More news in our world! We welcomed our second son, Jensen Luke, into the world on his due date! How often does that happen?! While his birth also did not go as planned, it was 100% better experience than we had last time. Let’s start at the beginning.
We got pregnant when Q was 13 months old and then moved (transferred) from Yoakum to Georgetown in my first trimester. (What is it with us and moving while we are pregnant and the timing isn’t convenient?!) So, by the time we got here and settled enough to find a doctor, I was in my second trimester. We tried a birth center first, hoping to attempt a VBAC birth (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), but they said based on my history I was risky. (Knowing what I know now, I’m so glad we listened!) They referred us to Nurture clinic in North Austin where they’re a Midwife focused practice and are known for a low csection rate. We met with the Midwife Bergen and were hooked. She also heard my story about Quinton’s birth and diagnosed me with postnatal PTSD!!! What a relief it was to have an actual “diagnosis” and realize that I wasn’t just overreacting or dramatic. After 6 sessions with a therapist, I was able to get the PTSD under control and was looking forward to a re-do birth experience.
Every single experience at Nurture was so wonderful. Their practice has you try to meet everyone so that when you get to the hospital, whoever is on call is who attends your birth. They do a 24 hour call period and after 24 hrs, you just get the next on rotation. They are all on the same page as far as their practice is concerned, and care is consistent. So, after always asking as many obnoxious questions as possible, I felt really confident that they’d be able to help me get exactly what I wanted.
Another thing that was different about the experience with J versus Q is we decided to have a doula. One of B’s friends from college, Lori, is a wonderful mother of 3 and has always wanted to be a doula, so she started pursuing that this year and needed to attend a couple births as part of her training. We asked her if we could be one of those births and she graciously agreed. Let me tell you what, having a doula available is wonderful. She was able to help advocate for us when we got to the hospital, and remind us of the things that we wanted and when we forgot what we’d said we wanted in the heat of the moment. She was a great support for B when I was taken away for a the csection too, and helped him remain calm while the unknown was happening in the OR again.
So, fast forward to the day before/of labor. I woke up at 4:30 am with some pretty bad cramps, and they lasted for a couple hours but then they stopped and I got a little more rest and went on with the day as normal. Had my chiro appt, and went up to the DPS office to say hi to the secretaries cos they’d been asking about me and the pregnancy. On the way home the contractions decided to start going again, about 2-3 each hour. B took Q and the dog out to Petsmart while I cooked dinner and during that time, the contractions started happening a bit more frequently.
I figured it was enough to let my “people” (Mom and sister Genna and doula Lori) know that I was having contractions again and they were starting to be more regular so please stand by. I didn’t want to cry wolf, but because the people would need about 2 hours notice to get here, I was really ready to have them close by around 6:30. I sent the word. Please come. Everyone got to our apartment by 9, and we waited. And breathed. And contracted. They weren’t too bad, but once they got to being about 1.5-2min long around midnight, G pointed out that if I was starting to say they hurt a little and were more than just “uncomfortable”, we probably should go to the hospital. We realized she was probably right, so we loaded up and went to the hospital. We got to triage around 2am and found out I was dilated to an 8 and Dr. Kaufman could actually feel my waters bulging. This was it for sure. They moved me to a L&D room and I labored some more. Lori had a technique that made EVERYTHING feel so much better. We called it the hip squeeze. She showed B how to do it too, and every time I had a contraction, they’d take turns or work together to do that move. It took the pain from a 7 to a 5 instantly. Around 5am, I started feeling more intense, transitionary contractions and baby’s heart rate was fluctuating from the stress. We moved positions a lot and that helped it come back up. A little while later, I felt like I was starting to need to push so Dr. Kaufman went to check me again. As she inserted her fingers, my water burst in that dramatic gushing movie style way! Whoa! We were going to have a baby in moments! “Oh. Hold on. That’s the cord, not the head.” Dr. K said quite calmly, “This is an emergency csection scenario. I’m so sorry but there’s no way to avoid this. Nurse, call OR stat. I’m going to have to ride the bed to the OR because I cannot move my hand or the cord will come and we might lose baby. Are you okay with this, Arielle?” Yes. Suddenly more contractions stronger than any others, and I couldn’t focus on anything other than the pain and pushing sensation as my body struggled against the doctor’s pressure back. They put an oxygen mask on me and that helped J too. It felt like it took years to prep me in the OR, but it was probably actually less than 10 minutes from “let’s go” to “lights out”. Jensen was born at 6:11am. When I was in recovery, they brought me Jensen almost immediately once I was waking up and even though I wasn’t fully awake, gave him to me and my people rotated visiting. I don’t remember who came first, and who was last, but I remember right before they took us back to the L&D room, Dr. Kaufman came in to check on me and say goodbye because she was going home for the day. She stayed and visited for a long time and explained exactly what happened, why she did what she did, and really genuinely cared that I was mentally/emotionally okay with a repeat csection. She explained that because of the way my pelvis is shaped, there was so much extra room for the cord and head that the cord pushed through first. She has a theory that it is possible something similar happened with Q and though the way it was handled was unethical, it’s possible it could have truly been an emergency too. She strongly urged me to consider never attempting natural labor again as it would be extremely risky to now not only me, but also the baby because of what we know about my pelvis and the shapes of our babies heads. So, next time, we will schedule a csection. And I’m okay with that. Dr. Kaufman’s attention to detail and compassion has definitely helped “cure” my risidual feelings of PTSD. I got to have lots of support for breastfeeding at the hospital from both nurses and lactation consultants! Jensen is a champ and is already gaining back some of his weight. *edit: at his 2 week appointment he had gained nearly a pound and a half!* Every nurse who attended us knew our story, at least enough to be sympathetic, if not knowing all the details. The night nurses especially were sure to wake B and let him follow along every time J was removed from the room. After 2 full days at the hospital, we were missing Q and ready to go home, so morning of day 3, we asked if we could go home and they started the discharge papers. By 1pm, we were all checked out and headed to the car!
Thank you to Lori for your support and amazing doula skills! Can’t wait til you’re all official so I can recommend you to potential clients!!!!
And especially Dr. Kaufman for your calm and cool behavior and working to do everything you could to give me the experience you knew I so desperately desired, and even though it didn’t go as planned, it was still a positive experience!