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.

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