Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Home, I Mean Ambulance Birth

There's no other way to start this story, so here is my birth story -

My due date was December 6th, which was over 2 weeks ago. As of Wednesday, I was 42 weeks, and 1 day. Because I was so far along, I was being monitored to make sure that Quentin's heart rate was good and so that day I was sent for a biophysical (which is basically an extensive ultrasound) after an appointment with my midwife where I had my membranes stripped. At the ultrasound, I was told that he passed his test and everything looked fine, but because he was so big and squished in there, they couldn't see things like his chest, but that there was no reason for concern.

Shortly after leaving the ultrasound appointment, I received a call from my midwife asking me what the technician had explained to me, and I just told her that he passed the biophysical. She said that he did, but that they noticed something on his stomach which led them to believe he could possibly have gastroschisis. They wanted to send me to St. Vincent Hospital the next day (yesterday) to have a more extensive ultrasound done to determine whether or not he had this condition. I made the decision that until we knew for sure whether or not he had it, that I would deliver him in a hospital in the event that I went into labor that night. I told my midwives what my decision was, but if I had the ultrasound done the next day and it showed that there was no concern, then I would continue on with my plan to have a home birth. My midwives supported that decision.

So, while we were praying that Quentin did not have this condition, we were also praying that I would not go into labor as we all felt it would be best for us to try and make it to St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, about an hour and a half drive from my home. Around midnight on Thursday morning, I started feeling some cramping, but thought it was just where my membranes had been stripped as my stomach wasn't getting hard and they didn't feel like normal contractions. So, I tried to go to sleep around 12:15 and at 12:45, I woke up. The pains were getting closer together and stronger, so I woke my mom up and told her I was going to call the midwife on call and see what she thought I should do. I spoke with her and she suggested that we go ahead and go to the hospital, but she thinks it would still be wise to head to St. Vincent just in case Quentin was not ok. We quickly got ready and packed a bag, at 1:50am, we met up with my dad and headed towards Indianapolis. My mom had my midwife on the phone and my contractions were quickly progressing and at this point were not even a minute apart. About 15 minutes into the trip, my water broke and I knew he was coming very soon. My dad said there was a hospital at the next exit and I said to call 911 because I wouldn't make it and that we had to pull off at the exit and meet up with an ambulance. Needless to say, it was terrifying as you can't just stop labor, and I KNEW that he was coming.

We pulled off at a church and a police officer met us there, he put gloves on and came over to my car, I had my midwife on the phone and said "There is a police officer here and he wants to touch me, he has no clue what he's doing though!" She said "Mary, you know how to deliver you're own baby." That gave me the confidence right there that I was still in charge of my delivery, and no one else. Obviously, after I delivered him I would have to give up control of Quentin if he was not ok, but for now, I knew what I needed to do. Shortly thereafter the paramedics came and they tried to get me out of my car, mid contraction, so I told them they'd just have to wait but they insisted that I get out because it was too cold to deliver a baby in my car. I knew I wasn't going to have him that second, so I knew there was time for me to get through that contraction. After the next one, I got up and got on the gurney and they put me in the ambulance, started an IV, and I told them he was coming. My mom kept saying that my midwife said to try and not push, but it was too far, there was no choice as my uterus was doing all of the work at that point. About two minutes into the ride, Quentin Isaiah was born in the back of the ambulance around 2:26am, although no one believed me when I said "He's here!" I am assuming they thought I meant he was crowning or I just thought he was coming, but I meant he was out and needed to be picked up. They finally did once they heard him cry. They put him on me after they told me that he was HEALTHY! I couldn't believe it, I had my beautiful piece of Luke in my arms, finally!

We got to the hospital and I asked him to not cut the cord, but to please wait until it stopped pulsing and it was of no use to Quentin anymore. They thought it was a little different, but agreed to let that happen. They took us to a room and got us settled, I delivered the placenta when it was ready and they checked Quentin out and gave him a bath. Over the next twelve hours we went through the typical hospital process of monitoring vitals and blood work. We were able to speak with the OB and the pediatrician about leaving earlier than anticipated since we weren't able to have a home birth but I still obviously had the desire to be at home with my baby. I explained our situation and since everyone was healthy and the midwives would be monitoring us after that, they agreed to let us go around 24 hours.

I must say that I am very impressed with the staff at the Henry County hospital and their willingness to understand my situation and the cooperation that I received to honor being at home as much as possible. While I still didn't like having people in and out of my room and feeling invaded, they were very understanding. On the other hand, I must say that I am beyond disappointed in the staff at Reid Hospital in Richmond, Indiana. My midwife called the OB on call to give him a heads up in the event that I went into labor that night so he was aware of the possible condition so Quentin could be taken to wherever he needed to be taken immediately. He was very aggressive and bullied my midwife for "allowing" me to go past 42 weeks, even though this was MY decision and MY decision alone. She in no way forced me to do anything that I was not comfortable with as it was my desire to allow my child to come when he was ready and I in no way regret the decision to go so far post date, God knew what He was doing when He orchestrated this. And just because a woman goes past her due date, this does not mean she is immediately unhealthy, or that her baby is unhealthy, as this was proven with my situation!

So, that is my "New Kind of Pregnancy" birth story. Definitely not what we anticipated or wanted, but we have a very healthy 9 lbs., 5 oz. and 21" long baby boy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Most Recent Update

As of today, I am 41 weeks, 6 days. I had a check-up with one of the midwifery assistants yesterday for another non-stress test. His heart rate sounds great and he is moving a lot, so everything looks good!
I do have an appointment this Wednesday where they will do the basic stuff, but immediately afterwards I will be sent to have a biophysical done, which is basically an ultrasound to make sure everything is ok.
Please pray that he comes soon and that everything goes well. Thank you for your continued prayers!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Baby Update and Some Definitions

As you know, I am just slightly past my due date now. 11 days to be exact. But, I am trying to keep in mind that the due date is just an estimation and not a guarantee or expiration date. Today, I am 41 weeks and 4 days and little Q is still moving away.

I have been asked several times if I'll be induced or what exactly the plan is. The truth is that we are going to let nature takes its course and while I may be anxious to see my baby and I am uncomfortable, we are going to let him come when he is ready. There were a few concerns that I had, but my midwife discussed those with me and I feel much better and more confident now.
So, for now we are just waiting for all of these insane contractions I'm having to just stay instead of going away every time!

On a completely different note, here are some definitions to clear up any confusion that people may have:

Grief; deep sorrow, especially that caused by a person's death.

Self-pity; excessive, absorbed unhappiness over one's own problems.

........... I hope that helps.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Growing and Grieving

There is a lot of growing going on here, physical and emotional. I am now 40 weeks, and 3 days into my third pregnancy. I am very ready to have this baby, as most pregnant women are at this point, but it's much deeper than the normal discomfort for me. It's bittersweet as I prepare to give birth to my fatherless baby. I never thought I'd be in this position, but I am not the first, nor will I be the last (unfortunately). I want to prepare for how I may feel or react to certain things in labor, but there is no way of knowing until I'm in it. As you can imagine, little Quentin is getting quite big and his movements have gone from big leaps to small nudges, as he is definitely lacking room. I cannot wait to see his sweet face, hoping that he looks exactly like his daddy. I cannot wait to hold his little hand and kiss his chubby cheeks, knowing that he is the final product of the love that my soul mate and I shared before he left for Afghanistan.

If you know me at all, you know I don't grieve well in front of others. But I have feelings, that I just want to get out. I understand that people want to be helpful or do not know what to say, but sometimes I just need to get things off of my chest and let others know how things make me feel instead of just taking it all of the time. So with that, here is my grieving portion of this blog post:

This deployment seemed different, from the very beginning. I guess you could say we had a "feeling" that something might happen, but I honestly think the reality of him leaving the boys and me hit him this time. He was more emotional about leaving us and had a very hard time when I took him to the airport for our final goodbye in April. Some people say it must be easier for me to grieve and move past this because he wasn't here often and since he was already gone. All I can say to that is "don't say things unless you've lived them and know." That's mildly offensive to me as no death is easy to get over, but beyond that, I can barely remember what it's like to be held by him anymore, and the only way I remember his voice is by replaying his voicemails over and over and over. I will say that the fact that he wasn't here very often because of his work makes it easier on the boys, because they were used to him being gone and do not ask for him like I imagine many kids whose fathers have normal jobs would. Other people say that it's easier because I didn't have to see him suffer. On the other hand, I didn't get to say goodbye, I didn't get to tell him I love him one last time before he slipped into eternity. I didn't get to hold him, kiss him, or touch his face one last time. I used to close my eyes and feel his face, hoping I'd never have to try so hard to remember what it felt like one day.

But I'm there now.