Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On Motherhood: Why My Library Books Are Late

Or: I Recently Had Another Baby

I was really adamant about having my baby vaginally, so I planned to go to Albuquerque to attempt a VBAC, as the hospital in my town doesn't allow VBAC. This hospital also has pretty high infection rates, so I was not interested in unnecessary surgery in a MRSA hut.

I went to my OB/GYN on September 20th for a standard check up. My doctor was concerned with my blood pressure and the amount of protein in my urine, so I was sent to the local hospital for observation. He thought I might have pre-eclampsia. I spent 3 hours in the hospital alone while my husband picked up our toddler and waited for news. My doctor released me from the hospital, but insisted that I go on bedrest and go immediately to Albuquerque so that I could be ready to deliver at any time.

My husband and I frantically packed and drove to Albuquerque (3 hours from our hometown) the next morning. We took our daughter out of daycare and I began my maternity leave early. The doctor that I was scheduled to see in Albuquerque was out of the office, so I met with another doctor. She tested my blood pressure and urine, and I was just fine. Off bedrest. Bedrest lasted one night.

Thankfully, my sister lives in Albuquerque, so I had a comfortable place to stay. Unfortunately, my husband had to return to work, so I was without him until the weekend. My due date was listed as October 6th, but my first child came a week early, and my second child was measuring a week larger than estimated, so I was sure that I would be back home by the end of September.

This was not the case. Each day I would rub the pressure points on my feet and hands that were connected to labor. I ate spicy foods. I did squats. I rubbed my belly. I was ready to get the baby out and go home to start our life as a family of four. Meanwhile, my daughter was restless. She missed her friends from daycare, and she didn't understand why she couldn't see her daddy and dogs everyday. My sister and brother-in-law were great about keeping her occupied, but there is only so much you can do with a 2-year-old.

Each visit to the doctor's office was more frustrating. The hospital that I delivered at is connected with a university, so I met about 5 med students while waiting to go into labor. This is great, because I really want as many young doctors to be educated about VBAC as possible, but it also meant that I had to re-explain my situation every time. It also means that their bedside manner wasn't quite refined. At my last check up, a young student walked in to do the standard, measure, question, puppet, and before he could even talk to me I started bawling. "I'm still pregnant, and I want to go home, and I miss my husband, and I am spending my maternity leave waiting around!" The poor guy timidly reached out and patted my shoulder and stammered, "Um..I'm..It's ok." He went to get his supervising doctor and they discussed my case. After we all talked, I made an appointment to induce.

Induction reduces the chances of a successful VBAC, but I was 1 week overdue, and each day my baby was growing. She was already past the 7lb mark, so I knew that waiting longer could also decrease my chances for VBAC. At least with induction I could have an endpoint before another weekend away from home.

On October 13, at 8:30 pm, I was induced. The induction process is very slow, so we were instructed to get some rest, but I was too excited. My husband slept on and off in the chair in the delivery room from about 10 pm on. I finally dozed off at about 1 am, but by 4:30 my contractions were too strong to sleep through. I was hoping to be done by noon the next day.

Not so. At arourn 8 or 9 am they decided to break my water. When this happened, my baby's heart rate dropped dramatically. This brought in about 15 people. They turned off the the pitocin and gave me some drug to raise both heart rates. This halted the (very slow) progress of my labor. Once we found out both of us were ok, pitocin was started again. At this time I was only dialated to 3 cm. I was very frustrated. I was also extremely cold and tired. I had 4 blankets on me, and I kept my eyes closed most of the time.

About an hour later I had only dialated 1 more centimeter. The pitocin was making the contractions very severe, and I was not about to continue to labor this fiercly without assistance. I was given a narcotic to take the edge off the pain, and I requested an epidural when the narcotic wore off. Meanwhile my contractions were painful. I told the doctors I was unwilling to continue to labor this hard if I wasn't progressing. I told them to prepare for a C-section. I had already had one labor last over 1 day and end in surgery. I wanted to save some energy for when the baby was born. I was so nervous about being tired during the one time when adreniline should be rushing through my veins. I wanted to get labor done so I could get to caring for my baby.

The doctors were supportive, but they were also nervous about sending me in for a C-section when I had been so gung-ho about VBAC. The explained the risks and benefits of a C-Section, and then they asked if they could check my cervix one more time. The doctor said, "We'd be really embarrassed if you delivered vaginally on the operating table." It turned out that I had finally started to progress, as I was at 8 cm. I decided to wait a bit longer and attempt to push.

I pushed for about an hour and a half, using a bar and a sheet for leverage. I was so tired, and I nearly gave up several times. My husband was very supportive, and my sister came in around the last 20 minutes. With their help I delivered my daughter vaginally. It was so incredible and bizarre. And as soon as she left my body, I was wide awake. We both made it through labor healthy.

The doctor that delivered my daughter had never delivered a child before. She was great, and I am glad that I got to help someone learn. She also showed my sister and I my placenta, which was awesome and gross. I recommend looking at one if you ever get the chance.

The next day a med student stopped by my recovery room to check on me. She said that she was glad to hear that the VBAC was successful, because she saw that I had "more checks in the negative column." I'm glad too. I know that no matter what, healthy baby and mom are what matter most, but I would have felt pretty low if I had gone through with the C-section, especially since I could have done that without leaving my home and husband for 3 weeks.

I have recovered very quickly compared with my first child. I am already in my pre-pregnancy clothes, which feels wonderful. After about 6 months of elastic, buttons and zippers are a welcome change. But the most welcome change is

Baby Edith!


  1. So well-written! Come to think of it, I didn't really know the details of this birth. Baby Edith is so sweet. Love hearing about her birthday.


  2. Here from Shakesville! Congratulations that is one gorgeous newborn!


About Me

My photo
Farmington, NM, United States
Old enough to know better, young enough to change.