“Silvie” was born on Sunday May 8, 2009 at 1:21 a.m. after a very long and frustrating labor. She weighed 8 pounds 13 ounces at birth and was 20-1/4 inches long. She has a round face, long fingers and long feet. Her hair is closer to her daddy’s color than her mama’s. Her eyes are that indeterminate baby-blue-brown-grey color.
Everyone is healthy and happy and at home.
There. That’s the short and sweet version.
Now, here is the long and gory story with the medical details. If you don’t want to know those details you should really stop here.
You’ve been warned.
Ok, are you sure you want to know the details? Last chance to stop reading is
Silvie’s Long Birth Story:
Thursday March 5: 41 weeks plus 4 days pregnant. We had a fetal monitoring appointment at OHSU just to make sure the baby was doing ok. She was. Her heart rate and responses were great BUT there was almost no amniotic fluid left in the uterus. This is a sign that the placenta is aging and that baby will soon be in distress. The nurse at the fetal monitoring office sent us directly to labor and delivery. This put us into a slight panic. We didn’t have our bags, we needed to teach my parents how to take care of our dogs, we needed an hour or two to get our minds wrapped around having a baby that day (or so we thought). After consulting with the midwife on call, we developed a plan to take a couple of hours to go home and get things in order and then return to the hospital at 5:30 p.m. to attempt to induce labor.
At 5:30 the nurse midwifes hooked Deb up to fetal monitoring. Low and behold she was having some natural mild contractions. Since we really wanted to have a water birth and you can’t have an IV in the water, we decided to hold off on pitocin to see if the natural labor would kick in on it’s own. The midwife did insert a Foli bulb (?) that manually dilates the cervix to 3 to 4 centimeters.
By 9:30 p.m the Foli bulb had done it’s work and Deb was having regular contractions. Unfortunately as the evening went on the contractions slowed again. At 11:30 p.m. Team Sprout decided to catch a couple of hours of sleep before trying any other interventions. Because Deb’s BP had been high intermittently throughout the day she had to sleep with fetal monitors running and blood pressure checks every 30 minutes. Nate had to sleep in a chair. Needless to say, not a great night’s sleep.
Friday March 6: 41 weeks plus 5 days pregnant. At 6:00 a.m. Deb was still dilated at 3-4 centimeters but not having contractions. Baby was showing no distress on the monitors. Team Sprout decided to eat breakfast and walk around for a couple of hours to see if labor would start naturally. It didn’t. Having run out of natural options we moved on to start Pitocin augmentation in the early afternoon. With hopes to trigger labor gradually, Pit was started at 3 ml/hr and increased one unit every hour or so. Mild contractions started but progress was slow.
At midnight, unexpectedly, the midwife and midwifery student came and talked to us and apologetically turned off the Pit. It appears that OHSU’s labor and delivery was suddenly overwhelmed by women in traumatic birth situations and they were calling in all available staff. They did not want Deb to go into active labor because they did not have enough staff to provide the level of support needed. We found out later that they ended up doing 5 c-sections and birthing twins in the middle of the night. Obviously, we were not happy. Deb had to cry herself to sleep. Nate had to sleep in a chair. Needless to say, not a great night’s sleep.
Saturday March 7: 41 weeks 6 days pregnant. We woke up early. THIS is the day we thought. Since Deb wasn’t on IV we could eat breakfast and then we started the Pitocin AGAIN at 6:30 a.m. She was only dilated 3 cms. Baby was still looking good on the fetal monitor. We upped the Pit much more aggressively–2 units increase every 15-30 minutes. Contractions started up slowly. They were very manageable if Deb could move about. BUT baby started to show distress whenever Deb moved. She was only happy when Deb laid on her left side (is she a leftist?). This is a problem. Deb hurts, baby isn’t happy, midwife says “let’s make this happen”. About 4:00 p.m. the midwife broke the bag of waters. Almost immediately the contractions intensity went from a manageable 5 on the pain scale to an 8 or a 9. Since Deb couldn’t move anyway and was already on IV she asked for pain meds. We started with an IV pain med but it only took the slightest edge off. The contractions continued to increase in intensity, and worse, the uterus no longer relaxed between contractions–basically causing one LONG contraction punctuated by peaks of unbearable pain. Deb demanded an epidural NOW. The anesthesiologist could not get there quickly enough for her. He asked the obligatory informed-consent questions, she tried not to bite his head off. He told her to hold completely still while he administered the epidural. Deb held completely still even while puking. Fortunately Raeben is quick with the puke catching and no one was injured. The epidural allowed Deb to relax and labor moved rapidly. By 11:00 she was 10 centimeters dilated and commanded to push. But then we had to turn down the epidural so that Deb could feel enough TO push. The next couple of hours are thankfully a blur.
Sunday March 8: 42 weeks pregnant (the date we would have induced anyway) At 1:21 a.m. Miss Silvie made her way into the world. It’s a good thing too. The placenta was clearly calcified and aging and Silvie was swimming in VERY little amniotic fluid with a whole lot of meconium. Nate got to cut the cord and then went with Silvie as she was whisked away by the pediatric nurse to be thoroughly suctioned out. Deb got to lay back and relax while getting stitched back together again. Daylight savings time happened and we lost an hour. By the time everyone was reunited and moved up to recovery it was 4 a.m. Grandpa Ben and Grandma Rose came up for a brief visit to meet Silvie. Due to the influx of mamas and babies the night before there were no private rooms available. Nate had to “sleep” in a chair. Needless to say, not a great night’s sleep but we were so tired we didn’t care.
At some point Sunday morning the nurse was checking Silvie and she got mad and started crying and turned a bit blue at the lips. So then she had to go down to the NICU for 4 hours of observation. This might seem terrible, except that she was a rock star during her observation and Deb got 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Due to all the suctioning they had to do on Silvie, her breathing sounded very snarfy and labored but her oxygen levels were high so there was no real reason to be concerned.
We finally got a private room on Sunday and Nate FINALLY got to sleep on something like a bed Sunday night. We were released mid-day on Monday and were SO happy to go home. We never thought we would spend 4 days up on Pill Hill. But, it was all made bearable by the series of great nurses (we saw a lot of shift changes), a handful of midwives, and Raeben our doula who gets a great deal of credit for getting Deb through the roughest of times.
Needless to say, we are thrilled with our little Sprout who decided to take root with us here in the world.