The end of 2007 I attended two very long births back to back. Out of 63 hours I was gone 57. I was home for a few hours of sleep between them. I missed my 2 year olds birthday and honestly I don’t know where my boys were during that whole time. I wasn’t worried, I knew that they were with friends and DH and they were fine.
Both births were for first time moms who were induced, hence the longness. (I am not sure if that is a word, but it seems right for this post!)
Here is the short version.
Tuesday night go to hospital to support my single mom client, A. She was on pitocin by 5am. She started having back labor and when she discovered she was still 1.5 cm. she wanted an epidural. Her OB said Ok. She did progress and had baby vaginally around 6:30 pm. Got her settled in postpartum and headed home by 9pm Wed.
In bed at 10 pm and up at 3am Thursday off to another birth. Mom B, was induced with pitocin at 5am on Thursday. (had been in hospital since 3 pm Wed. afternoon because of low amniotic fluid) She handled things well throughout the day. She chose to get water broken at 6pm when she still hadn’t progressed. Things got very intense and she chose an epidural at 8:15 pm. She rested, but was quickly getting exhausted and by 4 am was so discouraged and back pain started coming through the epi. Baby was posterior and at 5am mom chose elective cesarean. I was going to be able to go in with Dad and Mom, but her sister got there just in time so she got to go in and I got to go rest. I was able to see mom after recovery. She was just exhausted. Didn’t even hold the baby yet when I saw her at 10 am. It was so sad for me to see. Baby was fine, mom was past exhausted, but ok physically… I was exhausted too.
My reflections on these births.
Interestingly enough, I felt like A, while she had a better outcome (vaginal birth), was not treated with the same respect as B. The nurse for A caught her eating and read her the riot act. Then after she accepted the epidural, there was a time when the baby’s heart rate was looking fishy, so she ended up with an internal monitor. The nurse said, in a snotty voice, “That’s what you get for having a 2 page birth plan!” I was shocked and saddened by her unkindness.
Mom B on the other hand was treated very respectfully by everyone. They respected her choices. While it ended in a cesarean, I was happy to see how she was not coerced into it. This is from my birth story I wrote for mom.
OB comes in at 5 am, she talks to B. “How are you doing?”
B. says, “Horrible, I just can’t do this anymore. I am nauseous.
OB, “Let’s check to see how you are progressing, baby looks good and you are ok, so there is no emergency.” B is 7cm. OB checks baby’s position, baby is positioned a little funny. OB goes over options. “We can wait and keep on going, baby is doing well, but it may continue to be slow progress because of babies position. Or we can do a cesarean now.”
B. quickly responds she wants the cesarean. He DH agrees and in many ways I do too. She is SO exhausted I really don’t know if she could push a baby out even at this point if it was time to push.
I was still heartbroken about it, because I knew it wasn’t a medically necessary cesarean and I hated to see her get cut, to join the sisterhood of the scar. I cried for a few days because of it. But she was informed and she made the choice. I think it was the best one for her at the time. I went through a lot of second guessing, what else could I have done as her doula to help prevent this? Did I fail her somehow? B and I have talked a few times about it. Her saddest part is she doesn’t remember the first time she held her baby.
It was interesting, I went to visit her after she got out of recovery. But I didn’t want to see her baby in the NICU, because I did not want to see her baby before she did. That seemed to wrong to me. I remember that empty feeling, when my Devon was in the NICU and I was in a room alone. So empty. I think this birth was an interesting step for me in regards to emotionally dealing with some issues from my birth. But that is a whole other post!