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Birth Story– HUGE TMI ALERT!!!

March 29, 2012


you’ve been warned


I had been so sure that Skip would be super early, like Spike, that the fact he was a few weeks later really began to drive me nuts.

Starting at 36 weeks I had prodromal labor…hours upon hours of contractions, often fairly regular. They would die off at nighttime predictably and then start up around 9 or 10 the next day. They got so bad at one point that I made a run to the hospital.

Secretly, I was aiming for March 18th as that would mean both of my babies would be born on the 18th of their respective months and I’m a bit oct about numbers. On the 17th, however, my false labors completely disappeared and I felt ridiculously good. My last day of work had been MArch 16th so I settled down and decided that I would focus on spending the coming week with LPK and enjoying our time together. I planned out a very nice, and somewhat complicated menu for the week.

At 5am the next morning, as I was rolling back into bed after a quick bathroom run, I felt a small gush. I was instantly excited– was it my water breaking? I ran to the bathroom to check, but couldn’t tell. I put in a pad and dozed for another half an hour. I didn’t feel anything else come out. I felt comepletely let down. I now waters breaking before labor isn’t that common, but I was so anxious to have some sort of progress. I moved over to snuggle my little boy (yes, he still ends up in bed with us most nights) and wham– I got another gush. Now I was wide awake. There couldn’t be any doubt. I jumped up and roused HH. There probably isn’t another sentence beyond “my waters broke” that can get a man up and moving quite as fast.

I wasn’t having any significant contractions, just a few irregular Braxton’s. We decided to spend a few hours finishing our weekend chores. Excitement spurred us on, however, and we had nothing left to by 6:30 except wander over to the hospital.  We got there at 7 and my contractions almost instantly settled into a pattern of every 7-8 minutes.  I was triaged and my water confirmed broken.  The last time I had been to a hospital they had put me between 3-4 centimeters dilated.  When the doctor checked me this time, however, she said I was only 2 centimeters and 50% effaced with baby at -2.

I was taken off to L&D.  HH and LPK were able to come with me as we were waiting for my in-laws to come and fetch the little boy.  I was hooked up to the monitors and I reminded the nurses that I intended to go naturally so if my contractions didn’t look great I’d rather walk etc than be offered pitocin.  Luckily, my contractions looked great and I was unhooked after 15 minutes to do as I pleased.  The three of us walked the hallways for an hour and a half while I enjoyed regular, but not too uncomfortable contractions.  The ward wasn’t too crowded and we passed by the door of a women on her last push.  It was a nice reminder of things to come when reheard the baby take it’s first lusty cry.

My in-laws came at about 10:30 and departed with Spike.  As much as he had been a sweetie holding my hand up and down the hallways, I was beginning to need to concentrate and it was stressing me out that he could potentially make a dash into some other laboring woman’s room.  Finally it was just me and my amazing birth partner.

The next few hours were ridiculously boring.  My contractions slowly got more intense and closer together (every 3 minutes), but they weren’t deathly painful.  My lovely supportive nurse tracked down a birthing ball for me, so we alternated between that and walking the hallways.  Every 2 hours they monitored me for 15-30 minutes during which time we watched random TV shows.  At around 1:30 I forced HH to go and get some food for himself.  Since I was refusing all meds, I was allowed to drink juices and clear sodas (as opposed to just ice chips), which was nice, but I hadn’t eaten a meal since 6pm the night before and I was very hungry.  Until you get that hungry you never realize how many amazing food ads are shown on TV….arghhhhh.

My nurse put an IV port in me, just in case, since I had needed pitocin after my last delivery.  Every so often she would flush the port with saline to make sure there was no clotting.  Having cold saline run up your arm is a weird feeling, but around 3pm, I realized that it was immensely enjoyable…because it distracted me from a particularly strong contraction.

I’ll skip the next few hours because it was a lot of … well, nothing.  I was beginning to worry that maybe this kid wouldn’t make it out on the 18th.  Then, at the stroke of 5, basically, everything ramped up.  All of a sudden I needed HH to get through each contraction.  We did a lot of “slow dancing” pain management and he helped me breathe through the contractions for an hour.  Around 6 pm I was beginning to have to make small noises to get through them.  Mostly I just talked to and encouraged myself.  I think my birth partner found that very amusing.

At 6:30 the shower was looking very appealing so I had the nurse bring in some towels.  I was surprised when she told me that she had never had a patient use the shower since this new hospital opened a year ago.  Well, showers during labor are amazing.  I wish they had had a tub because I bet that would have been even better.  I stayed in the water for an hour as each contraction got worse than the one before.  I quit the shower only because I had to be monitored.  I now had a new nurse who was no where near as awesome as my original nurse.  Still, she didn’t object to me being monitored on the labor ball.  At this time the contractions were bad enough that I was making weird moan-y noises even between contractions as my body relaxed and prepared for the next onslaught.

Monitoring went fine and the doctor stepped in and asked if I wanted to be checked.  They had been leaving the checking up to me and I hadn’t wanted to do too much.  For one, it hurts so much without an epidural and for two, I was trying to limit risk of infection since my amniotic fluid was long gone.  This time I agreed.  My contractions were close together and I had never felt them so strongly– even though I made it to 6 centimeters without an epidural with LPK.  I figured I must be nearing transition– I was even suffering from fairly significant chills/shakes which is supposedly a sign of transition.

4 cm.  It had been over 12 hours and I was only at 4 cm.  80% effaced…but only 4?  I pretty much burst into tears at that point.  I had to get back in the bed to be checked and lying down the contractions were somewhat less intense.  In a fit of real maturity I decided to boycott my body.  If it wasn’t going to progress with all the effort I was giving then I wasn’t going to help out by constantly moving and exhausting myself.  So I sat in bed and sulked.  For an hour and a half.  HH sympathetically gave me a very nice foot massage.  The contractions speed out a bit more when I was in bed, but they continued to get stronger.  The nurse came by and told me to call if I wanted an epidural.  That was the only time anyone at the hospital tried, in any way, to get me to change my mind.  I gave up all hope of a baby by midnight.  It had taken me 7 hours to get from 4 to birth with Spike.

At 9ish, HH forced me out of bed.  I was in tears standing up because I knew the contractions would ramp up exponentially as soon as gravity hit.  And they did.  I clung to my husband desperately as the contractions came one on top of the other.  An hour passed and I barely noticed.

HH helped me to the birthing ball as my legs were getting incredibly wobbly.  I resisted knowing that, once again, the change in position would escalate everything.  I was right again, but the ball was very comfortable. I sat there for about half and hour.  I was constantly mumbling and gasping now, and at the peak of contractions making other odd noises.  I always thought I’d be too shy to vocalize but…yeah…it helps amazingly.  Appearantly, releasing tension in the vocal cords directly aids in releasing pelvic muscle tension.  HH stood behind me and rubbed/pressed my back.  It was nifty how well he knew what to do and was able to respond to my nonsensical noises.

At 10:30 I stood again and this caused a particularly powerful contraction that made me feel like the baby was dropping out.  I clung to HH and focused desperately on just getting through this contraction.  I tried not to think about the fact that I was likely not that farther dilated.  Maybe, though, maybe I was in transition?

At 10:45 the nurse came back in to hook me up to the monitors.  I was grateful for the chance to lay back, hoping that it would ease the contractions somewhat.  It didn’t really.  The doctor came in as well and offered to check again.  I nodded and hoped there would be enough time between contractions for her to get a good feel.

“6, maybe 7,” she told me.  I burst out a “no no no.”  The doctor continues, “but you’re 100% effaced AND the baby’s at +1.  It won’t be too long.”

When the next contraction hit I grabbed my husband’s arm and pleaded for his help.  Out of the corner of my eye I noticed the doctor watching me intently.  She stayed around for another contraction, too.  At the peak of this one I’m pretty sure I called out for my mom.  Which actually did embarrass me.  But, not that much.

Everyone left by the third contraction and gasped through it.  There was no doubt, I was having a significant urge to push.  When the contraction ended I tighter my grip on HH.

“The baby’s coming,” I said.

“No, not yet,” he soothed me.

Another contraction hit.  “The baby’s coming!!”  This time I’m fairly sure I freaking yelled it because instantly the door banged open and nurses spilled in, seemingly by the dozen.

“Don’t push, don’t push,” the nurse ran up to me, “the doctor needs to get her gloves on!”  If I had been capable of laughter I would have laughed.  There was no way not to push.  I was no longer in control of my body.

“Oh yes, the baby’s right there,” I heard the doctor and felt her hand.  “It is pushing time.”

The nurse tried to get me to hold onto my leg, but instead my hand, with a mind of it’s own, went to find my baby.  “No, no,” said the nurse.  But the doctor pushed her aside and said, “No, it’s fine.”

(Like I said, didn’t care for the nurse too much, but everyone else was wonderful.)

I pushed with the next wave and out came the head.  Then they did make me remove my hand.  One more push and the body slid out.  For me, the pushing, although it came fast, wasn’t painful at all.  It was a deep ingrown relief and felt amazing.  It was an entirely different experience, pushing with a contraction, than being told when and how to push with an epidural.  There was no counting, no extended bearing down.  My body knew what and how to do it and the pushing came in waves throughout a single contraction.

I heard a gasp and a cry.  The baby.  11:04 pm.  It had been 15 minutes exactly since I had been checked and told I was at 6-7cm.

“Guess what honey?”  HH sounded almost choked up, “It’s a boy!”  I laughed now and begged “can I see him?”  Then I realized I couldn’t see him because my eyes were still closed like they had been through the last two contractions/pushes.  The nurse handed the baby to me and helped me unbutton so we could do skin to skin.

I was so happy they offered me that option without me asking.  They gave me my baby before cutting the cord or anything.  Only after he was settled in my arms against my breasts did they invite HH over to cut the cord.  It was at this point that the accumulated pain and fatigue really hit me.  I started to ramble to the baby boy.  I kept apologizing that the end had come so quickly??  I don’t know, I was super out of it.  I was able to latch him on and he immediately took to nursing like a fish to water.

His suckling brought about another painful contraction, although not as bad as before.  The doctor saw my wincing and told me the placenta was detaching.  She gave an experimental tug to confirm.  With the next contraction, that rolled up quickly, she had me push.  Delivering the placenta was a weird sensation.  And not nearly as exciting as getting the baby out.  The nurses kept wanting to take the baby to clean him up, but I protested telling them that he was my anesthetic.  I was able to keep him with me as they massaged my uterus (ouch ouch ouch) and only turned him over when they bribed me with food.

I was really starving.

We had had a list of names for each sex and I was so pleased that it took only one look at my little boy to confirm his name.  It was just so obvious who he was.

I was able to talk to my sister on the phone right after delivering.  She asked me how it was to go naturally.  “I’m not doing that again,” I laughed as my body coped with the shakes and the nurse massaged my uterus again (OUCH).  I changed my mind within five minutes.  I was able to get up and move around (even though I felt, and breathed, like I had just run a marathon anytime I walked).  Because I knew what happened when I birthed the baby I was not afraid of my lady bits.  I knew they were fine.  Sore, but undamaged and able to handle just about anything.

Going without meds was definitely hard, but I was never actually tempted to ask for them.  I had decided that if they used pitocin then I would consider the option, but, beyond that, I always knew my body and mind could handle this.  I had worked hard to prepare my mind for handling it, which is something I didn’t do with LPK–in fact, I basically avoided thinking about birthing him.

I was very very lucky in many regards.  I had a baby in pod position.  I had a labor that started naturally after my waters broke.  I had a labor that progressed and a doctor that didn’t care if it took me 12 hours to go 2 cm.  I also had a very small baby (6 lbs 5 oz and his head was only in the 17th percentile).  So, everything lined up well for me and I am so happy I was able to have that experience.

I don’t even know why I insist on writing this down.  I know I’ll never forget a moment of that day.

Right when they handed him to me. The nurse is holding the umbilical cord out of the way as I try to finagle some skin to skin time

One Comment leave one →
  1. adriana permalink
    March 29, 2012 12:47 pm

    this was an amazing story to read. Seriously made my day. and made me want to give birth (one day) haha. I’m SO happy you had such a wonderful experience!! your writing was so powerful, i feel like it took my breath away a few times as i read it. i could just feel the emotions. ahhh 🙂 im so so so happy for you guys!!!

    and that is so awesome that he was born on the 18th. its like, he just KNEW 🙂

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