Monday, April 28, 2014

Nora's Birth Story

Despite our best efforts, we ended up at the hospital at 9:00 a.m. for an induction. We were in very good moods - happy that the wait was finally over. You have to be buzzed into the family birthing center so I picked up the phone and said, "Hi, I'm here to have a baby!"

They showed us to our room and told me to put on a gown. It was so very weird to arrive at the hospital not in labor. I felt like they were gonna tell me I needed to go back home. Last time I totally came in labor and they still sent me home once.

We got settled and met our nurse and nurse-in-training. We went through a bazillion registration questions.

Our midwife, Kim came down to the room. The first thing she asked was if I was sure I wanted to get induced. That kind of threw me. She said she'd talked to the midwife I saw the day before, and she didn't think I wanted to get induced. Sure I would have preferred to have gone into labor naturally, but I was there to get myself a baby damn it. She did an ultrasound and baby was in a good position.

She ran through the possible complications with using pitocin and went over the general plan. She checked me and said that I was 3 cm (up .5 from the day before!) and the baby was at -3 station (up a notch from the day before unfortunately).

After one failed attempt at putting in my IV, they got it in and the pitocin-a-thon began. We started at 11:35 at level 2. As you can see, I was super happy.

I tried to eat while I could.  

This is me at level 7, still in rather good spirits. Valerie, our doula (who was there for Eli's birth and the births of several friends's children) arrived somewhere around here. By 7 they were every 2-3 minutes which was the goal frequency but they weren't at the goal intensity so the upping of the pitocin continued.

I think this is where I started being able to feel the contractions but not really be in pain yet. We thought walking might help things.  I've got a bunch of monitors all over my stomach so I look even more comically huge.

At level 8, around 3:00, they started hurting and we went one more level to 9. That's when stuff got real. We'd been walking a bit and I decided it was to go pee again (while I still could) and listen to my hypnobirth thingies (guided relaxations and affirmations).

I listened to those and then it was time for some standing over the bed and getting counter pressure from Kenny and Valerie.

The thing about this whole pitocin/induction thing is that it was not the gradual build up that I'd had with Eli's labor. One moment I had no real pain and then the pain was there and they were already 2-3 minutes apart. I quickly, quietly started questions my whole "no drugs" plan. 

I decided to delay thinking about that and kept just moving to different techniques for relief. After a while of doing counter-pressure with Kenny and Valerie (and the two magic electric massager things we've been stockpiling since the last labor) I decided to go for the shower. Valerie asked me if I wanted a bathing suit. I told her I was over that and stripped down. I got in the shower and sent them away. I stayed there for what I think was 45 minutes to an hour. The shower felt awesome but I was getting too light headed and shaky to stay in there. I called the team to dry me off and get me a gown and then went back to a semi-upright position on the bed. It wasn't the best position for pain relief but it was the best position for resting in between contractions. I did my deep breath through the nose in and strong breaths out. Valerie kept reminding me to relax my hands which reminded me of the advice my mom had given me before Eli's birth - to wiggle my fingers and toes. That helped a ton. I did just those two things and started moaning and making animal noises. 

The midwife came to check on me and said she'd like to check my progress since it was an induction and all. When she checked me I was 6 cm and 100% effaced. 

I knew its was time to change positions again. I went back to standing and leaning over the raised bed with the counter-pressure team pushing on my hips and back. I started feeling pushy with the contractions. The midwife came back to check on me. She said she had another mother in labor who was having her third child and having similar feelings. She'd called her back-up midwife and let me know that it might be either of them. Of course the back up one was the one midwife I've never met. 

She checked me and I was 8 cm and my bag of waters was bulging. I was super-duper feeling like pushing and was pushing a little bit on each contraction at this point. We decided we'd break the bag to try to finish things up. I went to the bathroom to empty my bladder as that can impede progress as well. And that's when my water broke on its own (or with the force of a push I couldn't hold back).  Kim told me not to push and practically yanked me out of the bathroom and got me over to the bed area where all of the birthing tools and such had been laid out. 

I got on the bed and was so confused about what was going on. She checked me and I still had a bit of cervix. She said she'd try to push it out of the way at the next contraction. That of course hurt real bad, but I guess it worked because next time I asked I was allowed to push. I'd requested the birthing stool, but I was already on the bed and moving seemed hard. I pushed for a while on my left side with me and a team of people holding my other leg and Kenny spooning me and supporting me from behind. We then switched sides. I remember one of the nurses calling somebody and telling them to bring bracelets or something else that would be needed for the baby. She said, "I think one or two more pushes." Hearing that was rather encouraging.

Another push or two and her head was out. I think Kim had me wait for her to turn herself. With the next push she came out, apparently with her little hand up by her shoulder just to make it a bit rougher on Mama. I think the cord was wrapped around her neck one time.

I reached for her and they put her up on my belly and chest. I was so surprised she had dark hair.  She looked rather gray and puffy.  It's strange to not recognize somebody who has been sharing your body for so long.

We waited for the cord to stop pulsating, and then Kenny cut it.  She began nursing almost immediately and stayed on me for about two hours before we finally let the pediatrician examine her. The midwife was surprised by her size. At least 4 midwives had guessed her to be 7 something pounds. She weighed in at 8 lb, 5 oz. That's almost two pounds bigger than her brother and accounts for the myriad of stretch marks she's given me.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The tenth month of pregnancy

So. I'm 41 weeks and 3 days pregnant. That's 10 days past my due date.

I've tried everything. Evening primrose oil, red raspberry leaf tea, pineapple, eggplant, walking, relaxing, visualization, other things I don't care to discuss with you. Friday I went to the midwife and had my membranes swept and then we went to the acupuncturist. I've never done acupuncture before. It was so very relaxing. She also sold me a bottle of magic potion (a tincture) and gave me some magic stickers to help my heartburn. The stickers totally worked. I had buffalo chicken last night with no side effects. Today I went back to the acupuncturist and back to the midwife for another sweeping.

Tomorrow we get induced. Originally, we were going to go today (Monday), but the midwife called me later and said that today was already booked. Apparently this is the first time that has ever happened.

I know many people think I've waited too long. Some people think that she'll come when she is ready and I should wait longer. I don't really know what the right time is, but hopefully we're making the right choice.  Births typically happen between 37 and 42 weeks. The due date is at the 40 mark. It's very likely that she would (heck, still could) come on her own some time this week. After 42 weeks the risks to baby go up. Inductions at 42 weeks are more likely to end up in c-sections. Inductions carry plenty of their own risks. All of the options stink.

I'm 2.5 cm dilated and 60-70% effaced. It took me a day of labor last time to be that dilated so I feel good about that progress. The midwife thinks that the induction should go well.

I just really want to meet Baby Girl and know that she's healthy and wonderful. I also really want to find out her name. We have a list, but I have no idea which name it will be.

It's going to be so weird to have my whole labor in a hospital (unless of course, I go into spontaneous labor sometime before tomorrow morning - still holding out hope).  We've been planning for it to happen at any given time for almost 5 weeks now.  We packed our hospital bag so long ago that I have no idea what is in it anymore.  Assuming nothing happens ahead of time, it's all going to be very orderly. We'll drop Eli off at school with his overnight bag (sitter to pick him up from school). We'll take Leroy to get boarded, and then we'll go check in and get the show started.  Hopefully the next post is a picture of my beautiful little baby.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Part the second

I'm 39 weeks and 3 days and so freaking huge. I think I was the size I was when I gave birth to Eli about 3 or 4 weeks ago. The web of stretch marks she hath wrought is impressive if not terrifying. They're like the commemorative tattoo she's given me to remember my pregnancy with her by. Nothing fits. I wore a pair of maternity jeans to work the other day (instead of the tights or leggings I've been doing because I didn't think I could do another day in tights or leggings), and it nearly killed me. Won't be making that mistake again.

Her movements are much different than Eli's were. She's active all day long. Eli was most active when I went to bed. This could be a good sign. Maybe she'll sleep at night. She flips from side to side all the time. Eli hung out with his butt pressed up and under my ribs on the right side all the time. Her movements are visible from the outside quite frequently. That can be quite amusing for my co-workers during meetings.

I'm having an easier time sleeping at this stage than I did with Eli. Mostly it's because I've not forced myself to sleep every night all night on my left side, because she's not so crazy rowdy at night, and because we have a better mattress than we had before.

She likes sweets a lot. Particularly chocolate. It's totally a stereotype but true.  Favorites this time around include chocolate pudding, cookies, and apples with cheese on crackers. Also meat.

My immune system has been terrible. I got at least 4 bad colds including 2 really bad coughs this winter. Apparently that's a pregnancy thing.

We have crossed all of the nesting tasks off of the list. We have our hospital bag packed and Eli's overnight bag packed. I'm most stressed about how we're getting him properly shipped off when the time comes. Everybody says the second labor is shorter, and I just hope it all goes down while he's not already asleep and that we don't have to wake up his sitter in the middle of the night.

I'm due on April 11. My current prediction is that she'll come on April 15. That's a full moon, an eclipse, and a Tuesday. Apparently that's the most common day of the week to be born. I did have Eli on a Tuesday. Prepare to face a grumpy still-pregnant Emo on the 16th.