Saturday, July 29, 2006

Ezra's Birth Story

Throughout my pregnancy, I was convinced Ezra would come early, perhaps on January 31 or February 2 (his due date was February 4, 2006). However, all those days came and went with no baby. On February 6, my mom came up for a visit to help me maintain my sanity while waiting for baby. She arrived around 4:30 in the afternoon, having driven through a blizzard, and around 7:30 she, Dave and I went out to dinner. Soon after sitting down, I realized I was having a lot of braxton hicks contractions and I found myself wondering if this was it. We finished dinner and returned home and the contractions kept coming, about every four to five minutes, and getting stronger.

Around 9 p.m. I took a bath and discovered what I thought was bloody show. However, the show kept coming and was quite fluid and I began to wonder if perhaps this was something else. I called the primary midwife around midnight with very regular but fairly short (30-45 seconds) contractions to ask about the discharge and after significant questioning, she decided to come check me. When she and the secondary midwife arrived, they discovered that in fact my water had broken and there was thick meconium – not a good sign. I remember looking at the ceiling after they had checked me and thinking, “Wow, we may not end up with a baby.”

We decided to go to the hospital for monitoring and to start I.V. antibiotics since I was GBS positive. We got there around 2 a.m. and I was strapped to the monitors – one for baby's heartrate and one to identify contractions. After about half an hour, the midwives reviewed the strip and determined that the baby was having some decelerations that were not associated with contractions and they consulted with the OB on call. They decided to transfer care and the OB offered to do a cesarean at that time if I wanted but thought it best to allow me to continue to labour while monitoring the baby continuously. Dave went down and brought the rest of our stuff from the car. We'd put the baby's car seat in the trunk for the trip over to have a bit more room for me. When Dave had brought all our stuff up, he said, “I put our baby's car seat back in place so we can bring our baby home.” and he said it in a way that meant everything was going to be fine.

At this point, my contractions kept getting stronger and time began to go by without my noticing since I was so focused on getting through the contractions. Around 6 a.m., I was 3 cm dilated and 100 % effaced (up from 2 cm and 30% effaced around 2 a.m.). Some time after that we decided to get an epidural because I wasn't able to relax through the contractions and was feeling a lot of pressure in my bum. I was really scared of getting the epidural and pretty much fell in love with the anestesiologist, he was so kind and warm and respectful. I think I got the epidural around 8 a.m. and it brought considerable, though not complete, relief. They sent everyone (the doula, my mom, and the midwives) home so I could try to sleep. But I was still feeling intense pressure and couldn't. I remember at this time, holding onto the bed's bar for dear life through a contraction, listening to the baby's heartrate get slower and slower and praying the contraction would end so that it could go back up.

Dr. F, the new OB on call, checked me around 9:25 a.m. and although I had dilated to 7 cm, I now had a fever. He said I was getting a section because there were too many strikes against me: decelerations, not much variability in the baby's heartrate, GBS positive and now I had a fever. By 9:40 I was being wheeled down to the OR and Ezra was born at 10:01 a.m. I didn't have a chance to see my mom before going in but the midwives got there and observed the surgery.

They took Dave away to get dressed up in sterile clothes and prepped me for surgery. I had a new anesthesiologist, who was also very nice. The new epidural made me feel like I couldn't breathe or laugh but he assured me this was very normal, I wouldn't stop breathing and I was just fine. I could feel tingling sensations on my belly as they washed and shaved me, and I guess when they started cutting. Dave and the midwives came in when they put the curtain up. I remember feeling like Jesus on a horizontal crucifix because both my arms were stretched out and strapped down. I was glad they were strapped down because then I didn't need to prevent myself from moving. I was worried about having a panic attack on the table but I was so tired, there wasn't much risk of that. I just kept breathing and thinking that I just had to get through this for the baby.

I tried not to listen to the doctors' conversation because I knew if I heard a fragment I could take it out of context and get scared unnecessarily. Nevertheless, I heard bits and pieces. Like “That's her bladder and it's very full – there's something wrong with her catheter.” I guess they fixed whatever the problem was before proceeding.

Next thing I know they tell me the head is born and that I'm going to feel a lot of pressure. Well, “a lot of pressure” didn't really prepare me. It was the most intense pressure on my diaphragm I've ever felt, and I felt like I would never breathe again... it was quite scary but over very quickly. The doctor said there was no amniotic fluid left and the baby was covered in meconium with a very short cord. And then the anesthesiologist announced quietly, “it's a boy.” I remember being faintly surprised it wasn't a girl. There was silence for quite a while (well people were probably talking but it felt like silence to me because there were no baby cries like on tv). I didn't really think about the baby (I probably wasn't letting myself for fear he was dead), just about the weird sensations I was feeling and how tired I was. I heard Dr. Fraser say, “I'm taking it out now,” and I thought he was giving me a hysterectomy. I yelled, “You're taking my uterus?!? Why?!?” not so much worried about losing my uterus (I'd already decided hours before that I was never going through this again) as about the reason, because I knew it had to be something serious. Dave told me that he was just taking it out to stitch it up and would put it back in when he was done.

Then I heard a baby crying – it was the cutest baby cry I'd ever heard – and I asked, “Is that him? Is that our baby?” It was. I started sobbing from relief and fear and joy and everything, and Dr. F had to tell me to stop crying because it was changing 'his' uterus. Dave went over to the baby and the midwife stayed next to me. At some point they brought our baby over for me to look at and he was just beautiful. I kissed his cheek and said hello. I thought his name should be Jack Finley but changed my mind later. Then they took him to the nursery for tests and observation. Dave accompanied him. They finished stitching me up and removed some of the tubes and straps and other stuff. I couldn't move my arms or legs, they just tingled, and I apologized for the fact that I couldn't help them get me onto the gurney to go to recovery.

After the surgery I couldn't stop shaking. They brought the baby for a short visit around noon and let me hold him and nurse him. I stopped shaking while I held him... I think it must have been a physiological need to hold him. My body knew I'd had a baby and I needed to hold him to recover from the shock. I started shaking when they took him away again, but not as bad and not for long... While we waited for his return Dave and I talked about his name. He thought his name should be Ezra Jack even though my first thought was Jack Finley. I figured after watching me go through all that labour and a c-section, he must have a pretty good reason so I agreed to Ezra Jack. Now it seems perfect so obviously Dave was right.

I didn't see Ezra again until 5 p.m. when he was discharged from the nursery. At that time, the nurse brought him in and said, “he's very hungry and he's all yours. He doesn't need to go back to the nursery.”


Penny said...

That is a great story! Thanks for sharing!

Mine was so anti-climatic (with the obvious exception of Oee's screaming arrival). I felt some squeezing pressure, went to the hospital, received an epi, fell asleep, awoke to some pressure, called the doctor, pushed hard twice before he got to the room and once as he pulled on his gloves, in time for him to take Oee's head in his hands. He unwrapped the cord and I pushed the rest of her out. The end.

I love reading other people's birth-stories. I don't really envy them, but I live vicariously, since mine was pie.


Happy to hear that everything went well. You have a good husband. And, your son has a terrific name!!

Penny said...


I have to admit this.

Oee's bio-dad was such a verbally-abusive sexist jerk in his relationship with me back then and he was so scoffing and angry that I had wanted an epi that I had to fake my labor pains. A couple cries is all.


dawn224 said...

I had a drug free labor. They did shoot me full of pit afterwards to shrink my uterus (which I didn't want, but by that time I was agreeing to anything to get them the F$ck (sorry) away from me. When I finally got up and took a bath - when I got out of the tub I had terrible shakes - I had trouble regulating body temp for about a week.