Friday, February 03, 2012

Ava Joy's Birth Story, Part 6 and Epilogue

Ava Joy's Birth Story, Part 1
Ava Joy's Birth Story, Part 2
Ava Joy's Birth Story, Part 3
Ava Joy's Birth Story, Part 4
Ava Joy's Birth Story, Part 5

As I drew my new baby girl close to me, I was became slightly aware of placenta making its way out. Unlike other times that I had delivered a placenta, I actually felt an urge to help this placenta along, and pushed. It was delivered, and the doctor began her exam.

And by exam, I mean a cavity search.

Honestly, I had never had such a rough post-birth experience. Sure, I had stitches before... quite a few with Abigail, and one very strategic stitch with JA, but even then, the exam was pretty gentle. This felt more like they were shoving a fake baby back in and pulling it out again. Repeatedly.

Of course, there was a reason. And it's not just because the doctor was not used to examining an unmedicated woman.

To best explain what was happening, I want you to go find one of those mini Coke cans. The ones that only hold 8 oz of soda. Now, open it, set it in the sink, and knock it over.

How long did it take to empty the can? Not long.

At 6 lbs 2 oz, Ava Joy was born with less blood in her body than that mini Coke can holds. When her head came out, the doctor saw that the cord was wrapped around her neck. She attempted to pull the cord over Ava Joy's head so that it wouldn't be strangling her (called "reducing"), and when she did, the cord snapped.

Still attached to the placenta, and pulsing with the vital nutrients and oxygen my body was supplying to her, the cord split open and began spurting blood. The Coke can was knocked over. How long would it take to empty?

Thankfully, the doctor acted quickly and clamped Ava Joy's cord before throwing her onto my belly. Then she began to work on me. Thanks to her quick wits, we were able to get cord blood for banking. But still, the cord was small and fragile, and after the delivery of the placenta, there was concerns that parts may have been retained... a risk that was only increased by the precipitous delivery of Ava Joy. Hence the vigorous cavity search.

Despite the painful prodding, I was overjoyed holding my baby. The nurse took her far sooner than I had hoped, but given the circumstances of her birth, and the poor lighting that kind of made her look a funny color, I understood why she needed to be examined. While my doctor was not exactly gentle with her exam, she was expedient, and about 15 minutes after the birth, my nurse got me up to go to the bathroom. (I didn't realize that her primary motivation was probably that the bed was beyond soaked with blood.) I didn't mind. I felt great. My fastest, easiest labor. My fastest, easiest-on-me delivery. No stitches needed. Amen.

Once the excitement calmed, I eagerly put Ava Joy to the breast while the kids looked on. It was surreal. She immediately latched and began eating. The kids each took turns staring into her open eyes. And I had four kids. Four children. Before I could even think about it, there it was. There she was. Tiny, but perfect.

It's been 2 months since Ava Joy joined our family. She has been fantastic. Healthy, a great nursling, fattening up like a champ. For me, the physical recovery has been fast and easy, which I am extra thankful for since I have 3 older kids to manage. Emotionally, I have felt joy, peace, and fulfillment... with only slight baby blues the first week or two (John totaling his car on Ava Joy's 5th day of life didn't help matters:)

More than anything, Ava Joy has lived up to her name... she is an utter joy.


Eryka said...

Awww.. what a beautiful story! I'm all weepy!

Michelle said...

OOPS, and that is why it's best to leave the cord be until the baby is delivered. We've had a cord around the neck too...fortunately, the doctor was at home. :)

Thank you for sharing your story. You are quite the story teller!!

Mandalina said...

Grace, I love all the photos! I think my favorite is the one of you breastfeeding her. It's perfect! Who took your photos?

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