Monday, May 07, 2007

Birth Story - Carson

Carson gave me my wish and was not born on the 16th--the one year anniversary of Drew's death. So here's how things went.

On Wednesday, April 18th, I began having contractions around 9:30-10:00 a.m. They were fairly strong, just enough to make me pause what I was doing and breathe. They started out coming around 15-30 minutes apart. They were not letting up so I called Elizabeth's grandparents to ask if they could come and get her and watch her overnight. Just in case and I didn't want to have to call them in the middle of the night. Of course they were ok with it. :)

My mother-in-law got here in the afternoon and we sat around until Raymond got home from work. We waited so that he could see Elizabeth before she left. My MIL witnessed my pauses and the contractions began coming more frequently while she was here. About the time that Raymond got home, the intensity increased considerably. They were also averaging about 10 minutes apart. Maybe a little less.

Throughout the day, Raymond kept calling and asking if I shouldn't go to the hospital? I kept telling him no, I'm ok. He won't admit it but I think that he might have been just a tad bit excited and eager. :)

I called my parents to tell them and give them plenty of time to drive out here. It's about a 4 hour drive for them. I told them not to bother coming until Thursday morning because I was going to labor at home all night. Hey, I've been through this before and felt like Carson wouldn't arrive before then. I went upstairs to lay down and time my contractions. I guess that my parents (well, my dad!) were eager so they called and said that they were heading out that night. They also brought my grandma along with them. They all got here around 1:30 or 2:00 a.m. I was still awake and contracting. I didn't sleep much Wednesday night!

I got out of bed around 6:00 a.m. and told Raymond that we might as well just go ahead and go to the hospital. I still didn't feel like Carson was close to arrival but the contractions were extremely intense and about 5 minutes apart.

We got to the hospital around 6:45 a.m. and were directed to triage. The nurse checked me and hooked me up to the monitor. Yep, the contractions were registering very strong but I was only dilated to 3 cm. We hung out in triage for a while to see if I'd dialte anymore because I was right on the cusp of when they admit for labor. In about an hour, I had gotten to 4 cm. so I was admitted and taken to a birthing suite. I was so happy when they wheeled me right past the high risk birthing rooms to the "normal" rooms. We went by the room that I was in with Drew--I didn't say anything but I noticed and teared up.

If you will remember Drew's birth story, I did not have a good experience all around. The hospital staff wasn't that great (in my opinion) and I felt as though I had no control over anything at all. I just want to say right now that this time was COMPLETELY different. Elizabeth's birth was great largely due to the hospital staff (at a different, smaller, private hospital) but Carson's was even better. Largely due to the staff and their willingness to accomodate my birth plan and wishes. My 2 L&D nurses were fantastic. I'm going to write a letter to their supervisor detailing just how wonderful they were. They made my entire experience easier than it otherwise would have been.

Anyway, I got settled in and they hooked me up to the telemetry that would allow me to still be monitored and walk around. I had an IV at this point but it was in my birth plan that I wanted a hep/saline lock instead. My nurse spoke to my doctor, came and got a copy of my birth plan and unhooked the IV. I was given a menu so that I could order something to eat. Many hospitals/doctors will not allow a laboring woman to eat in case of a c-section. My doctor had no problem with it so Raymond ordered me a BLT. It was GOOD because I was starving!

I didn't really want an epidural this time around but after discussing it with my doctor, I agreed to one. In case my VBAC (vaginal birth after ceasearian) did not work and I needed a c-section, the medication would already be in place. Eeryn (nurse) asked me when I wanted my epidural and I told her as soon as possible since I was going to have one anyway. :)

The anestheologist came by shortly thereafter, within about 30 minutes. We went through all of the scary stuff they have to tell you and then she started the epi. The doctor took her time and found the perfect placement; it took 3 sticks but they were not bad. I heard some crackling and thought that she was wadding up some paper or something. Turns out, I "have the spine of an 80 year old." Yikes! It's most likely hereditary; my mom had bone spurs removed from her back a few years ago. Something to worry about in the future. She also said that the covering of my spinal cord was extremely tough and she had been worried about pushing in too far. But in the end, it all worked out and turned out to be the perfect epidural. I could feel my legs, they felt like they were asleep, but felt no contractions. And it wore off very quickly after it was turned off (continuous flow via catheter).

So, it was just a waiting game at that point. Raymond and I tried to grab some sleep in the meantime. My doctor came by on her lunch to check on me and I was about 6 cm. dilated but Carson was still at a -2 station (high). So things were still progressing.

Elizabeth had school that day so things were peaceful at the hospital! It was just me and Raymond.

Dr. Reid came by again around 2ish and my amniotic sac was bulging but not breaking. The one thing I'll never get to experience is the spontaneous rupture of membranes. I had in my birth plan that I didn't want an amniotomy (artifical rupture of membranes) but with it bulging like it was, I consented. It wasn't an emergent situation or anything but after thinking about it, I decided that it wasn't that big of a deal. Doctor broke the water, it was clear, no meconium and told me that 4:00 p.m. would be a good time for her to deliver Carson. :D I told her that I'd see what I could do for her.

They went ahead and sent in the tech to set up everything for delivery. I was checked again around 3:30 p.m. and was 10 cm. dilated with just a bit of my cervix left to thin out. Carson was at a 0 station--down but not really in the birth canal. Right at that moment, Elizabeth, my parents and grandma arrived. I spoke to them for a bit and then Dr. Reid was back. I hit the 4:00 p.m. wish pretty dead on and we were all laughing about that! (I'm telling you, Carson is a cooperative child in most things.)

Everyone left the room except Eeryn, Lauryn (nurse), Dr. Reid, Raymond and me. The lights were low and it was nice and quiet. There was a mirror set up so I could watch Carson be born. Just how I wanted it.

I began my first push and Carson went from 0 station to crowning. I don't know how many pushes it took but Carson's head was out. He would not let the doctor suction him--he will stick his tongue on the roof of his mouth if he doesn't want something in there! My first thought was, "Oh good, he doesn't look that much like Drew!" I was worried that he would look a lot like Drew and that would be difficult. One or two more pushes and Carson was out. It was 4:17 p.m. and about 12 minutes after I began pushing. He was immediately put on my chest and within 2 seconds, he opened his eyes and looked directly into mine. It was magical. We waited until his umbilical cord stopped pulsating and then Raymond cut it. The cord blood was harvested for donation. I had planned to delay everything for at least 30 minutes so that Raymond and I could just bond with Carson. But things don't always go as planned, do they?

Eeryn noticed that Carson was gasping when trying to breathe. They asked to take him across the room to the bed and warmer because he was having some trouble getting his breath. A nurse practioner and neonatologist were called in. More and more people kept coming into the room. I was crying and almost lost all control. Maybe I did, I don't know. All I know is that my baby was having trouble breathing and they could not do deep suction. Raymond was going back and forth between me and Carson. I don't know how he kept it together. At one point, I told him, "I can't do this again." We knew that this was different from Drew but still, the past bears on the present.

They suspected that Carson had inhaled some meconium. He must have pooped between the time my water was broken and birth because there was meconium at delivery. With him not allowing deep suction, well, it wasn't good. They were giving him oxygen via a mask--he pushed it away. They tried giving it via a tube held in front of his face--he was batting at the doctor's hands. They asked if they could go ahead and give him a Vitamin K shot because that will sometimes startle them into breathing better. Of course I said yes. Forget delaying anything, just make him ok was my thought. The shot didn't help. I heard the neonatologist say that they may have to intubate him. NO!! Raymond was just trying to assure me that this was totally different from Drew and I knew that. But I was having flashbacks. I could not do anything except lay there while my placenta was delivered and I was stitched up.

Elizabeth was brought in to meet Carson. As Raymond was holding her up to see him, she said, "There's something wrong with his vagina!" That broke some of the tension!

Dr. Reid brought over the placenta so that I could see it. Just one of those strange things that I wanted to do, see what had nourished my baby all of these months. It looked healthy, according to the doctor. I had also requested no shot of pitocin after delivery to help my uterus clamp down. They had it ready just in case but I did not need it. I was able to massage my uterus and it went down with no problem. Carson's birth is the only one where I had no pitocin at all and that was important to me.

They put Carson in an incubator and brought him over to me. JUST LIKE THEY HAD BROUGHT DREW TO MY ROOM TO SEE ME BEFORE TRANSFER TO THE NICU. That was a major flashback. Then they took him out to go to the NICU. I'm told that they paused in the hall to let the family see him.

Carson's actual birth was just how I wanted it. It was the best birth of my 3. I ended up with a 2nd degree tear and a very successful VBAC. That was the good part. The bad part was Carson's breathing. His apgars were: 1 minute=5, 5 minutes=7, 10 minutes=7. Not great.
I plan to write about his NICU stay but that will have to wait for another day. One probably way in the future! (This is kind of my journal. I write it and post it here and print it out later for the baby book. That's why I go on and on and on...)


Kendra's mom said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful birth experience. I can just imagine your panic when he started having breathing problems. But up until then it sounds like you were extremely calm and well prepared. I don't know how you did it! Well done. And Carson is gorgeous. I esp. like the pic where he and E. seem to be smiling at each other.

Tasha said...

Wow, Jana, just reading your birth story made me an emotional wreck! I can't imagine going through some of the same type of moments as you did with Drew. I would have probably lost it at some point too.

I am so glad that he is doing well and is okay though. He is a beautiful little guy and your birth story sounds like it went almost perfectly...not counting the breathing difficulties that Carson had. Congratulations again!!!

Tasha, Scott, and Kylie