Thursday, October 8, 2015

Oliver Walter Woessner - A Birth Story Through My Eyes Part 2

catch up with PART 1

“Hey it’s Jessica. I’m pretty sure my water broke or I’m just uncontrollably peeing on myself.” We exchanged giggles and she continued, “Michael is taking a shower and then we are going to head to the hospital.”

“Great! Have Michael text me when you get there and let me know if this is for sure IT.”

Looking back I probably could have advised them to stay home a little longer because she wasn’t Group B Strep positive so there was no real emergency in her rushing to the hospital as soon as her water broke.  I later found out, however, that the last doctor she saw in her practice told her to go to the hospital immediately, so my suggestion might have just fallen on deaf ears. That is one of those things, just like every decision, that is up to the mommy and daddy. Some people don’t feel comfortable laboring at home for too long and I totally understand that.

While I am waiting on a text from Michael, Gary and I decide to watch another episode of The Walking Dead (what a great memory for me to share with Baby Oliver one day ;)). When we were just about done with that episode Michael texted, “Yep, her water broke. Let me know when you get here and I can come get you.” We finished the episode and I threw some last minute things into my ‘go bag.’ I was on the road a few minutes later.

I could have waited a little longer to go to the hospital as well, but I knew if I stayed home I wouldn’t get any sleep so it was a no brainer for me to go ahead and go.

Thoughts and prayers were flooding my mind as I drove the 30+ minutes to the hospital. Jessica was delivering at Williamson Medical in Franklin.  I didn’t know much about that hospital. I was nervous about their procedures and standards. Are they quick to suggest interventions? Will we get a nurse that is on board with our natural process? I don’t even know how her doctor feels about any of this. The only thing I did know is that if she hadn’t gone into labor that night they were going to set an induction date at her appointment the next day.

I prayed for Jessica, that her pain and labor would be quick and easy. I prayed for Baby Oliver, that he would stay healthy through the labor and not be put into distress. I prayed for Michael and myself, that we could help each other through the night and day, depending on how long the labor lasted, as we coached Jessica through the birth plan they had put together.

I stopped at the gas station, got some coffee, gum, and mints, and continued the journey to the hospital thinking and praying while the radio kept the silent moments from being too silent.

I arrived at the hospital at 1:30am on September 28th. I had to go through the ER and check in. I was anxious to see what all crazies were going to be in the ER because of the full moon. But it was a ghost town. I was the only human in sight, besides the girl behind the counter. She printed out my badge, copied down some information, and by that time Michael was down there to walk me back up. After we ran to their car to grab their bags, it was up to the room to check on the laboring mommy.

Through the guarded door, up the elevator, past the nurses station where they had to verify our badges, and into room 224. There she was. Glowing with excitement and anticipation. The Golden Girls was on TV. The lighting in the room was soft. I dropped my bags, hugged Jessica, and told Oliver how excited I was to meet him soon!

I sat down in the rocking chair and asked to hear the overly detailed step-by-step, play-by-play from the last 24 hours. I was like a child at circle time, you know, the one who is old enough to be really into the story and waiting excitedly for the teacher to turn the page, not the one who is picking his nose and wiping it on that colorful circle time rug. Jessica obliged, even though I’m sure she was exhausted.

She was dilated to a 2 when she checked into the hospital, so I had a feeling it was going to be a long night.

We chatted for a while and around 3am Nurse Sharon came in and gave her free reign to move around. They weren’t going to check her again until 6 and if she hadn’t dilated much they were going to start Pitocin, so up we went to roam the halls and hope that helped speed labor along. Conversation was light and airy. Jessica was anxious to know when she would be in transition. She kept saying, “Maybe this is transition,” with a smile on her face as she walked through contractions.  I hated to break the news that she wouldn’t be wanting to talk, smile, walk, or possibly even open her eyes during transition, but at this point I just laughed along. Deep inside I thought, “Some people handle pain differently, maybe this could be her transition?”  I’ll go ahead and let you know that it wasn’t.

Jessica remembered they forgot to take a picture before they left the house. No better time than 3am!

Around 4am we decided we should all get some rest because we had no idea how long we were going to be there. Jessica was in the bed, not able to sleep due to the contractions. Michael was on the pull out chair not able to sleep because, HELLO, his wife is in labor. And I was in the rocking chair with another chair in front of me to prop my feet on, while resting my head on my right fist. Nurse Sharon came back in about 4:30 to adjust some of the monitors and that’s about how long I rested. My hand and wrist were asleep and I couldn’t wake them up. We all three continued to sit in silence for a little while longer hoping we could get some shut eye, but it just wasn’t in cards at the time.

Michael remembered he forgot to shut the coffee pot off and it would start brewing around 5:30. He would also need to take the dog out. That was it! That was how we were going to delay them starting her on Pitocin! Michael would leave before they came in to check her and if they said anything about it we were going to ask to wait until he got back. GENIUSES!

At 5:30am Nurse Sharon came in to check Jessica.  She was dilated to 3 ½. Michael hadn’t left yet, but we were still ready to rebuttal when she brought up the “P” word, but she never mentioned it. She gathered all of the print outs from the contraction machine, made sure Jessica was comfortable and left the room.

Before I left the house the night before, I texted Jessica DeYoung to let her know it was baby time. She texted me back once she woke up to make sure everything was going good (for those of you who might not have read any of the previously linked posts, this was my doula and our Bradley Method teacher). She suggested walking, sucking on a dum dum, pelvic rocks, and the pretzel. Jessica and I hit the halls again to do a few laps while she sucked on a dum dum. Once we got back to the room we did the pretzel on each side for 30 minutes. I didn’t have the option to use stirrups since I was having a homebirth so it was nice to get her in a little bit better position with those things. Side note: hospital beds are so tricky, but I owned that stirrup setup!
Her left leg is pulled back as far as it could go, but we covered it up so she wouldn't be flashing the world if anyone decided to come in.

Michael came back right before shift change. Nurse Sharon brought in Nurse Valerie to introduce us to her. This is when we pulled out the colorful birth plan that had been tucked away in their bag.  

Nurse Valerie was all for an all natural birth. She said she had 2 of her own, but then she starts talking about pitocin, which was a bit concerning to me. She needed to finish up her rounds and then she was going to come back and check Jessica. 

She came back about 7:30am and Jessica was at a “loose 3 to 4.” She also said that having her in the pretzel position helped to get some of the fluid out.  OH! This is a good spot to mention that Jessica is taking notes about things that people don’t tell you.  I’m hoping she will do a guest post on all of the things us mommies forgot to inform her about prior to labor…whoops!  It really is true that you forget a lot of things. Anyway, Nurse Valerie once again mentioned that “P” word and said that she will start it off very low and slowly work it up so that it is consistent with how her labor is already progressing, but help move it along quicker. We requested to wait until the doctor came around to see what she thought.  Whew! We held it off just a little longer.

**I’m not trying to say that Pitocin is bad, but that was not part of their birth plan. I just re-read Jessica DeYoung’s Bradley page and I like how it’s stated there. Even though this is about an epidural you get the idea: 
The purpose of childbirth classes are so that YOU are making the decisions for your birth &your family. You do not have to just go along with standard protocol. If you make the decision to have an epidural it should be your decision not the hospitals’. Childbirth classes will give you the information to make informed decisions about hospital protocol & procedures.  Knowing the benefits and risks of what to expect from this experience will make it a better experience.  Otherwise you may end up wishing you were more prepared when it is too late…

Nurse Valerie took Michael and me on a little tour to show us where we could get drinks if we needed them or ice chips for Jessica. I also had to inform her that I was a nursing mom and would need to pump soon. I could have pumped in the room with Michael and Jessica, but that pump sound can be quite annoying if you're trying to concentrate on having a baby. She found an empty room that was just being cleaned that she gave me free reign to use whenever I needed. As we walked to see this room she told me that her and her husband used the Bradley Method and she was excited that is what Michael and Jessica were doing. I was ecstatic to hear this information and let Michael and Jessica know. I ran back to the room to gather my pumping materials and tell them this great news!

Before I went to pump, we heard a light tap on the door and in walked Dr. Mazzoni. Jessica's face lit up when she saw her. Dr. Mazzoni is not her doctor, but is at the same practice and when she was doing her rotation through doctors she fell in love with Dr. Mazzoni. She is soft spoken and so sweet! She checked Jessica and she was the same as when the nurse checked her, but said she had plenty of time to progress on her own and there was no need to start Pitocin immediately. Thank you Doctor!

At some point in the morning the anesthesiologist came in the room to talk about the epidural. He said she could have it at any point.  He has even put it in the back of mommies while they are pushing. CRAZY!  Never heard that one before! He said, “Unless you tell them to tell me to come I won’t bother you again, but it is my duty to tell you all of this information up front.” He was kind, informative, answered any questions they had, calmed Jessica’s nerves about epidurals and left the room.

I went to pump and when I got back Michael was ready for some breakfast. His mom had gotten there earlier that morning and had been sitting in the waiting room. We went and grabbed her and headed to Sonic. We ate in the waiting room so that Jessica wouldn't have to smell it.  Once we returned to the room Jessica was ready for some squats.

Still smiling

At 11am Nurse Valerie came back in to check her and she hadn't dilated. My heart sank. She said, "I'm going to start the drip on 2ml/hour. It should help speed up your labor, but starting it low will hopefully not make the contractions too unbearable." Jessica jokingly said, “It’s Kimberly’s fault,” and while I know it was a joke that's exactly how I felt. I felt like it was my fault. Michael and Jessica had faith that I would help them through a completely natural labor and delivery and here we are pumping her with Pitocin. I just giggled it off and texted Jessica DeYoung for some support. She replied, “Make sure she is up and moving and not staying in bed with the pit. Not only are these contractions going to be way different and stronger, but staying in bed will not help her progress or help the pain. I used to feel like it was my fault if a birth doesn’t go just perfectly, you just gotta know you did everything you could!” Having that little bit of encouragement is what I needed.  It’s crazy to think that I was supposed to be the encouraging one for Michael and Jessica, but I needed encouragement from an outside source as well.  I don’t think I thanked Jessica DeYoung for helping me through that day, so THANK YOU!!  I know you’re reading this.

At some point in the next couple of hours, we made several trips to and from the bathroom. Jessica had to pee a lot, a girl after my own heart. She sat in the rocking chair, I tried to take a little nap on the pull out chair, And we tried a few more positions…

At 1pm Nurse Valerie came back in to check her again and still no change in dilation, but Jessica could tell the change in contractions so I think we all felt defeated. She bumped her up 1ml on her pit drip and asked Jessica to lay on her side for a while so they could monitor baby’s heartbeat through a few contractions.

Peeing hooked up to the pole was a different story. We had to wheel that thing in the bathroom with her. The toilet in the bathroom was a little too tall and she couldn’t reach the floor very well. So I pushed the hamper in front of her because it had a step on it. She rested her feet on that step and I stood on the other side to be sure it didn’t scoot out from under her. She sat there on the toilet for a while breathing through contractions and hopefully opening those hips up.

It was about that time for this momma to pump again. As I walked out of the room I jokingly said, “Don’t have a baby while I’m gone!” I’m sure Jessica was thinking, actually I would love to have a baby while you are gone! Not because she wanted me to miss it or anything, but because she was so exhausted!!

When I came back from pumping it was a different room.  TVLand was on through the night and day. It played an arrangement of shows like Golden Girls, Gilligan’s Island, and one I didn’t know the name of. At this point it was still on, but the volume was down very low. She was standing over the bed with her gown hanging off of her (losing modesty) and Michael rubbing cold wash clothes on her back. This was it. The hard labor was in full swing and we were nearing the end. I dropped everything and paced around the room a little bit trying to pump myself up for this part of the labor.

Contractions were at about a minute and a half apart and some of them lasted longer than normal. Because she was standing, there wasn’t much rest to be had in between the contractions, but this was a great position for her to be in! She started getting nauseous and I had to find Valerie to show me where the bucket was. While we were standing in the hallway she asked me if Jessica was mentioning wanting anything for the pain. She said, "We can give her some fentanyl." I replied with, "She's doing so great and I don't even want to mention it to her." Valerie trusted my opinion and we continued into the room to find that bucket. We kept that thing close by, just in case.

Michael was behind her rubbing her back and I was in front of her rubbing her hair and face through the contractions.  She started making small groaning noises as the contractions became more intense and then I had a flashback…

There I was, laying in my bed. Gary draped over my head laying on the bed and Jessica DeYoung kneeling beside the bed behind me. I was in the pretzel position on my left side and trying to get through these contractions the best way I knew how and the light groan that came out with the exhale through the contraction is what was helping me. Susie, my midwife, kneeled down in front of me and said, “Kimberly you are doing a great job. Try not to make any noise through the contractions because that uses energy and we need to save that energy for when you need to push. Just take deep slow breaths through them. You got this gal.”

I knew I needed to tell Jessica the same thing, but I remembered how I felt in that moment with Susie. A few more contractions brought about the same groan. I didn’t want her to lose concentration by talking to her, but I knew I had to do it. As soon as one of them was over I took her face in my hands and said, “You are doing so beautifully! Try not to make any noise through the contractions. We need to save that energy.” And you know what? SHE DID IT!

Around 4pm Nurse Sharon came in. We had to move the bed back down for Jessica to be able to climb in, which was a slow process because we had to stop if she started having a contraction. She was dilated to 6. She didn’t bump up the Pitocin this time and simply said, “Great! Things are moving along and it will probably start going faster from here.”

I grabbed Jessica’s phone and texted her mom and she headed to the hospital.

Jessica assumed the standing position again because she felt like gravity was helping her out. All I remember about this hour and 15 minutes is that I said, “Good girl!” probably 20 gazillion times. They tell the coaches in Bradley class to try to think of different things to say, but ‘good girl’ was the only thing that kept coming to my mind. I tried to change it up every once in a while and say, “You are doing so great,” or “You are doing beautifully,” but it was hard!! I hope she didn’t feel like I was talking to a dog by continuously saying, “Good girl” over and over again.

5:15pm brought about some tears for me. Nurse Sharon came in to check Jessica, so we had to go through the whole bed scenario again. She excitedly announced, “You’re at a 9, girl!” The next few minutes I just tried to keep my cool and choke down the tears as I helped Jessica through the contractions and try not to get distracted with all of the different contraptions that were being brought into the room. I said, “You’re doing so great!  You’re going to get to meet your baby soon!”

Jessica didn’t stand back up immediately because we all thought she would be pushing soon. Through slow deep breaths she mumbled, "Turn the TV off."

At 5:30pm all of our hearts sank. Doctor Mazzoni came in to check her and said she was at about a 5 to 6. We thought we were there. We thought the end was in sight. We had our hopes up of pushing soon and then those hopes were just crushed! Immediately after the doctor left the room Jessica said, “I want to stand back up. I have to get back to a 9.” She was determined.

Nurse Sharon had to fill out all of her paperwork for shift change so she was working at the computer as Michael and I coached Jessica through those ever tiring, never ending, back to back contractions. She had told Michael earlier to let her know when they were coming down because it helped her, but these started getting harder to judge. Some of them stayed at the peak for longer than just a second, some peaked twice after we had already told her they were coming down and they were not letting up. One contraction after the other. No rest in between. I started getting a little antsy and had to pace around a little bit. Michael stayed by her side the entire time. Rubbing her back and placing cold wash clothes on her neck. He was a super hero!!

At 6:45 she started feeling the urge to push. I called the nurse in there to check and in walks Carly! She was taking over for Sharon. She was young, chipper, and ready to help deliver a baby! She checked her and didn’t say a number, she just said, “It’s almost time, I’m going to go get the doctor.”

A few minutes later, Dr. Mazzoni returns and checks her and confirms Carly’s report. She says, “Just a few more contractions and then you can push.”

Jessica was having a hard time not pushing through contractions at this point. I kept trying to tell her to take slow deep breaths, but then Carly chimed in and said, “Short pants through the contractions will help with the urge, but then take a deep breath in and out at the end so you don’t hyperventilate.” I had my new instructions. I had been breathing with her for the past hour or so. Now I had to change my breathing through the contractions so she could copy me. Short breaths. Then deep breaths. Short breaths. Then deep breaths.

We breathed through a hand full of contractions and at 6:54 everyone was set up and she started pushing. I already had their camera around my neck ready to snap pictures. I stood back with tears rolling down my face and trying to remember to breath myself. This was it. We had made it!

Carly and Dr. Mazzoni took over the coaching and all I could get out of my mouth through the choking up was, “Good girl!” I think I did yell, “You’re doing it, Jessica!” at one point.

She had an oxygen mask on between contractions, but there was not much time in between for her to keep it on much. She pushed like she had done this before and at 7:14 (20 minutes later) Oliver Walter Woessner was born! 

He had a head full of dark hair and he was just perfect!! 

He was 7 pounds, 10 ounces, and 20 inches long. The nurse had to remeasure him because he didn't want to straighten his leg. When she first announced that he was 19 1/2 inches long, somebody in the room spoke up and said, "He looks longer than that" and sure enough with a quick remeasure they were right!

The proud parents. I mean seriously isn't she gorgeous?! You would never know she hadn't slept in over 24 hours and just pushed a baby out!! She pulled her hair down after she was all put back together and looked like a model!

The room went from over crowded to completely empty in a matter of minutes. I didn't know where to stand, what to say or where to aim the camera. Once everything calmed down all the nurses and doctors had left we took a few more pictures and I headed out.

Oliver's first selfie!

Nursing like a champ!!!

I was on cloud 9. I felt like this was a victory for me. I felt like because I helped her have a natural birth, with Pitocin, that it cancelled out my tramatic birth story. I think I still have some emotional things that will come up once we are faced with delivering our own again one day, but for now I'm counting this as a victory! And man does it feel GOOD!

I went to see that sweet baby Oliver on Friday night and had to get some snuggles in since I didn't get to hold him at the hospital (I didn't want to interrupt their family bonding time and momma and baby's skin-to-skin). 

He is one handsome dude and I am so honored that his momma and daddy let me be there to see him come into the world!  Thank you Michael and Jessica for letting me live vicariously through your beautiful birth!! I can't wait to watch you two as parents and I absolutely can't wait to watch our sweet little guys grow up together!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This was definitely an experience for us... Maybe not exactly what we planned, but life happens, and we were blessed with this beautiful little man. Having Kimberly there was a HUGE blessing!! Her perkiness, laughter and genuine care for us was phenomenal. I did need Michael by my side, holding my hand and just having his presence, but our dynamic is not verbal encouragement. If I didn't have Kimberly there to tell me I could do it and making sure that I had what I needed, I don't know if I could have stayed calm. God provided me with such a strong team, and I am grateful for everyone that was present for the process.

BTW, even though I heard the birthing process is not as messy as one would think, if you water breaks, it is... I didn't know that amniotic fluid would continue to flow with every contraction... :)

- Jessica Woessner