stitches, and I only tore down. Finally, we cut the cord (I did it for the first time) and I got him up on my chest. There was still meconium everywhere so the nurses were trying to wipe us off while the doctor stitched me up and I delivered the placenta. I think I was still saying, "I can't believe it!" Shock! I also apologized to the doctor and said thank you to everybody who could hear me. I couldn’t believe I had gotten my breech birth.

Daddy and his 3rd son

My mom and Ezekiel
Ezekiel set about nursing and I finally really realized that Josh was there. My mom couldn’t find us after parking the cars, so she waited in Labor and Delivery, trying to locate us. We accidentally left all of our bags in the car, so we didn’t have our camera. Samantha saved the day and took pictures in the OR with her cell phone. After we had been in the recovery room for a few minutes, they weighed him – 9 lbs., 13 oz. We talked about what had just happened and I finally let Josh, and then my mom, hold the baby. My mom and Samantha left around 2:40 AM, and the nurse got me up to the bathroom. I passed out for a second while washing my hands after using the bathroom, so my nurse gave me a shot of pitocin in my leg. I am still convinced that passing out was due to the excitement and lack of oxygen I had experienced in the last two hours, rather than something that required pitocin.

Finally being weighed

Sunday morning, so happy to have him
I couldn't believe that I didn't need pain medicine at all in the hours and days of recovery to follow. I took one Motrin the night after the birth so I could sleep through the nurses coming in, but that's all. I took homeopathic Arnica that Samantha recommended to me throughout the week for pain, but that's all. I've never felt so good after having a baby. My doctor said I had very minimal blood loss considering the fast, exciting labor I'd just had, and Ezekiel was healthy and perfect. I've heard it’s easier to recover from a natural birth, but I thought it was too good to be true. It was the most exciting childbirth I could have imagined, and I will never forget it.

Meeting his brothers
Big brother Nehemiah, 2
Big brother Miles, 4
Loved Little Brother, 3 months old
This summer - 2 years old

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