Thursday, December 15, 2016

Deacon's Birth Story - Part One

Of course I couldn't dive into the actual birth without the journey there, so I've done it in parts again. If you want to skip straight to the birth click here.
Deacon is 3 weeks now. His birth definitely wasn't the serene home birth I had imagined. This whole pregnancy was challenging. He gained the title Rainbow Baby because that is what babies born after a loss are called. Something beautiful after a storm. That name has been amplified for Deacon for sure. 
A shortish recap is that I became pregnant after trying for a couple years in September of 2015. We got a positive pregnancy test on October 4th . November 17th we went in for our 1st midwife appointment. No heartbeat could be found. They did an ultrasound where we saw that our tiny baby had only grown to 10+3 weeks. It took another week for his/her body to be born naturally at home on November 24th. Here is my complete miscarriage story.

I got pregnant again with Deacon in April of 2016. At 10 weeks I started spotting. I went in for an ultrasound and saw that everything was fine. I spotted on and off until 18 weeks. More here.

Kidney stones were my next bump in the road. I started having mild flank and bladder pain at 12 weeks, the beginning of July. On September 11th, I had the worst pain ever and when to the ER. Morphine didn't touch it so they put me on a dilaudid pump. That lessened it but didn't stop it. I started having non painful contractions every 2-3 minutes, so they gave me terbutaline. It stopped the contractions and my pain went away as well. I had a few little episodes over the next month, but on October 15th, it got bad again. Not as bad as last time, but bad enough to send me back to the hospital. This time one shot of dilaudid knocked it out. Thank the Lord it never got that bad again, a few minor episodes, but my CT after he was born showed it had passed at some point.

At 28 weeks I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes for the first time. I was able to stay diet controlled, but it was hard. I'm not sure I would have made it without medicine if he hadn't come early. 

Next was the threatened preterm labor. At 33+4 I started having more contractions 2-3 minutes apart. I went to the hospital and they gave me terbutaline again to stop them. It slowed them down, but didn't stop them so they also gave me procardia. They sent me home with another dose in case it picked back up when the medicine all wore off. 

I'm going to insert a bit about my home birth/provider struggle. When I first found out I was pregnant again, I was going to go back to the same midwife I went to when I had my loss, but I just couldn't do it. It was still too fresh to go back there. The only other CNM in town was pregnant too, and due around the same time as I was. I made a few appointments with local CPMs, but decided to interview with a CNM out of Danville as well. I sent her a list of my questions and she was very through. I ended up canceling my other appointments and going with her. She asks that you also establish care with a provider with hospital privileges. I decided to go with the doctor in Stanford that signs off on her because I knew the he was supportive of homebirth. My other pregnancies and deliveries had been so smooth, I really didn't think I'd need him anyways beyond ultrasounds. But after struggling with GD and being afraid of going early on top of kidney stones and everything else (by this time it was November and I was dealing with all the emotions of it being a year since my miscarriage), I had decided to transfer care to a hospital midwife. Since I wasn't 35 weeks yet, it made the most logical sense to go to someone who had privileges at the closest hospital with a NICU. I went and saw two. I decided to go with the 2nd because I thought she would be able to empathize with me because she was a homebirther herself. In the office, she gave me a steroid shot to help develop Deacon's lungs in case he did come early. That same evening, at 34 weeks, I started having contraction again! My care did not go how I had envisioned it though.

I'm just not a big hospital fan when it comes to labor and delivery. First of all when I started having contractions, I didn't even get to talk to see the MW I had just transfered care to. The OB she works with was on call. I hadn't planned on having any vaginal exams during pregnancy, but this whole preterm labor thing had thrown me for a loop. Cervical checks are very subjective and don't really tell you much unless you are assessing change with the same person checking. In the office that day I let my new MW check me so if I went back into the hospital, she could tell if there had been any change. Little did I know, she wouldn't come to the hospital unless I was confirmed to be in labor. Homebirth spoils you. I had to see another hospitalist when I arrived. I had found out there is a test for preterm labor called a fetal fibronectin test, but being checked in the last 24 hours can give a false positive. He decided to go ahead and do it because if it was negative it would mean I wasn't in preterm labor, and wouldn't likely give birth in the next 2 weeks. If it came back positive, they would have to redo it because I had let my new MW check me that day... grr. Of course his shift ended and I had to see yet another hospitalist. They tried to stop my contractions with just procardia this time and it wasn't working. They thought maybe the steroid shot triggered them and wanted to keep me that day on magnesium while I got my 2nd dose. That was awful. I was on it for 12 hours. I couldn't get out of bed. They had to catheterize me, put air compressions on my legs to prevent clots, and check my blood pressure every 30 minutes. It makes you feel like you're burning from the inside out. Turns out the test they had done got messed up at the lab so we decided to just wait until the next day to redo it. The mag didn't stop the contractions, so before it ended, they put me back on procardia and gave me something to help me sleep, but it didn't work. The procardia made my blood pressure drop and my heart rate go up, making sleep impossible. The next day I thought I was going to finally get to see my midwife, but apparently it was her day off so the OB came in and redid the test. It came back negative. PHEW! The contactions had finally stopped overnight, so I went home with a diagnosis of irritable uterus.
The next day I called my homebirth midwife and asked her if she'd take me back :) We thought that I wasn't going to give birth until at least 36 weeks. At that point I could give birth at home or at the hospital in Stanford, if I thought I could make it. If I could make it until 37 weeks, I could have my homebirth no question. Everyone said I didn't need to be on bed rest, but I was afraid that if the contractions started again, that they would cause my water break. Turns out I was half right....
Thanksgiving fell on November 24th this year, Dani's birthday, the baby we lost last year. I decided I didn't want to go to Louisville this year. I wanted to stay home and mourn where I had birthed and buried my baby. We have a few families at our church that are from out of town and don't have family close by. Some of them couldn't make it home for Thanksgiving. Our church is a family. When we lost Dani, they prayed and they cried with me. They give me strength through Him. We invited over a couple of families with the understanding it would be nothing fancy. Summer prepared the turkey breasts. Scott and Joshua did the rest. We used paper plates and throw away serving trays. What little dishes were dirtied, were washed by Jacob. Summer had cleaned the house in the days prior. I am truly blessed. I took it easy. I even did the shopping through Kroger's click list. It was a good day. I went to bed with no contractions. 
Read Part Two Here 

Deacon's Birth Story - Part Two

To read Part One click here
I woke up on November 25th, 2016 at 8am with no contractions. I took my blood sugar as normal for the last 7 weeks or so. It was just a little high, so I thought I'd go wash my hands and take it again. When I stood up, I felt fluid soak my panties. I was 35 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I knew I hadn't peed myself. I'm 39 and have gone through seven pregnancies, this one with kidney stones.. I've peed myself before. I started looking for dry panties with toilet paper tucked between my legs. I woke Scott and told him I was pretty sure my water broke. I knew it had, but there's always a little doubt. I felt more fluid come out and remembered I have depends. I got on the couch on my left side. I was trying to keep the fluid in and I didn't want the contractions to get stronger. I was having a few, but I wasn't in labor yet. I called and texted my midwife. Then called the hospital in Stanford to let them know I was on my way in. My MW offered to come in with me for labor support, but I declined. I figured it would all be smooth sailing and I'd have a baby in a couple of hours. Not quite... 
We got to the hospital(an hour away) at 10am.The 1st stage of labor was fine. I didn't want to be checked when I first got there because of course I was GBS positive and I didn't really want to risk pushing that bacteria up into my cervix without knowing if I'd get enough antibiotics in. I got the 1st dose at around noon. They were really good about me declining the eye ointment. The nurse was also very nice about me not wanting to be checked, but I let curiosity get the best of me. After the antibiotics finished, I was going to walk and if the contractions picked up I wanted a reference point to know if I was progressing. I knew being in the hospital with ruptured membranes was putting me on the clock, and I was feeling the pressure. I was about 3cm. 
We walked for about an hour. Scott went and got Arby's for lunch. I ate half Summers sandwich :) When we got back to the room I started bouncing on a ball. 
waiting for my ball
I could trigger some decent contractions there, but still not in labor. At about 4 they did my 2nd dose of antibiotics. I went ahead and laid down to rest my back and legs while we waited for it to finish. Then it was back to walking. 
We walked for close to another hour. The hallway made a square it took about 3 minutes to get around it. I started having a contraction about every lap. We went back to the room. They had my dinner waiting for me. All liquid, but better than what most hospitals will feed you during labor, which is nothing but ice chips. I had the chicken broth. The other stuff was sugary: juice, jello, sherbet, 7up, so I skipped them because I didn't want to chance a glucose spike and Deacon's insulin be too high and his sugar crash after birth. I asked to be checked at 5:30 to see if the contractions were doing anything. I wanted to get in the tub before it got intense. I was 4.5 cm. Progress. Finally in labor! 
I got in the tub and munched on some cashews. I browsed FB for a while then Summer and I watched watched a little Supernatural on our laptop :) At about 8 I guess, they started me on another dose of antibiotics. This is the part I don't like about being in the hospital though. I start feeling like a watched pot. They'd say, "You'll let us know as soon as you start feeling a change, right?" So like a good girl when it finally started to feel just a little more intense... like I couldn't focus on Sam and Dean anymore... I asked to be checked. I got out of the tub and found out I was just 6cm. This was at about 8:30 maybe. Time starts to get blurry. But it goes into fast forward from here.

I got right back in the tub.  I started a low moan to help me focus on opening and to stay relaxed. The doctor, who by the way ended up not being the doctor I had established with (he was out of town for Thanksgiving), came in shortly after and asked if he could check me while I was still in the tub. I was 7. Summer was by my side the whole time. My belly was sticking out of the water a bit, so she would pour water over it during a peak. Then I had 2 contractions that were really intense and I didn't feel like my uterus was relaxing all the way in between.

I got out of the tub and asked to be checked again at 9. When I walked out of the bathroom, it felt like there were a million people in the room, all staring right at me. My anxiety was rising. The doctor was there with his tool box of supplies. 
He checked me. I was 9, but Deacon wasn't liking these contractions. His heartbeat was dipping after them and he was still high in my uterus. I got out of the bed to try to get him to come down. I heard the doctor say to grab the vacuum. My anxiety went up another notch. After a few contractions, I started to feel a little more pressure and asked him to see if I was complete at 9:11. He said to be prepared, that if Deacon kept showing signs of distress and wasn't coming down, they would have to help him out with the vacuum. I was complete, but he was still high, so I didn't have the urge to push. His heart rate started dropping again, but he did better when I was standing, so I got back out of the bed. In hindsight, I should have squatted or got on all fours in the bed. When I stood back up, I'm not sure if I started having an anxiety attack, or my sugar was low, or what, but I started feeling a little faint. I started thinking I should just try pushing, but of course as soon as I laid down, Deacon's heart rate went down. They had me turn onto my left side. I was torn between not wanting to "purple push" and deprive him of even more oxygen and just trying to get him out. I was grunting through the contractions, looking for the urge to push, but it wasn't happening. They had me turn over to my right side and gave me oxygen.  The doctor was checking me during every contraction, which was super painful, and distracting from my task. I sort of yelled/cried out after one, "why do you keep doing that!?" He said he needed to know if I was making any progress because Deacon heart rate wasn't coming back up between each contractions and we may need to act soon. There wasn't an in between at this point though, they didn't feel like they were really going away completely before another peak would start. I decided in my mind I was going to have to either push with everything I had and get him out, or give up, and let them vacuum him out. So with the next contraction I held my breath and pushed. I felt him come down and kept pushing until his head was out. I asked if he had his cord around his neck, which he did pretty tightly.  The doctor looped it off then I reached down as I pushed the rest of his body out and pulled his slippery body to my chest at 9:34. I did it. 
He was breathing, but his heart rate was still low, so I let them take him across the room to get a little ventilation and oxygen after Summer cut the cord. 
His apgars were 6, 8, and 9... so he recover quickly and was back in my arms in less than 15 minutes. 
I took his blankets off as soon as I got him and put him back to my chest. I had let the doctor manage my 3rd stage, by pressing on my fundus and putting just a small amount of traction on the cord, mostly because I knew the sooner the placenta came, the sooner the room would clear and I could relax with my baby. It came quickly, with minimal bleeding. 
We cuddled and nursed for over an hour then Summer got to hold him at 11:12. 

We took him to the nursery to be weighed and get his Vitamin K and Hep b shots. I don't really think hep b is necessary, but we fully vaccinate and don't think it's worth finding a new pediatrician for. He was 4 lbs 15 oz and 17 3/4 in. His blood sugar was also great.
Summer took the 1st shift to let me try to get some rest a little after midnight. She held him skin to skin in a babywearing shirt. I probably slept for an hour. She woke me at a little before two.
I fed him, changed him and cuddled him until 4 something, then woke Scott (he had been asleep since midnight) for his turn to hold him skin to skin. I slept another hour and a half or so, until about 6. 
I fed and changed him, then woke Summer back up for another cuddle. This went on most of the next day. I slept an hour or so here and there when I could. Scott left at around 10 to pick up the other kids minus Joshua, who had to work. My parents came the same time as them. Everybody took a turn, then were ready to go, which I was thankful for. 

Scott stayed home the 2nd night to be with the littles. Summer stayed with me. I had napped a lot during the day, so I let her get a little more shut eye that night. ;) I did wake her up to go with me to get him reweighed. Instead of losing any, he gained 2oz. I had told them my milk had already started coming in! 
His last hurdles as a 35 weeker the next day, to get to come home, were his bilirubin and car seat tests. He passed both but his bilirubin was a little elevated so we had to follow up with our pediatrician the following week. He ended up on a biliblanket for one night, but it has been slowly coming down. At his 2 week check up it was 12 something. They'll check it again at 3 weeks. He's still been gaining weight like a champ. He was 5 11.5 at 2 weeks :)
Everything I went through was so worth it. Deacon is awesome and perfect in every way. Of course I wish that he could've cooked a little longer. Maybe he wouldn't have had such a hard time at the end of my labor, and maybe he wouldn't have had to have had his poor little foot lanced so many times, but he is my rainbow and for that, I am grateful. God is so good. Maybe him staying in the womb longer wouldn't have changed those things. Maybe it was God's intervention for me having a homebirth. It apparently wasn't meant to be this time. I think I knew deep down. I always write an in depth birth plan and this time I just couldn't.
Just pictures from here that Summer took :)