Sacred Journey

Birth Plan:

-At home
-No unnecessary medical interventions
-Delayed cord clamping
-No pain meds
-Allowed to move
-Use of water to aid in pain 
-No drops or shots
-No circumcision if boy
-No bath
-Immediate skin to skin
-Immediate latching and/BF help
-No induction

So excited about my labour and birth! I felt so empowered, I was so ready to have my birth at home and to see my baby.

Home birth is such a great option and I wholeheartedly believe it should be more talked about! Too many people don’t know it’s even an option. It’s cheaper and a lot of the time can be safer. Does that means it’s right for everyone? Heck no! However, people really need to know it’s an option, an option that isn’t coocoo bananas!

I had a great pregnancy! Felt beautiful, felt empowered, felt confident! It was amazing! I was healthy, everything was great! I was well on my way to my amazing, calm, relaxing homebirth. 

Did I know things could change? For sure! Did I know there were a chance of complications? For sure! But I also knew the chance of those complications were rare-and they are. Rare, not impossible. 
Did I plan for complications, yes. Devin and I both were of the mindset, there are no risks, I’m healthy right now. If that changes then we will plan for that. There’s no need to plan for rarities. And as someone with anxiety and too much worry, that plan worked great for me! 

In my third trimester, I started having high blood pressure. We tried not to worry about it because I could control it- to an extent, with stress relief. We weren’t concerned about it being more than simple high BP because I literally had no signs of any other disease. 

Actual Birth Plan:

-Transfer to hospital
-Spend a week in hospital
 -Pain meds
-Massive Medical intervention
-Cord Immediately cut
-No water use
-Not allowed to move
-No drop or shots
-No bath
-No circumcision if boy
-Very brief skin to skin
-Brief Immediate BF help, no latching

A complete 360 of my original birth plan.

What happened? 
Two days before I was induced I did a 24 hour urine collection to test the levels of protein in my urine. It was a precaution. I was healthy other than my high BP. 
We got the results of my protein count on Saturday November 11th. The highest level allowed for pregnancy is 300. My levels were 3000.I was sent to Mary Washington for monitoring. I was devastated. It was just for monitoring, but i knew it was more than that: I was being transferred.
And I was. 

Ok cool. I’d just stay at the hospital to monitor my BP and I could still labour naturally at the hospital. No big deal. 
I was admitted late Saturday night. I met with Dr. 1 the first thing he said to me was “we can make this easy and just get a csection.” *eye roll* “but as long as you and baby are stable, we can do what you want… I’m not trying to push you but csection would be easier and quicker.”

Looking back, yeah it 100% would have been quicker, and healing would probably be equal to how I’m currently healing. 
I “kindly” said, no thank you to surgery. 

I was given a room and placed with Nurse L, who I loved. (I won’t keep track of the nurses because the amount of nurses that came into my room…. I can’t even begin to remember)I was IVd up and was placed on Magnesium Sulfate (Mag) to reduce the chance of a seizure (apparently I was at a HUGE risk of having a seizure at any time) and also to decrease the risk of placenta rupture, given Cervidil to efface my cervix since I was probably 60% effaced, and 0cm dilated, and finally was IVd with Penicillin to reduce risk of infection.

Disclaimer, Mag sucks. It makes you Immediately feel loopy, my eyes couldn’t focus on anything, I felt sick, I don’t remember much of my first few days at the hospital because of the Mag. They also don’t let you walk around or move too much on Mag because it makes you woozy. 
Further disclaimer, a surprise allergic reaction to Penicillin sucks even more. My entire body swelled up, got hot and red, I had hives. Apparently I was allergic to Penicillin. Who knew. Not me. I got to find out in the midst of a horrible labour. Icing to the cake right?

After Cervidil I started my first round of Pitocin. 
And no longer was “natural hospital birth” an option. However, no pain meds birth was an option still and as long as I wasn’t getting a csection, I’d cling to what I could. Somewhere along the line I was given another round of Cervidil.
We went to the highest allowed level of Pit-20 mL and had to stop. I wasn’t feeling the contractions nearly as much as I should, and I was also having that allergic reaction. 

We took a few hours break of Pit. At the beginning of the break I was 5cm, at the end of the break I was 6cm. I was not progressing as much as I should and as much as the drs wanted to see. I was still on Mag and the new antibiotic and will be throughout the rest of this story. 

Dr. 2 came in, nice guy, better than Dr. 1. 
He was content with where I was and thought breaking my waters would be useful. This was around 1am on Tuesday. I’d already been in labour for two full days. 
We expected things to move very quickly from there. We were wrong. Breaking my water just made things worse-pain wise. 
We started another round of Pit. I started feeling the contractions, but too much. By the highest allowed dose, 20mL, i was still only 6cm, but the pain was constant and unbareable. Constant contractions are unsafe for baby too. I went thru two entire bags of Pit before i called my Doula aka my life saver. She came in when I needed her the most. My highest level of Pit, I couldn’t even bear it.

I’m pretty sure if anyone could hear me, they’d think I was getting murdered. I was literally screaming and shaking. There was a point I couldn’t even handle screaming, and I just sobbed thru the continuous contractions.

My doula suggested I think about getting an epidural. Something I was 100% terrified of getting. A needle going into my spine… Uh, seriously?? And then a catheter so I could pee? Again, no thanks!
However, I was literally sobbing thru this pain and I wanted it to end. The pain, but also being pregnant. I was miserable.

I sobbed and told her I was scared and she ended all of my fears- and I got the epidural and catheter I was so terrified to get.
And listen, it wasn’t that bad.

I took another break from Pitocin.

My Doula asked me if I’d be interested in doing a reiki session, something I know about, but have never done.
I said, “Yes! At this point I will do anything and everything to dilate.”
I knew I was tense, for obvious reasons. My birth plan had been trashed basically, nothing was going according to my original plan.

Her friend and reiki healer came in a few hours later (this is late  at night by the way. People were going out of their way to help me) and did her stuff and it was amazing. There were times where I zoned out completely and don’t remember. She gave me some little insights, if you don’t know anything about reiki, it’s energy work and sometimes they get little insights or psychic tidbits.
To some it may sound coocoo, to me it didn’t, and looking back now, she was spot on.

Her insights were that I was doing great, that baby was very content where they were, and that no matter what I should listen to my instincts.

I highly recommend reiki, by the way.

On to Dr. 3, he said he was comfortable with letting me do what I wanted to do as long as baby and myself were okay. I have to give it to Mary Wash, some of the dr’s and nurses I dealt with were so helpful and supportive-something I didn’t expect.

However, a few hours later, I still hadn’t moved above 6cm.

Dr. 3 came in and said, “You’re not dilating, and you’re getting close to 24 hours of your water being ruptured. One thing we can do is an IUPC (Intrauterine Pressure Catheter) or you can choose a csection… I’m not forcing you and I won’t force you, I’m here to give you facts, but if it comes to the point where it’s a danger to you or baby, I have to step in.”

They gave me time to google and talk it over with Devin and my back up doula (another godsend). My nurse, we’re back to Nurse L at this point, my ultimate favourite nurse ever, who I also feel was a godsend. I think if I had any other nurse, this birth would have ended differently. She came back in a few times to thoroughly explain what an IUPC is and how it works, what the risks are etc etc.

An IUPC goes into your uterus behind baby and measures the pressure of each contraction to see if your body is accurately feeling the contractions.
The thing with the IUPC, is if it shows your body not accurately feeling the contractions, they’re allowed to go higher the the allowed highest 20mL of Pitocin.
We waited about two more hours before getting the IUPC, we tried everything we could think of to naturally dilate. Nipple stimulation, making out  (and listen, that’s a feat in a tiny hospital bed, hooked up to multiple IV’s and a catheter, and a port in my spine.

Our nurse came in awkwardly and said, “hey, do what you gotta do.”
We decided to get the IUPC the next time she came in. And I believe her exact words before that were, “Another patient just decided to get a c-section, so the OR is booked, let’s get this baby out.” We did the IUPC and every 30 minutes after that she came in and helped move me to a different position to help ease baby down and encourage dilation.

No surprise, my body wasn’t feeling the contractions properly, so we were able to go above the recommended dosage.

The next morning I was 9cm, I ended up at 24 mL of Pitocin. We texted our back up doula and she quickly came to the room. I honestly couldn’t have had the experience I did without both of our doulas. She eased my fears and advocated for me when I wanted to change positions to push. She was super encouraging and would tell me over and over how great of a job I was doing and to keep doing it. I could keep doing it. Pushing only took an hour, but I had 5-6 minute breaks because my body couldn’t feel the contractions properly. I don’t even remember it taking an hour. I would have said 20-30 minutes.

Here’s where I stop remembering exact details.

Here’s what I’ve been told:

Before baby even crowned I started gushing blood. The Dr. delivering started pinching areas of my vagina almost immediately to try and stop blood flow. Baby had the cord wrapped around their neck, which isn’t a big deal normally, but it was too tight, the dr. had difficulty cutting it. He did and everything with baby was okay.  The Dr started stitching me up immediately after baby was out.
Devin looked back over at me and said he could see blood squirting out of me, I was hemorrhaging.
They put baby on me, but I dont remember much of that.

All I remember was opening my eyes and saying, “There’s too much noise.” The nurse asked, “Are your ears ringing?” I nodded and apparently that’s when she pulled the emergency cord which pulls in every available nurse on the unit to my room.

They were trying to keep me from crashing too far and the dr was apparently still stitching me up whilst they were trying to keep me conscious.
My BP started out at 189/120 and suddenly went to 84/40.
Thankfully they were able to stabilize me.
I thought my perineum tore, but it was fully intact. What was gushing blood, was my vagina actually ripped-badly.

The next few days I was on Mag and Pit, my BP was measured every hour, labs were done every 4 hours. Basically for a week, my life was miserable and I may have gotten 5 hours of sleep total, if that. My kidney and liver weren’t doing the best they could, but it wasn’t too much of a concern. They were more concerned about my BP and my blood count.
My BP was still high and when it got too high, I was given an IV of BP medication that would quickly lower it.
I got a few blood count tests done and instead of increasing, it kept decreasing. My last day at the hospital I had to get two blood transfusions, so please if you can donate blood, please donate blood.

After baby was born all of our nurses came in at some people to see baby and to congratulate us because they know how determined I was about this birth.
Even more surprisingly, I had two dr’s come in (that had previously said csection would be best) and apologize and basically say, “I was wrong, you were right. Congratulations!”

I don’t know if all dr’s and nurses at Mary Washington are that amazing, but I hope they are.

We were discharged on Friday the 17th, almost a week after being admitted.

Final thoughts
I know everyone who has known since we  were admitted has been concerned about my mental state concerning being transferred. I’ve had my support team ask and express concern, “how are you feeling about being admitted? About your birth plan completely changing? etc etc.”
When it first happened, I was devastated. I didn’t want to be induced, I didn’t want to be in a hospital, I didn’t want any of that. Devin has told me the entire time that I’m a messenger. I’ve brought so much focus to natural birth/pregnancy, and also just women’s health and informed consent  in general.
I feel deeply in my heart this happened for a reason and I’m so grateful it happened the way it did. If I would have stayed at home, there’s no doubt in my mind that I’d most likely not being writing this blog, or holding my little munch in my lap, or being annoyed that my vagina aches so much, or listening to Devin do laundry and dishes…
I’m also so grateful because it opened my eyes to an amazing staff of dr.’s and nurses. There are dr’s and nurses who will advocate for you and do everything in their power to help you have whatever you want. 
I’m also grateful because I’m proof that you can have a birth plan and it can be amazing, but it can change, and you need to be open to that, and it’s not as scary as you think it is, I promise. 

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