I’ve been debating on HOW to tell our birth story (long version, short version, somewhere in between, what to share, etc.) and finally decided to just let it spill.
Then I had to figure out WHEN to type out the story! I’ve been on Auto-Pilot since our son was born and when I am awake and relaxing, I’m snuggling with our sweet son.
Nevertheless, here’s the summarized birth story!
First-off, I still haven’t shared our son’s name with the general public, so I’ll still be calling him BB (Baby Boy) throughout this story.
On Tuesday, September 21st, Chris & I went to my 40 week appointment at the OB. I knew they would offer to strip my membranes at this point – and I had been warned it’s very uncomfortable – so I was happy Chris came with me. I also wanted him to be there to help make the decision (I was still on fence, if we wanted them to do it), if it became an option. I was still debating since it isn’t a 100% sure-fire step to start labor. (My friend had it done & didn’t go into labor). Why go through something uncomfortable if it won’t work, right?
Since I was dilated enough, Dr. S was able to strip the membranes.
She said I should start to feel crampy (like PMS) and I did.
Wednesday, September 22nd I woke up feeling pretty junky. I went for a waddle around the block in that morning to try to walk the baby out. I felt like his head was really low – the last couple weeks of pregnancy I often said “I feel like I’ve been riding a horse all day!”
After that walk, I sat on my yoga ball in my home office and continued to work on my iPod Playlist project. I basically wanted to have categories of music ready for labor & delivery (suchas): Need Encouragement, Relax, Thank You Jesus and PARTY playlists.
After lunch, I decided to go on another walk. Walking helped me feel better but didn’t necessarily relieve any discomfort.
After I got back, I realized that my lower back was feeling kinda off. The way it feels when I carry my heavy photography gear for long periods of time.
Mid-afternoon, I started to note that my back pain was timeable. I mentioned to a friend over IM that “I hope I don’t have horrible back labor.” Little did I know this was just the beginning!
In childbirth class, the instructor mentioned back labor but didn’t focus on it.
As the afternoon passed, my stomach tightened without pain (Braxton Hicks) and my lower back started to feel worse.
We were instructed to call the Dr when the contractions are every 5 minutes, lasting for over 1 minute, and that pattern lasts for at least 1 hour. The 5-1-1 rule.
My contractions went from every 20 minutes, to every 6-7 minutes (lasting for 90 seconds), to every 3-4 minutes (lasting for 90 seconds) – which is when I called the on-call doctor.
Dr. B called back and I explained that this isn’t what I expected, especially the back labor. I didn’t feel like I was in “stop everything and focus” pain and it certainly wasn’t stomach pressure/pain. She said to head in and they’ll see what’s going on.
We put the dogs in their room, grabbed the remaining items we needed for the hospital (most of it was packed in the car already) and headed into the hospital. It was a VERY quiet drive in. Totally surreal. I was happy it was about 9 p.m. – there was no traffic so Chris could avoid bumps in the road and go easy around the corners.
Once we arrived at labor & delivery (around 9:30 p.m.), they hooked me and BB up to the monitors (contraction monitor for me and fetal heart monitor for BB).
They said it was good I came in because my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and they were still lasting at least 90 seconds. I thought I’d be one of the moms who were sent back home due to “false labor” but nope! I was relieved we came to the hospital but also a bit in denial/shock that labor was already at that point.
After they checked my cervix, my contractions got quite a bit stronger. I was at the point where I needed to pick a focal point in the room and focus/breath through the contractions. Chris was very helpful at reminding me what to do. Stay focused. Pick a point. Breath.
It didn’t take longer than a couple hours of this to realize how exhausting labor was going to be. My contractions were right on top of each other (no rest between them).
Without knowing how long this part of labor would last (only knowing I wasn’t dilated more then 2-3 cm at that point), I turned to Chris and said “I know I said I wanted to go natural as long as possible, but I can’t do this. There’s no rest between them!”
He said “just go as long as you can.”
I asked our wonderful nurse how long it takes to get the epidural once requesting it and she said “about an hour.”
They needed to start my IV, draw blood to check my platelets (need to make sure I can clot properly) and then the anesthesiologist has 30 minutes to respond to the page.
I decided to request the epi and have no regrets doing so! We went in with an open mind, even though we did have an “ideal gameplan” (which went out the window).
It took about 90 minutes from the point of requesting it to swinging my feet back up on the bed, waiting for it to kick in.
The anesthesiologist was very quick and said I did a great job holding still, which makes the process go quicker. I was highly motivated to hold still, so I don’t even remember the two or three contractions I had while he put in the epi.
After that, I could still feel the contractions but they felt more like pressure than pain. And I pushed the bolus button when the pain got intense. It was definitely helpful!
For a few hours, I was able to dose off and rest listening to music. I still felt some pain and definitely felt pressure -but nothing like before.
By 7 a.m. Thursday morning (September 23rd) Dr. S came in to break my water. WOW that’s a weird feeling! It is warm and definitely a gush of fluid I’m SO thankful didn’t release in my car, or in our bed at home, or in public. 😉
As the nurse started my pitocin IV (around 8 am), she mentioned that when we first checked in (Wednesday) my body was acting like I had an overdose of pitocin (contractions 2-3 minutes apart), so they were starting me off with a very low dose.
8 a.m. to 2 p.m. seemed to go by pretty quick, even though they had me on oxygen.
Right around 2 p.m., they said I’m ready to push. The nurse had my left leg and Chris held my right leg.
And I pushed.
And pushed some more.
They said I was doing a great job (“Rock Star Pusher”) but BB wasn’t coming out (almost 3 hours later).
So Chris & I had 3 options:
1. keep going as-is (wasn’t going anywhere)
2. keep going and get a little vacuum assistance (not ideal, vacuum & forceps freak me out)
3. emergency c-section (really not what we wanted)
This is when the world’s quietest man (my husband) got what I call Cheerleader Loud. I knew I had to give it everything I had left. I was DELIRIOUSLY tired at this point, but I didn’t want a c-section. (I later told Chris that the delivery room FELT like a *different room* at that point – now that’s TIRED!)
There were 2 more sets of pushes I did with vacuum assistance.
(A set of pushes includes 3 rounds of pushing for 10 seconds, right in a row.)
The first set helped BB’s head crown but he popped back in. Chris said it was pretty surreal and I remember him getting really loud and shouting PUSH!!!!!! at this point.
Dr. S said “one more set!” Which actually ended up being four pushes.
I remember the sensation, pressure and pain of his head coming out, immediately after the episiotomy and additional tearing. (yee-ouch!)
I was SOOO relieved! His head was out! Something we were trying to do for the last 3 hours!!
Then a split second later I realized his shoulders had to come out too. Oh boy.
But it wasn’t that bad: it was just one small push. (Thankfully)
BB came out at 4:55 p.m. and he didn’t really cry – they put him on my chest right away and I saw his beautiful face, hair and HUGE hands! I turned my head towards Chris and saw him crying. To say it was a beautiful moment is an understatement.
I had about an hour of skin to skin time, then the nurse showed me how to help him latch on & eat.
All this time, Dr. S was delivering the after-birth and sewing me up. This part was more painful that I anticipated but thankfully I was holding my beautiful son (the perfect distraction from pain).
Like I said, there’s more details – but this is the Reader’s Digest version.
4:55 p.m. on September 23rd, 2010
8 pounds 7 ounces (75th percentile)
21.5 inches long (90th percentile)
14.5 inch head (75th percentile)
Time at the hospital before he was born: 20 hours
He looks JUST like his daddy! 🙂
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