Time/Date of Birth: 9:18 a.m./September 16, 2009
Place: Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Length of Active Labor: 6 hours
Gestation: 40w 4 d
Baby's Weight: 7lbs. 11ozs.
Baby's Length: 20 inches
Baby's Apgars: No idea
I can never tell a story in short version, b/c I’m a very detailed person, this is not only my birth story, but the story leading up to the most stressful weeks of my pregnancy that no women should have to deal with. I found out I was pregnant again with number six and I was in total shock. We thought we were done, but someone had others plans for us. I was for the first time scared to be pregnant. Five months prior, I had an emergency c-section at 34 weeks due to a low lying placenta, that from what I was told, turned into a previa and the bleeding wouldn’t stop. I was told in the hospital that I shouldn’t get pregnant for a minimum of a year and if I did, I would have to have a c-section if I didn’t have the baby before my due date, practice rule. So you could just imagine what was going through my head. I started my care with my midwives who delivered my last 3. Everything was going good until my 20 week ultrasound. I had another low lying placenta, and this time the placenta was anterior. What did this mean? She said, let’s pray that this placenta moves up b/c a c-section isn’t the best option for an anterior placenta. Rescan would be scheduled at 33 weeks, and around 30 weeks, found out I had gestational diabetes. Oh great, something else to worry about. It felt like one thing after another. So 33 weeks rolls around and the placenta moved up to 2cm from a 1.5cm. Same exact situation that happened with my last. I was on high alert, freaking out thinking the same situation was going to happen. I went back to the doctor who had performed my c-section, which I thought were great. I was told by the nurse in the ER that “this doc wasn’t c-section happy” at the time. Started care with the practice at 33 weeks and everything was fine and dandy. We scheduled my c-section for August 28, 2009. Since I was going to have a c-section, I was going to make this date a convenience for me. My ultrasound due date was the 6th of September, but the date from my last month’s period was the 12th. So I changed my due date to the 6th without a problem, and we were set to go. Well, at my 33 week ultrasound (I was having level 2 u/s at Hinsdale with the high-risk OBs) the baby’s head was measuring 4 weeks smaller than the body so one of the docs from my new practice wanted me to get an ultrasound quick in the office just to make sure everything was okay. Well the tech found that my fluid levels were at a 5.4, oh great another thing to add on to my list of problems. While she was doing the u/s, since I was now 36 weeks, I asked her if my placenta had moved any, and her response was, “ah it still looks a little low.” What kind of answer is that? So the doc now wants to check me for himself, says the levels are at an 8, but now I need to come in for NSTs twice a week and also fluid checks. Next appt. a new doc, asked her to check my placenta, she didn’t even check and told me while I’m watching her, that nothing has changed. Well, I’m not a u/s tech so maybe she’s right. Another week goes by I’m 37 weeks and they think I need to go back for a level 2 to check my fluids by the high-risk OBs. My levels were over an 11 and my placenta had moved up in two short days from when the doc told me it had not. Were they lying to me, of course they were?! My placenta was at a 3.2 and I asked the doc performing my u/s what he thought of me having a VBAC and he said, “I don’t see why you wouldn’t, since you’ve had four previous vaginal births.” My mouth was wide open and I was so happy, maybe there was a light at the end of this tunnel with everything I’ve been through. So excited and nervous for my next appointment, my doc said I could try for a VBAC, but here are the risks (which we all know) and you have to deliver before your due date. But did mention that I was a great candidate b/c I did have 4 previous vaginal births. Now how many people really deliver before their due date? I started calling around to a few practices and all told me I could not switch, so I was stuck. I started researching everything like crazy. I was going to try for a VBAC. I thought there were too many more risks associated with the c-section. So another appointment, and now 38 weeks, I’m dilated to 1cm, 50% effaced. Yes, something is going on. Docs keep talking about c-section and start using “scare tactics”. I say to myself, if by my next visit I have no change then it’s a sign that I just need to suck it up and have the c-section. Maybe these docs are right. I go in on August 31, and I’m 2-3cm, having tons of contractions for the past week and my 2nd c-section is scheduled for September 4th. This is my sign, I can do this. I go online looking for info and I met the most knowledgeable person from ICAN DUPAGE. My angel really! I don’t think she knows how much she helped me through this. I was ready now. I knew I could do this and my intuition told me this is right. I told that doc that I wasn’t having that c-section, it’s ridiculous. I’m going to go into labor any day and I want my “trail of labor.” If I end in a c-section, at least I gave myself the chance to see. I didn’t want it in the back of my mind forever eating at me, thinking “I wonder if.” So the doc let me reschedule for September 9th, but they were booked, so I felt like I got lucky and I was scheduled for the 11th now. My EDD was the 12th. And I thought for sure it was going to happen before then. On that Friday, I still don’t know exactly why, my doc called me 5 times. I’m sure the doc over her probably told her she made a mistake and they needed me to have a c-section, but I never answered. She called me the next day (Saturday) and finally again that Tuesday the 8th after Labor Day. I finally called her back and one of the other docs got on the phone. The whole time they told me no induction, but now she was offering induction if I could get to the hospital in an hour. Are you kidding me? I have 5 kids and not a lot of family or friend help. So I said no. My sister-in-law took time off from work for Friday to help, my 3rd “elective” c-section date (September 11th). She couldn’t understand how come I had no one to watch my kids in an hours notice. The docs response,”what if you went into labor right now who would you get?” I was seeing red. I stayed calm and said and I have friends, but that they have kids in school, and I couldn’t have someone drop everything they’re doing to watch my kids when they all have stuff going on. It would be different if it’s an emergency, but this is not. She proceeded into telling me my baby was going to die if I wait any longer. I snapped!!! I raised my voice very loudly and said “Don’t you dare use your scare tactics on me!” And I did know I had an appointment that night to see this particular doc so I apologized, and wanted to cancel my appointment b/c I knew they really wanted to slice me open and I looked at my husband who heard our conversation and said, “Watch, they will try and get me into the hospital tonight.” I went in anyway, and she was all smiles. I do my NST, everything is great, and I’m great. I was having my usual contractions. Nothing different from my previous NST. They were all over the place nothing regular. I’m 3cm, 80% -1 station. She declares me in labor and I need to report to the hospital immediately. I look at her and said, are you kidding me! I’ve gone into spontaneous labor 3 times and I can assure you that I’m not in labor. She said what if when I’m driving the baby’s head starts crowning? I said, “I wish it was that easy.” She is getting really ticked off. She is trying her hardest for me to agree to go in and said my doc will come in just for me if I go now. How did she know I was going to be in labor when I came into the office?” After 15 minutes going back and forth, I refuse and I left. She caught me coming out of the bathroom and told me she wanted to check my fluid levels. Red flag. I’m thinking oh great, now they got me. She checks and she measured a 9. The baby is great. When she walks me out she looks right at me and almost begs me to go to the hospital. Seemed really weird at the time. Well, that night, I did not have the baby, since she did tell me I was in labor. On the 10th, I called and canceled my c-section. I’m still having contractions, getting stronger now and I know it’s going to happen. On September 11, I call the doctors office first thing in the morning to set up a NST and I was told a doc would call me back. She said they wanted to talk to me about setting up another c-section. So I thought someone would call me back. I got home around 2:30 and saw an envelope at my front door. Opened it and I was shocked. They were “withdrawing from my professional care due to failure to comply with medical advice” b/c I canceled my c-section multiple times. Why didn’t they tell me that on the phone that Friday morning since I’m due the next day and now I have no doc? No warning, no referral, nothing. At the end of the letter they wrote: “I trust that you understand that my purpose in writing this letter is out of concern for the health and well-being of you and your unborn child.” Okay, they told me 3 times that my baby could be born “stillborn” “dead”. If you were that concerned and I need all these NSTs, why would you drop me? I call my husband; I send e-mails and start calling everyone and everybody that could give me some advice. I start calling doctors offices out of Hinsdale and all tell me that won’t take me. At this point, I’m crying, hysterically. What am I going to do? Can I go to CDH now? Do I want to? I’m hyperventilating. What kind of people do this to a very pregnant person? I call my midwives and see what they recommend. They tell me I can do my NSTs there. I do feel a little better. Saturday: My midwife calls me back and tells me to try UIC or Northwestern. She also says that I should have this baby in the next few days. I decide to call up UIC, Northwestern and Hinsdale L&D departments for some answers. I talked to all three (I will not write what they said to my questions), but Northwestern answers were the best. I found out that if I come down in labor that the residents would take me. So the next day, my husband and I decide to head down b/c I was 3cm and still having tons of contractions. If my baby was “going to die” and I needed to have this baby ASAP, that a hospital that delivers 12,000 babies a year, will deliver this baby today if necessary. I go down and I’m not in labor and I’m sent home. Yeah, I have docs now!! The clinic with residents. I’ll take it. The resident and the nurses were shocked that I was dropped b/c I needed to have a c-section. They didn’t think I needed a c-section. Yes!! We left there in such a great mood. On Monday someone was going to call me to set up an appointment. Monday I get the call that they can’t take me. WHAT????!!!! Since it’s a clinic, they just can’t squeeze me in, and it’s already a 3 hour wait. Then the doc tells me that by law I’m bound to the other practice for 30 days that she advises that I call them to receive care, but if I go into labor to come to Northwestern for a “VTOL” (vaginal trail of labor}. I can’t go back to those docs. She then said that I should try and call the physicians referrals and maybe one of the practices will take me. I try 2 and both say no. I’m crying again, freaking out crying. My husband goes online looking for VBAC friendly docs and finds a message board with a name. He calls, talks to the right person, and 15 minutes later a doc calls us back Dr. Brian Foley. I tell him everything and he didn’t even hesitate and accepts me as a patient. My superman. I’m crying so hard on the phone thanking him so much for taking me. We set up an appointment for that Friday and he said I shouldn’t go past this weekend that we’ll set up an induction for Saturday if I don’t go into labor. He said if I go into labor before than just call them like I’m a patient and he’ll let all the docs know what’s going on. I’m happy but still worried.
Finally the birth story!! So that all happened on Monday! Wednesday at 3 a.m. on the dot. I wake up to contractions. I’ve been waking up the past few days, so I try and go back to sleep. I wake up at again at 3:30 and decide to go downstairs and time them. By 4:00, I decide I’m in labor; they’re about 8-9 minutes apart. I call my sister-in-law to come over and I call my doula Sarah (who is such a wonderful person and I recommend a doula for their great support). I call the doc who tells me to come on down. We leave around 5:00 a.m. We get downtown around 6, go into Triage and get checked in and hooked up. Around 7 I get checked and I’m at 4 cm 100% effaced. This is really it. Everything looks good and I’m sent up to L&D. My nurse Nicki, is super nice. After a thousand questions, a heplock and blood work, it’s probably around 8:30 and we decide to walk the halls. I’m hooked up to an electric fetal monitor, which keeps falling. There’s not much room to walk the floor and I get bored, the contractions are coming stronger and a little closer. Oprah is going to be on and I want to watch it. We get to the room and all of a sudden, the contractions are even stronger. The doc comes in and I ask her to check me. I think I’m a 7. Guess what, only a 5. I ask about an epidural and I have a few questions. My husband and doula say I can do it. My response, I know I can do it I’ve done it 3 times before without drugs, but I don’t want to. I’m tired, and I don’t have the fight in me. I put up a fight of my life these past few weeks with these docs and I’m tired. The Anesthesiologist comes to answer my questions, hey Oprah is on. I say hold on I have a contraction coming, OMG, I’m screaming and crying (which I didn’t do for my other ones) I look up and said in an “Exorcist” voice, “GET ME AN EPIDURAL!” All of a sudden another contraction and the urge to push, “I HAVE TO PUSH.” The bed gets broken down, the doc has me move down and the baby’s head is crowning. The whole time, I’m thinking, I just want the epidural. I actually always thought that I would feel like I can’t push b/c of all the fear of uterine rupture, but that thought didn’t even cross my mind. So one more contraction, here’s the head, and I had a little trouble with her shoulders and out she came at 9:18 a.m. I went from 5cm to her completely out in 10 minutes from what I was told. It was so fast and furious and amazing. I was so happy. Dr. Chen was awesome. My placenta came right out without pitocin (which is normal for nurses to give you a shot of it to get the placenta out) and I was up to the bathroom by myself in an hour. Only two stitches. I felt great! I did it. I knew I could. It was the best delivery of all my girls and the fastest recovery time (I’m two weeks postpartum right now). We were made to have children and we should have the option on how we birth them. I hope my story can help just one woman out there. We can’t sit here and let these docs control our given right to birth!!