Friday, January 13, 2012

Elizabeth's Birth Story Part 3

If you haven't already, you may (or may not) want to read Part 1 and Part 2 before you begin this third installment of Elizabeth's birth story. :-) 

Labor and delivery with Elizabeth is really the most un-eventful part of her arrival.  Had that been the end of the story, so to speak, I think my whole outlook would have been quite different.  I think I would have had much more of a "ahhhhh, she's finally here!" satisfaction that perhaps would have helped to dissipate some of the disappointment about having to deliver in a hospital rather than at home.

However, once she was out, it got worse.

Even though I had asked to delay cutting her cord until it had stopped pulsing, it was cut right away.  I'm not sure how or why that happened, if my MW just got caught up in the moment or what.  But before I could even say anything, it was done.
Elizabeth quickly turned very dusky.  She was on me and the nurse, my MW, and I were all rubbing on her to pink her up but it became obvious that she needed some help over at the warmer from some oxygen.

I believe that had she not been forced to breathe on her own so quickly (letting the umbilical cord do it's job awhile longer), she would not have had the trouble transitioning that she did.  She would then have been able to be close to me and make the switch from "inside" to "outside" more comfortably.
Of course, I could be wrong.  What do I know--I'm just the mom.

She was then moved quickly over the warmer and to receive some oxygen.
Here's where the "fun" began.

The pediatrician on-call was quickly summoned to the room to check on her.  I've been told that he is very pathology-minded.  What I mean by that is that he is more of the mindset that if it could possibly go wrong, we need to rule out every possibility.  Tests, panic, scare-tactics, more tests, more grave concern.
She was a bit shaky--many post-date babies are.
Many can quickly regulate their blood sugar simply being put to the breast as quickly as possible.  I have experienced this with a couple of my other children.  The nurse and doctor that I had at that time explained it to me and baby was feeding at less than five minutes old.
At this new hospital I was at, they wouldn't let me feed her.  They wanted to run some tests on her first.  I asked for her and was completely ignored.  Had it been just me there, I would have convinced myself that they surely just had not heard me.  When I asked again to just hold her, I got the same response.  The two nurses over near the warmer wouldn't even turn around.  Complete stonewall.  I looked at Dennis and at Megan incredulously--they looked at me the same way. (My MW had to leave to get home to her kids right after E was born because her sitter had to go home.)  Then I knew that there was no way those nurses had not heard me, they were ignoring me--and I think I know why.

As soon as Elizabeth had been whisked to the warmer, the barrage of questions began.
"What is your GBS status?"
I answered that I had not had that test.
She gaped at me and said, "You didn't have the test."
I said no; she stared at me still and then said flatly, "Okay."

This heightened their concern to a new level (what GBS has to do with blood sugar, I'm not sure.)
"Did she have a fever during delivery?  What was her temp?  Does anyone know mom's temp?  Anyone?"
The questions were flying fast and furious.
I responded from across the room that my temperature had been 96.8.  This settled them down a bit.

They asked what the results of my glucose screen had been; I told them I had not done that, either.
No 20 week ultrasound, either.

As far as they were concerned, I was batting ZERO.
I was scoring no points with them at all!  They seemed to have convinced themselves that I was an irresponsible mother for not having tested for everything imaginable.

(disclaimer:  if you do those tests, obviously that's quite up to you.  I choose not to do much of that, and that is quite up to me.  I promise I do not make decisions thoughtlessly.)

Back to asking for my baby...Dennis then said, in his big Dad's voice, "She'd really like to hold the baby." The nurse finally turned in a I-guess-we-can't-keep-acting-like-we-don't-here-them sort of way and said that I could hold her, but not feed her until lab came up.
The nurse that was near me was, at this same time, making her way over to Elizabeth, saying "I think we'll let Baby come to Mommy now..." and it was obvious that she was lower on the totem-pole than the other two ladies, because it was said in an asking permission sort of way.
It's hard to type out all the nuances of the whole situation--I hope this is making a modicum of sense.
I could tell she felt bad because I was sitting there crying, so disappointed, shaking my head and whispering, "I didn't want all this...I didn't want all this..." to Dennis and Megan, and to myself, too, I guess.

Elizabeth had just been laying there in the warmer--the nurses had stopped with oxygen for several minutes and she was just laying there crying.  Had they still been "working on her" I wouldn't have intervened, but she was just laying there, all alone.  It was, quite obviously, the farthest she and I had been away from one another in her whole life.  I wanted her near, and she wanted to be near me.  She quieted as soon as she was in my arms.
She rooted around, obviously hungry, and I still don't know why I didn't say to heck with you, Mean Nurse Lady and just feed my baby.  It's the non-confrontational part of my personality, I guess.
But I didn't, I just held her close and tried to put a smile on my face.  And I did--put a smile on my face.

We waited until the lab lady came, who looked amazingly like Estelle Getty who played Sophia on The Golden Girls.
She needed to do a heel-stick to check E's glucose levels.  It was brought up that we had to wait for her to come before I could feed the baby and she said, "What?  We never do a glucose test without a first feeding on board."

She then assumed, taking in my youthful appearance (HA!!!), that this was my first baby.  I said, "No, she's my ninth."
This stopped her in her tracks.
She looked up at us over her Estelle Getty glasses and said, "You're not trying to keep up with that Duggar family, are you?" (except she pronounced it Doo-gar.)
Dennis said, "What if we are?"
(We're not--it's not a competitive sport, you know.)

She just laughed and finished her work.

She left and I was finally able to just feed and snuggle my new baby.

Megan, Dennis and I then re-hashed everything that had just taken place.
I needed to sort it all out in my mind, 1) because it had gone fast  2) so much happened that I hadn't wanted  and 3) it was a lot to take in.

Megan went home and I took a quick bath and then we were moved over to a postpartum room.  Elizabeth just stayed close to me all through the night until very early in the morning, I did let them take her to the nursery for a thorough bath and such and I slept while she was gone for a bit.

In the morning, Jen (my midwife) stopped by before going over to her clinic.  We were able to talk about what had happened the night before.
She said, "Remember when you first came to see me how I said this was a very midwife and mother friendly hospital?  Yeah, well, of ALL the nurses you could have gotten, you ended up with the two who are the most hostile to midwifery.  You could have had 12 other ones and had no problem!  When I walked into your room last night, I was like, 'ooooooooooohhhhh no.' "

I don't know what we will do if the Lord grants a next time, because she told us that morning she was moving away.  I don't know if we'll "follow" her to her new location or not.  There is talk of a birthing center coming to our area; maybe that will be an option for us.
I won't be going back to the hospital where Elizabeth was born.

We left the hospital that afternoon amid much surprise that we were leaving "so early"--less than 24 hours after birth.  She was born just after eight the night before, and we started the process of leaving at about 2:00 the next afternoon.  Of course, that process takes quite awhile so it was more like 4 before we were out the door.
I felt good and we had so much at home that needed us, too, so it was a good choice.

My postpartum issues that I have struggled with in past pregnancies have been much better.  I credit taking B vitamins for this and am so thankful to another mommy friend who suggested that to me.

Even though Elizabeth was COMPLETELY turned around for a good three weeks, this past week she has slept much better at night which has been wonderful.
She turned one month old yesterday.
I say this every time, but it seems as if she was just born yesterday and yet has been with us forever.

I have another post coming up in which I will explain how I will have to eat some of my own outspoken words.  That's going to be a fun one for me to write...or not.  But I will write it!


  1. Wow....this is a really fascinating post Melissa. I am being reminded how much I love reading blogs for the thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and stories that are different from my own.
    I was also reminded how one nurse who said something that wasn't unfriendly, but possibly a little unsympathetic to me has always stuck with me.
    Elizabeth is are blessed.

  2. She is absolutely precious and perfect! I'm sorry your experience was so bad, shame on them!

  3. I think (but can't know) that you conveyed the nuances beautifully. I'm glad you gave voice to your experience.

  4. I had some really bad nurses with Zoelle so I feel your pain. However, it was still worth it for me to have a midwife who did listen to me and care more than an OB would have (Zoelle would have been C-Sectioned for sure if I was with an Ob). With Meridian, the nurses I had were super nice. But yeah, I've heard from a few that that particular hospital's downfall is the nurses which is a shame! :(

  5. Somehow I missed this post when it came out and discovered it tonight. I mourn the difficulties surrounding E's birth with you, and thank God for your healthy and beautiful growing girl.


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