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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lucy's Story - the arrival

By 6:30am we were finally settled into our birthing suite. Marc had our relaxing music playing in the background, the lights were dimmed, and when a contraction would come I'd reach out for Marc's hand, while focusing all my energy on keeping every muscle in my body relaxed with long, deep breaths.

At one point my nurse, Debbi, came in to check on us and made a comment about how we were the "picture perfect" example of a laboring couple. It gave us a nice feeling of assurance that whatever we were doing was perhaps just what we were supposed to be doing.

Contractions seemed to slow down some and rather than getting up to try to move things along, we just tried to relax as much as possible, knowing we'd need our energy for the final stage of pushing. At around 10:30am it seems like they checked me again and found that I was still at a 7, so that was when we decided I should move around a little and change positions.

We did the slow dance/swaying for a little while, where I braced onto Marc's shoulders and he held tightly to my elbows. Then I tried kneeling on the bed, leaning up against a stack of pillows for support. Then I tried laying on my side, which I found I didn't like too much.

Somewhere in all of that trying of new positions, Dawnette arrived. I was so relieved to have her there. She and Marc made the perfect laboring team for me. Marc offered such steady support and encouraging words, while my sister seemed to know exactly where to massage and would constantly remind me to relax and breathe through the contractions.

It was actually kind of funny how little we saw of our nurse and midwife. I guess they figured I was in such good hands that I didn't need them as much. And, I really was in the best hands.

I think it was sometime around 1pm when things started to feel more intense. I remember Dawnette asking if I felt the urge to push, and not feeling sure if I did or not, so I was making some deep groaning with my breathing until I felt sure of the urge to push. That was one thing I learned from Hugh's birth - don't start pushing before that urge comes.

Then, around 2pm the nurse came in to check me and said I was dilated to a ten and could start pushing.

After my experience of pushing for six hours with Hugh, and having the outcome of that be so traumatic for both of us, I had decided with this birth I'd give myself two hours of pushing and if the baby wasn't out in those two hours then I'd give in and have another c-section. I've always felt a little guilty that perhaps if I wouldn't have pushed for so long with Hugh then maybe I wouldn't have caused him so much stress and maybe we could have avoided the whole meconium aspiration and that hellish week at UCSF.

So, sometime around 2pm we got serious about pushing and it seems like about every 20 minutes my midwife was encouraging a new position. I must have tried every possible position there is. I was hooked up to a continuous monitoring of Lucy's heart rate through all of that, which fortunately showed her to appear very stable and steady with every contraction and every push.

After two hours she had made some progress, but seemed to be stuck. I'd push and they'd get a glimpse of her head and then the contraction would end and her head would disappear again. It all reminded me too much of Hugh's birth experience - that was exactly how it went with him. I remember looking and both Marc and Dawnette and telling them I was afraid she was stuck and I didn't want to her outcome to be the same as Hugh's.

There were moments when the pain was pretty intense, but I was mostly just so exhausted. I was sweating and breathing so hard I could barely catch my breath in between contractions.

When 4pm rolled around, the midwife quietly mentioned we might need to start considering the option of a c-section. At that point I spoke up and said something along the lines of, "Let's just do it. I'm done pushing. I just want her here safe and healthy." She left the room to go find Dr. Crabtree and I continued to push with that uncontrollable urge to push, begging someone to make the Dr. hurry up and get the c-section over with so I could finally have some relief.

By the time Dr. Crabtree entered my room I had long thrown in the towel. I wasn't sure what exactly Marc and Dawnette were thinking at that moment, but I could tell they both knew I was giving it everything I could and were there to support me with whatever the outcome. I was just relieved that neither of their looks made me feel like I had failed.

Dr. Crabtree, in her very gentle and calm way, sat herself down at the foot of my bed and asked if I'd push for the next contraction so that she could get an idea of where Lucy was. I agreed to give her one more push, after which she then said, "I think we can do this. If you can give me a few more good pushes, I think we can get this baby out together." There was something about her confidence in me that made me trust her completely. Suddenly there was a new wave of renewed hope and energy that filled the room.

With Marc on my right side and Dawnette on my left, each supporting me, and with Dr. Crabtree coaching and guiding and directing from her position, sure enough with a few more pushes and less than an hour later, Lucy was laying on my chest.


KieraAnne said...

YAY! Good job! :) :D

Allred Mom said...

I just love happy endings! :) Way to go, Megan!

Mama Birth said...

I am weeping. So very happy for you. So glad it went well- Sarah