Astra Brooke’s Birth

It was a gorgeous, warm day in January, which you can only expect with the crazy Kansas weather. Like most pregnant women, I was anxious and excited to deliver my baby starting at about 35 weeks along. My due date came and went on January 23, 2011, my baby had a different plan in mind although that plan I will never know for sure. Wanting to go into labor on my own and have as natural as birth as possible, I was worried that the doctor would find something wrong with my baby at my doctor’s appointment, five days overdue on Friday, January 28, 2011. I decided to wear my husband’s “lucky” UPS shirt to hopefully increase the chance of everything being okay with my baby. Right as walking out the door to drive to my doctor’s appointment the phone rang; it was my doctor’s office delaying my appointment until 1:30pm. I then took this chance to ask Mike to clean the upholstery in my car so that it would be clean for our new family addition to ride home in. This of course caused me to run about five minutes late to my appointment, which I had learned was best since I typically had an extended wait for the doctor anyway. After a short wait, I was called back, weighed, sent to an exam room and blood pressure taken, only to be sent right over for a sonogram to evaluate the baby’s amniotic fluid levels. The ultrasound tech informed me that the amniotic fluid was at about 3cm which was a low level. I was then sent back to the waiting room, where I actually began to have some stronger cramp – like pains and was informed by a nurse that they would most likely want to induce that day. I was upset and excited at the same time, obviously wanting to deliver my baby but not until she was ready to come out. I was worried that the baby would be in danger if I chose to resist and wait for labor to come on its own. Already facing a 30 minute wait to visit with my doctor again, I begged the nurse to let me leave so that I could grab a quick sandwich since I knew they would not allow me to eat if we induced. During this break I frantically called family to let them know that we would possibly induce. Back in the exam room, the doctor shortly went over my options with me and we chose to first separate the amniotic sac from the lining of the uterus, also called “stripping the membranes” in hopes of causing labor to come on. They then had me walk over to the hospital side of the building, checked me into a room, gave me a gown, took my blood, asked the first group of the many questions they would ask during my stay and then hooked me up to fetal monitoring – the time was just a bit before 5 PM. To my surprise, the cramp – like feelings I had been having were actually contractions, though just Braxton Hicks contractions and they were fairly close together. Mike showed up shortly with the car seat, radio and hospital bags.

I was then moved to the birthing room, settled in, asked the same set of questions as the previous nurses plus some additional forms that I was required to sign. Mike and I then began making our rounds through the halls of the maternity ward, along with intermittent monitoring. After a couple of hours, the doctor returned to check on my labor progression, since I had not progressed, we decided to break my water. This is done by the doctor with a long, sharp instrument. We then continued our rounds and intermittent monitoring. My labor began around 7:30 PM and pains were intensifying as I attempted to move around in different positions in order to ease pain. As Mike was filling the birthing tub for me, to attempt to ease contractions, the nurse entered the room concerned that our baby’s heart rate had dropped – this is the point where they would no longer allow me to leave the bed, forcing me to have continuous monitoring, I believe the time was around midnight. The contractions were not unbearable, what was were all the interventions the staff wanted to perform on me, not to mention they were forcing me to remain in bed and not only that but I could barely move because it would cause the monitors to fall out of place – I wonder if this was what caused the low heart rate before, maybe the monitor had moved giving an incorrect reading. My doctor began to suggest that we do a cesarean section. The staff insisted we continue with the continuous fetal monitoring even though the baby’s heart rate had maintained a steady rate of 160 BPM for quite some time, since earlier the rate had been around 150 BPM. They decided at this point maybe IV fluids would improve things and when it didn’t change anything, an oxygen mask was given to me, and then in some order; Tylenol and two forms of antibiotics were given intravenously as well as internal monitoring. I felt like a science experiment, as I was forced to lay in bed, with all these different things they were doing to me and not only that but I was caused to feel even less human as they scanned me on my hospital bracelet as they gave me different interventions. My doctor kept insisting that we do a caesarian section, even when I was 9 cm dilated. Without my amazing husband, I would have been overwhelmed and possibly would’ve agreed to an un-needed C-section. He was perfect, he did everything right and was there to talk for me when the hospital staff could not understand me for whatever crazy reason – as they were continuously asking me questions, I would answer between contractions and then they somehow wouldn’t have heard or understand and I of course was in the middle of another contraction and in no mind to answer, so Mike was there for me. When I was only around 7cm dilated I began to have the urge to push though I was told to wait. I’m unsure of when I began to push or how long the process took, Mike guesses around an hour, but I could tell the baby was close to coming out when the room became packed with what seemed to be a mix of viewers/ hospital staff. It was quite a process and at 5:28 AM on Saturday, January 29, 2011 – finally what felt like a fish flopping out of me was my beautiful, 7 lbs 7.2oz, 19 ½ inch long baby girl. She was given directly to me and I allowed her to attempt to nurse as Mike cut the umbilical cord. I held her and within minutes I delivered the placenta and I continued to hold her for about 30 minutes. I handed her off to staff to be weighed and measured, they were then concerned that her temperature was around 103 F and her breathing was fast, so Mike attended as they took her to the NICU Step down nursery. I was understandably overcome with worry about all the things they said were a concern with my baby, besides the breathing and temperature, she also had low blood sugar and they said a heart murmur and I would have to wait hours before my pediatrician came to assess the situation. As my first visitors arrived, so did the pediatrician, informing me that her heart murmur was normal and seen typically as a valve had still not closed that was open in utero for blood to pass from me to her and it would close on its own. Her temperature was normalizing and we needed to decide whether to bottle-feed or tube feed her. I opted to tube feed, afraid of nipple confusion interfering with my breastfeeding success and I think this was the right decision since she would not wake to eat due to her low glucose. We eventually were forced to change to bottle feeding as well as breastfeeding attempts in order to get her out of the nursery and take her home. After only a two day hospital stay and many foot pricks to check glucose, she was allowed to be discharged. We were already in a rush to attempt to beat out the blizzard that was approaching, as we were then opted to make our final decision on her name, resulting in our beautiful Astra Brooke.

Astra -