Monday, February 7, 2011

Our Birth Story: Part 1 of 2

Whew.... this mommy thing definitely takes more time than I thought it would.  Somehow I pictured that at some point during the day I'd be able to put Bug down.  Nope.  She LOVES to be held and will thankfully allow herself to be put in a co-sleeper from about 10-7 at night, but during the day, hell no.  That's mommy time.  So, its been almost 2 weeks and I haven't even written the birth story.  There is so much to tell about the last two weeks.  It has been a rollercoaster.  I'm going to try to go back and write what happened in some kind of linear way, but who knows how it will turn out.

On Sunday, January 23rd I was still having irregular contractions, but after all of the false labor I had experienced before, I wasn't at all convinced that it could possibly be time for the baby to fall out

My contractions were about 10 minutes apart, as they had been, on and off, for about a week, but they were a little more uncomfortable.  I had the most terrible night sleep that night, waking myself up every 10-20 minutes with my groans of discomfort. 

This continued until I woke up, groaning at 4:30 am.  Then I felt a weird little pop and instinctively knew my water had broken.  I somehow managed to keep my legs together and my hips parallel to the bed as I scooted off so that I wouldn't ruin the mattress.  Not sure why this was the biggest concern I had at the moment.  I pushed myself off the side of the bed and wooooooooosh.  As soon as I was vertical, the literal wave of amniotic fluid gushed out of me.  For those of you who are more queasy, skip my next post as I will be going into detail about many of the interesting things that happen in labor.

I tried to get myself dried up and prepared for the trip to the hospital.  Again, I'm not sure when I turned into such a clean freak, but I was very concerned about getting my new car all wet and icky so I put on a pad, some temporarily dry pants, grabbed the ugliest towel we had and a garbage bag and made myself a little seat cushion for the trip to the hospital.  DH showered and got Daisy and the cats set to spend some time alone.

We were told we should eat on the way to the hospital because we wouldn't be given much in the way of sustenance once we arrived, but the only thing opened was a McDonald's.  I had two Egg McMuffins with no egg. 

When we arrived at the hospital at 6:30 am, we were immediately admitted because my water had broken.  I was hooked up to a contraction and fetal heart rate monitor, and given an IV shortly thereafter because Bug's heart rate was a little on the high side. 

At our birth center we were given the option of delivering with a certified nurse midwife (CNM) or an obstetrician.  Because I'd planned to deliver naturally and my pregnancy was considered low risk, I'd decided to choose the CNM.  She shortly came to discuss our birth plan and options with us.

Holly, the midwife, explain that because my water had broken, there was a heightened risk of infection.  They'd done one exam and determined that I was between 3 and 4 centimeters dilated but would limit the number of times that they would check me for the remainder of the birth to limit the chances of infection.  Holly explain that 18 hours after my water broke, they would have to start drawing blood from Bug to start testing for signs of infection.  If everything went according to plan, I'd deliver before that 18 hours was up.

My contractions were between 3 and 4 minutes apart and I wasn't too uncomfortable, so I was allowed to unhook all of the machines as long as I returned every hour for them to do a 10 minute check of Bug's heart rate.  I knew that I was still in pre-labor so DH and I decided to walk laps around the floor to try to get the real laboring processes.  Though we'd tried our best to convince my family that it would be a long time before the baby arrived, they all arrived at about 10:30 am.  DH and I were planning on doing it alone, but since I wasn't really laboring, we visited and had lunch with the fam.

At around 12:30 pm Holly returned, and monitored my contractions again for several minutes.  My contractions were now about 3 minutes apart and 45 seconds long, but not really very painful.  She suggested that we wait until 2:30 to see how I was progressing, and then decide whether or not to start giving me pitocin to speed up my labor.

I'd decided I want to have this baby naturally, and knew that my chances of being able to manage my pain on my own were significantly reduced if I did start using pitocin.  However, we were worried about infection, and didn't want my visions of a perfect birth to potentially put Bug at risk.

At 2:30, Holly returned again and started discussing the use of pitocin.  She offered to check me, but told me that it was likely that I wouldn't have dilated much based on my behavior and the level of pain I was in.  I agreed and we opted out of a cervical exam.  After a great deal of debate between DH, Holly and myself, we decided to start a pitocin IV at 3:00 pm.

Once you started the pitocin, I needed to stay on the fetal heart rate monitor at all times.  Though I was allowed out of bed, I could no longer use some of the pain management techniques that we had planned on (ie. walking and laboring in the shower).  This proved to be extremely difficult.

They continued to monitor my contractions, and would continue to up the pitocin until my contractions were no more than 2 minutes apart with no breaks in between contractions.  They would be between 1 and two minutes apart for 10-15 minutes and then there would be a break in the contraction pattern.

Holy shit... let me just tell you that pitocin crap is terrible.  Every 45 minutes or so, they would up the amount of pitocin, and each time that they upped the dosage I would have 3-5 minutes of excruciating pain until my body adapted.  The pain wouldn't have been so bad, except I knew it was coming.  It's like telling someone you are going to punch you in the nuts then making you watch you prepare to do so.  Every time the nurse came in, I prepared for a 3-5 minute nut punch.

I started noticing that some of my contractions were showing up on the monitor, and when they were, they were extremely small.  Because they couldn't see the contractions, the continued to up the pitocin.   The thought it may have been difficult to see the contractions because I was laboring in a rocking chair and discussed putting in an internal contraction monitoring device.

At about 7:30, I felt like I had to go #2, and it was terrible.  It felt like this particular bowel movement was filled with razor blades.  At the same time, the round ligament pain and sciatica that I'd experienced throughout my pregnancy became excrutiating.  My pain level was at a 10 during each contraction and about a 5 between them.  There was absolutely no relief.  I hadn't slept well in days, and hadn't slept in more than 20 minute increments in the last 48 hours.  I couldn't focus on any questions that were being asked and my responses were almost inaudible.

DH asked if I thought I might want to do an epidural.  I nodded and managed to squeak that I wanted to be checked first.  I hadn't been checked for 13 hours, and if I was close to the end I'd continue doing what I was doing.  Otherwise, I knew if there were hours and hours more of this I wouldn't be able to do it.

DH informed the nurse of our plan.  She explained that it was shift change, but that after rounds, someone would be in to check us.  It was now about 7:45 and the nurse promised she'd have someone in by 8:15.  Also, my regular OB/GYN just happened to be at the hospital that night and the nurse offered to request her to come and see me.

At 8:30 no one had arrived, but the nurse returned to up the pitocin.  I was having trouble managing the pain I was already in and I couldn't imagine that 3-5 nut punch.  I'd much rather do it after the epidural if that's where we were heading.  All I could say was "please don't".  She explained why that was a bad idea, and I didn't care.  I shook my head and DH refused to let her up the pitocin.  It was at that point that he started to lose it a little.

"You told us the doctor would be here at 8:15.  Its 8:30.  Where is the doctor?"

The nurse explained that after a relatively quiet day, there had been 2 emergency c-sections right around shift change, which was slowing everything down.  But she promised that the doctor would arrive in no more than 10 minutes.

At 8:45, an hour after we'd requested to see the doctor, DH was furious.  He ran out to the nurses station and I could hear him yelling from my room. They promised 10 more minutes.

At 9:30 my doctor finally arrived and DH unleashed his fury.  He screamed at her that it had been nearly two hours since we'd requested to see her and he demanded to know where the hell she'd been.  My doctor, who had by the look of her had one hell of a night already herself, apologized and promised that she'd take care of me as quickly as possible.  She and DH helped me into bed and she checked my cervix.

5 and a half centimeters.

It was almost 16 hours after my water had broken, and I'd only dilated to 5 and a half centimeters.

I cried and asked for an epidural.

And that is where I'll leave you, until tomorrow because this is where the story gets good.

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