Well my last published post was Joseph's birth story, so here we are 2.5 years later, welcoming his little brother, Matthew Thomas! Buckle up for a long story. [All photos by Lane B. Photography]
At 10:23 a.m. on May 8, 2018, we welcomed Matthew Thomas Polley!
My pregnancy with Matthew was identical to how it was with Joseph. Big, straight-out belly, no nausea, and overall very pleasant. I even gained the exact same amount of weight I did with J. Everything was so similar, I even expected to go into labor at the same point I did with Joseph (40 + 6). Hahaha. Well that day came and went! There was a big full moon the weekend of my due date. Nope, didn't do it. I got a massage and she did trigger points on my feet. Didn't do it. Pedicure. Didn't do it. Pineapple, spicy foods, walking, bouncing on a ball, and more ;) ... didn't do it. Since I was a TOLAC (trial of labor after cesarean) candidate, we started talking induction as it would be better to have him sooner than later. Awesome - I was all for getting this baby out.
At 41 weeks, the plan was to go in Monday night at 8 p.m. to try for an induction. (This felt incredibly weird - like we were checking into a hotel instead of going to have a baby.) The only way they would be able to induce was with a Foley catheter, and I needed to be at least a 1, which I was, and my midwife the Thursday before was sure they would be able to get it in.
The midwife on-call Monday night checked me and I was barely a 1, but she was still willing to try inducing as another midwife had told her that I really wanted to try for a VBAC. Then she palpated my stomach to check baby's position. She wasn't quite sure where he was presenting, so she performed a sonogram and saw that he was sideways. (Yes - my giant baby still had enough room to move around and be sideways after being head down for weeks, and after I had been seeing a chiropractor regularly throughout the third trimester.)
She also noticed that I had a lot of fluid in there and asked if I knew or suspected that I had polyhydramnios again - well this was grievance number 1 of the birth because I had asked this same midwife about my fluid levels just two weeks prior and she had said that she only saw normal pockets of fluid. So, thanks for that.
Moving on. Since induction was not an option (unstable lie, excess fluid, chance of cord prolapse with labor), we decided I would have a repeat C section (RCS) the next morning. Fine! We had prayed for a clear answer and it seemed like this was it. They gave me an Ambien and we got one more good night of sleep.
The next morning, they drew some blood and started talking C section. In talking with my L&D nurse, Barb, she asked why they weren't going to try a version to reposition baby. I had asked the midwife the night before if I could leave, try to get him into a better position and then come back. She had made it sound like that wasn't an option, but now Barb was asking about it as well. She took the time to check with the doctor and to see if that was an option. She had the OB come in to check me, and I was still at a 1 and they still recommended a RCS. Fine - thank you for checking.
Just to be sure, they took a second blood sample to recount the platelets. Someone somewhere in the hospital took a look through a microscope and physically counted my platelets on a slide. I needed them to be at 100 or more to receive spinal anesthesia. The final count was 84.
This was devastating. Every step along the way I kept thinking, okay well if I have to have another C section, at least it can be "gentle" - they can drop the drape, I can hold baby in the OR, etc as it wouldn't be an emergency. What I got instead was my worst case scenario where I would have to be knocked out for the procedure. My husband and my birth photographer would not be able to be in the room, and I wouldn't be able to hear that first cry.
A few days later I would finally hear the two words that name this condition and would be on repeat in my head for a few weeks: gestational thrombocytopenia. I didn't understand why there wasn't a way to treat this either in the hospital at home. Could I not go home for a few days, take some pills or receive IV platelets - something/anything to bring my platelets up so I wouldn't have to be knocked out? Nobody seemed really clear on this, other than the only way to treat it was to get the baby out.
I have to say that along the way, Barb took lots of time reporting back to the OB and checking in with various personnel to make absolutely sure that this was how my story needed to play out, especially since nothing was emergent about my condition. She advocated for me and asked all the questions that I would have been asking myself or saying "what if" to over the next days/weeks. Thank you, Barb!!
Once I had calmed down a bit and stopped crying, we had a little family prayer time and then it was time to go back! For general anesthesia, they want to get baby out as quickly as possible once you're under to keep the baby from receiving the effects of the anesthesia, so they do as much as possible prior to knocking you out. The wait was somewhat terrible, mostly because of the weight of my giant pregnant belly while lying on my back. They also had to insert a catheter before I was knocked out as well... you can imagine how pleasant that was. But the saving grace of it all was the team around me - thanks be to God. They were fun, light-hearted, and pleasant to be around. I knew I was in good hands. Once the anesthesiologist ensured everything was ready to go, I said "Good night and good luck," and it was off to dream land.
Are you ready for me to sing more praises for Barb? Here we go.
While I was under, Barb...
- Used my photographer's camera and Mark's phone to take pictures and videos.
- Made sure they didn't weigh/measure Matthew so they could do it in the room once I was awake.
- Had the mother/baby nurse, Taylor, place Matthew on me for skin-to-skin.
- Had Matthew taken out to the recovery room so Mark could hold him while they waited for my procedure to finish.
- Took pictures of and brought my placenta back to the recovery room (per my gross/unusual request!).
She was phenomenal, and without her I would feel much different about how that day went.
Soon I was back in the recovery room getting to see and meet my son. He was huge and perfect. They called out his measurements and we were all shocked - 10 pounds, 11 ounces. DAMN. The next hour or two was a blur of morphine and endorphins - I kept saying, "I'm just so happy!" but also yelling some expletives when I moved or coughed the wrong way. (C sections are so common you forget how major a surgery it is.)
|He's HOW BIG??|
|I think I'm talking about the catheter here. Hahaha|
All in all, everything was horrible and not at all what I expected. I felt for a moment like God had abandoned me. I didn't understand why every step of the way I was sent down the worst path. But it's possible that if I had gone into labor that his cord would have prolapsed, or I would've had to push out a 10 pound baby without an epidural, or I could've had a baby and then experienced brain death. I know it's terribly cliche, but I have to quote Garth: "some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers." He answered our prayers in other ways - through the care providers and through modern medicine. We have a healthy baby boy and I'm here and healthy as well. Thank you, Jesus.
|Elaine! (Lane B Photography)|