Monday, February 4, 2013

Open Letter to our Classmates from Birthing Class

Hi all,
I'm proud to announce that after an arduous 40 plus hour labor and a C-Section that while not what we wanted, ended up being the only option when Lindz cervix refused to dilate past 9.5 cm, insufficient to accommodate Bacon's "Sunny Side Up" orientation, and Bacon became wedged in the cervix at Plus 2 below spine (which left him with an awesome and mercifully quickly disappeared cone head), where upon he began to show signs of duress & stress, and his heart rate began to drop.
Electing not to further stress the baby, a C-Section brought Bacon into the world at 4:53 pm on Friday, July 16, 2010 weighing 8 pounds 9 ounces and measuring length 55 cm, head / cranial 35 cm. We'd requested for me to cut the cord once it stopped pulsing, and though not typical to a C-Section, they accommodated somewhat by detaching the cord from the base of the placenta to at least allow that much through, which is something at least, and shortly after when it'd stopped pulsing I cut / cropped the cord to a more sporty look, though left to foreskin well alone because frankly I'm not into circumcision, not being religious and all.
I held the baby for a bit and presented him to his mother, and together we went to recovery and got skin to skin contact as swiftly as humanly possible, even managed with Lydia, our amazing MidWife's help, to get a latch on one side to begin the process of getting colostrum into the baby. I believe that's how the stuff that precedes milk is called...
Some pictures from the event have been posted to my Flickr account, nothing too unsettling
Some highlights from our adventure...
  • We were due on the 8th, though no biggie as that date came and went. I'd been hoping for the 13th anyway, as we were married on a 13th, and nothing says Birthday or Anniversary like an occasional Friday the 13th!
  • On Saturday the 10th I noticed that my "Sympathy Belly" is coming in wonderfully! This might seem like a stupid point, and it mostly is, except that having a first child the same year you turn 40 is like hitting a reset button on so many things, and suddenly the notion of running around outside playing takes on massive importance!
  • On Tuesday, the 13th there were several intense cramps and internal twangs that appeared to be painful promises of contractions to come, so I planned to work a half day Wed. and Lindz and I had a nice date night at Rodney's Oyster Bar, something we both considered the last chance we'd get before the baby is big enough to torment a babysitter. We were right.
  • By the time we work up Wednesday morning, we knew things were progressing, contractions had begun, and I let work know I wouldn't be comin' in. At the time I sent a huge, detailed email of all the tasks I was worried about and things I thought needed to be accounted for while I'd be away. Funny how now, after the days of labor and baby, I can't even remember where I work. I'm sure it'll come back to me in a couple weeks.
  • Our doula Veronika arrived late in the morning as Lindz's contractions began to go from 15-30 second pauses mid-step to more need-to-hold-onto-something contractions by mid afternoon.
  • A note about doulas. I've heard varied opinions and recounted experiences that range from "ecstatic" to "perhaps got the wrong one" to "useless" though heard that assessment way less often and from generally short delivery times, which I think wouldn't have afforded sufficient opportunity to demonstrate areas where doulas can be most useful. Our Doula deserved a metal. She stood firm, she defended both Lindz's interests and mine, she made and procured food, she held watch and traded off with me to work with Lindz for a couple hours in the middle of the night when Lindz entered her 5th hour of 411 labor contractions and all our neighbors could hear how that was progressing. We met Veronika through the Doula Speed Dating at Pomegranate Mid-Wives on Hastings, the same location our MidWife Lydia is from, and between the two of them, we were well supported to bring our baby into the world, even though things went somewhat differently than we'd hoped, we gave our best to try and do things naturally, and had we not had such great, patient, tireless, and informed support, I think things would have been much, much worse.
  • Lindz  labored steadily through Wednesday night with hardcore contractions hitting her deeply enough to kill her appetite and force out of her any attempt to eat or drink anything more than water, so dehydration very quickly became a persistent issue through the rest of the labor. Nothing would stay down, and even the smell of anything sweet made her react badly.
  • Lydia, our MidWife, identified very early on that Bacon had rolled into the "sunny side up" position facing forward, and subsequently had become lodged on the pelvic bone and wasn't dropping further. Also, Lindz's cervix was being stubborn to dilate, largely because Bacon's head, turned as such, couldn't apply pressure to it. While I'm delighted with our baby in hand, I am a little sad I didn't see one of my personally favorite expressions, "crowning" come to pass. Pardon the pun.
  • By noon Thursday Lindz, exhausted and dehydrated, couldn't take it anymore. Her cervix, through sheer force of will I think, had dilated to almost 4cm, enough to meet a typical checkpoint for admission at BC Women's. Our dear friend Alex fetched us in his red Explorer, allowing me to sit with Lindz in the spacious back seat while she continued to contract, and off we went to the hospital with our bag of overnight clothes, which would go largely untouched until late Friday evening after Bacon'd been born.
  • We were initially in a room off to the back part of Admitting on an IV to rehydrate and antibiotics because the staff felt they might have to break Lindz's water (yikes, we didn't want that!) and as Lindz is GBS Positive, wanted to make sure the baby remained protected.
  • Fortunately Lindz's water broke of it's own accord shortly after, leading to a 10 minute long seemingly endless tsunami of an contraction, where upon Lindz begged for something to deal with the pain, she'd hit the little pier called Wit's End overlooking breaking waves of physical misery. The ward had been slammed that day with twins, a 29 week premie, and breach birth ahead of us in queue for delivery suites, so until we could move to one of the delivery suites epidermal wouldn't be an option. Morphine mixed with Gravole was offered as a hefty shot, and left to Lindz's choice, this shot took the end off enough Lindz could labor on her sides trying still to turn Bacon into a better position.
  • Shout out to the multiple shifts of nurses in Admitting. I can't believe how attentive, calm, patient, and all around awesome they were. And I mean this, folks that know me know I won't pull punches describing things as I see them. Ask me about the Sky Cafe morning staff sometime, for example (minimum wage is just another way of saying you get what you pay for).
  • By the way, you'll be glad to know that out at the end of the Children's Ward there is a Second Cup and outside the main lobby doors and across the driveway there is a Starbucks. When you're options seemed limited to a Tim Horton's kiosk with ridiculously short hours and uselessly limited offerings or a Sky Cafe that looks like it was inspired by 80's high school angst films. Sadly, there are no 24 hour options, a strange thing considering the 24 hour nature of the services being rendered and accommodated within the walls and halls of this establishment.
  • At 11 or so we were moved to the delivery suite, and Lindz elected to get a Walking Epidermal, where her legs would still work and she could still reposition on her own accord. In addition to our Midwife Lydia and our Doula Veronika we were joined by the OB on staff Dr. Yue and her attending Resident. Lindz labored quietly over the night, turned mostly on one side to help Bacon turn, and all through the night the only sounds were Lindz's breathing, the humming of the many machines, and the hypnotic cadence of Bacon's heartbeat from the monitors strapped to Lindz's belly.
  • Further kudos to the handful of nurses who never left Lindz's beside throughout the entire time we were in the delivery suite, constantly monitoring, assessing, informing, checking, and comforting both Lindz and myself through our entire stay there.
  • Early Friday morning Lindz's cervix dilated to 9.5 cm, just a half cm away from the targeted 10 Dr. Yue wanted to be able to try and turn the baby's head inside the canal. Hopes were high, and Oxytocin turned up to try to encourage more contractions to help Bacon progress, which happened, and to get the cervix to dilate further, which didn't happen unfortunately.
  • The elevated lever of Oxytocin coupled with a position jammed low against the cervical lip began to cause Bacon to show stress, his heart rate began to spike during contractions and take longer to recover after a contraction, indicating exhaustion and stress.
  • At 4pm the question was put Lindz and I whether to continue to try to force a vaginal birth and risk injury to the baby or go C-Section. We really, really had hoped not to go with C, however seeing Bacon's heart rate drop from 160 to 70 after 40 plus hours of intense labor, and knowing as well that without the Oxytocin there was little chance the baby would have progressed this far, and we decided that Bacon is in a fix and come blade or blemish, Bacon must be brought out!
  • 4:53pm Bacon, officially now named Otis Shea Williamson Christy, joined our family, a beautiful little boy with a lump on his head that bore silent testimony to how stuck in the pipes he'd actually been.
  • Lindz and Otis were finally able to be skin to skin in Recovery, and able with help from Lydia to get a first latch.
  • We looked at one another and regardless of all the names we'd thought of or talked about, I said that Bacon looked more like an Otis to me, Lindz said she thought the same thing, and there were were, that easily decided once we'd met the baby in person.
  • Once latched and named, Otis settled into a light slumber, no doubt exhausted, and I huffed outside to call family with the news.
  • Otis aka Bacon filled a diaper a little to a lot seven times in the first 24 hours of exterior living. And wow does he have the lungs of a Diva. Perhaps the temperament too, time will tell, ha ha!
Best wishes to all of you, now parents and parents about to be!
All of our respective births will likely be very different, though they will all share some key common factors. Knowledge from the Birthing Class coupled with the additional wise people we chose to surround ourselves with empowered us to ask questions, demand more time, request options, and sustain for over 40 hours of intense, scream aloud contractions before conceding that in our one case, we'd given 'er hell, chosen the best options for each and every context, and while not how we planned to do things, we've been rewarded, and dare I cheese-ball and assert, blessed with a beautiful, healthy, newborn son.
Best wishes from all of us to all of you,
- Lindz, Otis Shae, and me.

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