The Story of Abby’s Arrival

Cliff Notes Version: Abigail Ruth was born by emergency C-section at 5:31 a.m. on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 in Omaha, Nebraska. She weighed in at 9 lbs, 6.6 ozs (4269 grams) and was 21.5 inches long. She and Mama are both doing well and were discharged from the hospital about 39 hours later.

Abridged: Tuesday afternoon, the midwife came over to check on Gina to determine whether it would be okay to finally break Gina’s water.  Everything seemed okay, so Gina’s water was broker at 4:54 pm.  It was at this point that the midwife recognized that Gina had polyhydramnios, a condition involving too much amniotic fluid.  When Gina’s water was initially broken, over 2-1/2 pounds of amniotic fluid came out.  Several more pounds would follow over the course of the labor.

Throughout the evening, Gina labored, but the labor was not all that intense.  The midwife and her assistant were constantly telling Gina that she wasn’t hurting enough.  However, Gina continued to progress in dilation and effacement.  As evening turned to night, the midwife recognized what felt like Abby’s elbow was presenting first.  The midwife talked to us about what an elbow-first presentation might mean.  She did not want to attempt to move the elbow because she was afraid that the arm might be holding back the umbilical cord, and the midwife definitely didn’t want the cord slipping down first.

By the time Gina reached full dilation and effacement and should have been ready to push, the midwife could not locate Abby’s head.  Not a good sign.  It was at this point, about 1:00 am, that the possibility of transferring to the hospital was first discussed.  We talked about going to the hospital in Syracuse (only 30 minutes away), but we felt like all they would do was immediately perform a C-section, without any discussion of alternatives.  So we decided to drive to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha (90 minutes away), to have an ultrasound performed and see if there was any alternative to a C-section.  The midwife was unable to determine where Abby’s head was, and she obviously had no clue where the umbilical cord was.  She didn’t want to attempt any maneuvering without verifying these things, and for that we needed an ultrasound machine.

We hastily packed, called a doctor we had met with in September, and quickly left the house slightly before 2:00 am, leaving our two children with our beloved and gracious neighbors.  Gina’s labor had largely subsided by now and the drive to Omaha was uneventful, except for the one large buck deer standing in the road.  We got to the hospital around 3:30 a.m., Gina was admitted, and the ultrasound machine was hooked up.  Dr. Finley came and performed the ultrasound.  Abby’s presentation had gone from bad to impossible.  She was laying with her spine across her exit.  Dr. Finley told us there was nothing that could be done that would ensure the safety of mother and baby;  we had just one option:  caesarian section.

Dr. Finley was very understanding about our situation.  We had obviously labored a long time at home, intending to give birth at home.  We were already very emotional about being hooked up to so many monitors.  We never intended to deliver in a hospital, much less have a c-section birth.  We talked with our midwife and there really were no options, so we authorized the c-section … and cried.

Gina was prepped for surgery and I was able to sit in the surgery with her.  Abby was delivered at 5:31 a.m. and whisked off to the neonatal specialists in the next room.  I left Gina shortly and went in to watch them care for Abby.  Abby’s assessment scores weren’t that great.  I remember Caleb’s scores had been 9 & 10 (out of 10).  Abby scored 6 & 8.  We were told that much of this was because she had not been through the experience of a vaginal delivery, which tends to wring out the baby and prepare them for a life of breathing air.  When I got there, they were still administering oxygen and she was still quite purple.  But she did pink up a bit shortly thereafter.

The next day-and-a-half were spent in the hospital recovering.  Abby had no medical concerns, so it was really just Abby & I waiting around for Gina to be ready to come home.  Gina was initially very weak and slightly anemic, so her recovery has been rough.  We were able to beg our way out of the hospital 39 hours after the c-section so she could continue her recovery at home.  She did receive an infusion of blood while she was in the hospital, something I am now ambiguous about.  Had you asked me before I would have said there were no issues, but if you ask me now, I would have to respond after thinking about it some more.

Dr. Finley allowed us to leave the hospital Thursday evening and we were home on Thanksgiving Day at 10:00 p.m.

Pictures will be published shortly!  She is so cute you won’t believe it.

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