Friday, October 4, 2013

Boston's Birth Story: Giving Birth with Paralysis

August was a busy month; baby preparation, my sister was in town, my baby shower, my other sister's birthday party, and my brother's mission farewell. The end of the frantic series would be September 19th, our baby's due date, although it would likely to be a little sooner as my doctor planned on induction to prevent me from going into labor without knowing. On September 4th, a week before I was to pick a day to be induced, my brother entered the Missionary Training Center to prepare for his two-year LDS mission in Cambodia. That evening, my husband drove me to our primary hospital to check on my fever of 101.9F, thinking we would be in and out in 2 hours tops. Little did we know, we were going to be there for the long haul as we found out I was in labor as I progressed from 2 cm to 3cm within the hour I was there. At 9pm, we checked in for the night. Throughout my pregnancy, we were unsure how this day would be for someone like me who has paralysis, but we stayed positive and hoped and prepared for a natural delivery, leaving the option of a C-Section as the last resort. At that moment the day had finally come and we were both overjoyed and nervous. I want to share a little bit of my experience in labor for someone with a spinal cord injury.

Labor was surprisingly smoother than expected and we were both calm. The pain I felt was mainly nerve pain, a normal occurrence from my spinal cord injury. However, these pains were more frequent and more excruciating. I think they were pain messages from my contractions sent in a form my body has learned to read as shocks and shooting pains. I felt pressure in my upper abdomen which faded into lower areas. Pressure in lower areas were only felt when I put my hand over them. There was slight uneasiness in my back, which was better than expected because my back is hypersensitive. It was an uncomfortable night, but I was so glad AJ was there to soothe me to sleep.

Stress arose when at 2am my body stopped progressing at 4 cm, and nurses told me to prepare for a C-Section. I dreaded two things about a C-Section: 1. The uncertainty of the effects of a big needle going into my damaged spinal cord and 2. A slow healing and possibly infected incision from multiple seat transfers throughout the day and being unaware of it. 3. The fear was amplified because my doctor, had never dealt with a patient with complete spinal cord injury before. I said a little prayer in my heart to avoid this option if possible (and I learned later that my husband did, too), and I was able to progress to 6 cm dilation within the hour. That brought on a short lived feeling of relief as I again stopped progressing for several hours, which is abnormal as most women progress relatively quickly to 10 cm from there. The situation was worsened as the baby's heart rate was dipping into lower levels during each contraction, without a determined cause. This time, the nurse came in with a strong conviction that a C-Section was the only option. At 6am, I began to worry for my baby and myself.

I'm unsure how many hours of labor I "endured" but by 7am, my doctor came in with a C-Section in the back of his mind, checked my level of progression, and announced I was ready to deliver. It was really happening. I wasn't sure how it all worked, but the process was as natural as possible. Pushes were easy as I curled into a ball, took a deep breath, felt the tightness of the contractions descending from my upper ab, and pushed. There was not much, if any pain (I guess that was a perk of being paralyzed from the waist down). No screams or shaking, just worry of whether or not I was pushing correctly. My husband provided reassurance as our boy's head came into view -- 45 minutes and a pair of forceps later, I felt the release of pressure from my body as a little being entered the world. At 7:47 am, weighing in at 7 lbs 1 oz, 20.5 in. long, little Boston was born, healthy and happy. I remember after they had cleaned him up and put him on my chest, just crying tears of joy. Finally, my sweet little baby was here in my arms. That was the greatest moment of my life. It's a bit poetic as 747 is the number of a fast commercial airliner, and his parents love to travel! Way to come, my son...


Lola, Baby, and Aunt Holly


Grandpapa and Baby
Our complete family :)
I'm so grateful for this wonderful day and will remember it for the rest of my life. Thanks to our loving family and friends. We are so fortunate to have you all. We made it!

6 comments:

  1. <3 you, martina! thanks for sharing!

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    1. So glad you read it, Lil! Thanks for being there, always!!!

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  2. Yay! So happy for you. He's a cutie!!

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    1. Thanks, April! We are a bit obsessed with him! So much love to give!

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  3. This is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. Thanks for reading, Lauren. So happy to share. It was an amazing experience!

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