Saturday, March 27, 2010

I have to post this before the month is over...

Happy Birthday, Rapunzel!

My girl is now 7 years old. It's hard to believe that it's been that long.

So I checked back through my archives and I have never written her birth story on my blog...Here is a version of it:

I had been on complete bedrest for 24 weeks. Yes...24. Starting at about week 28 or so, I was in L&D about every week for labor that wouldn't stop at home. Sometimes they just monitored, sometimes they gave me extra drugs, and sometimes they just threw up their hands and didn't know what to do. At about week 30, my doctor put me on Terbutaline (a tocolytic-labor-stopping drug, absolutely not approved by the FDA for that purpose). I went absolutely crazy. I took it for about two or three days and it felt like I was having one long panic attack that just wouldn't stop. My skin was crawling and I couldn't take it.

After that terrible episode, they tried a different drug called nifedipine. It is also for blood pressure, but it was much more tolerable. I felt "out of it" rather than skin crawly and since I was supposed to be in bed anyway, it was much better than the alternative.

Once I reached 35 weeks, I thought my doc would discontinue the drugs...he didn't. I was starting to get antsy to be a regular person again. At my 37 week appointment, I told him that I really didn't like the way the drugs made me feel and I wanted off. He countered that he had just delivered a 37 weeker that needed to be in the NICU because of RDS (Respiratory Distress Syndrome, another term for "my lungs are not ready because I was born too early"). He was not prepared to allow my body to go into labor. I suggested and amniocentesis as he could check the lungs that way and have a definitive answer. I was okay with the risk of labor with the amnio since I was so close anyway. ;-) I also knew he had done countless amnios in his time and I trusted his expertise. He said he wouldn't do one in his office, it would have to be with the perinatologist. I said fine. When they got on the phone to schedule, they found out that the peri couldn't do it for at least 5 more days. I was crushed. I was also very vocal. (oops) He consented to an amnio in his own office the next day.

I went in and brought my aunt and my mom. I was scared, but wanted it over with. I was fine watching the U/s screen instead of his hands until I saw the needle on the screen. ;-) Then I got a little light-headed and had to look away. Everything went well and he said he would call with the results. I expected at least 48 hours...he called that afternoon. He said her lungs were ready and I could stop taking the pills the next morning, he would take out my cerclage in the office and we could wait and see what happened. The hope was that my body would immediately, but normally go into labor and I would be able to leisurely go over to the hospital and have my baby in a glorious VBAC.

HeaterBoy came with me to the cerclage removal. We were nervous and excited for the impending birth of our baby. I had talked to my doula and we had agreed to call her when we were sure I was in labor.

The removal was not so cut and dry.

The doc said he couldn't take it out and he wanted to meet us over at the hospital for another cesearean. He said some things that made us worried for the safety of our baby and the safety of my uterus and my future ability to have children. We agreed to the surgery and drove over to the hospital. We called my doula, but she was in work and couldn't get away right at that minute. She said she would come as soon as she was able.

I was amazed at the time it took (or lack thereof) to prep me for surgery. They all knew that I had a doula who was supposed to be present at the birth. I had my epi placed (actually it was technically a spinal, but essentially the same thing) and I had my legs tingle. I remembered to warn the nurse anesthetist that my BP always drops with an epi and he was good to remember and keep me talking so I didn't pass out. Boy was careful to stay on *his* side of the drape so as not to pass out either. ;-) The doc commented on how easy it was to make the cut and he worked for a while and out came my screaming daughter. :-) We were so happy that all had turned out well. this hospital was different from our son in that they had my husband with the baby at all times. He stood by her in the warmer while they "cleaned her off" and did their thing and then he carried her to the room at my side when I was finished being stitched up. Of course, I wasn't able to hold her as my arms were strapped down and by the time they took her out, the epi had done something weird and I could barely breathe. But she was healthy and her APGARs were all good.

When we got back to the room, we had a little time before everyone showed up to ogle the baby. She started nursing right away and didn't let go the entire time we were inpatient. :-) Unfortunately, I didn't realize she had a terrible latch until my breasts were so damaged that I would cringe every time she would wimper for nursing. And of course, this didn't happen until we were home and out of the care of the LC in the hospital.

but during the hospital, I was in heaven. She had a bassinet in our room, but the only time she was ever in it was when I had to go to the bathroom. :-) I was afraid that she would be my last baby. Her pregnancy was so difficult and the doc was pushing to have my tubes tied. I didn't think I would ever be pregnant again. I didn't want to miss a single moment with her. I fell in love. It was so different than with my son. I spent lots of time skin to skin with her and I loved every minute of it. It was almost fortunate that none of my friends were able to visit for the first several weeks. I did have one friend, who was the mother of 12, and she came to help out a bunch (as she had when I was on bedrest) and I told her it had been 4 days since I had last showered. She said "You know, it's okay to shower...I can hold her while you shower...It's also okay not to want to put her down. Hold her as long as you want. She will grow up and you don't want to miss it. Babies are okay to be held. They need it" She made me feel okay for wanting to spend every waking and sleeping minute with my daughter. Because of this, I felt so much more competent starting out. I got to know Rapunzel from the very beginning and I knew what she needed. It's a good thing as she was so very high-needs. But I never worried. Other people always said what a "good" baby she was. I laughed. Any baby would be "good" if they were being held 24/7. :-) At least that was what I thought since I knew that as soon as she was put down she would I never put her down. :-)

We figured out breastfeeding with another visit to the LC and a little time and patience.

There is more to this story, but I tried very hard not to color it with my current beliefs about birth and my personal feelings about my doctor, who had made choices that he felt were right, even though I now disagree. I had done the research I had done and I made the choices I made because I thought, at the time, that they were right. That is all we can ask of ourselves.

Although I ended up with a repeat cesearean birth, I still count it a triumph. I learned much during that pregnancy. I learned much in the postpartum period. Rapunzel helped me to love mothering. If I had it to do over again, I would do it differently, but that is the beauty of *don't* have it to do over again. You only have the future to "do". You learn, and you take what you have learned and it makes a new you. New facets are added that enable you to help others and learn for future choices.

My Rapunzel is my oldest daughter. I love her. She is so very intense in her needs and I am grateful to be blessed to be her mother. She is constantly teaching me how to calm down, listen, and reflect. I look forward to the adult she will eventually become.

Happy Birthday Rapunzel!


LeShel said...

Happy Birthday Rapunzel!
She is beautiful.
I loved reading her birth story and then reading your understandings. I like how you think.

Andrea said...

What a beautiful story. I've been thinking about some of those things this week too. Thanks for the inspiration.

Than & Lina said...

I can't quite believe she is 7 either. I had no idea you were on bedrest for so long! Aaahh! That's kind of funny about you not showering for so long, but I agree it is so precious to hold your little baby even if it is all the time.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Talk about a modern birth nightmare. My own views, after three babies and my own weakness, have migrated more to center, but yours is exactly the kind of thing women are terrified to get pregnant for. :)

But isn't the end result ALWAYS worth it? You are such a great mum.