Milo Harvey Florence’s Birth Story
Milo came into the world completely unexpectedly. In fact I had had a mid-wife appointment on Monday and she told me I “was perfect!”. I was 32 weeks along and doing well. Tuesday morning however I woke up from having sharp pain in my tummy. These contractions continued on throughout the morning. I told Hank about them casually, but thought there was nothing to be alarmed about. Around 8ish hank convinced me to call my mid-wife. I texted her instead and she ordered me to get into an Epson Salt bath and to drink magnesium. She told me to do nothing at all because the contractions have to stop. They didn’t. A half hour later I texted her again informing of my consistent stomach pain she replied “you have to get to the hospital sweetheart”. I started crying quite a bit. Hank called Renae and after talking for a while he came back to sooth me. My mid-wife had explained that I was going to be given a shot which would mostly likely stop the contractions. Hank decided not to go into work and stayed with me all day. We dropped Sam off at a friend’s and headed over. They put an external monitor on me and I was definitely having contractions. They also checked me and I wasn’t dilated. After monitoring me for a while I was given a shot of Terbutaline which stopped the contractions. I went home and took a nap. When I woke up and started do a little activity I started feeling the contractions again. They continued throughout the afternoon and into the evening. At the hospital they told me if I had more than 6 in a hour that I was to come back. Finally Hank and I decided to count them and from 8pm to 9pm I had 6 contractions. I called my mid-wife and she told me to go back. She said I probably have an infection of some kind and they will treat me for that. I also could get another shot of Terbutaline. I arrived and was put back on an external monitor. The strange part about this visit was that the monitor wasn’t really picking up very much activity. I felt pain but the monitor recorded it only as cramping. I felt really confused and quite honestly completely embarrassed. After laying there for an hour the monitor had picked up only 3 contractions. The doctor who had been on call earlier that day was there still. When she came by to see me she launched into a big lecture on why I should change my care from a Mid-wife to a Physician. She told me that if I am going to keep coming into the hospital I’ll just keep having to have on call doctors and that if my mid-wife can’t give me the care I need then I should switch. I understood her concern but I think she spent way too much time talking about it. She also didn’t know anything about mid-wives and keep making points that made her sound stupid. I also found it interesting that she was so concerned about me changing my care when she essentially didn’t give me any and didn’t believe me when I said I was having frequent contractions. She also acted as if I was over-reacting. She couldn’t do a vaginal swap test to see if I had an infection because I had an intercourse within the last 24 hours, she didn’t want to check my cervix because she didn’t want to stimulate it anymore and from what the monitor was reading she had no reason to be alarmed. The only problem was what I was feeling and what the monitor was reading were off, but I was so trusting at this point I just assumed I didn’t know my body’s signals. In fact while she was lecturing to me I had a contraction so painful I couldn’t talk to her and had to close my eyes. After the contraction was over she looked at the monitor and said “oh, that wasn’t bad”. I felt so stupid, embarrassed and just plain wimpy. I ask why was I was having so many contractions before I came and then when I got here they were gone. The doctor said it might be because I was laying down. She also told me “its in the air” meaning the hospital has magical air that stops people from contracting. That explanation did little to explain what was happening to my body. She told me to take some Benadryl. When I got home I just broke down and cried. The whole night was ruined and an embarrassment.
I had contractions all night long and they continued into the morning. At this point my confidence to know my body was almost diminished. I called Renee the next morning to report the horrible hospital visit. She was surprised they provided no treatment and didn’t check me. As we spoke she became a wealth of information. She was extremely helpful in explaining what all the different possibilities could be for my contractions. I asked her if I am at high risk right now and need to change my care so I can be bound to the hospital. She said more treatment would have to be done to see what was happening. She completed validated me by acknowledging that something WAS happening to my body and I wasn’t crazy. Hank and I went over to her house shortly after our conversation and she did all sorts of checks and treatments. My cervix was irritated, my mucus plug was coming out and I had some yeast. She put tea tree oil and garlic on my cervix to heal it and set a bunch of samples off to a lap to check for infection. That’s when she told me I was to be put on bed rest until the contractions stopped. I was also to do Monistat treatments, take magnesium and use cramp bark to help stop the contractions. We went home and I did it all. Even with just laying there my contractions were not stopping and they were getting more painful. Renee called to check up on me and she told me to get to the hospital. NO!!! I really didn’t want to go back there. She said they needed to give me a magnesium sulfate shot which is extremely powerful and would be the best hope of stopping the contractions. Hank stayed with me that day as well. We dropped Sam off with another friend and went over. On the way I kept saying “lets just get the shot and go home, get the shot and go home”. I was too embarrassed to show my face again. I was just hoping the physician lecturing doctor wouldn’t be there. I got gowned up and hooked up once again to the external monitor. By this time the contractions I were having were pretty dang hard. I expressed my want for the magnesium sulfate shot. The nurse said they needed to monitor me for a while. Here was the big problem at this visit; the contractions were not being accurately monitored. I was very emotionally distraught by it. I would feel a strong tightening of my uterus sometimes to the point where I couldn’t speak and when I looked at the monitor I would see a straight line. Often times the contractions I had would come up only as cramps. For this reason I wasn’t visited very often by anyone. After about a half hour of this I told the nurse I had of my concern that the monitor wasn’t picking anything up. She looked at what the monitor had recorded and basically repeated back to me what it read and then left. Hank didn’t know what to think either. He said “I guess if those aren’t contractions then that’s good right?”. I was so confused. I have had stomach pain my whole life and none of it felt this intense. Was I crazy? Was this just the worse gas of my life? Hank texted Renee who was planning on meeting at the hospital. He told her that the monitor wasn’t picking up very many of the contractions, maybe a third of them. She again validated me and said it was the monitor’s fault and that I WAS having contractions. After another half hour or so no one came in. The monitor was still barely picking anything up so Hank got a nurse and I told her I think something was wrong with the monitor. She moved it and left. My contractions at this point were getting so strong and intense that I had to start moaning to get through them. The pain was radiating to my legs. I told Hank that I didn’t care anymore what these garbage monitors said, I was in labor and I knew it! After another hour of no one the doctor finally arrived. I had been there for at least 2 1/2 hours. The time was around 5pm.When the doctor came he explained to me that it’s normal to have contractions but unless your cervix is dilated then he doesn’t care. He said my uterus was soft and that I was most likely fine. Since I wasn’t dilated the day before he didn’t think it was necessary to check me. By the way while he was saying all this as I was moaning in pain. I told him I was in a lot of pain and I am really confused. He hesitated and said “I could check you..” “yes!” I replied. When he checked me I was dilated to a four and fully effaced. He looked so surprised, but I didn’t. I looked at both the nurse and doctor and said “I am not surprised”. That’s when the magnesium sulfate was finally ordered as well as steroids (those help the baby). He told the nurses to admit me and then said to me “we’re gonna have a baby” and he gave me a high five. I started crying a lot.
When I got to the delivery room my contractions were only a few minutes apart and very painful. Renee and Rebecca (her assistant) arrived. Renee kept me informed. She told me she ran into my doctor in the hall and he said he thinks it was a placenta abruption. She said that was “bull****” and she didn’t want to hear that they were going to cut me open because of that. She was right of course, later on when my placenta came out it was very healthy and whole. It’s so ironic how no one listened to me for so long and then when my condition came to light the worse possible scenario was drawn. I asked Renee what I was suppose to do at this point. She said my goal was to keep the baby inside me as long as I could, ideally 24 hours. That seems ridiculous to me but I wanted to do what was best for the baby. It was so strange trying to do the opposite of everything I had learned and experienced with labor. Instead of relaxing and letting my uterus do it’s job I had to somehow try to fight against it. A nurse came in to give me an IV but was having trouble with my vein. She was touching me trying to find somewhere and I asked her to stop because I was having a contraction. She replied in an extremely irritated voice “I am not going to stick you yet, I’m just trying to find a spot!”. She left and after a while another nurse came in and tried to find a vein. This whole vein process took so long Renee finally said “can I just do it!” (Renee’s an expert sticker). The labor and delivery nurse started laughing and said “you have no privileges here! That would be against the law!”. It was so so so awkward. They finally had to get a specialist to come in and stick me. At this point I was barely having any breaks between my contractions. Hank was so strong. He stood by my side and just keep telling me how I could do this and how amazing I was. He would pray in my ear as I felt one coming. Everything was so intense at this point, the pain, the shock of being in labor etc. Every time I got done with a contraction I would look at Hank and it was if he had wings and a halo. He kept me steady. I was so grateful he was there. Renee was also so supportive. The only interaction I had with the nurses was they had me sign all this crap as I was deliriously moaning. Oh and the labor and deliver nurse asked if I wanted an epidural, “are you still planning on doing this the natural way? Or do you want something?“. I told I didn’t want any more complications. It had been at least a half hour maybe longer before the magnesium sulfate came. Renee explained everything to me; what the shot would feel like, what would happen afterwards etc. At this point though I had no break between contractions. As soon as one came down I felt another one come on. Renee could see what was happening and told me that if the baby is coming and I can’t stop it then the magnesium sulfate should not be administered. It would drug the baby and cause problems for him. Since they were ready to administer it I told a nurse to check me first. Thank goodness Renee had been there. I was at a 9! Shortly after the doctor rushed in and said “no mag! No mag!”. I looked at Renee and I asked what the goal was now. She said let us know if you feel pressure because the baby is coming. Then I felt like I was going to have a gigantic bowel movement. I said “I am think I am going to have bowel movement, I know it’s gross but I can’t help it” Renee’s assistant said “you do what you need to do”. By this time the pain was peaking without much fall or rise. My legs were radiating with so much pain I couldn’t hard move them. All I could do was moan. Renee and Hank were so encouraging. She just kept saying “think of Milo, think of your baby, be strong for him, you can do this, tell yourself this”. I remember at one point I screamed “I can do this, I am a good mom!”. I never felt an urge to push, just an urge poop. I felt a little pressure and I wanted this to be over so badly I yelled out “I want him out!” and I pushed with all my might. The doctor told me to hold my legs but the radiating pain in my legs was too much, so Renee and Hank helped hold them. As I was pushing I clenched to the side of the bed. This was probably the most painful part because all I felt was a peaked contraction that didn’t go down as well as the “ring of fire’ and radiating pain throughout my body. Renee could tell I was losing it so she kept telling to think of Milo and to relax my legs. I did the best I could but I was not very graceful. She also reminded me to breathe. After about 1 or 2 minutes of pushing Milo came out and I was in complete shock. They set him on my belly and Renee took my hand and laid it on him. She said “it’s over now, look at your baby, touch your baby”. I did and then looked at her and said “thanks so much for being here”, she kissed my head “of course sweetheart”. The pain wasn’t really gone until I pushed the placenta out and then I was so glad it was over. They let me see Milo once more while he was in the isolette and then whisked him away. Hank was beside me the whole time and I loved him for it. Milo was born at 6:01pm an hour after the doctor checked my cervix. He weighed 4lbs 3oz and was 17 ¼ inches long. He cried at birth and looked more beautiful then I could have imagined. He took us all by storm and has already been described by the NICU nurses as “feisty and a fighter”. We love him and even though the whole experience at the hospital was an emotional rollercoaster I am so grateful to have my little man, Mighty Milo.
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