Monday, November 28, 2011

Abigail Lael's Birth

Abigail is My Father's Joy
Lael is Of God
Exactly 24 hours after my last birth I received a call from Tami that her water broke. I immediately praised God that I got a full 12 hours sleep the night before and that it was clear that Tami was in labor. 
One of my concerns for Tami's labor was that we would not know when it was time to go.

Abigail Lael
 Tami had to previous C Sections and really wanted to try for a vaginal birth. Unfortunately, the closest hospital willing to take the 1% risk of uterine rupture was UW Hospital in Seattle. Tami is one of my 'Core' friends and she is not usually the one who has really strong opinions. She is very tender and the kind of woman who you want to take under your wing and protect. However, concerning her TOLAC (Trial of Labor After a Cesarean) she had very strong feelings and was completely committed to every aspect and sacrifice it would involve.
I attended one of her prenatal visits and was blown away by the knowledge and care that she received. Her doctor spent a full hour answering MY questions!
I called Rene, our friend and birth photographer, to come and pick me up so that we could carpool together to Seattle. I had to laugh that we first made a stop to drop stuff off at Goodwill, get gas, and do a drive thru dinner for me.
When we got to the hospital it was about 9 p.m. on Wednesday evening. Tami was already admitted and had a room, I really wanted an excuse to take a bath in the tub! It was deep, had jets, and was really warm! Her labor started slow but continued all night long. Fortunately at first they were committed to performing minimal exams to check progress. The nice thing about a teaching hospital is they are willing to let you try for a VBAC after 2. The bad thing is that it is a teaching hospital so you have someone learning on you.
The nurse we got for day shift was amazing and completely on Tami's side. She helped fight for what Tami wanted and for what was best. After about 12 hours of hard labor Tami was still at a 1cm dilation. Needless to say that was very discouraging. The doctors wanted to hurry things along due to the fact that her water had been broken for so long. There is a risk of infection but that risk is reduced if you have a high leak, like Tami had, and minimize the number of exams.
I pleaded for a Foley Bulb Induction, which manually dilates the cervix. The resident wanted to go that route as well, unfortunately we were not the ones getting to make the final decision. The attending wanted to do an IUPC (Intra Uterine Pressure Catheter). I argued against that for reasons of increased risk of infection. In the end we were told that they were going to do the IUPC because they wanted to. Sometimes I want to stomp my foot and throw a fit because the Doctors tell you that it is your birth and you get to make the decisions but Ultimately your hands are tied with different rules.
Through all this Tami was amazing and kept her eyes focused on the goal of a vaginal birth and a healthy baby. I helped keep the doctors at bay. Sometimes they told us they were going to come back to check on us at a certain time, I would then make sure to get Tami in the tub or for a walk in the halls just before they were going to be there. This bought us a lot of time.
Tami's husband Ian was phenomenal during her birth. His genuine love and concern for her was touching to witness. He had the most encouraging and positive words for her even when he was feeling anxious.
Ian knew that all Tami worked so hard to get was just out of reach and he supported her through it all and help boost her to where she needed to be.
Because she wasn't progressing much the decided to give her Pitocin to increase the strength of her contractions. Not long after that while in the bath Tami decided that she wanted the Epidural Right Now! This was probably up there with one of the most stressful moments of my life. Tami was angry that it hurt, mad that the anesthesiologist  was taking so long, and she wanted me to fix it. I am not one to be offended or take things personally in the delivery room but I was genuinely worried that this was going to make her hate me forever! I did my best to encourage her and help her. I was on my knees in the bathroom with the full weight of her resting on my arms. My arms were shaking and my knees felt like I was on rocks but I could only think of all that Tami was facing and that my discomfort was nothing compared to hers.
I talked her through the contractions and by the time we got her cleaned up they were ready for her epidural.

Abigail, right where she belongs, in her Mama's arms.
VBAC, I wanted her to get the birth she wanted, I wanted her to know how proud I was of her and I wanted her to feel proud of all that she had accomplished. I cried out to God, "God you promise to give us the desires of our heart if they are honoring to You! How can this desire not be honoring to You? Please let her do this. Please God."
The next exam seemed to take forever and we were all waiting to hear the magic number of 1 again. Miraculously, she was at 7cm! Praise God for His faithfulness! 
We were still thinking that the baby was going to have a birthday of 11/11/11. That came and went and I knew the baby would be born on 11/12/11.  She progressed the last 3 cm in about 3 hours. The doctor wanted her to start pushing because her membranes had been ruptured for so long. I was able to convince them to hold off until they turned the epidural off so that she could feel how to push. Again, I don't think Tami liked hearing me tell them to turn it off, but she trusted me. She only pushed for a little over an hour.  When we started to see the top of the baby's head and Tami reached down to feel it we all started sobbing! The joy and pure bliss on her face made every second of the last 30 hours worth it. I felt awe at Tami's strength and pride in her resolve. 
Because the baby had passed Meconium and Tami had a fever during labor they clamped the cord  (I got to cut it!) and took the baby to the respiratory therapists to make sure she was fine. 
Tami got her baby back we were all thrilled to see it was a girl! She nursed like it was something she had been doing forever and we all laid down on whatever flat surface we could find for a much deserved nap. About an hour later we woke up and I had the privilege of giving Abigail her first bath. We did weights and measures. She was 6 lbs 14oz and 21"! For more of her story check out Tami's blog, or to see some amazing birth photography click on Rene's link above. 


Tami said...

Thank you for making my dream a reality! I love you.

Nicole said...

Hi Carolynn, please tell Tami I am praying for her. I have never had two kids and a new baby but it must be rough when the hubby goes back to work!