Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Labor of Love

This is a retrospective look upon my labor and delivery of Lyla.
On May 10th, I worked my 8 hour shift at the hospital. I asked for the sickest patient on the unit, for 2 reasons; (1) I was orientating an Rn and I wanted her to have a good learning experience; and (2)I was hoping I would induce labor. It was a busy day at work. I felt some contractions on and off but nothing regular.

When I got home, it was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and Ryan was outside, just having finished doing some yard work. We sat outside for a bit then we decided that I wanted to go for a walk - again to see if we could get this baby coming. We walked down the sun filled street, past our neighbours house which was invaded by fancy dressed seniors, getting their pre-prom photos taken in the sunshine. We walked around the track at the middle school in our subdivision for an hour and a half. Upon arrival home, I decided that I wanted some spicy food - again to see if we could induce labor. We got dressed and headed to out for Thai food. This is very out of character for me, as I have gone out for Thai food once in my life, and I vowed never to go again because I didn't like it. In retrospect, it was nice to go out for dinner as our last night child-free. I ordered the level of medium for spicy-ness, and found myself dipping into Ryan's "hot" food for the spicy level hopeful to start labor.

At 12:31 am I felt my first contraction. Unsure if it was a contraction or not I monitored the situation, and sure enough 1o minutes later another contraction came. I notified Ryan of the situation and after about 40 minutes or so, I decided that I wanted to walk around the house to see if the activity made it worse or better. When I walked downstairs and found a card and a
dozen roses sitting on the table. Who where these from?? They were from our unborn baby (with the help of Ryan, aka Dad) to me for Mother's Day, as it was Mother's Day that day.

The card said the following:

Hi Mommy! Even though I haven't been born yet, I wanted to tell you that I can hardly wait to see you and play with you. But in the meantime, just know that I already love you and know you'll make a really great Mom. Love, ?
P.S. Who's the guy always patting you on the stomach and saying "Helloooo in there"? What a goofball!! Happy Mother's Day (a little bit early).

How fitting was it that Ryan had prepared this card and flowers on the day that our "babe" would enter the world. I was so touched by that. The reason they were sitting on the table waiting for me, is because I was supposed to be at work that morning, so I would get them when I came down for breakfast that morning.

So, off and on we got up through out the night to walk around and we continued to count the contractions, which remained steady at 9 -10 minutes apart. At about 4:45 am, Ryan and I had a discussion about whether or not I should go in to work that day. We debated and I don't think I actually thought that we were going to have the baby that day, or else there would not have been anything to debate about. In the end, I decided that since I had not gotten any sleep that night, I better stay at home for the safety of our patients, not because I was going to have a baby that day. We got up at 7:00am, the contractions at this point were 7 minutes apart. I had a very strong breakfast, eggs and bacon, to give me lots of protein for the day ahead. By now, it was 8:00 and for the next hour the contractions where anywhere between 3 to 5 minutes apart. I went for a shower and decided it was time to call the doctor. My doctor works with a group of physicians, I knew that he was not going to be on call this weekend, because we had discussed his on-call schedule at my last appointment. Anyways, I was glad when Dr. Greene called me back, as I had seen him when I had my pre-term contractions and he was very nice. He advised me to head to the hospital. So, he headed over to the hospital and arrived about 10:00.

I had been at labor and delivery on Thursday for my non-stress test and the unit as well as mother/baby unit was packed. They had women in observation rooms delivering! I was hoping that I would go into labor soon, but after seeing that I wanted to wait until it wasn't so busy. The RN that looked after me told me to wait until the weekend because it is nice and quiet on the weekend. Well, she was right. I was the only laboring patient on labor and delivery on Mother's Day. When I walked in I saw one of the nurses I had gotten to know through my Non-stress test, a wonderful RN called Julie. I was so relieved to see her and so glad when she said that she wanted to care for me.
Upon getting into my room and getting changed, Julie arrived and started the admission process. Most of the paperwork had been done ahead of time when I was there for one of my Non-Stress tests. Julie then checked me and found out that I was 5 centimeters dilated and 100 per cent effaced. I had been joking around saying, maybe they would send me home, and she turned to me with a big smile and said "You're not going anywhere. Today you are going to have a baby!" Wow! Here we were getting ready for the greatest moment of our lives. We were getting ready to meet our "babe" - finally.
Julie could not tell what position Lyla was in because my bag of water was bulging, so they did an ultrasound to make sure that she was lying in the right position for delivery. It was confirmed that she was in the right position.

The next couple of hours moved quickly. As you can see from the picture below I had gotten quite swollen. If you can see the monitor behind me you can see that contractions (the bottom monitor) were happening every 2- 3 minutes. I was checked again about 12:30 and I was 7 cm dilated. The contractions where coming harder and more frequent. I was getting more uncomfortable and found that I couldn't stand being in the bed. I had not taken anything for pain yet and was trying to decide what I should do. After a lengthly discussion with Julie and Ryan, I decided that I would have an epidural. This was a great decision as it resulted in a pain free, yet efficient delivery.

As soon as the anasthesia was done, Dr. Greene arrived and wanted to check me. I was 9 cm dilated and he decided that it was time to break my water. I was now feeling no contractions and no pain, and my nurse decided that it was a good idea to take a rest before I started pushing. It was very hard to sleep as I knew that I would soon be meeting our baby, but for the next hour, Ryan and I lay quietly resting up for the task ahead. Julie came in about an hour later and said that she was having difficulty monitoring the babe's heart rate. She said this was probably because the baby was so low. I told her that I was noticing more back pain and if she wanted to check me that would be good. As she was checking me she said to me; " The reason you are feeling so much back pressure is because the head is right here. And it is a head full of hair! We are going to start pushing and have you a baby by 4 o'clock". I believe this was around 3pm. So she started to get the room set up.

We started to push and again I was nauseated and throwing up. Julie was still having difficulty monitoring Lyla's heart rate. With our first couple of pushes she shifted the heart rate monitor around my belly while watching the monitor beside me. The nurse inside me picked up on her panicked voice when she stuck her head out of my labor room urgently saying "Dr. Greene, I need you in here now!". With that Dr. Greene and Debbie, the other RN on duty that day, swiftly walked in with faces full of concern. Julie quickly filled them in that Lyla's heart rate was dropping with contractions and she was having a hard time monitoring her heart rate effectively. Dr. Greene set up for a heart monitor which was placed in Lyla's head, I forget the name. Once that monitor was placed, Lyla's heart rate was steady and true.

I believe we only pushed for about 40 minutes. Once Lyla's head came out I was instructed not to push anymore. They believed the cord was wrapped around her head, causing the deceleration in her heart rate. But it was not wrapped around. I had a mirror so I could watch the birth, and I will never forget Lyla's head coming out and then just sitting there waiting for me to complete the delivery. Her eyes where open and she was looking around the room. They were aspirating her nose and it was truly a magical moment.

It was only like 2 more pushes and out came our beautiful baby. Dr. Greene, said... "Its a ...." and Ryan finished "GIRL!!" Another moment I will never forget. The surprised looked on Ryan's face, the excitement in his voice, the tears in his eyes.

Ryan cut Lyla's cord, Dr. Greene collected Lyla's cord blood, and we both heard Lyla's voice for the first time. Tears of joy and immediate love resonated from my soul for this tiny being. Despite her soiled condition from her life in my placenta, I reached out and hugged her and kissed my little girl. She came to my chest and I made eye contact with this being which I had been eagerly awaiting a meeting with for the past 9 months. There is no words to describe this awesome feeling. This is it, this is my moment in which I am no longer just a women, rather I am a mother. This labor I endured brought me a new love in my life, thus understanding the quote "labor of love."

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