Monday, June 7, 2010

Revised Birth Story

After rereading my birth story from a year ago, I decided to write a revision. No longer do I feel the need to be defensive or afraid to admit any negative feelings about the birth of my son. I know it was a happy day and I will remember it as such. But that doesn't mean nothing negative happened. This is a pretty straight-forward account of my birth. Not overly happy, not overly sad. Just a normal, routine unnecessary induction.

Toward the end of my pregnancy I went to the OB for weekly visits. Dr. Hansen checked my cervix each time and would tell me how far I was dilated (or rather that I wasn't.) My baby was still really high, I had absolutely no braxton hicks contractions, I was dilated to a 2 and labor seemed weeks away. My body wasn't ready to give birth yet. My doctor asked how I felt about induction and I immediately jumped at the chance to not be pregnant anymore. (How foolish of me.) He told me I would have to wait until my due date. He wouldn't induce any earlier than that. We scheduled my induction at 6:00 a.m. the day I was due.

I arrived at the hospital right on time and checked in at the nurses desk. They took me too my "birthing suite" and gave me a hospital gown to change into. I did as I was told despite the fact that I felt very uncomfortable in the hospital gown. (Anyone who knows me well, knows how insanely modest I am, especially around strangers. I love to be covered up and cozy. No wonder I love the winter.) Then I was given a stack of forms to read and sign. I was informed that if I had any questions about the forms, to ask a nurse and they would happily explain. I did have questions. I was given a short response that included little to no relevant detail about my questions. Basically, when I brought up a concern, I was told not to worry. Forms were signed and I was asked if I wanted an epidural. I hadn't even had pitocin to start my labor yet! I told them I planned on getting one, but that I wanted to hold out as long as I could so it wouldn't slow down my labor.

They put in my I.V. and my contractions started. I was hooked up to an external fetal monitor and a contraction monitor and I was stuck in bed from 7:00 a.m. til 2:00 am the next morning.

At about 10:00 a.m. a doctor that I had never met came in and broke my water. It hurt pretty badly and it was very uncomfortable to be stuck in a wet bed. I asked the nurse to change the linens and I was told that I would continue to leak so there was no point. They did change the linens right after they broke my water (the ones that were completely soaked) but after that I was stuck in a damp bed the rest of the time.

My contractions became more intense, but I didn't focus on them. I was enjoying my time with my husband. We played backgammon and listened to an audio book. We actually had a good time. It was wonderful being with him in anticipation of our baby's arrival. We had some great moments together just the two of us before adding to the family. The nurse came in periodically to check my cervix and ask if I was ready for my epidural yet. I held out pretty long. I was feeling ok and didn't want the epidural to slow down my labor. Little did I know that as soon as they give you an epi, they crank up the pit to keep you progressing on schedule.

The nurse came in and said my contractions were pretty intense and were happening one right on top of another and my baby's oxygen level was low. I was given oxygen and shortly after, the nurse assured me everything was ok. (Hello?! Maybe the pitocin? Thankfully I avoided the fetal distress that would have gotten me wheeled into the operating room.)

Mid-afternoon (around 3 or 4 p.m.) the nurse came in and said my contractions were about as bad as they would get and if I wanted the epidural I needed to get it now or never. I thought about not getting it and felt like I could do it, but I really felt compelled to just get it. I kept having this nagging feeling like I should just get it. The anesthesiologist came in and gave me the epidural. I felt numb almost immediately. I remember feeling really numb on my left side and not so much on my right.

Shortly after my epidural I was told that my doctor was stuck in a snow storm and wouldn't be able to get to the hospital for a while. I was asked if I wanted to have a different doctor deliver or if I wanted to wait. I felt so relieved that I had gotten the epidural because I didn't feel pain or pressure and I was able to wait for my doctor.

About 2 hours later, my doctor arrived and I was told to push. I pushed and instantly felt sick. I turned my head to the side and ended up puking in my hair instead of that bean shaped hospital puke dish. I was so nauseous that I wasn't able to push. The doctor told me to just catch my breath and keep pushing. With difficulty, I managed to calm my stomach and concentrate on pushing. I started to tear and the doctor gave me a 3rd degree episiotomy. I still remember the look on my husband's face when the doctor did that. I wish I had gotten a picture. I didn't have to push long once they cut me. My son was born and I could hear his scream the second he was born. He came out screaming. The doctor asked the nurse for the suction and she dropped it. I remember my heart skipping a beat and worrying that my son would suffocate because they didn't suction him fast enough. The nurse quickly grabbed a new one and I calmed down. (Now I know that I didn't need to worry. Babies don't need to be suctioned at all.)

My husband cut the cord and the doctor put my baby on my belly and he was bright purple screaming his head off. I thought right in that instant, "Whoa! He looks like my sister!"  That is still a funny memory. Before there was room in my head for another thought, the nurses took my baby to the table next to my bed and washed him and weighed him. My husband was there taking pictures and watching the nurses at work. We were going to wait to see what he looked like before naming him and DH looked at him and decided on a name. For blog purposes I use my nickname for him. He is my little lovey-Lou and I call him that all the time, so on this blog is he Lou :)

The nurse increased my pitocin and in a matter of about 3 minutes my placenta was born. The doctor inspected it and held it up for me to see. I immediately turned my head away. "Gross!" I couldn't look at that red mass of yucky. (I'm gonna look next time.) He said everything looked healthy and he started sewing me back up. It took nearly 45 minutes to sew me back together! I just sat there bored since my baby was over on a table being weighed, cleaned and checked. (At least he was still in the same room.) I ended up calling my family on my cell phone while the doctor was still sewing. (Rude, I know.)

He finally finished and my husband and I had time with our son before the onslaught of family showed up. I have a big family and they all showed up within an hour it got crowded fast :) Dh's family lives farther away and they came the next day.

The nurse came in and told me Lou needed to be fed. I asked if I could nurse him (Why am I asking if I can feed my own child?!) and the nurse told me his blood sugar was too low and that I needed to give him just half to one ounce of formula. That was the very first thing he had outside the womb. FORMULA!! No wonder he had a hard time nursing afterward. He got a bottle first.

After my family left, I got settled into a recovery room. I had to be wheeled in there because my left leg was still numb. The numbness didn't wear off for hours and hours after Lou was born. That was really annoying.

Lou was able to room in with me and he didn't leave my side the entire time I was there. I was able to breastfeed and Lou didn't get any formula at all besides the very first time. I was able to work with a lactation consultant and felt more confident each time. Besides that one incident, I was surprised at how breastfeeding friendly the hospital staff was. I was never offered formula again. I was also not even sent home with any! That was actually a surprise.

I grew tired of the hospital very quickly and convinced my doctor to release Lou and me a day early. The doctor actually had no problem with it. I was glad. It made me wonder how much sooner I could have left.

I have learned and grown so much since the birth of my son. I am so happy things turned out the way they did. I am so grateful for the experience I had. I am also grateful for the knowledge I have now. I am grateful for the options that now know I have. I am grateful for the person who opened this door for me. She is the one helping me transition from ignorance to empowerment. I owe her a lot. I am excited to write my next birth story. I know it will be another happy one, but a different one too. Just need to get pregnant first ;)

1 comment:

  1. Loved it :) Very honest, didn't hide anything back. Still a very happy story though :)