28 July 2009

Birth story--finally!

Thanks for your patience everyone. I have a lot to say, so it's rather long. Hopefully it's entertaining... and enjoyable, and not too gross. :P

Z’s birth story…might be slightly graphic…hey I’m open!

I had been fairly anxious about getting baby to come out, even though his due date was 13 July. Saturday had been a little busy, Marcus and I went to surf clinic that morning so he could help and I could get in the water, afterwards we visited Sarah and family and then headed home (around 1300/1pm). We were pooped so we took a fairly long nap and didn’t wake up til about 5 when Marcus headed out the door to watch “the fight” (not like I really know what that means, but it’s a UFC thing). I can’t remember what I was doing while he was gone… but eventually he came back and I think I was in the middle of watching ‘Then She Found Me.” It finally ended and I was getting ready for bed. I read my nightly devotional Saturday night and had just gotten to the point of, “Okay God, you’re right. I just need to trust you and your timing, whenever you decide to bring him into the world. Because it’s all you.” I think Marcus and I both laid down to sleep around 12ish… and before I fell asleep (~1240) I felt a little warm trickle… and my thought out loud was, “oh man.”

All my reading had told me that this sensation was my water “breaking” but I didn’t want to get Marcus all excited… so I told Marcus I had to go to the bathroom which confirmed my suspicion. This baby was on his way, but definitely not the way that I wanted. [Contrary to movie depiction, water breaking isn’t always the first step to delivery. Usually women have contractions, then water breaks, then delivery is close. When your water breaks you’re on a timeline…you need to get baby out within a certain timeframe because now there is nothing to protect baby from infection from the outside world. This concerned me. My goal for birth was natural. No pitocin, no epidural, nothing… and being on a timeframe could possibly hinder this goal.] I went back into the room and told Marcus that my water broke. So I paged the midwife. And I texted Kimmy and a few others. She (midwife) called me back and asked what was going on. It scared me to tell her that my water broke without any contractions. She asked me what my goal was for birth, I told her natural and to stay at home as long as possible. She informed me that if I came into the hospital now, she would have to start me on pitocin, so she agreed with my decision to stay home. She told me to rest and if nothing exciting happens by 6am, to call again and let the new midwife on call know of any changes.

A little bit after that (probably around 0130) the contractions started. Nothing too bad, but definitely regular. They got to about 30-45 sec long every 2-4 minutes, a threshold the midwife suggested I could come in, or continue to stay at home. Marcus and I were nervous because it seemed that the contractions were picking up fast, and since it was our first, we opted to go ahead and come in. I called Marcus’s parents and left a message on the machine telling them we were leaving so someone could drop off my mom at the hospital (she wanted to be in the delivery room). We got to Tripler around 0430 and told me I was 5cm dilated. This was exciting since my appt on Thursday I was 3cm… so progress was good. Still hard to think that I was only halfway there though.

They got us all checked in and into a room (very large labor room with a Jacuzzi tub-to help with labor-unfortunately not with water births). I don’t remember much about this… it was early—0530ish (at this point I was very grateful Marcus and I had both taken a nap that afternoon. Marcus had said a couple days earlier that he hoped baby came during the day and not the middle of the night, he must not have communicated it loud enough to Z ;D) Thankfully while we waiting in the exam room Kim had shown up with Marcus’ energy drink and juice for me, and then my mom and Marcus’ mom showed up around then too and were waiting for us to get into the labor room. I was surprised to see Karen there, since she mentioned she didn’t want to be in the labor room (I asked), but at least all were accounted for. In the room Marcus got started setting us up-we had our IPod speakers with worship music playing, and then were just getting used to the nurses and different questions they were asking. We went ahead and started the Jacuzzi (in retrospect not a good idea)… and just went along with the punches of the contractions. Which at this point seemed to be slowing down a little (perhaps laying down during exam and other factors). When we got into the room, Kimmy passed out on the floor (she hadn’t gone to bed when I told her we were on the way to the hospital). Kim and the moms went to find the cafeteria around 6ish since it was supposed to open then…we all ate a little something (I had egg omelet something with some tater tots).

Our new midwife (Dana) and our nurses (Jordan and Christina) came on and by 0800 we were all just cruising. They were great, letting me do intermittent monitoring and suggested we try the tub. I went in and it was amazing. Definitely helped with contractions, perhaps a little too much. They slowed down at one point to a space of 7-10minutes. I got out of the water and continued laboring. I texted a lot… it helped distract me, as well as listening to the music. At this point we had found a House dvd and had it playing, but the volume was down. I was hoping to have baby out by lunchtime… again I guess I didn’t vocalize it enough since he didn’t seem to have heard me. We were waiting for the next “check” of dilation to see how far I was…trying to limit the amount of intrusions/exams since my water had broken so it was a hard game of wanting to know and hoping for progress while not wanting to check and then it not be very far.

I think I was finally checked around 11 or 12 (if anyone remembers… lemme know) and I was 7cm (squishy to 8). Good news! I had progressed and it seemed that delivery was kind of around the corner, since the last 1-2cm usually came pretty fast…but my lunchtime delivery was out of the question. I think at this time Karen left, and my mom stayed with us… The contractions were getting harder but still staying around 4-7min apart. I finally had mom start keeping track of them, since Marcus had to focus on helping me through them. [He did an amazing job as my coach. The whole nursing staff and Dana loved him, saying we were a great team and they wished they could hire him out].

1330ish we thought it would be ok to get back in the water since by now it shouldn’t slow me down… and I stayed in the tub for about an hour and a half or so. This was about the time that we (mom, marcus and I) took mini naps in between contractions. Mom was timing so she woke up when I told her one started, and Marcus had to help me through them. It was an interesting cycle, but it was good to catch some rest. I think I got out around 1500 and were wondering how the cervix was going and hoping it was further than 7. Dana did another check and I was still at 7 (squishy to 8…grr). She wasn’t very happy with this (well neither was I), she said we needed to seriously consider administering pitocin to help speed things up. This was the last thing I wanted to hear.

Pitocin is a synthetic drug used to imitate what oxytocin does in the body-which is produce contractions. These contractions are what soften the cervix causing it to open so baby can come out. Unfortunately, pitocin (commonly referred to as ‘pit’) is also unpredictable. Some women don’t respond to it well, and some do. It basically makes your contractions stronger (thus more pain), and it can start a very negative chain reaction where pit is administered, then you get an epidural which can slow down labor (while relieving pain), so they increase dosage of pit… and then finally baby’s heart rate is crazy because these contractions are nuts (and squishing him) and they have to do an emergency c-section. This is what I’ve been reading and talking about throughout pregnancy. Marcus and I were in agreement that labor would be painful and hard, but it’s natural. God designed my body to deliver children. It’s the one pain your body goes through that doesn’t mean something is wrong. It’s normal. Marcus was very supportive of this decision and knew it would be hard-since my pain tolerance wasn’t the highest on the block.

I argued against pit. What if I did some more walking and swaying and ball sitting and even did nipple stimulation… can we just wait? Dana said we had waited already and that something was holding me up… I was upset. She noticed. She said we would start at the lowest dose and see how it went from there. She said I was almost there, I just needed a little push over the edge…I was still upset. She left to go do something and let me think it over… Jordan (nurse) asked me if I could tell me a little secret, with Dana’s first child (she just had her second like 2.5months ago) she had to have pitocin. I’m not sure that really helped me, but I guess it was supposed to make me feel better that the midwife-one who encourages and supports natural birthing had to have pitocin and she’s ok. She didn’t need it for her second child. In retrospect, Lei also had pit with Abby to induce, and didn’t need anything for Asa.

I cried. I cried hard. I didn’t want it at all. I didn’t cry because I was in pain, I cried because I didn’t want the snowball effect of pit and too much pain and epidural and more pit and then emergency c-section. I can’t remember much after this. I’m sure Marcus said some stuff to help me get over the pit, but I didn’t really have much of a choice. They hooked me up to the IV, then they had to get the fetal heart rate monitor and the contraction monitor. Man those sucked. I hated them. They were tight around my tummy (esp the heart rate one) and they aggravated me, felt like my contractions were a little worse with them around my belly. Shortly after hooking me up I really needed to go to the bathroom. That was interesting. By this time the pit had kicked in and these contractions were killer man. Like Marcus had to help hold me up because they were intense. I was also starting to get hot…so it took some time for me to get to the bathroom and ‘take care of business’ but boy I was glad it was taken care of. While I was cruising in the bathroom, thinking that the toilet seat would help with contractions and pain (not really), they tried to offer me an otter pop (I thought of you Sarah!) I took a little bit but once a contraction started to come, I spit it out. I dunno why, but I remember spitting it out. I also remember my mom saying, “here’s another one coming” (The contraction machine tells you when one is coming), and I responded in not so nice words, “You don’t have to f-ing tell me it’s coming!” The pit really helped turn me into a not nice person. I was especially made at the nurses because of the monitoring equipment, and they kept telling me I was doing great. I wanted to hurt them. I might have sworn at them, I don’t remember. I just remember really really not liking them.
We finally made it back to the bed. They started me off on all fours, I have no idea why, but I think that was supposed to be a good position to help deliver. I thought squatting would have been good, but OH MAN those contractions were killer when I squatted so that was out of the question. I actually would get up on my knees and then drape over the top of the bed (it was folded up like an L) when a contraction came, and then as soon as it was over, I’d roll over and sit… I started to get really hot at this point. They brought a fan and had it on me, while my mom started to pad my head with a cold wet cloth (such a lifesaver!). Finally, I realize, holy crap I want to push. And I sort of started pushing. They kind of panicked and Christina did a quick exam and told me I was only at 8cm and they needed me to breathe through the contractions instead of pushing because it could hurt me pushing (damage the cervix). I was like, O ok whatever. Breathe through this… so I breathed for some more and while changing positions the IV kept getting in the way. It was in my right arm and I had to hold it with my left since I kept going back and forth between positions, I didn’t want it to get caught or something. Finally I remember it getting caught on something and it just pulled right out. My mom says I pulled it out. I don’t remember that, but I do remember it getting caught. Anyway, I got the urge to push again, and they brought Dana in. She was so happy that I wanted to push. She didn’t even check me and just told me to go ahead and start. I was amazed and happy that I could start pushing (around the corner right?) and there wouldn’t be another cervix check (those hurt, especially with contractions!).

Holy smokes. It was amazing pushing, because I could feel him come down, and then go back up a little bit. And holy smokes it was hard pushing. For some reason I had this idea in my head that you should be able to push the baby out in one push. I have no idea why I thought this, I have seen plenty of videos and I knew that wasn’t how it was, but at that moment I was so discouraged that I couldn’t push him out. It was hard. I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. Eventually after a few pushes or so, they had me stay seated to help conserve energy, and I could push from there. I could finally start to feel the head crowning and everyone got so excited and I just got scared. I was like, “O man the ring of fire. This is what they talk about, and this is gonna suck!” so he’d come out a little, and then I’d stop pushing. It scared me! I didn’t want him out. I mean, I did. I told them I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t push, and they kept telling me, “you’re doing it, you’re already doing it. No turning back now, there’s only one way now.” I kept thinking, “Omgosh I can’t do this, they’re gonna have to use forceps, or the vacuum or cut me open cause I CANNOT push this baby out.” I know right-great motivational speaker.

Eventually, one nurse held one leg up (since I was so pooped I was not holding my own legs like Dana had wanted me to) and I think Kimmy had the other one. They all got so excited (everyone) was telling me to push that Dana had to tell everyone to be quiet so I could focus. This was towards the very end. Apparently I started doing one last push (and out came a scream that wasn’t helping-they tell you to do low moaning to help with pushing, this was not one of those. The high pitched kind just wastes energy-they say. I couldn’t control it) and I didn’t hear Dana tell me to stop… ironic because a friend of mine from water aerobics had Dana deliver her first and she was so happy because Dana told her to stop when baby crowned so that she wouldn’t tear and she didn’t. Well, I didn’t hear Dana so I pushed, all the way through. And he came gushing out. Literally.

All at once. It was such a weird feeling him come out… but also amazing. I could feel his body come out and his legs and then the umbilical chord still connected. I was so happy it was over (yet it wasn’t). They put him on my chest and started working to cut the chord (Marcus cut it!) and deliver the placenta. The pain wasn’t over! They kept pushing on my tummy to get all the blood out and it hurt like heck. I wasn’t happy. I was begging Dana to stop. I thought after you pushed the baby out it was over… NOT! But… baby stayed on me through the whole time, then Dana sutured me up (got a small 2d degree tear, and it took a lot of stitches because she said I tore funny. Seemed like Zeke was slightly in a weird position and might have come out a little awkward causing the weird tear).

In retrospect, I realize going into the tub when I was 5cm probably wasn’t a good idea. All the natural birthing videos I watched the midwife didn’t let the mom in until they were at 7cm…and I wished I had remembered that. Perhaps I wouldn’t have slowed down labor like I did, and he could have been out faster, or without pitocin. God used that to help show me that it’s not about what I want, or getting what I want. Truly surrendering my will to him has been a lesson I’ve been trying to learn (as noted with the formula/breast feeding issue). I also realized that I was like Peter. When Peter walked on water to meet Jesus, he got distracted by the waves around him and started sinking. After the pitocin was administered, I got distracted by it and stopped focusing on the end result, my little boy. I stopped focusing on God's strength, and gave up.

However, God was super faithful and brought us a healthy baby boy. We’re blessed, and I’m in love with him. In the end, he made it safely, and that’s all we could ask for.


decorativelabels said...

Hey Brenda- Congrats on the birth of your beautiful baby boy. I really enjoyed reading your birth story, thanks for sharing.

Take care,

pM said...

Wow! What an adventure! How are you feeling now? Do you get cramps or anything? How often do you have to go back to the doctor's office for check-ups? Take care, Brenda! hehe, Mommy Brenda :)