Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dayton's Birth Story

This is long. You've been warned!

I'm not quite sure how to start this and I imagine several rounds of editing will occur. {Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, and I'm sure there are MANY opinions on each of the experiences I will be describing. I'm not providing any scientific information.} 

To start here are some quick stats from our sweet boy's birth.

Dayton Xavier (Dax) Bills
Born: Saturday, March 30, 2013 at 6:10 pm
Hospital: Highland Hospital, Rochester, New York
Midwife: Mary Jo Spallina
OB: Coral Surgeon
Weight: 8 lbs 14 oz
Length: 19.5 inches

Let me first state that I fully intended on a completely natural birth experience for Dayton. I was open to medical interventions, if either of us were in any potential danger. Other than that, I knew I could do this naturally. Before the birth story really begins here's a little background. I knew he had been head down and in the pelvic station of -2 for a couple of weeks. Not fully engaged, but well on his way. Additionally, I tested positive for Group B Strep which you can read more about here, if you're not familiar. This required that if my water broke at any time of day or night I needed to contact my practice and most likely go to the hospital for confirmation. Less than 15% of women have their water break naturally (link), so I assumed I was in good shape. If my water did break, this would mean my dream of laboring at home for as long as possible would be gone.

My mother had arrived from Oklahoma on Tuesday and helped me get last minute things done for baby. Josh completed a test on Wednesday which made it okay for baby to come. On Thursday, I woke with feet so swollen they looked like one of those latex gloves blown up! Thankfully, I had my laptop with me and chose to work from home that day on a project that HAD to be completed before I went on maternity leave. I actually spoke to my boss and let him know I was feeling much better and would be at work in the morning -project 95% complete. That night my mom fixed us a nice meal, and we just enjoyed catching up with her. Later in the evening, I got really cranky, fussed at Josh for not hanging bookshelves in the nursery and cried for no apparent reason (that's not totally unusual this late in the game)! We went to bed around 10:00 pm thinking we were heading into our last weekend as DINKs.

I received lots of advice on my water breaking: It won't likely break. For me it was a gush at the store. I was at the office and it was just a trickle. Put a waterproof pad under your sheets the last two weeks (a great tip if you're prego!). And the best, most applicable comment on water breaking was from my friend, Rachael. She said she woke in the middle of the night and stood up thinking she had peed her pants. This my friends, was exactly what I thought when I woke up around 11:30 pm Thursday night.

I stood up in a panic that I had peed my pants! "Is this it? This is either my water breaking or I'm a grown woman peeing her pants before giving birth!" Everything looked clear as amniotic fluid should. I woke Josh up and said, "I'm not sure, but think my water just broke." His response is of course, "What do you mean you're not sure?" Our conversation continued quietly before we were up and around enough to wake my mom. Both she and Josh said I should just call the office answering services to see what they said. Within 10 minutes of calling the on-call OB called me back to discuss our options, except I didn't have any. She directed us to head to the hospital to confirm whether or not it really was my water.

Before Josh and I headed to the hospital, I did what every pregnant woman does, right? I showered, shaved (there are way too many people looking at too many things to not shave right before going) and then hot rolled my hair. Here's the way I was thinking about it (as crazy as it made me look to my husband): I'm not going to get any better looking as this process goes on, so let's start out at the top. I really do think it made me feel more normal throughout the whole process. While I was getting ready we reviewed our hospital lists 18 times (and didn't forget anything!) and triple checked every electronic for batteries/chargers. 

We arrived at the hospital Friday morning at 12:45 am. They took us into triage, quickly confirmed my water had indeed broken, did an ultrasound (where peanut looked good), showed us to our room, let us unpack and then gave me a nice little cocktail of mesoprostol (to soften my cervix & hopefully induce me overnight), morphine and phenergin. We both slept really well in spite of what was coming. I think we knew this might be the last solid sleep we could get in months! First thing I did when I woke up Friday morning (Was it still Friday? Such a long night!) was call my boss. I left him a message that I was at the hospital and would have my laptop and 95% complete project delivered over the weekend. I asked Josh if he would get my laptop out of the car so I could finish up my project, but he said no -much to my chagrin. I hate not completing something. 

Around 8:00 am we were allowed to go partake of the maternity wing breakfast buffet. That first morning it seemed so glorious (as it did the day after we delivered -by day 5 we were totally over it!!). I knew this would be my last meal before baby arrived. At 9:00 am they started me on a low dose of pitocin as I hadn't started contracting on my own yet. This produced mild contractions, I was breathing through them with little effort. In the evening they became stronger and more painful. I used the exercise ball to relieve the back pain. As they grew even stronger I got on all fours on the bed and they raised the back. I leaned on a pillow so my back was flat. This was the most comfortable position, but it also made my contractions completely disappear. How do contractions just go away like that??? During this time we had the most amazing nurse, Katie. She was with us for a really long 12 hours. We were so blessed to have someone so kind, light-hearted and caring! 

That night we settled in for what I expected to be a long and painful night with hopes of progressing beyond 3.5 centimeters. Around 11:45 we started hearing screaming next door. Another patient came in and sounded like she must be pushing. I was insanely jealous! Then we learned she was only 1 centimeter! I was no longer jeals at all (especially of her insanely low pain tolerance!) and just wanted to be far, far away from her screaming that I was sure would go all night long. So what did we do? We asked to be moved with no hope that it could be done. Our nurse came to the rescue and moved us 2 doors down!!! We did have to move all of our stuff, but I would say the sleep was well worth it. I had another cocktail of morphine and phenergin. And we slept!

Just for brutal honesty here. I got up around 5:00 am on Saturday to use the restroom. Coming out of the restroom I felt nauseous and was still having major back pain as a contraction was coming on. I sat down on the exercise ball for some relief and threw up. All over me, the ball, the floor. It's pretty much awful, but our sweet nurse quickly cleaned everything (including me) up. At 5:30 am, I was around 5 cm. Even though my water had broken, the sack had moved between the cervix and baby so our midwife broke it again. From that point on my contractions were far more painful, but according to the IUPC they inserted the contractions weren't strong at all. I felt so weak, but just knew I could still do this naturally. By 9:00 am I was both physically and mentally exhausted!!! I would contract for 5 full minutes and then come down off of it in tears and immediately fall asleep while waiting for the next one. Josh was so great at coaching me through each contraction, and my mom was such a great support telling us both how strong we were. We also had a waiting room full of family just waiting to meet our little guy. I needed to deliver this baby for everyone!

My midwife stopped in for a visit and Josh agreed with her that it was time for me to get an epidural. This was around 9:45 am. At 10:00 am, I had still not progressed at all from 5 centimeters. I conceded in utter exhaustion, I didn't know what else to do. Looking back I do not regret this decision. It brought me much needed relief, and I am totally at peace with the decision as much as my previously pregnant self would be in horror. Both my midwife and OB also made the suggestion that a c-section was necessary because he was sunny-side up (they think this likely happened when my water was broken the 2nd time), but I asked for other options first. They took me off pitocin around noon to try and reset my body and see if they could get contractions going. I was receiving the highest dose of pitocin possible at the end. When they took me off, my contractions completely stopped. I've never been more frustrated in my life! At this point, we were racing against the clock and the chance for an infection to develop. Because my contractions completely dropped off, I decided maybe it was necessary to have a c-section. If I had waited to see if the pitocin would start my contractions again, it would have been several more hours. I did not have the energy or mental capacity to handle hours -and I don't think Josh did either! 

Around 4:00 pm, I asked to see the OB (my midwife had gone off after a 16 hour shift) to go over details of the c-section. I could not believe I was choosing to do the one thing I spent my pregnancy praying I would avoid. They called the anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist and within 10 minutes they were reviewing all of the risks of the anesthesia and amping up my epidural. Our room was suddenly full of people doing 100 tasks I can't remember. While all of this was going on, I decided that I was just sitting there listening and would take this opportunity to put on a little makeup! Who could blame me after so many hours in labor, right? I hadn't really showered since Thursday and was absolutely exhausted. I know they thought I was a little nutty -which might be true. The nurse anesthetist commented that I was "from the south and maybe they do that there." Ha! I loved it. 

Just before going into the OR, I drank this salty liquid to balance out the acid in my stomach. It was the saltiest thing I've ever tasted. The combination of that, the lack of food in my stomach and exhaustion caused me to throw up just before they started testing whether or not I could feel anything before they made any cuts. Thankfully, the sweet nurse anesthetist cleaned it all up. So that made my second throw up. Ick. The actual c-section wasn't nearly as bad as I imagined. Being awake as a living thing is pulled out of my body was the worst imaginable scenario. Did I feel pressure? Yes. Did I feel them moving around inside of me? Kind of. Did they push and shove with all their might making me lose my breath? Yes. Did I expect all of this to happen? Yes! My OB and her team fully prepped me and talked us through what was going to happen.

The next thing I really remember is a scream. Someone on the other side of the curtain said, "Well, he's got lungs." It was the loudest and yet tiniest scream. He was here!!! 6:10 pm. Dayton Xavier Bills entered this world with all his might and hasn't stopped yet. They held him up over the curtain to show him to me before they went to clean him up. All I remember saying is, "Where did his hair come from? Where did he come from?!?" I had not imagined our little boy with red hair!

While they were stitching me back up, Josh went over to where they were cleaning him up and took pictures. A few minutes later he came back over to me with our little peanut! Tears flowing, I got to kiss his sweet little cheeks. Josh and I were completely smitten. The next order of business was our first family photo. I just couldn't believe we were a family of three.

When they were finished stitching me back up, I got to hold Dayton on the way to recovery. Once there, we got much needed skin-on-skin time and he nursed like a champ. Our little buddy was practically perfect!


The hospital and our care: I couldn't imagine delivering babies at any other hospital. Going into this, I knew Highland was one of the best hospitals for maternity care in New York and by far the best in our area, but I didn't know how good we really would have it. The nurse to patient ratio is one-to-one! We had our own nurse who wasn't worried about other patients! We also felt that everything we asked for they did their best to accommodate! They always consulted us before making any changes to my care. We were completely involved in every decision and definitely in control of the path we were on. We felt empowered to make the decision that was best for our family. I would deliver at Highland again in a heartbeat.

My delivery: I thought I would be distraught over Dayton being born via c-section with so many of the interventions I had wanted to avoid, but no. There is no way I could feel any disappointment over bringing such a bright and beautiful baby into this world. I had an excellent team of doctors, midwife, nurses and family that made this such a special delivery. They helped me stay positive as I grieved my idillic natural birth and accepted that another path was necessary and still so fruitful. I am indebted to this team! My heart is full of gratitude and thankfulness. I think of this verse that helps me remember there is a greater plan at work.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21



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