A Cesarean Delivery: Laney

Posted by  | Wednesday, December 5, 2007  at 9:38 PM  
Disclaimer: In 2002, I found out that I had an auto-immune deficiency called "Thrombocytopenia," a chronic low-platelet count (the clotting factor in blood). Some women have difficult pregnancies and others who have this deficiency breeze right through pregnancy without any intervention. Thankfully, I had no problems with my platelet count until the very end. In fact, I LOVED being pregnant, and actually, I miss it! At 36 weeks gestation, my doctor told me that Laney was breach and a c-section was scheduled at 38 weeks. I was very sad that my dream of having a natural birth had come a screaching halt. My platelet counts were getting lower as I was getting bigger (and boy was my belly BIG). A woman who is scheduled for a c-section has two choices concerning ways to deliver her baby: a spinal or general anesthesia. (A spinal is similar to an epidural, except an epidural stays in your spine so you can alter the medication you're receiving. A spinal is in and immediately taken out with only a certain amount of time until the numbing wears off. ) General anesthesia is when you're 100% put under, the risks are higher, you don't get to experience any of your child's birth and the recovery is harder. We wanted a spinal so I could stay awake and experience my daughter's birth into this world, but a Mama cannot have a spinal unless her platelet counts are 100,000 or above. (100,000 count is still significantly low and out of the normal range.) My counts were in the low 80's. After talking with my Hematologist, we decided that I was going to take the steriod Prednisone for six days to boost my platelet counts. There was nothing greater in my mind than seeing Laney being born, and I was going to do everything I could to make my chances of seeing her greater. We were daily crying out to the Lord concerning this and had so many people praying. Below is the edited Delivery Story I wrote 2 weeks after Laney was born. I hope you enjoy.

The morning of my c-section on the way out the door:
The Delivery: We did not find out if the prednisone boosted my platelets until 2 hours prior to the c- section when we arrived that morning at the hospital. As you can imagine, we were so, SO thankful for such a blessing from the Lord. When we were told in pre-op that my counts were 107,000 we praised God together. What a blessing! All morning long I focused on staying positive in my thoughts and focused on the joy of Hugh and I meeting our daughter for the very first time. I wanted to be obedient to Philippians 4:8 of not being anxious about anything, but instead praying through it and allowing the Lord to guard my mind and give me peace. Philippians 4:10 was another offensive spiritual "sword" I used, "Think on things that are good, noble, righteous, pure, lovely, admirable, if anything is EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY, think about such things." I get pretty anxious about surgery, so this was a tough struggle for me, but I did it.

I wanted to flesh out my beliefs of God being in TOTAL control and Him being my All-Sufficient One, meeting every need. I can say that we were focused in pre-op, but when the doctors split Hugh and I up, so that I could be wheeled into the operating room for my Spinal to be inserted, my fears got the best of me. I was very nervous and scared. I'm moved emotionally as I reminisce. Every woman I had talked to prior to my delivery day said that the c-section experience was WONDERFUL, and they'd do it again in a heartbeat. I, on the other hand, was very much excited about my 100% natural childbirth experience. Before getting pregnant, I was told that I was not allowed to receive an epidural at all because of my low platelet counts. With a c-section, I knew my delivery date, so I could take a small dosage for 6 days prior to my scheduled due-date, being just enough time to boost the counts without my body becoming addicted to the prednisone. Long term usage of prednisone is not healthy Mothers or their babies. By just taking the steriod six days, I could already feel the water retention in my body, but mainly in my face (you know, what happens to cancer patients when they take prednisone. They get the big, round cancer "cheeks".) But it was all worth it. I had taken the Bradley Birthing class as well and read the Natural Childbirth Bradley book. I made a "Saul to Paul" transformation while in the class and was a different person with different goals and aspirations after being so wonderfully informed about everything pertaining to having a baby. I was the girl who wanted an epidural without a doubt in my mind, and you didn't have to ask me twice. However, my heart and mind were changed after reading and hearing about the wonderful benefits and blessings of having a 100% natural childbirth. We tried everything to turn Laney from her breach position, even some VERY strange things. But I was desperate. Here are a few things we tried: The chiropractic method called, "The Webster's Technique," where they adjust your sacrum and release the tension on your round ligaments in the front of your belly(usually VERY effective), we tried whale sounds at the bottom of my belly, dragging a light from the top of my belly to the bottom, sitting in a hot bath with frozen veggies on the top of my belly while Hugh poured ice cold water on the top of my belly(hoping Laney would turn to the warmth---it was TORTURE for me), laying in an inverted position with my head lower than my feet, pelvic tilts while on my hands and knees. Oh, the list could go on and on. Nothing. She was too comfortable in there! The only thing we didn't try was the "Version" and since there were risks to Laney and risks to me, on account of my Thrombocytopenia if my placenta tore (plus it was INCREDIBLY unnatural and painful). Needless to say, I was not fond of the c-section experience looking back, but I had no choice, and Laney had to come out.

I was wheeled into a very cold operating room, and as my eyes fell upon the metal utensils and the big lights above me, my fears ran rampant all over me. The spinal was inserted(after jumping the first time and getting reprimanded by EVERYONE in the room), and as I laid there listening to the cling-clang of the OR in prep for the surgery, I kept asking my bedside nurse if I was supposed to feel tingly, if I was supposed to still feel stimulation, if I was supposed to feel this or that. Her job was to comfort me and be there for me emotionally. She was an answer to prayer. She could see in my countenance how scared I was. My arms were strapped down, but I didn't feel them strapped down. My arms and hands were shaking from nerves as a nurse comforted me by holding my sweaty palm. I tried to breathe deeply to calm my jitters and my shaking. Then, the big operating lights came on above me, oxygen tubes were inserted in my nose, the curtain was hung directly in front of my face, and the nurses kept asking me if I could feel the cold alcohol swipes on my tummy. Before I knew it, my nurse, who was standing behind me at my head, bent over while holding my face with both hands, asked if I could feel anything. "No," I said with curiosity filling my mind. "The surgery has started," she said with excitement in her eyes. I tried to protect my mind from imagining what they were doing behind that curtain. "Where is Hugh?" I kept asking myself. If the surgery had started, why wasn't he here?! I asked as to his whereabouts and was told that he was coming. I just wished he would hurry up. A strange smell began to fill the air and one that I was no prepared to encounter, so I tried to breathe through my mouth and ignore it. Later I found out that the burning smell was to help control the bleeding as they were going through each layer of my body to get to Laney.

Finally, Hugh arrived and his hand took the place of the nurse's hand that was holding mine. He had to sit in a chair behind the curtain with me at my head. As we anxiously awaited the next few minutes, we were both moved to tears. We felt like the only ones in the room. The nurses curiously watched us and later told us that not in every c-section surgery do the parents get so emotionally moved. We were only minutes away until we were to meet Laney. So many questions filled my mind. I wanted to know her hair color. We didn't know if she was perfectly healthy or if she had Down Syndrome, birth defects, a cleft lip, Torticolis(a stiff neck from being breech), but she was ours and was a gift no matter what. You're never promised a perfectly healthy baby, even though we always anticipate and hope for the best.

I heard a gush and immediately felt a pressure release.

"Did ya'll just break my water?"
"Yes, we sure did."
"I knew you did. I feel so much better!"

I could feel a major release. The nurse bent down again and warned me about the pressure, tugging and pulling that I was about to experience. My pain receptors were numbed, but I could still feel pressure. Sure enough, I felt my belly being mashed, tugged upon. For some reason, the tugging didn't bother me as badly as I thought. I guess because I knew that tugging meant my baby was coming in a matter of seconds.

All of sudden, smiles spread across everyone in the room. She had arrived!! She was here! Her beautiful cry filled our ears, a sound I had been longing to hear from day one. She was FINALLY here!!!!! Is she healthy? What does she look like? When can we see her? Hugh was asked to stand up and look at her. The expression on his face was one that I will never forget. His immediate joyful sobbing moved me, for I was experiencing her presence through his reaction. "She has a head of black hair Hollie!!!" We both absolutely LOST IT. Words cannot describe that moment. I still had not seen her though. Then, the doctors held her up over my belly under the lights so I could see her. I felt like I was in a movie. She was soaking wet, sporting a whole head of dark hair matted down on her head, and was the most beautiful thing my eyes had ever beheld. Beautiful. I never knew a baby could look so beautiful. She was perfect in every way. I instantly forgot that I was in the cold O.R., that I was nervous, and that I was in major surgery. Sadly, Laney was quickly whisked away through the double doors, and "Dad" was asked to follow. In the baby room where they assessed her health, Hugh was able to get video footage and pictures. I am so thankful for that footage for it feels like I experienced it. I just laid there and couldn't believe that my pregnancy was overwith and that Hugh and I now shared a daughter who was with us. We just became a family of three. As Hugh followed the nurses into another room, he randomly ran into all of our family in the hallway. They all got to see her when she was just 10 minutes old. I was not able to hold Laney for about another hour, but I was in the room with her and Hugh 25 minutes later.

Well, that's the delivery, but from what I hear from people, the recovery is what people are so concerned about when thinking about a c-section. Granted, I was sore. Very, very sore, but I knew I could do it. I think the worst part was urinating on day two, for there was so much trapped air inside my abdomen from being open. Getting out of bed in the middle of the night to nurse for the first two weeks was incredibly rough, but I think tending to the wound was the worst part. It oozed and just looked terrible. I constantly worried about it. My pants and undergarments couldn't put any pressure on it, so I had fun sporting granny panties and high jogging pants for a while. If anything, it gave us something to laugh about. My incision was glued instead of stapled, so when the glue started to come off, I thought my wound was opening up and becoming infected, which could have been a possibility. Thankfully, everything healed up perfectly.

I don't know why the Lord did not turn Laney from breach into a head-down birthing position like I had so faithfully prayed that He would, but I do know that I can now relate to so many women who have had c-sections. I know how they feel, and I know how to pray for them specifically. And for that, I am very thankful.

Below is a video that I put together right after Laney was born. I thought I'd post it on here if anyone was interested in viewing. Thanks!


Christina said...

I think we had the same doc do our c-sections! He is the only one that uses the GLUE...and all the nurses commented on how great my incision looked. I thought it was GROSS. Great story!

markandmeg said...

Thanks for sharing your stories. I have a couple breastfeeding questions: First of all, I've heard you mention "fenugreek" and "alfalfa" several times. What exactly do they do for you and is it something that you only take at the beginning of breastfeeding or would it help to make your breastmilk richer? My baby (6 months old) is slightly underweight (probably just her genes, but she is in the 30% and if she goes under 25% the doc will want to try something to help her gain weight) My brother's baby has the exact same prob so I really just think its the genes. But I wondered if you guys knew of any diet changes or herbal remedies for me that would help make my breastmilk richer and fatten her up a bit :) Thanks!

Hollie said...

Meagan, the fenugreek and alfalfa are milk supply boosters and only that. I believe that is their only purpose. I knew a girl that took them the whole time she was breastfeeding, so if you have a low milk supply, you can take them as long as you'd like, I'm sure.

Concerning any holistic to make your baby gain weight....hmmm...I haven't heard of anything, but one of the other authors might have.

Thanks for commenting!

Krista said...

The growth charts that they use at the doctors offices are produced by the formula companies. It is very common and normal for breastfed babies to be smaller than formula-fed babies. Here's a link to check out for breastfed babies: http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/growth/growthcharts.html

Definitely go with your comfort level, but don't let the doctors pressure you to give your baby food or formula just because she doesn't fit their one-size fits all pattern.

As far as making your milk as healthy as possible, check out this site: http://www.westonaprice.org/children/dietformothers.html

Hope this helps!

Christina said...

I remember too that its even more common for it to seem like they (breastfed babies) really slow down their weight gain around 6 months and after. My sister-in-law who is finishing up med school to be a pediatrician told me this too.

My son is still in the 3rd (maybe) percentile on the normal charts and my ped has always said that as long his curve continues to grow it doesn't matter what percentile he is. He is concerned with the our individual growth curve - does that make sense? The only times he has worried were when Will's curve dipped or headed downward. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this well...

Anonymous said...

My doctor says the same thing. It is where my child is on the curve and if they seem to all of sudden change to high or to low, not where everyone else is on the chart. For example, if my son was always in the 95th percentile for weight and height, and then on his next visit dropped down to the 10th percentile. That would raise a flag. So look at your child's curve and see if it curves (up or down) not just jumps completely down. Also, ask your doctor to use the breastfeeding chart. Mine does and it makes a big difference where my child is on the charts!

Hollie said...

Just got back from Laney's well-baby check-up. She was in the 48th percentile on her 9 month visit, but now being one year old, she's in the 30%, and the doctor explained it to being one year old, not gaining weight fast being a one-year old b/c of the high activity, etc.. She said it was normal for the percentile to go down once they turn a year. But her scale concerning her weight went up. It only went up a little, but it did go up. She's lost a little due to the cold that she has.

Eric and Sheryl Nelken said...

Thank you all for sharing your stories...I'm a soon to be first time mom, so I enjoy reading all the different situations/advice/suggestions you all provide for us new moms!

I have a question though...I was wondering if any of you ladies (or readers) had any experiences with Gestational Diabetes during your pregnancies?

My one hour glucose results were a little high, so I have to take the 3hr test on Monday and I'm trying to find out all the information I can from folks who have had GD.


Christina said...

No real experience here, although my 1 hour test was borderline. I did not have to do the 3 hour test. I do know many women that have had to do the 3 hour and been FINE. I also have a friend at church that had GD. She managed it with her diet for a while, but eventually had to get shots. Her baby was fairly normal sized as far as I remember and things turned out great. She was somewhat pressured into a c-section simply for fear of the babies size. I think the biggest thing is that it can be a pain to manage, yet its totally manageable. I hope your 3 hour test turns out well!

The Groovy Gunnels' Gazette said...

Wow! I just want to say first that I appreciate all the ladies posting. This is such a blessing. We are about to deliver baby #2 and it is such a great way to prepare mentally and emotionally! Second, I wanted to comment on my experience with Gestational Diabetes. My first pregnancy was a gestational pregnancy. I remember being terrified that I would be diagnosed and prayed profusely to not have it. The Lord in His wisdom knew it would be SOOO good for me to experience. My doctor did the 3 hour test first, so I didn't have the wait time in between. I passed my 1 hour and then failed hour 2 and 3. So, the doctor then sent me to a WONDERFUL class at the hospital. Insurance covers it and if you have the opportunity with Gestational Diabetes.. I would definately go. They teach you all about the function of your body, what causes it, what happens to the baby and how to do the dreaded finger prick. Now, from someone who is a tried and true needle phobic.. this was going to be my thorn.. so I thought. It was not NEARLY as difficult as my mind made it out to be. And I was teaching 2nd grade and thinking.. how I am I going to work this in.. you just do! You just have a new perspective of this is what needs to happen to protect the life inside. The Motherly instincts definately kick in. My GD was controlled with diet, but I had the experience of going through my prenancy with 2 other friends, who also had it and did the insulin thing. One through needle, the other through the insulin pill. Both didn't flench about it. It was just part of life for the short remainder of the pregnancy. You learn what you body can and cannot do. Believe me having a sugar high was NOT worth the low afterward.. not to mention the knowledge of knowing the baby is swimming in sugar. The diet they put you on is really NOT that bad. In fact, you find things that make it special. For me it was the Cheesecake Factory cheesecake I had after every dinner.. I just budgeted my dinner every night to accomodate. The Lord provides mommies with this great maternal sense that allows you to go through hard things and them not seem as hard as you would have ever imagined. Not one of my friends, who had GD, would disagree with me. It's alot of recording and monitoring.. that's the real pain. But it's just for a short time and you really do learn so much. If you are diagnosed, do not fret! Many have been there and have LIVED in joy through it. There are much worse things that could happen. I am on pregnancy #2 and do not have it. That is VERY common, so don't feel that it is the plague. Many people told me, oh you will have it worse next time. NOT the case. The doctor I saw earlier in this pregnancy said it is actually quite the opposite... most do not have it in subsequent pregnancies. Do not stress, just embrace it.. there is plenty of good that comes from it.. like help maintaining a healthy weight... NOT fun to loose after the pregnancy is over. My prayers are with you!

markandmeg said...

Ladies, thanks for all your help. Your comments were a real encouragement to me and made a lot of sense!

Curt, Mariah, & Carli Badura said...

See Carli's birth story on our blog www.cmbadura.blogspot.com under Carli's Birth Story from 2/7/07


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