Sunday, March 13, 2016

the birth story

The birth story begins on Friday, March 4.  

I had a prenatal visit scheduled at 3pm that day to see the status of my blood pressure and to make a decision about inducting labor.  Throughout the work day I was filled with anxiety and worry...kind of already knowing that my blood pressure was going to be just as bad or worse and that I would have to be induced.  That prediction was correct.  The top number of my blood pressure was 142.  My doctor felt that this was very concerning and considering that I was nearly 38 weeks, felt that an induction was a better option than letting the blood pressure increase -endangering both me and Hot Dog.  And so it was.  

The induction was scheduled for Saturday at 6pm.  I left the appointment with fear, excitement, panic, happiness, and anxiety.  Jason didn't attend the appointment, but I did call him from the office to inform him of the plans.  He immediately called his family.   I drove straight to track practice to let the other coaches know that I would not be here for the remainder of the year.  As much as I love coaching, it was so nice to just walk away.  

Friday night proved to be stressful.  I had an overwhelming feeling that I had to get everything done in the world that was possible before Saturday at 6.  Cleaning, laundry, little projects, dusting, you know-the world's most important jobs.  Jason did a great job of taking care of a lot of these things so that I could try to rest and prepare for tomorrow's big task at hand.  

On Saturday I woke up and did nothing.  Again, I was very worried and scared about what was coming.  I was still wanting to have the natural birth that I did with Callum.  I was really worried that any inducing would derail my plans.  I tried to do stupid things like watch tv and read but I was a headcase.  Finally, I found that online shopping did the trick.  I bought two skirts that morning and found that it got my mind off of my panic for a good while.  Pretty excited for those two things to get here!!

Jason got home from work around 11 and started cleaning and getting things ready.  Again, being the calm in the room since I certainly didn't have it together.  I really tried to give Callum tons of love and attention as well. 

I ate a really light salad for dinner.  By this time we were minutes away from leaving.  My mom came over to watch Callum.  In following with tradition, we walked over to the hospital.  Admittedly, I even ran across the parking lot just to keep that tradition alive too!!  We checked in at the ER where I was given a bracelet and directed to labor and delivery.  

Labor and delivery had a room ready for us.  I was hooked up to the fetal heart rate/contraction monitor and had my blood pressure monitored.  It was just as high as the day before at the appointment-142.  After we got settled and were just waiting for the doctor, Jason gave me a blessing of comfort.  It was a very special blessing in which I was assured that this baby was just waiting and had recently been on the other side of the veil.  I felt calm and peaceful because of this blessing. 

The doctor arrived at about 730 to begin the induction.  I was given cervidil and was also told that I was already 2cm dilated with contractions about 15 minutes apart.  That was good news to hear because it meant that my body had initiated the long process of labor in the days leading to this moment.  I had to lay down for 30 minutes and then was allowed to move freely with no IVs.  The advice I was given was to sleep and rest as much as possible during the night so that I would be rested for the labor that would soon be rough.  They gave me an ambien...which didn't really do much...maybe relaxed my mind a bit.  I was monitored every hour with the fetal monitor and my blood pressure.  With those constant checks, it was near impossible to sleep.  Jason was out cold!  He was even snoring through all of this.  I'm glad he got rest.  

Through the night I did mostly stay in bed but would get up to use the bathroom or just reposition.  I am happy to report that I did not have to get cervix checks at all during the night!!  That was terrible during Callum's labor.  It was such a relief to not dread those painful things.  In the morning the doctor stopped by at about 8am to see my progress.  This cervix check revealed that I was at 3cm dliated and almost fully effaced.  I was crushed with such little progress, but he was actually pleased.  Everything after 4 cm tends to move quickly.  He did want to break my water at this point to further get the progress going.  I was nervous about this, but it really didn't hurt at all.  

I would say that quite quickly the contractions picked up a ton without the bag of waters.  They moved to every 3-5 minutes quite quickly.  This is when I started feeling the need to walk, use the ball, and find better labor positions to manage the pain.  We did two lengthy walks to the other side of the hospital.  On the second walk I actually had to stop and rest on him to get through the contractions.  And thus begins the tough part of active labor. 

As the morning progressed, I found myself having to really focus and get into my own zone to get through the contractions.  Breathing (and relaxing) is probably the most important factor in working through each and every contraction.  Admittedly, going through this phase of labor without the bag of waters made it tough...but I still felt like I could handle it.  While all of this was going on my sister Moni was on her way to try and make it.  My other two sisters and mom were already there.  

Somewhere around 11am is when the contractions started to become relentless.  One after the other and not much rest in between.  I found that what I had to do to get through is close my eyes, breathe quietly, and hold onto Jason.  Every time he left my side I called him right back.  I didn't need him to necessarily do anything..I just had to hold his neck, arm, or something.  That was my happy combo.  Kimmy was also instrumental in helping me get through.  Having done this before, she knew exactly what to say and it always did make me feel better.  

About this time they brought in the table of knives and various sharp objects.  Things were getting real.  My pain level and ability to cope were definitely being tried.  The nurses, who were extremely supportive and fantastic, told me I could get stadol in my IV just to take the edge off.  It's a medicine that takes the edge off of the contractions just a tad and helps the seconds in between contractions be a little more relaxing.  I went back and forth...didn't want to ruin my goal or spiral down a road of medications but when I heard that it would only last for 30 minutes to one hour, I obliged.  I thought the relaxing might help me endure through the transition and pushing, which are the scariest to me in the first place.  

The stadol kind of helped.  I did feel a tad more comfortable in between contractions...even if it was only a minute or two.  At this point in my labor there were six people from my family, two nurses, and the doctor.  As the medical team started watching my contractions, they could see that her head was descending during the contractions which signals it being time to push.  They encouraged me to try some practice pushes in hopes that it would jumpstart the instinctual urge to push that happens right at the end of transition.  The practice pushes were weird.  At the start of a contraction I would follow the instructions of those around me and try my hardest to beardown.  I did this six or seven times with what seemed no progress.  I found this extremely disappointing and discouraging.  I felt like a failure.  Not only that, pushing during the contractions with my legs out was incredibly painful.  It made it hard to work through the contractions in the manner that I was doing before.  I think everyone in the room could sense my frustration with having no progress.  We all thought it would be over by now.  

Then, out of nowhere it just happened.  I put my legs up and said I needed to push.  The first push was painful and I didn't make any progress.  That was it for me.  I was beat up about this.  The doctor realized that part of the problem was that I had a full bladder.  The bladder was obstructing the baby's path down the birth canal.  Getting up to pee was not a viable option at this point so I was the lucky recipient of a straight catheter.  As in hook up a tube to whatever body part makes you pee.  During the middle of a contraction I was getting hooked up to a catheter and simultaneously pushing.  Wow.  I was kind of in panic mode.  Here's the thing.  After that chaotic contraction, the pushes suddenly were progressing.  I could feel her body moving down, down, and down.  I also felt the RING OF FIRE.  I didn't feel that with Callum.  It was a burning sensation that peaked and then all of a sudden it was just a whole lot easier.  I believe it was only four pushes after my bladder was emptied and she was here. 

The nurses were very quick to drop her right on my chest immediately.  I feel like I had an eternity to stare down at her naked little freshly born body.  It seriously seemed like it lasted forever. Pretty quickly the doctor pushed on my stomach to get the placenta to come out.  At the same time the nurses cranked up the pitocin to make my uterus contract for this purpose.  Man, that pitocin is no joke.  Within minutes I was having hard core contractions just like I was about to go through labor again.  Apparently pitocin is used to get the placenta out and get the uterus to begin its process of getting back to a normal size.  

I had a small tear that required stitches.  Just like last time, it didn't even phase me to get stitches despite the fact that all I had was a numbing agent for the topical area.  

I was really wanting Callum to meet his little sister right after birth.  Not only that, there were many excited cousins wanting to meet her as well.  However, RSV season meant that none of them could even come inside the hospital.  Steve brought all of the kids over to our hospital window so that they could see her right up against the screen.  It was the most precious thing to see Callum's head jumping up and down to try and get a glimpse...along with Averi, Tatum, Talan, and Tobes.  That was such a little precious moment. 

After she met all of her cousins, she was given back to me to be nursed for the first time.  She had no problem latching on.  This was my first real chance to take a breath and take in this little gift we have been given.  This labor experience was different in good and bad from my first time.  

My nurses and overall care were much better.  I was really happy to have all of my family in the room...even if they got obnoxious at the end.  I am still really proud of the way I was able to get through labor without getting an epidural.  However, this time I feel like I was a bit more traumatized by it all.  I had so much anxiety going into labor because of the blood pressure thing.  I also had a ton of panic when it came to the pushing.  I very well reached a place where I felt like I couldn't do it.  I definitely got to a mental state where I didn't think I could move forward and the only thing left to do was push because it was the only way out of the situation.  That's a tough place to be in.  The full bladder thing obstructing the baby in the birth canal makes me wish I would have peed earlier!  I messed that one up. 

Regardless of whether it was a little more traumatic or not, birthing a child is such a neat thing.  I feel like I'm in an elite club that has a better understanding of compassion and love after doing this twice.  

just before walking to the hospital..D Day
This time Jason didn't stay in the room with me after the birth.  He went home to care for Callum.  This gave me the chance to really get to know Riley throughout the night.  She's just too precious.  I feel so lucky.  

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