Friday, January 20, 2012

Julia's Birth Story

Julia's birth story really begins back on the 7th when I first saw some spotting on that Saturday morning. Sunday brought more spotting in the morning and Monday I saw spotting all day which lead to the late night hospital run. I had a little more spotting throughout the week and occasions where I thought I might be leaking a little fluid but I also thought that could be bladder issues. Thursday was my due date and my doctor was leaving out of town. Since she wasn't concerned about me or the baby, I didn't get checked because I didn't want to disturb things and go into labor shortly after she left town.

Monday night and Tuesday morning, it seemed like every time I got up to go to the bathroom, I would have some kind of leakage. For weeks, I had been waking up with a contraction that made me feel like I had to go to the bathroom very badly but would have to wait until the contraction ended to get up and go. The connection between the contractions and the bladder is what made me unsure of whether I was leaking fluid or urine. I sent my doctor an email when I was up grabbing a snack around 4 am wondering when I should be concerned about leaking fluid.

After the girls got up in the morning, I called over to the hospital to ask an OB nurse about the fluid. Before I even said my name, the nurse asked if it was me and that she was going to call me. It turned out it was the same nurse, Mel, that was there when Tali delivered. She was very supportive of natural delivery and I really liked her. She had already talked to my doctor and talked to me about the fluid and said I should come in to get tested to see if I was leaking fluid. She also said that if I wasn't leaking fluid, my doctor had wanted to schedule me to get induced on Thursday. I told her I preferred Friday since it was my birthday but they already had an induction scheduled for that day. Oh well. I told her we'd be in shortly to get checked.

We called our babysitter and got ready to go. Amanda wondered why I was packing up my pillow. I told her because the pillows at the hospital weren't very comfortable. Some how she thought that meant we were taking my pillow to go get it fixed. It was hard to explain that we were going because I might have the baby today.

We got the hospital around 12:30 pm. They strapped me up to check on contractions and the baby's heartbeat and did a swab to check if I had leaked amniotic fluid. We waited for the results from the lab and it came back "positive." The nurse said the good news was that I was showing lots of irritability. That meant I was having little contractions here and there not that I looked crabby. ;) When she checked me I was still only about 2 cm. I was so bummed. It seemed like I had such a long way to go and I was already tired and not feeling well. On Monday, I had started to come down with the cold Tali had.

She told me that we would try and get labor going naturally before starting any pitocin and I opted to try the "natural" (avoiding a search word) stimulation in the tub. I'm going to explain the technique because if I would have known it I would have tried it at home first. Basically, I rolled, twisted and pinched my mammal parts until I felt a contraction start. Then I waited for it to stop before I started the stimulation again. The nurse said it works best once your water has broken. The goal is to get the contractions coming 2-3 minutes apart. I spent about 1 1/2 hr in the tub. Sometimes I would get up and stretch and rock to avoid getting too hot. The contractions started coming more regularly but not really much stronger than all the contractions I had been having for months. I was having more fluid leaking with each contraction though. Shortly, before getting out of the tub, I thought to myself, "Don't normal people just get an epidural, get hooked up to the Pitocin and then just wait for the baby to arrive?"

About 3pm, I got out and the nurse checked me and I was barely 3 cm. More discouragement. Shortly afterwards, my doctor arrived and we talked about starting Pitocin to help getting things contracting regularly and moving along a bit quicker. She was concerned about the length of time it had been since my water had possibly broken. She thought I had mentioned something about since Friday in my email to her. I couldn't remember. She wasn't being very pushy or anything and I really felt like it was being left up to me. I was nervous because of all the stories; pitocin leading to epidurals leading to stalled labor leading to c-sections etc. But they said they'd start very slowly and increase the drip incrementally depending on our toleration. One of the last things my doctor said was, "You just talked through that contraction so it will be good to get you in a stronger labor pattern." I thought, "Well, maybe I am in a strong labor pattern and I'm just THAT good!"

It was about 4 pm when they got the pitocin started and Mel would come in every twenty minutes to bump up the dosage. Mike worked on his homework and work on his laptop. I was pretty content to rest in bed at that point. The contractions still seemed pretty mild. Painful, but no more so than the ones I'd been having for weeks. It was nice to not having anybody climbing on me or elbowing my tummy while having one however. ;) After about an hour, I got up to use the bathroom and tried to sit on the birthing ball and lean on the bed. It didn't really work because my belly was in the way but I stayed on the ball for another 45 min or so. The contractions were getting more painful and every time I had one, fluid would gush. Mike came over an sat behind me rubbing my back gently. We watched the strips and the heart beat and he would tell me how high the number got that time, etc. The contractions still seemed very manageable. I was no longer talking though them, however.

Around 5:30 pm, I wanted to move back to the bed and find out how things were progressing. It had been almost two hours since my last check and the first check since starting the Pitocin. I was at 4 cm. More disappointment and distress. I thought I still had so far to go. I came in at 4 cm with Tali and had five more hours of labor. It was the same with Tony. I wondered how I would manage. How would I keep going? Would I cave and get an epidural? I was hungry and wanted to eat but also felt queasy. I worried that I wouldn't have enough energy to push the baby out. They said I could have clear liquids but sugary juice usually just leaves me more queasy and shaky. I talked the nurse into giving me a banana. I ate about 1/2.

I was still just breathing through each contraction and wiggling my toes. I was pretty quiet and calm. Mike was great too. He just kept himself busy and quiet too. He ordered himself some dinner. ( A BLT.) He left the TV off for me too. I know having it so quiet was hard for him. He is so used to having background music or TV going. Even when he's here talking care of the girls, he likes to have the radio on because otherwise it's just too "quiet."

At about 6:30 pm, I asked the nurse, what time I had last been checked. I was disappointed to learn it had only been an hour prior. She asked if I wanted to be checked again but I thought I still had so far to go. I didn't want to be discouraged by little progress again. Mike said something about not being too impressed with the happy juice (Pitocin). I'm not sure if he meant he wasn't or that I didn't seem too impressed with it. She said that she would check me at about 6:45 pm. I kept looking at the clock and made that a goal. The "nice" thing about the contractions I was having was that they were predictable. They would start, escalate and then go away. Tali's were crazy. They would start, lessen, then come back with a vengeance. I never felt like I could rest between contractions, plus the heavy nausea would come back once a contraction ended.

When the minute hand made it's way to the eight, I had a contraction that left me cold and shaky and feeling a little off. I snapped my fingers at Mike and pointed toward the door. I want her to come check me now. She lowered the bed and checked me. She said that I was at about a 7 cm and that she was going go call my doctor. With Tali, I freaked at 7 cm and told the nurse, "Tell her to HURRY!" and then I had another hour of labor. So this time, I didn't want the nurse to rush out, I wanted her to come back and lift my bed back up. It was 6:47 pm.

The next few contractions were brutal! I started using the moaning to manage and both Mike and the nurse were now at my side rubbing my legs trying to be encouraging. The nurse was giving me some breathing instructions. I'm not sure how helpful that it to me. It tends to throw me off. I think that if I'm not at risk of hyperventilating (like I was with Tali) just leave me alone to breath in what ever way seems best to me. They told me to let then know if I felt like pushing. My doctor arrived and put on scrubs. I didn't wait for them to give me permission to push. I said, "Push," because I was feeling the urge to push and was already gently pushing to respond to that sensation. My doctor checked me and said I was a 10 cm and that I could give a gentle push just to see how things were going. Mike said her eyes got ready wide and they all went into panic mode. (When he first told me the story he said that the look on her face said, "Some body get me a glove!" I was so confused. Why wouldn't she already have gloves on? Oh, a glove like baseball because a fastball was coming.) It was 6:59 pm.

At this point in Tali's delivery, I flaked out. When my doctor said that I could push I said that I didn't want to. This time I planned to bring it. And I did. No fooling around. Pushing through the whole contraction, barely waiting until the next one started again. I pushed through two contractions. During the first contraction, my doctor said, "I see lots of dark hair!" I was shocked, "Dark hair?!" Aren't all my begotten babies bald and blond? I had my eyes shut tight so I'm not sure what was going on but during the second contraction when the baby's head was just about out, they were pulling and repositioning my leg. I just kept pushing. At one point, I had opened my eyes and a new nurse had appeared. She had short hair and at first I was afraid she was a guy. Thankfully she was not and turned out to be a great nurse.

At 7:03 pm, Julia made her grand entrance. I was so shocked to hear that she was a girl! I was so thankful when she was out. Delivering a baby is such a crazy experience. It's such a relief when that baby it out! They told me to open my eyes when she was coming out but I just couldn't. I was so in the zone and tired or whatever. They lifted her up onto my chest but only so far because she had a short cord. The doctor was going to cut and clamp it but the new nurse reminded her that I wanted to wait until it was done pulsing. So, she waited. At that point, I didn't care about the pulsing cord. I couldn't even remember why that was important. But it was nice to know that the nurse had read my birth plan and remembered. She also reminded them that I wanted to cut the cord since I knew Mike didn't.

And then I just sat there, holding my new baby in a daze. They kept asking me if I was okay. I didn't know. Am I okay? Am I really done? Did I really just survive all that? I was a little anxious to deliver the placenta and be able to covered up and relax. It was just a few minutes before the placenta delivered and then she checked me out. Julia also had her hand up near her face which caused a small tear but my doctor didn't feel that one needing stitching. That was a relief. That meant it really was over. I was still just sitting there in a daze. My doctor said that she thought I was in shock because it happened so fast. I would have to agree. I began to process through all the anxieties that I had worried about that hadn't happened. No epidural, no stalled labor, no c-section. Julia was here and she was a girl. :)


andrea said...

Wow!! What an intense ending!

Funny -- my fourth was also born with a head full of dark hair after three bald babies. I remember staring at her the next day wondering who this little girl with so much hair was! *I* couldn't have a baby with hair, could I? ;) What a beautiful reminder that every one is different. ;)

Nena said...

Beautiful birth story Katie--sounds like you did great--so crazy that we worry about so many things that never happen--I remember with the last one, that Todd was really worried that we were going to have to go in because he didn't think I was going to be able to do it. That c-section fear is so big.
I like how you powered thru and just kept pushing. My contractions always stopped once the baby's head was out, then they said to push with the next one. I finally learned with the last one to just push & push to get the baby out. Birth is so amazing-beautiful, scary, exhilarating, empowering, painful--but so worth it in the end--I am so glad you & Julia had a good birth!