Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Luciella's Birth Story:

I am sitting here wondering how I will even type out the birth story of my daughter. It is something still so fresh in my mind and heart. The past week has tested every bit of my soul. I have had to make very big decisions in little time. I cried more than I have cried this entire year combined. Despite all of this, I have my girl here, sleeping soundly, so no matter how bad this story rerouted, it will always have the best ending. 

Grab on to your hat because this is an intense and very long birth story. 

I want to first say that prodromal labor is the devil. Let me define this for you; 

Prodromal Labor : In a prodromal labor, the early phase of labor (cervix dilates from closed to approximately three-to-four centimeters) is prolonged with contractions that do not increase in intensity. 

UMMMM, yes, except they do increase in intensity and it HURTS REALLY BAD. Now, I took Bradley, I read about 5 different books on childbirth, I read hundreds of articles, I  heard hundreds of birth stories. None of these resources ever taught me what prodromal labor is. So as my labor began, I had no clue what was happening, why my body wasn't working. All I knew was that I was exhausted and in pain.  

It all started 7/20 (Monday). I ate a pineapple popsicle and started to get tiny contractions. I wasn't trying to induce myself, I promise! I went about my business. Later that night I lost my mucus plug and began my bloody show. I thought, "hmmm this could definitely be it!". Richard hurried out to Home Depot to get blinds installed for Luciella's room. I guess this was his way of preparing for her arrival. I showered and went to bed and woke up the next morning with no contractions. As the day progressed I got contractions here and there but by 12PM I was getting them about 10 minutes apart. I asked Richard to come home from work. I bounced on my birthing ball, swayed, walked outside. I was still in a very happy mood and the contractions were nothing I couldn't handle. As the day progressed the contractions increased in pain and came closer together. When the contractions were around 5 minutes apart we decided to head to the hospital. I found out at triage that I was only 3cm!  I wondered why I was only dilated to 3, when I had been a 2 the week before. I thought all that laboring for sure was going to dilate me more. We decided to go home and see how intense things could get there. I stayed up ALL night laboring in our home. I took baths, showers, bounced on my birth ball.....the pain was so intense I was mouning through contractions. I was talking to myself and to God, asking him to please help me through this. At around 5:30AM, the contractions completely went away. I sat there RELIEVED! but completely confused....how could they have stopped after getting so INTENSE? all of my childbirth education said that only happens with braxton hicks, and let me tell you....this was NOT braxton hicks. This was painful. Richard decided to stay home from work the next day since he was up all night with me laboring and he also thought this was the real deal. 

That same morning I woke up and had no contractions. I tried to rest but couldn't. I was so sore from all the night laboring. Also, when you start to feel those intense contractions it's so hard to relax because you feel like you always have to be ready for the next one! the contractions always hurt more if I was laying down. Standing was the only way I felt some what a relief, if you even want to call that relief. 

At around 7PM that night, things picked up. I could no longer speak through contractions. I was getting irritated and everyone had to be quiet during this time. I walked in between contractions. I told myself millions of times that all this pain I was feeling was GOOD, that soon I would have my baby with me. I rode those waves like nothing I have ever done before. I was in another world. 

Richard drove me to the hospital that night. I couldn't sit in the triage room. The contractions were so powerful I was practically jumping up and down at the pain. They finally were able to check me. The nurse announced, "you're at a 3".......and I cried. I told myself, "these waves are so intense.....nothing is changing....how am I supposed to get through the next 7 dilation points?.....and how long is that going to take??". Richard, reassured me that I would be okay, that everyone has a different way of laboring and that perhaps I was having a slow start but it would speed up once I got into active labor. I found the most comfort in him. He always had the right words to say to pick me back up. But he didn't understand the pain I was in. No one understood. I had no idea what was going on with my body. I was completely blind. I was also stubborn, I wanted my natural, drug free birth.

I knew that if I had to labor for a long time, I would want to do it at home. So we headed home. I tried not to think about how "long" it would last but tried to remain positive knowing my body knew what to do. That night, might have been the most painful than all the other nights combined. I labored in the shower with Richard pressing on my lower back and squeezing my hips together. He poured warm water down my back during the contractions. I got out of the shower and labored in our bedroom....I moved to the living room.....to the nursery.....I labored in every room of my home. I could no longer stay quiet. I was moaning really loud and in some I was ready to scream. During this labor period, I showered twice, and Richard filled the tub for me. Nothing eased the contractions and nothing made the contractions slow down. I could tell Richard was exhausted when I found him sleeping in the nursery on the floor. He would jump up when a contraction came. Finally at 8AM I told him, "I can't do this anymore. I am in so much pain and I'm not dilating. This isn't supposed to take so long, I don't understand why this is happening to me." The next contraction that came after I spoke those words, made him decide it was time to go to the hospital. 

We got there and I was pacing the hallways, trying hard not to scream, but I was in serious pain. The midwife checked me and she announced, "oh you're at 4cm". Hearing 4 made me want to cry. I thought OKAY! this is good, perhaps from here things are just going to fly by! well....I wish I could have read all of these signs before getting my hopes up the way I did. I told Richard my concern, wondering how long I would be in this agonizing pain. He prayed for me and asked God to please guide us, to protect our baby and protect me too.

I was admitted. My contractions slowed down to about 7 minutes apart. Something I knew would happen because my body doesn't recognize the hospital, it recognizes home. I labored in my labor room and was hooked up to an IV because my blood pressure was slightly high. I let my nurse know my birth plan and she posted it on the white board. After every contraction I told myself "you are almost there!". After being in the hospital for 8 hours I was checked. The midwife said, "you are at 4cm". I could not believe it. I was exhausted......I was in so much pain, why was this happening to me? The anesthesiologist walked in and talked to me about the epidural. I said, "absolutely not". I won't lie, I did think about it. I thought about how much relief I would get, how I would FINALLY be able to get some rest. But I wanted to stick to my plan. 






 
The doctor came in another 8 hours later to check me. I thought for sure I was at 7cm. These contractions were so close together and so powerful, they HAD to be! well, no, I was at 5cm. The doctor talked to me about pitocin. I told him no, I wanted to do this naturally with no drugs. He was firm when he said, " you are not progressing naturally". But I ignored him. I ignored everyone. Well after 27 hours in the hospital I was checked. Guess what? yes, still at a 5. Keep in mind during these hours, I was in excruciating pain. I was screaming. I did not care who was around me, all I knew was I was in severe pain. The doctor came in and said since my water broke 8 hours ago I could get an infection if we didn't try other methods to get the baby out. I finally broke down and Richard held me. I cried so hard asking why this was happening? what was going on with my body? why was it so painful but not progressing? he held me and told me I was so strong and that he was proud of me. It was hard to accept myself as powerful because here I was giving in to interventions. 

I agreed to get an epidural to rest and see if things progressed. I was in so much pain I could not sit still through the epidural. Luckily, it kicked in quickly. I slept for 6 hours. The doctor came in and checked again. I was at 6cm. He said that was still moving slowly. I agreed. At this rate I would give birth next year. I agreed to a low dose of pitocin. The pitocin began and about 3 hours later I had about 10 doctors and nurses in my room. I was given an oxygen mask and could see the nurse checking out my baby on the ultrasound machine. I feared for my babies life. They told me the babies heart had completely dropped. I knew it was the pitocin. I got angry with myself for agreeing to it. The doctor reminded me that it could have been because I have been in labor for so long. 



They took me off the pitocin and waited 6 hours to see if I would progress. Again, they checked me and nothing I was still at 6cm. This was the first time I heard the words "C section". NO NO NO NO absolutely not. NO! oh, why I was so stubborn and brainwashed I will never know or actually I do know and I wish I could go back and give myself a nice smack! "wake up woman! your labor is not normal!!".  Instead I continued to fight to bring my baby into the world. 

We then began another low dose of pitocin. I was monitored carefully and was on oxygen the entire time. Around 3 hours later the doctor came in to check on my progress. I almost fainted when he said I was 9CM dilated. This was at 6AM. I hugged the doctor and cried.  "Finally" I thought, the light at the end of the tunnel. I started to get excited....everyone did. Richard, my mom and my sister were all so happy that we were so close to meeting Luciella. We waited 4 hours and the doctor returned to check me. I was still at 9CM and 0 station. She found it out of the ordinary that I was still at 9CM since the last CM is usually the fastest. I figured I would be at 9CM just a little while longer. The contractions started to intensify and I felt the need to push. The nurse kept reminding me not to or else it could lead to complications. I tried my best to "hold it in" but I could feel her in my pelvis. I talked to her, and told her how bad I wanted to meet her and how close we were to being together. 

At around 2:30PM the doctor came back. I told her, "I need to push, it's hurting and I feel a lot of pressure!" she then said, "okay well lets see! maybe this baby is ready to come out!". She checked and.......9CM. The exact same thing I was over 8 hours ago. She then said the words, "C SECTION". I cried and cried. Richard held me as I sobbed in his arms. I just continued to say, "why me? why me?". My sister and mom comforted me. They told me how strong I was and how proud they were of the work I was already doing. My mom cried and told me she was done seeing me suffer and wanted me to have her here with me already. Richard said the same thing. We were all pretty tired. It felt like a bad dream that I couldn't wake up from. I knew I had to do this to keep my daughter safe. I couldn't imagine what she might have been going through, I know I was laboring for almost a week and I am sure that had some damage on her too. I worried about her and her safety, why she wasn't coming down......if she was okay. I kissed my mom and my sister and they headed out to the waiting room. Richard dressed in scrubs.



attempting to smile in the middle of chaos and confusion oh, and being on IV fluids for over 30 hours at this point



I was greeted by the most awesomest doctor. She told me, "Oh honey, I know this isn't your plan but you are going to be okay, in a few you'll meet your baby". I was still disappointed but seeing her face made me feel just a bit calm. I was wheeled into the operating room. They had the song 'A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri. It couldn't have been more perfect for the moment. The anesthesiologist was to my right and he explained to me the process of testing the anesthesia. They went ahead and continued the numbing process.....I could still feel what they were doing. They all looked puzzled as to why. They upped the dose 2 times and then he said, "If it doesn't work we will have to put you under". I then thought, "seriously?? can anything else go wrong today?". Oh and that was coming. The anesthesia finally worked and they began the surgery. Richard was to my left, I kept looking at him and thinking, "I can't believe in a few we will meet her, the little girl my heart longed for.....I will be a mother!". 

During the surgery, I could feel them digging in my body. It is surreal what you can feel. It doesn't hurt but you can feel what they are doing. I could feel as they grabbed a hold of her head and were trying eagerly to pull her out of my pelvis. Then I felt a "POP!". That was her....I just knew it. The room became so quiet I could hear myself breathing. What felt like a million years later, I heard the most beautiful cry.....it was her, she was out....she was alive. I begged them to let me see her. I kept asking if she was okay. They allowed Richard to see her. Then the pediatrician came over to me and told me, "She is perfect". 














This next moment was something I will never be able to describe in full detail. I was given more drugs for pain so I was a bit loopy and my speech was a bit delayed but oh, this moment, I will never forget it. I saw her and we locked eyes.....she was placed on my skin and I could not hold my tears back. She was the most beautiful person, so calm and inviting. It was like we had already met in a different lifetime. I didn't want the moment to end. I cried and cried and couldn't keep my eyes off of her. She was so beautiful. I was so blessed. Every second of suffering was worth those few moments I had with my daughter for the first time. Oh I loved her instantly. 

I began to feel what some might explain as half on earth and half not. I told Richard, "I want to stay awake but it's hard to". I am not sure what he was thinking. The nurses had Luciella and Richard go into Recovery while they worked on me. The nightmare then, truly began. I was laying there and I announced to everyone in the room, "Guys! I am peeing on myself". The nurse told me, "no you have a catheter you aren't peeing on yourself". I began to panic. "No REALLY I am peeing on myself.....it's a lot I am peeing." I then had a bunch of doctors looking at the situation. I would go unconscious and come back and ask, "what's happening??"....no one had an answer for me. I then thought, "oh my....I am dying....I am not going to make it out of here. This is it. I am going to die birthing my daughter.". I visualized Richard going home with Luciella alone....without me.....her growing up without a mother. As much as I wanted to break down crying, I didn't have the energy to. Instead I thanked God for my daughter, I confessed my sins, I asked him to welcome me into heaven. 

I fought to stay awake. I fought so hard. It was hard to breathe, I could feel my body completely giving up. I was laying half conscious and telling the doctors, "I feel like my leg is falling off the table....please don't let my leg fall". They tried to keep me calm, but I knew, they were just as afraid as I was. Then time sped up. I coached myself to take long breaths...."C'mon Jess! we are going to make it out of this, you have a beautiful daughter waiting for you, you've been fighting all week, don't give up now! you can do this". I closed my eyes but could hear everything that was happening. I felt them move my body from one bed to the other. Then I woke up in intensive care. I saw my doctor and my husband. The doctor said, 

"You suffered a severe hemorrhage. We were able to put a balloon in your uterus to keep it from collapsing. You are getting several transfusions right now. If the balloon doesn't work we are looking at a hysterectomy. Your baby was stuck in your pelvis and was not going to come out vaginally. You have a very long and narrow pelvis" Richard held me. I just thanked God I was alive. I thanked the medical field for saving my life. The ironic part was that I was so against them....I wanted to do it naturally, I wanted no interventions, and here these very people that I was so against, ended up saving my life. I could never repay them for all they did for me. Two doctors came up to me and told me how afraid they were, how they had never seen anything like what happened to me. One of the doctors, a male, said I scared him so bad that he kept coming to check on me even though I wasn't his patient. I will never forget these people. I felt horrible for putting my daughter through so much. My heart ached at the thought of her stuck in my pelvis and not being able to come out. I bet she tried just as hard as I did. I was so proud of her for trying.

I was intensive care for a while. I was pumped with donor blood, IV fluids and antibiotics. Different family members came in to see me. I wondered if they knew what had happened. Everyone was really calm. They moved me into a recovery room. Richard walked in and said we needed to feed Luciella. I wanted to nurse her but they did not allow me to because of my condition. I was so stubborn. I begged them to let me see her. I wanted so bad to be with her. I wanted to feel her warmth, I wanted her skin next to mine, and I wanted her to know who mama was. The nurses made an exception and allowed me to have some quality time with her. She was so perfect. I was so grateful to be alive and to be holding her. I might have been in a tremendous amount of pain but I had her in my arms and that was all that mattered. 




look how swollen my face is.....all those fluids they were pumping into me!


The next few days were filled with several crying spells, a lot of pain and a lot of putting my pride aside. I could not get up to use the bathroom on my own. I could not care for my own daughter. I wasn't able to produce the right amount of milk for her. But I was alive.....I was alive and I sit here, 10 days from this date, watching my beautiful daughter in her mama roo, my husband sitting here relaxed and all of this was worth every moment of my future with them. I was given a second chance and I am promising myself to live every single moment like it is my last, because I was so close to leaving here without actually living. I hope to spend the rest of my life showing my daughter that life is beautiful and things don't always go as planned, but if we push through it, in the end those things don't really matter. 

I could not have done any of this without my amazing husband. He had never changed a diaper let alone care for a baby and he cared for ours when I couldn't. He has completely taken the role as a father and I have to catch my breath at what an incredible job he is doing. He held me through every bump in this road, he calmed me when all I wanted to do was scream, he held me when I broke down. He helped me go to the bathroom when I could barely walk. He did more for me in 5 days in the hospital than I could ever do for him. I love you Richard.....more now than you will ever know. Thank you for loving us, and never leaving our side. You deserve father of the year, for every single year there is to come!  

ps. a video of this birth to come :)

stay tuned....

**I want to disclose that we had planned a completely natural birth. For those women who are planning a natural birth....my biggest suggestion is to be flexible and know about all kinds of labor. I wish I would have known that this kind of labor was a "thing". My pelvis....long and narrow? who would have known!