Saturday, March 27, 2010

Zoe's Birth

I have written the birth stories of my other three kids, but am just now getting around to writing Zoe's. Hers was by far the most traumatic for me, but here is the story...

It was Adam's first year of law school and we had just moved to Mississippi. I had been at my new $8 an hour job about 3 weeks when we found ourselves staring at a stick with two pink lines on it. Oh no, that can't be right. That was the cheap, Wal-Mart brand test, so it was probably not right. So, I headed to the store to purchase the expensive EPT brand. Yep. More pink lines. Adam and I were both 22 years old at the time and had a brief moment of excitement before reality kicked in. We went to O'Charleys and had dinner and rented the movie Nine Months. The next morning, well, that's when reality set in. One person working, one person a full time student, living in Mississippi, where we only knew two people, no health insurance, yada yada yada and the list goes on. Not only did I not have health insurance, I did not have a doctor. And, I didn't know anyone in Mississippi to ask about a good doctor. So, Adam's mom suggested that we visit a Christian, crisis pregnancy center and they would at least be able to point me in the direction of a good doctor. Not a bad idea. This pregnancy was definitely a crisis.
So we went to the crisis pregnancy center. We were probably their dream come true. A married couple who had no intention of terminating the pregnancy. So they did another pregnancy test (the three I had done at my house didn't count) and then gave me a boatload of helpful information. Seriously, this was the most helpful place ever. They got me registered as a patient with some of the best doctors around, who took anyone this crisis pregnancy center sent them because the doctors themselves were wholly dedicated to the pro-life cause. Then,I applied for Medicaid in Madison County, Mississippi and we were able to breath a sigh of relief.
The pregnancy itself was uneventful and we all of a sudden found ourselves in the month of April. Zoe was due on May 21. First year finals for law school were in the last week of April and ended on May 5. During the third week of April, you guessed it, I start having contractions. I tell my doctor, and sure enough, I am 2-3 centimeters dilated. Doctor tells me not to do unnecessary walking, no sex, no Mexican food, etc. I am confident I will make it until after exams. Adam is not so confident. Since he is not allowed to bring cell phones into an exam, we coordinated a plan with the secretaries at the school so I could call them and they would go get him, if I needed him. I proceeded to go to work everyday. It was a sedentary job and was hourly, so I didn't get paid if I wasn't there.
Exams came and went with no incident. Two days after his last test, on May 7th, I had a scheduled doctor appointment. She tells me that I am 4 centimeters dilated and do I want to have the baby today? This is the moment where I should have said, "No, I'll just let nature take its course." But, I had heard many stories and this seemed like the best way to do it, right? So, we were instructed to go home, get our stuff and meet her at the hospital. Okee dokee.
We go home, take the dog where he was staying, and head to the hospital. When I get to the hospital, I am now 6 cm dilated. 2 cms in an hour and a half. Progress. They get me all settled in and, for some reason, give me pitocin. No one ever told me that I could say No. No one ever told me that there is no rule that you have to have pitocin. I have since had three other babies without it, and, believe me, they did come out on their own. So I took it. My body doesn't like pitocin. My contractions are now on top of each other and I am in horrific pain. The nurse "helpfully" suggests that I take a narcotic to "take the edge off the contractions." That is code for "making you completely loopy out of your mind, but still very much in pain." Not good. Now I am hurting terribly, but too out of my head to do anything about it.
Finally, when I am between 8-9 cm, I ask for the epidural. The baby's heartrate is going down with contractions and the nursing staff is concerned. I don't know they are concerned, they are doing a good job concealing it. The lady comes to do the epidural. I think she might have thought I was going to wind up needing a c-section, because she gave me enough medicine to put down a horse. I could not feel (or move) anything from my waist down. This will work in the doctor's favor later.
So, the doctor comes in and tells me it is time to push. This is definite evidence of too much epidural, as I can assure you that no one had to tell me it was time to push my other children out! Tons of nurses come in the room. I didn't know this wasn't the normal thing as I had never had a baby before. There is my nurse that's been with me the whole time, another nurse on the right side of the bed, which is also where Adam is standing. This is the nurse who puts her hand on my bottom and tells me to push against her hand. Oh, yes. Push against your hand that I cannot feel. No problem. And then there is a nurse with short black hair, three earrings in one ear and two earrings in the other. I barely remember what anyone else looked like, but this woman, I remember. She is etched on my memory because she was helping me push Zoe out by laying her arm on the top of my belly and pushing the baby down. I distinctly remember looking at her and saying quite rudely, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" Yes, I had bruises afterwards. Nice.
Now things are getting a little tense. Zoe's heartrate is really low, but they're trying to get her out without the c-section. Enter the vaccuum sucker thing. This is an instrument used to suck the baby out by creating suction with the top of the baby's head and pulling. This works best if the baby's head is actually engaged and ready to be pulled out. Zoe was not. But they sucked her out anyway and she tore me on the inside and outside. And, out she came a beautiful shade of....BLUE! She was not breathing. Her one minute APGAR score was a 4. She finally started breathing and crying and eventually turned pink. You could almost hear all of the medical personnel in the room exhale. I was so drugged all I said was, "Hey, baby." Slow and slurred. Good thing the baby doesn't remember that.
My doctor, on the other hand, was completely focused on trying to stitch me up. My inner vaginal wall needs to be stitched back together. I cannot begin to explain the pain. I looked at the nurse on my right side and said, "I thought I had an epidural. I don't think it worked or is working. It really hurts." She condescendingly tells me, "That's not pain you're feeling, honey. It's pressure. The epidural can't stop the pressure." Now having given birth naturally, I realize that there is a distinction, but at the time, the doctor had BOTH OF HER HANDS TOTALLY INSIDE OF ME TRYING TO STITCH, SO THIS ANNOYED ME! I wanted to show her pressure up her nose.
This is also the time where it works in the doctor's favor that I cannot move my legs, because I would have for sure kicked her right in the face. She was killing me and not able to get to the spot that needed stitching. They then decide to put me to sleep to finish the stitching. Yes, that's right, I get put to sleep AFTER giving birth. Nope, we couldn't have done that 20 minutes ago. General anesthesia. I wake up an hour later and finally get to hold my baby. She was a teeny little thing, weighing 5 pounds, 15 ounces and 19 3/4 inches long. And she was perfectly healthy. The recovery from Zoe's birth was very long and hard. It was a good two years before I could think about having another baby without breaking out into a cold sweat. But, she was a very easy baby with a sweet disposition and continues to bring joy to us!


Christine @ Live to Learn said...

After all this time there were still parts I didn't know. :(
Knowledge is power. I wonder if women having babies in their 30s have such experiences with the drs managing their care like this?
Some day I'll have to write Joshua's birth story. :)

Denton party of 5 said...

wow, i didn't realize exactly how horrible your induction was. i was induced with all three of mine and had great experience with the process. it's definitely not for everyone but i guess that's what makes humans so interesting, we are all so very different. regardless, i am so glad zoe is here, God has a plan for that girl!