Sunday, April 8, 2012

Our Birth Story

As the EDD of DS is fast approaching, I am revving myself up for another round of labor and delivery. I only have one experience I can draw from. I would like to share it with you. The desire to bring my baby into the world in the safest way possible is what inspired this lifestyle change for us, so I think it's important for this blog.

On March 19, 2010, at approximately 9:30pm, DH and I were home watching TV with 2 other friends. I was sitting in a chair, and suddenly, I felt a gush of wetness. At first, I thought "Did I just pee my pants?" I guess that's a common reaction! But things just kept getting wetter and I thought, "This is different." So I finally stood up to tell DH what had happened, but I couldn't get the words out. One of my friend's finally said, "Are you okay?" and I responded, "I think my water just broke." I was only 35 weeks along so I couldn't believe this was happening. We hadn't even completed our series of Bradley Birth classes!

I went upstairs to change. My friend suggested I put on a pad because I was still leaking water and it felt weird. She braided my hair for me, too! She was so calm! We threw some stuff in a bag because our hospital bag had not even been packed yet! Jeff called our midwife. She must have asked to speak with me because he handed me the phone. I was feeling fine, just excited and nervous. I hadn't yet felt a contraction. Meanwhile, Jeff ran to the attic to bring down the bassinet (already assembled because we got it off Craigslist, thank God!) and our car seat (still in the box!). He threw the bassinet in our bedroom and started getting the car seat hooked up in the car.

Then the contractions DID start. To me, it felt similar to a bad period cramp, only more intense and bigger, like the feeling spread over my whole abdomen. The muscles were pushing my baby down. We got in the car to drive to the hospital. Luckily, we live very close by. During the car ride, the contractions quickly became stronger and more frequent. By the time we checked into the hospital, they were coming steadily. I can't remember how frequently but DH was timing and keeping track. We went up to triage. They hooked me up to the heart monitor. They promised they only needed like a 10 minute sample. The nurse disappeared for about 20 minutes and I felt the need to go to the bathroom. Jeff unhooked me and helped me to the bathroom.

I labored on the toilet for a while. I had quite a bowel movement which made me feel better. (I bring this up because I know many women feel worried about "pooping on the table" when they deliver. I myself reminded my midwife not to "let me baby get in the poop". It is normal, though, for your body to 'cleanse itself' BEFORE you deliver, so try not to worry too much.) The position you use to sit on a toilet felt comfortable, too. I wanted to stay in there forever, but then I became nervous that I would start delivering a baby alone in a bathroom, so I came out. They were ready to bring me to my room, the last available room in L and D. from triage to the room, I had 3 contractions that were so strong I had to stop walking. My midwife showed up and appeared to be pretty shocked at my progress. Just 2 hours earlier, we were one the phone and I was telling her how I felt totally fine. Now, I couldn't walk and I couldn't talk. She kept trying to get information from me about how I was feeling, but it was hard to talk until the contraction was over.

We got to my room, I got on the bed so my midwife could check my progress. I was already 7 centimeters dilated! I think I went back to the bathroom. I am pretty sure I had another bowel movement. I came out and was trying to find a way to labor comfortably. I asked for a birthing ball, but that wasn't comfortable to me. My poor husband, I didn't feel like I wanted to be touched. Every touch felt like a 1,000 lb weight, I'm guessing because of the contractions. Somehow, I got on the bed. I can't remember if Jeff encouraged me or my midwife. I know she had to leave for a while to tend to another patient of hers that was also delivering that night! I started to feel the urge to push, so they got her back. She checked me again and I was the full 10 centimeters. I do recall asking my midwife at one point when the contractions would slow back down - HA! She responded "Uh, your water broke. The baby's coming."

Because I was only 35 weeks, I had not yet had my Group B Strep test. Since there was no telling if I had it or not, they decided to try to run the antibiotics through my system before I delivered. They knew there wasn't a lot of time. I was really hesitant to have a line in. I knew how it would restrict my movement. Well, the nurse opened the line so wide in an attempt to race it through before my delivery that it actually hurt WORSE than my contractions. It felt sharp and icy, but burned, too, all at the same time. At one point, I finally sat up and yelled, "This hurts!" pointing to my arm. They finally conceded defeat and took the line out. What a relief!

During every contraction, I took deep breathes. It helped with the pain and with my nerves. I had never given birth before and I was so nervous and excited all at the same time. I wanted to be quiet and I wanted quiet around me. I remember feeling annoyed every time someone tried to talk to me. Toward the end, when I was on the bed and pushing, I actually fell asleep for the minute or 2 I had between every contraction. I just laid back and revelled in the feeling of not feeling anything. Then the contractions would start again and it was back to breathing through the pressure.

They brought a mirror out so I could see her being born, however, I found it to be to distracting to watch. I needed to really focus inward to follow my body's lead and stay calm. Once the baby crowned, I didn't know if I could go on. I didn't feel that burning sensation really that everyone talks about. What I felt was what I believed to be the very real possibility that if I pushed this baby out, I would simply split completely down the middle of my body. I was afraid. I turned to my husband and spoke for the first time in hours. "It hurts" I whimpered. My midwife said, "This is the part that sucks. You're going to feel a lot of pain in your bottom. I need you to push through that pain and the baby will come out." I was still afraid.

I managed to rally the strength to keep pushing. I wanted to meet my baby, to hold her. I needed her out. I pushed and pushed, but nothing seemed to be happening. My midwife told me to stop pushing. I was worried. I felt a pinch that I now believe to be when I tore. I never saw this but Jeff said that my midwife put her hands inside me, felt around for a while and finally came out with the umbilical cord. She said that the cord had been wrapped around her head and neck and was keeping her from moving down the birth canal. I am pretty sure that it only took a couple more pushes after that and she came flying out.

I remember staring down at her in total disbelief. I couldn't talk or breath or react in anyway. They had to whisk her away to check her breathing because of the umbilical cord fiasco. Meanwhile, my midwife sewed me up. I'm telling you, being sewed up hurt worse than labor. I felt a cold sensation, like they had tried to put some topical anesthesia, but it did NOT work. I felt every little stitch. Ugh. I know it seems like a strange thing to "cry about" after just enduring labor and delivery but I am just being honest. I was frustrated because I just wanted to hold my baby, I couldn't see what was happening with her (Jeff was with her), and it felt like I was being stabbed a million little time with a tiny sword in an already sensitive area.

They did finally bring Lydia to me. She was tiny and perfect and wanted to breastfeed right away. It was such a relief. I was elated. I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I couldn't cry or anything. I just held her to me and we tried to figure out this whole breastfeeding thing together.

The rest is history.

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