"Homebirth Cesarean of Melody Ann"
Four years ago it was a beautiful spring day. I was 40 weeks and 2 days pregnant with our first child. My husband had gone outside to rid our backyard of all the dog poop that had accumulated over the winter while I took a really hot shower. Too hot, actually. I got out, lightheaded, and walked into my bedroom to dry off. I lost my balance and twisted funny, but caught myself before I fell to the floor. I decided to lie down for a bit, and as I did, my water broke-a huge gush all over my bed. I jumped up and went to find my husband. "March 19 is a great day for a birthday!" I said to him. We called the on-call midwife cell phone and then headed down to the birth center to get my IV started for my antibiotics for GBS. Over the course of the next 60 hours, I used my breastpump, got acupuncture, and drank a castor oil smoothie. My husband set the drip rate for my gravity drip antibiotics every time we hung a new bag. We checked in frequently with my midwife both over the phone and in person. I tried to ignore my excitement and rest, waiting for my contractions to come closer together. At one point, they were 6-8 minutes apart for an hour, but then spaced back out to every 10-20 minutes. Finally, on the evening of the 21st, we made the decision to transfer care to a hospital. I was slightly disappointed that I wouldn't be delivering at my birth center, but I wasn't anti-hospital and felt that our circumstances warranted medical intervention. So we excitedly packed a bag and set off for the 75 minute drive to our hospital. As we pulled into the parking lot, I realized I hadn't had a single contraction during the drive. I was confident in our decision to transfer. We checked into the hospital through the ER and then proceeded up to labor and delivery. The nurse checked my cervix and I was 5cm dilated. She told me my daughter would be born on her shift. I declined to quantify my pain and was never asked to again. Right about the time the pitocin started, I was informed that I had a waiting room full of visitors. I sent them all away except my dad and stepmom-the only ones who I had requested to come. I sat on a birth ball and walked the halls all night, squeezing my husband and moaning loudly through every contraction. At one point, I got stuck in the hall with what felt like a never-ending contraction, so the nurse turned down the pitocin. We called our midwife and asked to have someone join us, and a student midwife came to support us. By 6am, I had only dilated to about 6cm and our nurse felt that increasing the pitocin again was necessary. I requested an epidural because that was the rate that had started the never-ending contraction. Over half an hour, and six pokes into my spine later, the epidural was finally placed. The student midwife and I took a nap while my husband, dad, and stepmom went out for breakfast. I waited 18 more hours for my cervix to finish dilating. The epidural caused me to itch like crazy so I requested Benadryl to combat that. I carefully moved onto my hands and knees to help move my baby into a better position, terrified I would rip my catheter and epidural and IV out as I moved my body and half-dead legs around in the bed. I started sobbing as I ticked off all the interventions in my head, all the tubes that were attached to every part of my body. The scalp probe in my daughter's head to monitor her heart rate, the intra-uterine monitor to monitor the strength of my contractions, the pain meds, the IV, the catheter, the everything. Such a far cry from the peaceful, natural waterbirth I had been planning. The nurse said, "Don't worry, this baby will come out one way or another." And I bit my tongue and said nothing. Clearly she didn't understand the reason I was crying. Eventually I was told I was 10cm and when I felt the urge to push, I could. So we called and our midwife came to the hospital. We waited awhile and I didn't feel an urge, so I tried pushing. It felt so awkward. My cervix was checked again, and it turns out I wasn't quite 10cm, so we waited again. Eventually, it was about midnight, and I was 10cm dilated. I started pushing, squatting on the bed while pulling on a sheet that had been tied to a bar on the bed. The nurse came in after awhile and said I needed oxygen because my baby's heart rate was low at times. I kept pushing, someone holding the oxygen mask to my face, trying to get my baby out. At some point my epidural started beeping and it was so annoying. I couldn't focus on anything else. The nurse was in no hurry to come in and tend to it, so I started hitting buttons trying to make it shut up, which locked it. No one on staff knew how to unlock it, and since it was the middle of the night, no one from anesthesia was in the building. About half an hour later, the epidural was restarted but by then the medication had been off long enough that I could feel an ache in my uterus. It wasn't full blown contractions, but it was so uncomfortable that I couldn't get comfortable in any position. I continued pushing. I was starting to become exhausted and asked my midwife what time it was. 5:30am. I did the math and had been pushing for 5.5 hours. I told her I was done and to call the doctor. My midwife tried to encourage me to keep pushing while we waited for the doctor to come to the hospital but I was done. I ignored her and waited. The OR team was called in, but was taking awhile because during the course of my labor, the weather had turned and it was a terrible ice and snow storm. The doctor came in explained the risks of the surgery, which I completely ignored because I knew them all, and after almost 100 hours of labor, I just wanted to be done. I didn't really care what he had to say. I was wheeled into the OR, and indepently moved myself from that bed onto the OR bed because I didn't want anyone lifting me. My husband sat next to my head and the surgery began. I could feel the doctor cutting me, and not just pressure. The pain was dulled from the epidural, but not gone. My epidural was maxed out and finally the doctor told me I needed to be put under. My husband was escorted out of the room and told nothing. He had no idea what was going on. My daughter was born at 6:47am on March 23, 2011. 8lb 12oz, 21". Her 1 minute APGAR was 4, and she needed chest compressions, emergency breaths, and Narcan to reverse the drugs in her body. I met her a couple hours later, after I woke from the general anesthesia. I was told she had the biggest cone head the nurses had ever seen, but no one took a picture so I never got to see the evidence of all my hard work. Someone else was holding her when I was brought into the room-a different room than I had been laborng in. A cesarean mom room. They had moved all my stuff into another room because I wasn't allowed to stay in a room with a bathtub since I had had a cesarean. A slap in the face and an invasion of my space. I started to feed my daughter and she turned blue. I didn't even notice. The nurse took her from me and she pinked back up. She handed her back to me and I started feeding her again and she turned blue again. The nurse took her from me and ran out of the room with her, leaving the bassinet in my room. When the nurse returned, I was told my daughter needed to stay in the nursery for observation. I asked to go to her and was told I couldn't since I was still feeling the effects of the anesthesia. I demanded a wheel chair. My baby needed me. I was damned if I was not going to her. Once I had a wheel chair, I transferred myself into it and went to my baby. She was fine and they suspected she had had a mucus plug. I was able to bring her back to my room but I had to be on apnea monitors for awhile because I was having a hard time fully coming out of the anesthesia. No one knows why my baby wouldn't come out. My doctor told me that he didn't see any reason I couldn't have a VBAC in the future, if I so desired.