Monday, April 12, 2010

Daniel's Birth Story- part 2- the birth

So we headed into the hospital about 7 am on a Saturday morning. as previously mentioned, we had had sex which started some bleeding and gave me the first "real" contractions of the pregnancy.When we arrived I was dilated to an 8, and I don't think any of us expected me to go back home. They tried to test if my water was broken but with all the blood they said they couldn't get a good reading. That may or may not have been true- but I think they would have said anything to keep me there at that point.
Sadly, as we sat there waiting for the party to get started, contractions died back down. Around noon, I agreed to let them more fully break my water to hopefully get things going again. I so wish I hadn't- I'll never known how it may have been if I let my body progress on it's own- but I was so eager to be in labor.

By 2 pm, contractions were back in full swing. I remember clearly, eating popsicles (the only thing they let you eat), bouncing on a birthing ball, singing along with Newsies. I felt like an 8 year old:).

I had a GREAT nurse. While she herself was all for medical interventions and such, she fought hard for me to get the natural experience I wanted. My doctor had wanted me on an IV and monitors the whole time which would have kept me in bed on my back, but I wanted to be able to move around and do whatever helped me get through the pain. Apparently the nurse told my Doctor (who is obviously fairly new to the job) that "such-and-such a doctor let's their natural patients do this all the time" and convinced her it wouldn't be the end of the world if I didn't have an IV and they only monitored the baby intermittently.
We asked them how many women went natural and they said "um, just you:)" We hard some screams of bloody murder from the room next door and I'll admit, I was surprised to learn that that woman had had an epidural and was still screaming like that. Yikes.

Around 5 the contractions got to be really strong and I'd grab and squeeze/rub Kenny's hand as hard as I could. He was great. The baby was turned to the side a bit so we tried various positions and stuff to make him turn- all of which seemed to make the contractions more intense. I had back labor, so even when I wasn't contracting, I felt intense pressure. This wasn't what I expected. After my sister L's story of "getting to regroup and relax between contractions", I had a definite set of expectations.
Still, the pain was never out of control. I never once thought I wanted drugs. I do remember asking Kenny at one point "can we be done with this now?" I never yelled or screamed, but I do remember some unearthly growls I couldn't reproduce if I tried. I remember complimenting the nurses on what a good job they were doing, which got a good chuckle out of everyone- not what you expect from a laboring mother.

I was propped up a bit lying on my back for pretty much all of it. Moving brought on much more intense contractions.

At 6 I was dilated to a 10 and was told I could start pushing. I don't remember feeling pushy, though. I just remember wanting to be done, so I pushed. It took two nurses and the doctor- the nurses held my legs up for me which really helped. To the point I freaked out any time a contraction came and they weren't both right there.
Pushing was REALLY intense. I don't know why I thought it would go faster. It was frustrating because I couldn't really tell what progress was being made. They set up a mirror so I could see, but it wasn't like I pictured- I couldn't see too much because for most of it, it's still all pretty internal. I could just see myself get more frightfully torn up and messy down there... in the future I think I'll opt for no mirror:)

Towards the end the doctor said "we're going to go ahead and make this opening a little bigger for the baby" and I said "um, what?" I told the doctor I'd rather not have an episiotomy, so she backed off. Of course, had I had a doctor or midwife who knew what she was doing, we might have slowed down and let me stretch out a bit more. There may have even been some perineal massage to help things stretch out.
But no, instead my doctor gave me a local anesthetic shot down there right at the end so the pain wouldn't stop me from pushing. This is my biggest regret. If I had been more patient, if I didn't think I was going to have my sisters' birth, I might have done things differently. As it is I ended up with an awful 3rd degree tear. Healing from that tear was worse than labor itself. I'm not exactly petite and the baby wasn't huge... there is no reason I should have torn so badly except for sheer impatience and an OB who didn't know any method to help a mother than cut her wide open.

My husband was amazing. He doesn't handle medical things well- passes out pretty easily- so his job was to merely stay conscious through the whole thing. He helped with holding my hand and giving me ice chips, but he generally stayed in the corner trying not to look towards the lower half of me.

Finally, after 2 hours of pushing and 6 hours of real contractions, Daniel came. They immediately put him on my chest. I don't even remember the after birth, or the stitches (though Kenny did have to leave the room a bit for some fresh air at that point). He was 7 pounds and 11 ounces- not bad for a baby who was technically premature by two days.
I'll admit, the first motherly feelings I had were of "thank heavens I'm not pregnant anymore!". But he was beautiful. My husband teared up a bit, but I was all smiles. The quickness of the transformation from pain and exhaustion to joy, peace and love is amazing!

He had this crazy sideways conehead from being pushed out sideways. His head had a nasty scratch from dragging against my pelvic bones. But he nursed like a champ and got a 9 on his APGAR (would have been ten but we snuggled a bit too much and he wasn't trying to breathe through my boob, turning him slightly purple).

Because I didn't have an epidural, I was immediately able to get up and move. I could shower, use the restroom. Neither Daniel nor I were groggy.

We stayed in the hospital for 2 days. D spent probably 80% of his time with us and 20% in the nursery. I'll admit to being glad of some baby-free sleeping time. I'd never known such a pure exhaustion. I shook violently for hours after the birth.
K was a great daddy from the beginning. Completely out of his element, but so full of love:

D had some bad jaundice- another reason I wish I had been more patient and let him bake a bit longer- and we had to keep him on a biliruben tanning bed at home for the first week, so I couldn't hold him except to nurse:(.

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