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Emmi
Maria Iorillo
Licensed Midwife
415-285-9233

Emmi Madeleine Taylor, born March 19, 2008

Ok, finally, here is our story:

Emmi was born on March 19th at 14h56 at St. Luke’s hospital via an emergency c-section delivery.  To tell the full story I suppose I have to start on the 14th of March…  I was 41wks and one day and started feeling desperate that labor hadn’t come on as yet.  Brian reassured me that everything was OK and it was expected that first time moms would have late deliveries.  Through the weekend I felt emotionally worse and worse.  Maria came on Sunday to check on me and reassured me that everything was normal, but told me to get a non-stress test at St. Luke’s the next day.  It was standard procedure at 41wks and the results should reassure me that all was good.  Sunday night I was uncontrollably weepy, and I started to think maybe it was my own sub-conscious prenatal memory of my own birth surfacing. (I nearly didn’t make it as I had inhaled a lot of meconium– was an emergency c-section after my mom’s labor stopped and couldn’t be induced after 5 days.)

Monday morning I went in with my mom to the hospital for the non-stress test and it was inconclusive.  The first part of the test was not reactive (lots of variations in the heart rate, but none were sustained for the minimum 20 seconds).  The midwife attending to me suggested that I might be dehydrated and gave me a couple of pitchers of water to drink.  The re-test was reactive and she and Dr. Norrell recommended I stay for induction, but said that if I really wanted to go home it would be ok.  I went home and was scheduled for another test on Wednesday.  

Arriving home I called my doula (a friend who is a naturopathic doctor as well as a midwife) and she came over Tuesday to try some home-based induction techniques that had worked for her sister.  First I went to see Linda Gruber in the morning for acupuncture.  (I shared with her how I felt something was wrong.  She calmed me down with her reassuring words, but when she asked me to “go down in my belly and be with my baby” I was overwhelmed with sadness and burst into tears.)  After acupuncture April stripped my membranes 4 times, did 2hrs of nipple stimulation and took 40 Swiss Kriss laxatives.  It took all day, and by evening I was having several contractions but they were random.  Right before April left, for kicks, she took out her Doppler so that my mom and sisters could hear the heartbeat.  Just as she did it I had a contraction, and Emmi’s heart rate dropped.  April’s face had the look of concern and she quickly asked me to roll over onto my side.  Emmi’s heart rate quickly recovered when I went onto my side, and April said that although she hadn’t been able to count the beats, she didn’t think the drop was large.  

The next morning Brian and I went back to St. Luke’s for our follow-up NST.  The initial result was barely reactive and Sue McDonald, the midwife requested further monitoring.  I’d had a huge breakfast and tons of water, so lack of nutrition or dehydration was not the cause.  The longer I was on, the less reactive her heart rate became.  Dr. Norrell requested that I stay for induction, and I of course complied… but I had already capitulated; I felt we had gone past the point of induction.  When the nurse came with pre-authorization paperwork to sign, she tried to reassure me that the “possible cesarean” wording on there was only in the case the induction didn’t work… but the thought of just getting Emmi out of there as fast as possible, cesarean or no was more of a relief than a fear to me at that point.  

Maria and April came to the hospital and Brian went home for all our birthing stuff.  In the mean time, we got set up in a delivery room.  In between Brian delivering burritos to us and going down to the car for the second load of stuff, Emmi’s heart rate plunged to 50 bpm, without a contraction.  There was a rush of nurses into the room, I was given an oxygen mask and wheeled out to the OR.  I was both scared and relieved that we were in good care, and that soon she would be out.  There were tons of people around, Maria was asked to leave…  I felt blessed that Dr. Norrell was there to do the surgery.  Not that the other doctors aren’t equally competent, but it was nice to have at least one familiar face in a room full of strangers during such a frightening moment.  They put a mask on my face and the next thing I remember is being told that Emmi was doing well with Apgar scores of 6 and 9, but that there had been thick meconium and that the cord showed signs of lack of oxygen supply.  I heard later they had gotten her out in 3 minutes and that the surgery had been completed in 10 minutes.  Brian came up with supplies after she had been born, but was able to watch the end of the surgery from a window as they put everything back inside.  

As I reflect back on the events, I feel really good about the outcome of a rather dramatic birth.  The “transition” between homebirth to hospital was seamless, and I felt cared for – no, I would say loved – by all of the hospital staff.   I couldn’t ask for anything more. 

In telling this story I hope that all of you will visit the website www.savestlukes.org and sign the online petition to keep St. Luke’s alive! 

Bianca, Brian and Emmi