Friday, April 15, 2016

Doula version of birth

This is the birth story for TJ. He was brought into the world through the body of his surrogate, Sarah, to his parents, T and J.  This was a new experience for Sarah’s Doula, Carleigh-Jo, this is the birth story from her perspective and she is so excited to share the story of your birth!

On January 9th, 2016, around 7:00 am, Sarah, J and T entered the Labor and Delivery area of Riverton Hospital to begin the birth of their son.  Sarah was started on a drug called pitocin to help escalate her contractions and get sweet little TJ down and ready for birth.  In a status posted to Facebook, Sarah mentioned that TJ was “posterior” and that she was at a level 8 of pitocin, so I decided to reach out to Sarah immediately.  I informed her that posterior means TJ is facing backwards, and we really want him to turn forward for the best birthing position.  I gave her a few tips and tricks to help turn him, then asked if she needed me there.  Things were a little more hectic than Sarah had hoped for, but she was doing her best to stay in her hypnosis state, as she was trained to do in her Hypnobabies classes, and be in a place of calm and quiet.  This was the first time her nurse, Jana, had experienced a surrogacy birth and was questioning everything she had requested.  Luckily, Sarah and J had picked out an amazing OB/GYN named Kathleen Langer, who was much more willing to sit an listen to Sarah and her needs.  

Sarah and I continued to text one another. We discussed things that were going on, the feelings she was having, and I offered continuous encouragement through it all.  At 10:10am, with pitocin turned up to a level 10, Sarah  decided it was time for me to be at the hospital with her to help her get through contractions and for additional support through them all.  I let her know I would drop my kids off, and be at the hospital in 20 min… As long as I didn’t get pulled over for speeding!  She wished me luck on that, and I was on my way!

When I got to the hospital, Sarah, T, and J were in room 7 (which is my personal lucky number!) I gave the nurses the code to let me in, and there was Sarah sitting on a birthing ball, concentrating and breathing beautifully through a contraction.  I waited for her to finish. When she looked up and saw me, there was a great big smile on her face. She was glowing, and so ready to have this baby!  I wanted to get her up and to the bathroom in order to keep her bladder empty, that way contractions could be more effective in getting TJ down into the birth path properly. Sarah had another friend there, who had recently been a surrogate for twins, to help distract her, her name was Jennifer too!

Sarah was doing the most incredible job of staying in a very focused zone while going through each contraction.  She was breathing and staying calm, though I know in her mind she was going wild and felt very out of control! We were pretty sure that TJ was still posterior, so we wanted to try and get him into a better position.  I tried a technique where I rocked Sarah’s hips, then I would pop one to try to get the baby to turn.  I tried that a few times on her. When we changed position she said there was a lot of fluid coming out all of a sudden, and the contractions abruptly became  much more intense. We kept making sure Sarah’s bladder was empty, and just let her labor on the toilet; sometimes that’s the most relaxing place to be during labor… Without warning, Sarah began feeling very lightheaded, and slightly nauseous.  She thought she was going to throw up, but she never did. We contemplated getting an epidural, but I asked her to just give me a few more contractions without one, before making a final decision. Again, we made our way to the bathroom, and this time I went in with Sarah.  She was crying.  She was hurting, things were extremely intense.  She was hitting a mental block.  I tickled her arms and rubbed her legs.  I informed her that it’s okay to be scared, that birth can be scary, but she has done this before and she knows she can do it.  I reminded her that she WAS doing it.  Her body was working and it was birthing this amazing baby for some incredible parents waiting on the other side of the door!  She gained back some strength and we went back to the bed.  Sarah labored over the bed for a while, as I provided counter pressure on her hips. Sarah’s friend, Jennifer, was taking pictures, and things were feeling very intense.  Sarah was showing many signs of hitting transition.  The room buzzed with electricity, we were all anticipating things happening very fast from here.  We had T and J reach out to the birth photographer, Ginger.  We decided that Sarah should have her cervix checked and see how much progress had been made. Dr. Langer made her way in and proceeded to check Sarah, and I could tell by her expression that the news was not something we wanted to hear.  She looked at Sarah, and informed her she was still at a stretchy 5+, but she was now fully effaced.  

Hearing this news was not encouraging to Sarah. The pitocin was making her body work extra hard, and she had been doing so well to remain in a relaxed state.  It was exhausting.  She was exhausted.  Her body was stuck, it had stalled out.  We anticipated this, we discussed this, we knew this could happen, yet we were all at a loss when it did.  Sarah called it; she had been laboring, hard laboring, and her body just needed rest.  Her mind needed a break.  We informed the nurse that we were ready for the anesthesiologist, and she called him in.  There were hugs and tears all around.  There were words of encouragement and praise given all over.  We were all truly amazed with everything that Sarah had just done for this little boy to be brought Earthside!

Within moments, Benji Rideout, the on call anesthesiologist,  was in the room and ready to set up.  He was a boisterous man, with a voice you could probably hear in the next room! Everyone cleared the room out so only Sarah and I were together.  I held her hand as he rolled her body to one side, scooted her to the side of the bed and asked her to stay very still.  He explained the whole procedure very well, and made sure she was aware of how to use the epidural.  In no time at all, the pain had subsided, the intensity was gone, and Sarah was now at ease.  

We were then ready to have everyone come back into the room with us.  I was rubbing Sarah’s feet to keep the blood flowing, and making sure she was feeling relaxed.  Though J and T have two other children, this was the first biological child for T. Sarah knew it would be special for his mother to be apart of the birth.  As everyone entered, we realized the room was really hot!   With many bodies in a small space, and having her body working so hard the last several hours, had caused Sarah to start over heating.  I turned the heat way down and tried to get the temperature to drop.  But then Sarah was freezing.  I pushed the thermometer back up pretty high, but Sarah was still shivering.  I went and got her MANY heated blankets.  We had her bundled up in a blanket cocoon, and she finally seemed much better.  Until she could feel lots of pressure building up between her legs, that is.  She knew, I knew, we all knew, that now that her body had relaxed TJ was ready to make his debut!  

This was when excitement built among all of us!  We were waiting for the nurse to come to decide if we should do another cervical check.  Sarah swore she could feel TJ already coming out, there was so much pressure!  I pulled the blankets away, and while I couldn’t see TJ there, Sarah’s vaginal lips were parting and opening up for a little baby head!  Once the nurse arrived, we informed her of Sarah’s feelings, and decided to wait for Dr. Langer to come as it was most likely time to push. We felt it was much better for  the doctor to do a cervical check than the nurse.  The only problem was that Dr. Langer was in another delivery room receiving that baby!!  We were told to just wait, and Sarah was told not to act on the sensation of pushing until Dr. Langer arrived.  We all just stared at each other, some of us holding our breath waiting in anticipation for the doctor to appear.  Approximately 20 minutes later, she was finally here!  She did a quick check, and sure enough, it was time for pushing.  We got J in scrubs, Sarah was moved upright in the birthing bed, and a mirror was brought to the side of the bed so Sarah could see how well her pushing was going.  

Dr. Langer was so amazing to work with. She placed J on the stool in front of Sarah to help her receive her baby.  Sarah was still able to feel the pressure building with contractions, and when she was ready she would push!  J helped guide TJ’s head out, and when Dr. Langer informed her to grab his shoulders and turn him around she exclaimed, “I don’t wanna pop his head off!”  With a little giggle, Dr. Langer stepped in rotated TJ around and guided him the remaining way out!  That was it!  He was here! TJ had been born into this world at 16:44, or 4:44pm.  He was HUGE!!   The placenta that came out after TJ was born was one of the largest anyone had seen.  His cheeks were chubby and his legs had rolls.  He was so sweet, and he went to J for immediate skin to skin.  Sarah was crying, J was crying, I was crying.  The entire moment was magic!  Everyone was thanking Sarah, informing her of how incredible she was, and she just lay there beaming.  It was done; she had done this incredible thing for incredible people!  TJ was weighed and he was 9lbs 9oz!  20.5 inches long, and had an APGAR of 1 min-8, 5 min-8;which is a really good score for a big baby!  We all agreed that double numbers were going to be his lucky numbers from now on.  TJ was cleaned up, bundled into a burrito blanket and handed over to Todd for some face to face bonding time.  Tears streaks stained his cheeks, as fresh tears started to well up again.  J was placed in a wheelchair, and the new family that had just been created were taken upstairs to their recovery room.  

Then there was silence.  There was a calmness that settled into the room.  Dr. Langer continued to assist Sarah with immediate postpartum procedures.  She was cleaned up, but her bleeding was still worrisome.  Sarah had past issues of hemorrhaging after birth, and they were keeping a very close eye on it this time.  Things weren’t finishing up as quickly as the doctor would have liked.  We took our time in recovery, I hugged Sarah, I comforted her.  I ensured her she was not alone, and that I would stay as long as she needed.  What she needed though, was her own daughter.  She needed to take all this oxytocin her body created, and be able to transfer it to her own child.

After what seemed like hours, Sarah’s daughter, M, was finally there!  She hopped up on the bed and Sarah smothered her in hugs and kisses.  Sarah had a slight fever, and the nurses and doctors were wary to send her to recovery in case she had developed an infection.  That was when we reminded them that she was covered in about a dozen warm blankets, and that was most likely the cause of the rise in temperature!  Reluctantly we removed the blankets slowly from Sarah to get her body temp to a more reasonable level.   As soon as Dr. Langer felt satisfied with her temp and her bleeding, she was sent to recovery.  We were given a room right next to J, T, and baby TJ.  M was sent over to say hello to the baby while Sarah was checked for her bleeding again.  I stayed with Sarah until her friend was able to be off work and stay the night with her.  She even brought Sarah Cafe Rio for dinner!!  

The night was done, the hard work over with.  Everyone worked together, and supported one another through it all.  A magical moment was created with all these families coming together.  A child was born!  A life was created, and he is loved by so many.  The journey of a surrogate is not always an easy one, but it is so rewarding in the end!

“Little souls find their way to you, whether they're from your womb or someone else's’”
~Sheryl Crow

No comments: