Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Leia's birth story

This post might be TMI... I liked reading positive (and detailed) natural birth stories when I was pregnant, so I wanted to put mine out there too.

Sunday, August 5, 2012 - 10 days past my due date.

11 a.m.
I noticed contractions that seemed more strong and regular than I'd had previously (I'd had Braxton Hicks for the past month).

12 p.m.
I started casually timing them - just looking at the clock when I felt a contraction while watching TV. They were 3 minutes apart, which is really close.

1:30 p.m.
I decided that this is probably labor, and I laid down in bed to do my Bradley Method relaxation techniques to lessen the pain. While I did that, James cleaned the house and finished packing everything for the hospital.

3 p.m.
Contractions were strong enough that I started moaning through them - deep noises seemed to help. James came in to help me mentally relax, rub my back and give me drinks between contractions. My lower back was hurting during contractions as well. He put a heating pad on some of the time too.

4:30 p.m.
I threw up. It was getting increasingly hard. I got really hot, so James helped me by putting cold washcloths on my forehead and lower back.

One of the hardest parts of labor was when I had to pee. I was trying to drink a lot of iced tea and water throughout labor so that baby and I would both be healthy and hydrated, and because I wanted to avoid needing an IV in the hospital. 

Drinking so much meant that I tried to empty my bladder often, since I'd learned that a full bladder can push on the uterus and make the pain worse. But something about the way baby was laying made it so hard to pee. And sitting upright was really uncomfortable, so that was one of the worst parts.

5:20 p.m.
We thought about going to the hospital, but weren't sure. Our goal was to labor at home as long as we could. I started standing during contractions and rocking my hips. It was the only thing I could think of that might help (but it didn't really!). I threw up again.

6 p.m.
James called the hospital and told them we'd be coming soon-ish. The nurse he spoke with actually recommended delaying a little longer since we wanted to go natural.

6:40 p.m.
We left for the hospital. James was starting to feel overwhelmed with being the only one taking care of me, and felt bad when he had to leave me to take care of anything (like loading the car).

At no point in my labor did I think "I want an epidural," which honestly surprises me. I think I somehow forgot that it was an option. However, while walking out to the car, I do remember thinking "If I'm not at least 5 or 6 cm I'm going to die!"

On the ride there, contractions hurt a lot and I didn't like being in a seated position. But I somehow fell asleep between them (I don't understand it either)!  Maybe it was the movement of the car. Not sure, but my eyes were closed the whole drive. I opened them maybe 2 or 3 times on the ride.

7 p.m.
We arrived at the hospital. James left the car with all our stuff at the main entrance, and we walked up to Labor and Delivery (which is pretty darn far!). I tried to stop during contractions a few times, but he hurried me along - I think he really wanted some more support people around.

By the time we got there, I was pretty loud. I started labor making low, controlled noises like I learned in Bradley classes. Now I'd lost that control and was yelling "owww!"

In Triage, they made me do 20 minutes of fetal monitoring before seeing how dilated I was. That was another of the hardest parts - I had to sit still in a chair with wires hooked up to my belly and couldn't do much about my extreme discomfort.

When the nurse finally checked me, she said I was 8 cm! I yelled, "Thank God! I can actually do this!"

8 p.m.
We walked down the hall to my delivery room. I didn't give a crap about anything - I heard a nurse tell James to close my gown in the back and he was like "It's fine." I could not have cared less and he knew it!

They had a tub set up for me, as James had requested, and I got right in. While I was in the tub, my water broke. I didn't realize it at the time - I thought I was peeing, but later when they were asking for their records I realized that must have been it.

With me in the tub, James had to run downstairs to re-park our car and bring up our bags. I was also asked if I wanted a hep lock or IV, and I asked if I could just decline altogether since I was so close - they obliged.

I started to realize that it felt better if I pushed during a contraction. The nurse told me not to because they didn't know if I was fully dilated. I still did a little - bad me.

8:15 p.m.
James got back from parking the car. Nurse had me sit on my hands and knees for a little bit, because she said it would help baby get into a better position to come out. I did it even though it was way uncomfortable.

8:40 p.m.
I got out of the tub and into the bed. I don't know if it's a labor thing, or just getting out of a warm tub into air conditioning, but I was freezing! I couldn't stop shaking and chattering my teeth. A nurse covered me with tons of blankets and it eventually stopped.

I was checked and told I was at 10 cm! They said I could push whenever I wanted. Nobody coached me or counted, they just let me decide how to do it. Though, they did tell me not to yell so much while pushing because it took away my power. I still did, but not as much.

During pushing, time kind of slowed down for me. It was so strange. All the sudden I was calm and had the presence of mind to do things like turn to James and say "I can't believe this is happening!" and I even asked that they use a warm compress to prevent tearing (it didn't work). I'm so surprised I thought to say that and was so calm/normal.

8:45 p.m.
At first I pushed hard, but then I realized that I should "labor down" a little - just light pushing and letting my body do the work. Just a few minutes later, we could see the head with dark hair! They set up a mirror for me to see everything - that was certainly not a flattering way to see myself, but amazing to watch at the same time.

I didn't feel the "ring of fire" that other women describe when baby is crowning. I felt stretching, but contractions were way worse than that. I also didn't feel when I tore at all.

8:58 p.m.
Leia was born!! They put her on my belly (I think the cord was too short to reach my chest) and she cried after a few seconds. James said "It's a girl!" and I was so surprised! I said "It's a girl! Oh my God! Are you sure?!" I cried, though James and I were both surprised that we didn't cry more - we agree that it was just so overwhelming and surreal that it was too much to even comprehend!

9:10 p.m.
We got a few minutes of skin-to-skin time, but unfortunately not the whole hour that's normally standard at our hospital.

Because I pushed for such a short time, baby girl had some fluid in her lungs that they had to suction out. Normally going through the birth canal pushes the gunk out of you, but she went through so fast that it didn't quite happen!

They took her to the nursery to make sure her breathing was fine, and daddy went with her. They were gone for about 30 minutes - James brought me back some pictures soon, which was so awesome of him.

9:15 p.m.
Meanwhile, the midwife told me that I was bleeding more than normal and they needed to give me a shot of Pitocin in the leg to stop it. They would have put it in an IV if I'd had one.

The shot didn't work, and all the sudden the room was filled with 8-10 doctors, nurses and an anesthesiologist hooking up an IV. They were all doing different things... they gave me more Pitocin, Cytotec and an antibiotic through the IV, and the midwife and a doctor were using all sorts of tools to clean out my uterus. There was even mention of needing a blood transfusion (though to be less dramatic, they said that I probably wouldn't need one).

I really don't know why I wasn't more scared - I guess I just knew that Leia was okay since I had heard her cry, so I was fine with whatever was happening.

9:30 p.m.
Finally, things calmed down. My baby girl was brought back to me and we got to have some alone time as a family of 3. Later that night, James called our family members and our moms and my sister came to meet her around midnight.

Minus the part that happened after she was born, Leia's birth was exactly how we planned. I'm so proud that I was able to do it naturally! I couldn't have done it without my amazingly supportive husband, who was there every step of the way, working hard to help me reach my goal.


Jillian said...

I am so overwhelmed at your bravery, passion, hard work, and dedication to a natural birth.

I tried but needed a C-Section.

Congratulations on a BEAUTIFUL baby girl!

Stefanie K. said...

Congratulations, mama! You did GREAT and she is beautiful. Reading made me so reminiscent of my own labor...and he'll be one in just 5 days. It goes so fast, enjoy these sweet, new times. Congrats and great job, again!

Anonymous said...

I teared up reading this. What a wonderful, loving memory now recorded to help ease couples fears! Well done!

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.