Thursday, April 25, 2013

the birth story

I am in love over and over again.  

Callum is here.  

Let me tell you about his arrival. 

On Friday afternoon I went for my weekly prenatal visit.  The visit was very routine.  I was measuring fine and vitals stable.  I did note that I hadn't gained any weight in the last three weeks, but the doctor was not concerned.  Because I was 38 weeks and 5 days, my doctor said that I could get my membranes stripped in an effort to slowly begin the labor process.  

Jason was not able to attend the appointment because he was working, but I knew that he supported me getting the procedure done because I had asked him beforehand.  I could hardly contain myself when I called to tell him.  The doctor said I was 3cm dilated and very likely to begin actual labor within a 48 hour time frame   

From that point on Friday afternoon through the duration of the weekend, we were overly excited and eager about the real thing.  Every contraction was talked about.  Every space in between was talked about.  The progressing back pain was talked about all weekend long.  By Saturday afternoon I was getting discouraged.  Maybe I wouldn't have him in the 48 hours we had hoped for.  I stopped worrying (and reading forums on labor) and wondering about every little contraction and just relaxed. We got a Redbox, got a pedicure, read books, and generally did nothing but lay around.  It was nice to have some quiet time with Jason with the expectation that it may be the last for awhile.  

On Sunday morning nothing had changed.  Irregular contractions and constant back pain.  I couldn't justify missing church because I really wasn't that miserable.  I went to church and by the last hour started to feel different.  The back pain became throbbing and much lower than anything I had every experienced   My contractions were getting stronger.  I couldn't differentiate between the back pain and contractions.  I left church the second the closing prayer ended because I didn't want to talk to anybody.  I couldn't pretend to put a smile on my face.  

We went to family dinner at my parents' house, and the general consensus among them was that I needed to go to the hospital.  They could sense my misery and encouraged us to at least find out how far dilated I was.  I disagreed with their judgement.  Jason really wanted me to go to the hospital as well.  He made a deal with me.  If pain remedies at home didn't help then I would be going to the hospital at about 10:00 pm.  That gave me two hours to rest, take a warm bath, and gather my thoughts.  When 10:00 pm came around I accepted the fact that my pain was not easing.  We walked to the hospital.  Mind you, it's just around the corner from our house.  In my final act of defiance against the decision to go to the hospital, I proved to Jason that I was okay by running instead of walking.  Jason thought I was a total idiot.  Looking back, yeah, that was dumb.  

The ER was filled with waiting people.  Jason explained our situation at the desk, and within minutes we were taken back to triage.  They asked me basic questions and wheeled me right to Labor and Delivery.  I was worried that when they checked me to see how far I was dilated that they would send me home.  That is why I tried to prove I wasn't ready by running to the hospital.  

I was dilated 4 centimeters, and the doctor said I would be admitted at this point.  I couldn't believe it.  It was really happening.  Jason gave me a blessing, and we enjoyed those quiet moments in the hospital room to ourselves.  The neat thing about delivering in Winslow is that I was the only patient in Labor and Delivery.  It was nice to not feel as if the staff were in a rush to provide care for us.  We were the only patients to care for.  

I basically dilated 1 centimeter an hour for the whole night.  I was able to get comfortable and get some rest.  My saving grace to take my mind off the situation was my ipod.  I jammed out to Coldplay and let my mind relax.  That really helped me out.  I got up to walk the halls of the hospital periodically and practiced breathing on the medicine ball.  Those things were extremely helpful in managing the pain.  

Speaking of pain, what I thought labor would feel like is not what I actually experienced.  I very easily managed the contractions through the night.  All you have to do is get up and move to ease the lack of comfort.  The worst part about the experience was the hourly checks to see how far dilated I was.  I HATED those.  

At some point around dark thirty the nurse assistant wheeled in a table filled with scissors and sharp things.  I took one look at the shiny tools and vowed to never look in that direction again.  Why on earth would anyone need 13 pairs of scissors for a labor and delivery room?  The answer scared me.  

Initially I told my doctor that I did not want any form of pain medication.  He said that if I changed my mind I would need to speak up by the time I got to 7 centimeters dilation.  When I finally reached 7 centimeters somewhere around 4 in the morning I could not justify receiving an epidural or any other remedy.  The pain was not bad enough.  I soldiered on to the land of 8 centimeters and beyond. 

At about 4:30am my sister Kim arrived and my parents were not far behind.  When they got there I was still able to joke and talk.  I remember telling them that my contractions were a bust.  At the time it was funny.  Through all of this dilation and contracting I must say that the worst pain was the back labor.  It made it virtually impossible to be in bed.  His head pressing on my spine was ridiculous. 

By 6:00 am my water still hadn't broken, so the doctor went ahead and broke it.  That was a weird feeling.  

 At about 7:00 am things really started to pick up.  I guess this is what you call transition?  There seemed to be no rest in between contractions as his head descended lower and lower into my pelvis.  I started feeling nauseous and had the urge to moan and groan.  Everyone in the room could sense that I was getting close.  Another sign that I was getting close was that Jason started to get faintish.  He turned pale and couldn't stand.  The doctor gave him his chair and ordered him to sit down with his head down.  Poor Jason. 

At about 7:40 I instantly had the urge to push.  It was like a sensor in my body was triggered and there was no denying that my body was going to push.  I had no idea it was like that.  The problem was that the doctor had stepped out of the hospital thinking that I would not be ready to push before 8:00 am.  The nurse calmly told me to wait to push until the doctor arrived.  This just made me panic.  I was calm and collected until this point.  I started screaming and crying and begging to be able to push.  Those 10 minutes were agonizing on me.  The second the doctor arrived I began pushing.  Again, I had no idea what it was like.  I had a hard time holding my breath as instructed.  I wanted to breathe out.  I also had an extremely difficult time keeping my legs way back.  The doctor, Jason, and Kimmy all assisted in pushing my legs way back.

During the pushing stage the doctor asked me if I wanted to feel his head for motivation to keep  going.  I declined without even thinking twice.  Like the table of scissors, I am pretty sure that touching his head would have made me panic.  There are not many pleasantries to speak of during the pushing phase, but I would say that it was motivating to feel the progress.  I could literally feel his body coming closer and closer to entering this world.   After 20 minutes of pushing he finally arrived.  

The doctor immediately dropped him onto my chest, and I was instantly connected to this little boy.  I cuddled him with cord still connected, blood all over the place, and purple skin.  After this precious moment Jason cut the cord.  He cut it in one big snip and it splattered blood all over the doctor's face.  I mean all over.  That was funny.  

The few minutes that it took to clean up, look over, and warm up Callum seemed like an eternity.  I just stared over at the little table in a dreamy state wishing that he was in my arms again.  During this time the placenta was delivered.  That was another weird thing.  I also had to get stitches for a small tear. Prior to labor tearing and stitches was a big fear of mine.  As the doctor took care of the small tear (about 1 inch), I did not even care.  I couldn't even feel it.   No big deal. 

Christie got some neat pictures that are obviously for my eyes only of the placenta and other things.  

I was shaking from head to toe for a solid 30 minutes after Callum was born.  I'm told that is adrenaline.  I was amazed at how easy it was to be so completely elated right after childbirth.  Holding Callum in my arms after knowing that he came just from the womb was unforgettable.  I will not forget that moment.  

I walk away from the birthing experience feeling like I experienced something hard, heavenly, rewarding, and painful all at the same time.  I am glad that I was able to endure the labor and delivery without the aid of pain remedies.  I am grateful that there were virtually no complications.  I did get one small tear from his shoulder but nothing major.  

My life is 9999999 times better.  This is better than what I ever dreamt it would be.  We have been blessed with a precious gift.  What more can I say? 


Kerri said...

I'm so happy for you! So glad everything went well.

Isn't the shaking for so long crazy?! I always want to hold the baby so badly during that time, but I'm shaking too much and can't. I wonder if women who get epidurals experience that, I should ask someone sometime.

What a miracle a baby is! So happy for you!

Russell Family said...

I got an epidural only because I needed sleep before the process happened because I had been having contractions on top of each other from being induced for over 12 hours! You still get the shakes even with an epidural! BUt i guess mine was turned way down when the labor process started so I actually could feel a lot going on! So glad he made it here safe! Can't wait to meet him! I love his name!

McKenna said...

I have been waiting so anxiously for this post!!! I love it! I literally laughed out loud at you running to the hospital. So much in fact that I interrupted Chris watching the NFL draft to read it to him. You are hilarious. I love little Callum! He is precious beyond words and you are an incredible trooper for sticking to your plan. Go you. I seriously love his name, it was on our list for Sawyer! LOVE it. You are amazing and I cannot wait to see more of this sweet little boy. Keep the updates coming!

Katie Petersen said...

I've been anxiously awaiting the birth story! I'm so glad he's here safe and sound. He is such a cutie. Good work on going natural too! I was close to going natural with Beckett but after being in transition for 2 hours with no progression and my contractions without any space between them (because I was induced) I had to get an epidural. I might try again this time to go natural, but we'll see. Enjoy this fun newborn time as it goes by all too quickly. Can't wait to see more pictures of him.

Mary Catherine Blackburn said...

Oh Larissa you are such a trooper!! I give you props for doing it all without any pain meds. Go you!! I would never be able to do it! I can't wait to see that beautiful baby boy! :)I hope you are recovering well.

Andrew & Elise said...

Oh I just love birth stories! I have so much I want to say.
1. I'm so proud of you for being determined to have his birth the way you wanted it and you did it!!!
2. Okay, back labor is seriously the worst. Kaden's water broke on his own and the back labor leading up and after it was unbelievable. I'm so sorry you have to feel that as well.
3. I love that an hour before you give birth to a human being that you've made and grown for the past 9 months, you're saying, "Poor Jason." You're amazing and that proves you're a good wife.
4. I'm sorry you couldn't push when you wanted to when you felt him coming. I had the same kind of thing with Levi. It's hard to try to stop your body from doing something it's obviously telling you it's time to do.
5. Good job, Callum, for spraying the doctor with blood!! Way to make an entrance.
6. You're going to be such a great Mom. I can't wait to hear about all the fun experiences with this cute little man.
7. Sorry I wrote so much.

amberdat said...

holy cow. thank you for this story. i laughed. i cried. i sympathized. and i laughed some more. seriously, were you actually running to the hospital!?!?! wow. you just don't take a break do you? i love his name. it is on our list if we have another boy. being a mom is the best. you'll never regret being one, even on the worst mom days. i also just wanted to tell you to tell Jason that it was alright that he felt faint. at least he didn't actually faint... because Trace did when I got my IV for Lincoln's birth. he hasn't been invited back to that show on either of my girls' deliveries. :) love you ! so excited for you! oh. and do you call him motorcycle or callum?? i got so attached to motorcycle...

Christi Pobst said...

You are a rock star! So happy for you guys! Seriously, he is so precious. I hope you are adjusting well to motherhood, enjoy every moment. It goes by way too fast.