Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Birth Story Number four - Hailey

Birth Story - Hailey

I found out I was expecting Hailey when Brynna was just 9 months old. But in those few moths, Kelly had separated from the Air Force and was working for a civilian company. So I started looking for a CNM (certified nurse midwife) like had delivered Aubrey. To my surprise, in this big city, there was only one practice that had any. These three CNM's worked under a doctor's supervision, and rotated responsibilities.

So I began seeing them. I rotated who I saw, but I had one, Lois, who was my favorite. Because they traded off who was on call at the hospital and who saw patients in the offices, I wasn't sure who I'd get until I went into labor. The hospital had LDR (labor/delivery/recovery) rooms, but then after a few hours' recovery they moved you upstairs to small private rooms for the duration of your stay. I felt I could live with that - only one move, and a private room. Not too bad.

This was the only pregnancy when I really cared what the gender of the baby was. I wanted this one to be a girl, because she'd be so close in age to Brynna.

This time, I refused to be checked for how far dilated I was in the last weeks leading up to my due date, and the midwives were fine with that. Since I wasn't going to be induced, what difference did it make? I was also fully prepared to go late again.

So when I woke up a little after 2 am on my due date I figured I was just needing to go to the rest room. But just a second or two later I felt a funny "pop" in my belly and then a funny trickle. I jumped up - quite a feat for a fully term pregnant woman - and went into the bathroom. I had never had my water break like this so I wasn't sure if it really had. It did slow down once I got up - the baby was so low that the head acted like a cork when I stood up - but I was definitely leaking amniotic fluid. I woke Kelly up and went to call the midwife. I was thrilled to find out Lois was on call that day!

My contractions hadn't started yet, I was just feeling a little crampy, but with my history of short labors, she told me to go on into the hospital. She told me she'd been there earlier in the evening and they were almost full when she left. So Kelly and I loaded up the other three girls and headed to his brother's apartment. We dropped off the girls with their aunt and uncle and by then I was having real contractions.

When we got to the hospital, we went to the L&D wing, and were shown to the triage area. I explained that my water had broken nearly an hour ago. The nurse gave me gown and told me to go into the bathroom and change. She asked my husband to wait out in the waiting area. We understood it was just while I changed and got settled in the bed. But then two nurses strapped me up and proceeded with a bunch of history and physical questions. Plus one of these nurses was a floater from another floor, so the L&D nurse was showing her how to do everything. I had pre-registered so I was surprised by the amount of questions.

Plus I was having serious contractions by this point, and my labor partner was sitting out in the waiting area. I thought the questions would end soon, and when I asked when he could come in they answered like it would be just another question or two. But of course, when I was contracting I couldn't answer any questions. Kelly can tell the instant I start contracting and is very good about either answering the question for me or telling them "she's in the middle of a contraction, she can't answer right now." I was really wanting him to be there.

Also, the nurses didn't believe I was really in labor. I think this is because I wasn't gushing amniotic fluid. I figure I was either just leaking and hadn't had a full rupture, or the the head was soooo low it was just too good of a cork. Or both. Also the way the stupid contraction monitor was calibrated, the peaks of my contractions weren't all that tall, so they didn't look too bad on paper. But let me tell you they were real! Also I was very calm and relaxed during them - on purpose. After the baby was born the nurses commented on this, like they weren't used to anyone actually using breathing and relaxing techniques to deal with labor pain.

Regardless of the reason, I was getting upset at their questions and attitude. They were nearly yelling at me when I was in a contraction when I didn't answer them. They also asked questions like "So when did you think your water broke?" Finally, after a gazillion questions (Kelly says he was waiting out there for over 30 minutes and was about to break the door down), they do an internal check. The nurse had the funniest look on her face. "She's dilated to a 6-7, and completely effaced. The baby's at about +1 station." They pulled out a little test strip like we used in chemistry class and sure enough, there was amniotic fluid present. She was shocked! I have never wanted to yell, "See, I told you so!" so much in my life.

At this point, they let my husband in, who was about as irritated as I was at them. They also called the midwife, who hadn't rushed up when I called her because my contractions hadn't started at that point. And the nurses didn't think I was in labor, so they didn't call her either until then. Lois was there just a little bit later.

Oh, and did I mention that all the big, beautiful LDR rooms were full? The triage area I was in was about the size of one of those rooms, but it was curtained off into four areas. So in my cubicle, there was room for the bed, the monitors, and about 4 people to stand around the bed, which is what I had.

Not long after Lois got there I felt pushy. She checked me, and I was completely dilated and effaced, so she told me to go ahead with the urge. This was by far my easiest delivery. The head came out soon. Usually at this point they tell you to stop pushing while they clean out the baby's nose and mouth, and then they instruct you to push the shoulders out. Well, she told me to stop, but my uterus didn't listen to her. It kept pushing. All I could do was tell Lois that I couldn't stop it, it wasn't me doing the pushing. She just laughed a little, and out came my smallest baby girl (yes, smallest at 8 lbs., 10 oz.).

The nurses eyes were still about the size of hubcaps. Not only had I not yelled or anything during the whole labor, the midwife had let me take off the fetal heart rate monitors and contraction monitors. She just held the heart rate monitor up to my belly during the contraction so I didn't have the straps on. And plus here was this woman who they didn't believe was really in labor giving birth less than two hours after walking into their hospital.

After recovering an hour or two, I was wheeled upstairs to my private room. Things went ok that day. We were interrupted alot. I was told before hand that they did everything to the baby in the rooms, but it was a LIE! They came and took the baby so many times, I lost count. Kelly and I were so exhausted we just let them. They also came in and griped at me for things like having the room too cold. The baby was wrapped up and next to me so she was fine - I was having hot flashes. But they were convinced it was bad for the baby. Because of all the interruptions, I never got to nap that day.

I finally got Hailey to sleep that night and was able to go to sleep myself sometime after 10 pm. Then at 10:30, a nurse came in and woke me up to check my Foley catheter. I didn't even have a Foley catheter. The nurse said, "Oh, that must be your neighbor who had a c-section. Sorry." She left and I drifted off again, until about 11 pm when another nurse came in to do vitals for the baby. I nearly screamed in frustration.

Remember I didn't utter hardly a sound during labor, but this was too much. I sat up a little and told this nurse, "Look, I have been awake since 2:00 this morning, I had a baby, and I have not slept since. All day, the nurses have been coming and doing stuff to us and I have not been able to get any sleep. Another nurse just came it to check my Foley catheter, when I don't even have one. How many more times is this going happen?!?" I felt a little sorry for her as it took her a little by surprise. She told me she would check mine and the baby's vitals right now, and then leave instructions not to disturb us again until shift change at 7 am. I told her that I would appreciate that.

Sure enough, I wasn't disturbed. At 7 am an older nurse came in with a student nurse. At this point I had Hailey asleep beside me in the bed, so I was just waiting for her to gripe at me for sleeping with the baby beside me (I have had nurses do that before). But she walked in and said, "Now this is what we like to see." She thought I was just the most wonderful mother, doing everything right. Well, she was the one bright light in that hospital. When the midwife came around to check on me that morning I begged to be discharged. She agreed, so I went home later that day. I was still exhausted. All that hooey about "resting while you can in the hospital" was written by men, I think.

It was this experience that led Kelly and I to decide that if we had any more children, we would have them at home. These were the only CNMs in the city, and this was the only hospital they deliver at. And while we liked the midwives, we would not be going back to that hospital.

Box score stats:
Hailey Christine was 8 lbs. 10 oz, and was 20.75 inches long with brown hair and blue eyes.
She was born on Sept. 19, 2002 at 5:07 am.
Labor total: 3 hours


Kristen & Dave said...

I love the birth stories that are the deciding factor in choosing homebirth! Hey Tami, have you seen Ricki Lake's documentary "The Business of Being Born"?? If not, you should...every woman should.

Tami said...

No, I've heard about it, but not seen it. Where can I get a hold of a copy?

Kristen & Dave said...

Its hard to get ahold of...but I know Netflix has it, and you can either get the dvd, or get it streaming to your pc.