Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Natalie's Birth Story

The first time I ever saw her; Natalie Faith, one hour old.
Dear, Sweet Natalie,
Usually I write thoughts here for other people, but this is your story, so I am writing it to you, and I will share it with the many people who prayed you here. 

Sweet girl, in the days leading up to your arrival, I had been having lots of contractions, and a few other signs that indicated labor might actually start before our newly scheduled induction date of Friday, May 31st.  Things got a little wild on Tuesday but calmed down Wednesday.  I was bummed because I wanted to meet you, but I kept trying to focus on the fact that up till then we had openly trusted in God's time frames, and this time we needed to as well.  That night, we got to bed late, and as contractions had spaced out, I went ahead and gave myself my heparin shot.  Unfortunately, I had gotten behind on my timing with the shot, so at 1am, it was much later than usual. 

A half hour after climbing into bed, and after the contractions had picked up a bit, my water suddenly broke.  We were glad, because we knew that this meant you and God had chosen the date of the birth, not an arbitrary selection based on doctors schedules or even my own preference.  Your daddy packed up our stuff and I took a shower and welcomed the contractions, figuring that it would be many, many hours before we would meet you.  I sang to you with each contraction, "Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you, sweet dreams that leave your worries far behind you...,"  I felt you moving and welcomed the waves that would bring you to my arms.

We arrived at the hospital at about 4am, and though the contractions had been getting stronger at home, in the car they totally slowed down.  We headed to triage.  There was no sending me home with broken water regardless of how little the dilation might be.  I asked for a midwife, and Midwife Erin came with a very kind OB I had met last month when I was hospitalized.  She checked to see how far along I was, and though I was surprised to be 6-7 centimeters dilated, the doctor could not feel your head, or anything for that matter, which is never a good sign.

Ultrasound confirmed our fears... you were not quite head down.  Though we learned that only the fore bag had broken and I still had an intact bag (sometimes a bag will separate layers and a bubble of fluid will form and even burst, apart from the main bag, which remains intact), your dear little head was settled in my hip, and your umbilical cord had positioned itself right at the opening. 

I knew what that meant.  Ethan had been turned sideways.  Babies don't come out that way.  But even if you could be turned, there was no way of keeping you safe when your cord, your little lifeline between us, was leading the way.  No baby survives that type of birth.

Something in my head simply understood.  I have been helping women in recovery from disappointing births for 15 years.  There are certain things that can happen in birth that have no wiggle room.  Many interventions in hospitals are not necessary, but this was one of those times that it would be life saving.

"I have to have a cesarean." I said.  Yes, the OB said.  The only chance to get the baby lined up was to try to turn it, but on blood thinner, risk of a hemorrhage was too great.  What was worse, the medicine to reverse the blood thinner would take about 2 hours to be fully effective.  But by now, contractions were a minute apart and very long.  We weren't going to have two hours, and without the medicine, an epidural for the cesarean would cause spinal cord bleeding and could cause permanent paralysis.  I would have to be knocked out for your birth.  I get a lump in my throat when I think of that.  It was my greatest fear beyond loosing you, but in that moment, all that mattered to me was keeping you safe.

Things got wild as they rushed to get an IV line.  Francine arrived and her face fell in fear as she saw me.  I told her what was happening and rode the wild contractions on the tiny triage bed, your daddy holding my hand.  I still sang when I could, but coping was hard without space and quiet and my usual comfort measures.   I was prepped and moved into the OR, but without my sweetheart.  I am sad that your Daddy couldn't be there, but because of the general, he had to wait outside.

Daddy kissed me goodbye and told me he loved me, and they wheeled me into the operating room.


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