Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Tale of Two Births...

Just over 7 years ago I found out that I was going to have a baby. I was 22 and it was a complete surprise. I spent a large part of my pregnancy reading Pregnancy books and magazines like "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and "The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy". I wanted to be as prepared as possible and those were both really popular books for pregnant moms. If only I new then what I know now!!

I wanted to be prepared but I was nervous about the actual labor so I did not read any labor stories or articles from any of the books or magazines. I didn’t want to read anything that really scared me! Of course that didn’t stop me from watching Maternity dramas where every labor was an emergency situation! I also watched a lot of A Baby Story. All the labors were always so calm and super medicated and the parents seemed so happy and perfect.

"E", my girls dad, and I were not together when I was pregnant with Emma (that is a totally different story to be saved for a possible future blog!) so I wanted to make sure that I did everything just right so that even with just one parent everything was absolutely perfect for her. I planned everything like crazy, including my how I would like my birth to go! I had a pretty calm pregnancy, other than morning sickness and hoped to have a pretty calm and painless birth. Yes, with baby #1 I though it was crazy to go thru labor without an epidural. *blush* Surprisingly labor started off pretty much according to plan.

On Wednesday, November 12, 2003 I had a prenatal visit with my OB. Everything was looking great and I was 2cm dilated and 90% effaced! My OB suggested that it might be a good time to strip my membranes and see if we could have a baby that weekend, 1 week before my due date. I thought that sounded fine so she did it. She made sure to tell me that it doesn’t mean that labor was going to definitely start in the next few days but that it can help it along. I tried not to get my hopes up but I was excited to think that my little girl could be born in just a few more days! Just two days later on Friday, November 14 I woke up early, around 7:30 am. I'm not sure what woke me up but as I was laying in my bed I literally felt myself lose my mucous plug. I was pretty excited by this since I knew that it could mean that labor was near. I got out of bed and changed my undies and then laid back down to try and go to sleep. I was lying there for 15 or 20 minutes when all of a sudden I felt a little tiny gush of fluid. I jumped up and ran across the hall to the bathroom where my water preceded to finish breaking all over the bathroom floor! I was so happy because I knew that my baby was going to be born sometime that day! I cleaned up the floor in the bathroom and then went to call my OB's office. It was just before 8am and the nurses line answered since the office wasn’t open yet. I told the nurse that my water had broken and she asked me a couple questions to make sure I hadn’t peed my pants, etc. I hadn’t started having any contractions yet so not much was happening. She said that she would contact my OB and have her call me back in a few minutes. My OB did not call me back, the nurse did. She informed me that my OB was out of town (WHAT???) and that another doctor was going to deliver me and that I should head to the hospital. Even though I was completely by myself I had this feeling of total calm, I wasn’t scared about being labor at all even though I had been for the previous 9 months! Even the news about my OB did not unsettle me. I called "E" at his parents house and his mom answered. I'm not really sure why but I just asked to talk to him and didn’t mention that I was in labor, even when she hesitated to wake him up for my phone call. "E" got on the phone and I told him that my water had broken and it was time for him to come drive me to the hospital. His parents house was about 15-20 minutes away from my house but I wasn’t worried about this at all. I could tell that he was really nervous but I still just had this feeling of utter calm. When he got to my house to drive me I was just hanging out doing my hair. I grabbed a box of cereal for him and a towel for the seat of his car since I was still leaking water. We drove straight to the hospital and went in to check in. I was still leaking fluid and my pants were pretty wet on the inside (I was wearing these lined Adidas pants so you couldn’t tell that they were wet on the outside). It felt very uncomfortable and I really did not want to sit down. The lady admitting me refused to continue the admitting process unless I sat down. I told her that I really did not want to because my pants were wet and she told me that I didn’t have a choice. This made me pretty upset but I sat down in my wet pants so I could finish getting checked in. I still wasn’t having any contractions at all. They took me up to the L&D floor and had me change into a lovely hospital gown. The nurse immediately got me in bed and set up on the monitors. Not long after that the nurses got me all hooked up to an IV. When they started to put my IV in I got extremely light headed (that feeling you get if your blood pressure super drops) and the nurses scared me a little by how they sounded, like it was a really big deal and a bad thing. Honestly I know this feeling quite well, I've had it happen to me many many times, bc sometimes my blood pressure just likes to drop suddenly. I normally just lie down for 5 or 10 minutes and I'm good to go. Anyhow...the one nurse said for the other nurse to quickly get me onto my side, which did help, and they finished putting in my IV. I have no idea why they hooked me up to IV fluids immediately but I also didn’t even think to ask not to have them. One of the nurses was very friendly and the other was not at all! Unfortunately the not very nice nurse was apparently the one assigned to take care of me. I kept wishing I could have a different nurse but didn’t think there was any way I could have a choice about it. The nurse checked me and I was at 3cm and 100% effaced. After lying in bed for a while I really needed to go to the bathroom but I was hooked up to all the monitors. I pushed the little call button and the person on the other end answered and asked what I needed. I explained that I needed to be unhooked from the monitors sot that I could go to the bathroom and she assured me a nurse would be right in. "E" and I waited about 10 minutes and nobody came so I tried the call button again. Again the person assured me someone would be in right away to help me. We waited for about 10 more minutes and I was honestly close to tears bc I really really had to pee! "E" could tell how upset I was and decided to unhook the monitors himself. We were worried that we would mess something up but I could not wait any longer. Apparently when we unhooked the monitors it alerted the nurses station that something was wrong and my nurse rushed in. She scolded up both for unhooking the monitors and got me hooked back up and settled in bed. It was probably getting close to 11 and I still wasn’t having any contractions and was stuck lying in bed. I was also getting extremely hungry and thirsty since I hadn’t had anything at all since the night before. In my birth plan I had stated that I wanted to be able to drink during labor and my OB had agreed that it was fine with her. When I asked for something to drink the nurse said absolutely not and that I could have a few ice chips if I was really thirsty but not too many. The ice chips really did not help even a little and the next time the nurse came in I asked if I could please just have a little drink of water. She said no and got me a little more ice chips. Around 11:30 they started me on pitocin since I still wasn’t contracting or dilating. Intense contractions started right away. I just felt overwhelmed by the pain from them and asked to get my epidural. The nurse told me that I had to be 4cm before I could get an epidural, which was news to me!! I had planned to not have any narcotic pain medication bc I had read that it is can really affect baby. It was so intense and painful and when the nurse suggested Stadol I said yes. :( I hated the Stadol. It didn’t make the contractions not hurt. It just made me feel odd. I hated how I felt and can only explain it as feeling like I was awake and asleep at the same time. Around 12:30 I started to feel a little less out of it. The contractions were also feeling more intense and painful. When the nurse came in I asked her to please check me to see if I could get my epidural. She said she doubted that I was 4cm but she checked me anyway. She was wrong and I was 5cm. She said she would call the anestisiologist to come do my epidural. He was pretty quick in coming and I got my epidural placed a little after 1pm. It worked and I couldn’t feel any pain. I also couldn’t feel anything from belly down. It made me feel panicky like something was wrong. I could see my legs but I couldn’t feel them at all and it kind of freaked me out. I couldn’t even pull my self up on the bed to a sitting position bc I couldn’t move or feel my legs. My dad and "E" had to help me sit up more. Once I got my epidural things got pretty boring. I kind of just rested and talked to "E" and my dad. Every once in a while the nurse would come in and check me and I seemed to be progressing quite nicely. Around 4pm, just 8 hours after my water broke, I was 10cm and ready to push. The nurses got everything ready to go and the mystery OB arrived (she was very nice). It was finally time to push. I had to have on an oxygen mask bc baby was having some heart deceleration and it was so obnoxious to have over my face!! "E" and my dad each held one leg while one of the nurses counted for me while I pushed. It took me a couple pushes to figure out how to push effectively since I couldn’t feel anything. I pushed for about 15 minutes I think (this part is very hazy in my mind honestly)and Emma was out. The cord was around her neck once but after they unwrapped it they placed her immediately on my chest and "E" cut the cord. It was amazing to hold my little daughter for the first time! I had a very small tear but no episiotomy which was a big enough thing that I told the mystery OB when she arrived! I need 3 small stitches and that was it. Emma was born at 4:43pm, about 9 hours after everything started. Not bad for a first baby, everyone had warned my I would go over due and be in labor FOREVER, so I was pretty happy! Emma latched on and nursed right away and that helped me feel less guilty about that Stadol. It took quite a while for the numbness to wear off from my epidural so I missed Emma's first bath (they did it in the nursery) and then she had to be under a heat lamp for a little while bc she got chilled during her bath. Since Emma was in the nursery getting warmed up (which made me really sad but again I didn’t think I had a choice) the nurse had me get up and take a bath. After having a baby at the hospital there really is no such thing as privacy and when I was ready to get out of my bath the nurse came in and helped me dry off since I was still a little wobbly from my epidural. Shortly after my bath Emma was returned from the nursery. She immediately latched on and nursed again. She was absolutely gorgeous and so tiny! She was 6 pounds 5 ounces and 19 1/2 inches long. She had a head full of dark hair. She was absolutely perfect!

Three years passed and I'd had baby fever since Emma was about 8 months old! Emma, "E" and I were doing well and I loved our little family but was ready for another. I started charting my cycles on Fertility Friend in May of 2006 with plans of trying to conceive in November. Fertility Friend was a huge eye opener for me and it helped change my views about how I wanted my labor to go. I decided to switch from my OB's office to a small group of Midwives at another hospital. I wanted to go completely drug free this time and avoid any medical interventions. Near the end of July "E" surprised me by saying he wanted to start ttc the very next month. I was so happy and so ready to be pregnant again!! In August we started trying to get pregnant. It was pretty stressful for me, partly from talking to all the women on Fertility Friend battling infertility and miscarriages. I really wanted to get pregnant but so scared that we would have problems. I was doing everything I could to try and help the process. I was temping and checking my cervical mucous and using ovulation prediction kits. When I hit my fertile phase I made "E" have sex twice a day every single day. I even planned out how we had sex. I had to finish first and then I would lay with my pelvis raised on a couple pillows for at least 10 minutes after we finished since I had heard this could help. I got pregnant right away, in fact I tested before I should have even missed my period and got a positive. I was very nervous bc of all I had seen and heard on F.F. so I took a lot of pregnancy tests over the next few weeks. I had a scare right around 8 weeks when I had some bleeding. I went in for an ultrasound and everything looked perfect, which was a huge relief. "E" and I happily told everyone that we were finally pregnant again and everyone was so happy for us. When I was almost 12 weeks "E" revealed that he was unhappy and had met someone else and moved out. It was a devastating blow and the start to a very stressful pregnancy. Around a week later I had another small episode of bleeding and my midwives were concerned and sent me to see a perinatologist at the hospital where I was going to be delivering. At my appointment with the perinatologist they did an ultrasound (a regular one and a 4D one) and said that baby looked small for dates. I was positive of when I had gotten pregnant so it wasn’t just a mix up on due dates. This was the beginning of lots and lots of extra prenatal visits. I was worried that this would be the end of my natural childbirth dreams but both the perinatologist and midwives were still very supportive and on board for what I wanted during labor. My weight gain was non existent and actually going in the wrong direction and Ella continued to measure small for dates. I had measured small for dates with Emma as well but not as far behind as with baby #2. The perinatologist encouraged me to try and eat between 2400 and 2800 calories a day to boost my weight gain and see if that helped with Ella's growth. I continued to measure small for dates and Ella continued to measure small in all of my many ultrasounds. I personally loved all the ultrasounds bc I got to see Ella all the time. Towards the end Ella not only measured small but her growth wasn’t changing. I was scheduled to be induced exactly a week before my due date because my perinatologist felt she would be better out than in since she had stopped growing. The doctors were telling me that she might be as small as 5 pounds, possibly less, based on the ultrasound measurements. The perinatologist was still fine with the midwives handling my delivery, Two days before my induction, on April 23, 2007, I was having a lot of contractions. I was timing them and they were anywhere from 5 to 9 minutes apart. I called my midwife thinking that I might be in labor. I told her what was going on and she wasn’t convinced I was in true labor. She told me to go and take a bath and see if they went away. If they didn’t she said to call back. I took a bath and they went away *blush*. The next morning I had my last prenatal visit before my induction. Everything looked good and I was dilated 3 centimeters. Marilyn was going to strip my membranes but she said there wasn't anything there to strip! I went home planning to head to the hospital that next day at 7am. I spent the rest of my day playing with Emma and making sure that everything was ready to go for the next day. It was a stormy night and I went to bed around 10 because I wanted to get a good 8 hours of sleep before my induction. Around 2am something woke me up, I'm not sure if it was the storm or contractions. I was lying there in bed and all of a sudden a contraction started. This was quite a bit more painful than the night before. I headed to the computer to get my contraction timer going and started timing. I timed them for a while and they were pretty painful and about 5 minutes apart. Although I was, once again, alone and in labor (other than my sleeping 3 year old) I felt a complete sense of calm much like in my first labor. I found that kneeling on the floor with my upper body resting on the couch while I rocked was the easiest way for me to handle the contractions. I waited a little longer than I probably needed to before I called my midwives. I was thinking they are going to say this isn’t labor again and why are you calling us...you are getting induced in just a few hours! When I called Jenda was the on call midwife and she said this sounded like the real thing and to head in to the hospital. I called my little brother to come stay with Emma and Eric to drive me to the hospital. I also called my good friend Kristi so that she could meet me there, she was my planned labor support. Eric arrived around 3:40 and we headed to the hospital. The hospital had construction going on so the procedure was to go to the ER and then the security officer would valet your car if it was in the middle of the night. I think I gave the security guard quite a scare. When he opened the passenger door for me I was in the midst of a very strong contraction. He looked pretty panicked as I assured him I was ok and not to worry. It was 4:00am when we arrived and Kristi and Jenda were waiting for me right inside. My plan for the last 9 months was to go natural but when Kristi saw me and asked me what my code word was if I wanted an epidural I changed my mind. I told her I didn’t need a code word because I was going to get one ASAP. I think laboring alone and then "E's" obnoxious comments on the way to the hospital, had let my control over the contractions get away from me. We got up to L&D and Jenda checked my cervix and announced to my surprise that I was 8cm and in transition...no wonder I thought I wanted an epidural! I asked if I could get an epidural and Jenda said there wasn’t time. I accepted that, no questions asked and started trying to feel me in control. I had not expected to be 8cm when I got to the hospital so I was very surprised at how fast things were going! Jenda sent Eric to go and get me some ice chips because I was really hot and to keep him busy so that I would be as comfortable and relaxed as possible. By the time they got me all settled and Jenda checked me again I had progressed to 9cm! Jenda said that she was going to break my water. About 10 or 15 minutes later she checked me again and I was 10cm. I was laying on my side and doing some deep moaning to help handle the contractions at this point. Kristi was rubbing my arm and Jenda was rubbing my back. All of a sudden I felt this intense urge to push. I told Jenda that I needed to push and she said ok. It didn’t feel comfortable for me on my side so I asked to turn onto my back. I started pushing in a semi-reclined position and things were going really well. It wasn’t long before Jenda said Ella's head was starting to crown. She told me not to push so that she could massage the head out to prevent any tearing. That was probably some of the most intense pain. It really felt like the skin above my vagina was going to rip in half! It didn’t take to long and the head was out. One more push and the rest was out. Ella Grace was born at 4:47 am on April 25, 2007! She was much larger than they expected, weighing in at 6 pounds 9 ounces, bigger than her older sister! The first thing I heard Jenda say after Ella was out was "Omgosh! She has blonde hair!" Eric and I both have dark hair and so does Emma but we both have blondes in our families. They placed Ella on my chest immediately and I felt the most intense happiness and feelings of accomplishment! She was gorgeous! I was able to have her nurse a little while I waited to deliver my placenta. Soon after Jenda suggested that I take a quick bath in the giant whirlpool tub that I hadn’t used to labor! She thought it would be a good idea to give Ella her first bath at the same time. It was absolutely wonderful, especially since I had missed Emma's first bath. I was just in a state of total bliss. When they were moving me up to my post partum room my phone started ringing. It was my dad telling me good luck with my induction. He was pretty surprised when I told him that I already had her!!

I ended up with two amazing little girls from two very different births. After my amazing birth with Ella I would never even consider trying a labor any other way. Maybe when I have my next little one I will have a water birth or a home birth, or maybe both! Labor is such an intense and amazing experience. I am so glad that I was able to experience it the second time without any of my senses dulled. It didn’t change how I feel about either one of my wonderful daughters but it definitely affected how I felt about myself and my body!

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