Owen’s Birth Story

Owen’s Birth Story

Mama: Melanie W.

Stats: 6lbs, 15oz, 19 inches

Type of Birth: Vaginal

Birth Location: Hospital

Primary Care: Obstetrician

The day I went into labor, I was stunned. I had just hit 36 weeks and two days and it had been a very difficult pregnancy. I was blessed with morning sickness all day long from week four until the day I delivered along with gestational diabetes, pubic symphysis disorder, and what they thought was the beginning of high blood pressure. 

It seems though, that the higher blood pressure readings may have been my body’s way of telling me that something big was going to happen. That November morning the public health nurse came over to provide me with my first home blood pressure reading. I was notorious for having high results in my doctor’s office, but normal readings at the endocrinology appointments. My physician decided to be cautious and monitor me at home. My readings for the day were slightly high, but nothing of concern and no medication required; and I continued on with my day.

The week before, we had had our baby shower at my mother-in-law’s and had just put everything away in our little one’s nursery and had a very special moment together. We sat in this quiet nursery, everything in it’s place, the two of us about to start a new family, and asked, “Are we ready for this?” The truth was, you can never be completely ready; no such thing. You can be sure that you have enough love for this new beautiful being that you are bringing into the world. You can think you have enough diapers, and creams and blankets. You can know it’s going to be hard and so incredibly rewarding. 

We went to bed, and I thought it would be another night of shifting around, trying to find a comfortable position and slight heartburn. I woke up at around 2:00 in the morning to make my first of many trips to the restroom only to find when I stood up – that I didn’t make it in time. I remember standing there thinking, “This is a new low in this pregnancy. I’m just standing here… and I couldn’t even make it to the bathroom in time.” Then it kind of hit me. O.M.G! So I did the most responsible thing I could think of. I let my husband sleep and I Googled what was happening. I then decided that I should call the hospital as I wasn’t full-term yet and they said to come down for assessment.

I woke hubby up and let him know that my water had broken and that we needed to head out. He sat up, completely out of it, and started to get dressed. I decided that I should probably get a bag together. I thought I had more time. I wanted a bag ready, a pedicure, a manicure (anything!). I wasn’t mentally ready, nor was hubby. My body kind of went into shock and I got physically ill. After that, it was like I had relaxed a bit and was ready to deal with the new task at hand. After he worked more than 14 hours, I looked over at hubby and he was stunned, sitting there, staring at an episode of Futurama on TV. I gently reminded him it was time to go. 

My first contraction happened in the car and I thought it was “cute.”  I remained in labor for 23 hours before delivering my son. It became less cute around hour 15. Since I was diabetic in this pregnancy, I was admitted to the high risk ward. The rooms aren’t as nice, not like in the movies, where the sunlight is beaming through the windows in a dimly lit room, with rose-patterned borders on the wall and your own beautiful bathroom and… never mind that! Those rooms are private!

I also was Group B positive, and was hooked up to an IV antibiotic and they decided to have me walk around for a bit. I was two centimeters. After a few hours with no progress, they started Pitocin and we waited to see what would happen. The result: not much. I had since started to have more intense contractions and I was getting used to the meditative breathing but nothing was cutting it. As I came out of a contraction fog, I could see my husband standing at the foot of the bed next to the radio, he was looking over at my parents and chuckling to them as he turned up the knob. I started to hear things again, and all I could hear was Porky Pig version of “Blue Christmas.” I remember shaking my head and moaning as another contraction started. “Nooooooooooo!” and I was out of it again. I begged for an epidural, but they were reluctant as they didn’t want to slow my labor down. I questioned that since I was on Pitocin and they had been increasing the dose, perhaps a little epidural would help me along. Another three hours later and one confrontation from my mother, the doctor agreed that it was time for the epidural. I’d never heard her confront anyone like that, but I was sure happy with the outcome.

The epidural was fabulous. It was close to 5:00 p.m. and I had been in labor since 2:00 in the morning. The rest was fantastic. My husband got some sleep and so did I. When I woke up, and had a very strange feeling as though my core was pulling me up into a sitting position. It was such an overpowering feeling that I didn’t even know where to put myself. I woke my husband and told him what was happening. I also had the need to void my bladder in the worst way. I couldn’t explain that sensation either. It was kind of like those cartoons where the main character has to go so bad, and they are stuck in a car and every sign they pass has some sort of water theme, or bathrooms 700 miles way. It was intense. The nursing staff didn’t believe me, reassuring me that I was catheterized so not to worry. I asked to be checked and they did so reluctantly. How can she be further dilated? She had been stalled at two centimeters forever. I surprised them when they realized I was 10 centimeters! I gave them one practice push and they wheeled me into the OR delivery room.

By this point, the epidural was starting to wear off, and so they decided to give me a boost, which completely rendered me useless. I felt doped up and unable to feel anything below my chest, and pushing was difficult. We pushed for about three hours and that’s when things took a turn. My memory remains very faded on the timeline of my little one’s birth. I remember them telling me that they were telling me to push very hard. I remember them coming over and telling me they would need to use a vacuum and forceps. I remember pushing and yelling that I couldn’t do it anymore. My body was exhausted and I didn’t know if I was doing it right. I remember my husband next to me telling me to push once more really hard that he could see my baby’s ear. I screamed that I would scooch myself over onto the OR table, to just do a c-section, to get him out safely, but they told me he was almost there, and to push. And then he was born. 

They took my little one to the side and assessed him. I remember not feeling anything, laying there and the room being very quiet. I remember my husband holding my hand and the anesthesiologist rubbing my forehead slightly. Hubby told me that little one cried a few little cries, but I don’t remember hearing anything. He reminded me that I kept asking why I couldn’t hear my baby crying. They took him off for further assessment and then came back to tell us that they needed to watch him closely; that they believed he had endured a brain injury at birth or right before. His APGARS were three, then five, then seven. I am glad hubby was there. I can call on him to recall all of these details. Perhaps it’s just the brain’s way to save my heart from remembering.  

After what felt like a lifetime of stitching up the war wounds of birth, 3rd degree tears, episiotomies and bruises from forceps, I returned to my room to compose myself. I looked like I had been to war. My husband went to check on our baby and brought back a picture on his phone. I was allowed to see my little boy for about five minutes soon after. I was taken into this little room where my baby was in a little bassinet. He was covered in tubes, and seemed so small. They had a radio on in the background and Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue” was playing. It was all very surreal, but I had never been so scared in my life.

The doctor’s told us that they would be using a new protocol for our baby. To keep him at 36° Celsius (96.8°F) to keep his brain from developing any further damage. They had seen a lot of promise with this treatment. He would remain cold for three days and slowly warm back up. We left our little one there and were sent up to the women’s hospital for the night.

My body was tired, but my mind was racing. We went to our room which we shared with a 16 year-old girl. She had her baby in the room with her; and slowly my reality hit that I didn’t have my baby with me. I had yet to hold him.

It would be three days before I did. But when I did, it was incredible. I had rarely held a baby before, but it was like my body took over and just melted with him.

I discharged myself after the first day since it was easier to go from home to the NICU than the women’s hospital over to the children’s hospital. Moving around was a challenge; but knowing my son was being well taken care of eased a lot of anxiety. We were told we wouldn’t know if there had been any lasting damage, but that we would watch milestones and see what happened.

The night before Owen was discharged we had a sleepover with him in the “Parent’s Room” at the hospital. It was our first night taking care of our child. It was one of my most favorite nights ever. Laughing so hard at explosive baby poops, taking turns feeding him: it was happening. We had had our baby, we were taking him home and we could breathe. 

My birth story was not as I had planned it to be. To this day, I am recovering from post-traumatic stress from my delivery. I cry often when I watch a birth program on TV where the mother has her baby laid on her chest and she takes in that deep breath of relief and release. I grieve the three days I couldn’t hold my child and watched him shiver from being cold and not being able to do anything about it. But I also remember all of the nurses and doctor’s and family who came and supported us. I remember holding him as if it were our first meeting (because it was), and how I knew he was strong. I remember that I was a lucky mama who got to take her child out of the NICU healthy and in a car seat. I am grateful for my birth story.

It is how I became a mama~ and it involves Porky Pig. Few other deliveries can say that!

 

3 Responses to Owen’s Birth Story

  1. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Pingback: Real Mama: Melanie Watson Mama Say What?! | Mama Say What?!

  3. Pingback: Going Back to Work: Melanie's Story Mama Say What?! | Mama Say What?!

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