AROM and OB’s First Vaginal Birth with a Prolapsed Cord!

I woke up on August 15th 2012, contracting. Nothing too strong or in a good pattern but I figured I would call my doctor since I was 36 weeks and five days (or so we thought). I called him and he told me that if my water broke or I had contractions every four minutes lasting one minute, for one hour, I should go in. As the day went on my contractions started to get closer, stronger, and harder. I called my OB again at five that evening and told him that I was contracting every four to five minutes, lasting 90 to 120 seconds – and it had been happening for two hours. He said that I needed to come in as soon as I can.

I had to wait for my husband to get home. When he did, he drove me and came home to wait for his mom. I got to the hospital check-in and headed up to L&D, where they got me into bed to check me (although I had asked for them not to do this until we got a good pattern on the baby and my contractions). I was four to five cm, 75% effaced and baby was at 0 station. The nurse then hooked me up to the fetal monitor, as she said she needed to “see what you are doing.” My baby had a great pattern going and I was contracting every three minutes. She left to talk to my OB and came back saying that they were keeping me because I was in labour. It was 7:30pm.

The nurses took some blood and hooked me up to an IV since I had GBS. I had to fight to get them to let me walk and just labor through my contractions in a way I needed to. Finally, after an hour of arguing, they let me get up and move around. This was about 10 p.m. An hour later they once again said they had to check me. I told them they didn’t and that I would rather not be checked. But half an hour later (it seemed like forever) I gave in and agreed to let them. I was six cm dilated, 100% effaced and baby was lower, so they called my OB.

I didn’t see the nurses again until my doctor came in. He told me that since I had GBS, he needed to break my water, “To get things moving faster.” I told him I didn’t want my water broken. He said, “Well, let me check you and if you aren’t at least a good eight cm, I have to break your water because this baby needs to come.” But I was still at 6 cm. He pressured me into letting him break my water, saying that my baby was better off out than in at that point and that my baby needed to be born soon because I had GBS. I read later that the only time GBS should play a factor into speeding up labor is when the water has broken. He broke my water and then left.

Two hours after he broke my water the nurses came in and said my doctor said they needed to start pit. I told them I didn’t want pit and I know my body can do this – I have done it three times before. They again told me I needed to get my baby out soon because of my GBS and the longer we were to wait, the more likely baby could have issues caused by it. I really regret not reading and doing my homework on GBS before my labor. They checked me and started pit. I had made no cervical change by baby had not come down further.

30 minutes after pit was started my baby started having drops in heart rate, when it had been perfect up to this point. They flipped me from one side to the other, then put an oxygen mask on me. Nothing was bringing baby’s heart rate up and keeping it up. I told the nurse I needed to push and she checked me. She said I was a rim and baby’s head was right there. She left the room and called my doctor: less then an hour after they started pit I was complete and ready to push. My doctor walked into the room and checked me and said, “Let’s try some practice pushes.” I pushed once and he said to do it again; I pushed and he said, “We have a cord here, call them and tell them to get things set for a section now.” He then turned to me and said, “Krystle, push with everything you have, you have to get this baby out now!”

I was crying and pushing with everything I had because I had no clue what was going on. My doctor kept yelling “Push!” and they were using a vacuum on my baby, and I was pushing so hard. Finally, after what seemed like a hour (I was later told it was four minutes) from the cord coming out, my son was born. My son came out blue, limp, not moving or crying. Again after what seemed like forever, he cried. They told me it was only 30 seconds until he did but it felt way longer. My doctor then came back to me and said, “He is ok now, let’s take care of you.” He also said that he had never delivered a baby vaginally through a prolapsed cord. I wouldn’t know what a prolapsed cord was until my son was two weeks old when I had the guts to google it.

One hour after birth my son was still having issues breathing and was on oxygen. I hadn’t even been able to hold him or look at him when he wasn’t blue. When he was three hours old they finally let me go to the nursery window to see my son breathing and pink. When he was five hours old I got to touch and hold him for the first time but wasn’t allowed to nurse him because he was breathing so rapidly. When he was eight hours old he was transported to a hospital with a NICU because he wasn’t getting any better. The nurses kept telling me it was because of the prolapsed cord and that he would be fine.

I was allowed to leave when he did, even though I couldn’t ride with him. When we got to the NICU and they evaluated him, I was told that my son was really at 35 weeks gestation (not almost 37, as we had thought) and that was why he was having issues with his lungs. They reminded me that a due date is just an estimate and can be off by two weeks. I knew this and it made me feel a little better because up to that point I was blaming myself and my body for his cord issue – the nurses hadn’t helped any in telling me over and over again that it was because of the cord prolapse that he came out like he was. After seven days in the NICU, a day on the vent and two doses of meds to mature his lungs, we got to come home. He’s nursing great, and things are going awesomely.


  • Kristen

    Hi there! What a gorgeous and incredibly heroic story! Not to mention, what a lovely bundle of joy you were awarded after all that hard work!

    Cheers–Kristen from Pattern Integrity

  • Ashley

    What a wonderful story! My mother had my youngest brother vaginally with a prolapsed cord, and I am soooooo glad yours did not go as bad as hers. He didn’t breath for the first 12 minutes he was out. My mother also almost died from blood loss. Prolapsed cords can be very scary, and they are a fear of mine, since I’ve seen first hand how serious they can be.

  • MommyJenna

    He is an absolute sweetheart! It sounds like you had a scary experience but I’m so glad to hear he is well and nursing for you! <3 My twins were in the NICU and I know it can be an "eerie" experience. (That's probably the wrong word to describe it, bare with me!)

  • Tamera M Weis RN

    Prolapsed cord is an extremely rare occurrence–esp. among women who birth naturally. It was the physician’s interventions which CAUSED the prolapsed card and the subsequent risk to the baby’s life.

    That OB deserves to be sued!

    AROM was COMPLETELY inappropriate. Pitocin was a very bad idea by a doctor who wanted to sleep in his own bed. The vacuum extraction with Mom possibly causing harm to herself with the overdone pushing (which causes hemorrhoids, uterine prolapse and a host of other problems) was the physician trying to save his his own hide. SHAME ON HIM!
    The separation from Mom rather than using skin to skin care likely slowed the babies recovery. The lack of early breast milk was bad for the health of this child in many ways–esp because of his early gestation.
    Shame shame shame–I HATE courtrooms–but sometimes it is the only way to get the medical profession to listen!!
    This was an emergency–ONLY because the physician created an emergency–HE IS THE ONE WHO SHOULD FOOT THE COST OF THE NICU

  • Anna

    Tamara, on this one i disagree with you. Prolapsed cords are very rare true but i know two people who arrived to hospital with one, so no interventions, laboured at home up to then. I agree that pitocin and breaking the waters were unnecessary but once the prolapse was noticed the vacuum and forced pushing were very necessary to save both mother’s and baby’s life. She had a rare experience of not having a cesarian like usually happens in this case because of the risks.

  • Penny stone

    The major cause of cord prolapse is artificial rupture of membranes. It’s a shame that there was so much interference especially as you were GBS positive. It would have been better to have left the protective barrier ( your membranes) intact. Thank goodness your baby is ok and your are not recovering from major surgery.

  • rebecca navarro

    I am so sorry your wishes were not respected and you and your family had to suffer through that. Your son is beautiful and you are a very strong woman. Best of luck to you and your family :hugs:

  • Jesse

    Your story was amazing, you are very brave. Two years ago my daughter was born, via C-section with a prolapsed cord. Because of the length of time without oxygen she was born without brain activity; she lived 6 days before leaving to Heaven. Hold your baby tight tonight. Thank you again for sharing. 🙂

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