Saturday, August 13, 2011

Birth Story

We reported to the hospital as scheduled on Tuesday (Aug 9) at 7:30am. I was a nervous wreck. I ate breakfast, and was terrified I'd lose it before I even got there. From registration, they sent me to the lab to have roughly 9 gallons of blood drawn, as well as a urine sample. Then we went upstairs...

Our hospital uses LDPP rooms, so you get to stay in the same room the whole time - none of that delivery room nonsense. It was daunting to walk in and see the monitors, the delivery bed, the isolette. They gave me a gown and told me to change, then put me in my bed. They started an IV, put me on fluids, monitored baby, and asked me every question on the planet.

Around 9, the doctor came to check me, and I was still at 3cm, 70% and -2 station, as I had been for a week. They started the pitocin. It was very uneventful. I expected more somehow... Instant contractions, something like that. I don't know. I did finally start having regular contractions, but they were just uncomfortable. Around 3pm I guess, I started having real pain. It was very manageable, but it hurt. I asked for something to take the edge off, and they gave me IV pain meds. THEN I took a nap. That was some seriously good stuff. I can see how that could be quite enjoyable.

By shift change at 7pm, I was at *drum roll please* FOUR centimeters! Woo freakin' hoo. The night nurse asked if I wanted to go ahead and stop the pit for the night so I could eat and get some rest. We talked about it and decided it was for the best. Without food or rest, delivery would only be worse. Baby was doing well, and I needed to just have some time to recuperate. J went and got me some food and I got a relatively good rest.

The next morning, J brought me breakfast and we got ready to start the pit again. My doctor came over and broke my water, then they turned the IV back on around 8. Doc said I could have the epidural whenever I was ready. This time, contractions were immediately pretty serious. By 10am, I asked for the epidural.

The lady came up and got me ready. Mom stayed with me because I felt like she would be more likely to tell me to STFU and sit still. They cleaned my back, did the local (OUCH!), and went for the money shot. And nothing happened. No numbness. No tingling. No nothing. They kept asking if I was feeling any better or if my legs were heavy or anything. Nothing. No change at all. They called for another person, and she came up. Asked me if I could lift my legs. I proved that pregnant women are plenty flexible. Both legs were able to shoot straight up.

So, we had to start over. They peeled off the giant back-size piece of tape, pulled the catheter out, and off we went again. Part TWO. J stayed this time, pulled his chair up in front of me, and talked to me the whole time. It was actually an almost spiritual thing between me and him. With his help, I was able to block out almost everything going on around us. He talked about Monkey and our home and then I asked him to tell me about the wedding. I'm crying just typing it out. (This post was saved as a draft, and I was re-reading it before continuing. Made me cry all over again. Love that man.) He was amazing. Anyway, they redid the local and put the needle in for the epidural again. They found out I had a "false space" in front of my epidural space. That was where the first dose had ended up. When she got into the epidural space, I had a contraction. Just the contracting within my body caused the needle to slip. She went into my spinal space instead. It would have been fine if she had been using a spinal needle, but it was an epidural needle, which is too big. This apparently occurs in about 1% of all epidurals. It causes a spinal fluid leak and that can cause a killer headache from hell (PDPH - post-dural puncture headache). Because of that, I had to lay flat on my back for 24 hours. SUCK.

Around 2:30, I started feeling a lot of pressure. I said the words that every laboring woman with an epidural apparently says - "I feel like I need to poop." The nurse decided she should probably check me, even though I was at 6 cm just a short while ago. Then her eyes got really big and she called in the OTHER nurse to check me. Then HER eyes got big and they decided it was probably time to call the doctor over from the office. He came in, checked, and they started breaking the bed down. It was time. They got me in the stirrups and all that. Mom stood by my head and J held my right leg. The nurse took my left leg. The doctor said it was time to push. He and I kind of worked together to know when to push. I could feel it, but he knew when it was building before I did. It only took about six contractions. The doctor kept telling me that she was getting closer, but she was sunny side up. Because of that, she kept sliding back between pushes. Her heart rate was falling, so the doctor decided to get the vacuum to help us. He didn't pull her out with it, he just held her in place between pushes so we weren't losing ground. Then there was crowning. OMFG. Burn, baby, burn. Everyone suddenly turned into a cheerleader. The doctor, the nurse, J, my mom... Everyone was cheering us on, telling me how close she was. The urge to push was something like the urge to puke. It was completely involuntary.

Mom was curling her arm up under my head pushing me forward while I pushed. HUGE help, by the way. She had sworn she wasn't going to watch the baby come out, she didn't want to violate my privacy. In the moment, I really didn't care and she couldn't look away. It's funny, in retrospect. Anyway, she and J were both telling me that the baby was right there, that they could see her, just a little bit more. Everything in me wanted to quit. I was exhausted, I was in unbelievable pain (I found out afterwards that they shut the spinal off during the last 10 minutes), and I just didn't think I had the strength left to finish what we started. Then it hit me again - harder, stronger - I had to push NOW. I screamed (I'm not ashamed to admit it) and with one more push, she was out. I'm not going to lie - the pain was incredible. It hurt so bad. But then it was over. She was there. I had a daughter.

They suctioned her and wiped her face and put her on my belly. My tiny squirming purple slimy child. And my God... She was perfect. We were all crying, all amazed.

They took her off to the side to clean her up and get her vitals. Everything about her was just right. Ten fingers, ten toes, breathing like a champ, already looking for food. J went to be with her and Mom stayed by my side - ever faithful, that woman. Cute new baby in the world, and she stuck with HER baby. I don't remember a ton from this period... I remember telling my mom that I was so tired. She said, "It's a good tired though, huh?" I nodded, but what I really thought was that I was just too tired for it to be good or bad. Good and bad were over with. I was ready for a nap.

When it was time to deliver the placenta, I was scared that it would hurt. The doctor told me the contraction was coming and told me to give him a small push. Then that part was over, and it didn't hurt at all. Felt really awful in a gross kind of way, but it didn't hurt. I waited for him to get the sutures. Surely, as bad as that hurt - as certain as I was in the moment that I was freaking dying - I had torn. Then he said it: "No tears at all. Little skid marks, but nothing that needs stitched." Holy freaking shit! The doctors had told me that my parts were too small to deliver vaginally, that I would end up with a tear of epic proportions.... And I did it. No tearing. No cutting. No c-section. Just me and my daughter.

The nurses took her to weigh her, mom and J left the room while my nurses cleaned me up and my anesthesiologist checked my drugs. This is when they reminded me that I was to stay as flat as possible in my bed for the first 24 hours. Huge bummer.

They brought her back, and said she weighed 7lb 7oz and was 21 inches long. I had called it at 7lb 8oz weeks ago, so I was pretty pleased with myself. After the night nurse came on, they took her again to do a real bath and assess her again. She came back in and said, "There was an error with the scale earlier. I'm sorry. Really. The power cord was trapped between the cradle and the base, so the weight wasn't accurate at all. She's actually 8lb 4oz. And she's probably lost at least an ounce since birth, but we're going to record her birth weight as 8lb 4oz." I told them to bring me my cape because yes, I am Wonder Woman.

This is already way too long and it's taken me a week to write it, so I think I'm done for now. Childbirth was easily the most incredible thing I've ever done. It was also the most painful and physically demanding thing I've ever done. I didn't have my tubal immediately after birth due to the spinal issue, but I'm still planning on having it done later. I love my daughter to the ends of the earth and I stand in awe of what my body managed to do, but I don't think it's something I want to do again. That was seriously hard work.

And now, I must go. Monkey is watching Scooby Doo, and the wee one is starting to stir. For some reason, she feels the need to eat every 3 hours or so. Babies are so unreasonable. This is, without a doubt, my crazy beautiful dream come true.


  1. Congratulations! I'm glad it all went so well.

  2. Woo! So happy for you. And yes, eating every 3 hours is normal. At least, it is for my kid - every 3 hours for the last 4 months, except at night. :)