Birth Story - Brynna
About a year after we moved to San Antonio, we found out that baby number three was on the way. I kinda thought this would be the boy - we had two girls, now we could have a couple of boys, right?
Kelly was still in the Air Force, and in San Antonio that meant delivering at Wilford Hall Medical Center, a huge complex that serves as both doctors offices, ER, labs, clinics, and hospital for literally thousands of military personnel, their dependents, and thousands of retirees and their families. The OB clinic is set up so that you never know who you will be seeing. The OB rotate from office duty to hospital duty so much, that it is literally an alphabet soup of medical professionals who handle your care. I was disappointed to learn that they had no CNMs (certified nurse midwives) that delivered there, though some AF bases do. But I was assured that I could fill out a birth plan and it would be followed. Yeah, right. No one even looked at it. Ever.
I was happy to learn that they were remodeling the L&D ward of the hospital and that they were converting to the LDRP rooms (labor/delivery/recovery/postpartum) like I had been in with my second daughter. That at least was a great improvement over my first military birth! Oh, and yes, I had to go through orientation AGAIN, just like with my first two.
The appointment just a couple of days after my due date - yes I was going late AGAIN - the doctor checked me and I was only dilated to a 2-3, although I was nearly completely effaced. I was crushed. I was used to being far more dilated than this. At this rate, I thought I might be pregnant for weeks. The doctor did mention inducing, but I told him I wanted to wait it out. I was not ready to even talk about it yet.
The next Sunday was Easter. My husband was in the choir at church, and the choir was putting on a huge musical that Easter morning. So all weekend I blamed the choir for my going late - many of the members told me they were praying I would wait until after the musical to have the baby because Kelly had a big solo in it. I know they meant it as a joke, but just ask someone who is nearly 10 months pregnant if she thinks that is funny!
After church on Sunday, we went over to a friend's house for a meal and family fun. When we got home I was exhausted. I went to bed before 8:30 that night wondering when this would end.
I woke up at 1 am with the first contraction. Again, I got up and walked around the house a bit until I was sure that this was the real thing. It didn't take long to realize this was indeed the real thing. So I woke up Kelly and we got the other two girls up and in the van. We had to drive about 5 minutes to a friend's house to drop the girls off, and then another 20-30 to the hospital. I remember looking at the speedometer because I noticed we didn't seem to be going terribly fast. Sure enough, we were going the speed limit. I teased Kelly about not being in such a hurry this time. And he said, "Well, I'm not worried about making it this time."
When we got to the hospital, we had to go up to a triage area where a doctor - as I expected - that I had never even seen before came in to check me to see if I was just wasting staff time, er, I mean really in labor. I was at a 5-6, so definite progress had been made since Friday. The doctor really was pretty good. We liked him. I couldn't talk him out of an iv, but he did let me have a heplock so at least I didn't have the tubes and attachments. He also introduced me to an intern who was going to be assisting him at my delivery, though I didn't think much of it at the time, except that here was yet someone else who was getting a free show at the birth. Really, it irritates me how modesty is just assumed to be of no value or even existence at a birth by the medical people, especially when male doctors and nurses are present. But I digress.
I was shown up to a room. I have to say that the two nurses I had at WFMC were the best two labor nurses I have had in my 4 hospital births! I have not had much luck with L&D nurses, but these two were good. I was allowed to walk around as much as I wanted, to go to the bathroom. I couldn't take off the contraction and fetal heartbeat monitors, but I could disconnect them to move around some. I wasn't there too long before I didn't want to walk around much. I was getting into transition and just wanted to sit and relax.
The next time they checked me I was at and 8-9. Good, I thought, won't be long now. Well, an hour later, they check me again, and I am STILL an 8-9. No progress. WHAT??? This is not how I do labor! I should have had this baby already! Then the doctor told me that between the baby's head and the cervix was a huge bulge of the amniotic sac. It was keeping the baby from getting good head pressure on my cervix to finish the job. He offered to break my water, saying that would speed things up. But I remembered how much the contractions intensified after my water broke with Aubrey, and I wanted to hold off on that as long as possible. So I labored on.
To be stuck in transition for that long is really a form of torture. Yes, I know other women have been there longer, but it is very hard to be so close to the end, and be making no progress in the most intense painful part of the labor. About 30 minutes later, after a particularly hard contraction, I told the nurse to get the doctor to break my water. So doc and the intern come back in and the doctor decides to let the intern (did I mention that this was a brand new intern who was attending his first birth?) break my water. The only problem is that the intern couldn't figure out how to get the crochet hook (that's what they look like!) to break the membrane. Ideally they break your water between contractions, 'cause you are flat on your back when they do it. Well, the intern took so long that another contraction came on. I tell you, that was the closest I have ever come to "losing it" during labor. Laying flat on your back has to be the hardest way to go through a transition contraction with NO pain medication there is. Once the contraction passed, the intern finally broke my water. This was at 5:30 am.
Things did move faster at that point. The doctor was going to let Kelly "catch" the baby, and then they were going to lay the baby on my stomach. As delivery was imminent, they turned on special lights in the room. These LDRP rooms had special (I call them) spotlights which lit up the area the doctors needed to see like a stage. Some pediatric people came in with the warming isolette ready for the baby. There seemed like way too many people in there (me, Kelly, two L&D nurses, the doctor, the intern, and 3-4 pediatric people).
Just as the baby was crowning, the heartbeat monitor started making funny noises. Her heart rate had dropped to about 72 beats a minute (fetal heart rates are normally 120-160 bpm). I heard the nurse say "she's decelling." (Decelerating) Kelly missed that, but I heard it. The doctor looked at me and said, "You've got to get this baby out NOW." So I pushed harder than I had ever pushed before.
I remember thinking, "Just get the head out and it will all be over." That's what had happened with Aubrey. So I pushed and there was a head! But the relief didn't come. There was still alot of pain, and fear because I knew there was an issue with the heart rate. Why hadn't she been born yet? Of course, I still had to get her shoulders out, but because of the way Aubrey had been born with one arm up by her head, she hadn't stopped at the shoulders. So here I was, giving birth to my third child (remember with my first one I was numbed up and blinded by a screen so I didn't know anything) and surprised by shoulders!
Well, I did manage to get her shoulders out, and that's when our third daughter entered the world, just after 6 am. The umbilical cord had been draped across one shoulder, so that had caused the compression as she was crowning that dropped her heart rate. Fortunately it wasn't wrapped around her or we might have had bigger problems. Because of the heart rate issue, they rushed her over to the isolette before I got to hold her. And Kelly didn't get to deliver her because of the same issue. But at the moment we were just worried that she was ok.
We were told a couple of minutes later that she was fine from the heart rate problem. She was pink and crying and showed no signs of oxygen deprivation. However, as they proceeded to check her over, we heard that there was a problem. Suddenly a flood of people enter my room. By this time, I had delivered the placenta and was being stitched up. I had a very minor tear just skin deep on my old episiotomy scar that the intern was sloooooooooowly stitch up. I timed him and it took him over 10 minutes and he still wasn't done - with a less than inch long tear!
So here I am, on the bed with those blindingly bright spotlight highlighting the end of my bed where this incompetent intern (I'm sorry, he's probably a fine doctor, it was just a bad time to have him learning on ME) was making a gazillion stitches on what they told me was a very small tear - and I had no pain meds! And about 20-30 extra people - no exaggeration - had swarmed into the room to look at Brynna. Kelly had been across the room at the isolette, but he didn't really understand what the problem was either. No one had taken the time to tell us much yet as they were still evaluating her. Well, after 10 minutes of stitching, I had had ENOUGH! I glared at the doctor and demanded, "How much longer is this going to take?" Now I am a very quiet laborer, I don't curse my husband's ancestry or anything like that, so when this came out of my mouth the doctor knew I could take no more.
He told the intern that he would finish up, and he did - in less than a minute. I was finally able to cover up. About that time, the pediatrician finally came over to fully explain to us what the issue was with Brynna. But I will make that a separate blog entry as this is already too long - nearly as long as the labor itself!
Box score stats:
Brynna Nicole born April 16 at 6:06 am.
She was 9 lbs. 6 oz., and was 20.5 inches long with red hair and blue eyes.
Labor total 5 hours, 6 minutes.