Monday, December 31, 2007

The day that changed our lives forever

I went into labor at around 2am on Dec 31, 2007. My husband and I had planned a peaceful birth at home, so I wasn't hurrying around getting things together to leave for the hospital. While my husband made a few phone calls to friends and our midwives, I walked around the house, stopping to deal with contractions as they came, but just really enjoying this time early in labor. Our decision to have a homebirth was made after much thought, research and prayer. Our son, Aohdan, came very fast for a first baby - 5 hours flat from first contraction to crowning. Typically, second babies comes a lot quicker, so we prepared for a 3 hour or less labor. Our plans for a home birth always included a back up hospital in the event of complications. Our back up hospital was St. Ann's in Westerville, Ohio. So our midwives, Kathy and Amy, arrived at around 3:30am, followed shortly thereafter by two of my closest friends, Carmen and Jennifer. At this point, my contractions were a good 5-8 minutes apart and intense. I automatically adopted a hands and knees position to relieve pressure on my lower back which was really hurting. After laboring in this position for about 3 hours, Kathy decided to check me and found me to still be at 5cm dilation. She suggested I go get some rest as it could be awhile. I felt a little frustrated at this point. I guess I was banking on having a super quick labor and getting to meet my baby relatively soon. So Kenny and I crawled into bed and, I don't know how, but I managed to sleep (I actually **snored** haha!) between contractions. Kathy and Amy kept steady track of the baby's heartbeat with a doppler and around noon Kathy suggested I get up and walk around to encourage labor along. So Kenny and I got our shoes on and walked around outside for a couple of hours. The contractions were really intense by this time. I was puking with each one from the intensity. Finally, at around 6pm that evening, I was leaning over the couch and my water broke with a mad gush and I immediately felt a shift in labor - I was in transition. I remember for the months leading up to having Ava I was kinda dreading this part of labor with no pain meds. But it wasn't really that bad, I mean it hurt like the dickens, but it was tolerable. Shortly after my water broke I got into the birthing pool and Kathy checked me and I was at 8cm dilation. Baby's heart beat was in the 150's and all was good. After about an hour in the birth pool, Kathy decided to check me again because I guess I was starting to involuntarily grunt at the end of a contraction and, sure enough, I was fully dilated. She said I could push whenever I felt the urge. I did start to push, though the **uncontrollable urge** that I've heard women describe didn't hit me until about an hour later. I didn't push very effectively in the water, so we tried the toilet, we tried squatting and finally found a good position by leaning back in a semi sitting position. By this time I had been pushing for about 1 1/2 hours and I was soooo tired. Kathy said the baby was having late decels and suggested we transfer to the hospital. So we packed up and headed to the hospital. It is about a 30 minute drive from our house to St. Ann's and, about 20 minutes into the trip, the baby's heart rate started dipping into the 40's and 50's. Upon arrival at the ER, there was barely an audible heart rate on doppler. At this point I was numb with pain and in disbelief at what was happening. "What went wrong?!" My mind was screaming. The ER staff rushed me into a trauma room and a very kind Dr that I'll call Dr. M explained to me that there was no time for a C-Section and I saw him preparing forceps. I was petrified. I just closed my eyes for a moment and asked God to give me the strength to do this. I screamed in pain as I pushed and Dr. M pulled and she was born in 2 pushes. She was immediately handed off to the resucitation team from the NICU. I didn't even get to see if she was a boy or a girl. I asked the Dr and I heard one of the nurses call over her shoulder, "Girl." I just broke down and cried. Kenny and I felt the whole time we were going to have a girl and here she was. I kept waiting to hear a cry and realized that they were still trying to resucitate her. I grabbed Kenny and told him to go pray for her. So he got as close as he could..I heard the NICU team calling out, "1 min....." Kenny prayed "5 min...we got a heart beat!" God had given her back to us. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I thought everything was ok now that they had her going. I was wrong.