Read When the System Fails first.
I should warn that this will be graphic. I have edited it down a bit but I think that describing how badly this labor went is important. Please be aware you may cringe as you read. I know I more than cringed when it all happened.
April 3rd 0700 hrs
Blood splatters when the LPN tries to get my IV in. The sheets are soaked and need to be replaced. Someone comes in to mop the floor. Only one other time had I ever seen so much blood. I overhear someone saying something about popping a vein. I don't care - I am finally being induced.
"We are projecting a 36 to 48 hour labor. Your body is not ready for this yet." My current Doctor tells me. I have heard this a countless number of times - well 4 - each time I had been sent in to be induced. Two days. Two days and it would be over. I focus on that part.
In the early evening, I am told I can eat because we have at least another full day to go."Go to your meeting," I tell C. There was a steering committee meeting that night and there was no point in sitting in the hospital. A new nurse finally comes in to start the pitocin drip. Whatever pill they had tried three times made absolutely no difference in prepping my body for labor and delivery.
Around 8 o'clock in the evening, my nurse hurries into the room. My mom quickly moves to my bedside concerned by the urgency readable on my nurse's face. The nurse moves my belly from side to side - trying to knead it. She instructs me to move in the hospital bed, rolling my large stomach from left to right and back again. I had been having contractions. I could feel them but I didn't think they hurt (I have a pretty good pain tolerance). With every contraction, Logan's heart would drop and would then have trouble coming back up. I am put on oxygen. My mom calls my husband who is just about to walk out of his meeting and within fifteen minutes he arrives.
Soon after I am told I can take off the oxygen and I feel comfortable enough for my mom to leave for the night. I tell C to get some sleep on the couch. He had been getting little rest over the recent weeks.
Some time later my nurse comes back in, puts me back on oxygen and turns my pitocin drip back down. This is a problem. My labor couldn't progress because they could not increase the pitocin because Logan's heart couldn't handle it. The oxygen stressed me out so my blood pressure would not remain normal (or as close to normal as possible). It is around 10 o'clock when I ask about a C-section. My nurse said that was most likely but that the doctor wanted to do a vaginal birth. I ask her to express my concern over the situation and she said she would get him. She soon returns and tells me that my doctor has put all necessary personnel on "stand-by" for a c-section. I text message my mom (I couldn't talk on the phone due to oxygen) and she heads back to the hospital.
I do not remember much about the next several hours. I finally fell asleep and I don't remember anyone waking me up to check on me.
While my husband was asleep on the couch in the room, my mom rested in the glider in the corner. She cannot say what it was, but 'something" came over her and she felt a need to move across the room and to sit by my monitor. She looked at the screen and noticed my contractions were coming hard and fast and couldn't believe that I was sleeping. I wasn't moving. I had finally given in to sleep. Then, she looked to Logan's monitor and panic set in her. His heart rate was at 40, then 30, then 20. She watched the door. No one came.
In seconds she was in the hall, the nurses were gathered around talking together. No one was paying attention. "Is anyone watching my daughter's monitor?" she shouted. My nurse looked over and terror covered her face.
I woke up to my body being lifted by 7 or 8 nurses. I was being poked, turned violently from side to side, oxygen on my face, tears beginning to fall, my body beginning to uncontrollably shake, heat rushing through me as my pressure soared. Logan's heart was failing and my pressure was no longer reading. My husband woke up to me on all fours (hands and feet), bare behind in the air, as multiple nurses tried desperately to find his son's heart beat.
It was low, it was weak. But it was there.
While on all fours paperwork was placed below my face and a pen in my hand. The water dripping from my eyes and the mucus mixing with the moist oxygen pouring down my face covered the pages. I was instructed to sign each one with little explanation as to what they were. Another nurse stepped on a stool and removed my jewelry while I balanced my now 200 pound body on my hands and feet feeling like I would collapse at any moment. Horrible pain shot through my legs as their color became too purple. My arms threatened to fail below me. All the nurses then, together, flipped me back over and one nurse inserted a catheter without any anesthetic. I screamed with everything in me as two nurses tried to hold me still as the wretched pain ripped through my lower body. My husband stood by my side and held onto whatever part of me he could. My mom stood beside him with tears in her eyes, praying desperately behind them.
I entered the OR where the Nurse anesthetist had two nurses try their best to hold me still so she could insert a spinal block. My body could not stop shaking. I had been pumped with drugs to prep me to surgery too quickly and my blood pressure would not stop rising. It was a horrible combination. I had no control. Then a new nurse stood before me. I had only seen her once, briefly, and she asked the other nurses to move. I could hear the panic in the background as the other nurses talked "quietly" about what staff was missing, how Logan was going too long without oxygen, how they couldn't get a hold of the pediatrician, how this baby had to come out "NOW". I heard it all and I couldn't speak as sheer panic coursed through every vein that was pumping blood too quickly and with too much difficulty through my body. My heart quite literally felt like it would burst from the pressure inside of it. She put her hand to my face then pulled me towards her. She cradled my body to her chest and a calm came over every part of me for the tiniest second and the needle pierced my skin going just where it was meant to into my spine. Then, she was gone.
Two nurses pushed my body - and I mean PUSHED - onto the OR table. My doctor entered the room, obviously recently woken up, providing only an apology for not being able to give a "vaginal delivery". He pinched me, asked if I could feel it, listened for my no and then cut. He cut at 6:29 the morning of April 4th, 2008 and my son was born at 6:31.
I was not draped on the table, my arms were not tied down, my husband was not there. I couldn't speak. My lips were shaking too much and my mind was moving too quickly. I prayed. I prayed like I have never prayed in my life and I did not stop until I heard my son cry. That moment, the tears poured down my face, my eyes closed, I bit my lip and I thanked the Lord. The nurses began to check Logan - the pediatrician was not there. "There is the doc," my doctor said relieved as a man in blue with a mask over his face entered the room.
It was not Logan's doctor. It was my husband. He had missed it.
I do not remember leaving the OR. I do not remember the first twelve hours of my son's life. I do not remember the first time my husband tried to put him in my arms. I do not know what he looked like when he entered this world. I did not get to kiss him, or touch him, or count his fingers and toes. I did not get to know those moments. I will never know them.
They were taken from me.
It took my OBGYN with Eli nearly two hours to cut through and repair the damage to my uterus from Logan's delivery. Because of the great care of this man, I can have one more child someday - much further down the road so I can heal.
There is no doubt in my mind that what happened to me was the direct fault of those responsible for my care. There is also no doubt in my mind that miracles occured on that morning. The "something" that came over my mother when she moved to my monitor was a miracle. The nurse that cradled me and calmed my body so that my son could be taken out in time was a miracle. The fact that my son and I are alive and able to share in this life is, without question in my mind, a miracle.
We should not have survived. My son should not have been able to hold on. The last fetal heart rate I saw of him was 17. My body would not have been able to sustain the trauma of a still birth. We should not be here.
Thank God for miracles.
I thank God for my son.
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown
"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.