Note: If you are a male reader, you may want to skip this blog post!
A few days before our littlest was born (Thursday, June 3rd), I began feeling contractions and we headed for Labor and Delivery. As you already know, I had been on bed rest for awhile and had been receiving progesterone shots and ffn tests . In addition, I had gotten a series of two steroid shots to help the baby's lungs develop. The first night we went to L&D, they were able to stop the contractions that I was having with a shot of terbutaline. When I was discharged from the hospital the next morning, I was given a prescription for terbutaline in pill form.
The next time I felt contractions was on Saturday in the late afternoon. I took a terbutaline pill before Fr John left for church and the children and I stayed home to rest. Once Fr John came home, we fed the children and put them to bed and I began to think that we should probably go to the hospital to be checked out due to the fact that the contractions weren't stopping despite the medication. Once I noticed that I was bleeding, I got very nervous, so we called my doctor and took off for the hospital. I called our parents on the way to let them know what was going on (our families live three and half hours away) and we were met at the hospital by some parishioners who watched the children in the lobby for us. After some monitoring, I was given another shot of terbutaline which stopped things and we headed home. Sometime between the time that I called our parents and we left the hospital, I found out that my mother and sister were driving down to be with us... at the time, I thought that it would be great to see them, but a wasted trip since we weren't going to have the baby and I was going home.
My mom and sister arrived, and we all fell into bed at about 1:30 am. I had a great night sleep, but once I woke up, I felt like something wasn't right. I realized that I was bleeding again and having painful contractions. Once again, we headed for the hospital. This time, my sister stayed home with the children, Fr John went to serve the Liturgy, and my mom came with me. On the 35 minute ride to the hospital, we began timing contractions and they were three to four minutes apart. At the hospital, we found that the contractions were (fortunately)not dilating me and so the doctor switched me to a different drug that was meant to relax my uterus. In addition, I was given an IV of fluid to try to stop the contractions.
We spent the day at the hospital and the contractions began to spread out to 12 minutes apart. I was given the okay to eat and we spent the day hanging out and talking. Fr John came to the hospital once he was finished with things at church and my mom went back to our house to help with the children. I was feeling pretty comfortable despite the contractions. Everyone reassured me that I was not going to have the baby anytime soon and that I might be someone who just contracted from this point on in the pregnancy. I privately told my mother (and maybe Fr John, I forget), that I thought that I would have the baby within a few days because of the fact that the way that I was feeling was very similar to how I felt the day that Little Man was born.
At 4:30 pm, I was given a second dose of the muscle relaxer. Fr John spent the next hour catching up on phone calls, while I hopped onto my laptop and picked at the dinner that that hospital prepared for me. At about 5pm, I began to realize that I was contracting rather frequently and that the contractions were not being recorded on the monitor. Fr John wrapped up his phone conversation and I sent him to find our nurse. She came in and checked things out, finding that I was dilated 3-5 centimeters. Yikes! We were having the baby! Thank God my mom and sister were there to be with the big kids!
My wonderful doctor came back to the hospital and checked things out. She asked me if I wanted an epidural (I declined) and she told me that the baby would be here within the next few hours. Everything got set up for the delivery and doctor and nurses pretty much left us alone to labor privately. We had a visit from the neonatologist who cared for Little Man and he gave us some information on what to expect from a preemie born at 31 weeks gestation. The next few hours passed by in a blur to me. Fr John and I switched how we react under stress for awhile... he was the excited and happy Papa and I was the worried and apprehensive Mama. I remember thinking, "Where is my husband and what have you done with him?"
Things got really tough when I began to transition (I had been in pain with the contractions but was able to stay pretty calm). Unfortunately, I began to feel sick to my stomach and started to panic a bit at about 9pm. Fr John got our doctor for me a few seconds before I threw up and it is a good thing that he did! The force of me throwing up pushed the baby down very quickly and my doctor began screaming for the nurses to come quickly since he was crowning. There were about 15 people in the delivery room when our son entered the world (my doctor and nurses and the NICU staff to work on him).
Looking back on all of our deliveries, this one was the worst. With Sugar Plum, I had an epidural so things were very comfortable for me. Little Man's was a lot scarier since I was giving birth to him 8 weeks early in the hospital lobby all alone (Fr John was trying to round up help in L&D while I was pushing his head out!), but I was able to labor in whatever position I wanted and then delivery him crouched on the floor which was more comfortable for me. Our new baby's delivery was in a hospital bed with monitors strapped everywhere and an IV (which was similar to Sugar Plum's, but I didn't care since I was pain free). I was constantly reminded to lay back so that the baby and contractions could be monitored and I had to deliver the baby lying down. Not fun (for me at least). I think that there was also a huge difference in the pain of delivering a baby who was "sunny side up..." not to mention the fact that the poor baby is still bruised from being born that way!
If we are blessed with another baby someday, I would like to talk to my doctor about things being a little less rigid. I love her to death, but she is pretty old-school. Because our little ones tend to come early, I bet that she won't be receptive to the idea of letting me do what I want while laboring, but I guess that we will see.
I'm sorry that this was so long-winded! If you have your birth story posted on your blog, I would love to read it! Put a link to it in the comments section!
Thank you for sharing, Emily! I know what you mean about the monitors and IV. I had that with Sophia, and it was soooo much more difficult to deliver than it was with James.
(I also threw up during transition with Sophia. NOT fun. Probably the worst part of the birthing experience, IMO.)
I think you've already read James' birth story, but here it is again: http://applecidermama.blogspot.com/2009/07/james-birth-story.html
Wish I had one posted for Sophia. Maybe someday. In any case, I've written it down for her to have some day.
Btw...I still cannot believe you've delivered three preemies naturally. That's incredible! So many hospitals would have forced a cesarean on you. What a blessing.
You and the baby are continually in our prayers. Blessings!
Thank you for the update. I visit your site from time to time. My 6th baby was born at 32 weeks and spent 6 weeks in the hospital. It is difficult but the Lord gives strength. I pray that your little guy gains weight and strength so you will all be at home soon.
What an adventure...having babies always is!
Praying that your newest little man grows quickly on that hard earned milk so he can come home and that you get plenty of rest before then.
Wow! Well, at least you were not in the lobby, I guess :D
It's incredible how different each labor is with each child, isn't it?
Labor is not easy... way to go, Matushka! I'm so glad you were in good hands and that everyone was there to take care of your sweet baby a.s.a.p.
Mat. Emily I am so sorry that was so difficult for you. My sister recently delivered an early preemie and it was a different experience. Comparing, it sounds like her doctor was a bit more flexible. It helped her to feel more in control, part of the process, and generally calmer overall. You may want to talk to your doctor about your precptions, her choices this time, and any desires you have for next time.
Honestly you may then have to consider looking for someone else for next time, if/when you are so blessed. You dont want to spend the entire pregnancy dreading delivery more than necessary.
Your husband and children are blessed to have such a strong mama. Rest, heal, and love your babies.
Alicia in New Zealand
I'm sorry it wasn't so pleasant and rather scary for you. It was scary for me when my son was born at 35 weeks. I can't imagine at 31 weeks!!
My nurse was able to monitor contractions while I was sitting up on the side of the hospital bed. They did lay me down in a reclined position to give birth, but oddly enough, this has always worked for me!
It is worth talking to your doctor. I mean, if the baby is coming anyway, why can't you labor and deliver the way you want? I know with preemies, it is more rigid.
I hope you can bring your little baby boy home soon!
I think that even with an early baby there should be some flexibility for mom. Forcing you to deliver on your back is just wrong! You can still have monitoring while laboring/delivering in more traditional positions.
However, I am glad he's here and doing so well! Won't be long before he's home safe and sound! (You need a blog nickname for this little guy.)
Emily, maybe you should consider going with the midwives. There is a practice not too far from you, probably the same distance as if you were driving to the hospital down here. I'm pretty sure they have a free standing birth center but, of course, would deliver you in the hospital they contract with. Midwives are so much more in tune to the birth process!
This is Cecil's story
I'm pretty sure you've read it already.
Just checked in as I was wondering how you were doing, and what a surprise to read that your little chap had arrived!
Hope you all continue to do well and big congratulations from the UK
God Bless San xx
Having a midwife does make a huge difference. They have supervising doctors for cases like yours, but the midwife is still there to coach you through the delivery and to make sure things are as close as possible to the way you would like. My godmother (a nurse) once told me, "Doctors treat diseases. Nurses treat people." And I've found this to be true -- for doctors, even birth is a medical challenge. For nurse midwives, it is a normal, joyous part of life.
I am so glad this little one was born safely; but I agree with your preception of the wanting a bit more flexabilty and that a woman knows what is best when giving birth... I have heard a lot of good things about midwives etc...
meanwhile we will keep praying for your littest one! sending love to you!
thank you for sharing! i have also learned that every birth is different!
with my first, i was induced, and then resulted in a very traumatic c-section-as in, the epidural WORE OFF mid-procedure. talk about pain, tears, screaming, and being knocked out!
my second child was thankfully an easy, un-traumatic as possible vbac for which I am forever grateful! hopefully all future babies will follow suit!
Thank you for sharing your birth story! I can't imagine having a baby so much earlier than expected - I was so sure I would go two weeks late like my mom that I was surprised to give birth at 39 weeks and 4 days!
Here is the link to the final installment of my epic birth story. It has links to the earlier installments.
I loved reading this, thank you for sharing. I am very interested in birth and love reading other mama's stories...
I don't have my birth stories posted publicly, but I have to say that my third labor and birth was also the hardest for me. I don't know why, exactly. All three of mine were born at home. My first came very quickly and unexpectedly three weeks early, and only my husband was there to deliver him! The paramedics came later. My other two were birthed with a midwife attending. The only way I survive labor without pain medication is by being able to move about... I cannot imagine being in a bed, truly.
Thank you for sharing your story. I think you should definitely speak to your doctor if you are in this situation again. I hope that the baby is having a good day today. You are in our prayers.
I love birth stories - and I am saddened about your pushing story, I like your idea of talking to the doctor.
Haven't posted my birth story at this point, but I agree that pushing a baby out on my back would be just evil. I did with the first, but she was small enough and the labor smooth enough (from my perspective...) that it wasn't too bad. But I never did understand what "the urge to push" was because I never felt it in that position.
My second was born at home and somebody suggested I get on my hands and knees after I complained about being on my back being so painful. Eureka! I felt the urge to push and felt like I could actually work with the contractions. I was determined to push this way with any subsequent kids.
With #3 (at home again), I for some reason (being in pain maybe?) let them talk me into being on my back again, but after a few minutes of excruciating pain, I asked if I could be on my hands and knees again. Suddenly I was able to push with the contractions, forced the bag of waters to break with a push, and pushed out my nearly 10 pound baby boy about 10 minutes later!
So, I know what you're talking about with being on your back thing. Ugh! :)
Wow, Emma. That was an ordeal, but thank you for sharing it. I love to read other people's birth scenarios. I am happy for you and thankful that your tiny one is well.
God blessed you with family to help care for your little ones, just in the nick of time. Whew!
Have a great day!
You are brave...I don't know why some doctors insist on women lying down while in birth. That's what I was told to do with my first birth and after my second, squatting, I can't imagine why anyone would want to lie down. God Bless.
Our Birth Story: http://theclaytonianchronicle.blogspot.com/2008/12/birth-story-kristiana.html
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