AnnaBananaBelle: Allison's Birth Story
Monday, October 20, 2008 3:16 PM
" I watched her little feet kicking from across the room while they were
cleaning her off. I was so happy I was crying...I kept asking Ian what
she looked like, and he said that she was perfect..."
On Monday morning I started having real contractions at 3:15 in the morning. I woke up and said, "Oh so that's what real contractions feel like!" I tried to sleep after waking up, but each time I dozed off, the contraction would wake me up again. So I decided to wake up. My husband Ian, being dazed and confused, asked if we could go back to sleep until 7 a.m. when he normally wakes up. Since I was already almost two weeks past my due date, it didn't quite register that I was actually in labor. At that point, we had both resigned to the fact that I'd need to be induced (starting that Monday afternoon with Cervadil). So after waking up, we were both really excited my body went into labor before I had to be induced.
We labored at home until around 1 p.m. when I had an appointment for the Cervadil. They wanted me to still come in so they could decide if I was actually in labor and then decide whether or not to proceed with the Cervadil. Well I had been having contractions all morning that ranged between five and eight minutes apart and were about a minute long. We did a lot of things to distract ourselves (we walked, watched TV, ate some food) just pausing as needed for the contractions.
When we went into the hospital for the Cervadil appointment the contractions became a little more intense. I must have freaked out the registration lady because I was breathing through one while she kept asking stupid questions like what our phone number is (I was a little pissed off because I had preregistered, but they didn't seem to care). She kind of stopped in mid-sentence and said she'd get a wheelchair for me. I think I snapped back that I didn't need a wheelchair and that I was completely capable of walking. Anyway, at the appointment they hooked me up to the EFM to see my contractions and the heart rate. Since I was having decent contractions every three to four minutes, the doctor said I definitely didn't need the gel, and that I could go over to labor and delivery and they'd break my water. At this point I was four centimeters dilated. This doctor happened to be the one in my practice I can't stand, and I did not like the idea of them trying to break my water early; so we said we'd go home and come back after things progressed more. They had me go over to Labor and Delivery to be discharged and I met my favorite nurse who was totally on board with the natural childbirth process. She said she'd be on until 7 p.m., but when I came back she'd try and get me with a nurse that would be good in that area too.
Finally... the water breaks!
So we went home and labored there some more. I was sitting at the dining room table (it was way more comfy to sit than lay down for some reason) and in the middle of a contraction my water broke. It was the best (and weirdest) feeling ever. It was about 5:00 p.m. at that point. It was like a flood -- I can't believe how much fluid is in there! Well I noticed the fluid had meconium in it, so we decided to go into L&D then and settle in for the long haul. I got there and had the awesome nurse for an hour or so. Then, the night shift came in and the nurse I had was fine, but not as awesome and the first one. Ian called her Nurse Barbie. I got checked and unfortunately was still four centimeters (same as at 1:00). The doctor said because she was still up so high that I should walk around. He said that there was a good chance her umbilical cord would fall down in front of her head. He said if that happened then pretty much everything on or birth plan would go away (meaning a c-section). Well, I don't know if walking would really have helped or hurt, but we stayed in the room, just walking around to change positions or go to the bathroom. I did some nipple stimulation to try and help things progress.
At 10:00 I got checked again and was still only four centimeters. Since it had been nine hours at four centimeters and five hours since my water broke, the doctor basically said I need to get on Pitocin to progress my labor. He told me the reason why and I agreed. I thought that laboring with Pitocin would be better than continuing not to progress and running out of time since my water had already broken. I got on Pitocin around 10:00 or 10:30. I could very quickly tell the difference in the types of contractions between natural and Pitocin induced. Regular contractions have this nice wave, and peak with a break in between. It was so much easier to manage those because of the gradual increase and drop-off. With Pitocin I could feel it starting because it took my breath away; then it was like running into a brick wall. It was immediately very painful and it would stay very painful before dropping away. Another contraction would quickly start up again without much of a break in between. I can definitely say our bodies know how to do it much better than the drugs do!! Most of the time I was on Pitocin I don't even remember, so this is what Ian tells me:
"From 10:30 until midnight the contractions seemed painful but bearable. From midnight until about 2 a.m. the contractions seemed horrible, but far enough apart where she could recover inbetween. Going to the bathroom was an ordeal because she was hooked up the the IV and machines, but once we got there it really helped her be able to manage the contractions. I wanted her to stay sitting on the toilet because she was doing so much better there, but it was too cold and she really wanted to go back to the bed. From 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. it was unbearable. She was in and out of conciousness and one contraction started immediately after the last one and she kept begging me to make it stop. There wasn't much I could do because any touch or sound was too much. The doctor wasn' t there overnight, and so at 4:30 we got the nurse to check Caitlin so we could get some frame of reference. At this point she was 6 centimeters."
Around 5:00 a.m. I gained some lucidity and told Ian I couldn't do it anymore without some relief, and that I needed the epidural. The anesthesiologist came in around 5:30 and gave me the epidural without any problems. I was scared, but so desperate that I didn't mind it. It actually wasn't that bad getting the epidural and after 15 minutes or so I felt so much better. As soon as I felt that relief I fell asleep for an hour. After an hour the epidural stopped working because the line was blocked and I started feeling the pit contractions again. I started panicking because I just didn't think I could deal with those contractions again and I kept buzzing the nurse until the realized I wasn't kidding that the epidural wasn't working. A different anesthesiologist came in and flushed the line and fixed it. I rested for about another hour.
Then one of my favorite parts of the labor happened. It turned 7 a.m. and my favorite nurse came back, and a different doctor was on call! They both came in and the nurse helped make me comfortable and the different doctor checked me. I was seven centimeters -- Yay! He said the Pitocin dose wasn't correct anymore since I had an epidural, so they turned it up and after about two hours I was complete. I knew when I was because I started to feel a ton of pressure with each contraction. They had me labor down for a while since she was still up so high. Around 9:15 a.m. they had me start pushing. I starting running a fever at this point, which I guess happens if your water breaks early and you're in labor a long time.
Pushing was weird because at first I didn't feel like I was doing anything. They turned the epidural off when I started pushing. Eventually, I could feel more of what I was doing. It was hard work, but it felt good to push. I pushed her far enough down that I could see the top of her head in a mirror that they held up for me, but at that point my pushes weren't getting her any further down. My awesome nurse decided I needed someone really motivating in the room, so she went and got the nurse that she called The Pushinator. When this nurse came in, she really got things going fast. We tried a bunch of different positions, and the one that worked the best was a modified squat with Ian holding my arms at the end of the bed and pulling me up. I got her further down but it wasn't moving along fast enough and I had literally run out of steam after two hours of pushing. The doctor said he was going to have to give a little help getting her out, and he started suctioning her head. After just two contractions of pushing with the suction, her head was out. After one more contraction, her whole body was out!
Here at last!
They immediately cut her cord and the NICU doctors started working furiously on her to clear out all the meconium. She hadn't inhaled any, so they didn't have to take her off to the NICU. The placenta was delivered almost immediately after Allison and then the doctor started sewing me up--apparently (I didn't even know, but Ian had seen) he had done an episiotomy in order to get her out with the vacuum suction because she was so big. I watched her little feet kicking from across the room while they were cleaning her off. I was so happy I was crying...I kept asking Ian what she looked like, and he said that she was perfect. After what seemed like an eternity (but was more like five minutes) Ian brought her over to me. I held her; she was very lucid and staring at me. As soon as the doctor was finished fixing me up, we sat up to try and breastfeed. She was awake and lucid but not really interested right then, so we just snuggled skin-to-skin until she went to the nursery.
Even though we ended up with a medicated labor, we feel like we did everything we could and we were really involved in our birth as opposed to just being bystanders. She was very lucid when she was born, in the quiet alert state and very healthy. Going through seven un-medicated hours of Pitocin contractions before getting an epidural was one of the hardest experiences of my life, but we feel that doing everything we could to reduce the amount of drugs in our system made for a healthier birth and a healthy baby.
Allison Claire was officially born at 11:42 a.m. on July 15, 2008 after 32 hours
of labor. She weighed 9 lbs., 13 oz., and was tall like Mommy at
22.25 inches long. She is very healthy and doing really well with
breastfeeding, which makes me so happy.
We were hoping for a
natural birth, but things don't always go as you planned. We are so
happy to have baby and mom healthy and doing well. Going through the experience of birth together with Ian was an amazing, surreal experience and the end result is just perfect.
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