Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Story of Jonah 9:19-2011

Wow.  Its been a while since I've blogged.  I was very pregnant and blogging was the last thing on my mind for a while.  Anyhow, my baby (Its a BOY!) was born on Monday, 9/19 and his birth story is one for the records.  Literally.  He and I set a lot of records that day.  Both at birth centers and at hospitals and personally.  Here is our story:

Let me begin my saying, that my experience was VERY rare and that I would still recommend birthing with a midwife at a birth center or at home.  It is statistically PROVEN safer and I am still a firm believer that a woman's body is perfectly capable of birthing a baby without medical intervention.  It is not a sickness and only in rare cases, has its place in hospitals. 

And without further adieu,
The Pregnancy

I was convinced, only weeks after finding out that Ryan and I were pregnant, that it was doomed.  The pregnancy was planned and we wanted to add one more member to our family before calling it 'quits'.  So, here we were.  Pregnant.  And...bleeding.  The complications early in pregnancy were odd to say the least.  I have a good friend whom, prior to getting pregnant, we synced our cycles.  It seemed her body was in control and mine was mimicking.  Strange.  To the point where my period would come only hours after hers.  If I was late, I could go see her and by the next morning, I would get mine.  Well, in January she got hers early.  Mine came early too on that same day.  But, the next day mine was gone.  I asked her about hers but her body followed through.  Days later I took a pregnancy test at the request of my husband and there it was.  Two pink lines staring me in the face.  Several tests later only revealed the same thing.  I was pregnant.  That weekend I figured would be my final Hurray.  I went equipped with a bottle of organic wine to my friends house and managed to keep my surprise a secret from everyone that night.  The next morning, there is was again.  Blood.  And lots of it.  We naturally assumed I had miscarried.  A few days later, a couple doctors visits, several sonograms and a few thousand dollars proved one thing: I had not miscarried.  I was still pregnant.  And I needed to avoid my friend for several weeks because my body, pregnant or not, would bleed when around her. 

Due to my awful 1st birth experience, I wanted to have a natural birth.  No meds.  No edidural.  Nothing to drug me so I couldn't even remember the birth of my baby.  My first experience left me unable to bond instantly with my daughter, breastfeeding problems and serious memory loss from all of the drugs they pumped into me, practically against my will.  I found a birth center that I fell in love with, planned a water birth and went to work keeping myself in utmost health so that I could have my dream birth experience.  I even hired a photographer to capture my labor and delivery on camera because I knew it would be beautiful. 

From then on the pregnancy went smoothly, until week 35-36 when another sonogram proved the baby to be breech.  I was able to naturally turn the baby without being manhandled by a rough doctor.

The Labor

Then it came.  Saturday night.  10:40 PM.  I felt the first contraction and broke out my iPhone.  Because, you know, 'There's an App For That".  Using my phone, I timed my contractions and they remained consistently 5 min apart.  No pain though.  I made it to 7cm in my first birth with no pain until they introduced drugs.  I was convinced it would obviously be more painful than what I was experiencing now, but pitocin contractions are supposed to be far worse so I was confident I would be just fine.  2 Hours later we called Robyn, our midwife to let her know we would be on our way to the birth center.  Right on time, her car was pulling in as we turned the corner.  We settled our daughter in with her 'Big Sister' bag full of new coloring books, new small toys and a new DVD for her to watch while I labored.  We got comfy in our room and after a brief nap to harness all the energy we could, I began walking the halls of the birth center.  With hope in my heart and a longing desire for the birth I had planned in my head as being the most beautiful thing we would ever experience, Robyn checked me for dilation, only to expose the first of many nightmares.  Baby's umbilical cord and hand were on top if the head.  This meant that if the head descended any further into the cervix, it would cut off circulation to the umbilical cord, cutting off blood and oxygen to baby.  She informed me it was an emergency and medical intervention would be required.  She was going to call me an ambulance and I would likely have an emergency C-Section. 

Talk about waterworks.  I was almost convulsing.  I was so desperate to finally have a natural birth that this idea crushed me to the core.  My husband, Ryan held me while I cried and my mind raced.  We were alone here with our daughter.  Nightmare #2 sets in.  My 4 year old would be forced to watch me enter an ambulance.  Robyn would be with me.  That left Ryan and Addison.  Obviously, Addison would not be permitted anywhere in the hospital where I would be, which meant Nightmare #3, Ryan would not be with me.  I would have an emergency C-Section and my husband would not be there to hold my hand or to see the 'birth' of our baby.  With the quickness, we agreed for Ryan to put Addison in the car and drive down the street waiting for the ambulance to arrive.  Then, he would follow. 

Robyn insisted I lay on my side to keep the baby from descending any further.  I was whisked away on my 'tour bus', lights, sirens and all to be used as a human pin cushion on the way to our destination.  The EMTs attempted to humor.  I almost knocked them all out with one swing of my foot.  Note to EMTs or anyone else in the medical field: When a woman is obviously upset about her dreams being crushed and terrified of what she may be facing, do NOT attempt jokes.  You are not a comedian and the is NOT your stage.  Meanwhile, Ryan is terrified of what is happening and thoughts of losing me and/or the baby are racing in his head.

So there we are at Winnie Palmer hospital.  Ghetto.  After being examined by doctors and having multiple sonograms, they determined that the cord and hand had moved and were of no threat at the moment.  Another sonogram also determined that the head had, in fact, settled in more and was tight up against the cervix so the chances of that happening again were slim to none.  I just had to stay on my feet or upright and keep the baby moving down.  It also confirmed that the baby was 8lb 5oz.  They offered to let me stay there for monitoring and agreed that they would allow me the most natural birth possible (which, is turns out, is NOT 100% EVER because of hospital policies.  Many of the most natural part of delivery were forbidden.  So, me, being the hardass that I am told them to discharge me right away because I had a baby to be born with my midwife at the birth center. 

Back to the center.  At this point I was walking, squatting and basically doing everything I could to get things moving.  Robyn was afraid my contractions may slow down or stop due to the traumatic events.  Within an hour or so of being back and walking, my water broke on its own.  Apparently, it only broke on top, meaning there was still a bag of waters in there that had not released yet.  So, I kept walking.  I was so sure my perfect birth was only hours away that we called our trusty photographer to head on over and I went to wash up and reapply my makeup.

I think now that this was all a test.  Looking back, I was almost looking more forward to the birth experience than I was to the product of the birth experience: our baby. 

Hours passed and nothing happened.  We were going on 18 hours of labor and I was put on a few doses of antibiotics to prevent infection since my water had broke.  At 24 hours, Robyn broke the rest of my water and contractions hit an all time high.  These were not just any contractions.  They were contractions from hell.  I used all of my pain management skills I had practiced.  They worked, but only for a few hours until my body began begging for mercy.  The hours kept slipping by.  Robyn prepared the birthing pool.  It was all set.  Finally, I was checked again at the 24 hour point of initial water breakage.  The result: NO PROGRESS.  At that point I was ready for anything.  I had been in so much pain for so long that I knew my body may go into shock if I did not have medical intervention.  Nightmares set in all over again.  I was begging for an epidural.  I would have cut off my right leg if it meant I didn't have to have 1 more violent contraction. 

No ambulance this time.  Our photographer magically transformed into our nanny and took Addison.  Ryan drove me to Florida Hospital and Robyn followed close behind.  Running into the hospital I was rushed into a room where I replaced my clothing with an undignified hospital gown and begged nurses to get the anesthesiologist as fast as they possibly could.  Then, I was again used as a human pin cushion by a nurse who could not find a vein.  The needle poking around in my hand hurt like hell and finally an anesthesiologist who looked like a young mad scientist crossbred with a muppet came to my rescue.  He shot my hand up with a numbing agent so that they could fish around with needles without my feeling the pain. 

The DeliveryMeds so far: Numbing crap in my hand and an IV with fluids.  No real meds yet.

He left to go prepare the epidural.  I screamed like a mother effing banshee with each contraction that felt harder and closer together.  The doctor was still on his way.  The nurse checked me.  Still only 7cm and not nearly effaced enough.  I was under the impression I would be given pitocin and an edidural so I could still have a vaginal birth.  Ryan told me he heard the nurses and the doctor had already decided on an emergency C-Section.  Mr. Mad Scientist came back with forms for me to quickly sign through each blood wrenching scream and contraction and went over the 'possible complications'.  I cried.  This was exactly why I did NOT want this.  50% of more of my friends had complications from it.  I did not want to be one of them.  I looked at my husband and he was praying.  He held my hand and stood by my side while I screamed and cried.  Sivan, our amazing photographer/nanny had just taken Addison out of the room because she heard the C-Section talk and didn't think Addison should see that. 

By the Way: this is all happening within 30 minutes or so...VERY fast.  A room FULL of nurses rushing in and out.  Still no meds.  Robyn insisted I lay on my side because the babys heartbeat was dropping rapidly.  I cried harder.  The nurse went to put some fetal monitor on the baby's head and since I was on my side had to lift one leg in the air so she could attach it.  She did.  Another contraction came a minute later and I screamed 'I HAVE TO PUSH!!!!!!!!!!!'

No one could believe it.  They rushed over and there was the baby's head!  Another contraction came and I felt my baby fly out of me faster than the speed of light.  I was still only 7cm dilated.

Apparently, my baby felt as sick as I did about the epidural, meds and C-section and said 'I'm getting the f*ck out of here!!!"

Out popped baby.  No crying.  My chain of nightmares continues.  The cord was wrapped ALL around him like he was practicing tying his shoes.  In addition, there was a LOT of meconium (a babys first poop...the 'recycled' amniotic fluid) in the amniotic fluid, which is never a good thing.  They whisked him away and I heard a cry!  My pain went away almost instantly.  My heart filled up with love and fear faster than a bat out of hell. 

I had to scream 'What Is It?' and my husband confirmed we had a Baby Boy!  They cleaned him off and handed him over to me to breastfeed. 

I had a natural childbirth.  Not in the setting I wanted.  Not in the manner I wanted.  But I had done it.  No medication except for the shit that numbed my hand.  No edidural.  No C-Section.  Robyn even got to deliver my baby (don't tell the hospital!).  Ryan even got to watch his son being born (and wasn't grossed out!) and he got to cut the cord.

Jonah is officially known as the "miracle baby" at the hospital and the birthing center.  He is my little hero.  Every person we encountered on this journey played a special role in our journey.  The amazing women at the birth center will forever be in our hearts.  Robyn, Becky and Mary (student midwives) helped me through the most emotional roller coaster of my life to date.  Sivan, our photographer, was our safety net.  Without her, we would have been lost and Addison may have been scarred for life.    

Jonah Ryan Lewman was born 10:32AM on 9/19/2011, weighing in at a whopping 6lb 13.6oz.  I guess sonograms are just guessing games!  Jonah had a few tests come back high showing that he could have a possible blood infection due to the traumatic birth and breathing in meconium, etc.  But just days later his tests came back great and he is now home sleeping soundly while I tell the world about our amazing experience. 


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