Thursday, May 18, 2017

Noah's birth

Noah... that name has had so many different meanings to me throughout my life with special people, but right now it is most precious.

I had much more leeway with this pregnancy because of Noah's diagnosis so while I have always gone to 42 week or a bit longer, my midwives had no problem with going 43 or 44 weeks or more this time.  I really wanted to see what my body would do on its own since the last two times I had to break my water to get labor started if I wanted to stay with my midwives.  I decided at 42 weeks though that the anticipation of the unknowns with this baby was getting to be too much for my family.  So I decided to only wait until 43 weeks and the day after that to go in and have my water broken.  I had made the decision, but was still unsure going into it if it was the right one.  When we got to the birth center, they broke my water and there was light meconium which got a bit darker throughout the day.  It made me feel better in a way because I knew that meant it was time for him to come out.  I was so sure that labor would start, it worked like a charm both times before.  We stayed in SB, walked on the beach, had lunch with a friend, etc...  nothing happened.  Went home, had dinner with my sisters who arrived that day, nothing happened.  Went to bed, nothing happened.

I was quite upset in the middle of the night thinking that something was wrong, I couldn't understand why this wasn't working with such an advanced pregnancy.  Josh couldn't sleep either.

The next morning (Sat, April 29th), we went back to the birth center to talk further.  They mentioned a medicine called cytotec which works well in these situations, but I had regained my faith and wanted to wait 24 more hours to see if I could still start labor on my own.  I told them that is what I wanted to do, but that I thought we should check his heartbeat one more time, I had only felt slight movements in the last two days.  So she did a belly check, she thought he was lower, even though my cervix had not changed in many weeks.  Then she did a check for his heartbeat.  Every time we had checked his heartbeat regardless of how much movement I felt that week, it was always very strong. My midwives always found it quite easily.  But this time, it wasn't there.  Even though my midwife did a very thourough check twice, I knew when she checked the first place that he was gone.  Maybe that is why I asked for the heartbeat check that morning.

That news changed everything because for a body to start labor when the baby is not alive can take much longer to happen and eventually there is risk of infection to me.  So we began a course of labor inducing medication.  We waited at the birth center for hours and I did enter early labor.  I labored there all day, but Josh and I were already dealing with the grief of losing our baby.  I mentioned something about just wanting to go to the hospital to handle this with medication because the emotional strain was enough.  One of my midwives encouraged this and after talking to some people I trusted, I decided that I didn't want to face the possibility of much more difficult induced contractions.  So a few hours later, we went to the hospital.  When we got to the hospital things started to change.  I started to shiver uncontrollably even though I felt warm outside.  Nausea started and things just seemed out of control.  I think it was a side effect of the medication, but I had also begun to spike a fever and get an infection.  If I had stayed at the birth center, I would have been transfered at that point.
The contractions coming were manageable for a long time and I told them to wait until I asked for the epidural.  Everyone at the hospital was wonderful and my midwives Laurel, Alice, and Alissa were all there as well as was my wonderful friend and doula Genevieve.  They gave me a second medication that meant I had to stay in bed lying down and then the contractions went from manageble to feeling constant with really tough spikes which felt like those were coming fast too.  At one point I asked for the epidural, but of course the anestheoligist was at home and could not make it there for about 45 minutes.  By the time I got the epidural and a catheter was placed, they checked me and I was fully dialted.  When they placed the second medication, I was still at one centimeter, which meant I went from 1 to 10 in a little over 2 hours. Maybe that is why I was shaking.  I pushed him out in 20 minutes.  He was born at 10:48 pm. I think Josh may remember some things differently than my timing on all of this, but regardless, it felt very fast.  I was in shock when they told me I could push.

Things I remember are that he was very tiny, his placenta was tiny, and that he looked like he had been gone for a while.  It was an overwhelming stream of emotions from that moment on.  After holding him for a while, Josh and our team of angels (the only word close enough to explain my midwives and doula) washed and dressed him.  He stayed with Josh and I overnight and his brothers and many family and friends met him in the morning.

I don't want to share everything about our time with him or our goodbyes, but I will say that Noah has changed me for the rest of my life.

He has changed everything.

Living without him is much harder than I could have ever imagined.  I miss him so much and am so thankful he chose me to be his mama.  He will always be my little bird.