The Story of William’s Birth

This is the birth story of Annie, Simon, and William. It may seem at points to be a bit “poor me” in the telling – that is certainly not my intention, nor do I feel that way; it is my intent to share both the facts, and my feelings, as best I can. I’ve tried to commit as much detail to paper as I can, as I want to preserve the memories for Simon and myself.

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My daughter, Jessica, was born on August 28, 1978, nearly 20 years ago as I sit here writing this birth story over the course of April 20th-22nd, 1998. With Jessica I had what they called “prolonged labour” – I laboured, hard labour, for many hours, without dilating at all. Finally they took some sort of picture or did some sort of scan, and decided that she was a brow presentation (forehead first), and did a c-section.

When Simon and I found out that we were expecting, we determined that we very much wanted to attempt both a VBAC, and as unmedicated, unintervened a birth as possible. We were so completely in synch, and agreed on everything – we even had names picked out for both a boy and a girl (we wanted our baby’s sex to be a surprise), and Godparents picked out, within the first month. We also knew that we wanted to take Bradley classes, as they were so in keeping with what we hoped for in a birth experience, and the Bradley method is very big on maximum father-involvement, which was, and is, very important to both of us.

We have an absolutely amazing doctor, Doctor Donald Creevy in Portola Valley. He is a wonderful human being, very knowledgeable, and completely supportive of both unintervened births, and VBAC. We can’t speak highly enough of him, and anyone who is looking for an OB/GYN in the San Francisco Bay area should seriously consider him! His telephone number is 650-851-3146. Dr. Creevy would be delivering us at Stanford Medical Center.

We also had a fantastic doula (birth assistant), Jeanine Heikens, of the Peninsula Birth Center in Palo Alto. She is a warm, supportive person, who was just wonderful during our entire experience, and she too we can’t recommend highly enough. Jeanine’s telephone number is 650-856-2140.

Together Simon and I developed a wonderful birth plan (http://www.vix.com/free/annie/birthplan.html). It told of our desire for a natural, unmedicated birth, and included every detail we could think of, including that I wanted to wear my own clothing, that we wanted dim lights, our own music, and many other things. A big part of our birth plan was that we wanted to labour in warm water and, that as Stanford doesn’t have tubs in their labour rooms, we would be bringing in an inflatable pool of our own, with our doctor’s consent – in fact, he thought that it was a wonderful idea. Both Dr. Creevy and Jeanine signed our birth plan.

I also did my best to stay in shape, and take care of myself so that I would be physically prepared for the labour. When I could no longer use our ski machine, we bought a used treadmill, and I walked an hour a day on it, at least 4 days a week, up until the day we went into labour. I drank raspberry leaf tea every day to tone my uterus. I took Oil of Evening Primrose, orally and topically, to ripen my cervix. I did endless Kegels.

In short, we were as prepared as we could possibly be, and were actually looking forward to going into labour.

On Wednesday night, April 8th, 1998, the day before (unbeknowst to us) we would be going into labour, neither Simon nor I slept at all (for reasons which at the time seemed completely unrelated to our pregnancy or impending delivery). At that point we were more than a week “overdue”, our due date being March 31st, 1998, although we both believe that, generally speaking, babies arrive when they are ready. In fact, it bothered everyone else a lot more than it did us that we were “late”; we were growing quite weary of the phone calls, emails, and face-to-face remarks.

In any event, Murphy’s law of course dictated that after a night of no sleep, on Thursday morning, April 9th, at about 5:30 a.m., following a couple of hours of real crampiness, I started either bleeding or having a quite blood- heavy bloody show, accompanied immediately by obvious, but not painful, contractions which came every seven to ten minutes apart. It was clear that this was it! I stayed in bed, trying completely unsuccessfully to doze, and putting off calling our doula, Jeanine, until a more humane hour of the morning.

We called Jeanine at about 8:00 a.m., just to alert her that we were in labour, so that she’d have plenty of time to make arrangements to come and be with us. I told her about the bleeding/bloody show, and when she heard that the blood was bright red, and that I couldn’t really discern any mucus mixed in, she urged us to call Dr. Creevy, “just to be safe”.

We called Dr. Creevy, and he said that he really wanted us to come in, just so that he could be sure that it was bloody show, and not a sign of placental abruption or other possible problem.

We went up to Dr. Creevy’s office at a bit after 9:00. At this point the contractions were still irregular, but never further apart than ten minutes, nor closer together than six or seven minutes. They were making themselves felt, but still were not particularly painful. Dr. Creevy did an exam, and determined that the substance was indeed bloody show. He also said that I was a fingertip dilated and about 75% effaced. I wasn’t really concerned about this, as I knew that one could go from being not at all dilated to fully dilated quite quickly, although I had hoped that the contractions I’d been having on and off during the preceding weeks might have opened me up a bit more. Dr. Creevy sent us home, urging us to try to get some sleep.

After checking in at Dr. Creevy’s, Simon and I went back home, and just hung out throughout the day. Unfortunately, sleeping was impossible. At one point we went to Starbucks for coffee (I had steamed milk) and in the early evening we went for dinner at Florentine’s (pasta for carbs). We also just walked around a little bit. By early evening, after dinner, the contractions were about 7-8 minutes apart and getting painful, but were still manageable; we’d now been at it for about 14 hours. We checked in with Jeanine, who also urged us to try to get some sleep if at all possible (by now we’d gone about 36 hours without sleep, and still had unknown hours ahead of us), but by now my contractions were far too demanding to sleep through.

I’d been putting off retreating to the bathtub for as long as possible, however by late evening (perhaps 11:00 or midnight) the pain was getting pretty tough, the contractions were 7 minutes apart, and Simon drew a bath for me and I gratefully crawled into the tub. I was relieved to note that the warm water really did help the pain, and looked forward to having our inflatable tub set up at the hospital.

Simon lit a candle, so the light would be low, and I stayed in the tub, Simon at my side, for quite a few hours. The contractions got stronger and stronger, and I tried various positions to try to ease the pain, but eventually nothing worked (although having my belly submerged in the warm water was definitely better than having it out of the water). I kept setting time-related goals for myself, mostly because I didn’t want to wake Jeanine in the middle of the night. So, for instance, I’d tell Simon “let’s just make it until such-and-such a time”.

Dr. Creevy had said that he wanted us to call him, and head to the hospital, when the contractions had been 5 minutes apart for an hour. The last time I remember checking the time, it was about 4:40; we were at 5-6 minutes apart, and by that point I was in a huge amount of pain, so we held out for 5:00 a.m. to roll around, and then I got out of the tub (oh my did that hurt! That water makes quite a difference).

We went into the parlour, and I tried to find a position which would help me deal with the contractions. I asked Simon to sit on the loveseat, and I lay with my chest on his lap (kneeling on the floor in front of him) and he rubbed my back. The pain was awful, but being close to him and having him rub my back at least helped emotionally, if not to relieve the pain. Simon called Dr. Creevy, and told him we were at 5-6 minutes apart, and had been for nearly an hour; Dr. Creevy told us to go on up to Stanford. Simon then called Jeanine, and she said she would meet us there. I sent an email page to my daughter Jessica, just to let her know that we were headed to the hospital, but not to call in to work, and not to come to the hospital until she heard further from us (as we figured it would be hours).

We got to Stanford at about 5:30 or so. We’d been in labour for 24 hours. Of course the first thing they did was have me lie down for an internal. As much as that hurt, I was really looking forward to hearing those words I’d never heard before: “You’re X centimeters dilated”.

Thus I am sure you can imagine how crushed I felt when the nurse said “you’re a fingertip dilated”. Still! I’d been labouring for 24 hours, and had been having very active and painful contractions for the past 12 hours, and had not dilated at all since Dr. Creevy had checked me 20 hours earlier.

As we made our way to the labour area, we asked if we could please have Labour Room #1 (which is handicap-access, and so has a bathroom large enough to accomodate our inflatable pool) and, yay! We could! Well, at least that was going to happen!

Almost as soon as we got into the room, I urged Simon to go into the bathroom and set up the pool. I was in so much pain, and I couldn’t wait to get back into the warm water – thinking about it was what kept me going. The couple of nurses who’d come in and out of the room looked at the pool going up with interest, but didn’t say anything one way or the other about it being there.

A nurse came in to take my vitals, and told me to put a hospital gown on. “No”, I told her, “I’m going to wear my own clothes.” Then she told me that she was going to start an IV “No you’re not”, I said. She looked a bit startled. I said “Oh, I’m sorry, I guess you haven’t had a chance to read our birth plan yet – there’s a copy in our bag – it’s signed by Dr. Creevy. No IV, but I will agree to a hep lock.” I tried to be conciliatory, as I didn’t want to be ticking anyone off, but I was also adamant about following the plans we’d made as best as we were able.

As soon as the nurse was done with me, I scrambled into the bathroom. It was great – the bathroom was huge, Simon had already blown the pool up on the floor, next to the shower stall, and was starting to fill it. The shower had a hand-held shower, so Simon was able to bring the shower head down outside of the shower and into the pool to fill it. There was only about an inch or so of water in there, but I hopped in (after taking off everything but a large long-sleeved shirt I’d put on for wearing in the tub) and knelt belly down to get my belly as close to the water as possible, and what a relief it was! At last I felt I was able to sort of get on top of the contractions again.

I stayed there for I think about 20 minutes; I had my eyes closed, and Simon was there right next to me, still filling the pool, and Jeanine was coaching me through contractions, when I suddenly heard the bathroom door open, and this very snarly voice say “Ms. Mitchell, this has GOT to stop. You can’t do this, and it has to stop right now. I’ve just talked to the structural engineer for the building and he said that the floor won’t support the weight.” She was, apparently, the director of nursing. Now, it was, by this time, not even quite 8:00 a.m.; I highly doubt that she had really spoken with any engineer, and in any event, as Simon (who is an engineer) pointed out, at the time she came in the total weight of the pool, water, and me was probably about the weight of three grown men – if the floor couldn’t support that, then it was a pretty unsafe facility!

I begged the woman to just let me stay until Dr. Creevy got there (he was on his way), and she wouldn’t. I was in so much pain, and I just couldn’t bear the thought of getting out of the water.

The Pool Nazi left, and I decided that I was just going to sit in the pool unless and until they forced me out; I was hoping to make it until Dr. Creevy showed up.

At that point, however, another nurse came in, to, I surmised, get me out of the pool. She saw my distress at having to leave the comfort of the water, and suggested a shot of Phentanyl (sp?). At first I didn’t like her, as she seemed to be a minion of the Pool Nazi, trying to get me out of the pool *and* suggesting drugs instead, but then it became clear that she was actually trying to help me to deal with my having to lose the pool.

I was still adamantly opposed to any drugs, but I confess that I was so tired, and in so much pain, and so demoralized at not being dilated at all, and at losing the tub, that I was willing to consider it. When either the nurse or Jeanine (or perhaps both) suggested that just maybe I’d be able to doze and that I NEEDED to if at all possible (by now we were up to 48 hours with no sleep), and when they explained that it was a very short term drug, lasting only about an hour, I gave in, and agreed. To be honest, I didn’t know how else I’d bear losing the pain relief of the warm water, and I figured that the shot would at least carry me to the time when Dr. Creevy showed up.

They let me stay in the water long enough to get the shot, so I wouldn’t have to move without having had some kind of relief, and then I got out of the pool, out of my wet shirt, and into another long-sleeved t-shirt I’d brought (a nice big extra large one which was big and roomy and went down to my thighs).

The shot did “take the edge off”, and although the contractions were still extremely painful (to the point of having to vocalize very loudly with each peak), at least I had a little relief. Of course, dozing didn’t happen.

Dr. Creevy arrived shortly thereafter, and did an exam, and said that I was about 3 centimeters dilated. At least it was progress! He also said that the baby’s head was not fully engaged, and was, in fact, way back, behind a huge bubble of amniotic sac and fluid. This, he posited, may explain some of why I was taking so long to dilate. He said that he’d come back after seeing a few patients in his office.

Things stayed the same for a few hours then – they would renew the shot after about an hour – and we kept labouring. It was horrendously painful, but with the shots, and, more importantly, Simon (and Jeanine) we managed. I was in too much pain to really walk around or do much of anything but stay on the bed, although at one point I asked Simon to sit on the edge of the bed, so that I could kneel with my head and chest in his lap, as we’d done at home. We tried that, and when the next contraction hit I bit down hard on the inseam of his jeans, being careful though (I thought) not to bite him in the process. It wasn’t until at least a month later that I found out that I’d actually bitten him; he never uttered a sound, the poor guy!

At some point they had set up the little area where they put the baby to do things like weigh it, give it eyedrops, etc. (after the parents have had time to bond with the baby first). That was neat – it reminded me that there was going to be a baby at the end of all of this.

Also at some point in here I found out that my daughter, Jessica, had actually come to the hospital and had been there for hours, just waiting. The poor thing. As I said, we’d told her not to come right away, and that we’d keep her posted, because we figured it would be hours, but she couldn’t stand not to be there. So the poor thing had just been waiting in the waiting room, and hearing me moan or scream (depending on the contraction, and whether the shot had worn off or not). I’d no idea she’d been there, hearing that, worrying about me, and I felt so bad for her.

Dr. Creevy did show up at about 11:30 or so, and when I got to 5, he did rupture the membranes. He immediately noted that there was meconium staining, and arranged for what he called the “SWAT team” – we were so fortunate to be at Stanford, which is a top notch children’s hospital. They have a certain protocol for babies born with meconium in the fluid which allows them to visualize all the way down past the vocal cords to see if the baby has aspirated any meconium deep in, to fully clean out the baby’s respiratory system, etc.. They really get the meconium cleaned out, reducing much of the risk to the baby. More things were done to the “baby area”, so that it would be ready when the “SWAT team” arrived.

I was having a great deal of sharp pain in one particular area, rather near the scar from my previous c-section. Dr. Creevy was confident that I was not rupturing, but seeing as we were at the hospital, with all these resources, he called in a neo-natologist to ask him whether he thought that he could do an ultrasound to determine whether, in fact, there was any problem at the site of my previous section. Well, this neo-natologist must have been in league with the VBAC devil, or one Dr. Thelan, J.D., as after indicating that an ultrasound would not show whether there was a rupture occurring, he proceeded to launch into this lecture about how dangerous attempting a VBAC was, how foolish we were to take such chances, and about how “our baby could die”! It was all I could do to remain polite until he left the room, at which point Dr. Creevy apologized profusely – he’d no idea that this guy was going to do that!

Also at some point I had agreed to an external fetal monitor (after I was already in the bed, after having the shots), and they had noticed that the baby’s heart rate kept decelerating, and then going back up. It wasn’t something which was alarming, but it warranted watching. Dr. Creevy was not comfortable with the external monitor (and it did keep moving and losing good contact), and wanted to use a fetal scalp monitor. We were pretty opposed to that, and weren’t willing to agree to one if it weren’t really necessary. At that point Dr. Creevy said it wasn’t necessary, it would just have made him a bit more comfortable.

By this time the last shot was wearing off, and Dr. Creevy said that the shots were no longer an option (you can only have 3 or 4 of them before they worry about the level getting to the baby, and they are particularly worried about there still being some of the drug in your (the baby’s) system just before the birth, although at the moment I don’t recall why).

The pain was getting beyond bearable again, and I was unable to breathe through or relax through the contractions at all. I felt like a terrible wimp. Even though Jeanine kept pointing out that being exhausted made it much worse, that my body had been working hard for over 24 hours, etc.. I still felt like a complete wimp. When someone (I honestly forget who) suggested an epidural I think I started crying. Finally Jeanine pointed out that if I got an epidural it might relax me enough that it would actually help me dilate the rest of the way, as I was so tense from the ordeal up until now, and so (over)tired. Again I gave in (I know it was my decision, but it really felt like giving in – not to someone else, but to my body, and my wimpiness).

I had to change into a hospital gown, and the anesthesiologist came in and administered the epidural. The whole time this was going on I was thinking “I’m caving – I should stop this now – what a wimp I am”. It was a lousy place to be – caught between my conscience, and my pain.

Once the epidural took the pain relief was immediate. I have to say that it was a pleasant change, although the emotional toll was heavy.

Realizing I’d not gone to the restroom in awhile, and because of the epidural, they wanted to catheterize me. I refused the catheter, promising that I would manage to get up and get to the bathroom, and that if I didn’t, then they could catheterize me. I did eventually get up, much to nearly everyone’s astonishment, and so managed to avoid that catheter.

At some point in here we got a relief nurse, and with her came the only time during our entire labour and delivery that I exercised my “right” to ask for a different nurse. Simon and I couldn’t stand her – she basically acted as if she were in charge, and the entire time she was there, she would simply tell us what to do – not suggest, not ask – just order us, as if she were the doctor (and even our doctor didn’t do that!) Jeanine went to make arrangements for a different nurse, but before she got a chance to speak with them, this nurse’s shift was up (as it happened, she was only filling a 4-hour gap), so it all worked out.

Dr. Creevy checked me regularly, and eventually we got up to about 7 centimeters dilated. And stayed there. And stayed there. And..stayed there. The baby’s decelerations were getting more pronounced, as well, and between the two Dr. Creevy was getting a bit more concerned. He said, more than once, that he wished that he hadn’t promised me that we would not, under any circumstance, consider using Pitocin. He wanted to use a very VERY low dose to try to get me beyond 7 and fully dilated. He was ultra sensitive to the fact that we were attempting a VBAC, but he assured us that the dose was so low that there was very little risk, and he was concerned about the decelerations, the prolonged labour, etc.. He also could not tell how the baby was presenting (although he was able to tell that it had lots of hair!) We finally agreed to both the scalp monitor, and the Pitocin.

It was late afternoon when Dr. Creevy started the Pitocin drip. We had been in labour for about 36 hours, painful labour for about 24, and we hadn’t slept in 2 days.

The Pitocin did the trick, and within a few more hours I was fully dilated! I was so excited! This was actually going to happen! I was going to be able to give birth the way nature had intended (well, except for the drugs).

The timing was good, as well, as the epidural was just running out as I hit full dilation, and so we figured it would wear off shortly thereafter so that I could push.

Dr. Creevy told me that I could push if I could feel to do so, and while I was still quite numb from the epidural, I knew what to do (thank you, Bradley class), and so push I did. I was beyond excited – I was SO happy that we were going to actually do this! I pushed, and everyone seemed amazed at how well I was pushing, given that I was supposedly completely numb. But then Dr. Creevy had me stop, and said he noticed the baby’s heart rate decelerating, even more dramatically than it had been, each time I pushed. We tried various positions, with the same effect. Then I remembered that during the long labouring, the baby’s heart rate stayed up if I laid on my left side – while it varied in any other position. So I went on to my left side, and did a test push, and the baby’s heart rate held! So we were up and running (er, pushing) again, everyone again telling me what a great job I was doing. Jeanine said that with each push she could see Dr. Creevy’s hand come further down (his hand being on the baby’s head). I felt exhilarated, and, as I said, just so excited!

The epidural started wearing off more fully, and the pain came back with a vengeance. I didn’t feel “pushing” contractions, just the same awful pain I’d had before. I didn’t really care, though, as I was sure that soon we’d be beyond it, and our child would be born. Poor Simon – I think (I hope) that this was the only time I sort of snapped at him – he was helping me count pushes – I was doing 4 with each contraction, and I would push once, and he’d say “ok, one more”, and I finally said “tell me the real number! Like right now there are three more, not one more!”

It was about 8:00 p.m., or so, as best as I can tell at this point.

It was also right around now that I started losing touch with reality. I remember only bits and pieces of the next few hours, as I was overwhelmed by pain, exhaustion, and, eventually, utter despair and a sense of hopelessness.

What I do remember is pushing and pushing. And at some point the comments went from being very encouraging and positive to letting me know that no more progress was being made. The baby was stuck. I didn’t realize it yet though. At some point I tuned in to Dr. Creevy coaching me, and I realized that we had stopped making progress. At another point I tuned in and he had called in a neonatologist to consult, to see if she could figure out how the baby was presenting. Neither of them could determine the baby’s presentation.

At one point, during a moment of lucidity, I asked “where am I”, meaning “where in the pushing stage am I” – as in “how far along are we?” Jeanine must have realized that I’d been off on another planet though, and hadn’t realized I was having bouts of being lucid, because she answered “you’re in the hospital, honey”. I remember both being frustrated, and thinking it ironic, that I had tuned back in, only to have them think I was out to lunch! Anyways, I finally asked Dr. Creevy point blank if I had made ANY progress in pushing since the initial progress, back when I’d first started pushing, and the answer was no, I hadn’t.

At that point Dr. Creevy explained that we were stuck, and that our options were either a forceps delivery, or another c-section. The problem with forceps, though, was that nobody could determine how the baby was presenting, and so it was very risky.

This was it. This was the end of the line. We had come so close, so very close, and here we were, after all this, staring another c-section in the face. All of our months of preparation, our careful planning, our anticipation, our dreams – fantasies of a little one being born and placed on my chest and sharing that special moment of bonding right after the baby is born – dashed to the floor.

I felt absolutely horrible – just rock bottom horrible.

Yet, another part of me saw, or felt, very clearly, that if this baby was this stuck, what might happen to him or her if I insisted on pushing them out the other way (if, indeed, I even could)? In a moment that at the time felt like a moment of clarity, I realized that the desire to avoid a c-section and deliver VBAC was as much about me as about anyone else, and that I couldn’t let that cloud my judgement to the point of jeopardizing our baby’s safety. And so I agreed to the c-section.

Unrelated to the decision, but as an aside, Dr. Creevy also admitted that he felt inhumane watching me go through what I was going through. He said that while he usually is very good at being able to stay neutral about the pain his patients feel, as he knows labour is painful and something that has to happen, he couldn’t bear to see what I was dealing with, and that it was, again, inhumane. That made me feel a little better about “wimping out” over the pain – not much, but a little.

As soon as I agreed to the c-section, things happened very quickly (they definitely wanted to get the baby out of there). The anesthesiologist came back in and restarted the epidural. They moved me to a gurney, and wheeled me into the OR. The next thing that I remember is laying on the table, in the OR, and Simon walking up to me, and taking his place right next to my head, and holding my hand. He was completely covered in blue scrubs, a blue cap, and a blue mask, with just his eyes peering out. He walked up to me and took my hand and said “I’m here, it’s me, Simon” – I knew that, of course – even as out of it as I was – he was my rock – and how could I have failed to recognize him?

I faded in and out while on the table, but I fought sleep – I hadn’t come this far just to fall asleep before our child was born; we still didn’t even know whether we had a son or a daughter!

After they opened me up, it took them 15 minutes to get the baby unstuck! This involved Dr. Creevy tugging on the baby from inside me, while an intern was on her hands and knees, on the floor at the foot of my table, with her hand inside my birth canal, pushing the baby back inside! Although I couldn’t feel anything going on in that area, I was aware of my body being tugged and tossed around the table so much that it felt like I was going to fall off! We later learned that the baby had been stuck at +3 station.

Finally, Dr. Creevy was just about to pull the baby out, and Simon could see a little face coming out of the incision, when suddenly the baby did a somersault, and Dr. Creevy ended up having the deliver the baby breech! He said that in all his years of practice he has never seen anything like that!

At 00:22 on Saturday, April 11th, after nearly 43 hours of labour, our baby was born. Simon looked at me and told me that we had a son, William Hayes Young.

After such a horrendous ordeal (just imagine what this must have been like for that poor baby in utero), we were so lucky that William was in very good shape, considering. His apgars were 7 and 9, and, the SWAT team having worked on him for about an hour, he was free of any aspirated meconium. He did have a bit of a breathing problem, initially, and also his blood work showed that he could possibly have an infection. Both of these were likely linked to the very long labour he endured, and as a result he had to spend his first several hours of life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, after which he was transferred to, and spent two days in, the intermediate care nursery. He was hooked up to all sorts of monitors in both nurseries, and had a constant IV of antibiotics and hydration, until they were sure that he was alright. After two negative “CRP” tests (blood test for infection), William was released to us on Monday, and Dr. Creevy released me so that we could all go home.

Another result of the long labour was that, when he was born, William had a very angry red mark across his forehead, up near his hairline. This eventually went away, but I have to believe that this mark was caused by the pressure of whatever it was against which he was stuck (perhaps my pubic bone). Whatever it was, to think of him being pushed and pushed against something digging back at his forehead – my poor baby!

Again, we are so very glad that we were fortunate enough to have been able to deliver at Stanford, and to have such a wonderful doctor and support staff. Even with all that was going on, the staff was wonderful about not giving William anything by mouth (although he did have an IV) and calling me whenever he woke up, so that I could go down to the nursery and nurse him.

Since being home I have been very blue about the whole experience. Not so much for myself, but more for Simon, and for us as a couple. Even though intellectually I know better, I feel as if I have deprived Simon of the wonderful experience we had been so looking forward to, and I keep thinking that if I somehow had been stronger, and could have toughed it out… And I cry for the lost anticipation, the lost dreams. I still can’t get into the shower without crying – as I remember that just the week before I was sitting in that tub, Simon by my side, us both full of hope and anticipating the moment our child would be born and we would get to meet him as he was placed on my chest. Other things set me to crying as well… the raspberry leaf tea I was drinking to tone my uterus, the little post-it note on the back of the door reminding us of the last minute things to grab on the way to the hospital, the deflated pool which now sits in a bag on our porch. All reminders of what was – and what wasn’t. It’s not that I am feeling sorry for myself – it’s more that I am going through some sort of mourning and grieving process.

Is there a lesson to learn here? We knew going into it that things don’t always proceed the way you plan, so I don’t think that is really the lesson – perhaps the lesson is to actually plan for the other contingencies, and come to terms with them as real possibilities.

Dr. Creevy has suggested that, if we decide to have any more children, we plan on a scheduled c-section. We aren’t really sure what it is about my body that is so unconducive to natural delivery, but clearly there is something. Given that both of my deliveries proceeded (or rather, didn’t) in the same manner, the suspicion is that it is the shape and angle of my pelvis, rather than the size (although it could be a bit of both). It is just exceedingly difficult for a baby to, unaided, travel down my pelvis to dilate me, and, apparently, to negotiate the angle around my symphysis to get lined up to come out the birth canal.

We are so fortunate to have Dr. Creevy as our doctor, and Jeanine as our doula. As someone pointed out to me, very few other doctors would have agreed to let us continue as long as Dr. Creevy did – we would have been under the knife much sooner, and with much less input from us.

I am so very thankful for Simon. He was my rock, and he was just perfect. I can’t imagine a more wonderful birth partner. He never left my side, except for the occasional moment when he went to speak with Jessica, which was just as appreciated (his concern for her) as everything else. I know that the whole ordeal was very hard on him; in fact, I think that it was harder on him in some ways than it was on me. It’s very difficult to stand by and watch someone you care about in so much pain, and then go under the knife.

Of course, the most important thing of all is that we have a safe, healthy, beautiful baby boy. We couldn’t have dreamed a more wonderful baby, and he was worth any hell, and his safety worth any other consideration. To see pictures of our wonderful baby boy, see http://www.vix.com/free/annie/william.html

Thank you!

Thank you for supporting Mange Merde and my caffeine habit!

I, and all of your fellow readers (I hope!), thank you!

Annie