Friday, April 08, 2011

Obadiah's Birth Story

On Monday night, Eden and I were staying up watching a movie when Tirzah woke up crying.  She wasn't acting quite right.  Pretty soon we were jumping to grab a bowl for her to throw up into.  =P  When I headed to bed, I put her into our bed so that I could sleep but continue to help her throughout the night.  She woke up a few times to throw up, but not too bad--especially since I get up several times per night to use the bathroom anyway.  She would fight me, though, when she woke up.  I would hear her, grab the bowl, and she would let out a pitiful little cry, hide her head, and say, "noooo."  Poor baby.  She associated the bowl with getting sick.  So at around 5:30 am or so I heard her making the noises.  I jumped (as much as a pregnant woman can) to grab the bowl and hold her, but got tangled up on the sheet and the pillow between my knees.  Throwing these aside, I said, "Stupid sheet, stupid pillow, this would be a whole lot easier if I weren't pregnant!"  Just then I felt the warm release of my water (amniotic fluid).  I reached over to hit Mitch so he would wake up and said, "My water just broke."  Like--ugh--one more thing to clean up now.  Mitch jumped to the end of the bed, obviously still groggy, saying, "What can I do to help?"  I said, just take the bowl and help Tirzah so I can go to the bathroom and get cleaned up.

There was no question that my water had broken.  I was soaked, but thankfully only a small spot on the bed.  More water continued to release, but the baby's head was low and worked like a stopper most of the time.  I immediately noted the time--one of our daycare families would be leaving their house to come to ours at any minute, and we got on the phone to cancel daycare.  That was really good timing.  Devona was going to watch our kids AND it was her birthday.  So when I called her at 6:00 a.m. I said, "Happy Birthday!"  :)  I told her not to rush because I wasn't really in labor.  We wanted to putz around to see if labor would start on its own.  I showered, wrote a blog post (a book review I wanted to get out of the way), finished packing bags, saw that the kids were all settled, and tried to find my "center."  The kids were beyond excited.  The energy in the house was amazing.  At that point I guess I'm really glad I didn't plan a homebirth.  I just wanted peace and quiet.  Unfortunately, I don't think I got that hardly the whole day, even at the hospital.  I laid down and tried to listen to a hypnosis track to see if my subconscious mind would help kick contractions into gear.  It didn't.  =\  There were too many distractions.  Finally around 9 am we decided to head for the hospital.  By the time we did paperwork and got settled into our room a significant amount of time would pass, and this way I hoped I could get it done and finally get down to the business of relaxing.

At the hospital we were sent walking to see if that would help contractions start.  There was absolutely nothing on the monitors at all.  That was discouraging.  The baby was uncooperative and it was difficult to keep his heart rate on the monitor.  Sometime after 11 am the doctor on call recommended starting pitocin since it had been a good 5 hours since my water had broken and we still weren't seeing any contractions--not even a braxton-hicks!  I came in at 4cm dilated, and at noon I was 5cm dilated.  I talked with my wonderful labor nurse (who used to be a lactation consultant and was very pro-natural childbirth) and she said she would start off with a low dose and back off again when my body kicked in and established a good labor pattern. She did exactly that.  By 1 pm I was finally having some contractions.  But when she turned the pitocin down, my body did not kick in.  Instead contractions spaced very far apart.  I was VERY comfortable and hardly noticed the contractions.  I felt they were not strong enough to change anything.  So she started turning up the pitocin again.  She says she usually turns it up by 2, but she only upped it by 1.  Eventually we were at a 5.  I asked her what is "normal".  She said that around 4-6 is normal, but she does get as high as 10-12...usually first time moms get higher.  She pointed to the monitor window and said that she does not like to have more than 5 contractions in a 10-minute period, no matter what, so she will back off if they get closer than that.  At the level we were at, I still didn't feel like contractions were strong enough.

I had to be on monitors constantly because of the pitocin.  This was not how I had envisioned my childbirth.  :(  I had an iv with a tube for fluids and a tube for pit, I had a blood pressure cuff that was going off every 30 min (it was too big and kept sliding off my arm, so eventually we took it off and did it manually), a monitor for contractions, and a monitor for the baby's heart rate.  Then when I put my earbuds in there were those wires too.  It was really frustrating.  I was very consciously trying to empty my bladder at least every hour (a full bladder can stop contractions or prevent baby's  head from descending), so all that mess had to go with me as well.  Since the baby's heart rate was not picking up well on the monitor, and the nurse (who really was wonderful) only had one patient, she was there constantly readjusting that monitor.  For hours.  I was never alone more than 15 min.  I kept my hypnobabies lightswitch in "center" almost the whole time and it felt like I wasn't even really able to use hypnosis at all.  Yet as we kept bumping up that pitocin, I still felt very comfortable and had no trouble managing the contractions.

I couldn't get out and walk the halls, but the nurse said I could do anything else within reach of the monitors that I wanted to do.  I stood and swayed, sat on the exercise ball, rocked on my hands and knees in bed, and rested on my side--getting into deep relaxation to see if my body would release and dilate.  I never progressed past 5 cm.  I had no idea you could have that much pitocin and not dilate!

 {Texting my friends or checking facebook from my iPod}

At 7:15 my nurse went off shift and a new nurse came in.  My doctor, who had been busy all day and couldn't come in, also was finally available.  She was happy to have made it, but sorry for me being in labor so long.  She came in and stripped my membranes and found another membrane to rupture.  Later the new nurse ruptured a THIRD membrane during an exam.  It was a little weird to have an amniotic sac be SO thick, but whatever.  :)  The nurse bumped up my pitocin again.  I was now at 11.  That was also discouraging.  But finally at this point I began having contractions that I could not talk or smile through.  I had spent my whole day chatting and being happy and generally just excited.  Now I was finally down to business.  They were not painful, but powerful.  And I felt some amount of soreness in my lower abdomen.

I went through about 1/2 hour of these contractions and began to really do some honest talking with myself.  I had already been wrestling with the fear of pain during pushing.  I spent the whole pregnancy facing and preparing for this final event.  Here I was very close to the moment and realizing the fear was still quite real and present.  I wondered if subconsciously this fear was keeping me from dilating.  At 7:45 I took out my earbuds and had a good conversation with Mitch.  I said, it's time for the epidural...please go tell the nurse.  Apparently he didn't understand the gravity of the situation--he didn't move!  I admonished him that once my mind was made up that I wasn't going to last for long, he needed to go NOW.  :)  The nurse came in very quickly and checked me for dilation (no epi if I'm ready to push).  I was still only a 5.  :(  She placed the order for the epi at 7:48 and the anesthesiologist came in right away.  He had to try twice to get the catheter placed correctly in my spine.  I was also very afraid of getting the epidural.  I have had it done 4 times before, and I knew that I was not going to be comfortable.  After being comfortable all day through all those contractions, this was my first real crash into the wall of pain.  I was completely unable to use my hypnosis during this time, even though I wanted to soooo badly.  I had every muscle in my arms tense and clenched my teeth.  But I was going to tough it out--and I did it TWICE!

The starter dose was run at 8:03 pm and the full dose was hooked up by 8:07 pm.  I was shaking uncontrollably, but comfortable again as the nurse laid me down in bed and we set up a plan for how often I would flip sides and she checked to see how numb I was.  I could still move my legs.  My abdomen was very comfortable.  I could feel pressure from the contractions, but no pain.  We sent to have Mitch come back in the room, and I decided I could call Kristin as soon as the nurse quit her stuff and I had a few minutes of peace.  That never happened.  At 8:55 I sent off a quick email to Kristin saying that something had changed and I definitely would not be calling.  The iPod was going away.  I asked the nurse to check me.  It had been one hour since I was 5 cm.  I was 9.  She no sooner finished the exam when I said, "I bet I'm complete."  So she checked again and I was 9.5.  She called the doctor, who was there in a minute or two.  The two ladies began having a conversation.  The nurse said, "Should I call for backup now, or do you want me to wait until she is complete?"  I interrupted and said, "You can do whatever you want, and I am not pushing, but my body definitely IS."

At 9:05 pm, just one hour after the epidural had been placed, I began officially pushing, and he was born at 9:10 pm.  He came out very quickly, but I won't say it was without effort.  As I started pushing I told the nurse twice to leave that epidural alone, not to turn it down or off.  I had plenty enough feeling to know exactly what I was doing and I definitely didn't want to feel any more than I already was.  It was all very calm and peaceful.  I pushed as I felt led and when I felt my body needed it.  I wish now that maybe I had pushed a *little* more slowly.  His face was very bruised from his fast descent, and he didn't have much time to squeeze the fluids out.  Oh boy was he mad!  It seemed like it took an eternity for the doctor to put him on my chest.  I was stripping my gown off and she said, "Do you want me to put him on your chest all wet?"  Uh, "YES!"  When the placenta delivered, there were exclamations all around the room about how large it was.  The doctor held up each of the three membranes to show me.  It was just a little crazy.  I had no tears in spite of his fast arrival.  Everything looked perfect (yay for perineal massage!!).

We were surprised to see that he weighed 8 lbs 6 oz.  In my arms he definitely didn't look that big.  He is long, though, so maybe that's where he hides it.  He was 21 in long, and his head is 14 in (36 cm).  His apgars were 9 and 9.  He was on the scale and Mitch stepped in to take a picture, so everyone else stepped back.  My strong, mad little boy flipped over from his back to his side.  I think he totally would have rolled over to his tummy had Mitch not grabbed him and the side of the scale stopped him!  The nurse picked him up to move him to the warmer, and everyone screamed and jumped back as he peed a flood in a huge arc all over the room.  That was pretty hilarious.  What a great little guy!!

The rest of the evening was downhill.  I hadn't eaten since breakfast, other than a couple of granola bars, and I was weak and shaky.  They got me a great meal and I tried not to make myself sick eating so fast.  Once the epi had worn off, I got up and went to the bathroom.  The nurse drew up a bath for me, but the water was only lukewarm and I think I only sat in there for 5 minutes--long enough to scrub the ick off.  I was shivering uncontrollably as Mitch and the nurse helped me dry off.  Then they got me settled into my post-partum room.  Mitch headed home at 11:45 pm.  The nurse finally left me alone, and the baby woke up as soon as she left the room.  It was after 12 am, but he latched on and nursed for the first time since he was born.  The night nurse came and gave him his first bath.  Neither I nor Obadiah were impressed.  :(  I didn't get to sleep until after 4 am.  What a long day!!

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