Monday, February 20, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Everett's Birth Story: Part 2

 One week old

So where was I? Ah yes, the hospital.
As we got set up in a delivery room, I requested to talk to the doctor to discuss a plan. I explained to him some of my original preferences and that I wanted to avoid Pitocin at all costs. At my appointment earlier that day I was dilated 2.5 cm and the doctor confirmed this. If I didn't have a preference, he would have just started the Pitocin, but since I did, he agreed to start me on some Cervidil. This is a drug used to soften the cervix so that labor can start or continue on its own. I preferred this to Pitocin, which usually causes labor to start off harder and progress faster by causing the uterus to contract stronger than it normally would. I didn't want this for me or my baby. He also agreed to not hook me up to an I.V. right away but to just do a hep block until it was needed so I could move around easier. 
So we agreed on the Cervidil to start off which is a 12 hour dose. It was understood that if things didn't progress after that then they would go to the Pitocin. Well, I was determined to not get to that point. 
It was 4:00 when they inserted the Cervidil. I was having mild contractions before they even started the drug, which was encouraging. For the next 5 hours the contractions grew steadily stronger. I listened to some Hypnobabies tracks and did my best to use the tools I had spent weeks practicing. I was able to stay pretty relaxed and just let my body do it's job. I changed positions frequently and tried to find those that would relieve the pressure and keep me calm and comfortable. I went from the bed to an exercise ball to the floor and back again the whole time just trying to focus on relaxing all of the muscles that I could. I would say that my Hypnobabies training did pay off. It keep me relaxed for a while, it kept me positive, and if nothing else, it gave me the confidence I needed to deliver this baby.

At around 9:00 my nurse came in and I asked her to check me because I was starting to feel a lot of pressure. She discovered that the babies head was super low, (hence the pressure) but that I was still only dilated 2.5 cm. I realize that childbirth doesn't work at a constant rate (so many cm per hour) but it was still a little bit frustrating. I knew that my body was progressing in it's own way though, and that things would start happening when the time was right. That time came relatively quickly.

The next two hours might have been the longest of my life. The contractions were super intense and it was all I could do to make it through them, forget about relaxing. The pain made me nauseous and several times I thought I was going to throw up, but I never did. Around 11:00 I thought I would either need some pain relief soon, or I might die. The thought of continuing on like this for any significant amount of time made me seriously consider an epidural. Around that time a nurse came in to get me hooked back up to the monitors. (My nurse had left them unplugged so I could move around and then I just took them off all together because they were adding pressure where I didn't want it.) 

Everything after this point is kind of blurred together, so it might not be 100 percent accurate, but you'll get the idea.

So the nurse was trying to check on the baby but couldn't really get a good read. My mom started asking questions for me to help me decide what I wanted to do about the pain. Have I progressed at all? What are my options for pain relief? The nurse started calmly explaining my options and tried to downplay my situation describing my contractions as "normal labor pains." Normal they might have been, but little did she know, these were not the just-getting-warmed-up kind of labor pains. These were the almost-time-to-push kind of labor pains.

The nurse was pretty sure I hadn't progressed any since they just checked me two hours ago and said she wasn't going to check again, but ended up doing it anyway. To her surprise, I was at a 4.5. More nurses came in and sometime in there I started having these pushing convulsions. I say convulsions because my body took over and I had no control. They were all telling me not to push though because they didn't want my cervix to swell, which would make it even harder for the baby to come out. Someone checked me again, maybe the doctor this time, and I was at a 6. After some more uncontrollable pushes my water broke and gushed out more than once. I don't know how they missed it earlier, but all that fluid had to come from somewhere. That might have been around 11:15 or 11:30. Soon, the doctor checked me again and I was complete. By this point I was hyperventilating and my body was starting to tingle. I wasn't trying to be dramatic or anything, I was just trying to survive by breathing through it all, but apparently I was breathing too much. They couldn't get a good reading on the baby so they hooked him up internally. At some point they also put me on oxygen for the baby as well. His heart rate was dropping and the contractions were coming so close together that they didn't give the baby a chance to recover. The doctor gave me a shot of something to slow down my contractions so that they weren't coming back to back. The doctor was worried about the prolonged decreased heart rate and wanted to get the baby out ASAP. So now, just minutes after telling me not to push, they were telling me that I needed to push. 

I pushed through a few contractions and before the last one the doctor was about to cut me to let the baby out. She was worried he wouldn't get out soon enough, but I wasn't. I knew I could do it and I did not want an episiotomy, even if it meant tearing. She got the lidocaine ready and that was enough motivation for me to get him out in a hurry. I pushed and at 11:57 he came. Because of the circumstances, they whisked him away to the other side of the room. Justin followed close behind. Knowing he was there with our boy gave me a great deal of comfort. I knew Justin would watch out for him and I wasn't worried about him at all. In fact, I never really was. I seemed to know that he was fine the whole time. Even when the doctor was worried, I wasn't. I still heeded their advice, but I knew he would be fine. I was actually more worried about me at one point, but everything turned out okay. 

Proud Daddy, Tired Momma

I was so exhausted and relieved and happy and excited all at the same time. While they were taking care of the baby, who was perfect (6 lb 13.9 oz and 18.7 in), all I could do was lay there and try to get a glimpse of him. I wanted so see him so badly. I wanted to hold him and soak him in, this bundle of joy that I had worked so hard to meet. As the doctor stitched me up (I did end up tearing some) I couldn't take my eyes off of the huddle of medical staff (it seemed the whole floor of the hospital was in my room for the occasion). They finally finished and brought him to me and we cuddled skin to skin. I was in complete amazement and awe at the whole thing. Little Everett, squirming around on my chest. He was, and still is, simply a miracle.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Everett's Birth Story: Part One

One week old

Today my little Everett turns one month old. He made his world debut just before midnight one month ago today. I am not over the fact that he is one month old by the way. But since he is, and there is nothing I can do about it, I guess it is high time I record all of the details leading up to this long awaited arrival. So if you don't want details, don't read on.

First, A little background.

I believe in natural, unmedicated childbirth. I believe that the human body is capable of incredible things and that a woman's body in particular was designed perfectly to give birth without much intervention in most cases. I believe that, while medical interventions have their place, they can sometimes cause the need for more interventions and even cause unnecessary complications.

So going into this pregnancy, I really wanted to do everything I could to have a natural, unmedicated childbirth. I wanted to learn to think positively and how to relax so that I could let the birth happen without letting fear and worry make things more difficult than they needed to be. To help in this effort, Justin and I took a Hypnobabies class. As well as being a regular childbirth preparation class, Hypnobabies teaches self hypnosis for childbirth and gives you many tools to use during your birthing experience to help you relax so your body can do what it was designed to do.

Well, my due date (December 31) came and went. Six days past my due date was Friday, January 6th. I had a doctor appointment that morning around 11. Justin was able to leave class and meet me at my appointment. While there, we were informed that I was scheduled to be induced the next eventing at 5:00. Now, for someone who wants minimal medical interventions, being induced is not a good start. We were also told that since I was past my due date I needed to have a non stress test done as soon as possible. In a non stress test, they monitor the baby's heart rate for 20 minutes or so and check fluid levels around the baby. (This was actually suppose to be done earlier in the week but never happened.) They were able to schedule this test for 1:40 that same afternoon.

An induction was not the path I wanted to take, to say the least, but I knew it would come down to it if baby Everett didn't come on his own in time. Although I was bitter about the situation, I found myself feeling hopeful that it could still be done with minimal interventions. And I still did have one more day for things to get started on their own, and that also gave me reason to hope.

Justin and I went and got some lunch at a nearby Denny's and killed some time walking around a furniture store while we waited for our second appointment of the day. When the time came we went into the special room complete with reclining chairs for the mother-to-be to sit in while they monitor the baby's heart rate. Before that though they did an ultrasound to check for fluids. There were none. None that the tech or the Doctor could see anyway. This was bad. When this happens they send you up to labor and delivery. I was no exception. Of course I wanted to do the best thing for my baby and did not want to put him at risk, but I was still devastated.

At this point all I could do was cry. Justin had to speak for me and tell the doctor why I was upset, when most people would be excited to get their baby out a day early. I just so desperately wanted things to happen naturally, and I felt like my dreams were being shattered. All we could do then was slowly make our way up to labor and delivery. Part of me didn't want to go. Part of me wanted to run right out of that hospital. But I think I knew deep down that this is what needed to happen.

More details to come . . .