Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Birth Story

Disclaimer: This is a birth story, I didn't go into gross detail, but there are natural parts of labor and delivery that are gross to some... read at your own risk.

I had a weekly OB appointment on Tuesday, May 31st (I was 38 weeks and 4 days pregnant). My Dr. checked me for the first time and I was dilated 2 cm and I was 90% effaced. Hubs had taken that day off to go with me to the appointment and to use up the last of his Comp time that had to be used within the week. We made a full date day of it, went to breakfast, saw Thor, stopped for milkshakes, went out for a fancy dinner… really just enjoyed each other. It was a great way to spend our last week before our little guy arrived. We walked every single night that week. I even jogged a bit, did some jumping jacks and spent a lot of time bouncing on the birthing ball. I wasn’t really ready to have him right that second, but I wanted to be sure that thinks were moving along and that my body would ready. Our little man had been measuring a bit big during pregnancy and while I didn’t want to have him early, we agreed with our doctor that I shouldn’t go past my due date since he would just keep getting bigger at that point and I might end up forced into a c-section that could be avoided. Since I was already dilating on my own, we had decided that if baby hadn’t come by Thursday, June 9th then the doctor would break my water that morning. I really wanted the experience of going into labor on my own and I was wanting to avoid pitocin if possible, but I also didn’t want a 10lb baby, so I was perfectly fine with that plan and I was going to do what I could the few days before in an effort to help start my labor naturally.

I had another OB appointment on Tuesday, June 7th at 2:30pm but hubs couldn’t come with me to that one. He was so nervous that he was going to tell me I was dilated a whole bunch more and to just head next door to the hospital and he was an hour away at work, I kept telling him all day that nothing was happening and I would be fine. I had what I thought were a few contractions just before the appointment, but nothing I could really time. I thought if anything I would maybe go into labor that night or the next day. I had a really upset feeling stomach all day and NO appetite. I knew that was a sign of early labor so I was hoping things were getting started. At my appointment that day he checked me again and I hadn’t changed at all since the week prior. I was a bit frustrated by that, but not bad. I told him I’d had a few contractions but I couldn’t really time them. He said he could tell that I wasn’t uncomfortable enough to be having “real” contractions and that he’d probably see me Thursday morning to break my water. He said if anything happened sooner to head in and that Dr. “I” was on call that night and Dr. Lopez the next day but that he’d be around. I know both of them are good, so I was fine with whatever happened.

After I saw him, I went to the nurses desk and scheduled the “induction” for Thursday, I subsequently proceeded to the appointment desk and made my 6 week postpartum appointment for July & then stopped at the front desk to ask the lady about the disability paperwork and when I needed to turn it in. Poor hubs was a nervous wreck and work and even though I text him right after the exam and told him “no change, they aren’t keeping me, call you in a bit when I leave” he called my phone while I was still trying to schedule everything. I waited until I was done and leaving the office to call him back and the second he answered his phone (I was literally one step out the doctor’s office) my water broke. It was 3:10pm.

It was a surreal moment, I’m not sure if he stirred things up when he checked me or if the contractions were just picking up, but it broke right there. I sort of wondered if I had just wet my pants, but it was a lot of fluid and I had just pee’d in the cup for the doctor so I couldn’t imagine I would have had that much urine in me. I told hubs to head toward the hospital and I was going to walk back in the Dr. office and see what they wanted me to do and I’d call him back. They of course said to head to the hospital (thank heaven’s my doctor’s office is in the same parking lot as the hospital). I had brought all of our hospital bags and camera’s and a change of clothes for hubs with me just in case, so I just grabbed my purse, my one labor bag (yes, I had a labor bag & a postpartum bag & a bag with baby’s stuff) and hubs’ clothes and I walked all the way through the emergency room, waiting room & lobby to the front desk (parking back by the emergency exit insures that you can get to your car day or night since those doors are left unlocked 24/7). Let me remind you that my jeans are soaking wet and I’m still leaking fluid (which is such a weird feeling). I told the lady at the front desk that my water had broke and I needed to check into labor & delivery. She was leaving on break so she told the other guy working there that I was there to check in and she left. He thought I was there to pre-register, asking me to have a seat and started bringing out all this paperwork. I declined taking a seat so not to ruin their chair & I kindly stated that I had already registered and I just needed to head up there. I still don’t remember having specific contractions at this point, maybe I was just distracted by everything happening. On the way over to the hospital, I had also called my best friend, Brittany, since she just lives 2 minutes away and we had asked her to be in the room during delivery to take pictures. By the time I was wheeled upstairs & into a room I changed into the gown, got into bed and Brittany was there. I was on a monitor within minutes and contractions were every 2 min and were lasting about a min each. Our family started calling as they found out and wanted to know if they should come now or wait and if they’d be able to see the baby if I had him in the middle of the night or if they’d have to wait until visiting hours on Wednesday. I was having a hard time talking since the contractions were already coming quick. I finally just told them to come if they wanted and we’d try and keep them posted. Hubs made it there in 35 minutes (I don’t want to know how fast he was driving), he changed clothes, took his work clothes and my, very wet clothes, down to the car and brought up the cameras and my birthing ball. By the time he got back into the room it was 4 pm and I was in hard labor. Contractions were on top of each other, they were strong & I was having a hard time focusing and relaxing through them. They still hadn’t admitted me in the system so they hadn’t started my antibiotics for Strep B and they hadn’t checked me at all. Y’all, I can’t brag enough about how great my husband and Brittany were to have there. I was so hot and so nauseas through each contraction and my back was hurting so bad that one would stand by my head with a hand held fan and a puke bin & the other would rub my back. My husband started out saying “are you ok?” “what do you need” during each contraction and I quickly asked him not to ask me questions, to either tell me I’m doing good and to relax or to just watch the monitor and tell me when the contraction was about to be over or was on it’s way “down” so that I could mentally know I didn’t have much longer. He never again asked me a question and anything I asked for he got right away, ice chips, cold towel, fan higher etc. They were rock stars. I have never felt pain like that, but knowing that it came and went really helped me deal with it. They finally came in and checked me (not sure what time it was) and I was at 5cm. Both Brittany & the nurse were shocked that I was that far already since the first five can take awhile. They still hadn’t started my Strep B meds and I could tell at that point they were nervous. By 6pm I was in so much pain I couldn’t handle it. The contractions weren’t breaking. There was no easing into one either, the monitor would shoot straight up and stay at 100 level and then would dip like it was coming down and then it would shoot up again, it never went below 40 and never stayed down for longer that 20 seconds if that. I wasn’t allowed to get out of bed or even move because baby’s heart rate kept dropping and they had to move me on my side, then on my back, and then to my other side and back again to try and get his heart rate stable. I kept waiting for them to say they were going to have to take him c-section because he kept dropping but once they would get me in a good spot he would stabilize so I guess they weren’t too concerned. I did ask for something to take the edge of the pain about 6pm but the pharmacy didn’t have me in the system yet so she said she’d have a better time getting an epidural than she would getting me the Staydol (or whatever it’s called that they put in the IV). I told her to call the anesthesiologist since I knew it could take awhile. He came right in but then he wanted to chit chat about all the risks and what to do if I get a headache and how he was going to do it, etc. I really wasn’t to concerned about a headache at this point of time, I had bigger things to worry about. I did however, thought I was going to punch him. A headache at that point was the least of my worries. He got it in at 6:13pm. The second he left the room and I was back laying down I had instant relief from the contraction pain, but I had a TON of pressure. I thought something was wrong, I felt like I had to push but I figured I was only at a 5 still or maybe a 6 since they had just checked me. I called the nurse in to check me and I was a 9 ½ and baby was ready.

The doctor, however, was at least 20 minutes away (not my doctor, the one on call). The nurse said she would call him in and informed me to NOT PUSH until he gets here. I thought was going to punch her too! There was no way not to push. Thankfully, within minutes, my doctor called just to check on me before he left the office, which again is right next to the hospital (thankfully), and when they told him that I was ready to push and Dr I was 20 minutes away he said he’d walk over. I think he figured he’d check on me and hold me off until Dr I got there since he knew I’d just been in his office 3 ½ hours before and was only at 2 cm and that this was my first baby, but when he walked in and saw our little guys hair he got dressed for delivery REAL fast. I started actively pushing at 7:02pm after trying to “hold it” for almost 30 min and our little guy was born at 7:23pm. They placed him right on my chest and all I could do was smile. I was in total shock. Everything happened so fast I seriously hadn’t even processed that I was in labor and that we were going to have a baby that day. I was instantly in love and I cried watching hubs face just look at him and cry. They never took baby out of our room, they weighed him, measured him, gave him a bath, took his foot prints, did his apgar scores etc. I got to watch from the bed. I will spare the specific details, but they did call the anesthesiologist back in to give me another dose of epidural since they had quite a bit of stitching to do. Since he came so fast I didn’t have time to stretch, and were not talking yoga. My doctor cut but I tore through the cut. It was the worst tear he said I could have, but he promised he would fix me up good as new. The look on hubs face told me it was bad, I was so thankful that I had the epidural just for that since I was already at 9 cm when they gave it to me I could have gotten through the contractions without it had I known that. It took him over an hour to finish with me and that’s when I finally got to hold Charles “Barrett” Valentine. He weighed 8lbs 4oz and was 20.5 inches long. His apgar scores were 8 & 9. Both of our parents and all three of our sisters were there in the waiting room and still didn’t know his name, so at that point hubs and Brittany went out there to share details and I got to nurse him for awhile. It should be noted that Hubs, totally flabbergasted at how fast it had come, introduced our little man (as we had not told the family the name he would be going by); however, when asked how to spell his name, was to in shock to know. He subsequently told everyone, “You’ll have to ask Melissa how to spell it”. Shortly after, all the family was able to come in and visit for a little bit and take some pictures with him. We were moved into a postpartum room about 10:30pm and since I had to share a room I was able to request to be in with our friend JoAnn and her new little guy Tobin who shares a birthday with Barrett. JoAnn had her 3rd c-section scheduled for 4:30pm that day and had joked with me for weeks that I should just meet her there and we could share a room, little did we know it would seriously work out that way.

Little Barrett and I had to stay in the Hospital for an extra day, as I was unable to have 2 rounds of the antibiotics for Strep B, and the pediatrician wanted to monitor Barrett’s blood count. Everything turned out fine and we were both discharged from the hospital, looking forward to the next chapter of our lives.

Recovery has been hard. I had to have way more stitches than a c-section and yet I get the pleasure to actually sit on my wound. I had no idea how many muscles there are “down there”. Sitting up from lying down is not fun; either are sneezing, coughing, using the bathroom, laughing, walking… it’s all an adventure. The first 5 days were pretty awful. I just sat on the couch and literally had hubs handing me what I needed because it took longer to get up and get it. By day 6 I felt like I could move easier but I was still very sore. This is week 3 and I finally feel human again. It will still be awhile until I’m totally back to normal, but I haven’t taken anything for pain in over a week.

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