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Britton's Birth Story, Part II

Read part I here.

Around 6 p.m. on June 5, the midwife in charge of my labor and delivery announced that I was completed dilated and effaced and ready to push. Just about this time, the nurse that had been with me all day, Rachel, had to trade off with our night nurse, Kim, because of the shift change. I was sad to see Rachel go, but Kim ended up being an awesome part of our delivery team as well!

The midwife, Gene, and Kim coached me through a few practice pushes so that I would know what a helpful push would feel like. I figured that out quickly and started pushing through the contractions. Landon, Gene and Kim were awesome at keeping me positive through each of the contractions, and the two and a half hours went by surprisingly quickly. At one point, I even thought, "Wow, this part is way easier than earlier" (but that may have had to do with the fact that my epidural was working extremely well, and my contractions were under control). 

So, I began to push. 

And push.

And push. 

For nearly three hours. 

Britton had actively been descending for much of this time, but in the last half an hour or so, she stopped moving down and essentially became stuck. No matter how hard I pushed, she couldn't make the turn around my pelvic bone. Her heart rate started going up, and my temperature went up. 

Gene the midwife told me that I had chorioamnionitis, which can occur when a birth goes on too long. At this point, I had been in labor almost 14 hours, and I could feel myself getting very weak. She had me rest for about ten minutes and then push one more time. I knew as soon as I looked at her after that series of pushes that things were going from bad to worse very quickly. 

This complication was putting too much stress on myself and the baby, so Gene ordered an emergency c-section. Gene and the nurses were also worried that Britton would aspirate the meconium in her amniotic fluid because of the stress and prolonged birthing process, so it was essential that I go into surgery right away. 

As soon as I heard that I had to have a c-section, I started crying. Everything that I'd wanted in this birth had gone completely in the other direction. I'd wanted a completely natural birth, but ended up getting an epidural and an induction. I'd wanted to avoid a c-section, but now had to get one to keep my baby and myself safe. Looking back, I know that all of these decisions were absolutely the right ones for myself and Britton, but it was so hard to wrap my mind around the sudden changes after preparing for a particular birth experience for nine months. 

Kim, the nurse, quickly explained what would happen in surgery: the doctor would make my incision and the baby would be delivered in less than ten minutes. As soon as the baby was delivered, she would be quickly assessed and cleaned, and then she'd be brought around to the side of the surgery curtain where Landon and I were. The entire surgery would take around 45 minutes, then I would go to the recovery room for about an hour before going back to my room to rest. 

I cried as the midwife notified the doctor on call to prepare for surgery and the anesthesiologist to up my medication.

I cried as Landon put on his surgery scrubs.

I cried as I was wheeled into the operating room. I cried as I was prepped for surgery.

And then I cried all the way through the surgery. On top of all of that, I shook the entire time, which is apparently normal for that stage of labor. 

The surgery was scary--I've never had anything worse done than my wisdom teeth taken out, so I was completely unprepared for the experience. The worst part was when the doctor had to take Britton out. There was a huge amount of pressure where the midwife had to press on my stomach while the doctor pulled Britton out because Britton was stuck under my pelvic bone. 

The surgery started at 9:05, and at 9:13 p.m., the doctor announced that Britton was born. Landon and I looked at each other and were so, so happy. We heard Britton cry just once, and then there was complete silence, which scared both of us. We could hear the nurses scurrying around, but other than that, nothing. 

Kim (who was amazing during and after the surgery) told us that Britton was having trouble breathing, and they strongly suspected that she had aspirated meconium during the birthing process. Because of this, the nurses were trying to keep her from crying and, thus, from swallowing or breathing in more of the toxic liquid. She explained that a neonatologist had been called in to assess Britton. 

When that doctor came in, he recommended that Britton go to the Level II nursery immediately for tests and monitoring. Landon and I had to make a snap decision about where he'd go; I told him to go with the baby and make sure she was okay. While I was still on the operating table, Landon had to follow Britton to the other side of the labor and delivery ward to accompany her during her procedures. 

I lay helpless on the table as my brand new baby was wheeled past me in an incubator. I could only see her tiny leg as she went by. Neither Landon nor I knew what she looked like yet. 

For the next thirty minutes, I clung to the anesthesiologist's hand while my surgery was finished up. Kim stayed with me the entire time and sat with me in the recovery room: she kept trying to find out what was going on in the nursery with Landon and the baby, but no one had any definite answers. 

Stay tuned for part III...