Saturday, March 03, 2007

Izzy's story

Pictures: Me in tub at approx 5cm dilated (the goop on the
metal rail is rust not tub goo. :), a picture of Izzy at birth, and a
picture from his first attempt at feeding (sucking on my finger).

Izzy's birth story starts on December 4th, when I was 38 weeks pregnant
and I was sent to the ultrasound department because my fundal height was
measuring a bit on the low side. My fluid level around Izzy was down to
2.7, 5 is considered low. They wanted to send me up for an induction

I have reservations re: inductions as the hormones used for inductions
may be associated with autism. (Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin
which is a "love" hormone. Apparently autistic kids are deficient in
oxytocin. Autism also seems to be more prevalent in children born from
inductions.) Partner that with my own iffy reactions to anesthesia- both
general and local, and I was afraid of the hormones, and the possible
spiral of intervention.

So I asked the simple question "Would it be dangerous for me to go home
and come back tomorrow for another ultrasound?" The doctor had me take a
non-stress test to see how the baby was doing, and he was kicking up a
storm and his heartbeat sounded great. So they let me go, and I went
back the next day- 4.2. They still wanted to induce me. I asked if I
could again go home and drink a lot of water and come back in 2 days. So
I did that, and the next measurement was 7.2! They wanted to keep an eye
on me for the rest of the pregnancy. So I came back for another
ultrasound, and it was up to 9. Since at this point I was very close to
my due date they started bringing up the idea of an induction AGAIN,
they didn't want to let me go over 41 weeks. Since 9 was in the safety
zone, I didn't have to restrict my physical activity anymore the way I
had been. (I had been restricting my physical activity, taking an easily
digestible form of iron in the form of blackstrap molasses to help my
placenta out, and I had been laying on my left side as much as possible,
as well as cutting out all caffeine and cutting back on the salt. All in
an attempt to help my body build up the fluids since they said that
drinking water seldom ever helped anyone. I was the first they saw that
it helped!)

So my husband and I took a walk home from the hospital (we live in NYC).
It was a 2.5 mile walk. By the time we got home it was 7PM and I was
having semi regular contractions.

At 1AM we went to Labor and Delivery to get checked because my
contractions were becoming quite painful and were regular and lasting
for longer and longer. I was still only 1cm dilated 50% effaced. They
sent me home. But before I went, they checked my water levels again! 10!
They said to come back when I wasn't smiling so much. :P

I spent the rest of the night trying to sleep. At first my husband would
rub my lower back for contractions. That helped for a while. But soon I
had to jump out of bed for every contraction and lean against the door
frame and rock from leg to leg. That turned out to be the best method of
pain relief throughout the whole labor.

Across the day I had a couple of glasses of wine (as suggested by the
labor and delivery nurses when we called in.) and took a 30 minute
lukewarm bath to help with the contractions. Rocking in the water
helped, as the waves of the water breaking on my back/belly seemed to
move opposite of the contractions and wash some of the pain away. The
wine and the water actually made about 2 hours of labor when I was about
5cm dilated into a state of bliss.

At around 6PM we were off to the hospital again.

We entered via the emergency room entrance and walked to the elevators.
I had 2 contractions on the way to the elevators, and one in the
elevator, and another 2 on the way to labor and delivery triage. Every
time someone saw me, they offered a wheelchair- but I didn't want to sit
down. The idea of it sounded painful. Walking and moving helped the pain

This time around, triage was so full that there were three people
waiting in the waiting room when we got there. I was further along than
any of them. I leaned up against the wall and made my labor sounds
(think a cow in heat. :p mooing and groaning) and rocked from leg to leg
while perched on the balls of my feet with my legs spread out. My
husband rubbed my lower back in firm downward motions, and between these
two things it felt like the baby was being moved down by our efforts.

At one point I suddenly got the urge to push and squatted down.
Horrified by my reaction I said "err. I think I need to push." These
were the magic words. THey got me out of triage and into a labor and
delivery room quickly.

The urge to push turned out to just be my mucus plug releasing, though.
I was now 7cm dilated and they weren't sending me anywhere.

They kept trying to get me to lay down on the bed for a 20 minute
session of fetal monitoring. By the time I got admitted into a room I
was 7cm dilated and rapidly progressing. (It ended up taking about 45
minutes to go from 7-10cm, when it usually takes about 1 hour per cm for
a first birth.) I refused to lay down and kept swaying, which I think
brought the baby on faster!

At one point the fetal monitors fell off, and we re-attached them. But
at that point the "baby's heart" started acting funny and going UP
during a contraction (instead of down) and then DOWN after a
contraction. So they started crying "fetal distress". I got the whole

I lay down so that they could check my dilation again, and the doctor
said something about 10cm, and broke my water. Apparently I was fully
dilated and I was supposed to start pushing. They broke the bed down and
all of a sudden about 10 more people rushed into the room with all sorts
of emergency equiptment and baby-warming beds. Pediatricians, another
nurse, another doctor, a nurse for the baby, etc. Bedlam.

I remember telling myself "The bastards are going to push for a
c-section even though I'm 10cm dilated." and I was determined to help
Izzy out as fast as he could come.

They put in an internal fetal monitor and then realized that the machine
in the room didn't have a connection for it! Poor little guy was born
with a scab on his head from the stupid thing.

I knew it was just a bad monitor connection because it had been
perfectly fine up until the monitor fell off, and Izzy was still
fighting with every contraction- he hated the contractions. So I asked
them to move the monitor to the other side because I had an anterior
placenta and the doctors at the fetal monitoring unit that I went to for
a few non-stress tests always had better luck on the other side. They
ignored me.

After about 45 minutes of rather ineffective pushing (I wasn't ready to
push yet and needed a slight rest, but they kept insisting on 3 pushes
per contraction. They also insisted that I push on my back) his head
started crowning. I faked a bunch of pushes to allow myself to recover
and to allow his head to gradually stretch out the opening a bit so it
wouldn't tear (the doctors were trying to pull the opening larger and it
hurt like the dickens. It hurt more than transition! Ugh!) At one point
I felt the upper part of the opening begin to feel like it was going to
tear, and I reached down and applied pressure to it. As I reached down,
I felt his little head full of hair, and that gave me the energy to give
the only three effective pushes that I had.. With that, the little bean
was born. APGARs 9/9.5. He had been fine the entire time. They had been
listening to MY heart rate!

But because of the fetal monitor hooey, he spent the first 5 minutes of
his life being checked extensively by a pediatrician instead of in my
arms. =\

our introduction to breastfeeding was also sort of shakey. They
encouraged me to stick him onto the breast immediately rather than
letting him familiarize himself with it and naturally try to latch on.
This resulted in a screaming festival on his part. I stopped forcing
him, and had a miserable 30 hours or so in the hospital before
discharge.. He wouldn't latch and wasn't filling enough diapers, so I
was concerned I was starving him. At one point I almost gave him
formula, but he didn't seem dehydrated and I didn't want to sabotage the
breastfeeding relationship. So I waited.

At home, when both of us relaxed, he immediately latched on and has been
exclusively breastfed for the full 2 1/2 months of his life. :)

1 comment:

Jenny Freeman said...

Great story. I am a midwife myself and I work in a clinic providing gentle, listening care for the mother. I have great admiration for Izzy's mom - she had a natural birth despite all the roadblocks in her way. Way to go! You are amazing.