Sunday, January 3, 2010

Andrew's Birth Story

I am going to try to write Andrew's birth story as best as I can remember it. The timeline may be a little off since I feel like I have lived two lives since that night. I haven't emotionally processed the entire thing since the actual birth was so traumatic. I am sure I will write another one at some point with a better grasp on my feelings.

I went into active labor around 11:00pm on Saturday, December 5. Andrew was still in a posterior position so most of my labor was in my back. Sweet Austin stayed by my side during the entire time just waiting to rub my back when a contraction hit. I called Corinne and Melissa around this time to let them know that it was showtime. Corinne got here first. I had gotten comfortable in the shower at this point and was letting the hot hot water hit my lower back. I was working through the contractions pretty good. The shower felt wonderful and I learned that I could get through them much better if I swayed my hips around. I found out later that Austin had videotaped this on his phone. He didn't let me know then because he correctly assumed that I would be upset and my focus would have been broken. I am really glad that he taped a portion of it...I felt really proud of myself when I watched it.

I stayed in the shower for over an hour. Melissa arrived while I was in the shower. She asked me to get out so she could check my progress. I got out and laid down on the bed. At this point, I HATED the bed. The contractions were so much worse when I wasn't able to move through them. She checked me and I was only at 3 cm (I think) even though I had felt sure that I was much farther along. I feel like I pretty much just went from the bathtub to the shower to the bed for an hour or so during this point. Melissa was constantly checking Andrew's heart rate which remained within his normal range the entire time. I remember throwing up and pooping several times during this part of labor. Labor isn't always cute, ladies. I tried to sit on my birthing ball having remembered reading that sometimes that helps with the back pain. Corinne helped me sit down on it and I immediately thought that whoever recommended that for back pain must have been a liar. Sitting on the ball was crazy painful and I scrapped that idea. I finally decided that the bathtub might be okay. I got in and immediately felt a little relief. Austin and Corinne had my birth list playing on Itunes and had my favorite candles lit. The atmosphere was perfect. I soaked in the tub in the candlelight listening to my Dylan and working my sweet boy down. I found a really good rhythm in the tub. Austin sat by me holding my little red fan and my cup of water. He was a real trooper and I remember feeling very safe and loved. Corinne and Melissa came in and out checking heart tones and heating my water up with water from the kitchen. I think I threw up again into a bowl when I was in the tub. Austin said I kind of dozed in and out between contractions. I remember it like a trance, coming to when I needed to breathe through the contractions. I was being a good little birther...making my cow noises and breathing my cleansing breaths. Apparently Momma had arrived and I remember seeing her through the crack in the door. I remember thinking, "I hope she isn't scared and knows I am okay." Austin got up to take a little break and Corinne took his place beside me. As soon as he left, my water broke. Craziest feeling I had ever felt up to that point...a huge gush and release. I immediately sat up and heard Corinne say, "whole lotta mec!" (Meconium is the baby's first poo) Melissa and Austin came in and Melissa told me to get out of the tub so she could check me. I began to throw up, poop and pee all at the same time in my tub. Austin got my throw up bowl and tried to keep me calm. I remember wondering what I had eaten that would make my throwup neon green. I realized later that I was throwing up my stomach acid. Melissa told me again that I had to get up and into my room so she could check me. If I was almost ready to deliver, then we could stay at home and have Andrew. If I wasn't far enough along, then we were going to need to transfer to the hospital. I know now how much my husband really loves me because he stuck his hand in the bath water filled with my and Andrew's poo, teetee, throw up and amniotic fluid to drain the tub. I got on the bed and Melissa checked me and found I was only at 5cm. She said we were going to need to transfer and I needed to get dressed. Corinne got me these terrible blue cut off sweatpants and one of Austin's old tennis shirts and my stinky Rainbows. They somehow got me dressed as I was bellowing through my contractions. I kept trying to walk to the door but my contractions were hitting me one after another and they were HUGE and painful. I made it to the door frame that leads into the kitchen, grabbing it and staring at the floor and thinking, "they have drugs at the hospital!" I think that was the only thing that gave me to drive to walk to the car. I got in the backseat of Momma's Volvo. Corinne was going to drive me and Melissa...Austin was going to ride with Momma. Corinne and I were waiting in the car on Melissa who was inside getting all of the transfer paperwork ready. A giant contraction hit and I yelled "we gotta go NOWWWWW." Corinne laid on the horn and yelled for Melissa. She got into the car and Corinne got us to the hospital in about 3 minutes. Contractions and heart rate monitoring the entire way. Melissa had called ahead so an orderly was waiting for us once we got into the hospital with a wheelchair. We had forgotten my glasses so I really couldn't see anything. Corinne said the poor orderly was a young guy and he looked scared to death that he was going to have to deal with the shrieking woman coming his way. I got into the wheelchair while Melissa and Austin were getting me admitted. I was so absorbed in my body and what was happening to me that I don't remember anything about my surroundings except for how soft the orderly's stomach was. I kept rubbing my head into his stomach and he just kept patting my shoulders. Sweet boy...wish I could thank him for giving me comfort. I felt like I was going to have Andrew right there in the floor and I think everyone else did too. I was pretty noisy. Some scary, burly nurse woman came and took me from my soft tummied orderly and started pushing me down the hall to Labor and Delivery. For some reason, she kept her hand on my forehead, pushing against her stomach. I also remember being very irritated at whoever decided that the floor heading to L&D should be made of bumpy tiles. They got me to the room after telling me that no one could come with me. They wheeled me into the delivery room and started undressing me to put me in my gown. They asked me all of these random questions like "is your husband the father of this baby" and "have you been abused?" After they had me in the bed and hooked up to all of the fetal monitoring things, they let Melissa and Austin in. I got an IV and they checked me. I was only at 6 cm but I was feeling really strong urges to push. Melissa had me focus on her and to take good cleansing breaths. Andrew's heart tones were still well within normal during this whole time. I was feeling VERY strong urges to push and they checked me again and said I was at 9.5 cm. They were telling me that I couldn't push because I wasn't complete, but they also kept saying that I had to wait for the doctor to get there. I kinda think I was already complete because my body was physically pushing on its own. Dr. Smith finally got there, looked at Andrew's heart tone tapes and then left again. They had let me start pushing by this point. I did have one or two helpful nurses but, for the most part, they were all pretty snarky and unhelpful. One even told me that I had 6 minutes to have my baby. Apparently my birth wasn't convenient for them since it was shift change time. The pushing felt really good since I felt a little more in control of the process. I was really glad that I was unmedicated so I could really feel what was happening and I had better control of my pushing. I finally figured out that I needed to wait for the contraction to get really strong before I started pushing so my pushing could be more effective. After 1 hour of pushing, Andrew started crowning. Dr. Smith suctioned the meconium when his head was out. He then saw that the cord was loosely wrapped around Andrew's neck. Melissa thought that he would just try to loop it around his head, but he immediately clamped and cut the cord. He told me to push again and Andrew came tumbling out. I felt an immediate sense of relief and a great emptiness. I never saw them take him to the side...I kept waiting on them to put him on my chest and to hear him cry. Melissa told Austin to go to the baby. I asked her what was happening and she said they were just helping him get started breathing. I saw the look on her face and started to panic. I asked her what they were doing and what was happening. She told me to just pray for my baby. I heard the doctors and nurses calling out his heart rate which was only 40. They were talking about epinephrine which helps stimulate breathing and heart rate. After a few minutes, they took him from the room. Austin told me later that when he came out that he was grey and limp and lifeless. I delivered the placenta and Dr. Smith gave me a few stitches for my very minor tear. Then, they all left the room, turned off the light and left Melissa, Austin and me by ourselves in the room.

I started shaking uncontrollably and thought I was just really cold, but later realized that I was probably in shock. We waited in the room for about an hour and a half before anyone came in to tell us any news on Andrew. Dr. Sanford and Dr. Smith came in and told us that although they had almost lost him several times, that they had his heart rate stabilized at 140 and had him hooked up to a ventilator. He said the situation was still very volatile...he even used the word "deadly" and that they were transporting him to Tupelo to the NICU. The nurses came in and got me ready to go to my post partum room.

As I said before, I haven't processed through my feelings. I want to see the medical records to get an official interpretation of what happened. I don't even know exactly what went wrong. I have my own instincts and feelings about what caused Andrew to crash. I am very angry that my precious boy who thrived inside of me was somehow harmed during his birth.


  1. You, Austin and your sweet Andrew are still in my thoughts often and I am praying for God's comfort and strength to continue to guide you though this difficult journey. Tears come to my eyes now as I think how hard this has to be on you all, I can only begin to imagine.

    I saw that you shared on my friend Michelle's blog, thanks for sharing, I know that all the support and prayers help more than anyone thinks, as you probably know.

    I will be praying for you!

    Shannon Harman

  2. Lindsey,
    I am so proud of you. Thank you for sharing your birth story. It is part of Andrews story and very special. You are one awesome woman and I am so impressed that you made it through back labor without drugs.I feel very proud to know you :)
    I pray everyday for peace for you and your family.
    Holly Claire

  3. Lindsey,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I don't know why I didn't see from Corinne's links that you have a blog, but I linked here today for the first time from Rachel's post. You and Austin and Andrew are in my heart and prayers all the time. I like how you feel that Andrew is inside you again, where you can keep him safe.

    Jennifer Janus

  4. good job recording this. i am surprised you did all that throwing up, etc--so rough! that would make natural childbirth a lot harder, for sure. i *hated* that part when you get to the hospital and they take you back to the room to ask all those dumb questions by yourself, right when you really need your mate, if you're doing it right and wait till the last minute to get there. the orderly's soft stomach part is so funny! it's the little things that make a difference at that point of labor (or big things, in his case!). i can totally understand your anger and need to know/understand what happened.

  5. oh--and meant to say, those nurses should be made to be in another ward, if they are gonna behave in such a way (or find another job). unacceptable.

  6. and why did Blake leave you after he finally got there? was he gone for long? that seems strange to me that he left you while you were pushing (he was my dr. on all 3).