*** Disclaimer again: Before I begin I would like to preface this post with a few things. First off, I have not shared the details of this birth publicly since he was born. This was largely due to the most insensitive and hurtful comments that I have ever seen a person make online regarding my loss without them even knowing the details. Please bear in mind that I lost my son and no one carries that burden of loss more than I do. If you comment with anything that is offensive, mean, or otherwise insensitive it will get deleted. Secondly I am writing this birth story in 3 separate blogs, the pregnancy and labor, the birth, and the hospital trasnfer. I am doing this because 1- there is just too much information to put it all in one post and 2-I want to separate my emotions from those three cycles of this process. The labor was amazingly beautiful, the birth was somewhat scary, and the hospital transfer was nothing short of infuriating.****
Here I was the moment I had been waiting for and missed with my first two babies. It was time to push! I remember just thinking how close I was to this being over and how I couldn't wait so that the burden of looming loss would finally go away.
I pretty much followed my instincts in regards to pushing. It felt best to stand in between contractions and push in a squatting position. I actually didn't even know at the time that squatting opens the pelvic inlet 30% more than normal. Instincts are such an amazing thing we have. I was in such a labor daze that I am unaware of exactly how long it took to push. I do know that my cervical lip was still there and that while pushing my midwife pushed it out of the way so that I could get the baby past my cervix.
There was a point in the pushing process that I was shown a mirror and I could see his head. I think the reason they did that is because they wanted me to see that I was so close to birthing. It helped to know that his head was literally right there.
It was not long after that things quickly changed. I recall hearing my midwife tell her assistant to check heart tones in between my contractions. I remember it like it was yesterday very very vividly. There was complete and utter silence. No heartbeat, not even the swooshing of the placenta. That feeling I had the entire pregnancy of a heartbeat not being found was happening. While I prepared for the worst at every prenatal, I never quite imagined that this may occur during my labor.
At this point the mood seemed to completely change. I could hear a lot of hustling behind me and encouragement for me to get the baby born. I remember hearing my midwife say "call them" telling someone to call 911. When I heard that I pushed with every single thing I had in me. I could feel the infamous ring of fire and hoped this meant it was almost over. In reality it had only just begun.
Once his head was born I could not push anymore and he was not moving out. I could tell by the look on my midwife's face that something was really wrong. She gave me a stern yet gentle stare and said " I need you to push. This baby needs to come out now!" Only I had no energy to "purple push" as they call it. I had no contractions and I had no energy left. So there I was with my baby stuck and nothing anyone could do.
It took 30 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. Police and EMT volunteers were there within minutes and NONE of them did anything. Not one single thing. They stood around and stared at me like I was in the circus. Once the ambulance finally arrived they kicked everyone out of the room. They were completely and utterly clueless about what to do. They were on the phone with the hospital asking what to do and while they were looking at each other trying to figure out what they needed to do the urge to push came back really strongly. I said more than once I need to push and my (ex) husband got their attention and with that push the rest of his body was born.
I remember saying how good that felt to be done. I looked up and saw that it was a boy and saw that he was totally lifeless. We asked them not to cut the cord they did it anyway. They never even attempted to resuscitate him AT ALL. No CPR, no oxygen, and I am not even sure they checked for a pulse. Not only did they do nothing they didn't even let me see him.
I plan to continue the transfer part of this story in the next blog but before I do I want to address a few things about this part of my story.
First I would like to say that there have been many times where people have questioned or assumed that this happened because I was at home and being in the hospital somehow would have changed things. To that I would like to point out a few things:
1- Continuous fetal monitoring does not improve birth outcomes at all.
"Admission electronic fetal monitoring did not decrease neonatal morbidity and mortality compared with intermittent auscultation. Patients in the admission fetal monitoring group were more likely to receive continuous electronic monitoring and fetal blood sampling, but there were no significant differences in the rates of operative deliveries or episiotomy. Institutions not routinely using admission electronic fetal monitoring should not start; those that do may not be benefiting their patients." - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12791223/
So while yes in the hospital I would have had continuous fetal monitoring, the intermittent monitoring of the baby was sufficient enough to show if there was issues. In my case whatever occurred happened quickly and the outcome would have been NO different in the hospital.
2- The shoulder dystocia. I have processed my birth in many ways and often over the last 6 years. I know that there will be some that say "well see your pelvis was too narrow". He was very large ( will get into that on the next blog) and I gave birth twice after that vaginally to babies that were 2+ lbs bigger than my c-section baby so, no my pelvis is just fine thank you very much.
Also I am pretty sure that my baby passed away before his head was born. Now Allah only knows for sure when He took his soul but from what little I do know I think he was already gone. Babies must be active participants in the birth process. It is a team effort. Once the head is born the baby usually rotates itself to allow the shoulders to come out. My baby was no longer actively particpating in the birth. I am not sure if the shoulder dystocia I had was due to his size or due to the fact that he was not rotating or moving at all.
Also this is NOT a predictable situation. Shoulder dystocia can happen with babies of ALL sizes. This is not something that anyone could have seen coming ahead of time. And the situation would have been the same in a hospital.
3- This is more about my religion than anything else. One of the pillars of Imaan (faith) is belief in the Divine decree of Allah. In other words what is written to occur in ones life cannot be changed. The pen has dried. Our entire life is written out while in the wombs of our mothers.
" Narrated Abdullah: Allah's Apostle, the true and truly inspired said, "(as regards your creation), every one of you is collected in the womb of his mother for the first forty days, and then he becomes a clot for an other forty days, and then a piece of flesh for an other forty days. Then Allah sends an angel to write four words: He writes his deeds, time of his death, means of his livelihood, and whether he will be wretched or blessed (in religion)....." Sahih Bukhari
So my sons life as short as it may have been, was already decided upon and written out long before the labor pains began. It didn't matter what I did or where he was born or any of that he was meant to die a sinless person and return to Allah with a pure soul. And for that I am honored and eternally blessed to have been able to be a part of that little life even if it was short.
The transfer to the hospital part of this birth story will be soon coming.....
If you missed it---- Part One: The Beginning, and Part Three: The Aftermath