Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Confessions of a Mom who Birthed a Big Baby

©Susie Seigler 2011. Susie gives us perspective on how it feels to birth a larger than average baby and also what can happen when you transfer after birth for breathing concerns.

“Matthew's Birth Story 11/21/10 

Contractions started Saturday morning at 3am. They woke me up and were about 5 minutes apart but short. I stayed up timing them until Josh got up for work at 5:30am. Shortly after he left I got in the tub for my lower back pain and the contractions started coming every 3-4 minutes so I got out of the tub since I didn't want the baby to arrive while Josh was working!

I napped for a bit and then called my midwife around 7:30 to let her know that I thought this was going to be the day. She told me to eat a good breakfast, rest and call her back with updates. I napped off and on for the rest of the morning but I was having horrible back pains and it was hard to relax and rest during contractions. They were staying consistent about 5-6 minutes apart and lasting 45 seconds or so apart. I talked to the midwife again around 4pm or so after Josh had got home from work and we decided that I would meet the student midwife at the birth center and assess the situation. 

We met at 5:30pm at the birth center. I consented to a cervical exam and I was a nice, stretchy 4cm and his head was at a -3. So we decided to go home, eat dinner and rest since Josh had been at work all day. Josh slept; I got in the tub, out of the tub, in the tub, out of the tub. My back was aching so badly. I decided to lay draped over the side of my bed and rocked my hips during contractions. Around 9pm my midwife called to check on me. I told her how things were going and she suggested that I try drinking a glass of wine to get some rest. I told her all we had was beer so she suggested I drink a beer and settle down to sleep. So I grabbed me a Bud Light and a straw, chugged it, and promptly went to sleep! 

I woke up about 11 with the shakes and very hard contractions. I was actually worried I had hit transition and would be having this baby on my own! I called the midwife and told her I needed to get to the birth center NOW. I could not stop shaking. My thighs and hands were trembling and it was really hard to force myself to breathe and relax during the contractions. I woke Josh up and we headed to the birth center.

When we got there the student midwife (B) met us there and soon after my midwife (L) arrived. They did an initial assessment of my blood pressure, temp, and all that stuff. I consented to another cervical check and B informed me that I had made amazing progress while I was at home. I was now 6cm and my cervix was completely thinned out. Matthew had also come down and was in a good position. My back labor was much better thanks to draping over the bed. I got in the tub and it was awesome. I actually think I was nodding off between contractions and the midwives joked that I might go underwater. 

I got out of the tub to pee and didn't feel like getting back in after that. This was around 2am. So I went to the bed and rested in between contractions. Sometime in here (I lost track of time) I started feeling slightly pushy and told the midwife (A) when she came in to check his heart rate. She sat with me through a few contractions and rubbed my legs.

She left briefly to go tell B and L and they quietly started laying stuff out to prepare for the birth. It really helped a lot to remind myself to breathe and relax. B asked me to breathe through the contractions when I felt the urge to push to make sure I was complete. I did this for what seems like forever but I am sure it wasn't that long. Josh got in the bed beside me and was rubbing my hair and holding my hand and talking me through the contractions to really keep me focused.

I finally couldn't control the urge to push any longer and B told me to just push when I felt the urge and rest in between. I didn't force anything at all, just pushed as I felt it. I really felt the urge that I NEEDED to get on my right side and not my left and they helped me roll over between contractions. Josh and L helped me to hold my left leg up while pushing and L urged me to curve inward like I was doing a crunch during pushing to help.

I'm not sure how long I pushed before my water broke. I know I felt it before it broke and it was about an inch inside my vagina at that point. Once it broke I REALLY had to push. I could not stop it then. B kept reminding me to breathe and allow myself to relax and rest in between urges. I know Matthew had hiccups after my water broke and he was kicking as well. It was soo painful, I remember fighting back tears from the pain of his kicking. They were applying warm compresses to my perineum and B rubbed oil around his head and my vagina to prepare the perineum (prevent tearing). 

His head started crowning and B coached me to slow things down and do short, grunty pushes so I would not tear. His head was born and he immediately started crying. I pushed two more times for his shoulders and then once more for the body. Time of birth was 6:30 am with just over 27 hours of labor. They laid him right away on my chest as he was crying. He was gargly sounding so L suctioned him and he started pinking up nicely. We nursed right away. We cuddled with him for about an hour or so. The midwives cleaned up and then left us alone to bond. 



They came back around 8 to do his newborn exam. He was NOT happy with that and was crying to let everyone know about it. We all took guesses on his weight and L was the closest. She guessed 11, 3 and he was exactly 11 pounds. He was 22 3/4 inches long with a 14 3/4 inch head and 15-inch chest. The midwives checked me and I had no tearing at all. I had a small scratch on one side from his fingernails where his hand was up by his head coming out. 

While doing the newborn exam L was concerned with the way he was breathing. He was grunting a lot and very wheezy sounding. His chest was also dipping in for breaths and his nostrils were flaring. She asked me to try nursing him again to see if it would help but we couldn't get him to latch on. So she brought out the bag and pumped it over his face a few times to try and clear out his lungs. She did a few other things but he was still wheezing and his thighs and arms were turning dusky. She got the oxygen tank and we held it to his nose but he was not pinking up at all. So L said she would like to call for a transfer to the local NICU. 


We took an ambulance ride to the hospital. I held Matthew on the stretcher for the ride there. They admitted him and said he was having respiratory distress due to fluid in his lungs. The respiratory distress resolved within a day but because of his CBC he ended up being on antibiotics for 9 days before they finally released him to me. 
Healthy and robust after birth
But color fades by the time we get to the hospital
Getting some color back



I hated the entire experience of him being in the NICU. I felt pressured to do things that I didn't want for him. I was made to consent to a spinal tap to rule out meningitis. It was either spinal tap or antibiotics for 21 days. Even though all cultures came back negative, he still had to finish the round of antibiotics because they started them before getting any positive signs of infection. They also were forcing him to take in 3 oz of milk every 3 hours at a week old. They told me he couldn't go home until he did that for 24 hours. I ended up staying at the NICU overnight so that I could exclusively nurse and lied about the amounts he was taking in just so we could go home. From research, I have learned that he probably had TTN (transient tachypnea of the newborn), perhaps related to his large size."

1 comment:

  1. I just read this on Pinterest congratulations on your beautiful baby!
    It totally struck a cord with me as it was almost the same story with my big sturdy baby! She was born 10lb 12oz with a midwife at a local hospital it was a long birth because she got her chubby cheeks stuck.

    She did great after birth also a little gurgly but able to nurse and totally calm. The nurses insisted on wrapping her in a bunch of blankets under the warmer like she was a 6lb peanut. Of course she developed a temp and within an hour they took my baby to another hospital saying that she was needing oxygen and tachypneic. She really just needed some time to get used to being on the outside world. I was stuck at another hospital and my husband got cooerced into consenting for a spinal tap. She also got formula because of her 'blood sugar' which was never abnormal.

    We only had 5 days in NICU but just took her for her two year follow up for her hearing as the antibiotics she received in NICU can impair hearing-she passed thankfully.
    I'm sure your baby was the same curiosity of the NICU. Lily was 3 times the size of her roommate!
    I never heard of TTN but it makes so much sense now.
    Anyway I just wanted to say congrats again I loved my sturdy baby! (I just had my second daughter and all I kept saying after I delivered her was wow she's so tiny, she's such a peanut-she was 9lb 1oz!)

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