Friday, December 20, 2013

Felix's Birth Story {Part 2} Proverbs 16:9

Welcome back for part 2 of our little squish's birth story.
Here is a link to Part 1...or just scroll down ;)

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1am.
 4 centimeters.
Somewhere between 1:00 and 1:30 I lost hope.
Back labor combined with annoying monitors, bothersome nurses, and a seemingly slow labor left me feeling pretty down and out.
The contractions picked up with intensity and speed as the hours continued. I watched them on the monitors with intent. There were no breaks in between. There was no climb up or climb down, each one was at maximum intensity all the way through.

I told Seth I needed the epidural.
He encouraged me to wait, that I was close, that I was almost done.
I pleaded.
I begged.
I didn't cry..I was more desperate than that. I was starting to get angry.
Seth was well trained for this to happen.
He knew I would likely hit this breaking point, but he told me later that he wasn't sure in the moment what to tell me when I asked for the drugs. He said he felt bad that he couldn't give me a better reason.
He just kept telling me no. That it wasn't possible. That they just couldn't do it. In my straight up delusion I didn't even question his reasoning (or lack of).
Somewhere in between the begging and pleading, Seth fell asleep.

THAT WAS MY CHANCE!

I called the nurse.
I don't remember my exact words, but she offered me Fentanyl to take the edge off of my contractions. I hastily muttered how I wasn't getting any breaks and that I was desperate for anything to help.
She ran out of the room to grab the dose of Fentanyl. I remember seeing the syringe get plugged into my IV and the sweet relief that came with.
There was no relief of pain, but there was relief of the mind as the medication hit me. I was able to doze into oblivion in between contractions which actually helped me get through the next 3 hours.
I was given two doses of Fentanyl. Once the first one wore off I was writhing again in pain and grabbed the nurse for another dose. There was no concentrating through the contractions at that point. Somewhere in between the first and second dose, Seth woke up. I told him I was on my second dose of Fentanyl, he puzzedly asked "the second?".

Fentanyl doesn't last long in your system. By the time the second one wore off I felt an immense amount of pressure and the absolute need to push. In fact, my body felt like it was already pushing for me.
Seth grabbed the nurse and told her that I felt the need to push, she checked me -- I was now at 7.
Textbooks and TV shows tell you that you don't start pushing until 10 centimeters, but the nurse told me it was okay to start.
I started pushing at 4:30am.
The moment I started pushing was the moment I knew I wouldn't need the epidural. 

I had a hard time figuring out the right way to push. It definitely requires a lot of coordination and concentration, and at around 6:15am I had been pushing for almost 2 hours. My midwife (bless her soul) had been with me most of the pushing stage and was guiding me through each contraction very patiently.
I noticed that the nurses were in the stage of "getting ready". They were suiting up in the gowns, preparing the table..you know, just making me super anxious that we were getting close!
Towards 6:20 I felt him...well right there. I didn't feel crowning or the "ring of fire" as it is termed, just him hanging out right there. I got a little frustrated, seeing everyone in the room ready and them telling me how close I was...so in one huge gargantuan push, I pushed Felix out all at once. 


My exact words were, "Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God" as they placed him in my arms. I looked at him in amazement. Seth's face was simultaneously filled with awe and love. Surprisingly, I didn't cry and my sweet husband did. How can that be? 

In those first few moments, I could feel that something wasn't right with me. 
I noticed he was very bloody and his head was misshapen. Very misshapen.
Little dude turned himself in labor and had indeed come out sunny side up, making it so the largest part of his head came out first. Felix's already large head had a big fat bulge in the front, it was red, bruised and even had cuts from hitting my pubic bone. With him being bloody I instantly knew that I had torn. My midwife talked me through as she assessed the damage. She told Seth that tearing was normal, which was reassuring for him. But then she said....

"You're hemorrhaging"

The room flooded with nurses and doctors as my midwife quickly tried to stop the hemorrhaging. Felix was taken off of me, they quickly cut his umbilical cord and handed him to a nurse. I was given 3.5 bags of pitocin in an attempt to get my uterus to contract, I was also given two large shots of oxytocin into each of my thighs. It took about 15 minutes ( I think) to stop the bleeding, and another hour to finish stitching and cleaning everything up.
I had two second degree tears.
That nice large head of his was to thank, and the fact that I pushed him out in one huge push likely lead to the second tear.

Felix was born at 6:29am on Sunday, December 8th. Weighing in at 8 pounds 5 ounces and 21.5 inches long.



Everything was moving so quickly I didn't even have time to process it all, not to mention the blood loss had me floating in and out of consciousness. Seth stayed with me the entire time as they stitched me up and gave me a catheter. The stitching and catheter-izing were terribly painful, considering what I had just put myself through. I felt the need to remind them that I didn't have an epidural so I could feel everything they were doing. The "local anesthetic" was a but a drop of "relief" in an ocean of pain.  I've heard many times that the euphoria and adrenaline of meeting your child completely outweigh the afterbirth pain of stitches and uterus pounding.....well the lie detector has determined that that is a lie! All joking aside, I feel like they should revise the textbooks and prepare women for all of that afterbirth nonsense, its painful!

The hardest part of this whole thing was that I didn't get a chance to bond with Felix. All of that hard work and planning to have an ideal experience after his birth was thrown aside. Obviously they did what they had to do to keep me alive (and I am beyond grateful), but all I could do was look at him from across the room and wish I was holding him. Felix was very alert in his first few hours, he stayed awake looking at me through the entire stitching process. When it was all said and done I didn't even have the strength in my arms to hold him, so Seth got first dibs as I dozed off.


I ended up losing 60% of my blood. 

The doctors gave no real explanation for the hemorrhage. Only 6% of childbirths end that way and I didn't have any of the typical factors that lead to postpartum hemorrhaging. I still get all choked up every time I tell someone about it, or recall the moment my mom walked in and I told her what had all happened. 

While in the hospital I had two blood transfusions, I received 4 units of blood. After the first transfusion on Sunday evening I still didn't feel anywhere near normal, so the next day they checked my blood count and agreed that a second transfusion would be best. I am still anemic today, but feeling a heck of a lot better. The rest of Sunday and Monday were a bit of a blur. I do remember the nurses and how awesome they all were, and when they tell you that childbirth rids you of any modesty they are absolutely right. I was completely reliant on my nurses to tend to my every need, even grabbing my water bottle because it was often too heavy to lift on my own.



Family and friends floated in and out. It was exciting to see our brothers become uncles and our parents become grandparents. The emotions flooded for me as I started to process everything that had happened.  I jokingly punched Seth in the arm a few times..."I can't believe you wouldn't let me get the epidural, I just can't believe it!" 





Seth and I went home on Monday evening around 10pm. I was pushing for a late discharge before midnight when our co-pay would re-start and we would owe another $500! I was able to walk ok, despite my swollen legs and feet and I knew that both of our moms would be helping us all week as we adjusted.


In those first 48 hours after he was born, there wasn't a whole lot of euphoria going on. To be honest, I had trouble feeling that instant attachment and love everyone tells you about -- especially in the natural childbirth realm. But in hindsight, I had trouble feeling much of anything; the whole birth drained me emotionally and physically. I'm a little sad that I didn't get that experience -- that euphoria after pushing him out, that joy of immediate skin to skin, the alone time with Seth and the baby right after he was born. The important part, of course, is that Felix and I are healthy and when I look at his little face, I begin to care less about those things. 


Felix, 
you are perfect.
You have the cutest little nose, and as I wished, your dad's kind eyes.
You even sleep with your hands behind your head - just like dad.
We can't figure out who you look like yet, just a seamless blend of the two of us. 
We love you a lot - 
even though you poop and pee on us all of the time
and spit up when we're not prepared
and escape our tightest swaddle.
We call you "little dude".
We can't wait for all that you're going to become.
We think you're the cutest baby we've ever seen, and we're right.
You've changed our lives forever
and we sure do love you.



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Epilogue: 

Because of the hemorrhage, my pituitary glands shut down and completely halted my milk production. A nurse mentioned it on the side that I might have issues producing milk, but I never imagined the degree those "issues" would be. Here I am 12 days postpartum and I produce about 1/10th of what Felix eats every 2-3 hours. Within his first two days at home he lost 12% of his birth weight and we were forced to supplement with formula and syringe tube feeding until my milk comes in. My supply has increased only slightly, and yes I have tried everything. The hospital grade pump, the oatmeal, the beer, the fenugreek, the blessed thistle, the milkmaid tea....I have the cookies on order that are supposed to help boost production. I have not given up hope. I have done a lot of research on women that severely hemorrhaged and sometimes it took them 3 months to build up enough to supply for their little ones. Our plan is to try this for a month, maybe a little more than that..just to see if I can produce anything close to what he needs.

It took Felix 7 days to regain all of his birthweight, which in medical standards is very fast. We have seen the lactation consultants 3 times, and he now has a perfect latch! He has taken very well to the formula feeding. I continue to breastfeed him every 2-3 hours and use a syringe and a tube to supplement. The syringe is attached to my bra and the tube leads down into his mouth as he is latched on, it is quite the scene indeed. 

This is a really hard reality for me. I was so determined to breastfeed. I still am, but I have to come face to face with the reality that I may not be able to, and that is not my fault. I have no need to be ashamed about formula feeding my child, but I still am. It will pass, I know it will. As my love continues to increase for this miracle baby, dumb thoughts like that have faded. 

Would I endure natural child birth again?
I don't know. I'm scared to even think about any kind of child birth out of fear that I may hemorrhage again. I'm glad that I got to experience the extreme-ness of child birth, I literally felt everything.  I'm glad we were well prepared for the birthing experience. I'm glad we made a choice and stuck with it. I'm glad I proved wrong those who didn't believe in me, not to push it in their face but to encourage other women that it's not impossible and encourage men to believe in their wives. 

Either way...you get the BEST reward regardless of how your baby enters this world. 



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Proverbs 16:9
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

Remember that birth plan? The one that requested no pitocin, no saline, immediate skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, no use of a catheter.....yea, you can see how well that all went. I guess there was a disclaimer at the bottom that said, "in the case of a healthy, normal birth these are our wishes.....".



God was writing a different birth plan and story for us. A story that broke me of any pride I might have. A story that put the final nail in the coffin of my thought that my plans ever work out! Whenever I think of my little Felix, which is all the time because he is attached to me most of the day, I think of Proverbs 16:9. God has written a story of my life that is way more glorious than one I could write for myself. I have learned that more than ever before in 2013. Let us think back to getting pregnant with Felix, I was on birth control and I only have one ovary -- no matter the earthly measure we took to prevent it, he was going to enter our lives either way! 

Thank you,
for following along for every step of this journey. 
We have felt so loved, encouraged, and lifted up during this pregnancy and our now lives as new parents. We are excited to watch him grow, and of course we will be sharing the steps of that journey as well. Felix is only the beginning of this wild ride we are now on called parenthood! 





1 comment:

  1. he is so beautiful! i love your transparency and honesty. i will be praying for your milk to come in more and for things to get easier. you are doing great!! lora (ps-those photos of your brothers (or brother in laws?) holding your baby brought tears to my eyes. the way they are looking at him is so precious!)

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