Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Denise’s Story

William Christopher Rhys Storm Birth story…by Denise Perry
3-27-10, 9:11PM, Cincinnati Ohio

It had been a challenge since even before day one. Infertility. A less than 1% chance of ever having a baby of our own. Fast forward two and a half years and…pregnant…naturally. What followed was about one week of true bliss. Then, a near loss at five weeks, morning sickness that turned into hyperemesis…PICC line…Reglan allergic reaction and then…one blissful month with nothing but paralyzing round ligament pain, no appetite of any kind, reflux and insomnia. At 24 weeks my Braxton Hicks started. I was out of town and having never been pregnant before I wasn’t certain what they were. No pain, just pressure, and strong, constant contractions.  Somehow I knew this wasn’t right. They shouldn’t last 24 hours with not even a one minute break.

That marked my first trip to Labor and Delivery, first of five. I was told to relax and given drugs to stop the contractions.  The next few weeks, the BH contractions lessened to 12 an hour or so…24 hours a day. I made three more trips to L&D. Each time I was sent home and told to ‘relax’. I had been seeing my Dr every week since I got pregnant because I was slightly older and also high risk. The hyperemesis nearly killed us and now, non-stop BH contractions.

For my 29 week appointment I told my Dr I’d had some mild cervical pains. I didn’t think much of it, but I thought I’d mention it. As I hoped, she checked me. We were both surprised that I was dilated to 1.5 centimeters. I was again sent to L&D where I was given a steroid shot for his lungs. I was put on bed rest and told to drink copious amounts of water. I had a husband who worked 15 hrs a day, with a 2 hour commute, so he was gone 17 hours a day. I had no friends and no family in town. I had two dogs to care for. Bed rest was not ideal.

The BH contractions remained, but no pain. My cervix went back down to 1 centimeter by my week 30 appointment. On my week 32 appointment my Dr told me she really, really wanted me to make it to 33 weeks. She said the baby would fare much better at 33 weeks. The good news was he was measuring very large.  It was March and I asked her if she thought I’d make it to May (May 2010). She smiled and said, “I really think you will. You’ve had five fetal fiber nectin tests. Today’s is the fifth and last one, I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

The next day, Thursday, I reached 33 weeks. The next morning, Friday, I felt a squirt. I instantly knew but I didn’t ‘want’ to know, so I remained calm. The fluid was clear and minimal. I didn’t even tell my husband.  One hour later at 11am, another squirt. Still clear. I told Chris I thought my water was breaking. We went to see my Dr, but she was on vacation. We saw another Dr from the practice. He confirmed my fiber nectin test came back negative and I must have peed.

Now, I know the difference between pee and leaking water. I told him I leaked water but he said there’s no way. I was only 1 centimeter still and I definitely peed. I stood up and maybe ½ a cup of bloody but watery fluid came out. I told him and he said “Oh that’s common after the test I ran, to see if it was fluid or not, which it’s not.” The man was insane. I was furious. I was also in denial. A moment later I got moderate lower back cramps. I told him I was having menstrual cramps and he said to go home and rest.

The cramps worsened and were non-stop, some mild, some moderate, some strong. No more bleeding or leaking, but the pain was bad enough for me to almost throw up. All my friends said to go to the hospital but he’d be the Dr on call and clearly he was inept. I suffered through the night with no sleep. Chris massaged my back which helped some. I called that same Dr at 3am and he said he didn’t remember me, but I maybe had a kidney stone.  Again, he was insane. I knew his rotation ended at 8am. At 8am I called and another Dr, one I knew and liked, was on-call. She said to get there ASAP.

It was my husband’s first day at his new job. I held off until 10am to call him. We arrived at the hospital at 11am, 24 hrs after the initial squirt. I got to L&D and got into my gown and 10 seconds later there was a rush of lumpy, green water, which poured out all over me, the bed, the gown and the floor. The Dr entered and smiled and said “Yup, your water broke alright. You only became 33 weeks two days ago. We’ll keep you pregnant for as long as possible. We hope for a week.”

Well that never happened. I walked from L&D to the delivery room, with the green ooze still leaking. It was so gross! But it was a Saturday morning and I was the only patient so at least others didn’t have to witness the nastiness that trailed behind me. Without cleaning me, they had me get into bed and put the monitor on me. Also an IV of saline and asked if I wanted any IV drugs, to which I said ‘no.’ The Dr checked me and I was at 2 centimeters.

It was 100% back labor and the contractions were 1 minute apart the entire time. Chris had to leave me there to go home and get my mom, who’d just flown in, and feed the dogs and get my bag. I texted everyone and sat there, alone, for the longest hour of my life. The pain was worsening but not unbearable. I just recall feeling lonely and angered that no one was there with me. They did another ultra sound and said he looked to be 5 lbs 3 oz. She also said there was a ton ‘more’ water up over his bottom, which was near my ribs. Finally Chris returned with Mom. I needed a back massage to keep the pain at bay.

Mom and Chris switched off and I remained in ‘the zone’. For some reason, I just knew William would be okay. I wasn’t scared. I never screamed, cussed, sweated or even squeezed Chris’s hand. I did puke at 2pm though and that angered me. I was not checked, in fact, I never saw the nurse again really. At 7pm, 32 hours after labor began; I was tired and thought I may only still be 2 centimeters. I just wanted sleep. The pain was bad, but tolerable so long as I got my lower back massaged. I caved and asked for the epidural. The checked me and I was 7 centimeters. I got the epi and it worked like a charm. I posed for pictures and video and then fell asleep.

I woke up at 9PM, to a new nurse, telling me I was 10 centimeters and it was time.  I felt nothing, but a little pressure. Around 9:05PM the Dr came in and started to set up. I always feared vaginal birth and wondered how I’d feel when faced with it. I felt…nothing…really. I think I was in shock still, and had endured 34 hrs of labor, 32 unmediated, hadn’t slept since Thursday night and I was tired, and totally numb from the waist down. There were 3 Drs and 8 nurses in the room. Chris stood next to my Dr, as did the one nurse, which left me…well…alone. No one was near my head. No one to hold my hand.

I held my legs and I knew from TV shows they say to push at your bottom…your numb bottom. So, I did. I pushed as hard as I possibly could. Everyone was impressed. They all said “Wow, that’s one great push! Just a couple more.” Wow. That was fast. I have asthma so I got out of breath and asked for a break after three pushes. The Dr gave me a look like…’seriously?’ They gave me the oxygen mask which helped. She said “One more” and I did. Then she said, “One more,” and I said, “Hey! You lied!” She had no sense of humor though. I was shocked he was already there, after 4, maybe 5 pushes. We believe it was the 6th push when I saw the Dr yank my son out. She turned away because a tsunami of green fluid rushed out and doused her and the baby. Then she showed me William for three seconds. He peed on her. I said “He’s so tiny.”

He did not cry. He never did. I was finally scared. I could not see him but Chris said he had ‘black eyes’. I thought, great…not what I needed to hear. After 4 minutes, William grunted, little high pitched grunts. They told me he weighed 5 lbs, 6 oz and was 19 inches long. He was born at 9:11PM on March 27, 2010, at 33 weeks and 2 days gestation. I got to hold him for 10 seconds. I posed for one picture. Then he was sent away, 20 miles away, to the Children’s Hospital…where my month long NICU experience began. To read about that in further detail, please visit my blog: http://sobe73.blogspot.com/

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.

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