October 15, 2007
My husband, Joel and I found out during my pregnancy that our baby would be born with a birth defect. He had a small hole in his abdomen and his bowels, and possibly other internal organs would be on the outside of his belly. While his health was our top concern, I was also upset that our birth plan for a natural hospital birth wouldn't come true. I soon discovered, however, that the hospital we were to deliver at was among the leaders of promoting natural childbirth. Despite his defect, they still insisted that vaginal birth is superior to C-Section.
I was having weekly ultrasounds by 35 weeks, and during a scan, the nurse jumped out of her chair and said she had to get a doctor. She left me there, alone for what seemed an eternity (my husband wasn't coming to every appointment at this point). When the doctor arrived, he told me that the baby's stomach was also out, and that the baby appeared to be in distress. They sent me for a non-stress test, and told me not to eat in case I needed a C-Section that day! I called my husband who left work and drove the hour to our hospital. The non-stress test was inconclusive since I wasn't allowed to drink the orange juice. We met with our baby's surgeon from the children's hospital. They said they would not have the C-Section that day as they prefer to see term babies who are a little more sick than early babies who are less distressed. So, they sent me home.
Two days later, my husband was laying the last of our hardwood flooring to get ready for the baby. I had the urge to go for a long walk, and then exercised to my yoga tape. That night at 9:30, my husband fell fast asleep after a long day of laying floor. I couldn't sleep, so I walked around the house. I went to the washroom and saw that I was leaking fluid, (always hearing how a woman's water "breaks" I didn't realize it can happen slowly, throughout the entire labour). We called the hospital who told us to come right in. We were in the car about midnight. We called both of our parents to tell them we were going. After driving for a while, I told Joel that I was having some tightness, I said I thought I had about 4 since he was on the phone with his mom. We checked the time and saw that was 20 mins. ago, so one every 5 mins. I told him to start timing things. Almost immediately, they started coming with more power. I kind of got lost inside myself that drive, but we were able to determine they were happening every 4 - 5 mins, lasting 30 seconds.
When I arrived at the hospital, I was 2 cms dilated, but my contractions were happening every 2 - 3 minutes. 4 different doctors and nurses advised me to have an epidural, but I refused each time (although it got more and more tempting!!). At one point, I said to my husband, "I was crazy to think I could do this, its more painful than I thought" he leaned over to me and whispered, "you are the same person now as you were before, you didn't want it then, so you don't want it now" that was the last I spoke of medication. My doula arrived at 2am. She helped me get more comfortable, but I wasn't able to change positions as the contractions were happening so quickly, I didn't have time to move, so I stayed on my back. I was quite distressed by the water leaking, it was very uncomfortable for me to be wet the whole time. My doula told me after that I have now learned that about myself, and to be ready for the next labour to do more to stay dry as I would be more comfortable. My doula spent quite a lot of time asking for me to be checked as she could hear my sounds changing, becoming lower.
Finally the doctor checked me at 3:30am. I will always remember my surprise when she said, "she's 10, she's ready to push". They asked me to blow through a couple of contractions while they readied the teams to care for our baby. As soon as she said that, I realized how difficult it was going to be not to push, the feeling was so intense, I didn't know how the baby was going to stay in!! Anyway, I started to push once everyone was ready, and actually felt completely different, totally myself again, I was even cracking jokes in between contractions (not too sure how funny I actually was!) I started getting discouraged with my "lack of progress". The TV shows make it seem like a couple pushes and the baby is out. One of the doctors saw that, and told me to reach down and feel the baby's head! What a feeling!! At one point, I actually felt the baby's head rotate, trying to help himself out!! Finally, I pushed and out came his head, I felt a little burn, probably because my legs were pinned back and I was on my back. Then, with another push, Aaron Caelab Joel was born! He had to be ventilated immediately, he was taken from the room. In all the excitement of his birth, they forgot to announce his gender - and we forgot to ask!! So about 5 mins later, we sent a nurse to find out!
I am so thankful I was able to push my baby into this world, and that the doctors were so willing to let God play God, and not try to assume the role themselves. Of course, to protect our baby's health, we had to concede to some things, like not holding him right away, and cutting the code right away, but we feel the doctors played the role they needed to. Doctors are for sickness, not natural birth, and they balanced those responsibilities beautifully, helping when help was needed, and leaving my body alone when it needed to be alone.
We are expecting our second baby in April of 2009, and are planning a beautiful home birth attended by a midwife.
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