Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cultural Diversity Fair

I have been asked to perform a ballet routine at our town's local cultural diversity fair this Saturday.  The dance is to Carmen Burana: O Fortuna.  I last performed it a year and a pregnancy ago at the Showstopper regional competition, for which I won two awards.  I have 5 days to refresh the routine in my mind and practice, although practice should be interesting since I now have an infant.  If I am lucky I will get one day of practice, the day before.  I have been wanting to get back to my dancing, although I'm not sure if plunging into it without being completely ready is the best idea.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Son's Birth Story

My due date was December 24th.  On December 20th, after absolutely no signs or progression, I finally started feeling some contractions, strong but not painful.  Around 9pm the evening of the 21st, I started feeling pain with the contractions.  It wasn't long before the pain was causing me to cry out, but they were so irregular, I couldn't call our birth center.  The contractions continued from 2-12 minutes apart throughout night, so painful I couldn't sleep...could barely breathe at times.  By the next morning, they were still only 2-7 minutes apart, however since my birth center was an hour and half away, they allowed me to come in.  When I arrived they checked me and I was only dilated to 3cm.  The contractions were still irregular so there was nothing to do but wait.  I labored throughout the day, the contractions getting stronger and longer.  By 9pm that evening, 24 hours later, the contractions were stronger, longer, incredibly painful, and were 2-3 minutes apart, but I had only progressed to 5cm.  By midnight, I was in so much pain and so incredibly tired from not sleeping for so long, my doula and midwife both suggested we break my water to get things moving, as I hadn't progressed past 5cm.  My midwife gave me a touch of painkiller through an IV to "take the edge off", which didn't help a bit, and they broke my water.  Come to find out, my amniotic fluid was filled with meconium.  Due to the hazards of meconium in the amniotic fluid, I was immediately taken to the hospital.

We all piled in our cars, me leaking amniotic fluid everywhere.  Luckily my husband had put down towels and doggie potty pads in our front seat.  We got to the hospital a few minutes later and I was wheeled in leaking a trail of amniotic fluid all over the hospital floor.  My husband and doula had to be checked in but said there was no mistaking where they had taken me, they just followed the trail of fluid.  By the time I reached the delivery room I had been in labor for over 29 hours and both my midwife and doula suggested an epidural so I could rest.  It took until 2:30 am for the anesthesiologist to get in the room and, although the pain killer my midwife had given me had me nearly incoherent, it didn't do a damn thing for the pain.  Me, not an overly vocal person, was crying out so loud with each contraction my husband was nearly in tears afraid for me and the amount of pain I was in.

The epidural was sweet relief and I finally managed to get some sleep.  I was started on pitocin and labored throughout the morning, the pitocin being increased every hour and my epidural having to be re-administered three times, each time the pain getting worse and worse because of the increased pitocin.  By around noon I had dilated to 9 cm.  My midwife and nurses were excited that I had made progress and said I should rest because I would probably be pushing soon.  My midwife came back around 2 pm and I had dilated to 10 cm, however there was still a cervical lip around my son's head which wasn't allowing me to fully dilate.  If I pushed, there was a chance it would swell pushing my son farther back into my uterus, or it would tear and I could have dangerous bleeding.  Another problem had arisen, I had a fever that wouldn't go away.  My temperature had spiked because I had developed an infection in my uterus.  It had been over 12 hours since they had broken my water and with the temperature and infection and lack of progression, there was now a danger to me and my son.  We tried numerous things to get my son to move his head and re-position himself, as he was also facing my front instead of my back.  My midwife consulted with the on-call high risk doctor and they suggested c-section.  They upped my pitocin to full strength and decided to give me until 3 pm trying everything they could think of to get my cervix ready and get my son turned around...but nothing worked.

By this time the last epidural had not kicked in so I was feeling every contraction which were now every 2-4 minutes and coming in plateaus, one very strong for about a minute, then lessened for another minute, then came back at about 80% for another minute.  My doula, who has been doing this for 16 years, had never seen such an odd occurrence of contractions.  The pain was quickly becoming unbearable.  My husband and I were terrified of a c-section but at that point, after such a long time, I just wanted it to be over.  They gave me one final epidural and prepped me for surgery.  The medication had me shaking so badly I was horribly nauseous and I couldn't keep my arms on the operating table.  My husband tried to describe what was happening as they performed the c-section, but I was so medicated and sick I was barely coherent.  After checking that the meconium hand't caused any harm to my son, my husband brought him over.  I was still shaking so badly I couldn't hold him so my husband went with him back to the delivery room.  It took another 30 minutes or so for the doctors to finish and take me back to the room and after nine months and 44 hours of labor, I was finally able to hold my new son.  It was one of the most precious moments of my life.  He is now nearly 3 months old and the most incredible joy of my life.  I love him more than I could have ever imagined.