Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Birth Of O

  A little background and insight before I jump into the whole story.  My first daughter was a born via cesarean after a scheduled induction at 41 weeks 1 day.  I made it to 10 centimeters, pushed for 3 hours with a posterior (face up) baby flat on my back with an epidural.  My second child was born at 40 weeks and 3 days after a quick 4 hour epidural free labor.  I certainly expected to have this baby by 40ish weeks, or before!   This baby had been teasing me with contractions for weeks! Contractions would be about ten minutes apart then taper off into nothing.  The most annoying part was I generally only had contractions when I would lay down, so sleep just wasn't happening.  And I was honestly pretty mad I was still pregnant. It wasn't funny anymore, I just wanted to have this baby already.  Tired of people commenting about my size, about the baby not being here yet, and everyday was a battle to not lose my shit.  I was also obsessing over the baby being in a posterior position.  (Face up)  My friends and family had done a great job of keeping me busy with lunches, play dates, etc. but even with the help I was out of patience. I was still having regular bouts of nausea and overall feeling like crap.  A common theme for the past 9 months.

So there I was, 41 weeks pregnant.  7 agonizing days past my estimated due date.  It was just another, crappy, still pregnant day.  I headed out to visit with my sister in law and nieces and nephews.  (My husband was out returning a trencher, after digging up the backyard and accidentally cutting our internet cable.  Why not start a crazy project when your wife is 40+ weeks pregnant?)  The kids were excited to get out of house, something we hadn't been doing much of.  (Who's got energy for that?) I made the drive up to their house, let the kids play, had brunch, and headed home so I could try to nap.  

41 weeks pregnant in early labor
I was woken up by a contraction after sleeping for just 45 minutes, so much for a good nap!  I grumpily got out of bed and loafed around the house.  Dan took the girls out back to work on our mess of a yard.  I sat around reading a book, relaxing, and moping a bit.  (I may have shed a few tears about still being pregnant)  Around 5pm I noticed I was having contractions here and there.  I was still comfortable reading my book, so it wasn't anything to jump for joy over yet.  We had dinner, got the girls ready for bed and I kept reading my book until things got a little uncomfortable.  Mostly antsy, not pained.  I took a belly picture hoping it was the last one I would have a chance to take.   I was super exhausted from being a billion weeks pregnant, so I decided to lay down and try to rest.  I did start timing contractions while I was laying down, and I was basically willing labor to happen.   It was about 7 pm and my contractions were all over the place, 8 minutes, 15, 10, 7, 12 minutes apart.  The plan was to wait until they were about 5 minutes apart, lasting one minute, and consistent for 1 hour.  I did have to get on all 4's for each contraction, which is why I should have known this was the real deal, but I wasn't sold on the fact I was in labor.  I rocked through each contraction, laid back down, and hoped for rest.  

  I decided to give up on sleeping, and I was frustrated that my feet were freezing so I decided to take a shower to warm up.  I leaned on the wall through the contractions, but I wasn't having to vocalize through them, so I still didn't think I was in labor.  (see; Denial:  "refusal to admit the truth or reality")  After I got out of the shower I decided to put on my "labor clothes", but just for cautionary purposes.  I had to lean over the counter in the bathroom for each contraction and I was doing a figure 8 with my hips trying to get baby to turn so my back wouldn't hurt so bad.  (Baby had been face up for weeks and I couldn't get her in the ideal position, I was obsessing over it!)  

Ramping up!
I was finally warm and wasn't really sure what to do with myself, so Dan and I decided to put on a funny show.  Laughing is good for the soul, and good for labor too, if that's whats going on.  After 2 episodes, I was a bit more uncomfortable and I was feeling a constant need to pee.  I asked Dan if he could start pressing on my back to help with the pain.  He sat with me through a couple contractions, and he decided, even though I wasn't convinced, that this was it.  He started packing up stuff and loading the car.  I text a few people to give them a heads up that this *might* be it.  When he was done he came to time some contractions.  The next few contractions progressed quickly.  8 minutes, 7 minutes, 6 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes........

My helpful Husband
Dan said he was calling our friend to come watch the kids so we could leave for the hospital.  I still wasn't convinced.  (I know, I should have been, but no one wants to get sent home for false labor!)  I was so "with it" in between contractions that it just didn't seem like it was time.  The back labor hurt, but I wasn't in labor land yet.  Within minutes, our friend arrived, and even she was skeptical if it was time to head out!  She said we were way too laid back and relaxed.  Irregardless at about 9 pm we took off for the hospital.

6.5 Centimeters and loving it!
Things seemed intense in the car, and I was starting to moan a bit during contractions.  I was also still texting friends and talking to Dan, it was very strange to feel so present! It was during the car ride that I was pretty convinced this was it because I was shaking terribly.  Mostly my legs bouncing and chattering my teeth.  Adrenaline is a crazy thing!  I was just hoping I was more than a 5, and that I wouldn't get sent home to wait longer.  The drive took about 25 minutes and we went to the E.R. to check in.  I stopped to use the bathroom (still having to pee a ton) and waited awkwardly in the waiting room with my shaky legs, my moaning, and my backpack.  They grabbed a wheel chair for me, and another random lady in labor, and whisked us up to triage on the labor and delivery floor.  

We got to triage and the lady who brought us up told me to put on a gown.  I said "no thanks."  She looked at me funny and said bluntly "take it up with your nurse."  Okay lady, calm it down.  Thankfully that was the only negativity I experienced during the entire labor and delivery.  Of course the nurse didn't bat an eye at me rocking my tank top.  My photographer met us in triage and started snapping pictures right away. We laughed and chatted and occasionally I would pause for contractions.  The nurse checked me, and I was happy to hear I was at 6.5 centimeters!  Hooray!  I was ecstatic.  I didn't have to be pregnant much longer, and we were finally going meet this baby.

Laboring in triage
I labored for maybe 15 minutes in triage while they got a room set up for me. This was the only little bit of laboring that I didn't listen to my body and just stand up.  I was worried about moving the monitors and I was a little intimidated by all the cords and hospital gear.

Laughing through labor
We walked to the room at about 10 pm.  I got set up with a heplok and monitors.  My midwife popped in to check on us and see if we needed anything.  I said nothing but water!  (Which she gladly grabbed for me)  Once everything was set up my nurse and midwife took off and dimmed the lights for us.   Dan continued to press on my back for contractions to make them bearable.  He set up the camera in between contractions, and I only had to yell at him once to come help me.  I labored on the bed on my knees, laying over a birth ball for a while, which was totally comfortable until I needed to use the bathroom.  Once I got in there, I felt like I couldn't empty my bladder.  It was very unsatisfying.  I only made it to the edge of the bed before the next contraction came, so I decided to just labor standing and leaning like I had been at home.  It was the only thing that helped the back labor.  In between contractions I still felt coherent, and we kept cracking jokes.  I felt more with it in between contractions than I did last time, but they also hurt like hell, which was different from last time.

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Right after my water broke!
Just a few minutes later, I felt like I needed to empty my bladder, I sat down and nothing but a trickle came out.  It was very frustrating.  I tried to pee again, and got a little grunty/pushy.  I wondered if I imagined it honestly, hoping it to be time.  I went back to the edge of the bed and with the next contraction I was for sure pushing.  I'm pretty sure I said " Oh thank God."

Our photographer went to grab our midwife.   I remember saying "I hope this doesn't take as long as last time." Because I really couldn't bear the thought of pushing for 1.5 hours again. My midwife came in ready to see if it was go time.  With my next contraction my water broke.  All over the floor, making a loud noise as it hit the ground.  It was such a cool moment!  It could have been straight out of a movie.  Pretty quickly after my water broke, Shit. Got. Real.  I literally felt the babies head move down.  It was probably the strangest sensation I have ever experienced.  The timeline is fuzzy here, but at some point my midwife checked me and I was at a 10, and a +4 station!  Woo hoo!  It was time to get down to business.  

Pushing is hard work

I crawled up on the bed and started out pushing on my hands and knees. The pain was terrible!  Way worse than I remember!  I was screaming like a banshee and I could have cared less who heard me.  Suck it, I'm having a baby here.  But then the babies heart rate stopped coming back up the way it's supposed to after contractions. So I ended up on my back and with oxygen to see if that would help babies heart rate come back up.  I would go from screaming in pain to telling myself "You are only one who could end this".

"come here baby!"
I knew that high pitched screaming was not the most effective way to push a baby out, but I couldn't help it.  I mean, that shit hurts!  Everyone said we were getting close, but it seemed like everyone said that for an hour with my last birth, so I wasn't confident they were accurate with their timeline.  I just kept yelling about how bad it hurt and that I couldn't do it.  But I also knew that I needed to get this baby out since the heart rate was crap.  I was for sure that I was tearing terribly but at that point, what can you do?  Just keep pushing! I reached down and felt the babies head.  Okay, they aren't lying to me, the baby is actually crowning.  I kept trying to put my hands down by the babies head because I wanted to help deliver, but the pain was so intense that I kept pulling my hands back.  It was such an internal battle.  (It mostly went like this "Damn it Jesse, this is your plan, do it!  Interupted by OUCH OUCH OUCH no thoughts here OUCH OUCH OUCH)  My husband kept pulling my hands back down because he knew what I wanted.  (Thanks babe!)  During the last few pushes I heard someone say that the head was out, so I did my damnedest to fulfill my own wish and helped grab onto whatever baby part I could. Apparently it was just that babies head, but thankfully my midwife had a better hold on baby and got baby on my chest! 

Holing baby girl
while still attached
to the umbilical cord
The moment we found out
she was a girl!
11:02 pm.  Baby is thankfully out!  My first words were "Come here baby!"  It was such a relief!  And I was way more emotional and present than I expected.  It took a few moments to remember that we didn't know the babies gender.  We had to move the umbilical cord out of the way, and......... its a girl!  She was perfection.  Tons of dark hair, a little bit of vernix, and she was crying perfectly.  They passed the baby down to Dan, still attached to the umbilical cord by the way, so that I could take my shirt off for some much desired skin to skin time.  (I say "I" but really the nurse did all the work.  All my muscles were jello at that point)  After the cord stopped pulsing Dan got to cut the cord.

The midwife had to take a look to asses the damage, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear that there wasn't any!  Not a stitch was needed.  I honestly couldn't believe it after needing so many stitches last time.  She said that the babies head came out at a bit of an angle, not the ideal position for delivery.  That explained why it hurt so much more than my last delivery, all that bone on bone pressure.  

It was a busy labor and delivery night, so we were left alone to continue skin to skin.  She didn't leave my chest for 2 hours.  I instantly bonded and fell in love!  I can't say I felt this with my other 2 babies.  Not this complete elation.  I think they really have opened my heart so much that letting this new baby in was easy.  She nursed, cried, and eventually calmed down and slept.  Dan and I enjoyed the quiet and basked in the newborn wonder.  Those moments you wish you could bottle forever.  (But unfortunately can't) 

After 2 hours I really had to pee, and the nurse finally came back to help me get up. ( Again, jello legs!)  O had pooped, all over me, and we both needed cleaned up.  I used the bathroom, and Opal was weighed and measured.  8lbs 2 oz, bigger than I thought she would be, but still a perfect size.  Her head measured 14 1/2 inches and she was 20 1/2 inches long.  Her labor was less than 4 hours long and only really active for 2.5 hours.  It was such an empowering experience.  I felt strong for the first time in months.  I had felt so crappy the entire pregnancy, that I hadn't been thinking of myself as "strong".  But I totally rocked this birth.  I rocked the entire thing. 

My recovery has been wonderful.  My only complaint would be having to deal with the nursery at the hospital for 24 hours with jaundice issues.  Dan took 2 weeks off of work and I got to hang out with O, rest, and spend some time with the big sisters.  I only left the house for doctor appointments.  I am so in love with this wonderful baby, and in love with the interactions between siblings!  My 4 year old is always asking to hold the baby, and my 2 year old tells me she loves her and sings Rock a Bye Baby to her.  They are all so sweet together.  I couldn't ask for more.

Riding that adrenaline high!  
Maybe the whole labor/delivery/baby experience has been too good, since I find myself contemplating having another baby already.  I keep thinking "with the next one."  Which just sounds like absolute crazy talk after spending 3/4 of this year feeling like shit.  I'm sure I'll return to my senses soon. For now I will enjoy this babymoon and snuggling this baby.  There it is, the amazing, painful, and wonderful experience that is childbirth.


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