Friday, April 02, 2010

Cho's Birth

So this isn't exactly Cho's birth story. I need to create a version of her story that will be fit for her to read and treasure. This version is my story.

I went to work on Thursday morning, March 11. My plan was for my last day of work to be Friday, March 19, which I figured would be well in advance of the birth. My due date was March 22; first babies are usually late; my sister and I were both born "late"; not that it matters, but Jo was a week past his due date.

It is important to note that I work an hour from home, and in a different state. At about 10am, while I was reading a chapter of our class novel to the seventh graders, I felt some uncomfortable cramping, like mild period cramps. At 10:30 -- I know it was 10:30 because that's my break, so I went to the bathroom -- I started bleeding; as in "stuck pig," not as in "spotting" or "bloody show."

I stumbled to the nurse's office, called the midwife and called Co. The midwife asked how much blood -- was it a tablespoon or a quarter cup? I waffled, but in retrospect the answer was definitely in the quarter-cup range. She recommended I get to the nearest E.R. (and that, folks, is how I found out that the town I work in owns one ambulance. They had to send one from another town, so two local police officers were dispatched to check on me in the meantime; they both assured me they'd delivered babies before).

From the time the blood started I was pretty sure things were going south, even at the same time as I wondered if I could get enough paper towels in my pants to make it back to the classroom. Sure enough, when I got to L & D they immediately started talking about "getting the baby out." The doctor on call told me they believed I had a placental abruption, which is when the placenta tears away from the uterine wall. It's extremely dangerous for the baby, because she could have lost access to oxygen; and for the mother, because of the bleeding (placental abruption is a major way women died in childbirth before C-sections). By the time I said okay to the section, I had lost I believe 500 cc of blood, which according to my midwife is as much as a woman should lose over the course of labor.

The baby's heart rate was stable when I arrived but then started to get higher, which kicked everyone into high gear. I asked if I could at least wait for Co to get there (she came ASAP but remember...I work an hour from home) and the doctor said the baby was in distress. I was frightened because I am educated enough to be cynical; hospitals always say that. But I spoke to the midwife and she told me a C-section was the best thing to do, and now was the time to do it.

The anesthiologist had trouble finding the right place in my spine for the epidural thingy (what the eff does it mean to curl your back like an angry cat??? I have a dachshund) and they were threatening general anesthesia, which terrified me. But she eventually got it in. Cho was born at 12:29 p.m. Co arrived minutes later, and she carried the baby over to me. (I couldn't see anything over the screen, I couldn't see Cho as she was taken out or whisked over to be "cleaned up.") Co and I both marveled at how much newborn Cho looked like newborn Jo!

Co has been having a hard time about not getting there "in time," which I totally understand, but we met our daughter together.

And Cho was absolutely fine. She screamed lustily -- much louder than Jo -- and both of her Apgars were 9. She was 6 lb, 13 oz (which in my bio family is a big baby; I was 4lb 14 oz and I was post-term).

While they were stitching me up, I did make sure they double-stitched my uterus. At least I used Ina May for something.

The hospital sucked. That's why I wanted a home birth. They accused us of "starving the baby" (because we fed her expressed breastmilk without offering her formula "to see if she wanted it" and said that they were concerned about what a "big baby" she was because the pediatrician was wrong about her gestational age (thinking she was premature; she was 38weeks 3 days). One nurse said she had "never heard a baby cry like that." Really??? I have and I only have two kids.

So Co nursed her and pumped (I pumped too and my milk did come in in before we left the hospital on Sunday), so she wouldn't lose too much weight. The nurses saw the bottles and were all impressed that my milk had come in on, like, the day of delivery. Our lactation consultant loved the story and was amused that the nurses couldn't tell the difference between Co's mature milk and my new milk. We syringe-fed her the milk (suggested by the LC with Jo) until the nurses sicced a ped. on us to say he knew we might have "read about that on the Internet" but nipple confusion is all a myth and the syringe would make the baby choke. They gave us some nipples that luckily fit on our Medela bottles (they seemed unsure if they had any bottles that weren't pre-filled with formula). Meanwhile, the hospital video about baby care included a breastfeeding section that encouraged exclusive breastfeeding and -- I couldn't make this stuff up -- syringe feeding of expressed milk to avoid nipple confusion.

Cho is three weeks old today and doing beautifully. She's nursing round the clock and gaining weight.

My own journey in the past three weeks is definitely another post, which I hope to write soon (sooner if I can get the hang of "nursing at keyboard".....).


sandra said...

What a story! Thanks for sharing. Glad Cho is in good shape. Love that you all had breastmilk to share. Definitely want to hear about your own adjustment in the last 3 weeks. *hugs*

oneofhismoms said...

Thank you so much, Lo. I know Co must be feeling bad, but I can say as the non-gestational mom who did attend the c-section, the bit where you get to actually hold the baby is the bit you don't want to miss.

Even though it didn't go as you had planned, I'm so glad you had your midwife, and your LC and your wits about you in that awful hospital. Did you tell the ped he should take a gander at the video?


Still can't wait to meet her!

Jericho said...

Wow---what a time you had! You'll never forget it, that's for sure! Thanks so much for sharing!

CD and SP said...

that is so amazing! what a birth story!! so glad it worked out, of course, and look at the beautiful girl--wow!!

Melody said...

Wow! You and Co must have both been scared. You really handled yourself well-- better than I think I would have done under the same circumstances. And I can't believe the nurses were so uneducated. I wouldn't expect that at all in the city where you work! Way to trust yourselves and stick to your guns in the face of that. You still made it YOUR experience, and Cho is a beautiful and very lucky girl.