Monday, September 7, 2009

The Birth Story

I suppose I should begin at the beginning, right? I have an awesome husband.

We've been married for three years.

We decided to start our family--but we had only three ovulation cycles to get it right, otherwise we'd have to wait another year. We're both in professional/grad school right now and we wanted our baby to be born in the summer.
Everything worked out perfectly. After a fairly uneventful pregnancy, we had this pumpkin:

Mo-mo was born on Thursday June 25, 2009 at 3:23 pm. She weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces and was 21 inches long at birth. I gave birth to her when I was 40 weeks, 3 days.
Wednesday night I was having some contractions—about four an hour and they weren’t increasing in intensity yet. I tried to go to sleep around 2 a.m. and woke up to use the bathroom and maybe relax with a shower. In the bathroom I saw a bit of red spotting and the next thing I knew I was leaking, and it wasn’t stopping. I was fairly sure that my water had broken, but the bright red color kind of scared me. I woke my husband and we were checked into the hospital by 3 a.m.
I was taken into an exam room to be checked. The nurses didn’t seem to think it was very urgent—they thought that because I was a first time mother, I must be overreacting. They ushered me into a bathroom and told me to put on a gown. I told them that there was no way I could leave that bathroom unless they wanted me to drip amniotic fluid and blood all over their floor.
That made the nurses decide that yes, perhaps I was ready to be escorted to a birthing room.
This was not the labor I had in mind. I was envisioning a slow progression of contractions. I wanted to wait for the epidural and see how necessary it truly was. My husband armed with massage tools, positions to suggest, and ready to be supportive.
Sounds lovely, right? Yeah...none of that happened. Because my water had broken, I had to have an IV for the first hour. That meant no moving out of bed, no trying different positions. By 4:30 a.m., my contractions were 1-3 minutes apart, very painful, and I was only dilated to a one centimeter.
I had an amazing first nurse. The invisible doctor on call did not want to give me drugs. I call him invisible because I never saw him--the nurse just talked to him over the phone. This lovely lady convinced him because the contractions were coming SO fast that I didn’t have time to rest between them and thus rightly needed the drugs. I got the first round at 6 a.m.
The Stadol made me loopy. I could still feel the pain but it was then easy to ignore it. Between contractions I was very relaxed, almost to the point of falling asleep. The Stadol also made my mind jump from one thing to the next very fast, but I kept most of my thoughts to myself.
At one point I did apologize to my husband for waking him up. He very kindly told me not to worry about it--I did have a rather good reason to do so.
I got a second dose of Stadol after an hour and then the nurses switched. The next nurse was not very nice. I was told that the anesthesiologist would be able to see me until 7:30 a.m. This was about a half hour after the Stadol would be wearing off—not a big deal, I thought, because the second dose had almost come too fast and made me a little too out of it. Well, 7:30 came and went. When I gave in and asked for Stadol and I was told I couldn’t have it because the epidural was coming soon.
This was the WORST time of my entire labor—I kept saying “I can’t do this” and almost crying with each contraction--they were one minute apart.
After refusing to give me Stadol for awhile, I told the nurse twice that I didn’t care if the epidural was delayed, it had been delayed so long that I needed SOMETHING. She finally gave me the Stadol—and the epidural arrived five minutes later (8:30 a.m). The anesthesiologist didn’t care whatsoever that I had just received Stadol—so I have no idea why the nurse kept telling me no. I suspect secret sadism on her part. At this point I was 4 centimeters dilated.
The epidural = heaven. The numbing shot pricked a bit but I was so full of Stadol it didn’t matter, especially compared to my contractions. I had some feeling in my legs but was in no pain at all. I was able to nap for an hour, visit with the family who had come, and generally feel okay.
This was taken after the epidural. You can tell because I'm smiling, and not ripping the arm off the person who is taking the picture and using it to beat them because they are not getting me drugs.
My crappy nurse had to assist with a c-section, and my new one was AMAZING! She checked on me regularly and talked to me like I was a human. My baby had passed her meconium so the nurse hooked something into me to flush out the water and keep it moving, along with a catheter and an internal contraction monitor. It wasn’t comfortable to get any of those, but it wasn't too bad.
Around noon, I mentioned to my nurse that I was a bit uncomfortable—not bad, just had some feeling on one side of my body. The on-call doctor came in and ordered some Pitocin for me, because according to the internal contraction monitor, my contractions were not very strong. She then did an internal exam and to everyone’s surprise, I was dilated 9.5 centimeters! I’d be ready to have the baby by one! My epidural was so strong that I didn’t even feel it coming.
One o'clock came and went and the doctor was busy with another patient. The nurses were a bit worried because my baby’s heartbeat was dropping every third contraction when I was on my side. They were considering a c-section but it turned out not be necessary. The doctor came in and told me I could start pushing at 2:30. I felt kind of dumb—I didn’t have the pressure and it was difficult for me to tell when to push, but Mo-mo was out within an hour! She had a bit of help via an episiotomy and a vacuum extractor. Labor itself was surprisingly not very painful, I couldn’t feel the episiotomy or the stitches afterward. Mo-mo had to be cleaned up for a half hour after birth because of the meconium and because her umbilical cord was wrapped (very loosely) around her neck. It was so hard to wait those 30 minutes to hold her.
Mo-mo and I checked out of the hospital 23 hours later. And our lives were never again the same...

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