Friday, December 7, 2012

The Nitty Gritty Birth Story

Okay...  I dedicated 3+ years of writing a whole blog to Million's coming into our family.  The second-born in me demands that Creedence gets at least one post.  And I wanted to get this written down before I forget some details.  But also there is a part of me that always hated reading birth stories before I had kids, and even while I was pregnant I hated hearing talk of how dilated other women were etc.  Those are personal details about personal parts, excuse me. I'd rather not be thinking about the spreaded-outness of any areas of my friends' bodies that should be covered up while wearing a swim suit.  So by all means, skip this post if you have to.  I seriously will not be offended.  

I'm going to try to keep this as G-rated as a birth story can possibly be.

Sunday, November 25th (a day after my due date), my water broke at 9:15 a.m.  I googled to make sure that it was my water breaking, because it wasn't a huge dramatic thing like you see in the movies.  I told Michael to go ahead and take Million to church, which he did (and he made it through church without telling anyone other than my parents who were slotted to watch Million while we were in the hospital.)  I called the triage line at the birthing center, and they said I could hang around home for awhile and just to be there by 1 p.m.  I got all of the dishes and laundry done and brought all of the bags for Million, Michael, and I downstairs, and just generally cleaned while waiting.  When Michael and Million got home from church, we dropped Million off at my parents' house.  

When we got to the birthing center, the midwife confirmed that my water had broken, and they put a monitor on me and found out I was having contractions that were three minutes apart.  But I couldn't feel them at all.  Not a twinge or anything.  So they sent me a'walking with Michael.  We went to Barnes and Noble for awhile, and he went to Caribou coffee (I got a grilled cheese there...)  They wanted us back in our labor and delivery room by 3 p.m.  We came back, and I still wasn't feeling anything.  So the decision was made by the midwife to start pitocin, since my water had already been broken for 6 hours.  

Insert 8 hours of walking, playing sudoku, eating roast beef open-faced sandwiches, laughing with Michael, and having the pitocin levels increased 8 or 9 times.  The idea was to get me to be able to feel the pain, so I would know when I was contracting, since I had absolutely no clue unless I watched the contraction monitor they had around my abdomen.  The fetal monitor kept on going off every time I would exit the room, so we would walk down the corridor for 2 minutes, come back in the room and make sure that Creedence was doing okay.  We made a LOT of laps in that birthing center.

At 11 p.m., the midwife student "checked" me, and there wasn't much progression of labor, but in the process of checking me, they stretched me out some amount.  At 11:30, I was finally able to feel the contractions.  They were about a minute apart at that point.  Our labor and delivery room did not have the stand-in hot tub that I had really wanted, as the rooms with those tubs in them were already being used.  But it did have a very long and deep bath-tub.  So I opted for that.  As soon as I got in the water, my labor started progressing quite quickly, with contractions coming on very suddenly, nearly on top of each other.  So I only stayed in the tub for about 45 minutes.  Following that, I sat down for another half an hour and suddenly felt the urge to push.  Michael helped get me up on a birthing stool (uncomfortable contraption that kind of looks like a walker for an elderly person.)  He sat behind me and supported my back.  I pushed about five times in 15 minutes, and at 1:10 a.m. on Monday morning, Creedence came out.    

There are two sides of this whole story.  One was that it was seriously a wonderful experience.  The lights were dim, my favorite music was playing, we had peppermint essential oil in the room, and there were only Michael, I, one nurse, a midwife, and a midwife student in the room.  (And the last three were only in the room for the last hour of my labor.)  I was able to have the pain-med free labor and delivery that I absolutely wanted.  The midwives told me many times that it was the most beautiful labor they had seen in a long time (how do you respond to that?)  They were impressed with Michael's level of involvement as my labor coach, as many husbands don't apparently know what to do for their wives or get squeamish around bodily fluids.  I am seriously indebted to Michael for the perfect job he did coaching me through my pain.  (I am not one of those people who needs to be told that they're doing a "great job"---in fact, it annoys me.  And Michael knew that much about me and coached me in a way that worked for me...blunt and business-like.)

The bad part of the story is that because my body had so much pitocin in it, I couldn't control how or when I pushed.  Or how hard.  And even though I only pushed about five times, my body worked itself so hard that I experienced a lot of trauma.  Following the birth (this is the gross part for you squeamish people), the placenta would not deliver despite tugging and yanking on the umbilical cord.  So OB was called in semi-emergently after 45 minutes, as the placenta is "supposed" to deliver within half an hour.  I'll not go into detail on how the OB doctor got the placenta out, because it grosses a lot of people out...but the process was the most painful part of the whole delivery and also contributed to the trauma my body experienced.  They wheeled me off to surgery to stitch me up, telling Michael and I that the surgery would only take about 20 minutes.  There Michael was, doing skin-to-skin contact with Creedence, since I wasn't able to.  Apparently, one of the only songs he could think of to sing to Creedence at the time was Baby Beluga.  *sigh*  

The surgery took three hours.  And I was completely drugged up for it, although remaining conscious. (Please note, my mom is concerned that any readers might think I had a hysterectomy, given the length of the surgery and my vague terminology about the kind of trauma.  Not that you need to know, but this was not the case.)  When I was wheeled back to Michael, I was finally able to hold Creedence for longer than a minute and find out how much he weighed, etc.  Two hours later, I got out of bed and into a wheelchair and was wheeled down to the postpartum ward.  Postpartum was a different story entirely (only part of the hospital experience where I cried...and that was from exhaustion and complete lack of privacy.)   

So obviously, things didn't go according to our written "birth plan."  We knew they wouldn't from the first, since the stand-in birthing tubs had played a big role in what we wanted...and since I had always assumed that I would know when I was having contractions.  :)  But the midwife followed everything that she could from our plan (i.e. Michael cut the cord.)  And God gave us enough grace and laid-back personalities so that veering from our plan wasn't really that big of a deal for us.  We are really so very pleased with how our labor and delivery experience went and couldn't recommend a midwife birth enough to anyone.        

And I can't really think of a way to end this post.  I feel like I'm supposed to do jazz hands and say "ta dah!"  or something.  
Not happening here.  
My second child was born.  He is completely beautiful. 
And I'm so grateful that I got to experience this way of growing a family too.    

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