The Birth of Baby Lena
I've been waiting what seems like forever to write this blog and now that the time has come, I've lost the words to describe just how amazing the birth of our third child, Lena, was. A few that come to mind are intense, emotional, defining, proud, and passionate.
Many do not know, but I was born with Uterus Didelphys. Which is a rare congenital abnormality that can cause problems to come up throughout childbearing years. (I'll let you do your own googling) Our concern/wish was that I had two previous cesareans largely due to breech presentation and I wanted a TOLAC (trial of labor after cesarean)
Why would I want to go through labor after having two cesarean births? Recovery. Yes, I wanted to experience a non surgical birth. But mostly, I wanted to have a better recovery. I wanted to be left alone mostly during my birth to connect with my husband and my baby. I wanted to experience a peaceful birth that I could be in control of. But we all know that birth and control are contradictory. ESPECIALLY with 3rd babies.
Still, we jumped through the hoops and with the help of my birth team. Lena and I made it to the end together, head down and looking perfectly for labor.
This time a week ago was August 30. Brandon had the day off for his birthday, and I, of course filled the day with honey-do's. We dropped the kids off. Had a yummy breakfast. Did some grocery shopping and went to see Jannell. (our Chiropractor) When I got adjusted, we jokingly, or maybe not so jokingly, asked her to "Do all the things" to help labor start because Brandon wanted to share his birthday. She did press a couple pressure points and got me lined out. Lena would come when she was ready, and my body seemed to be doing everything right to prepare for her arrival. Be it vaginally or cesarean.
That evening, I made one of Brandon's favorite meals and sang him happy birthday before heading to bed.
12:57 My water broke
I woke up to my water breaking. I immediately stood up in shock. Frozen. I stood there while fluid poured onto the carpet. I couldn't believe this was happening. It took me a minute to realize I wasn't dreaming and that I should probably waddle my way to the bathroom. I did just that. leaving a trail of fluid behind me.
I thought to myself, should I even wake anyone up? So I texted my friend and birth photographer/doula Brittany:
"My water just broke. I'm going to put on some Depends and go back to sleep."
I decided to get in the shower and then head back to bed until contractions started. But as I was showering the contractions hit. They were pretty frequent. I stayed in the shower for long enough for Brandon to come check on me and when I got out I knew I wouldn't be going back to bed. I got on the birth ball and timed them.
2-3 minutes apart.
I felt great. Contractions were coming and I was excited. They soon got intense and I got into the bath. During the bath a contraction would come and I would think to myself, I need to get out of here. then it'd pass and I'd think, oh no I'm fine. I can stay home a little longer. We're good. Some time passed and a strong wave came and I immediately wanted out of the bath and to head into Tulsa. I noticed some light meconium in my fluid. So I knew I needed to go in sooner than I had planned.
Brandon and I were lucky enough to get a hold of Kate, Brandon's sister, and she came over so we didn't need to wake the kids.
Left the house at 3:08AM
In the car we BLARED the playlist I had made and I was able to refocus my energy and gain some peace. It was a really good ride actually. I had expected the drive to be the worst part. It ended up being one of the best moments.
Arrived at OSU Medical 3:30
As soon as I arrived, we were able to call to LnD and they came to get me with a wheelchair. They didn't know I was TOLAC or that I hadn't labored. They didn't seem to take me seriously on telling them my water broke. So things were going pretty slow. I requested the labor tub, but when they asked if my water broke, I pretty much knew that I wasn't going to get to use the tub. No big deal. Not worth a fight.
We got into room 10 and I continued to labor. When I was able to give them some health history, they picked up the pace with care and soon I was laboring pretty hard. Brittany made it there and it seemed like we were off to an amazing start.
First vaginal check. 1cm and thick.
Shocked... With my labor pattern and the pressure and symptoms, I was not prepared to be 1cm and thick. But I wasn't going to go down the rabbit hole of thoughts, I continued on. Brandon was a tremendous help keeping me focused and encouraging me. We sent Brittany home and thought we were in it for the long haul.
Not long after Brittany left, something changed.
5:57 Baby Lena started having dips in her heart rate.
A contraction would come and I would completely lose myself. This was a sensation that I'm still not quite able to describe. I was coming off the bed and I was very loud. The room filled up and I asked an attending to check me again.
1cm 80% effaced.
Lena kept having dips. I started throwing up. They wanted to keep me on my back. Something didn't feel right.
I looked through the oxygen mask at nurse Angela and yelled, or felt like I yelled. "Get Babb here NOW!" I didn't know, but he was already on his way. Within a few minutes, he was there. I'm not sure what we said to each other. But we decided together that we needed to have a baby soon.
We tried to get Brittany back in time to join us in the OR, but it just wasn't possible. Lena needed to be born and so we went back. I gave my camera to a medical student and hoped for the best.
Here are a few of her shots.
After we got things started, it was apparent what had happened. My abdomen was filling up with amniotic fluid and meconium because I had suffered a uterine rupture. The rupture was about two fingers wide at the original scar from my cesarean with Foster. Luckily, my bladder happened to be full and in the wrong place, which held pressure against the rupture until Lena was born.
Lena Marie: 7:00AM
Lena was a bit "floppy" but after an hour of transitional care, she was able to be brought to me. and our family was reunited.
If anything is consistent, it's that birth is never a plan and third babies are crazy. Lena and her story is one I am thankful to share. I am so happy to have been able to labor, even a short time. I'm happy to have such an amazing partner in all of this. He keeps me grounded and I couldn't imagine doing any of it without him. I'm thankful for Dr. Babb and his trust in me, my instincts, and his willingness to keep watch over me during my decision to TOLAC.
Looking back at each birth and how it has shaped me as a woman, mother, and doula. I'm most thankful for this experience and the passionate care of everyone around me.
Lena Marie 8/31/2019 | 6lbs 10oz | 18 1/2 in. | 7AM