Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Confessions of an Unassisted Transfer Mama

Continuing with our Confessions Series, where readers submit stories on a variety of childbirth and parenting topics, here is Jessica's birth story. Jessica had a traumatic experience with her previous birth and prepared to birth unassisted this time. But unforeseen circumstances developed, leading her to visit the hospital for the NST and biophysical monitoring. The doctors found that the placenta was calcified and that her fluid levels were low.

 © Jessica C, 2012

  • "I was 16 days overdue on Tuesday, April 3rd. At 10:30pm I started labor. My contractions were going good and at 1:30am my water started leaking. It was clear, so we were thinking not much longer before baby would arrive. I continued to contract every 5 minutes and have clear fluid gushes. 

    At 3:45pm on Wednesday, April 4th, I felt a gush of fluid and when I looked down it was dark green. We immediately called my mother in law, then the hospital. We dressed the girls and went to the hospital, finally getting upstairs at 4:30pm. Then they did an assessment at 4:45pm and husband and I were on the way back to the OR at 5:15pm. 

    My fluid went from green and liquid to dark green and applesauce consistency by the time we got back to the OR. Our daughter, Carly Jane, was born via cesarean surgery at 6:04pm Wednesday, April 4th. She was 9 pounds, 8 ounces and 20 3/4 inches long. 

    We spent all night of the 4th co-sleeping and nursing. On Thursday around 9am, my nurse noticed her breathing was rapid so they took her to nicu to be checked while I put on a new gown and catheter. When the nurse went back to get her she said they want her respiratory rate to be between 40 and 60, but her rate was 85. They told me the pediatrician ordered some blood work and they wanted to get her breathing under control before she left the nice or was allowed to breastfeed. 

    They did blood work and discovered that her WBC was elevated by 10 points and her inflammation score was 1.6. (Should be at a 1). So they started antibiotics and officially admitted her to the nicu. They wouldnt let her eat for fear of her aspirating it. 

    She was in the nicu from 9am until 9:30pm without eating! Then at 9:30pm, her respiratory rate started going down to normal so they brought her to me in my room to nurse and see her daddy and 5 yr old ad 19 mth old sisters who roomed with me. All night her resp rate, wbc, and inflammation level were going back to normal with every rep and lab work check and by 8:00am Friday morning they discharged her from nice. 

    They decided they could just leave in her IV and run her last 3 rounds of antibiotics in my room. Everything except her WBC was perfectly normal by 1:30am Saturday except her WBC was still raised by 6 points. They said they weren't worried about that and as long as her blood culture came back normal on April 7th with nothing growing in it, then we were going to be discharged and get to go home.

    At 11:15 they came in and stopped her last round of antibiotics and said she didn't need them anymore and that everything was perfect and we were leaving. I have never prayed soo hard before in my life nor have I ever been soo scared before. I truly believe it was all the prayers from family, friends, internet friends, and the random people spread out on prayer trees, that turned her from being seriously sick to completely healthy in under 48 hrs."

    In the photo above, Jessica holds her precious daughter after a long journey. The love of a mother surpasses all fear, pain and abuse. Jessica courageously faced her fear and previous trauma to make an informed decision to protect her daughter after it became clear she could not safely birth at home. 

    This amazing, strong mother, who fought for her child every step of the way from pregnancy to after birth, who made difficult decisions amidst unclear information and harshness from medical providers, expressed concern on my page that she was a failure.

    A failure? Does anyone see a failure here? 

    I don't. I see true, authentic love, courage and faith beyond what many would expect from any one. Here are some quotes I want to share for her:

    "Do not dwell in the past, do not fret about the future, instead, focus on the present. Live in the moment with courage and perseverance." ~Pauline Kenyanya 

     "Have courage enough to accept what you can not change, but yet courage enough to stand up and fight for what you can." ~Robert M. Hensel 

    "Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose." ~Tom Krause 

    "Strength and courage aren't always measured in medals and victories. They are measured in the struggles they overcome. The strongest people aren't always the people who win, but the people who don't give up when they lose." ~Ashley Hodgeson

    Jessica might not have "won" a birth at home, but she fought courageously for her daughter and won against her darkest fears.


  1. I, too, felt like a failure for transferring to a hospital after laboring unassisted for 10 hours. I had had three hospital births and so badly wanted a home birth as I felt that was what was best for myself and my baby. But 10 hours was a very long labor for me compared to my previous births, so I began to worry there may be something wrong. Turned out he was fine and we ended up having a nice water birth at the hospital. But all the pain he went through from the unnecessary blood work they did on him afterwords for two days made me feel like I failed him.
    Just reading the title of this post made me sad. :(

  2. Thank you for sharing this important story. I had a homebirth (with midwives), but had we seen any colored fluid, we would have transferred immediately as well. It's so important to know the signs for when a hospital and OBs may be needed -- and they are needed in emergencies like this! Blessings to you and your children!