Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ezra Daniel Wilfong

From this...

to this...

And now for a birth story…a little long, I know. Sorry.

I wanted so desperately to have a vaginal delivery after cesarean (VBAC) with this baby.
Ever since agreeing to be induced with Zeke, which ultimately ended with a c-section, I’ve wished I had done things differently, and I really wanted this time to conform a little more to the birth I had in my head.

Tons of research assured me a VBAC was, in fact, possible, even considering my gestational diabetes (and even though the GD was more severe this time).
My doctor wasn’t overly encouraging about it because Labor and Delivery at WMC doesn’t have in-house anesthesia, and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (of which she is a fellow) discourages VBAC under that circumstance. She did, however, say that no one would give me a hard time if I ‘happened’ to show up at the hospital already 7 or 8 centimeters dilated and progressing (*winkwink, nodnod*). So, basically, I took this as decent sign.

Fast forward to mid-May, and I’m in excruciating pain. Like, excruciating.

Little guy decided my sciatic nerve was just the place to hang out, and I started having trouble walking (which, as you might imagine, makes life as a teacher and toddler-mom a wee bit difficult).
I was still absolutely committed to a VBAC, but started seriously hoping he would decide to show up a couple of weeks early, both to increase my chances of a successful VBAC and to stop the shooting pain in my right leg. Every morning my colleagues would ask if I was really still here? and tell me I should seriously consider staying home. Apparently I was pretty pathetic.

I hated leaving my students for the last few weeks of school (especially my eighth-graders, the first class I’ve seen all the way through middle school), but there wasn’t much of a choice.
I didn’t come back after Memorial Day, but I still had to keep sending Zeke to daycare and to my (fabulous) mother-in-law because I couldn’t physically keep up with him or pick him up.
At least I got a couple of weeks to get the house good and straightened up, I guess.
The Thursday before Ezra arrived I had an ultrasound to check his size – minimum 9 pounds, according to the OB.
This was how I’d been scared into an induction with Zeke, so I asked the natural question: But lots of women deliver 9-pound babies; why are you so worried about me?

Answer: Most women don’t have diabetes, and most of those who do don’t have it as severely as you. I’m not concerned about his head size; it’s the shoulders we worry about with babies of diabetic moms. There’s no way to tell whether his shoulders will fit or not until it’s way too late even for an emergency c-section, and I don’t want to have to break his collarbone.

So, I was once again scared into delivering a baby in a way contrary to what I believe(d) to be best.

We scheduled the c-section for Tuesday, June 14 at 10:30am and I spent the next several days finishing things around the house and trying to prepare myself for the physical trauma of surgery and the emotional trauma of losing the birth I wanted and expected.
I started taking arnica and hypericum in preparation for surgery, and doing a lot of praying for strength, acceptance, and peace.

Tuesday morning came and we got to the hospital around 8:30am (my mother-in-law had spent the night and stayed home with Zeke when we left). The nurses hooked me up to the monitors for a little while to check everything, and after deciding the baby and I both looked great, as well as being subjected to Adam’s very long story about Zeke’s birth drama, they prepped me for surgery.

At this point I was mostly just concerned about the spinal block, since during Zeke’s birth I was too doped up on Ambien to remember the anesthesia part.
I was not looking forward to a needle in my back. Once in the OR, though, the spinal was nothing. I didn’t even feel the shots of local anesthetic – thank you, Dr. Whatever-Your-Name-Is!

Lying back and waiting to lose feeling, though, I started to get all weepy about the circumstances.
I was still very unsure about whether I’d made the right decision and I told my OB right then that if this baby turned out to be as small as Zeke I was going to be mad!

Adam came into the OR fully decked out in the requisite blue suit, shoe covers, hairnet, and mask, and sat right next to me, at which point I said, I really didn’t want to do it this way and started to cry.
Luckily, the OR staff anticipate this kind of emotional wreck, and tissues were at the ready. Adam had to dab my face for me and, naturally, he stuck his thumb right in my eye.

I didn’t remember how violent a c-section actually is.
No pain, of course, but the pressure is unbelievable and it felt like they were tugging on my lungs. It makes sense for it to be so uncomfortable, I guess, since they’re pulling an entire human being out through a 6-inch incision, but I just don’t remember all of that from Zeke’s birth. It’s really pretty gross, if you think about it for too long.

After a few minutes of someone pummeling my belly and pulling out my insides, we finally heard the best sound in the whole world; apparently, he didn’t even wait until he was completely out before he started wailing. He quieted down almost immediately and got wiped off, weighed and measured (8lbs7oz, 20in), diapered, and handed to Adam, at which point the tears flowed in earnest. He was perfect.

Adam went with him to the nursery while my OB stitched me back together, but right before he left he told me I’d had almost no amniotic fluid.
I asked my OB about it while she was working on me and she confirmed there had only been a couple of tablespoons, which is exactly what it was like with Zeke. In other words, if I’d gone into labor naturally we would have seen exactly the same heartrate, cord, and movement problems Zeke had, and I would’ve almost certainly ended up with a c-section, anyway.

In a weird sort of way, it made me feel a lot better about my decision to go ahead with the planned c-section.
Though it wasn’t at all what I hoped to do and I still feel I got scared into it, I’m confident it was ultimately the right decision. Chances are high that subsequent deliveries will also be c-sections, because it seems my placentas like to start clotting themselves off when we hit week 39 and, frankly, the risk of stillbirth just isn't worth it. I'm okay with this.

After three days in the hospital (and getting really pissed about the way the bed kept moving on its own and why the hell won’t it quit and let me sleep?!), we finally went home to a really good night’s sleep.
Since leaving the hospital I’ve never needed any medication other than ibuprofen, my sciatica is now almost completely gone, and the diabetes disappeared immediately after Ezra was born. Hallelujah!

(By the way, co-sleeping completely rocks. Wish we’d started that with Zeke from day one; we’d have been a heck of a lot less exhausted.)

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