Steve and Angie

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Abigail's birth story

I know there are many people that don't live in the world of pregnancy, birth and birth stories quite like I do, and don't enjoy reading birth stories.  This is just for those that enjoy such things, and it may be a little more detailed than the casual reader.  I apologize that this will be long and boring, but there is no way around that when the labor is long and boring!

It all began on Wednesday night, Feb. 27th.  I had been feeling pretty miserable for several days, and just not feeling like the baby had been lying in a good position.  I was having trouble completely emptying my bladder, something I've never had trouble with in late pregnancy before.  At 4:00 pm, I went to the bathroom and noticed some bloody mucus.  This is usually a sign for me that labor has started, but it also usually after I have some serious contractions started.  I had a few contractions, but I just wasn't sure labor had started yet.  I took the kids to church, but I decided to come home with Mary to rest "just in case".  We went to bed at around 10:00 pm, and I probably got to sleep close to 11:00 pm.  I remember looking at the clock at 11:28 and realizing it was the third time I had been awakened by contractions.  I laid there through a few more contractions, but finally decided to get up and walking a bit.  When I went to the bathroom (yes, I do spend a lot of time in there), there was quite a bit of blood, so I knew things were "really moving" now.  I chatted with my friend Jolyn on facebook for a while (getting her all excited so that she couldn't sleep, of course) and took a shower.  The contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart for those few hours, and we had an hour drive to the hospital, so I decided it would best to wake Steve up and get going at around 2:00 am. We had been debating about taking Esther to the birth, and she won in the end, so Steve woke her up as well.  It was snowy and we stopped for some gas just up the road.  Esther went into a big story about a movie she had seen with a snowstorm in it while Steve was pumping gas . . . and I was trying to breath through a contraction and wondering if we should just take her home.  Thankfully, that was the last time I wondered that.  She did a very good job.

We got to the hospital around 3:30 am.  Wouldn't you know, as soon as I walked in the hospital, my contractions lost their intensity and regularity!  In the triage room they did an internal exam at 3:50 am and I was 4 cm that could stretch to 5 cm.  The head was still pretty high as well.  They admitted me and moved me to a birthing room.  They didn't know my GBS results, so they said they wouldn't treat me for strep.  I was happy!  The nurses had a hard time getting an IV line started (just the port for emergency situations).  I guess I should have known how this day was going to go when it took four sticks to get that right.  They said they didn't have to run fluids in the IV if I would drink water, so I was REALLY happy.  I really hate lugging an IV pole around while walking.  Once I was settled in they said I could walk for 45 min and go on the monitors for 15 min. 

So, Esther settled in on the couch while Steve and I walked, and walked and walked.  At around 8:00 am the nurses called the OB office and found out that I was strep positive, and they needed to start penicillin.  They forced it in rapidly though, so it only took 30 min or so.  Dr. Leone came in at 8:00 as well to do an internal exam.  I was 5 cm that could stretch to 6 cm, 90% effaced and the head was still -2 station.  Depressing.  Four hours for one cm!!  So, we began our walking again.  Thankfully, there were only 2 of us int he labor ward at this point (patients, that is . . . there were plenty of staff to watch us circle the halls), so Steve and I pretty much had the halls to ourselves.  The nurses even offered to let us wear their pedometers while we walked. 

At 11:30 am the resident Dr. came to check me, and I was 6 cm.  So, we walked some more.  Now, I was allowed to walk 30 min then went on the monitors for 30 min.  My contractions were pretty good while I walked, but when I would get back in the bed, they would fizzle out.  At one pint the nurse came in to adjust the monitor because "it wasn't picking up the contractions" and I almost laughed . . . or cried.

At around 12:15 pm I started my second dose of penicillin (every 4 hrs.) and wondered just how many doses it was going to take!  While I was doing that, Steve took Esther to the cafeteria for lunch. While Steve was gone, Dr. Leone came in and said he would like to break my water if the head was low enough.  Those of you that know Mary's birth story will understand that we had already made our wishes quite clear that we really didn't want to do that if we didn't have to.  The nurse offered to go down and get Steve while I went to the bathroom.

At 12:45 pm the Dr. did the exam and I was very pleased to hear I was now 8cm, and that the head was still -2 station and could be pushed out of place pretty easily, so the doctor didn't want to take the chance of breaking my water!!  Praise the Lord for a wise doctor that cared about my situation, even though it wasn't going to work out well for him!  Unfortunately, the doctor also had a woman with a breech baby that needed a c-section, and he knew everything was going to happen at once. 

We walked a few more times before the doctor come back to check me one more time at 3:00 pm.  I was now finally 9 cm, but the head was still high, so the doctor had to leave to do the c-section.

We set out to walk again (only 15 min at a time at this point) - and wondered if it would finally be our last walk.  I was having a regular pattern of strong contractions by now and had to stop and breath through the contractions.

When we got back from walking I went to the restroom.  I had a contraction and felt a little "pushy" at the end.  I wasn't certain it was the real thing, but I told my nurses anyway.  The nurse checked me, but she wasn't confident about what was going on, and they were all trying to be careful to not break my water, so she called the resident doctor to check me.  She checked, but I still had a little lip left on the cervix, but the head was finally engaged.  With the next contraction I became certain that I was ready to push, so they called the overseeing doctor and started breaking down the bed and getting ready for the birth.  It was really a bit funny because my contractions were only coming every 8 minutes or so and here I was with Esther, Steve, 2 doctors, a nursing student and 2 nurses just waiting for me.  I tried to provide entertainment, but failed.  :)

I ended up pushing through 3 contraction, which is WAY long for me.  The water finally broke with the second contraction (I was hoping to see a baby born in the cull, but not this time), and the doctor said it was full of meconium.  Four more NICU staff joined up because of this.  At 4:00 pm, Abigail Glory Gollner arrived!  He poor little face was completely bruised, and the blood vessels in her eyes burst.  They say the bruising came from a quick birth, but my gut says maybe she didn't have her chin tucked or was in another weird position causing the extra effort to push her out and the bruising.

So, although I was beginning to doubt whether a long, drawn out, irregular pattern of contractions could really produce a baby, I found out that it could, it just takes a lot of patience.  I felt very blessed to have doctors and staff that were concerned about my concerns and patient through it all.  God's design for birth has always fascinated me, and I'm so glad to have another birth story to add to my collection.