Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Birth of Jude Allen - Part One

This story really began over two years ago, when Stephen and I first decided to add children to our family.  If you are unfamiliar with our struggle with pregnancy loss you can read more here.

My last prego pic - the evening before I was induced
At Satchel's Pizza in Gainesville
My pregnancy with Jude was textbook (other than the fact that I took heparin injections twice daily to keep him alive). I had minimal amounts of nausea, tiredness, and other symptoms. I felt well overall.  I even continued running until somewhere around 28-30 weeks.

Due to my "high risk" condition, my doctor wanted to induce at 39 weeks. I am "high risk" due to a condition I have - Antiphospholipid Syndrome. I, however, was not on board with induction.  I had hoped for a natural childbirth. When we lived in Loisuana we were even planning for a waterbirth. Sadly, I could not have a waterbirth here in Florida as I would have to be in a  birth center and I am too high risk to be taken by one.

So, I knew there would have to be some compromises. After our long journey, I wanted more than anything to finally hold a living, breathing child. But, I also wanted to aviod a  c-section. I knew that every medical intervention increased the chances of surgery.

My doctor agreed to wait until 40 weeks for an induction assuming the weekly stress tests I was having showed everything to be well.  Jude scored a 10/10 on every stress test, so we waited.

I did all the natural labor inducing methods you can think of, well, except castor oil...I drew the line there. But I tried EVERYTHING else. I even went to the chiropractor and did three rounds of acupuncture.

I was scheduled for an induction on Wednesday, October 17th. I had a doctor appointment the day before. I went into that appointment thinking I would fight to move the induction back to the following Monday. We talked in detail of the plans for induction - what we would do if I failed to dilate, if the baby distressed, etc. Honestly, my doctor was willing to try everything to aviod a c-section (well, except for taking the risk of waiting any longer).

She did not want me to wait until Monday, but she told me that I did not have to show up for the induction. She also told me that they had reserved the room for me that would accomodate an inflatable tub so that I could labor in water.  Yes, they were going to let me labor in water even WITH and induction! In addition, they had arranged for several nurses who were natural birth minded to manage my labor. Stephen and I left the doctors office with a lot to think about. I had my last accupuncture session that afternooon, so I was still hoping to go into labor on my own maybe that night.

The accupuncture did give me contractions ALL NIGHT long. They averaged 10-15 minutes apart, and kept me pretty much awake all night.  After much thought, we decided to proceed with the induction.  My doctor and the hospital staff had went to alot of trouble to set up a birth as close to what I dreamed of as possible even with the induction - I was not promised they would go to that trouble a second time.

We showed up to Shands at UF at 6:00 am. I was 70% effaced but not dialated at all. We began with medicine to ripen my cervix before starting pitocin. They started me with a dose of misoprostal. When they hooked me up to the monitor they commented on the fact that I was still having small contractions (from the accupunture). The first dose of miso amped up my contractions and had them coming every 2-4 minutes lasting 30 seconds to a minute... and the fun began.

My doula, Patricia, visited that evening. She brought me a birthing dress, snacks, and other goodies. She posted positive messages all over the walls of my room and a sign on the door. My favorite message was the one that read "I accept this labor as my labor and believe it is the right labor for me and my baby." It would have been so easy to be envious of friends who had intervention-free births, water births and home births. It would have been easy to get frustrated with my slow progress. Thankfully, by the grace of God, I was reminded that my labor and delivery was not like anyone else's. In fact, it was sheer grace to even be in labor with a full-term baby.

The door to my room. Extra note added by Stephen.
I continued having contractions every 2-4 minutes for the rest of the day and through the night. As long as the contractions were coming that fequently there would be no more miso, for risk of hyperstimulation. To work through the contractions I used the birth ball and leaned over the bed. That evening one of the midwives came in and set up a tub.  I labored for several hours in the tub through the night.  I tried to nap between contractions. Needless to say, there was not much napping to be had. Also, despite the regular contractions I wasn't progressing much - I was only dilated a fingertip.

On the birth ball texting updates

My sweet husband decided to document the whole labor/delivery by writing a letter to our baby telling them about their birth. As he updated, he would read them to me.

To be continued.....

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