Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The million dollar question everyone asks...did the car survive? and other various aftermath questions answered

Martina writes:

Variations of that question are pretty comical too. My sister-in-law asked if it looked like a murder scene. A good friend of mine from childhood, Holly, asked if we would be trading in our new car. Another friend from Jonathan's playgroup, Angelia, asked who cut the cord.

So, I guess to tell everything, I'll start back with the story of the labor and answer all the questions at the end.

I think the last five midwife visit notes read about the same: "10/10 - patient is worried she will not make it to the birthing center - she is at 3cm", "10/24 - patient is worried she will not make it to the birthing center - she is at 3 cm and baby's head is engaged", "11/1 - patient is worried she will not make it to the birthing center - wants us to break her water and promises only to be as long as someone's lunch break - 4 cm", "11/8 - patient will have membranes stripped with next visit - fingers crossed, the kid will come out!", "11/16 - patient has membranes stripped, is now nearly at 6 cm". That last visit Neil and I spent the better part of that Friday evening walking around trying to get labor started. No luck. This kid was going to come on his own terms, like it or not. He must have known how stressed out we all were about when and where he would make his entrance. Neil's appts. were restricted to the north side of town (and looking back, this wouldn't have made *any* bit of difference), I stayed close to the house and was nervous to have my kids scattered around for their activities like swimming or CCD. My question, week after week at the birthing center, was *if* they would consider "inducing" me if I really felt that nervous about it. They cautiously said 'yes', but I think I was determined to be a big girl about it. Was I worrying needlessly about this? What were the odds I wouldn't get there in time...honestly? I don't think it helped that I had watched one of those shows on the Discovery channel (and HD to boot) about women who gave birth under strange circumstances. One woman ended up giving birth in the elementary classroom when she went to work with what she thought was mild labor pains. This was her third kid!! I thought to myself, 'seriously, how do you *not* know you're in active labor??' I wonder if that had any impact on my psyche... With my last labor at 1.5 hours, the birthing center felt that if I was to go, it'd be quick but likely only slightly longer than my last labor, so I'd have a good chance of making sure the kids were home and the sitter got there. I even had my backup plan in place. Ask a neighbor to come over *while* she waits for the babysitter. Heck, I had even joked that I should walk across the street to the firestation and introduce myself with a plate of chocolate chip cookies and explain to them there might be a chance they'd have to deliver my baby if none of my scenarios worked. Now the joke is that had I known, I'd have just stayed home and thrown down some newspapers and garbage bags in the bathroom. And I *might* have had time for all of that.

Now, I want it known that the birthing center did what they could knowing my situation. I just wasn't a normal case. They knew (and I did too) that I was at a disadvantage never having gone into labor on my own. They told me to not wait *at all* if I even *thought* I was in labor. Being induced is great if you're assured you'll never have to do it on your own. This time was a real headache. What do I look for? What kinds of pains can I expect? Even Braxton Hicks can be painful at the end of pregnancy, and anything that doesn't result in a baby at the end is false labor, no matter how painful or fruitless the process! I had a couple of times where I thought I might need to go in. Nearly 45 minutes of consistent contractions...stopped. Again, right around the hour mark...stopped. My body had had enough stop/start that when it was time, it got down to business.

I woke up just past 1:30 a.m. November 24 to my first real "on my own" labor. It was painful. I had read the Bradley books and tried to prepare myself. Neil and I disagreed that it was important for him to read it so he could be there for me during labor. He thought that was the midwife's job. I told him there weren't any t.v.'s in the birthing rooms. He decided to read the book. We practiced with the pillows and breathing - all that stuff you're supposed to do before labor gets intense. Umm, yeah, doesn't help when you wake up just minutes outside of transition. I think all things considered I dealt with the pain fairly well. I woke up to long, labored breathing. We took all of 15 minutes to decide whether to call the midwife. With two false alarms, and it being the middle of the night, I wanted to be sure. The pain went up the scale in a matter of minutes. I was thinking all logically still, which was weird. "I should probably put something else on", "Maybe I should brush my teeth, no one likes nasty morning breath while they're in labor". I was asked what I wore. Poor Neil - he gave up so many of his t-shirts so I'd have something comfortable to sleep in. I'm not sure he'll wear that shirt again, though, lol. It was his black Banana Republic shirt and I threw on some jeans and flip flops before grabbing my purse. Since we had thought we might have the baby the week before, I had everything still in the back of the car. Good thing. I never did end up brushing my teeth. The "screw it" mentality kicked in and I wasn't sure I could even walk to the car on my own. But I didn't let Neil know that. He was busy making phone calls and getting himself dressed. I knew we had turned a corner in labor when he said he'd be right back - he just wanted to let his folks know we would be leaving. I think I said in a pretty nasty voice that we needed to leave. So we did.

I felt every bump on the ride. I remember telling Neil to drive as fast as he could without breaking any laws. Man, I wish I had told him to just run all the red lights. That light at Parmer and 620 did *NOT* have a timer and we sat at that light for probably all of three minutes, but those three minutes might have made the difference in making it to the birthing center. About four minutes later, I put the 'oh s**t' bars to good use. I think after that, it was all kind of a blur. I remember telling Neil to run a red light, which he did. I'm thinking I said that b/c my water had broken already. My water didn't just break, though. That might have been fine if that's all that had happened. It broke *because* Drew was making his debut on the spot.
Huge gush, baby's head coming down.
Another gush and baby is now on his way out.
The birthing center will have to wait.
I think from the time my water broke to the time of delivery *might* have been around three minutes, if that. I know it couldn't have been any longer. Neil swerved into the library parking lot (and this is where I thank the Lord that it was in the middle of the night!), threw open his door and ran around to the other side where he asked me what to do. I told him (ok, maybe yelled, screamed...who knows...it wasn't my finest hour to be honest) to pull him out. He told me later he pulled him by the sides of his head and pulled him out. It's 2:30 a.m. I remember looking at the clock on the dash. Neil didn't even turn the car off when he threw it into park.
It wasn't done though.
He hands the baby to me. It's *very* cold outside and I have my thin jacket on, the door is open and Neil is at the back of the car going through the bags trying to find something warm to wrap him in. While he's doing that, I notice the cord is wrapped around behind Drew's neck. I don't know if it was panic or not, but I definitely know to act quick. If I'd had the foresight, I'd have held him near my knees and it might have made it easier to take off of him. But I think I was thinking of keeping him warm and just worked with the cord. It's a pretty squishy spongey thing. Neil brought Drew's take home blankey around - the one that Jonathan had picked out. I wrapped him up in that and rubbed him. I had forgotten about him needing to scream or something to clear his lungs. I think that's what made Neil panic when he called 911. He got back into the car and relayed their instructions to me. I could hear Drew breathing softly, so I wasn't panicked. Neil told EMS we were on our way to the birthing center. They actually asked that we stay where we were. But he told them it was just down the road. They pulled up behind us literally less than a minute after we got there. If our midwife hadn't been there, we would have gone to the hospital for an ordeal that I'll explain further down.
She had been racing down MoPac to get there.
She knew.
Her fourth child was delivered at home b/c she had an hour long labor too.
Neil went to the front door, no lights were on. He went over to the EMS truck. I knocked on the window to let him know the lights had just been turned on. He went inside, found the midwife, Roswitha, and they both came out. So, by this time, we've got EMS on standby ready to whisk us away to the hospital. Roswitha looks him over, sees he's breathing, looks good and tells us very confidently that we can send the EMS away. So, Neil tells them; EMS, by law, have to ask me to verify they are no longer needed and they leave.

Roswitha goes inside and gets a wheelchair, comes out to get me, which I'm sure looked hilarious b/c I haven't delivered the placenta yet. Thank goodness Neil's shirts are long enough on me that I'm not providing the world with a second moon that night, lol. She rolls me in, sits me on the bed, clamps the cord in two spots and hands Neil the scissors to cut the cord. For some, this is a moment of anticipation, husbands getting to participate in the labor and birth of their child by cutting the cord. For us...this time...eh, I'm sure it had to be somewhat anticlimactic. Or who knows? Maybe Neil saw it as the final event in a long string of much more intense events.

The reason why it could have been an ordeal: I was GBS positive throughout my pregnancy. What that amounts to was I had a bacterial infection that can not be treated through pregnancy and if the baby is exposed to it during labor for too long, the baby can get it, has a high fever, and back in the day, babies died unnecessarily from this. The baby is only exposed when the water breaks and the longer the water has been broken, the higher the risk is. You *can* get antibiotics, but you need to be in labor for a minimum of four hours for it to take effect. EMS, acting cautiously, would have exposed Drew to a battery of tests to make sure he wasn't affected. My midwife, with her fourth child, was also GBS positive. If any midwife was prepared to handle my situation, it was her. She has been a midwife for 26 years. She's German and very no-nonsense. She was the perfect person to be on call that night. Neil and I were probably rattled enough that we might have said yes to going to the hospital and ended up with a totally different set of circumstances. Because my water broke as Drew was coming out, he was exposed with minimal risk. Less than a few minutes exposure, as opposed to many long hours. He was fine, thank goodness. It ended up being best case scenario all around - labor, delivery and recovery.

So, the car...how is it? Well, the murder scene thing only happens if you deliver your placenta too. We were only in the car for a few minutes after his birth and I hadn't delivered that so it was all amniotic fluid. It was a quick cleanup and all I can say is leather is the way to go! Even when we left to come home, I sat in the middle row and there were only two small spots on the floorboards. We'll be keeping the car. It's funny. I don't even think about it much anymore. Probably better that way, though. When I took Drew in for his two week appt. with the pediatrician, the nurse asked me where he was born. I laughed. She said it was ok if it was the ambulance. I said, 'ok, half in and half out of our Yukon', lol. Drew waits for no one. This might be a sign of his personality. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.


AmyHamand said...

Wow Martina! What an amazing story. I did wonder about the car, too. I also wondered about the placenta. It will be a great story for Drew to hear someday, too. Love the blog.

Megan said...

That's such a crazy experience! Glad it all worked out for the best!

Kelly Deneen said...

What an amazing birth story!!! wow!

Jen (flumom said...

Martina, I had an induced labor with my first, and was worried about making it to the hospital in time from work (45 min away)because I didn't know what to look for, too. Thank good my water broke @ 12:30 am, and Matt didn't make his apperance till 9:00.

What a great story!! One to remember always.

themrs said...

what an amazing story! i'll have to share my #4 baby story with you sometime! not born in the car, but fast and crazy also! all the others were looonnnggg labors, so i had no idea that aidan would come in an hour and a half. he's 21mths old now and it is an excellent indicator of his personality!

Megan said...

Wow! And more wow!

Rebecca Gillespie said...

Have you considered a homebirth? Having had 2 birth center births, 1 hospitsl birth, and 2 homebirths- it is really nice not having to go anywhere. :)

And my bed didn't look like a murder scene either! And this last time I had a waterbirth, super easy cleanup. :)