Noa’s planned delivery date was my birthday, October 1st. The birth of our first granddaughter and third grandchild. Our excitement and fear grew with each day. My daughter Carly and her husband, Steve, invited me to attend the birth. Noa’s birth was not an ordinary delivery. We knew the potential complications.
(Please see last week blog for details –https://vickierubin.com/2020/07/18/bradys-extraordinary-birth-story-as-told-by-nana/ )
It was Thursday, September 26th at 6:00 AM, I was sitting on the couch drinking coffee and talking on the phone to Carly. We planned to drive to Ohio on Saturday and wait until Noa’s scheduled day of birth. Carly spoke about her concerns regarding delivery before Saturday. “Who would watch Brady? Would Mitch and I get there in time?”
She was stressed out about the logistics and confided that she thought she would deliver sooner than October. I told Carly that we would drive to Ohio that day and eliminate at least one level of apprehension about the upcoming birth.
Several hours later, while my husband Mitch and I were still at home, we received the call that Carly’s water broke while at work. Carly, a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), worked approximately 35 minutes from her home. She would need to drive herself to the house, pick up Steve, and then drive another 30 minutes to the hospital. All while her amniotic fluid was flowing freely. She grabbed a pair of scrubs from work and started her journey home.
We feared another life-threatening event and prayed that this delivery would be different. Carly’s obstetrician was the physician who saved her life with her previous delivery. He was confident from the get-go that Carly would be able to have a safe delivery. He referred to himself as the “Captain” of her team and instilled much confidence in his skill.
Which Way to GO?
Prior to delivery Carly, Steve, and the Dr. discussed alternatives for safe delivery. There were two options with three possible outcomes. Stay with me here: The first option was VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), and the second option was another Cesarean. VBAC was safer if all went well because no surgery was involved. C-Section (Cesarean) was riskier. However, a failed VBAC, that ended with a C-section was the most perilous. After much consideration, a decision to move ahead with VBAC was planned because the doctor was confident that this would be successful. There was still a slight possibility that an unplanned C-section could be needed if things went wrong during delivery.
This time, Carly would be administered the blood clotting medicine DDAVP* before delivery, regardless of her von Willebrand blood levels.
Getting to the Hospital
Carly and Steve arrived at the hospital on time and assured us that there were plenty of hours left until delivery.
Mitch and I entered the hospital three-hours later. We saw a typical pre-delivery scene. The birthing room was clean, large, and private. Mom labored in bed while anxious Dad provided comforting encouragement. We settled in to wait, help, and assist Carly and Steve.
The three of us watched Carly as if she were going to erupt at any moment. It was a “Déjà Vu” moment in one sense. “Here, we are again.” The same hospital, the same hospital smells, and the wary memories of the last treacherous delivery, three years ago.
Complications and Medications
The road to Noa was not linear. Carly suffered two miscarriages before Noa’s birth. The painful journey for Carly and Steve was paved with sorrow, love, and determination to complete their family of four.
But it was also a brand-new experience. The baby was not breech, and Carly received the proper medication for her bleeding disorder. We were confident that her skilled doctor was up to the task. His confidence created a sense of calm.
Meanwhile, Carly’s labor progressed slowly, she was stuck at three-centimeters for hours. The goal was ten-centimeters dilation before delivery. Her pain was increasing and frequent, yet she was not progressing. The doctor ordered Pitocin to help move things along. The epidural was still on hold.
Administering the blood clotting medication, DDAVP, had to be done one hour before the epidural. The DDAVP could not be dispensed too early before delivery because it could become less effective. The nurses said it would still be a few more hours before things started progressing.
However, within moments of administering the Pitocin, Carly’s labor and pain increased exponentially. The team decided to administer the blood clotting medicine, yet Carly still had to wait 1-hour for the epidural. We all feared that she missed her window between administering the drug and waiting for the effects. The nurse insisted that Carly was only five to seven centimeters dilated and not to worry.
The epidural was finally delivered. Time was moving along, and the late afternoon shifts would soon transition to the evening staff. We were worried that Carly’s doctor’s associate would deliver rather than our Captain.
One Last Check
Before Carly’s doctor left the hospital, he decided to check Carly’s progress one last time.
The nurse asked us to leave the room so they could start the procedures. Her dilation was three centimeters a short period before this check. Carly’s pain was powerful and frequent and we all thought that if this is five or six centimeters, how will ten centimeters feel?
Mitch and I went to the waiting room to wait for the nurse to tell us that Carly was now seven centimeters or some other “not-ten” number. Not much time had elapsed since Carly received all her medications, and we knew we had a long night ahead of us.
The nurse finally came into the waiting room, looked at me, and said: “Let’s go have a baby, Nana!” Carly went from three centimeters to ten centimeters in record time! Noa, Carly, and Steve were ready!
How does one describe watching the birth of your baby girl delivering her baby girl? We knew this was not an ordinary delivery. Our concerns about Carly bleeding excessively and needing an emergency C-section loomed large while we anxiously coached Carly to push.
Helping someone give birth is a combination of cheerleader and coach. With each wave of pain, Steve and I loudly chanted so that Carly could focus on the end of the contraction.
The doctor beckoned Steve and me to peek “down there.” I witnessed my granddaughter’s head inching down the canal; A moment permanently etched in my mind and heart. The top of Noa’s head almost emerging and then slowly going back to her amniotic home. Her transition from her dark cozy cave to the noisy, bright delivery room. Noa’s incredible path to life.
I also noticed the massive puddles of blood. It looked like a massacre and was disturbing. I wanted to question the copious amount of blood but needed to ask in a way that would not alarm Carly and Steve.
The doctor assured me that this was normal bleeding and that Carly’s clotting medicine was working well. I “had’ to believe him because we all trusted his expertise.
Within moments Carly needed to push again.
The doctor, nurses Steve and I cheered Carly on “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 – PUSH, BREATHE, YOU ARE DOING GREAT, ALMOST THERE, ANY MOMENT NOW!” Steve held Carly’s left shoulder; I was on the right.
Miracle of Life
And after thirty minutes of pushing, there she was! Beautiful Noa was screaming, “like a baby!” Covered in blood and ready to start a new life. Steve cut the umbilical cord and began the post-natal connection of Noa to her parents. Steve, Carly, and I were in tears as we realized that Noa was finally here.
Witnessing the miracle of new life, the delivery of your granddaughter and your daughter and son-in-law experiencing the birth of their child is a breathtaking experience.
Little did we know 3 ½ years ago that Carly would be delivering her second child. Little did we know that pregnancy and birth would go smoothly. We witnessed the bravery and courage it took Carly and Steve to bring beautiful Noa into this world. As Paul Harvey, famed radio show host used to say, “and now you know the rest of the story.”
- von Willebrand’s Disease https://www.hemophilia.org/Bleeding-Disorders/Types-of-Bleeding-Disorders/Von-Willebrand-Disease#:~:text=Von%20Willebrand%20disease%20(VWD)%20is,plug%20during%20the%20clotting%20process.
- DDAVP- Desmopressin (also known as DDAVP, which stands for 1-deamino-8-D-arginine vasopressin) is a synthetic medicine that boosts levels of factor VIII (FVIII) and von Willebrand factor (VWF) to prevent or control bleeding. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-12145/ddavp-oral/details