Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bennett Martin

Please welcome Bennett Martin!
Born Monday April 25, 2016
Weight: 8 pounds 5 ounces
Height: 20 inches

Here is Bennett's birth story:
I feel that his birth story should start off with the birth of his sister.  Helena was born via scheduled c-section at 39 weeks in fear of big baby.  At her 36 week growth ultrasound the tech advised she was already 9 pounds, and with 3 weeks still to "cook" we were looking at a 10 pound baby.  At that moment I wish I had gone with my gut in knowing that this baby would not be 10 pounds.  Even though I am a bigger person I am small boned...I have small wrists and fingers, and Chris is small boned too.  My gestational diabetes was insulin controlled and I just knew this baby wouldn't be 10 pounds.  But I chose to believe my doctor and the ultrasound tech when they said the c-section would be best, even though my doctor knew I desperately wanted a vaginal birth.  As a first time mom you just believe what you are told.  Now I know that the further along you are the less accurate those growth scans are and now know that at the very least I should have been given the option to at least go into labor. At the time I prayed and prayed I would go into labor, but that didn't happen and the scheduled c-section went as scheduled.  Helena was born weighing 7 pounds 15 ounces.  Nowhere close to her 10 pound prediction and I was extremely disappointed, as was my doctor.  But it was too late.
Jump forward two years and I'm pregnant again.  The beginning of my pregnancy with Bennett was in Denver where I went to go see the doctor who delivered Helena.  I advised her I wanted to do a VBAC and her response was supportive but then advised she herself wouldn't do a VBAC (she's had two c-sections herself).  In my gut I knew I would need to find a more VBAC friendly provider but put it off.  Then we found out we were moving.  To a small town with no big hospital or resources.  I took my prenatal care to a doctor here in Alamogordo starting at 14 weeks to 32 weeks.  They were VBAC friendly, but would not induce.  So I either had to go into labor on my own or I would have another c-section. In my gut I had a feeling that this doctor was just telling me what I wanted to hear and in the end would end up with another c-section.  Plus the hospital in Alamogordo didn't have the care available and had a nasty VBAC consent form, plus no NICU, so if something were to happen to baby, baby would immediately be airlifted to El Paso.  I just didn't want to do that.
After meeting lots of mom's and almost immediately after meeting asking them "where did you have your baby?" I was referred to Dr. Reddy at Mountain View hospital in Las Cruces (an hour away).  I saw Dr. Reddy for the first time at 33 weeks and was immediately more confident in his approach to VBACs.  He advised I had a 70% of having one and that the number would dramatically increase or decrease depending on if I went into labor on my own.  I was so much more comfortable with him and felt that he was really going to give me a shot at this whole VBAC thing.  I of course, hated the drive and the feeling of the unknown, but knew this was where I was suppose to be.
Deciding to do a VBAC in and of itself is scary.  Chris and I prayed a lot.  It's so easy to just schedule another c-section.  With that scenario I knew what to expect.  There was no guess work.  Plus I kept telling myself, What if I do this and just end up with another c-section anyways?  It was an extremely emotional decision to make, and honestly one I doubted until they brought the doctor into the room to deliver my baby (more on that later).
I had one last growth ultrasound in my 39th week and the ultrasound tech said he was 9 pounds.  I took that information with a grain of salt and went with my gut that I should have with Helena, that this baby wouldn't be "big".
The Tuesday before my due date (4/19) I thought I was in labor.  That morning I thought my water broke, and was having contractions all day.  Chris called my mom at 5am to have her come down (she was scheduled to come down the next day).  Chris went to work and my mom arrived by 8:30am.  Chris was home by noon, I did a lot of bouncing and rolling on my exercise ball, went for a long walk, but nothing ever became regular about my contractions.  I had advised my doctor that I thought my water broke, so by that evening he said I needed to come get checked out.  So we made the hour drive to Las Cruces said good night to Helena (that was SO hard).  I got checked at triage just to find out my water was still intact and that my cervix was still closed and post-terrier.  I was devastated.  I immediately started doubting my body and what in the world labor was.  Every woman says "Oh you'll know what a contraction feels like."  So every time I thought I was having a contraction, but didn't know that it was indeed a contraction, I dismissed it and told myself it wasn't a contraction.  I was playing mind games with myself and I hated it.  At that time I already had my induction set for the evening of my due date.  So we were discharged from the hospital and drove the hour home.  The rest of the week was normal.  I continued to do things that I had hoped would put me into labor but nothing.  So we made the drive again to Las Cruces Sunday (4/24) night.  Upon arrival I was checked and still nothing.  My cervix was shut.  I spoke to Dr. Reddy and he advised that at 40 weeks pregnant and to not even be at a 1 my chances of a VBAC were decreasing.  As the nurse said: My cervix was unfavorable for a vaginal delivery.  At that point I called my doula.  I asked her if she had ever seen someone with an "unfavorable" cervix go forward and have a successful VBAC.  She said no.  At this time I was not hopeful.  I was given three options: go forward with the induction (all they could give me was pitocin), get a c-section, or go home and come back in another 3 or 4 days.  I immediately ruled out the last option.  I was ready to have this baby and didn't want to drive back home and have yet another good-bye with Helena.  Plus emotionally I didn't want to deal with all of that.  So in my mind it was either be induced or have a c-section.  Chris and I prayed about it and decided we would do the induction and if I hadn't progressed by morning then a c-section it would be.  At this point I was already mentally preparing for a c-section.  By 9:30pm the pitocin drip was up and running.  Mild contractions started immediately along with the shakes.  Oh the shakes, the horrible horrible shakes.  I got checked at midnight and was at a 1 (or maybe a 2 I don't remember).  The cervical check was horrible and incredibly painful.  The nurse advised that if I couldn't handle the cervical check I wouldn't be able to handle the foley bulb (now an option to get me dilated more, now that I was officially progressing).  She suggested an epidural.  My first thought was I must be a chicken to be getting an epidural so early in the laboring process!  Also knowing it was so early in the process I knew getting an epidural would mean I would be stuck in bed.  Then the nurse told me that if I did get an epidural it would help me sleep.  That sold me.  So I got an epidural.  Dr. Reddy came in and put in the foley bulb, and just as he was walking away I told the nurse, "Something just fell out".  The foley bulb fell out immediately.  So she called back in the doctor and they discussed putting in a bigger one, which I guess is something they don't keep on hand because they are rarely used, but then eventually found a bigger one, and put that one in.  That got me to a 4 or a 5?  And Chris and I were able to sleep some.  I got checked again at 8am and was at a 6 I think?  At 9am they broke my water (I had meconium) and I called my doula and she arrived by 10am.  At this point I was in disbelief that this was really happening.  That I was really dilating, that I was really in labor, that I was really progressing.  Everything was pointing to a vaginal birth, not a c-section.  I honestly couldn't believe it.  The whole morning I had my eyes closed.  I think that was my zen.  I wanted the room silent.  Whenever one of our phones would get a notification it just bugged me.  So I had Chris turn our phones off.  I just kept my eyes closed and breathed.  I thought about having some music on, I had specifically thought about Mercy Me, but I never got around to asking.  I got sick at some point in time which was horrible.  And I kept telling everyone I had to poop...because of the epidural they also put in a catheter.  Carrie (my doula) kept telling me that was the baby descending.  They let me know the baby was already at a + 1 station and that meant less pushing for me once that time came.  I felt so much relief knowing my body was responding to being induced!  When I got checked at 1pm I was complete!  I can't tell you how it felt to know I had progressed all the way to a 10!  I remember the doctor telling the nurse to come get him when I was two minutes out.  I had the go ahead to start pushing which I wanted to do right away!  It took a few contractions for me to get the feeling of pushing correctly and my doula had advised that first time vaginal deliveries the woman pushes for 2 to 3 hours.  I immediately told myself no way am I pushing for that long.  Even though I was thrilled to be progressing throughout my whole labor I doubted myself.  I tried to back out probably more times than I care to admit.  Both Carrie and Chris had to remind me constantly why I was doing this.  I wanted to give up many times.  Once I got the right sensation of the pushing things were definitely a "go".  I had the nurse in between my legs, Carrie holding one leg, Chris the other.  I was so hot that I had wet cloths on my forehead and behind my neck.  Between contractions they would be fanning me.  I knew that things would get serious once the doctor was called.  I of course had to sense of time but I knew it had to be close.  Then finally the moment I was waiting for: the nurse called the doctor and they brought in the table with the vacuum and forceps etc...and everyone was telling me "It's real.  The doctor is on his way."  It really wasn't until this moment that I truly believed I would be having this baby vaginally.  I think I had 3 or 4 contractions with the doctor and I remember him looking at me telling me you're going to have this baby.  I had no desire to touch his head or to watch with a mirror, but I could see the reflection of everything going on from the TV in the room.  I rarely opened my eyes, but when I did I couldn't help but look, and in that moment of him coming out that moment of pure ecstasy I saw my baby leave my body and be put on my chest.  It was so euphoric.  Honestly the feeling of him coming out didn't really hurt all that bad.  It was like this pressure gone.  I pushed for a little less than an hour and baby was born at 1:54pm.  He was placed on my chest but only for a few moments as they had to take him to check on the meconium, but he was right next to me and I got to see him the whole time.  I immediately started crying.  I couldn't believe it!  I got my VBAC!!!  While baby was getting checked the doctor kept working and I asked a few times if things were ok.  He said they were.  I got a 2nd degree tear inside.  Which I've been told is better than an external tear, and that internal tears heal easier and quicker.  Before too long my baby was back on my chest and we did an hour of skin on skin and he latched for the first time.  Then Chris got to hold him and named him Bennett Martin.  It was such an amazing moment.  Then baby got cleaned up, my doula left, and we were now a family of four.
Today honestly has been a turning point in my recovery, because just two nights ago I was questioning if this was all worth it.  All I can say is that I'm in pain...down there.  It is horrible.  I can't go to the bathroom like normal and as the day progresses it gets worse.  But today, today isn't as bad.  I'm 9 days postpartum and my stitches will be gone by Monday (2 weeks) and hopefully everything will be back to normal.  I know that a 2 week recovery is much better than a 8 week recovery.
I still can't believe it.  It feels extremely empowering to do something you say you are going to do.  And I honestly feel like this is the first thing in a long time where I actually did what I said I was going to do.  Bennett came out beautiful and the nurse even said my cervix was meant to birth a baby.  How crazy is it to go from a "unfavorable" cervix to a cervix that's meant to birth a baby?!  The doctor immediately told me I could do it again if I wanted to.  Now knowing what I know I feel so robbed of my birth of Helena.  And even the doctor said at the very least I should have been given the opportunity to labor with my first pregnancy regardless of size.  I obviously can't change the past, but I feel amazing that I was able to have my second baby vaginally.  We were able to go home the next day and Helena is a great big sister.
checking into the hospital to be induced at exactly 40 weeks


Emily Foley said...

I'm so glad it worked out! I'm so happy for you. I hoe you're getting some rest while you recover. Such a sweet baby, love his name and his story.

JennaRenee said...

I am so happy for you! You are a rock star and described perfectly what it's like to have a vaginal birth - like you can climb a mountain and do anything you set your mind to. Kudos! Congrats, mama!

Summer said...

Hooray! Good for you, April. You are NOT a wimp. Take my word for it, epidural is a good choice. Especially with the pitocen? Yuck. It is a super hard recovery to have your lady parts ripped open because HELLO, how do you go to the bathroom? I cried every time for the first week. I'm curious if you think it's worse than your c-section? I'm so happy for you!