In honor of our son Blake's 8th Birthday tomorrow I want to share his birth story that my husband Travis wrote.
The van was packed, the bed was set in case the water broke, and Rose and Travis knew it could begin at any time because Blake had already dropped. Around 3:30 AM on September 30th, 2003 Rose woke again and used the restroom. Coming back to bed it seemed like nothing was gong to happen so she removed the towel she had been sleeping on and went to sleep.
Having read the baby manual and knowing that mama was not looking, Blake broke the water at 4:30 AM. Rose excitedly work up Travis to share that it was starting.
The contractions came closer and closer together as the day progressed. Rose was feeling some labor pain in her back and just rested as them came closer and closer together. Then at around 12:00 PM they seemed to occur less frequently and then sporadically. Given the decrease in frequency the moment never came when labor actually began.
As the evening crept past Rose and Travis chose to call the midwife and head to the birthing center. They called family members to give them an update. It had now been 16 hours since the water broke and after 24 hours the chance of infection begins to rise.
They arrived at the birthing center around 9:00 PM Tuesday. Marsha, the midwife, checked Rose and after discussing the situation they agreed to induce labor at 10:00 PM. Labor began at around 11:00 PM and the room filled with excitement.
As the night progressed and the contractions became closer and more painful Rose got into the tub to enjoy the warm water and to have the jets help on her back. The hope, after all, was to have a natural water birth.
Right from the start Rose was feeling pain in her lower back. Though at the time this was kind of welcomed given she had experienced back pain before and knew how to handle it.
The back pain was strong and required acupressure to help stop it from spreading. It seemed like a nerve was being pressed and the hope was that as Blake moved passed the spot it would diminish.
Rose and Travis got out of the tub and lay on the bed for a while and tried positions there. The hope was that a change in positions would help speed up the labor.
After being out of the tub and making progress Rose and Travis got back into the tub. Around 8:00 AM Rose was able to start pushing with the contractions.
Initially the pushing helped with the back pain and Rose was able to focus on the pushing. Shortly after getting back in the tub the back pain became stronger and again required acupressure. As the hours rolled past Travis and Rose were feeling the exhaustion from all the effort.
It was challenging to help hold Rose in the water especially after oils had been used. Once as Rose needed more water to drink, Travis used one hand to hold her back and the other to get the water. But his fingers were locked from so much pressure for so long and Rose had to bend his fingers for him.
Unfortunately the pain increased more and more as Rose pushed and Blake moved. After a while the pain was so great that Rose had to arch her back to compensate for the pain and could no longer push effectively.
The tub was not working so Travis and Marsha moved Rose to the bed and tried other positions, the birthing ball, a birthing stool and other techniques.
It was now after 11:00 AM and having tried what was available at the birthing center it was clear that Rose needed to be taken to the hospital. However, due to some of the pain medication she had taken and to the degree of pain caused by the contractions, Rose was not going to be able to walk or hold herself up.
Marsha went to call for an ambulance, to copy her notes and to get everything set for the hospital registration. Meanwhile Travis and Rose coped with the contractions the best they could. Both were tired and exhausted and Rose was in need of an epidural.
Sitting on the bed holding Rose, Travis called family members. It was clear that someone was going to have to pack up the room and drive the van to the hospital. This was the end of the dream for a natural birth. Going to the hospital was the backup plan and family was now needed more than ever.
The ambulance ride was quick and the drivers were very mindful to tell Rose of each bump and turn. Travis went with and stayed with Rose to help keep her calm.
Rose was taken to the delivery room where the nurse, Michelle, helped to get her checked and admitted. When Michelle asked why Rose had come to the hospital Rose replied "drugs" to which Michelle said, "that's pretty clear". Michelle helped to expedite the process to get the epidural as much as she could and then it became a waiting game for the anesthesiologist.
The contractions were quite strong and with each of them Rose had to arch her back to help soften the pain. She pressed into the bed and against what ever else was available.
At one point Rose almost pushed her self off the bed. Travis said she was gong to push her self off and she said, "I don't care" to which Travis said, "you will in minute".
From then on Travis helped to keep Rose on the bed by holding her as she pressed to arch her back. As time crept by Rose began to yell to help compensate for the pain.
At first Rose was yelling for the Dr to arrive. Then as it approached nearly two hours and she was on the brink of her limits she lost concern for the Dr and only wanted the drugs. During one of the strongest contractions she yelled at full voice "I want my f%#@ing drugs" (This caught us all by surprise since Rose is a preschool teacher and rarely uses strong language.).
It seemed that Rose was on the edge of going into shock and then the anesthesiologist showed up. He was in a surgery and was the first to be able to help. He talked to Rose to tell her what he was going to do but did not waste any time.
The tough part was keeping Rose still enough to administer the epidural. Travis and Rose prayed for a good pause between contractions so that she would be able to have the epidural. Their prayer was answered and the break between contractions was enough to allow for the epidural to be inserted.
After a few minutes the pain subsided and everyone was able to breath better. Travis sat down for the first time in hours and sighed with release knowing that Rose was no longer in agony.
Now that the pain was gone the hope was for a vaginal birth. They knew it had been about 35 hours since that water broke and time was of the essence. But as Rose relaxed for the first time in hours, the labor subsided and arrested.
Dr Murphy came to see Rose and expressed his opinion that she needed a cesarean. Being exhausted and depleted, neither Rose nor Travis understood what he meant.
After talking with Marsha and the family members in the room Travis asked to have Dr Murphy come back. The cesarean did not feel right to either Rose or Travis. Dr Murphy explained that Rose and Blake had two counts against them. First was the 36 hours since that water broke and second was the arrested labor. He did not want to wait for strike three.
Travis and Rose took more time to talk it over. They asked Marsha, Michelle and family for their input. The cesarean still didn't feel right so they asked for a second opinion.
When the other Dr came in the room it became tense and it was clear that this Dr was not the one to check Rose. Travis thanked him for his time and asked him to leave.
Dr Murphy came back and spent more time talking with Rose and Travis. He re-expressed his medical opinion, he treated Rose with compassion, he explained he would use stitches rather than staples, he mentioned he had a very low rate of cesareans and that this was the best choice.
Having earned the trust of both Rose and Travis, they chose to trust Dr Murphy and have the cesarean. During the surgery Dr Murphy talked to Rose to tell her what was going on and allowed Travis to be with Rose to keep her comforted. Dr Murphy had to unwedge Blake's big head from Rose's hip bones and unstuck his feet from Rose's ribs. Several years later, we found out that her birth canal never opened for Blake. Rose was in a car accident that displaced her hips. So Blake was stuck in her birth canal, unable to make his way out.
At 7:35 PM October 1st, 2003 Rose and Travis heard their baby cry for the first time.
Rose could not see Blake and neither could I. There were several Dr.s and nurses in the room and they were performing surgery.
Once Blake was out I saw him for a moment. He looked strange with a big head, hands and feet. The question crossed my mind asking if he was truly my son. On its trail was the feeling of an overpowering yes he is my son.
Blake was then handed to the Pediatrician to be taken to a smaller side room. Rose and I stared into each others eyes for a brief moment. I could see the tears of joy in her eyes and the longing to hold our son. Then I followed the Pediatrician into the other room.
The lights were bright and there was what seemed like a lot of background noise. When I walked up to where they had placed Blake I could see his nose and throat being suctioned. In addition to the normal bulb suctions they had a small tube that could suction better. I was impressed at how much liquid came out.
Blake was given a quick cleaning and given tags, one on the wrist and one on the ankle. I too was given a tag so the hospital staff knew I was his papa. I was allowed to cut off the extra umbilical cord and comfort Blake in his first minutes.
Once Blake was wrapped in a blanket I was able to carry him over to Rose. I brought him right up close so that we were all three together. It was our first real moment as a family. I touched Blake’s head to Rose’s and held the experience in my heart.