Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How to NOT Follow Your Birth Plan (aka Madi's Birth Story)

"Nine Months of Wondering in One Second Solved." -Enid Bagnold

We knew that there was a strong possibility that things wouldn't go according to our birth plan for Madi. We prayed about the birth plan and prepared ourselves mentally in case one or two things didn't happen as planned...

In retrospect it's almost comedic how incredibly...different things went. In fact, the only part of the birth plan that we achieved was Jason cutting the umbilical cord and Darcy getting to hold Madi right away! But let's start from the beginning. Here's Madi's birth story from Jason and I along with our individual thoughts about the entire process included at the end.

Darcy began having contractions on Wednesday morning around 4:15 am. Jason went ahead to the office and Darcy stayed home timing them using an awesome iphone app of course! Plus she was in good company. :-)

The intensity wasn't much and they weren't frequent or very painful for most of the day. Towards the evening the contractions began getting closer together and Darcy started having a burning sensation in my lower back with each one. Finally, around 3:00 am on Thursday morning we called the hospital to inquire about coming in based on the contractions. They suggested we wait awhile longer, but by 4:15 am the contractions were closer together and more painful. We headed in and had to stop on the way because of the pain with the contractions.

When we arrived at the hospital we headed up to the 7th floor, the Fodeloft, where we planned to give birth. They hooked me up to a fetal monitor to check the contractions, Madi's heart rate, and let us know that we were dilated 4 cm. They monitored Madi for about 30 min before coming in and telling us that her heart rate was too high and we needed to go down to the 1st floor for the delivery. The 7th floor is only for "normal" deliveries. :-/ Deviation 1 from the birth plan.

We headed down to the first floor and were told that there weren't any rooms with a window or a bathtub. We were hoping for at least a bathtub. Deviation 2 from the birth plan. Darcy got hooked back up to the monitors. Another 30 min and they told us they were going to break my water and insert a continuous monitor onto Madi's head. Deviations 3 and 4 from the birth plan. 

During this time the midwife shift change occured, which we welcomed since the one that we had briefly breaking my water didn't speak English very well. In retrospect, Jason wished he would have asked more questions or pushed back some on the monitoring and breaking my water, but everything happened so fast we just listened to what we were told.

The next midwife checked me around 10:30 am and I was only 5 cm dilated. The contractions were still just as painful, but a room with a bathtub opened up and we were able to move into it. The bathtub helped some, but come 1:30 pm I was still only 5 cm dilated and the lower back pain was getting unbearable. It was hurting all the time and not just during contractions. We decided at that point to get an epidural. Deviation 5 from the birth plan.

The epidural made things significantly better. Fortunately in Norway, they do not do a heavy epidural. We believe in the States it's called a "walking" epidural. The medicine was not on very high and we were able to walk laps around the hospital ward, Darcy could still feel every contraction, but both of us were doing better mentally.

However, the epidural also slows things down a bit and Darcy was still only 6 cm dilated around 6:30 pm. Since they had broken my water earlier, they needed to start a pitocin drip on me to start progressing things. Deviation 6 from the birth plan.

The midwife started the pitocin at 30 and began increasing it every 15 min. The contractions started coming very regularly and very intensely since Darcy could still feel most everything. The contractions got to be so quick (every minute without a break) and the pain was increasing significantly. We asked the midwife to turn down the pitocin drip and she did, but it takes a while for the change to take effect. Darcy told the midwife that the pain was down in her tailbone and front and hurting really bad. She decided to check her again and was surprised to find that it was time to push. She pulled out the pitocin drip, hurriedly called another midwife to come assist, and started giving Darcy instructions on what to do. This was around 7:40 pm.

By 7:52 pm Madison Rose had arrived! The pushing was so quick that Darcy didn't get to touch her head when she was crowning. Deviation 7 from the birth plan. Jason got to see Madi's head crowning and see her arrive. The midwife picked her up, wiped her, and immediately laid her on Darcy's chest. Our daughter had arrived!!! Darcy and Madi began feeding and getting a chance to meet one another. 

The midwife gave Darcy a shot in the thigh to help pass the placenta. Deviation 8 from the birth plan. By this point, we didn't care. We were in pure bliss. Just a couple minutes later Darcy told the midwife she felt the urge to push and the placenta was out. 

As we held our daughter the midwife told us that she needed to call the doctor. In addition to having perineum tearing she was concerned about a possible anal sphincter rupture. Fortunately, the doctor confirmed that it wasn't a rupture and only second degree tearing.

After a few minutes the umbilical cord stopped pulsating and Jason was able to cut it. This and being able to hold Madi right away were ironically the only things that went according to our birth plan! We held and kissed our daughter for two hours until it was time for her to get weighed and measured. 

We needed to wait in the hospital room for awhile and make sure Darcy got something to eat. She had lost more than the 500 ml of blood that they are comfortable with (she lost 800 ml) and would need to have a blood test the next day as well. 

After a light meal in the hospital room, we transferred to the hospital hotel at around 10:30 pm.  We were fortunate that the hotel had availability and a double room so that Jason could stay with us for the next three days. 

Jason's Thoughts - This was the most amazing experience I have ever had, the miracle of watching our daughter be born is something not soon forgotten. It was also one of the harder experiences I have had, not hard in the physical sense, Darcy had that part taken care of, but hard mentally and emotionally. Seeing how much pain Darcy was in during the contractions and not being able to really do anything about it except try and keep her focused on breathing and get her through it was tough. This, along with first having the midwives recommend us going down to the first floor and then shortly after telling us they were going to break Darcy's water and put the heart monitor in her scalp left me feeling rushed, a little disappointed and wondering if maybe we waited just a little bit longer things would calm down. I mean, we had just rushed out of the apartment, bags in hand with Darcy in pain to get to the hospital and I can expect that didn't help Darcy's or Madi's stress level.

But, after all that I can't help but feel amazed at the whole experience, how wonderful it was to see our daughter brought into the world and how extremely proud I am of Darcy for what she went through and how well she handled it, even if it didn't go as planned. I consider Darcy to be very strong and have a high pain tolerance, and to see her in so much pain I knew it had to be pretty bad. Once the time to push came she did so well, pushing little Madi out in 12 minutes. The best part of the day was seeing Madi come out and hearing her little cry for the first time. It seemed like only a matter of seconds between the time her head came out and when Madison was out lying on the table, something I'll never forget. I'm so happy to finally have her here, what a tremendous blessing she is. I have an amazing wife, who is doing such a wonderful job with Madi. We're still learning this whole parenting thing, and I know she's going to grow up too quick, we just have to cherish every second we have with her.

Darcy's Thoughts - I definitely have mixed feelings about Madi's birth. I am so grateful that she's here and especially safe and sound. However, I would be lying if I said I wasn't also disappointed in myself that I ended up having to get an epidural. I knew things were bad and that we needed to do something when Jason was trying to cheer me up by telling me that we were going to meet our daughter soon and I hated hearing that, couldn't have cared less at the time, and started dreading her arrival. That is not how a mom is supposed to be feeling before she meets her little one and not the way I wanted to meet my little girl! I am very thankful that the epidural is light here in Norway and still allowed me to feel all of her contractions and feel my pushing her. I'm praying hard about letting go and not beating myself up about how things happened. The most important thing was her safe arrival and that was accomplished!

I'm especially grateful and praising the Lord for Jason. He is such an amazing person and was incredible throughout the entire ordeal. He was supportive and understanding, he coached me through contractions, he encouraged me so much and it made a world of difference! I'm so blessed to have him as my companion and he's continued to be amazing helping take care of Madi since we've been home.

Mommy! Daddy! Get off that computer - I need my nappy changed!  

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