Saturday, July 21, 2012

Birth Story

 As a warning, this post isn't the one where I talk about how I fell madly in love with my new baby, although I did and will write that post at some point.  This one is the story of how we got him here.  I probably wouldn't read it if I were someone about to have a baby, or someone squeamish about labor and delivery.  I'll say this, I was right about two things.  First, an easy pregnancy did set me up for a less than easy delivery and, second, trying to plan with any detail how a baby will come into this world is completely futile.  It was not the difficult, but amazing experience I'd hoped for.  To be honest, it was just difficult and, at times, traumatic.  As different as it was from my hopes, I would still do it all over again.

We got to the hospital at eight o'clock Friday night to start the induction.  We got to our room and the nurse started me on cervadil and hooked up an iv and two monitors around my waist.  This was my first surprise. I had no idea I'd be bedridden so completely, so soon.  In fact, I had to stay flat on my back for two full hours after starting the cervadil.  As someone with lower back problems, I don't ever lay on my back, and definitely not at 41 weeks pregnant. It was uncomfortable to say the least.  The nurse gave me an ambien for sleep and said they'd start the pitocin the next morning at 6:30.  The contractions started within an hour.  Between being seriously uncomfortable and being checked by the nurse every hour, on the hour, I only slept for two. 

The next morning they started the pitocin.  I can't speak about contractions that start on their own.  I can tell you that pitocin contractions slam you.  They are intense from the beginning and only get worse.  There is no gradual building. No ebb and flow.  There is a reason almost no one has a natural labor with pitocin.  The nurse came in every half hour to up the dose, so they got much worse very quickly.  Unfortunately, that was all they were.  They were extremely painful, but essentially ineffective because even with all the contractions, I wasn't dilating at all.  So, the doctor broke my water after several hours and one centimeter of dilation.  Again, I can't speak about things I've never experienced.  Having your water broken when you are more dilated may not be that bad, and I've been told that water breaking on it's own is painless.  Having your water broken at one centimeter is painful.  Full of pain.  Not uncomfortable and not pressure, but painful. 

Three or four hours later of contractions and many, many increases in pitocin, I got to four centimeters.  I had hoped to make it longer without medication, but at that point I was crying for an epidural.  After the epidural, I was no longer in pain, so they continued to increase the pitocin every half hour.  Two or three hours later, though, I only progressed to five centimeters and never made any further progress.  They turned off the pitocin and turned it on several times trying to get my body to respond, but it never did.  The baby started showing signs of distress, so I spent the next hour or so laying on my side with an oxygen mask to try and keep his heart rate stable.  By the afternoon, I had an internal monitor for the baby, a heart rate monitor for me, a blood pressure cuff, an epidural line, an iv, catheter and two external monitors around my waist.  The whole day went like this and by 7:30, the doctor made the call and let me know that I wasn't likely to deliver the baby on my own and that for my safety and the baby's, we would need to have a c-section. The surgery would happen within the next two hours.  At this point, I'd been awake for the better part of 48 hrs and hadn't eaten or had anything to drink since the night before.  I'd been in labor for almost 24 hours.  I was delirious.  I think I would have been disappointed to be told I needed a c-section under any circumstances, but after all that had already happened, I had full scale panic attack.  I kept telling Craig I was too tired.  There was no way I was going to be able to bond with the baby because I was just too physically and emotionally drained. 

They wheeled me into the operating room, simultaneously dozing off and shaking like a leaf.  The procedure started and Craig was allowed to come in.  I won't say that it was painful, but it is very unpleasant.  Whatever is in the anesthesia makes you shake uncontrollably.   I couldn't feel sharp sensations like the incisions, but I could absolutely feel my skin and organs being moved around and the intense pressure of the baby being pulled out.  I could feel the same parts being tugged and moved while being sewn back up.  The baby cried and I basically blacked out.  I don't remember much of the next twenty minutes. 

Once we got to the recovery room, everything started to get better.  I had my baby and Craig with me and we were all safe and healthy. The adrenaline and incredible moment of seeing Peter the first time pulled me through the exhaustion for the next couple of hours.  He nursed right away and we went to our post partem room.

Because of having the c-section, I wasn't able to be discharged until Tuesday.  We had wonderful care, but were so ready to leave.  The baby had a nurse and I had a nurse around the clock, so someone was in our room to check on us at least every hour for each day and night we were there.  Luckily, I had a really smooth recovery and was moving around pretty normally by Monday. 

I would never have chosen for things to go as they did, but I thank god things didn't get any more complicated for me or Peter.  Craig was an absolute rock and I definitely couldn't have managed without him with me.  After seeing how large he was (8lbs 9oz, 21 inches) and the size of my pelvis, the Doctor said that I most likely wouldn't have been able to deliver him vaginally even if everything else had gone well.  This will sound so dark, but one of the nurses said that I was one of the those women who wouldn't have made it through labor a hundred years ago.  I had already thought the same thing.  Instead of being completely terrified by that, I am just so grateful to be here at home with my precious baby a week later, happy and healthy, and seriously tired.

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