The Life of Bon: June Rebecca Larsen: A Birth Story (Part 2)

Thursday, September 04, 2014

June Rebecca Larsen: A Birth Story (Part 2)

We drove to the hospital in the dark.

We were told to be there at 5 am.  The nurses weren't doing much when we walked ourselves into the labor and delivery unit a few minutes past 5:00.  "I'm here for an inversion." I said.  I didn't want to say "slash-possible-c-section" like the nurse had kept saying on the phone the day before.  The inversion was going to work, dang it.

We were shown to a room where I changed my clothes and propped myself onto a bed.  We were tired.  It was the middle of July, but the room seemed cold.  Cold and big.  Greg sat down on the chair next to me and we twiddled our thumbs while people came in and out with paper work and hospital gowns and who knows what else.  Someone would be right in to get the iv going said the girl who showed us to the room as she headed out.

"She hates needles," Greg warned her.

"Well, my veins are just really small," I added, not wanting to seem a total sissy.  The truth is I don't hate needles that much,  it's just that I have these totally worthless veins and there has been exactly one time in my entire life when a nurse has gotten a good stick on the first try.  Getting stuck with a needle isn't that terrible, but having someone play with a needle inside your skin while searching for a hidden vein is.

"I'll send in our iv pro," said the lady.

After some waiting, the "iv pro" came in.  She tried twice.  Both veins burst and were quickly turning into gnarly bruises.   "I'll go get Ashely.  She's like a vampire.  She really is the best."

This was all happening around 6 am- shift change.  It meant that there was a lot of shuffling and a lot of nurses in and out.

We waited and waited.  Ashley came in.  Ashley told some jokes while she tried to find a good vein on me.  (Spoiler alert, Ashley, you ain't gonna find one!)  One spot on my arm, one spot on my hand, two needles wiggling around in my skin, two more burst veins.  Hot tears ran down my cheek because sheesh, four sticks and not a thing to show for it and this is supposed to be the easy part and ouch.

Ashley told us she would have to go find someone else because the rule was that a nurse could only try to do an iv twice.  I wasn't exactly keen on Ashley continuing with her comedy routine in search of a good vein anyway, so there was no broken heart for me.

"I'm going to get the best nurse in the whole hospital.  Seriously, this lady is amazing," she assured us on her way out.  I wanted to believe her, but it was starting to feel like the nurses were just passing me and my horrible veins off on whatever poor, unsuspecting nurse they happened upon.  "Hey, you got a minute?  Can you insert a quick iv for me?"  No nurse seemed any more talented in the apparently lost art of vein sticking than the previous nurse.

At some point in the middle of all this, our doctor came in.  He was anxious to get the iv in so that we could get the pain killer in so that we could try the inversion so that we could have a baby!  The reason we were here, remember?  I don't know how long we had been trying for a successful stick, but it must have been close to 7 because that was the time that the inversion slash possible c section was scheduled for and the doctor was already here, ready to get the show on the row.

Our doctor was absolutely fabulous and had the most calming bedside manner.  In the middle of a stormy sea of nurses trying to stick my arm with an iv, he was like the clam, steady boat.  Slow, even, not stressed or anxious.  I get that this is his job and so why would he be stressed, this is just work.  But for me it was everything to have him so calm.

Our doctor explained that in the early days of his practice he delivered lots of breech babies.  He knows how, he is skilled at it, has had lots of practice.  But, he said, it only takes one baby dying during delivery for a doctor to decide to never ever take that risk again.  He never had a breech baby die, but one of his close friends and colleagues did, and after that he made the decision- no more vaginal delivery of breech babies.

Fair enough.

He also explained what the inversion process would be like.  Basically with his bare hands on the outside of my stomach he would try to manually turn the baby around.  It can be stressful on the baby, so docs usually only try once or twice to get the baby to turn.  It can be quite painful for the mother, but since I had elected to get an epidural, I wouldn't feel much.  He said it is often successful, but our odds weren't real good since it was our first baby and first baby = uterus not stretched out enough.  Also, my fluid levels were not real high- another strike against us.  Still, he said, he would try his darndest to turn that little baby in my tummy and turn her good.  He successfully turned his own kid, why not my kid?!

The plan was this.  If the baby turned we would induce right away. (We don't want her to turn back, and also the stress of the turning on the baby means it is much safer to just get her out.)  If the baby didn't turn, we'd head on into the operating room for a c-section.

But first, the iv...

Our doc went to deliver twins in the room next door while we waited for the next nurse to come in and try with the iv.  Nurse #3 finally came in.  Nurse #3 tried twice.  Nurse #3 failed twice.

"I'm going to have to go get someone else.  I'll bring the best." She said meekly and tiptoed out of the room.  She was probably definitely scared of us.  It didn't take a genius to figure out that we were at our wits end with the whole iv business and were this close to taking it out on the next thing that moved.  Surely there must have been somebody in this forsaken hospital who could successfully insert an iv?!  Greg was about to go ape on someone, "If they tell me one more time that they are going to go get "the best" person at sticking an iv, I am going to freak out.  Every person has supposedly been the best and they all suck!  This is a basic function of your job!  Put a needle in a patient!  She told you she had bad veins so get someone who is good at it, don't just pretend to find the pro!"  He was venting to me and me only, but somehow it helped.

A few minutes later, the doctor stuck his head in.  "We got that epidural going yet?"  He asked.  Nope.  Still waiting for the iv.

A few minutes after that, a man came strutting into the room.  "I hear we've got some tricky veins in here," he said confidently.  I am going to absolutely get this iv in you, okay?

"Are you the pro?"  I asked

"Umm... well, I'm a nurse anesthetist so kind of, yah..."

He looked at all my veins, surveyed my arms and hands up and down. (Which is something none of the other nurses did- they all just stuck whatever vein they saw first.)  He took his time, made me pump a couple times, double checked the vein.

"Yep, this one's it," he said as he swabbed my right hand with alcohol.  "This one's our winner."

He prepped the area, stuck it hard and fast before I knew what was going on, and just like that, the whole thing was over.  No wiggling, no room for doubt, the blasted iv was in.  He left the room as quickly as he came in and the nightmare was over.

"Next time we ask for that guy first," Greg said.  I agreed.

The worst was over.  And that's the truth.  I've said it once, I'll say it a million times- the absolute hardest part of having a baby was getting that damn iv in.

Next came in the anesthesiologist for the epidural.  Lean forward, don't move, hold Greg's hand, needle goes in and just like that it was over.  Piece of cake.

At some point, my mom arrived.  I had asked her to be there for whatever type of delivery I ended up having.  It's funny because leading up to June's birth I kept thinking I'd probably just want Greg there with me.  But the week earlier when we had found out there could be a few complications, all I could think was "I want my mom, I want my mom."  I called my mom on the way home from that doctor's office and asked her if she'd be with me when I delivered.  She said yes, of course, I'd love to.  Isn't it crazy no matter how old we may be, the first person we want when we are scared or hurt is our moms?

The doctor came in a little after 8:00.  We were supposed to do the inversion at 7:00, but you know, the whole iv debacle.  My mom sat in the chair in the room and Greg was by my side as the doctor lathered up my stomach with gel.  It was go time.

The doctor placed his hands on my stomach and slowly started feeling for the baby.  He located her head, right smack at the top of my stomach exactly where it wasn't supposed to he.  He gently started pushing and massaging, trying to move her spine, her head, her legs. Greg and my mom looked horrified as they watched, Greg later telling me that it was one of the most insane looking things he'd ever seen- the way he could see the shape of the baby in my stomach and the way the doctor was manhandling her.  He was sure it must have been painful for me, but thanks to the epidural, the inversion didn't hurt at all- it felt like one massive stomach massage.

"She's close to turning- I can get her about 75% of the way and then she just flips back where she was," said the doctor.  We were monitoring the baby's heart rate, and she was taking the stress well, so he tried again.

Turning.  Pushing. Prodding.  "We are so close!" he said quietly.  But just like the first time, she turned right back to where she was.

"I don't usually try a third time, but she is handling it so well and we are so close, that I want to try one more time," he told us. I was ecstatic.  I felt so much hope.  I wanted her to turn so badly, and we were so dang close.

One last time, the doctor put his hands on my stomach and began to maneuver.  He watched the monitor that showed the baby's heart rate as he molded her, folded her, tried to get her into the right position.  We were so so close.

And then, just like the previous two times, the baby turned right back to her previous position.

The doctor started to wipe off his hands and said in the most calming, reassuring voice.  "She just doesn't have enough room in there to flip.  But that's okay.  We are going to have a birthday party for this little girl.  We wanted to have it one way, but she said she wants it another way, so looks like the party is in the operating room.  That's fine.  You're going to be just fine."

I started to cry at this point.  The doctor was so nice, and he had been so close to turning her but now we had to have a c section, and I felt so nervous and hopeless and a little mad that the baby had to be so dang stubborn.  I remember looking at my mom.  She was crying because I was crying and mostly I was just so so scared.

Luckily, there wasn't a lot of time to dwell on it.  As soon as the doc said the words "operating room" there were people coming in, getting ready, we were doing this STAT.  Suddenly the room was filled with hospital workers, and I couldn't hardly say a word before they were wheeling me down the hall, on the way to surgery.  It was time to meet my baby.  


  1. Ahh! That would be so frustrating with that dang IV. I was frustrated just reading this. Can't wait to hear the rest of it! PS your left sidebar has been pulsating for the last few days or so. Well either that or I am having a very long seizure lol

  2. Ahhh the IV. Seriously the worst part!!!

  3. Anonymous2:13 AM

    Oh my gosh, that must have been so stressful! Little June is just full of surprises ;)
    After all that you definitely deserve to change your little blurb on the top-left of your blog, it still says you'll someday have ginger babies :) x

  4. Ok, I'm a straight up needle phobe but just because I also have impossible veins that no one seems to be able to get an IV into. I'm 16 weeks pregnant and I have been more stressed about getting that dang IV in the hospital than anything else about labor and delivery so far. Uggggggh

  5. Its always interesting to hear other people's birth stories. It makes me realise how lucky I was when I had my daughter. x

  6. So happy to hear I'm not alone! 7 IV attempts and two hours after my scheduled induction the second person from "IV Help" finally got me- on the wrist, but it was there. I'm due again in January, fingers crossed there's no repeat, waiting for such a simple thing to be over in order to proceed with such a complicated thing was a definite test of patience.

  7. That IV really does sound terrifying. I cry over needles so I think I would have been freaking out at that point. The baby manhandling sounds so weird. Guess she's a stubborn one already ;)

  8. My daughter has hard-to-find veins. What's worse than what you went through? Watching your little girl go through it. She HATES needles with a passion as a result.

    When I was about 37 weeks along, my daughter decided to do one last flip. I was standing there chatting with a friend when her eyes got HUGE. I looked down and could see a small head sticking out the side and we watched it move all the way around until she was head down again. "That doesn't look like it feels good" she said. Not the most pleasant feeling that's for sure.

  9. I feel you on the IV. They had to poke me over and over and they finally just put the IV in the crease of my arm. So uncomfortable! Couldn't bend my arm at all!

  10. I had the same issue with the IV! They said my veins were super "porous". Psh. They had six nurses try and I ended up with horrible horrible bruises from it that lasted 5 weeks. Yikes! I can't wait to read the next part!!

  11. I felt the same way with my mom. I didn't think I'd want her there up until my bleeding scare, then I definitely wanted her and my husband.

  12. I am pretty sure that the part I am looking forward to the least about labor is having an IV stuck in my arm. Blech... and as I read this, I could almost hear June saying (in a style very similar to your own): "Mom! I don't want to be squeezed out naturally, dang it!"

  13. IV's are the worst. Henry had to be in the hospital in January for pneumonia and it turns out baby veins are really hard as well. We watched 3 nurses dig around in his arms while we held him down before they sent in the immunologist. He got it on the first try. My husband said the same thing Greg said, "Next time, we ask for him first."

    And it sounds like your doctor is awesome.

  14. I love the last line :) I had an emergency c section, breech baby too but know one knew

  15. I've had to get my blood drawn about 10 times over the course of this pregnancy due to complications (no exaggeration). I used to be terrified of needles but now I'm just like, whatevs. That would be super frustrating though -- I can't believe they had to bring FOUR people in! At least it's over now and you have your beautiful, healthy girl.

  16. OUCH. Needles SUCK. :( Sorry to hear they took so long to get the IV in. :(

  17. I would've probably decked someone after the 2nd bad stick. Ridiculous. I would get that guys name and always always go to him!

  18. I have the same problems with my veins. But I also have anxiety. So, usually what happens is I pass out after the first stick, and they'll get it while I'm unconscious. I pass out every. Single. Time.

    And it sucks because most of the IVs I've needed have been because I'm having an anxiety attack. Which just makes everything worse.

    It's the biggest fear I have about getting pregnant. I know that sounds absurd, but I'm being serious. I don't know how I'll make it through a delivery between the IV situation and anxiety.

    Anyway. I'm loving this story. Can't wait for the next part.

  19. Part 3! Part 3! Part 3! (Also, I'm glad you got the epidural before he tried to turn June... I've heard that's pretty painful!) and did I mention: part 3! Part 3! ;)

  20. "She said she wants it another way" - you will probably have to tell you that a lot in the years to come ;-)
    Geez, you need to have a long, hard talk with your veins!! Sorry you had to go through that. On the other hand if the IV was the worst part of your delivery, count your blessings.
    Looking forward to part 3!

  21. That IV story is my worst nightmare. I also had a breech baby and a failed version procedure, but it was separate from my later c-section. I opted to let them try to turn her the first two times without pain medicine. It hurt like hell, so then I took the drugs, they tried (and failed) a 3rd time, and then I took a nice long nap!

  22. IV was hands down the worst part of giving birth the second time. The first time it was breaking my water. I went without an epidural both times and still felt that those two were worse than all the rest.

  23. I am REALLY good at putting in IV's, but sometimes veins just don't cooperate for whatever reason. I don't like to stick people over and over..none of us do! It's frustrating for nurses too! It's also frustrating to be put on the spot immediately when we walk into the room with hostile/frustrated patients and family members who are warning us with the "you will never find a vein", or "you get one shot at it" routine. I know it sucks to have bad veins, and it hurts to be stuck, but be a little easier on your nurses. Most of us know how to put IV's in and we do it well. :) Bad veins are hereditary. Congratulations on your daughter.

  24. I feel your pain with the IV! I have decent veins to start with, but I've been in and out of the hospital soooo many times and have had a kazillion needles stuck into them once the nurses find the vein and stick it, my veins shrink. I get stuck a million times before anything sticks. It's awful.

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  26. I have really been loving reading this! Birth stories are my absolute favorite to read, not sure why, but I can't wait for part three Bon :)!!!