First of all you will want to read Part 1 and Part 2, if you have not already done so. And if you want to see pics of Sienna you can see some here, as well as, her birth stats.
I am gonna start this post by saying the memory is a strange thing. Apparently, there are some things I am remembering differently than what is reality. At 4:00 this morning we awoke to my four year old son crying and soon realized he had a fever and belly ache. Sienna got woke up because she was wanting to nurse and Caden was calling out for Momma. Momma simply can't be in two places at once, so Sienna had to wait a few minutes and got fully awakened. Since Cody and I were awake we started talking about the birth happenings. Apparently, that whole thing about the people in the elevator happened on our way INTO the hotel. And it makes sense, but for some reason I am thinking there were people in the elevator as we DEPARTED, also. He says there definitely was not. Maybe I was just afraid there were going to be people in the elevator. Who knows..., but I wanted to correct it here.
Anyway, back to the story... so, we arrive at the hospital and I take my ride up to labor and delivery in the wheelchair. At this point it should be noted that just by making the decision to come to the hospital I will be having a c-section. It is not a question of whether or not it is necessary. They simply will not allow VBACs even though this hospital does not have a ban on VBACs. The doctors that work for this hospital will not do VBAC births. So, really we already know how this story is going to end. I am simply recounting some more of the details here for others that might want to know, that might one day go through this, that want to avoid this, and for my own "therapy" to get it written down.
The entire time we were at the hospital the staff wanted to know why we waited so long to come to the hospital and were fishing for details related to the midwife. We were honest to the point that we were attempting a VBAC birth, but we were not telling details that would get anyone in trouble. The midwife ("labor assistant" in our case) followed us to the hospital, escorted us in and up to labor and delivery, and slipped out when she was no longer needed. From the very beginning we had relinquished her of all liability and that is how we wanted it for her and her family's sake. If her license were to come into question she would be at risk for her losing her family's primary income.
The hospital staff was pleasant, but very obvious about thinking we should not be trying to VBAC or take the risk. All of which I told them I felt should clearly be my choice to make and not theirs... nicely, of course. I let them know that even though I knew I would have to have a c-section now I was glad that all of this had been my choice. Our careful consideration of the risks is what lead us to make the decision to come on to the hospital. I asked them to please not drag it out or make me lay in a bed for and hour or two if it was not necessary. They assured me they would not, BUT that they needed to check me out first. They didn't really take my word for anything. The fact that my water broke and that I was dilating were all things THEY had to check BEFORE they would even call in the on-call obstetrician. They started with having me put on a hospital gown, pee in a cup, hooking me up to an IV, strapping on the fetal monitor, putting on a constant blood pressure cuff, and then doing a cervical check. The latter of these things had to be done while I was lying flat on my back. As was the case with the midwife, the cervical check threw me into a series of difficult contractions, but it was worse with all these things attached to me and being that I had to be on the bed the whole time. I was pleased to hear that I was still progressing and had dilated from a 3 to a 4 in about a 30 minute time frame. Even in this confined state the babies heart rate nor mine ever went up into a dangerous area and I had no other bleeding. We had left the hotel at approximately 1:30 AM and this cervical check was done about thirty minutes later. The baby was delivered at 3:14 AM. In that almost two hour time frame there was never any other signs of possible danger. I just had to lay there through all those contractions either on my back or on my side feeling like my hips were being broken with each contraction. I don't say that to be dramatic. It is just that if I had been allowed to stand up I could have managed the pain without yelling out in pain. As it was I was not only in pain, but I felt like a fool that was quickly losing control with no option but to just get through it. I prayed that God would impress on the doctor that was called to come quickly and not linger and that God would just help me manage the pain for the duration. Time seemed to drag on, but at the same time it passed quickly... I know that makes no sense, but I was in a state of just making it from one contraction to the next until it was time to go to the operating room. This is where I really needed someone to be MY advocate. My husband really just did not know what to do to help me. I wanted him to demand they let me stand, but it is not really in his nature to take control of such a situation. He was able to talk me through the contractions and breathing and that was very helpful. If I had it to do over I would have had someone there that would really speak up on my behalf and be demanding even if it "stepped on toes". At some point they shaved the area for the "bikini cut" and started to insert the catheter (bladder). I asked if they could please wait until right before the surgery for the catheter and I was, at least, granted that request. They did do it sooner than necessary, but I was able to have a little more time without it.
I was taken to the operating room and my husband was given his "scrubs" to change into. I then had to sit up and curl my back forward to get the spinal block for surgery. This is an excruciating thing to do during contractions. At first I was not able to manage staying in a curl position, but after a couple of contractions this way I mustered up the ability to maintain the curl. It seemed to take a while for them to get the spinal block administered, but soon I was no longer feeling anything from the ribs down. Shortly after that I was transferred over to the actual operating table and my arms strapped down and all the draping attached and draped around me. I could feel them scrubbing my belly and prepping for surgery. I questioned how much I could feel and they did some test pokes, etc. to make sure the anesthesia was working and as a few minutes passed it was clear it was in fact working and they began the surgery. Soon Cody came in and was seated by my head.
In the past I have had one birth that I could feel a lot of pain due to anesthesia not working properly, so I have a huge fear of this. At that birth I felt the pain of a lot of the surgery. For this one I felt a lot of the surgery, but it was not painful at all. I could feel their hands up inside my ribs, but it was almost like a tickle. It was very strange, but not scary for me. I was thankful there was no pain. For whatever reason the doctors had a difficult time getting Sienna out. Maybe it was how far she was descended into the birth canal. I don't guess I will ever know, but I know that I was continuing to progress beyond that check that was done at a 4.... I could feel my hips spreading through those contractions. It took them several minutes to get her out. If you are familiar with having a c-section you know that it is usually a matter of seconds. C-sections deliveries often go very quickly, but this one was much longer. When she came out she looked like a tiny little Summo wrestler. She was short and fat and had a head full of thick dark brown hair. In spite of the change in plans all I could do was cry tears of joy that our little Sienna was here and we were both healthy. Cody got to see her right away and cut her cord (or rather re-cut it). He was able to watch her be cleaned up and hold her right away. That is something I have always wanted to experience, but it always gives me great joy to know that he gets that time with the baby while I am waiting and listening. Soon after, Cody and the on-call pediatrician brought her over to me and I was able snuggle her check to check for a few moments while they took pictures. After that Cody left with her and they went to the newborn nursery.
I am truly thankful for the on call doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses, pediatrician, etc. and for what they do. Even though they obviously did not agree with my choices they gave me great care and I did feel really bad about them having to be awakened and come in to do my surgery. After they finished my surgery I was wheeled into recovery. I was there for about an hour and a half and then I was taken to a room. I was able to see Sienna in the newborn nursery as I was wheeled past. I was finally able to hold her when she was brought to my room at 6:30 a.m.. The pediatric nurse that brought her in said that Sienna was "capping" and had a hematoma on the back of her head from the pressure. She stated that she felt that the baby may have gotten stuck, if we had proceeded with the VBAC. My thoughts on this are mixed. At first I held onto these statements as confirmaion that the c-section was necessary; however, by the time I was holding Sienna there were no signs of "capping" or the hematoma. I have been told that true "capping" and a hematoma would not go away that quickly and the hematoma would be evident 24 hours later. Whether the c-section was medically necessary or not I can not say, but being that the midwife made the call to transfer to the hospital our only choice would have been to stay and do it all on our own. That was not something we felt comfortable doing; therefore, for us the c-section was necessary. I feel we made the right choice in the situation. I will always wonder and this will always be something I struggle with. I don't know that I will ever feel totally at peace with it, but I am totally at peace with knowing my little Sienna is safely in my arms. I would go through a hundred surgeries for that.
So, I guess that is her "birth" story. I will be writing about our recovery, so this series will continue a little longer. I think it is a very important part of her birth story because it turns out that this c-section was one of my most difficult recoveries in some ways. I think it is important to include this information because it is truly why I wanted to VBAC to begin with. C-sections are not a natural part of birth and there are always complications that go with it.
To be continued.... once again... ;)