Friday, May 2, 2014

**Trigger** Birth After a Loss--- Baby Brooke's Birth Story

After a false alarm trip to the labor and delivery and a fun filled Easter day with the family, my contractions began to pick back up and were coming on strong. It was about 5:30pm when I told Brook that I thought it was time to head to the hospital. He decided to finish making pasta for dinner. As the contractions got stronger, I insisted that it really was time to go. Hunter was upset that he had to leave his pasta at the table, but my mom got him into the car and ready to go. My contractions were less than 2 minutes apart and way more intense than the morning. Brook kept teasing me saying that this was just another false alarm. The contractions did start to slow down a little on the way, but they were still very strong.

When the nurse checked me this time, I was sure it was the real thing. She said that I was not dilated any further, but I was 100% effaced. She said she wasn't sure I was in active labor yet. She said they would monitor me for an hour and then check again. She said they were likely going to send me home.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing, because by then the contractions were really strong. I remember thinking that I wouldn't know when to come back because they had said when the contractions were 5 min apart and strong that I should come in. If this wasn't the real thing, I didn't know what was.

Less than a minute later I noticed a couple of drops of blood. The nurse said that was normal after being checked, but very soon after the drops turned into large clots. I instantly felt panicked. The nurse came back in and checked me a second time only a couple minutes apart, and said I was almost another centimeter dilated. She said I would not be going anywhere. She didn't give much of an explanation as to why I was bleeding, but she looked worried.

My Mom, Brook and my best friend Sandra were at the hospital with me. They were with me for Hunter and Wyatt's births as well. Sandra has been styling my hair for big events ever since high school, so it only made sense for her to give me a quick up do for labor. They all did their best to keep me distracted and calm, but the sight of blood with out any explanation on top of pretty intense contractions was starting get to me.

They quickly moved me to another room with a new nurse. I heard someone ask if they were going to do some sort of test due to the bleeding. The response was, "It was not ordered." My head was full of questions and my anxiety began to take over, but I couldn't get any words out due to the very intense and painful contractions. I was doing my best to breathe through each contraction and try to relax. Sandra began asking the exact questions going through my mind. "What could the cause of the bleeding be?" "What is the next step?" "Will a doctor be checking her soon?" They said that the Doctor would be coming very soon. Someone said something about a possible placental abruption.

The nurse I had was wonderful and she did her best to explain what was going on while trying to reassure me. She kept letting me know that according to the monitors, our little girl was doing fine. I kept breathing through contractions, but the panic was getting stronger, and so were the contractions. I was asked to lay on the bed because they were having trouble keeping the baby on the monitor, but laying down on my back was the worst position for my contractions.

I am not sure when I reached my breaking point exactly, but I think it was after hearing that the doctor who was supposed to be coming "soon," was actually at another hospital doing a procedure. I couldn't understand why they wouldn't bring in another doctor or something. There was still no explanation about the bleeding. At one point people were asking me questions about past pregnancies and surgeries. All of this brought me right back to my memories of losing Wyatt and my other losses as well. I remember crying out that my past surgeries involved taking my babies out of my body.

At some point, I began insisting on an epidural. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I felt defeated like I was a failure, but I just couldn't handle the pain, the grief and the worry all at the same time. Everyone tried to assure me that my baby was fine, but I was too far into panic at this point to listen. I remember at one point noticing that I was shaking. I asked, "Could this be transition?" I knew that people often panic during the last stage of labor right before it was time to push. They told me the could check me, but I instantly demanded the epidural. I couldn't stand the idea that they might check me and tell me that I was still not progressing, or have them try to talk me out of the epidural. I was certain at this point that I wanted it although I kept apologizing to Brook for giving up.

By the time the doctor came in, I was hysterically crying and could no longer breathe through my contractions. I began screaming and felt strong feelings of anger. I realize now that much of that reaction was anger towards  past doctors and my past experience losing Wyatt. I was so worried that something would go wrong with this birth, and I would have to relive those awful memories. I kept saying, "I can't do this again. I can't have another dead baby!" They suggested that I try to focus on the sound of our baby girl's beautiful heart beat, but that was a surprise trigger for me as well. The last few days of my pregnancy with Wyatt were spend listening to his heart beat and waiting for the inevitable day that it would stop beating.

The anesthesiologist came into the room and began setting up for the epidural. I told the doctor that I felt the urge to push. She checked me and said I was only 7cm dilated. She left the room while the anesthesiologist prepped me. He asked me to move to the edge of the bed. I felt like he just asked me to move a mountain, but I managed to sit up and move over. I felt him clean off my back and he began to explain what he needed me to do.

All of a sudden I got an uncontrollable urge to push. I yelled out, "I don't know why I can't stop pushing!" They asked me to lay back onto the bed and I said, "I don't think you understand." Someone asked me, "Are you having a baby right now?" After one unstoppable push our sweet baby girl entered the world and was caught by my amazing nurse before the doctor could even make it back into the room. She was still in the sac when she was born, and the waters broke as she came out. Less than 3 hours after we arrived at the hospital, and I was told they may be sending me home, our precious baby girl was born at the exact moment I so desperately needed her.

I was in complete shock at this point. I don't remember the next few minutes at all. My Mom snapped a picture of my face.She said I kept this look on my face for a few straight minutes. She also missed out on what was going on in the room at the time because she was so worried about me. She said I was unresponsive for a while, and when she finally did get me to talk, all I could say was, "Did I just do that?" over and over.

So although I was yelling for an epidural the whole time, I ended up with a natural birth after all. The nurse that delivered our baby girl also took the time to review my birth plan, and even with all the excitement she remembered that I wanted delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin contact. I was very impressed and thankful to her for that. They did have to take her to the nursery for a while because her temperature was so low. While we waited, the nurse stayed with me and let me talk all I wanted about our Wyatt. She listened so intently. It was really healing getting to explain why I reacted the way I did during labor.

I had it in my birth plan to keep our little girl  by my side at all times if possible, but I think it was for the best that I had a little bit of time to process what just happened before bonding with her. It took a few hours, maybe a couple of days before I truly believed that I had delivered a healthy beautiful baby girl. Even today it still feels like a wonderful dream come true.

Brooke Lynn Stine: Born 4-20-14 at 10:16pm..(Easter Sunday and our 8th Anniversary) She weighed 5pounds and 15.6ounces and was 17.5 inches long. 

She is amazing, wonderful and worth every up and down moment of this roller coaster ride. 

I am so thankful for all the love and support we have had and know we will continue to receive. It brings a smile to my face and tear to my eye to think of how much our little Brooke is already loved!

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