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Lydia’s Birth Story

2011 April 18
by Pamela

All photos in this post were taken by Michele Maloney.   More on her work in a post to come!

Lydia’s due date was February 10 and by the 14th, I was ready to burst.  I had already eaten everything under the sun, was bigger than a whale, and was really nervous about my impending induction if I didn’t go into labor on my own.  I was ready to see my baby.

On Valentine’s Day morning, Bob came home and we had our special breakfast and scavenger hunt.  I slept horribly the night before and had a sense of doom about my non-stress test and ultrasound scheduled for later that day, so I took a brief nap and headed to the doctor’s office. 

My sense of doom, for once, was right on target.  I wouldn’t say that I am a pessimist per say, but more of a fatalist.  The glass is not half empty, but it is a glass and is likely to be broken at any moment.  And if it doesn’t get broken soon, it’s going to need to be cleaned and when am I supposed to find time to get that done? 

It’s not easy being as happy-go-lucky as I am.

The non-stress test was fine and I relished every moment in that reclining chair with my juice box and People magazine, knowing it would be my last test ever.

But when it was time for the ultrasound, the technician was concerned because there wasn’t a lot of fluid in all the quandrants and she didn’t think it would be safe to wait until my scheduled induction on Thursday.  She sent me over to an ob who stripped my membranes and told me to head over to the hospital.  Of course my ob wasn’t on call that day and the one who was on call didn’t even work in the office where I had been going for pre-natals.  A total stranger was about to catch my baby and I knew this birth was going to be totally different from the other two where I had nurse midwives who we knew very well.

The girls were already over at my parent’s house and I delivered the news to Bob when I got home.  I had a good cry then requested a cheeseburger from Chesleys for my Last Supper.   If you’re going to partake in a Sob Fest, I highly recommend doing so with a bar burger in hand.

2,000 calories later and we headed to the hospital and I asked for them to break my water and give me a few hours to try and go into labor on my own.  They treated me like I had lost my mind, but honored my request.  I went into instant labor after they broke my water with Elizabeth, but it didn’t happen this time.  I had minor contractions and tried every trick I knew to intensify them.  But after two hours the medical staff wanted me to quit and it was obvious I was going to need some help.

One thing I would say about this birth is that I had to advocate so much harder, stronger, louder, ADAMENTLY for what I wanted.  I didn’t want an epidural and if I had to have pitocin, I wanted a minimal dose.  Eventually they went along with the Crazy Lady in Room 212 and let me be. 

The pitocin, in small dosages spaced gradually, did what it was intended to do without jarring me into hard labor.  They had this channel on their free TV called the Serenity Network, full of ridiculously cheesy music and waterfall scenes.  I listened to that while I stared at a dot on the wall, reciting 2 Timothy 1:7 over and over:  “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of sound mind”.   I kept doing this while working my way through the contractions.  Bob did his typical work of feeding me ice chips and digging his knuckles into my back.  Poor guy.  He’s always said that it’s such a helpless feeling, watching me go through horrific pain while he stands there with a plastic spoon and styrofoam cup of ice in his hands.

They started the pitocin somewhere around 8:30 p.m. which is when I’d say real labor began.  By 10:30 I was IN IT.  At 11:30 they called the Complete Stranger Ob who was about to catch my baby and told him it was time to head to the hospital.  I was glad to get rid of the attending resident ob who had been checking on me up until that point.  She was a real piece of work, but more on her later.  Around 11:40 he got there and immediately made me wish for the attending resident to come back in.   I’ve never met two doctors with less people skills in my life.  Being something less than cordial would have been nice.    He immediately starts barking at me that it’s time to PUSH, not time to REST even though I had just come off a horrible contraction ten seconds before. 

In my state on delirium I thought it would be a wonderful idea to have the baby on Valentine’s Day so I was pushing with all my might to get her out before midnight.   But my magic number of three pushes didn’t work this time;  it took me a whole five.  At 12:12 a.m. on Tuesday, February 15, 2011, our beautiful Lydia Erin Wright was born.

And then the real fun began.  

First Lydia wouldn’t latch on for anything.  I had already requested a small dose of pain medicine but had gotten too much and was so loopy I couldn’t trouble shoot her latch.  Then I passed out trying to get up for the first time.  Then, with four nurses and the attending resident ob in tow who had to help me back to bed, someone slammed my shin into the wheelchair and I still have a bruise, two months later.  THEN I got into a horrendous argument with the ob about the way she was examining me.  Everyone finally left me alone around 2 a.m. and I cried non-stop until 6:30 a.m.  I seriously considered pulling a Michael Jackson and leaving with my baby right then.

I would have left, but the problem was that I couldn’t get out of bed.  At all.  They sent me for x-rays, thinking my pelvic bone separated too far during delivery, but it didn’t.  So then a physical therapist had to come and they sent for a sports medicine doctor who was a miracle worker.  I went from not being able to get out of bed to walking freely around the room in five minutes. 

Bob and I had a peaceful day enjoying our sweet little girl while simultaneously trying to process this birth.  We were so grateful to the fantastic nursing and support staff as well as the therapist and sports medicine doctor.  And as for the ob’s, we were trying to figure out how to get them fired.

The other person who was such an immense help during our stay was our friend Kelly’s mom who works as a lactation consultant at the hospital.  She worked to correct Lydia’s latch and showed us how to supplement her with formula using a syringe to minimize her jaundice.  This was the first baby who we didn’t have to have re-admitted for jaundice a week later and we are grateful to her for it.

When I was pregnant with Mary Claire, I read about this study of post-partum mothers,  their feelings about birth, and how depression can link the two.  The study concluded that even if a mom had expectations and hopes for a birth to turn out a certain way, the outcome could end up differently and she may not be at higher risk for depression.  The bottom line, according to the study, was not the outcome of the birth.  It didn’t matter if she had an episiotomy when she didn’t want one, or ended up with pain meds when she wanted to go natural, or had a c-section when she’d hoped for a vaginal delivery. 

What mattered most to the women was that they felt their beliefs were heard and they were respected as people.  Having gone through this birth with Lydia, I couldn’t agree more.  Although nearly all the staff was supportive, kind, and respectful, having dealt with the ob’s that I did left me with mixed feelings about the birth experience.

Frankly I’m glad that we are done having children so I don’t have to go through it in a traditional hospital environment again.  The difference between this birth compared to ours with the other girls was enormous.  It didn’t make a difference in my ability to bond with Lydia (though it often does for other women), but it did leave me deflated in a way that I wasn’t after Mary Claire and Elizabeth’s births.

The truth is that I am mostly a wimpy person.  I was never really sure I could give birth because it caused pain and as I said, pain isn’t my strong suit.  So after I was able to have a natural childbirth, it changed how I viewed myself, my body, and my relationship with God.  I truly started to believe that with God, all things are possible.  I still believe that, even if this birth didn’t go exactly as I had planned. 

I have the sweetest, happiest, and most peaceful baby in the world to remind me of the fact everyday.

8 Responses leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    April 18, 2011

    The pictures are beautiful. Sorry that things didn’t go exactly as you planned but she did turn out beautiful, you have been truely blessed with an amazing family. I’m so happy for you!

  2. jenny baugh permalink
    April 18, 2011

    The pictures are beautiful.

  3. Christina Rykens permalink
    April 18, 2011

    omg!! She is precious!!!!!

  4. Paige Lloyd permalink
    April 18, 2011

    Thanks for sharing Pamela! I always love to hear other women’s birth stories. The environment we give birth in – and the attendants helping us – really can make a tremendous difference!

  5. Nicole Dzikowicz permalink
    April 18, 2011

    She is absolutely gorgeous!!!

  6. April 18, 2011

    Love the pictures and thanks for sharing your story Pamala!

  7. Danese permalink
    April 18, 2011

    Lydia is absolutely gorgeous and I love her pictures! Thanks for the amazing, funny, touching, unbelievable story about her birth. It’s fresh in your mind now, but when she’s older you will appreciate the craziness of her story. I often say that you could cut off my arm, if that’s what it took to have any of my kids. You obviously have more understanding and compassion for other mothers and birthing difficulties. Your story is a wonderful reminder of God’s love and grace.

  8. Tammie permalink
    April 19, 2011

    She is ADORABLE!!!!!!
    I giggled when you said you ripped into the OB. Oh how I would have loved to see that!!!! I cannot wait to hear that part of the story!! I’m glad despite all that, everything and everyone turned out ok.

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