Sunday, December 14, 2008

Julia's Birth Story: Part 2 (at the hospital)

We get to the E.R. around 1:15am, Jai turns off the car and I get out to go inside and Jai comes to follow me and I say "remember the bags." I go inside and start the enrollment process while Jai brings in the bags. As the attendant asks me questions and gets my signatures and the contractions continue, Jai comes inside and says the valet attendant couldn't get the car started. The battery is dead. Whew, I am glad we got to the hospital!

Jai goes to deal with the car and I wait for L&D to come downstairs for me. I call my mom to say we're there (Jai had called her when my water broke). Ironically Bonnie had been calling me every day for the past week or so - "just checking on you" and when she called that evening, I told her about the contractions and we'd keep her posted, but I forgot to call her when I went to bed. I really was living in a world of denial about the reality of this labor situation.

Luckily the wheelchair and L&D staff person arrive and Jai returns to get the bags and we head upstairs to the 4th floor. We get to our room, meet our really nice nurse, I change into a gown and then I get on the bed and she checks my vital signs. I'll try to keep the gory details to a minimum, but I'm a leaking mess which is really disgusting, but I don't realize the significance of it until later. Soon Soheyl comes into the room, we are so happy she's on call tonight/this morning, and she checks me to see how much my cervix is dilated. She says she's not sure because she felt something soft which is unusual for the baby's head, might be the bottom, and I'm 9 cm dilated. WHAT?! I never felt an urge to push.

She gets an ultrasound machine and confirms that the baby is head up, bottom down, in a breech position. How did that happen?! The baby has presented as head down for WEEKS now; however, she hadn't dropped and therefore wasn't locked into the pelvis. Soheyl says she has to consult with the OB staff in a situation such as this, but thinks that it will be necessary to perform a C-section. WOW! Didn't see that coming!

Naively I really thought she'd return with "good" news, but unfortunately that didn't happened. She says that C-section is recommended, the hospital doesn't do breech births anymore (or something like that) and we need to make a decision soon because of how far I'm dilated and how much amniotic fluid I've lost; luckily the baby's vitals are fine, nothing of concern now, but could change. As we're talking, I realize that an army of people has started to appear around the room, including a number of the OB staff, more nurses, some medical student (or 2), and I think an anesthesiologist.

Basically we have to decide between the risk to mother (C-section) or risk to baby (breech presentation attempting vaginal delivery) - rock and hard place, serious Catch-22. We are so conflicted because having a C-section is so far from our birth plan, the complete opposite of what we wanted for our birth experience. You don't use a midwife and plan for a C-section even though we knew that it was a possibility, depends on what happened at the time of L&D. We agonized over the options, looking at our midwife and Bonnie, for support and clarification. They both could tell how devastated and disappointed we were to be facing this situation and were wonderful advocates for us.

The other hospital staff were extremely respectful even though they knew how crucial the time frame was. We think they were surprised and amazed that this couple was considering not doing the C-section. It was our first difficult decision as parents and we chose what was safest for the baby. Bonnie told me later as we consented to the C-section that she was thinking "that is MY daughter who is going to have surgery; I don't know this baby yet, but MY daughter is having surgery. Tara has never had surgery!" I had never been in the hospital before Julia's birth!

I might write more details later about the experience in the O.R., but it was surreal, very out of my body, I was probably in shock, as it all happened so quickly. There are some silver linings I can share later and the hospital staff was wonderful throughout the whole process. I also will probably write more about my feelings of grief and loss about not having a natural childbirth experience, but Jai and Bonnie are telling me to stop and eat and rest. I have the best husband and mother EVER! : )