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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Trea’s Birth day

 The morning of Trea’s birth.  One last picture with our family of 4.  
 Grandma and Bobbots welcome their last grandchild into the world.  
 The big brothers finally get to meet their sister.  They look so proud and sweet!
Trea Madaline, born April 5th, 2013 8 pounds 15 ounces 21 inches long.  

Food, Sleep and Closure

When I went into Labor on 6-30-07 at 8:30am, I got a pretty good night sleep the previous night. That is to say that I sleep on the couch, in the upright position for a few hours at a time. In between the 2-4 hour bouts of rest, I was up and around the house. Usually thirsty, or having to use the bathroom. But, occasionally just wandering around the house, or reading. The last months of pregnancy were like this.

I have said in previous ruminations that this was a prep for parenthood, or so I thought while I was pregnant. What I wasn’t prepared for were the hours and days immediately following the birth of my son. From the time I went into Labor on Saturday until I left the hospital on Wednesday July 4th, I slept about 15 hours in total.
Saturday night while I labored, I of course didn’t sleep. My husband and my Doula took turns taking cat naps (which I barely noticed). I delivered on Sunday evening, and was put on Percoset, and moved to L&D to recover. That night and subsequent day, I couldn’t sleep and barely noticed the difference between day and night. I was so afraid that if I closed my eyes my son would stop breathing or choke to death on his lung fluid (when you have a c-section, even when you labor first, the child doesn’t fully benefit from traveling down the birth canal and getting the fluid squeezed out of their lungs, in the same way). Every little noise he made had me up, checking on him. This was coupled with the nurses coming in every 2 hours for stats, and every 4 hours for meds, housekeeping, food service (see below), and my doctors and the pediatricians. My doc started rounds at 5am, and I was apparently first on the list. Oh, and since UCSD is a teaching hospital, you see a student and a doc–2 separate visits.

Since I had a C-section, I couldn’t co-sleep with Elliott as I had planned and he in turn slept in a little plexi-glass crib next to my bed. The inability to co-sleep was due to a variety of valid, although frustrating reasons. The first was that I was on pain meds, the second was the bed was sooooo small, and the third is that I could barely move without assistance (the surgery, the IV, the catheter…). Had I delivered him vaginally in the Birth Center, both baby and husband all can sleep together. They have normal beds (not mechanical hospital beds), that are Queen size. They encourage baby and Mom to sleep together. UCSD is also a baby friendly hospital, and as such they don’t have a nursery. If you need to take a break from your baby, you can ask the nurses to watch them. At this point they will wheel them into the nurses station and keep an eye on them in there. I never opted for this.

I ate lunch on Saturday, at the Bar Mitvah. But, the remainder of the day I just wasn’t that hungry. Maybe it was nerves due to wondering if this was “IT”, or not. The evening only brought nausea and lack of appeal for anything food related. I did manage to eat a few lolli-pops and a bite of fruit. But, mostly I was thirsty and drank a ton of water. By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around and my labor had basically slowed to a snails pace, I was hungry! However, since I was going into surgery…there would be no food for me.

I wasn’t allowed to eat on Sunday night, nor Monday. All they gave me beginning with lunch was liquids. Broth, jello and juice. Plus, vicodin, gas pills and stool softeners. Yummy!

By the time I was allowed to eat, and I was begging the nurses for food by this point (sometime on Tuesday)-the meal that the food service people brought in was mostly wheat products (lasagna, a dinner roll, etc.), of which I am allergic. So, I was foiled again.

How are you supposed to function/parent/nurture on so little sleep, without food, and all doped up on meds? It seems counter intuitive to me. There are a lot of things about pregnancy and labor that are backwards in my opinion. Let me give a few examples.

When you get pregnant, usually you take a home pregnancy test to confirm. And if you are like me, I knew on day one of my missed period. Once you confirm, you are sooo excited (lets assume this is a planned pregnancy), that the first thing you do is schedule a doctors appointment. If you have an HMO, they wont schedule your first appointment until you are somewhere around 8-10 weeks along. Now, isn’t the first trimester the most critical as it relates to development of the baby? Why would you leave a newly pregnant person on their own, without advise or guidance during the most sensitive part of their pregnancy?

The second situation/example is during your post-partum period. Since I had a c-section, I spent 3 nights after the birth in the hospital (although they wanted to release me on the 2nd night, I declined). They removed my staples (13 of them), on the third day, and gave me instructions for caring for my incision. They also instruct you to schedule your follow up appointment for 6 weeks later. Now, I just had major abdominal surgery and a baby…wouldn’t you want to see me sooner than 6 weeks? Apparently not.

The sleep has improved since I have been home. And I suspect we are faring well compared to some. Elliott on most nights, sleeps from 9-12 or 1, eats, and then sleeps again from 1-4 or 5 am. Then he eats again, and occasionally will sleep again from 6 to 7:30am. Although, when we are struggling with the let down problem, he is less likely to sleep for such long periods, and is awake for longer time periods in between. So far I am OK with the sleep patterns, and feel good most days. I can see how the lack of sleep can be impossible to handle, especially if you have more than one child, or have to go back to work sooner rather than later, or don’t have a lot of help or support from your spouse.

Well, after all of that typing…I am not sure what the summation of my thoughts are. But, I wanted to share what was on my mind anyway. I am all for closure, but for this post, there is no closure… to my dismay.