Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Birth Plan

Mama makes a birth plan and Baby laughs.

My birth of Nicole did not go as planned, to say the least. I had envisioned a natural birth, with the least amount of medical intervention as possible, even though I planned to give birth in the hospital with a doctor. I had also imagined that it would be a lot of hard work, but beautiful in the end and very worth it. The latter part was true enough, but the process was very different than the one I planned on.

My water broke at 4:30am on Saturday, May 2nd when I was in the kitchen, fetching a snack. After I woke Tom up, I called the hospital right away. The nurse said to make my way to the hospital in a few hours. After cleaning the house, grabbing breakfast at McDonald's, a decaf mocha from Dutch Bros, grabbing some last minute items such as snacks and tennis balls at Target, and taking a short nap, we checked in to OHSU around 9:30am.

After hooking me up to the baby monitor to make sure that baby's heartbeat was regular, the doctors checked to see if my bag o' water was indeed broken. Apparently a lot of women leak urine and mistake it for amniotic fluid. Unfortunately they weren't certain the first time they checked, so after a few hours they checked again to confirmed that yes, it was indeed broken. One unnamed doctor also checked my cervix (in a not-so-gently-way) and I was only 50% effaced and 1 cm dilated.

Now that my water was broken, the conversation turned to whether or not I wanted to start Pitocin, which I absolutely did not want to do because it interferes with your body's natural ability to cope with labor pains. I was more or less badgered into starting Pitocin, however, because my body did not start contractions on its own after my water had broken and there is an increased chance of infection for mom and baby if baby is not delivered within 24-hours after the water is broken.

I started Pitocin at 4:30pm and ended at 5am the next day (my highest dosage was about 60 ml) and was very frustrated upon finding out that after all that, I had only dilated to 2cm and 80% effaced. The doctors decided to let me rest and eat some breakfast while they pow-wowed on what to do with me next. The options weren't too good, in my opinion, complicated by the fact that I was Group B Strep (GBS) positive. The options were: 1) continue labor with Pitocin, except this time, the doctors were prepared to give me the full dosage. In addition, they would insert an intrauterine pressure catheter (IUPC) which would measure the adequacy of my contractions for at least 2 hours. If my contractions weren't "adequate," I would have a C-section (due to the amount of time that will have passed since my water broke). The risks associated with this option is fetal distress and a risk of infection to baby and me. My second option was an elective C-section and the downside of that is of course the longer recovery process.

I chose the latter option, because I felt like I had already gone through an entire night of labor and I didn't want to go through that again. Also, there was no guarantee that the first option would work, which would result in a C-section anyway with now an increased risk to baby. At the time of the C-section, I was only 3 cm dilated. Aside from the injection of the spinal block, which kind of stung, the C-section itself was not too bad and it was such a joy to hear my baby's first cry after what seemed like 10 minutes of doctors poking around. The worst part of the whole hospital experience, in my opinion, was the administration of IV penicillin through the hand. That hurt like a b****.

I can't say I wasn't disappointed or bitter about the whole experience. Tom asked me, knowing what I know now, what I would change. I wish I had the courage to let my body do its own thing, but I could not have known that everything would turn out ok and that the baby would be fine. In the end, we got a healthy and beautiful baby girl, which is all that any parent can ask for really, but I do hope that my next birth goes more smoothly.


Frances Rae said...

With birth, things never go as planned. My midwife said not to make a plan because you can't plan for it, and things don't go as planned.

You could always elect to do a home birth next time around :)

Nicole is so precious. I can't wait to hold her again!

Thomas said...

My plan was to have you deliver a baby over 5 days in the hospital, and to conflict with my final exam schedule.

Luckily, things went according to plan!