Monday, August 11, 2008

Why Birth Plans are Crap

Or, everything that can go wrong during labour. Now, I don't really believe that birth plans are crap. Quite the opposite, actually. I think it's very important to have some idea of how (in a perfect world) you would like your labour to go, so that you're not having to make decisions in the throes of a very painful and emotionally charged situation.

For some reason, I believed that my labour would go EXACTLY as I had written in out. I didn't want to be induced, no pain meds, no epidural, no use of a vacuum or forceps, and avoid a c-section. I wanted to be able to remain mobile throughout the labour. After Elise was born wanted her to be placed on my chest, and to nurse her right away. Got all that?

So about a week after my due date, I checked into the hospital on Sept. 3 to be induced. What's that? Ohh, strike one, birth plan. I had heard all the jokes about it being Labour Day, and wouldn't it be funny if I went into labour, on Labour Day? Yes, yes it would. You are very funny, and Seinfeld has nothing on you. Some friends were having a party that day, but I elected not to go because I had to stop eating at 4 pm, and sitting around listening to "labour on Labour Day" jokes, and watching people stuff themselves while I couldn't eat, was not my idea of a good time. I don't even remember what we did that day, which makes me wish I had recorded this earlier.

So at 10 pm, we checked into Las Colinas Medical Center. My first clue that this was not going to be a fun ride was when my L & D nurse tried twice to put my IV in, and couldn't. Luckily her supervisor was able to do it in one try. It was a pretty painful start, to a very painful experience. The good news? I was already in labour, so they decided not to give me the petocin. Woo!

After a fitful night, mostly watching X-files episodes rather than sleeping, my doc came in that morning and told me that I was not progressing, so they needed to induce. Strike two! They were also having trouble monitoring Elise, so I would not be able to get up and move around (except to pee) during labour. I believe that was strike three.

Around 10:00 am, my water broke on it's own. I believe I told Fred, "Either I just peed myself, or my water broke." Luckily, it was the latter. It was pretty nasty, sitting in a puddle of my own filth. And that's all I'm going to say about that. After my water broke, labour seemed to ramp up quite a bit, but it wasn't really all that bad. I thought I was trucking along, but when they checked me around noon, I had only dilated to about a four. They had me lying on my left side for the most part, because Elise's heart rate seemed to do best in that position. If I tried to sit in a semi-upright position, her heart rate would drop. We found out why at the end.

Because I wasn't progressing, they kept upping the petocin. This caused the contractions to become so much stronger. At one point I remember feeling like I was being pulled apart, while simultaneously being stabbed and burned from the inside. I really can't describe it any better than that. I kept trying to do the breathing exercises they had taught us in class, but who was I kidding... I could barely even breathe.

By about 3:00, I had only dilated another 1/2 cm. I toughed it out another hour then begged for the epidural. The doc who came to do it was quite a wise guy and decided to ARGUE with me about which hockey team was better, Stars or Canucks. I did manage to get some good points in between contractions, but held my tongue for the most part. I mean, did I really want to piss off the man who was inserting a large needle into my back?

Sweet relief! But my birth plan was rapidly falling apart. With my body now able to relax, I dilated to a 10 in about 2 hours and was ready to start pushing at around 7 pm. I was so exhausted at this point, I kept falling asleep between contractions. But I tried... for almost two hours. Elise was stuck and they tried forceps, then the vacuum. The doctor was getting worried because Elise's heart rate kept dropping (it's supposed to during the contraction), but not rebounding like it should. She said they needed to do a c-section, and I quickly agreed, fearing for Elise's safety.

So they whisked me down the hall. I'm glad now that I had the epidural, or they would have had to knock me out completely to do the c-section. It is the weirdest sensation being able to feel them cutting you open, root around inside you, pull out a baby... but not feel any pain! . The reason for her heart rate dropping was because her cord was wrapped around her neck. They got it loose and I heard one of the sweetest sounds in the world; my baby crying!

I can look back and laugh now, but at the time I couldn't help but feel I had failed horribly. Every single thing that I had written down in my birth plan, did not work out. I even remember telling my OB that I didn't feel like I had even given birth. Of course, now I know that Elise came into this world just as she was meant to.

In case you missed it the first time around, here's our announcement video. The song is called "Father and Daughter", by Paul Simon. It is such a sweet song, without being cheesy. Enjoy!


Laura@The Oily Cupboard said...

hey i've got the perfect plan for #4 too! i deliver while the kids are in school and they come home to their sister! ha ha! now that i wrote that out the opposite will happen!