Trea’s Birth story

The delivery was a c-section.  My choice. Many people will silently judge me for making that decision.  Many people will envy the fact that I was able to make the decision, when so often women are forced/coerced into having c-sections when they aren’t medically necessary.  I chose this option.  The OB on-call tried her hardest to talk me out of it–reminding me of all of the benefits of a vaginal delivery and the possible complications of a c-section.  She was very positive, affirming and persuasive; and I love that she tried so hard to empower me.

Here is my story of why I chose an elective C-section for my final birth.

I was in tremendous pain for several days before the delivery-I’ve had pubic bone separation and hip pain for months that made walking, moving and standing painful. I have had this since early in pregnancy, however, the last week of my pregnancy was by far the worst.  On top of being in acute pain every time I moved, I was sick–headache, sore throat, fever and body aches.  I was exhausted and wasn’t sleeping–3 nights running with little to no sleep.

The day before Trea was born, I had my 40 week OB appointment.  Every time someone touched me for the simplest of procedures I cringed.  My nerves were shot–and I was edgy.  I begged (and actually cried in her office) my OB to induce me on Fri morn. She agreed, after giving me the lecture on risks of uterine rupture (up from  0.5% to 1.5%) and other complications. I went home feeling excited about the next day and optimistic that there was an end in sight.  Tomorrow I would be holding my little girl.

Jeff’s parents arrived that afternoon, and I spent the afternoon in bed, hiding under the blankets with a fever.  We got everyone settled for the night and I decided on a bath and then bed, as my indication appt was at 6am.  Best to get as much sleep as possible.  During my bath, I realized that I had not felt Trea move for a while…and she typically moved a lot!  I decided, for the first time in my pregnancy, to do a formal kick count.  I took 90 minutes and had only felt a few movements.  I freaked out.  I made Jeff take me back to L&D to be sure she was OK.

She was fine, but I wasn’t.  I was panicked, my heart rate was high, and I was on edge.  I was scared and exhausted.  We spent a good portion of the night in L&D waiting for tests and doctors.  They were very busy with many women in labor and delivering.

I decided then, just a few hours from my induction, and after considering my mental and physical state, the expected size of Trea (9 lbs or more), my hemorrhoids (out of control!), the recovery experience I had with Spencer and the risks, to opt for a c-section. We went home and rested for a few hours–the first chunk of sleep I had in days!  It felt great and I felt at peace.

L&D was busy when we arrived.  Our appt. was moved back several times for emergent C-sections.  Everything went fine during the procedure, though I was so very nervous!  I was most nervous about the epidural (I received a spinal block).  It went fine–though they did stick me twice!  And to make matters worse the nursing staff was counting their instruments while I was getting the spinal block.  The names of the instruments and the counting of them is a disconcerting experience.  I remember it vividly from Elliott’s birth.  I tried to go to my happy place, and hoped that I wouldn’t feel anything during the surgery (I didn’t).

Jeff was able to capture an amazing picture of Trea’s first moments of life outside the womb.

Welcome to the world!

After they removed her, Trea had some trouble breathing on her own.  They suctioned a ton of fluid from her tummy and gave her oxygen, but she was still struggling.  The doctors brought her over for a moment, and then they took her to the NICU-Jeff went with her.  I was left alone in the OR while they finished up my surgery and transferred me to the recovery room.

Jeff was moving back and forth from the NICU with Trea, to the recovery room with me.  He was giving updates and checking status–back and forth.  At one point, he was returning from seeing Trea and was about to walk into recovery only to be stopped by the nurses and me telling him to not look and stand back.  I had a slow postpartum hemorrhage, and while it was a lot of blood–it wasn’t enough to need a blood transfusion.  But it was enough to cause concern.  After both Trea and I were stable, I was allowed to be wheeled in to see her.  Finally after 4 plus hours–I was able to see my daughter.

During the time that I was in recovery–Trea received an IV, was on CPAP, and oxygen.  She had labs and a chest x-ray.  The initial thought was that she aspirated meconium, as there was some discoloration in my amniotic fluid.  So, they were treating her for possible sepsis.  They also were worried that during her struggle to breathe that she may have collapsed a lung.  Additionally, they worried that she might develop pneumonia, as she had fluid in her lungs.  The doctors didn’t know what would happen and all of these variables were floating around with no definitive answer.  It was a stressful time for Jeff and I both.

An emotional reunion.

Our reunion was cut short by me vomiting again (I also vomited right before I hemorrhaged)… and with all of the very sick babies in the NICU they quickly wheeled me back to recovery.  We made our way upstairs to the Maternity floor a few hours later, and then began our 3 hour rotation of visits to the NICU for the next several days.  I will detail that in a later post.

I don’t know if my decision to have a C-section caused the respiratory distress in Trea or if the way I was feeling was an external trigger that something was wrong and she needed to be delivered ASAP.  Respiratory distress can happen when babies are delivered via C-section or through a very quick vaginal delivery.  Contractions serve a greater purpose–they not only open the cervix to allow the baby to be born, but they push fluid from the lungs and stomach of babies on their journey out of a woman’s body.  I will never know the reason, and I am OK with that.  I do not regret my decision.  I do not mourn the loss of a vaginal delivery like I did after my first c-section.  And I am grateful that Trea was able to get the care she needed right away.  There is no way to know if she would have experienced the same distress during a vaginal delivery, or if she would’ve needed to be delivered emergently as a result.  All of these factors put my mind at ease.   I knew in my heart that I didn’t have the strength to endure labor.  Looking back, I needed to save all of my strength for handling my baby being in the NICU.

I am at peace with my decision.  My daughter is here, she is healthy and she is home.

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Let it begin

Or so I thought…
I woke at 12:30am to pee.  I usually wake 2-4 times a night to see.  I went back to sleep but felt cramps and low back pain that weren’t allowing me to rest comfortably.  I ccouldn’t really fall back asleep, and thought I was feeling a minor contraction like pain in my cervix area.

At 1:30am I was still laying in bed, and thought I felt a tiny, tiny wetness.  At 1:45am I got up and walked around, feeling simply horrible.  Trying to breathe and relax.  I used the sink to lean on and a gush of fluid was released. I soaked it into pad and bagged it up.  Then I got into shower, just in case this was the real deal.

I was already exhausted from my little running ordeal the days before, plus I had a headache that wouldn’t go away, and I was so so tired of being pregnant.

At 2:20am there were still no contractions, so I waited 40 more minutes, and then decided to wake Jeff up.  Rather than wake the kids and our friends for something that may take hours I decided to head to labor and delivery myself and have them test the fluid to be certain.  My water broke with both boys, so it wasn’t out of the question that it happened with this pregnancy.  I left around 3:30am.

by 4am, the pad had tested positive and I advised Jeff.  I was so nervous and scared of labor starting and the eminent pain that would be involved.  My body was so tired, my head was killing me, and I had been in pain for long that I was super sensitive to everything.

The OB came in to do a speculum exam around 4:30am, one where she checks for amniotic fluid near the cervix, and checks any progress I have made.  She tested 2 strips and both were negative for fluid.  She was perplexed since the original one was positive.  And decided to take a look under the microscope to be certain.  At 5am, she confirmed that I had pee’ed my pants, and that the slides were negative for amniotic fluid.

Needless to say, I was super embarrassed!  I have never pee’d my pants and felt so silly!  But, I think i was wanting to be in labor so badly that I wasn’t paying attention to my body the way I should.

In any case, I went home exhausted and defeated.

Dense

Sometimes I am so dense and unaware…especially when it comes to my own health and discomfort.
I have been thinking that the last several months worth of pelvic pain and pressure were the result of the baby and a casualty of being hugely pregnant.  I even went so far in my head to assume that because I was older and on my 3rd kid that my body was just worn out (partially true…).  When, in fact, this is classic pelvic girdle pain

Today, I finally realized that the cramps and my inability to walk, get out of the car quickly, put my pants on easily, bend down, climb the stairs, or get up from a sitting position – that this was not a normal part of being pregnant.  Neither is the pain I have been feeling in my groin.

Today, the pain is so bad that I can barely walk.  Each step causes me to wince and grimace.  While at the park today, Spencer feel off a high area, did a mid air flip and landed on his head and back on the ground.  I witnessed the entire fall, and was close enough that I decided to attempt to run over so I could comfort him quicker.  That was a noble idea–but a huge mistake.  He is OK, and not hurt seriously, luckily.  But, I am in tremendous pain. 

I hope that some rest this evening remedies my woes.  Tomorrow’s agenda is to research how to make the waiting game easier, and my birth as comfortable as it can be. 

4.2.13. 9:30pm

37 weeks

It feels like I have gone through a belly growth spurt.  They say your baby gains the most weight in the last month of your pregnancy, and I suspect my belly is proof!

Yesterday I felt some relief in my ability to breathe and the pressure on my stomach has gone down.  But, my hip pain and pregnancy waddle have kicked up 10 fold.  They say that only FTM’s experience lightening but this babe has certainly made a small transition into my pelvis.

Throughout this pregnancy I have had to luxury of sleeping really well.  However, over the last few weeks my sleeping patterns have been disrupted with what I suspected was the need to pee.  But, I kept hearing this sound when I woke up and my throat was really dry.  Duh, it finally became evident to me that I was waking myself up with MY OWN SNORING.  I made some adjustments to my pillow palace, and started using my nasal spray again, as well as breathe right strips and I am back to sleeping well (and I use well within the context of being 9 months pregnant and huge).

The kids are getting excited about the birth and upcoming changes.  I am trying to plan and forecast the best I can for how our life will change, but you can never really plan for it… Our nursery is set up, clothes washed, diapers purchased, gear staged and car seats on order.  I need to pack my hospital bag and get a plan of action for who is going to take care of the kiddo’s once I go into labor.

34 weeks and 3 days

I feel good still, and so grateful for this baby and a healthy pregnancy.

At 38 years old, and the 3rd time around it is much harder on my body.  The pelvic pressure is insane!  The pressure on my bladder is making me wonder if I am going to pee my pants.  And the fatigue is, well, tiring!

If I exercise more than 1 or 2 times a week, I find myself unable to walk for several days.  And my hemorrhoids-i don’t know what is worse-being constipated or the hemorrhoids. 

Most days I can still find the joy in being pregnant.  But, some days I hope for an early labor. 

Embarking on the 3rd trimester

This pregnancy is by far my happiest one.  The second trimester was actually enjoyable!  I have loved my growing baby belly.  I adore feeling my daughter move around inside my belly.  In fact, I actually miss the feeling after my babes are born.  And to know that this is my last time feeling it leaves me a bit heartbroken.  A bittersweet ending. 

However, I have now embarked on the 3rd…and things are getting typical.  I am 30 weeks and 4 days and starting to feel it.  Sciatica, RLS, bouts of insomnia, PELVIC PRESSURE!, back aches.  All normal things for this stage of pregnancy, I know.  But coming off a symptom free 2nd trimester makes all of these annoyances that much more annoying 🙂

The heartburn is being managed by meds.  I am on a heavy anti-constipation regimen made up of stool softeners, mira-lax, natures calm, green smoothies, exercise, and the occasional cup of smooth move tea.  The hemorrhoids are at bay for now.  But that surely wont last!