Our Birth Story: Part 2 The Snuggery
In case you haven’t read the first part of our birth story leading up to our trips to The Snuggery, you can check it out here. (I apologize that this section is pretty long, but we were there for 6 days.)
The second part of our birth story consists of our time at the Snuggery at Glens Falls Hospital. This seems like a good place to give a huge shout out to all the nurses, doctors, and other staff who took care of us. Every nurse we had (and we had a lot of them) was kind, patient, and treated us very well. If it weren’t for their professionalism and genuine spirits our time at the Snuggery would have been unbearable. Thank you so much Glens Falls Hospital Snuggery.
Induction and Snuggery Trip 1
As mentioned in part one, when we approached two weeks past our due date (July 3rd) the doctors began to talk about the need for induction. Apparently, when you get to two weeks and beyond the risks begin to increase. The placenta starts getting old and doesn’t function as well as and it builds up calcium. Additionally, the chance of the baby having its first bowel movement inside increases which is not good for mom or baby.
For us, there was an additional problem. Christian was running out of amniotic fluid. This was making it hard for him to move around inside. Because of this, the doctors wanted to keep doing non-stress tests to make sure his heart was beating and his movements were doing well. Even at almost 2 weeks past due Melissa wasn’t feeling anything more than a couple of Braxton Hicks contractions here and there. No pain and everything was going great. Nevertheless, we scheduled an induction for July 14th. We sighed and decided that this was for the best and went home for the rest of the week.
The 14th came and we heard the Snuggery was very busy this weekend and that July was a very popular month for births (we don’t recommend having a baby in July). As a matter of fact, I met a lady at work who was scheduled for the 15th and they moved her to the 14th instead. They scheduled us for a 9am appointment but when we called at 7am they told us to come in at 4pm. We were already being pushed back.
Melissa’s parents had to schedule their vacation time in advance. Because we were due on July 3rd, they took the entire following week off planning on spending the time with us and our new baby. Unfortunately, no baby. We were hoping that by some luck the induction would work quickly so that her dad would be able to at least meet the baby before returning home. This did not work out as he ended up having to leave on the 15th in order to make it back at work. The good news is that he also planned on making the trip out in September so he will be able to see the baby then.
Snuggery Trip 1 Continued
Anyway, we got to The Snuggery around 4pm. They hooked us up to all the monitors and everything and within two hours they told us it would be for the best if we returned home and came back tomorrow. They gave us the option to stay if we wanted and there’d be a small chance they could help us at some point over the night but they weren’t confident in this. During the two hours we were there, two deliveries had come in (as in, women who were actually in active labor) and I think one of them was twins. So we left the snuggery and home we went for one last night of “good” sleep.
They told us to call at noon if we didn’t hear from them sooner. When we called we were back at the snuggery around 3pm. We were there for only a couple of hours when Christian had two things that became known as “decels.” In other words, his heart had decelerated to an alarming rate. This is apparently a pretty serious thing because almost immediately there were 5 nurses in the room and they hooked Melissa up to an oxygen mask and they were moving her all over the place trying to get the heart rate to stabilize and increase. I thought at first they were just having trouble getting the monitor to stay in the right place, but it ended up being more serious.
The doctors did not like how he was handling labor after the decels. For the next 6 hours they monitored us constantly. Finally, they determined that the heart rate was doing well enough that they were going to go ahead and try to start the induction medicine. At this point, it was about 9pm. They started her on Cervadil.
Things were going well for about 2 hours when suddenly there was another decel. It lasted long enough that they began to get concerned and they removed the induction medication. The medicine was supposed to remain intact for up to 12 hours, and we made it 2. Once the heart rate stabilized again we were back to being monitored for the night. However, it must have worked a bit because for the next 8 hours or so Melissa finally began to experience real contractions.
They were intense and very close together. She didn’t really have time in between them to settle herself. I heard her trying to focus out the pain and put into practice what she had learned, but it wasn’t going well. Neither of us got any sleep that night and by 6 or 7am Melissa was beginning to give up on Hypnobirthing as the only source of pain control. It was just too much too fast. They also told her that they didn’t really like her walking around and we basically had to stay in the snuggery room. Our birth plan was falling apart at the seams and it only got worse.
The Final Decel
Around 8 or 9am Christian’s heart decelerated again. At this point, the doctors and snuggery staff had become more concerned. He was just not handling the labor well. They believed the issue was that because there was so little amniotic fluid the contractions were causing the umbilical cord to tighten too much and not supply enough blood and oxygen to Christian.
An anesthesiologist had already talked to us the day before about c-sections and now there was basically a small intervention in our room. The midwife, the doctor, and a nurse or two gave us the options that we had. They could try to break the water manually, and then try to refill it with more fluid. This might help Christian to labor better. Or we could do a c-section. Even if we took the first option, the doctors were fairly confident we would still end up getting a c-section.
As they were telling Melissa that she was basically going to get a c-section she was suffering from some serious shaking. They had given her some medicine to stop the contractions as they seemed to hurt the baby at this point. A normal reaction to this drug was severe shaking. She was not ready to wrap her mind around the fact that she’d now have to undergo serious surgery. We never imagined having to leave the snuggery at any time during the labor or birth.
During this night I was doing everything I could to keep it together. It is not easy to watch your wife get surrounded by nurses and moved all over the place to try to get your future child’s heart beating. I held back tears and anxiety the best I could as I watched helplessly trying to pray whatever I could and ask our friends and family for prayer as well. It was during these moments that I realized quickly that she is the stronger one amongst us. As she is in one of the scariest situations I have ever seen her in, she managed to give me a thumbs up sign. This became our sign for the rest of our stay at the hospital.
Be sure to check out page 2!