June 8, 2009—Lucas’s birth story—updated.
I found out I was pregnant with Lucas in September 2008. We never plan on our pregnancies, and each one was a surprise. I researched every doctor that takes my insurance within 20 miles of me, literally. I looked up each one on ratemd.com and looked up their license on the California medical board site. The doctor I chose went to Brown, and Johns Hopkins. Her partner went to UCSF and taught at UCLA. Top notch care.
The doc I had was very concerned about baby’s health over mine, and I was happy with that. Based on glucose intolerance in 2nd pregnancy, she sent me to diabetes counselors right away so my blood sugar would be kept under control. She sent me to a specialist for the ultrasound as well. He was the one who confirmed I was having a boy. He also did a detailed check of the baby, which I was thrilled to have. Top notch care.
When I told her I wanted a doula, she referred me to probably the best Doula around. Certainly the best in So Cal. She has amazing experience.She has assisted in nearly 400 births. I was also due to give birth at an amazing hospital. Recently renovated to have the best. The birth rooms are huge and cozy, they provide birthballs, gliders, birth bars. They have room srvice for meals, so you order what you want, when you want. Again, top notch care. I have since found out they are not considered birth friendly.
This time, the doctor wanted to induce me a week early because he was already quite large. All of my babies have been large, and he was proving to be one of the smaller. I argued that since I had given birth naturally to big babies, that this one should be no problem I was, however, on ever increasing does of insulin to control the fasting blood sugar levels in the morning. I wasn’t sure what to do? Listen to a doctor who went to one of the top medical schools in the country? Listen to my doula, one of the top doulas in Southern California who gave me advice on how to avoid getting induced? Listen to the moms on the internet who were against induction? In the end, I went with the doctor. Had the insulin not been a factor, I probably would have waited. I successfully argued with other doctors to delay induction, but I didn’t know what the insulin was doing to the baby.
I was scheduled for induction on May 7th. On May 5th, I worked until 10pm, and then walked home the half a mile. At this point, I was walking very slowly, so it took a longer than usual. On May 6th, I worked until 1pm, and left early. I had laundry to do before I went to the hospital. Joe dropped me off at the hospital on May 7th. He had our three daughters to take care of. I had my iPod touch loaded with Torchwood Series 2, and Firefly (which I had never seen at that point). I expected to be there for hours before the Pitocin (Pit) worked, so was planning on distracting myself with the TV Shows. I watched a couple episodes of Torchwood before I figured that I needed to call my doula. The labor was starting earlier than I expected. I had contractions that were bearable, but painful.
My doula had already asked me if she could bring a trainee with her, and I told her yes, so they both arrived about an hour after I called. The trainee looked familiar, and I thought she had actress teeth, but I didn’t say anything. A nurse came in and said she looked familiar, and Tracy, my main doula, said that Trainee was an actress. That was when I looked at her again. She was the star of a sitcom I watched that lasted for two seasons! and I don’t mean a minor character, she was the main female lead on the show. I’m not going to say her name here to protect her privacy because she was awesome, and I don’t want to look like I’m using her in any way. She said she assisted at her sister’s birth, and became interested in being a doula because of it. Her plan is to go to hospitals and volunteer as a doula when she is not shooting.
I can tell you that labor was almost fun because of Trainee. During my contractions, I would remember things about her tv show, and ask her about them when the contraction was over, which cracked her up. My labor was progressing oddly. The contractions were very strong, but didn’t build like normal. They sort of slammed me all at once and then went away as quickly. In my previous labors, I could feel the contraction coming and building to a peak, not starting at a peak.
My doulas “danced” with me, massaged me, had me on the birth ball and walking. It was awesome. Never before I had I not been confined to bed. The nurses were okay with only monitoring me intermittently. My doula was so well respected at that hospital, that I think I got some extra privliges because of it.
I labored for several hours, when the contractions got stronger and more unnatural. My doulas were very good at getting me through the contractions. I can’t believe how yucky labor is. I was leaking amniotic fluid with every contraction. It’s embarrassing, but the doulas are so used to it, they don’t react. I finally asked for an epidural. My doulas reminded me that I had said I didn’t want an epidural and how I hated them, and I got through more with their help, but when I finally decided I couldn’t handle the weird contractions anymore, they switched gears instantly and told me that I was making the right decision, and to not feel guilty about it. They were great. I still felt guilty, though.
The epidural actually helped my labor progress better because I wasn’t fighting the contractions. I dilated very quickly with the epidural, and it was time to push very soon. My doctor had arrived a few hours earlier and stayed because she was convinced I was going to deliver soon.
For the first time, I pushed in many different positions to try to encourage the baby to come out. I used the squat bar, laid on my side, on all fours. I was never allowed to do this before. It was not working, I’m sure partly because my pushing was ineffective due to the epidural. I finally got the pushing right, but it took a while because the sensation wasn’t there. I kept complaining about it. I pushed for 90 minutes, when the doctor left the room. When she came back, she told me I had options. I could continue pushing, but the fact that this was my fourth baby, and he wasn’t budging concnerned her. She could try using the vacuum to help him out, or I could have a C-Section. she told me that if she used a vacuum and he was stuck for some other reason, there could be distress. I told her to do the C-Section. His safety was my primary concern, but I was also exhausted and couldn’t push any more.
The doctor pushed the baby back up inside of me, and they called the anesthesiologist. My doula, who had worked several births at that hospital and was well known there, said he was the best and I was very lucky he was on duty. He was the one who did the epidural, too. Because my doula had a good reputation there, they allowed both of my doulas to go to the operating room with me. I vaguely remember being wheeled down the hallway and into the operating room. They strapped my arms down out away from my body and put tubes in my arms. I big tent was put up around my lower half. I was conscious but loopy. They were playing 80’s music in the operating room, and I remember the Go-Go’s singing “We Got the Beat.”
I felt nothing, not even tugging, when they cut into me and took out the baby. The incision was long, but healed to be almost invisible. I don’t care if there’s a scar anyway. It’s not like I walk around showing off my stomach. Trainee took a picture of him as he emerged and showed me on the digital camera right away. I was told he was tangled in the cord, so that was why he wasn’t coming out when I pushed. He was also chin up instead of chin down. When he was born, they upped the drugs and I felt really weird. the only words that were going through my head were his name. I was saying them out loud, too. “Lucas Miguel.” I was afraid as I was taken in to the operating room that I might die on the table, and I think I wanted to name him in case I died.
Trainee held the baby up to me to see, and he was so pink. But he was whisked away to be cleaned up while the doctor closed me up. Because I had multiple pregnancies, the doctor said my uterus was spiderwebbed with veins, and I was bleeding a lot. Not quite enough to need a transfusion, but I lost a lot. She kept me an extra day in the hospital because of blood loss (I ended up there a total of six days). She warned me that I was anemic and would be very tired.
Doula and Trainee stayed with me until my father in law came (he drove up from Bakersfield). Trainee held the baby the whole time for me as I didn’t want him going to the nursery. He was the first baby I didn’t nurse immediately, and I felt horribly for him because of it. Nursing him was a struggle for the entire first month, and I’ve written about that before.
The C Section made me feel terribly guilty and angry, and I ended up going to a therapist to deal with the feelings. In the end, however, I had a healthy baby who is now 10 months old and still nursing!
It’s easy to say if I wasn’t induced, I wouldn’t have had a C-Section. That is probably true, but I also didn’t want to second guess my doctor. I chose that doctor for her experience and education, and felt I should trust her knowledge and experience. Every birth is different. It’s possible I could have waited, and he could have gotten more entangled by the cord and died. As they say, hindsight is 20-20, and there are so many what ifs and if onlys anyone can do.
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