Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Birth plan, meet window. Window, meet birth plan.

With a perfect pregnancy, and perfect support team and a perfect midwife or doctor, you can have a perfect birth plan. But remember the importance of each word in this phrase. Birth. Plan. The birth will happen, one way or another... But the rest really is a plan. This is how I would like things to go...
I had my 3 page birth plan typed out and ready for action... I took it to my OBs office, had her look it over, give her okay.

Then on August 2, I was fixing breakfast and felt a little uncomfortable and wet. I called my OB, and she had me go in to the family birthing center to get my amniotic fluid levels checked. After several hours of monitoring contractions, and an ultrasound they decided to admit me. My water had been leaking from a high yet for some time.

After another couple of hours, my doc checked my cervix, and while she was at it, properly ruptured my water sack (not in my plan). When I didn't progress in 2 hours they started a diluted slow drip of pitocin (in my plan under "avoid"). Every 2 or so hours that passed, they bumped up the pitocin level. While it was still slow, it moved the intensity of the contractions quickly. In my plan, I had wanted mobility, I wanted to soak in the tub during contractions, I wanted to walk around, but the moment they started the pitocin drop, I had to be on a constant monitor. So I was stuck within 4 feet of the monitor machine, giving me the options of the rocking chair, and the bed.

I had  expressly wanted to avoid pain medication. I didn't want the pitocin, because pitocin increases the frequency and intensity of contractions unnaturally, which makes most people want the epidural early. After about 15 hours of natural labor, the pain was just a touch above my tolerance, and I was offered an intravenous pain medication, fentenal (spelling?), which was given in a low dose through my saline drip iv.

It took the edge off the most intense contraction, but was still disappointing, since I had spent the whole pregnancy avoiding medications that could get to the baby. I took 2 doses of the IV pain killer in the following 5 hours of labor.

(TMI warning)
When I was finally at 9.5 cm, the nurse told me I had to wait a bit longer, that I wasn't ready to push, and that the baby wasn't ready. I told her I couldn't help it, the muscles were constricting involuntarily. In the time it took to call an extra nurse, and the doctor, Connor's head was already visible. I had requested that I not be given an episiotomy (cut in the perineum). In the last 2 pushes, Connor's heartrate plummeted, and before anyone knew what was happening, I had been cut to preserve the health of the baby. His cord had been wrapped around his neck, and with each contraction, and each push, it squeezed against him, cutting of his nutrient supply. One push after the cut and I heard the scream of angel lungs!

While everything did not go to plan, It was good to have that start point. Perhaps next time (if there is a next time) we will go simpler. We will have a general list of what we'd like to try, and try to avoid (rather than being so structured)

Every moment of discomfort from the stitches given for an unwanted procedure, and the memories of the 20 hours of severely painful pitocin induced contractions were worth it. Every time I hold my son in my arms and his sleepy pout turns to a subconscious smile, I am reminded that the important part is that he is here and he is safe!

My family is whole and complete now! We will post some of our family photos when we get them finished!

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