Monday, October 5, 2015

Oaks' birth story

ill apologize now to those who venture down this rabbit hole-its VERY detailed.  i wanted to keep record of everything for me primarily.  you have been warned!

as my due date (9/15) neared, i started getting nervous.  unlike with brecken, i didnt spend alot of time thinking about labor positions or doing any research on breastfeeding...i just didnt think about it much honestly.  but as the days passed, i started to get nervous.  not so much about labor, but about brecken and arrangements for her and cobalt and getting everything ready...ahhh!  but this time around i felt more contractions and was more aware of my body and having a to do list distracted me.  

why wasnt i nervous about labor?  well i was to some degree, but mostly i knew what i would have done differently and the same from the first time around: i wanted to go natural again, i knew i could do it just fine with brian there to help me, i wanted to avoid pitocin if possible, i knew my water probably wouldnt break spontaneously twice in a row, and the midwives were all aware of brecken’s mild shoulder dystocia and the resulting episiotomy.  i had a plan!  i was ready!  


HA. HA. HA.  pretty much everything i planned/was ready for didnt happen.  on thursday, i was feeling a little funky.  i had decided to not worry about it, and spent the day just enjoying being brecken’s bff-she rode a horse, danced to native american songs, rode in a horse drawn wagon, had chocolate milk...basically we had an absolutely perfect day.  i did feel tight, like one big but mild contraction, and had yet again been woken up the night before by a couple contractions.  i thought that something might happen that night, but i was determined to not get too anxious or waste a day with b.

aaaaaaand then it happened.  my water broke. again.  bascially, it was the EXACT SAME labor as brecken, but this was the alternate ending where i chose not to get pitocin early.  so here it goes:

Friday Sept 11, 2015, 2:30 am-im woken up with mild, crampy contractions.  barely there, but still definitely there.

2:50-sit up to time them.  of course, they stop. go to the bathroom and since i already have my phone in my hand, surf fb for a minute.

3:00-go to lay down but feel my pants.  go back to the bathroom, and discover my entire mucus plug.  THE ENTIRE THING.  gross.  vaguely think “huh, wonder if my water is more likely to break now…?” get back into bed and immediately feel the tell-tale trickle.  lay down and refuse to believe my water has broken until it happens again.

3:45-no more trickles!  so maybe water didnt break!  yay!  move to get more comfortable and have another trickle.  i finally am resigned to the fact that my water broke (which is good, dont get me wrong...i just dont want a repeat of the first time.)  reach over and wake up brian, telling him that my water broke.  as if i needed more confirmation, i have a little gush as i sit up.  thank goodness i put a towel under my sheets when i went to bed!  

4:00-call the midwife.  she says that as long as my water seems normal (it does), then i can stay at home if i want.  i want!  so i try to go back to sleep but keep having really mild contractions that are just irksome enough to keep my adrenaline up and prevent me from sleeping.  

6:45-chat with my mom, update her, and get up.  

9:30-drop brecken off with Theresa, who is going to keep b while Im in the hospital.  her little girl Olivia and Brecken get along so well, this was a load off my mind.  now im free to have a baby!  

10:30-take cobalt to the dog park to walk myself into labor.  it doesnt work.

1:30-go to the drs office to have a non-stress test to make sure the baby is still doing well and that i havent developed a fever.  baby is fabulous, and im as cool as a cucumber.  midwife checks me, and finds that my water broke up high, which is why im trickling instead of gushing.  my fore-bag (the part of the water bag that is between the cervix and the baby’s head) is still intact.  this means that if labor doesnt start, we have a few options.  we decide to go home and keep walking and stuff and if things dont get moving, we will head to the hospital at 9 pm to get things going.

4:00-eat.  this ends up being the last time i eat before heading to the hospital, which is a mistake. my contractions still arent progressing.

5:00-cobalt is picked up.  silly to include, but he is part of the fam :)

9:00-call the midwife-we are heading to the hospital to get things going.  we decide that the options are pitocin, a pill to induce, or tearing the fore-bag. if i chose pitocin, id have the same situation as with brecken- a fast but augmented labor.  i choose to tear the forebag and go from there.  

11:00-we are in our room, ready for things to pick up and get going.  the midwife snags my bag and contractions immediately are stronger and more regular.  yay, im laboring on my own, finally!  im happy and excited that things are progressing without assistance, since that didnt happen the first time.  i get the birthing ball and stool and i alternate between one of those and walking the halls.  oh, and we put harry potter on, as is our tradition :)

Saturday, 4:00 am-my contractions are regular, about 3 mins apart, and strong.  they are stronger than they were with brecken, and im starting to think that maybe im getting close to transition since the contractions are getting longer and closer together, and they just *feel* worse.  i get checked, im only at a 5, 70% transition yet.  im a little frustrated because i really felt like i was further than that.  brian at this point jokes that he thought we would have a baby by now judging by the last labor.  me too, and im irritated enough that the next time my phone dings, i turn it off.

6:00-pretty convinced i HAVE to be in transition now, the contractions are so sharp and stabby, and im starting to get little push feelings.  they are still 2 mins apart, but are now 1 ½ mins long which my midwife says is pretty typical for second time transitions.  get checked again, only a 7, but 90 effaced.  now im really starting to get worried.  these contractions are really really strong, and i am starting to get really really tired.  ive been up for 28 hours already, and havent eaten in 14 hours, and i can feel my body getting fatigued.  if its taken this long to get to a 7, how much longer am i gonna need to go?  how much more painful are these contractions going to get?  im not ready to give up, but i am getting angry.  i know that i havent been in labor that long (really only like 7 hours) but i wasnt prepared for things to be moving so slowly either.  its less about how much time has already passed, and getting worried about how much more time its going to take.  brian sees my mood and jokingly asks me what we are going to do with the next kid.  i joke back “epidural.”  this is funny cuz ive never wanted one for a billion reasons, but its also a pretty poignant glimpse into my frame of mind.  

7:00-i get a strong push feeling, but im not sure if i just legitimately need to poop or not so brian gets a nurse. she checks me again.  still just a 7, but now only 80% effaced.  she asks if im holding back on the contractions.  i have no idea what she means, i am not trying to hold this baby in!  maybe its from trying to hold in the poop…? im no longer mad, im just deflated.  i dont know what to do anymore-im SO tired, im starting to get overly emotional.  i can feel the feels welling up and i know its because im so tired and weak.  the midwife comes in and checks again and wants to do an experiment: she wants to check me while i have a contraction.  this is SO painful i actually cry.  she says that my contractions are putting virtually no pressure on my cervix and that at this point im going to need pitocin.  
i feel so defeated.  this is what i was trying to avoid and here i am having to do it anyway.  i dont have anything against pitocin necessarily, i just wanted to have a natural, unaugmented labor if possible, but here i was struggling through just the first part of labor.  because my contractions are already so intense, im really having a hard time wrapping my head around them being intensified by pitocin.  add on top how exhausted physically i already am, and im really overwhelmed by the forecast of a long, arduous, indefinite span of time ahead of me.  i ask brian what he thinks, and its a testament to him that he answers “i cant answer that. its up to you.” i know he thinks an epidural is a fantastic idea, but his answer was so respectful of my desire to have another natural birth.  i was really grateful for that, even if it wasnt necessarily helpful :)  in true Alex fashion, i am thinking not just of right now, but of the logical ramifications of my choices  5 steps ahead.  i really dont want an epidural, but i *really* dont want to plug on, end up too fatigued to push, and need a c-section.  that would be my worst nightmare (just the thought of a c-section puts me into a panic attack), so that is factoring into my decision as well.
while we are talking about options (which are few: basically pitocin without an epidural, or with), i have another contractions that is incredibly painful. part of it was my position im sure (laying on the bed), but it also was just how my contractions were going.  brian looks at me and asks if that contraction made up my mind.  i nod as tears run down my face.  

8:30-by the time i make the decision to get the epidural, the anesthesiologist is with another lady, so i have to wait.  THE WORST!

9:00-the guy comes in right as im having a contractions as he says to the nurse “she is a great breather!” the nurse said “she has been doing a great job.”  that made me feel a little better, like if he even knows im doing a good job then im not wussing out. but i still sob through the whole epidural.  the guy did a good job, but i was terrified and it hurt.  

10:00-i have about an hour of relief, and i get some rest.  but suddenly i have a contraction that is really painful.  i feel like my guts and the baby are going to fall out my butt.  that sounds so bizarre but it was sooo different from cervical pressure.  it was so intense i had the chatter/shakes afterwards, which kind of scares me but the nurse explains its just a combination of adrenaline and hormones.  the nurse tells me to roll with the pressure, and to hit the button for more meds so it doesnt hurt.  after 3 contractions, the pain still hasnt subsided so the anesthesiologist gives me an extra shot right into my line.  the next hour i feel contractions and some pressure but its not painful.  i roll with the pressure and let my body do its thing.  the nurse also suspects the babys head is turned just slightly wrong and its putting weird pressure on my cervix so she puts me on my side with a peanut ball to help turn him just a smidge.

11:00-i have a stronger contraction and my body pushes.  after the contraction my body keeps pushing and i can feel a pressure between my hips reminiscent of a bowling ball but without the pain, so brian gets the nurse. she checks me and im ready to push!  finally.  i cant feel my stomach or legs at all, and im light headed and nauseous.  its really weird to push when i cant feel my legs.  after the first push, i tell the nurse that im lightheaded and that i needed an oxygen mask last time so id probably need one now.  so they give me one and that really helps.  i wasnt sure how well i was pushing so i tried to gauge it from the midwifes reactions.  even though i cant feel the progress of my pushes, i can feel pretty much everything else. like, i can feel the ring of fire, which i wasnt expecting at all.  its just as fiery as with brecken!  as i am resting, the midwife comments on how much hair he has.  brian looks at me like its from my side, but i was bald until i was 2!  once his head is born, he turns his head too soon and the midwife has to turn him back-that is incredibly painful too, but as soon as she gets him turned back he comes right out.  silver lining: no tearing!

he was born at 11:36 am, a healthy 7 lbs, 15 oz, and 20 in long.

so, i have come to the conclusion that my body does not labor by itself well.  it clearly wants to do things one of two ways-alone and REALLY SLOWLY or with help and really efficiently.  and i must have pointy pelvic bones to break the water bag up high twice.  i really struggled with feeling like i gave up and that i could have done it if i didnt have any expectations of what it should be like.  but at the same time, there is no way i could have known how much time it would take, and i knew that my body had about reached its limit.  im still struggling with it actually.  i feel apologetic, ashamed, weak.  im trying not to have expectations for next time, but i am trying to come to terms with the fact that pitocin is probably my normal. well, tha or else an epidural.  and for now, im focusing on the fact that i have a happy healthy little boy, and thats what really matters.