Mary’s Birth Story
The last few weeks of Mary’s pregnancy were getting pretty miserable for me. It is awfully hard to tell what is acceptable “miserable” and what isn’t at the end of a pregnancy though. I had a few things that I had never experienced before, but that every diligent reader of pregnancy books would know to be true “end of pregnancy” symptoms. I was having a hard time breathing at times, and not just from the exercise of going to the bathroom every hour. I was having a hard time breathing while just sitting on the couch. I was also swelling more than I ever remember swelling with my other pregnancies. I was looking my normal “huge” self and expecting another big Gollner baby. Looking back, those could have been some signs of having too much amniotic fluid, but who knew?
Hannah was really praying that Mary would arrive on her birthday, which was Saturday, March 19th. She even asked if I could be induced so that she would come at the right time. I was also due for Esther on a Sunday, the 20th and had an appointment on the Thursday before she was born on the 19th. So I was pretty excited when they scheduled my appointment for Thursday. She checked me at the appointment and I was about 2 cm. Considering my miserable state, and the desire to have the baby on Saturday, we decided to try some “natural” induction tricks to see if I was ready for labor. I bought a few pineapples to eat, Balsamic vinaigrette dressing, Evening Primrose Oil gel caps and castor oil. I have also gone into labor twice after eating Gabe’s Pizza, so we, of course, had to try that. It was about three or four days worth of grocery money to buy it, but Steve seemed happy to try.
We went to bed around 11:00, and although I can’t remember for sure, I probably took about an hour to get to sleep. Around 1:30 am I woke up with contractions. As per my tradition, I got up and started cleaning the house. I was trying to be very quiet because Steve really likes to go to the hospital as soon as he knows I’m in labor, but unfortunately, he woke up and came to check on me. I wasn’t completely sure it was the real thing quite yet, but he wanted know what percentage “sure” I was so he could go get some work done at church if we were going to the hospital. I went to the bathroom again and told him I was 75% sure I was in labor. So, around 2:00 he headed out to church expecting me to call when things started getting closer. I kept cleaning and soon realized that it was going to be another slow labor like Ruth’s had turned out to be. I’m sure Steve was very disappointed to find, when he returned around 4:30 am, that my contractions were still quite manageable; I was just tired of cleaning the house! I prefer to wait until I think I’m about 5 cm before going to the hospital, but we decided to go ahead and wake Esther up and head that way. I was assuming it would be like Ruth’s birth and would require a bit of pitocin to get my labor progressing.
When we checked into the ER, there were several EMT trainees that were anxious to see me give birth before 7:00 am as a requirement for their training. We tried to explain to them that things were progressing slowly, but I think most people assume a mom that have given birth 7 times will automatically have a quick labor. It isn’t true, don’t ever assume that!
The check in procress was slow, and we found out that Dr. Redmond, a doctor I had never met, would be on call for my doctor. They also took three tries to get my IV started, which I guess was a sign of things to come. When they checked me I was only 3-4 cm. After I had been on the monitor for an hour, they let me walk around for an hour, then I had to go back on the monitor for another hour. They checked me again, and I was still only around 4 cm. They were happy with some change, but ½ cm in two hours was less than exciting for me! The contractions seemed to be even less intense then when we had arrived at the hospital, so after another hour of walking with very little progress, I told the nurse that I might need a little pitocin to get my contractions going again. Now, I’m a very natural birther at heart, but I was very discouraged and probably impatient at this point, ironic since my good friend Bobbi called during this time and encouraged me to be patient. I didn’t realize that the doctor was planning to visit, but she popped in (in her Saturday attire, of course) around 9:15ish. She asked if it would be okay if she broke my water. It seemed like a pretty simple request at the time . . . I’ve had my water broken with several other births in an effort to “speed things along”. I honestly thought pitocin would have worked better, but I agreed to have the doctor break my water.
Well, the way the doctor described the amount of water I had was “a flood”. She asked if I had a third trimester ultrasound to check size of baby or water levels, but I had not. I was so very thankful that she stayed right there after breaking my water. I had soaked through three of the blue pad / mats they use and they were getting a fourth pad when the doctor said, “We have a cord.” As I mentioned before, I’ve read a lot of material on birth, so I knew right away what was going on. Poor Steve was probably a bit shocked when she said I was headed to surgery. He asked if she could just move the cord out of the way. She didn’t answer right away because of the situation, but eventually explained that a foot or hand could be moved, but not a cord. Now, this is when things went very quickly and got rather exciting!
I think it was around 9:45 am when the cord prolapse was diagnosed. Remember that Mary was born at 10:21 am, and St. Joe does not have an anesthesiologist or surgery nurse on staff full time, so they had to be called in. I have nothing but respect for the way the hospital pulled it all off in such a hurry! They immediately began prepping me for surgery, which meant I had an oxygen mask put on. I think that is probably what scared Esther the most. She told me later that she put a pillow over her head and prayed. Right before they ran me down the hall, Steve called Esther over and they had a prayer for me. Then we all (every nurse in the department, I believe), headed down the hall. One of the nurses had traded places with the doctor so she could get dressed for surgery. This may be TMI for most people, so beware. Someone had to be responsible for holding the babies head up off of the cord until the baby was out of the womb, so that nurse and I were very close for a while. They were still throwing gowns, masks and hair nets on everybody as we were getting ready to enter the OR. They had me all draped and ready when the anesthesiologist and nurse arrived. He told me I would go to sleep, and I sure did. Steve and Esther cleaned our stuff out of the birthing room and waited for Mary outside of the OR.
So Mary’s stats were 8lbs. 7 oz. (my third smallest baby) and 21 in. long. She seems soooooo tiny! I can’t figure out what made her so small, other than that is just the way God wanted her. I obviously didn’t get to see her placenta, but I suppose they would have said something if there had been an issue with that. So, pretty much everything about her birth was a unique experience for me.
I have learned over the last few days that surgery just doesn’t seem to agree with me. I’ve had a lot of trouble getting my bowels to work again, and it has caused more discomfort than the surgery incision. I also ran a fever while in the hospital and did a lot of vomiting, and now I have quite a bit of swelling in my legs and feet. I finally seem to be on the mend today, but I’m still not “thinking about the next baby” quite yet. J
Right after the baby was born I kept thinking of all those nights during family worship when the kids would pray that Mary and mommy would be safe when Mary came out. For all of my other pregnancies it has seemed that the kids prayed that the baby would grow big and strong. I never really directed their prayers, those were just the thoughts they shared with the Lord. I’m so very thankful God chose to keep us both safe and we have a very healthy little girl to raise for His glory!