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October 5th, 2009, 10:40 PM
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pearlica pearlica is offline
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,442
Tegan Elizabethís Birth Story

Warning: long, traumatic, but has a great ending

After a fairly easy uncomplicated pregnancy on Sept. 30th at 10:30 pm I began to feel contractions. I had had no false labour or Braxton hicks as of yet so I was sceptical that this could be the real thing. They werenít too strong and they would come irregularly at 7 mins, 9 mins, 4 mins etc... These lasted till about 3:30 in the morning and then for the next 4 hours I only had 1 an hour so I was able to get some sleep in between them. In the morning they picked up again in frequency but stayed between 4-12 mins apart. At 2:30pm they were at 4 mins apart for an hour and picking up in intensity. We phoned labour and delivery and she said that because I could still talk through them I probably didnít need to come in yet. That I should stick it out at home for as long as possible. So we went for a walk, watched some shows, bounced on the birth ball. By 7pm they are down to 2.5 mins apart and getting harder to manage. I have to be pacing the house and rocking back and forth to handle the pain. We pack all our gear into the car and head to the hospital which conveniently is only 10 mins away.
Sitting in the car is torture and by the time we get there contractions are every minute and a half apart and they HURT! Iím terrified that I wont have progressed enough to be admitted considering the pain Iím in. We go in to get checked and the nurse tells me exactly what I donít want to hear. Cervix has thinned out but Iím not dilating at all and the baby is still quite high. She says that she would advise getting a shot of Morphine. The contractions are coming so often Iím not getting the chance to relax in between and its going to take longer to get things progressing unless I get a break. We hum and ha and decide in the end to go for it. She sways me with the idea that it will kick in within 10 mins and by the time I get home I should be able to crawl into bed sleep for 4 hours and then come back having made some progress.

45 minutes later Iím still in the same amount pain and cursing this lying nurse. Finally the meds take the edge off enough that Iím not panicking but as for sitting down or the thought of even sleeping is laughable. At this point Iím so disappointed. I feel like how can I be in so much pain so early. Women have been doing this for years I thought I would be so much better at this. Iím also realizing that I didnít sleep much the night before and now Iím looking at another night with no sleep and what if this is all for nothing and itís not even the real deal. 10:30 pm rolls around Ė exactly 24 hours since my contractions started and my water breaks. I feel slightly euphoric...this means itís on! We are going to have this baby. We pack up and head back to the hospital since you are admitted automatically at that point. We get set up in our delivery room and she takes my blood pressure: 145/100, not good and the machine is beeping angry noises at me. I have had low blood pressure (100/60) for my entire pregnancy so Iím really surprised. They check me again in 5 minutes and Iím up to 145/120. They do an internal and tell me Iím only 2-3 cm dilated. The nurse says that my blood pressure is up because Iím not handling the pain well and she would advise me getting an epidural to bring it down. Great now I feel like even more of a failure...I always thought I had a high pain threshold, why cant I handle this?

We really donít want the epidural this early but feel pressured with all the talk about how this makes me high risk and they need to get my blood pressure down. Our birth plan is totally not going to plan and we donít know whether we should be sticking up for what we think or accepting the idea that we need this. This is made worse by the fact that we know if we get the epidural early it might slow down labor and then we will need more drugs (pitocin) to get it going again. Pain and sleep deprivation win out and we agree to get the epidural. The nurse attempts to insert an IV and after 3 attempts cant get it to work. Another nurse comes in and they switch hands and finally find a vein. The anaesthesiologist comes in and they get ready to insert the epidural. Iím so nervous at this point Iím shaking so bad. They start the epidural and lay me down. I tell them immediately I cant feel my feet. They look slightly concerned and within seconds I cant feel anything below my collar. The doctors and nurses all start talking too loudly about how this is not supposed to happen and its in the wrong spot. They decide they placed it in wrong area and are worried I will lose the ability to breath on my own. They give me a shot of epinephrine to try and counteract the effects. Everyone is talking about what is going wrong but they wont talk to me and Iím freaking out. Iím worried Iím going to have a panic attack because I feel trapped in my body that cant move. They tell me they need to wait for this epidural to wear off and then they will take it out and try again in a different spot. It takes almost 3 hours for this one to wear off.

They come back for round two and I ask them over and over again...the same thing isnít going to happen right? This time he is sure he hits the right spot. They wait a couple minutes and then test where I have feeling. I cant feel my left leg or foot at all but I can feel the majority of my stomach and chest on that side. On the right side I can feel my leg but my stomach and chest are frozen (which is what it should be). They all comment how odd this is and bring more nurses in to check out the weirdo. They tell me only 1 in a 1000 people have reactions like I did to the epidural...why am I always the 1/1000! For about an hour life is good. I cant feel the contractions, Iíve progressed to 5 cm, things are moving along. They start me on pitocin to try and speed things up and at this point Iím passed trying to do anything natural. Things have been underway for over 30 hours and I just want to get this show on the road. After an hour I mentioned to the nurse that I can feel the contractions again. Within 10 minutes I can feel everything again except that darn left leg. She seems surprised that the epidural wore off so quickly and rings for the anaesthesiologist again. Contractions are every minute and the only way I can get through them is to squeeze Connorís hand, close my eyes, breathe deeply and wave my right leg (the one that can move!) back and forth.
The anaesthesiologist comes back and comments it shouldnít have worn off so quickly but gives me two ďtop-ups.Ē I am happy again for another hour but once again it completely wears off (other than the leg) within an hour. We ring him back and everyone jokes that we are making him work for his money tonight. So he tops me up again and this time adds a couple shots of Fentanyl (different pain killer). Another hour and weíre right back where we were. Iím only 7 cm and getting really frustrated that they cant find any pain meds to last more than an hour. I get my next top-up and the anaesthesiologist says heíll be back in 10 minutes to see how that dose works. He doesnít come back and this one wears off in 30 mins. Janna actually hunts him down in the hallway and tells him he needs to get back to see me (labor support friends are great!).

Iím now fully dilated and my doctor does a more thorough exam. He tells me she is ďsunny side up.Ē She is facing the wrong way and in this position her head is about 2cm larger than my pelvic opening. She cant descend properly and her head is getting quite swollen from repeatedly trying to be jammed into a space she doesnít fit. This is why I took so long to dilate, why the painful back labor and slow progress. He says we can try and push to see if she will change positions or tuck her head in, otherwise we need to start considering a c-section. It feels so wrong to labor so long and make it to 10 cm and have to consider a c-section. I push for 3 hours. They have me try every position imaginable, swinging from bars, up down and sideways, pulling this sheet, pushing that leg. I gave it every ounce of energy I could conjure. I just kept thinking maybe if I try a little harder I can avoid major surgery. Finally I couldnít go on. Babyís heart rate started dipping and the doctor came back and said we had made no progress. My epidural had worn off again and I couldnít go on with the pain. We signed the consent forms to have the c-section and all my family came in to wish me good luck before I got whisked off to surgery. They all stood around the bed and were telling me everything was going to be ok she would be here soon. All I could do was close my eyes, squeeze peopleís hands and do my deep breathing. They gave me a couple more shots of Fentanyl to try and take the edge off until the doctors were ready in the operating room. It didnít seem to do anything. I cant even begin to explain the pain, how done I was, how defeated I felt, how much I just wanted to see my little girl.

They wheel me into the operating room and the doctors explain they will give me a spinal epidural. I will be numb from the chest down within seconds. I am so excited for the relief and to hear her cry for the first time. They give me the spinal and tell me to lay down quickly on the table because it kicks in really quickly. I lay down and am still contracting back to back. I feel no relief whatsoever. All the doctors and nurses are confused. The anaesthesiologists says he doesnít understand he knows its in the right spot. They sit me back up and decided to try again. Round two goes in as planned and they lay me back on the table. Minutes go by and I still feel everything. I am hysterical at this point. Iím hyperventilating, saying over and over again ďI can feel everything, nothing is frozen.Ē The doctors make a quick decision at that point that I need to be put completely out. Nothing is working, there is no point trying again. I will have to wait 3 hours after to recover and Connor wont be able to watch her birth. He takes his time explaining this to me as if he thinks Iím going to be upset. At this point I cannot wait to be put out. I cant take another second of this experience. He puts the gas mask near my face and I take the biggest gulp of gas I can. It was 4:08pm, almost 44 hours after I went into labour. Connor can hear her first screams from outside the operating room. At 4:11pm they bring her out for him to hold.

All in all I had: 1 shot of morphine, 2 full epidurals with 4 double shots of top-up, 4 shots of Fentanyl, 2 Spinal epidurals, 1 general anaesthetic. By the end of my labour I was famous in the hospital. All the nurses and doctors had heard about me. The anaesthesiologist came to talk to me the next day saying there is something obviously wrong with my neural tube. He doesnít think its something I specifically need to get checked out because I function normally but if I ever go in for any more surgery they need to request my records from the Nanaimo hospital and see everything that happened. On top of that my doctor said that my body seems to have the capacity to metabolize extremely quickly whatever drugs are found in the epidural. What a winning combination 
I tell everyone that it was the most awful experience ever except for the fact that I got the most amazingly perfect, healthy baby girl out of it. Which means none of that other stuff matters. She is here, we are absolutely in love with her and I would do it all over again in a second.


Last edited by pearlica; October 6th, 2009 at 05:48 AM.
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