Friday, February 14, 2014

My Birth Story

 I wrote this back in August 2012, so some stuff is out of date (like my son is obviously no longer 10 months old lol) but everything else still applies.


On September 24, which was a Saturday, I woke up to pee for the 8,956th time overnight at about 4am, and noticed I was leaking a little bit. I had been leaking randomly, contracting randomly, etc for weeks (TMI, sorry) so I paid it no mind and went back to bed.

At about noon, we were getting ready to head out to my parents house because Hubs had promised my little brother a driving lesson, when I got a really sharp pain that seemed to envelope my entire abdomen. That wouldn't have been a big deal, since I was used to random evil pains at this point, except this pain lasted 30 minutes straight. I was crying by the time it was over. I decided we should stop in at the hospital before we went to my parents, if only so they could assure me I was having my 48th false alarm before we went on with our day.

Lo and behold, my water was broken. Well, not broken. "Ruptured". Trickling.

And I was dilated a whole 1/2 cm.

I was immediately super excited and terrified, though excited won out in spades. We called our parents, and of course EVERYONE came over right away.

I was admitted, and put on an external monitor. The pain was pretty bad, to the point that my dad had to get up and leave because he couldn't stand to see me like that. I was checked a couple of times, and I remember thinking I was going to die during the cervical checks. Literally. I was making my peace because I was certain the pain of those checks was going to throw me into shock and my heart was going to suddenly stop beating. The labor was nothing compared to those checks.

I wasn't progressing, so at about 7:30pm (having been in labor for over 15 hours at this point), the nurses inserted something called Cervadil in "there", after much resistance from me (I wanted ZERO intervention if at all possible, and EVERYTHING the nurses suggested was met with resistance, FYI). It was basically a piece of paper with hormones in it meant to help my cervix dilate (open) and efface (thin out) over 12 hours. I was told to get some rest (yeah right) because tomorrow, I would be able to start pushing and I needed to conserve as much strength and energy as possible.

When I woke up the next morning (I say "woke up" loosely, I didn't sleep much thanks to the damned blood pressure cuff trying to murder me every hour and the random nurses walking in and out of the room to adjust the monitor). I was checked again, and I was only 1cm dilated. 12 hours of Cervadil got me a whole 1/2cm. I was told that I had to get on Pitocin, regardless of my protests, because it had been over 24 hours since my labor started and I had to help the baby (ha!) in order to avoid a c-section, which is my absolute greatest fear. So in goes the Pitocin.

I tried to nap since I slept so crap the night before, but I was woken from my nap to a nurse half yelling at me that I needed an internal monitor because they lost the baby on the external. BEGIN PANIC. I was terrified not only of the monitor, but the fact that THEY were so panicked about the baby. The contraption was so painful and uncomfortable, imagine a huge long spatula IN YOU then laying on your thigh. That's
how big this thing was (Bu STILL has a scar on his head from the monitor, btw, and he's 10 months old now). They finished rupturing my bag of waters to put it in, and the party really got going.

I had more cervical checks. I have to say, now almost a year postpartum, I don't remember what the pain of the labor OR the checks felt like, but I remember the screaming. I remember hearing myself scream and being so delirious that I was sure it must have been someone else because I couldn't even scream like that. It's incredible the things the mind remembers (and forgets) in order to protect oneself.

At some point in the late morning/early afternoon of September 25, I had some sort of epiphany. I said to myself "you're scared, and you're letting the pain take you over. You need to take over the pain, or you'll never get through this. Do it for the baby." So I started breathing. Mind you, I never took a single labor class (maybe I should have), so I had no basis for what to do. I just did it. Every time I felt the wave about to hit me, I barged into it instead of fighting it. I spread my hands in front of me, requested that no one touch me, and I just breathed. I was deep in concentration, and I hadn't realized that the contractions had more than tripled in strength according to the monitor.

I started to really feel like I was kicking this labor's butt! I felt strong and powerful. 38 hours into the labor, I was checked again, and I was so thankful to hear that I was now 3cm dilated and completely effaced! It was working! It was slow going, but it was working! I was on the right track! And still no pain meds! I would meet my baby soon, and he would be alert and recognize his momma immediately and everything would be perfect. I asked the
nurses how much worse I could expect the contractions to get, and they told me that based on what they saw on the monitor, I was having transition-like strength contractions already. My body was ready for delivery with the exception of my cervix (a pretty important bit LOL) so I shouldn't feel much worse at all.

I felt a second wind come over me! It wouldn't get much worse than this, and I was making progress! I was Wonder Woman! I just kept breathing, with my husband, mother, and grandmother in awe that I was doing so well considering the wreck I'd been for so many hours prior. I got a new nurse (my 4th or 5th, I believe) who was schooled in natural deliveries and minimal interventions. I felt this was fate encouraging me and I knew I was doing better than anyone expected, so I was relieved and ready to fight.

At 44 hours, I had another cervical check. I hadn't moved one centimeter. Not even half a centimeter. In 6 HOURS. The 6 hours where I was feeling like this labor was my bitch. I felt so defeated. As if that wasn't bad enough, my doctor walked in (the doctor, by the way, was second to last on the list-of-doctors-I-hope-will-deliver-me because she always seemed so clueless and incompetent during my office visits with her. The only doctor UNDER her in the list was a fat-phobic asshole who was an absolute nightmare both as a person and a doctor) and let me know that she'd waited long enough and I needed to have a c-section. I threw up.

A nurse came in and tried to put me in different positions (I had labored sitting the whole time because I couldn't take being on my back), but I was already defeated. I felt like the hospital was just toying with me now, to teach me a lesson (I was delirious, ok?). I was already doomed to a c-section, what could I possibly do in the next hour
that I hadn't already done for over 40 that would allow me a vaginal birth?

I barfed again on the way to the operating room. All over my cute custom delivery gown. I remained in that gown for the delivery, FYI. So I was covered in barf when my son was born. Cute.

I was shaking and crying the whole way to the operating room, and telling literally EVERY SINGLE PERSON I came in contact with that I was "SO SCARED". Some people tried to reassure me, others ignored me because they had work to do (probably for the best), but I promise not ONE person in that operating room was spared an "I'm so scared! ::SOB::" and there are a LOT of people in an OR for a c-section. They gave me a spinal (so I ended up with an epidural anyway) and I immediately felt my toes go numb, which scared the hell out of me (even more). I realized I could not move my toes, and I started uncontrollably shaking. I'm talking have-to-be-held-down, violent shakes. My husband was allowed into the room and he sat next to me while they did their thing. I heard the baby cry, and the doctor say "It's a boy!".

My first thought? "I know."

Ugh, I was so out of my mind.

Then I saw him. And I cried. My husband turned to me and said "It's our little boy!"

And I vomited. On his bare foot. Never wear flip-flops into an OR, people.

I know looking back I was really lucky that I got that doctor because she was a bit of a pushover, and every time I argued that I wanted another hour, and another and another, to see if I could do this naturally, she allowed it until the last possible moment. If I had gotten either of the 2 doctors I was hoping for, I would have been on the operating table just hours after being admitted, not days. It can be argued that I ended up on the operating table anyway, but it was MY CHOICE to have such a long labor, and she allowed me that choice. I couldn't be more grateful to her for that.

And so, the absolute light of my life and reason for being came into this world 3 days after I entered the hospital, after 46 hours of unmedicated labor.  It's definitely a story, and an extraordinary experience. And believe it or not, I wouldn't have had it any other way.


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