Birth Story: Christopher Lee

March 21, 2011 {Jen & Mike: This gorgeous little one had a rare face-first presentation.}

We experienced the best of both worlds. Christopher’s birth didn’t turn out as we planned but we wouldn’t have done anything differently. I’ll try to make this short….

I listened to hypnobirth CDs during my last trimester. I think they really helped me relax and stay positive throughout labor, delivery and the week after. Mikey was a huge support, making me laugh and encouraging me.

My water broke about 11pm Saturday 3/19. I called our midwife, Christina, to inform her and she urged us to try to get labor started. We planned on meeting at the birth center at 7am. Of course we were so excited and nervous all at the same time! Mikey and I walked the neighborhood, and did gentle exercise and nipple stimulation. I made a strong batch of red raspberry leaf tea and drank it throughout. Contractions started about 2am. We continued the above items, especially walking, to speed things up.

At 7am on Sunday 3/20, my contractions had sped up and increased in intensity but I was still excited and pretty relaxed. We met Christina at Birthways where she started antibiotics (I was GBS Positive the first trimester). I would receive antibiotics about every 4 hours throughout labor. I was 3 centimeters dilated. Christina gave me an herbal mixture to take every 30 minutes to get labor really going. We planned on meeting at 11am.

Mikey and I went home and continued walking, and used the birth ball. We meet with Christina and Kristin at Birthways at 11. My contractions were increasing in intensity. If I remember, they were about 5 minutes apart lasting about 1 minute. I was serious now (so says Mikey, I had my serious face on). The contractions were still not bad though. I was about 5 centimeters dilated. Christopher was posterior and I had a lot of back labor. Christina and Kristin suggested pelvic rocks and “dancing my baby out” (basically swaying in a figure 8). After antibiotics, we decided to go home and return at 3pm unless anything changed. Keep in mind that we literally live 2 minutes away.

At home, I did a lot of pelvic rocks, leaned on the birth ball, walked and swayed. Mikey or my mom would push on my lower back to help. Walking and swaying really helped. I listened to the hypnobirth CD and took a shower.

By 2:30pm, my contractions had really picked up. I felt a lot of pressure and thought for sure I would be a lot farther along. We headed to Birthways. I was only 6 centimeters. Christopher hadn’t moved farther down and was still posterior. We decided to stay at the birth center.

Christina and Kristin were great! They suggested all kinds of different positions to get Christopher into a better position. They checked on us periodically but left us alone for the most part. It was really peaceful.

By I think 6 pm, Christina checked me and I still hadn’t progressed. She determined that Christopher was facing out – literally, she felt his face, eyes, nose, mouth. If it wasn’t his face, it was his butt (she was about 90% sure it was his face). Face presentation is rare. She gave us a couple of options: 1. Stay at Birthways and try to get him to reposition. 2. Go to the hospital for an ultrasound and return if he wasn’t breech (required us to sign out of hospital after ultrasound against hospital advice). 3. Go to the hospital for ultrasound and delivery there, no matter what position he was in. Either way, she reminded us that we were on a time clock because my water had already broken. If we couldn’t reposition him, at some point we would be going to the hospital.

We decided to stay and try to reposition him. Christina and Kristin had us do some different positions to “make him back up the birth canal” so we could get him to reposition. This required me to be lying in an awkward position, hips above shoulders, and virtually halted labor. Then try to reposition and restart labor. We kick-started labor with walking, showering, nipple stimulation and the herbal tonic.

By about 9:00 pm, Christopher still wasn’t cooperating. Christina explained that now we needed to go the hospital and get an ultrasound and I would probably need a c-section since he was posterior and face presentation (face first). We were disappointed, but knew this was the best option for Christopher.

Christina called the hospital and faxed over my records. We followed her to the hospital (Kristin would follow after closing up). We weren’t rushing and there was no immediate threat to Christopher or myself. Christina was a blessing when we got to the hospital. She got us checked in, helped answer the nurses’ medical questions and explained everything as it happened. Kristin at first was in the waiting room so when our families arrived she was able to explain all that was going on. Since Christina had called ahead, the doctor saw me I think within 20 minutes. The doctor determined that yes, I needed a c-section. So off we went. I saw our family first and then got prepped for surgery.

I was nervous about the spinal tap but the anaesthesiologist explained how it worked and how I would feel. Mikey and I talked about anything and nothing during the operation to keep both of us distracted. He joked to lift our spirits.

Christopher Lee Lombardo was born 3/21 at 12:28 AM. When he was pulled out it was amazing!! They cleaned him up and wrapped him. They put him in front of my face so I could kiss him. It was soo surreal.

Christopher was small for gestational age (4 lbs 9 oz) which can occur for a variety of reasons. We don’t have a clear answer and it isn’t always known. His apgar score was great. His sugars were low because of his size. By Wednesday 3/23, he was moved to the NICU for possible infection. He came home on 3/30. At his first doctor’s appointment on 3/31, he was 5 lbs 3 oz and 19 3/4 inches! 

We did have some mixed reactions from hospital staff because we were from the birth center. But all in all, it was a good experience. We learned to trust our instincts and go with what is best for our family. The whole first week of his life was a rollercoaster. A lot of things happened quickly. Mikey and I are pretty laid back and relaxed in most situations, which really helped us get through everything. We leaned on each other for support as well as family and friends.

I was amazed by how fast I fell in love with Christopher. No matter how much you hear about a mother or father’s love, nothing prepares you for the thunderbolt that hits you. Another big surprise to me was that I fell in love with Mikey all over again. He really stepped up as a father and husband. He helped me throughout labor and delivery, recovery afterwards and takes care of Christopher like a seasoned father.

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