Monday, February 27, 2012

Birth Story, part 2

OK, so the midwives broke my water and copious amounts cascaded out while one of them kept her finger on Maggie's head- a very uncomfortable position to be in (for me. I don't know how it was for the m/w). When the fluid eased to a trickle, we all turned our attention to the monitor and saw that Maggie's heart rate was plummeting from 140-ish to 45-ish with every contraction. Contractions also started coming more frequently, although I couldn't tell you how often since this is when everything started to blur for me. The midwives had me roll onto my left side, then my hands-and-knees, hoping a new position would relieve pressure on the cord and prevent additional decelerations. Nothing worked.

C was still standing off to the side, near the door. He heard one of the midwives call down the hall, "All hands in 209!" The room was suddenly full of people. An internal fetal monitor was inserted. An anesthesiologist came in and said to me, "So, we're having a c-section. Why doesn't she have an IV?" He was the first to mention c-section, and the midwives and doctor quickly shushed him (he was unanimously labelled an a$$hole and pretty much everyone apologized for his crude insensitivity afterwards) then turned to me to explain what was happening- each contraction was putting pressure on the cord, blocking the flow of oxygen to Maggie and causing her heart rate to decelerate. She could not tolerate the decels for long, and since no position appeared to alleviate the pressure, the safest course of action would be a quick c-section. A nurse started an IV in my arm (not an easy task while I was on hands-and-knees). I rolled onto my right side and signed the consent for surgery, then was whisked away to the OR.

It was freezing in the OR. Why is it always so darned cold in operating rooms? I sat on the edge of the table while the anesthesiologist administered a spinal. He told me to hunch over and push my lower back toward him. Obviously, he'd never been 9-months pregnant with a big baby who was entirely out front. There was no way I could "hunch." I could slump, but I could not "curl around the baby" or do anything else he was asking me to do. He seemed frustrated with me and kept jabbing me in the back, all while I was trying very hard not to move. I was afraid to flinch as he kept hitting nerves, for fear that he'd hit something even worse and do some damage, or that my movements would somehow harm Maggie. People were talking, but I couldn't tell if they were talking to me. I had tunnel-vision, and the only person I could really understand or pay attention to was the midwife who calmly put her face in front of mine and explained all that was going on. If not for her, I would have been even more lost and scared in the frigid, glaring room full of distant voices.

I kept asking the midwife if Maggie's heart rate was OK. I was afraid that my inability to curl my back would mean general anesthesia for me or serious permanent damage to Maggie. I'm not a crier, especially in front of people I don't know *very* well, but I know I was in tears at this point- frustrated with myself for not being able to comply, and terrified that something awful was happening to my baby. And I wanted to punch the anesthesiologist, who kept right on poking and stabbing, muttering about my not doing as I was told, not warning me before hitting nerve after nerve in my spine. For some reason, he was also harping on getting my tubes tied (not part of my plan, and obviously unnecessary)- like that was his business and something I'd be thinking about at a time when my baby's life was in jeopardy.

Finally, I felt a warm, tingling sensation (thank goodness for the warmth of it!) in my right foot. Then in my left. As it crept upward, I swung around to lie on the table and felt an overwhelming sense of relief- the spinal had finally worked and I would not need to be knocked out, and we could finally get to work on saving Maggie.

Time was still a complete blur to me. When C received his scrubs so he could join me in the OR, the nurse told him it would only be about 5 more minutes until he'd be escorted in. Half an hour later, he was still waiting, worrying that something unthinkable had happened or that I'd needed general anesthesia to speed things up (in which case, he would not be allowed in the OR). When he did finally walk in, C was told not to look at anything but my face because the surgery had already begun.

I remember asking C what time it was just before Maggie emerged. Charlotte was born at 1:25 AM, and I knew we were close to 1:25 PM. I thought it would be interesting for both girls to have the same birth time, 12-hours apart. It was 1:30 by then, and Maggie was out two minutes later. C's first words on seeing his second daughter were, "God- she's BIG!" Then I heard someone comment that she wasn't pinking up and was a little limp. I heard her cry and that gave me hope that she would be OK. A nurse brought her over and C snapped a quick photo of my first sight of Maggie, then he and our daughter quickly left for the nursery while the doctor closed me up.

To be continued...


mekate said...

Holy crap B, this is so scary.
I can hardly read it even though I know you are both ok. WOW, must look up, breathe, just like a scary movie only so very much more real.
thinking of you,

sprogblogger said...

Yikes! Scary! So glad I already know the happy ending, because *shiver!*

Nic said...

Oh gosh, how scary for you! X

IrishNYC said...

Oh man, this has me in tears. It brings me right back to my emergency C... the cold OR, the fear, my baby being whisked away.


Mattie and Diane said...

Wow, you are a strong mama! Thank you for sharing your story.