Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ellie's Birth Story - as seen from Michael's eyes

Sunday afternoon arrived, and we packed and prepared to head to the hospital. It was a bit weird to just take our time and head in as though nothing was happening. You always picture yourself frantically finding your keys, rushing to the hospital, and timing contractions as you go. But this was different, we strolled into the front doors of the hospital, checked ourselves in, and got ready for the ride. We’re separating this post into three sections, since our labor experience split itself naturally into three different parts.


The nurse started the induction process around 5:30 pm Sunday night. This meant that a suppository that helps dilate the cervix was given to Melissa and was supposed to work for about twelve hours. For many women it takes the full twelve hours for the suppository to work. By 7:30 pm, two hours after it was administered, Melissa was feeling contractions about every three minutes. The contractions got stronger and stronger, and by 11:00 pm Melissa was feeling full strength contractions that were lasting 30 - 45 seconds. They continued to come every two to three minutes all night long, and progressively got stronger and stronger. By 2:00am Melissa was dilated to 1 cm. The contractions continued. By 6:00am Melissa was in quite a bit of pain, so the nurse checked her progress again. She was at 4cm. I was the pain management tool, since Melissa didn’t take any medication. It was a long, but exciting night of watching the baby’s heartbeat on the monitor, helping Melissa get through each contraction, and doing whatever I could to help her be comfortable. Melissa quickly got more and more tense during each contraction. Soon she was asking for some narcotics to take the edge off the pain. The nurse was going to get the medication when she thought to review the heart rate monitor logs. The nurse noticed that Ellie’s heart rate was dropping during each contraction. It would return to normal pretty quickly, but it was progressively getting a bit worse during each contraction. So she informed us that Melissa could not go on any narcotics since they affect the baby and would reduce her heart rate (which is bad since it was already going too low.) Being the trooper she is, Melissa managed to make it through another hour, to 7:00am without any medication. She went to the restroom and I noticed that her bed was pretty wet. She noticed some leaking as well and we were excited to see that her water had broken. Things seemed to be moving along pretty well now. Melissa’s doctor came in, checked her out, and decided she was still at 4cm and that in fact her water had broken. I called the grandparents and told them it might be time to come.

On Edge

Right around 8:00am, Melissa decided she would get an epidural since she was so tense during each contraction. This was a tough decision for us, as she really did not want an epidural, but she had worked so hard and with the baby’s heart rate struggling a bit she was concerned that the tension was causing distress in Ellie. The epidural was administered and Melissa began feeling much better and was only slightly noticing the contractions. Ellie’s heart rate continued to drop during each contraction, and started taking longer and longer to come back to normal. The nurse tried changing Melissa’s sitting positions, to see if that helped, but it didn’t. Ellie continued to struggle a bit. The baby heart monitor that was strapped to Melissa’s stomach wasn’t picking up Ellie’s heart rate very well, so they inserted an electrode monitor that attached itself to Ellie’s scalp. By 8:45am the nurses were concerned about Ellie enough that they pulled our doctor out of a surgery to get his opinion and talk with us. It was clear that Melissa was not making much progress, and so the remainder of labor would be long and painful, and since Ellie’s little heart was struggling, and even just a few more hours might put her into true fetal distress, causing other problems. The other option would be an emergency C-Section to get Ellie out quickly before any other problems occurred. We decided that all we wanted was a safe and healthy baby regardless of how she got here. We told this to the doctor and we all decided a C-Section would be the best. We prayed over Melissa and Ellie with the nurses bustling about. Once we were done Melissa was wheeled off to the operating room. I put my ridiculous scrubs on, and waited in the empty room we had occupied for twelve hours. Twenty minutes felt like an hour. I was worried they forgot to come and get me.


I walked into the delivery room. Melissa was wide awake and looking at me. I sat with her for a bit as the doctors worked their magic. At 9:13am I stood up, looked over the sheet between Melissa and the doctors and saw the most beautiful back end of a baby I have ever seen. I went over, grabbed Ellie as she coughed and gurgled, and carried her over to get a glimpse of her proud, tired mama. I think it was love at first sight. I put her down, cut the cord, and then went back and got our first family photo.

Ellie had a pretty severe angled cone head. The doctors informed us that this was because she was trying to come out slightly sideways, and at the same time her umbilical cord had somehow gotten placed across the top of her head, essentially blocking her from making any progress down the birth canal. This was also most likely causing Ellie’s reduced heart rate since each contraction put pressure on the cord. Had Melissa continued to labor naturally, most likely no progress would have been made and could have cause unthinkable damage to our little one.

When I walked into the nursery with Ellie to get her checked out, the pediatrician said to me (knowing that we really did not want to have a C-Section), “There are way too many unnecessary C-Sections in the world today, but this was not one of them.” We feel so lucky to have a safe and healthy baby, and we already love her so much.


Krista said...

Oh yay! Precious baby!!! I'm sad for the C-section, but glad that it wasn't unnecessary and produced a healthy baby!!! Now, feel better soon Mama!

Tom and Emily said...

aww, I am so happy to hear about Ellie's birth. Thank God for a healthy baby, there is nothing is this world more valuable. Again, I am so happy for you guys and I hope we get to meet her someday soon via skype (or in person would be even better, but that might have to wait).

cherice said...

Thanks for sharing your story! It sounds like it was kind of rough, but you made good decisions anyway, and you've got Ellie now! So excited for you. I hope Melissa heals quickly, and that you continue to have good community to mow your lawn and make meals. Wish we were closer to help out...

Scott and Katie said...

Congratulations!! And thanks for posting your story, I've been excited to hear more and see pictures! What a beautiful family you are together.

Melissa said...

Thank you for sharing your story! God knew how Ellie would come into the world. And it sounds like modern medicine saved her life - awesome. So happy for all 3 of you!

Paula Jean said...

So thankful for Ellie's safe arrival -- and modern medicine and on-the-ball doctors and nurses that focus on the baby's and mother's health. I don't think any birth actually does "as planned!" Love you both! Oops! Love you, all THREE!

Evan and Cori Campbell said...

Great story Michael! It brought me to tears! I'm gonna go read Melissa's version now! So happy for you guys! Congrats!