OliviaAnnsMama: Olivia's Natural Birth
Tuesday, August 17, 2010 2:00 PM
"The contractions kept coming and I felt like crying. I don't even know if I
did, my eyes were closed so tight..."
Trying to get it going!
On Thursday, May 6, I felt really good and happy. I thought that I had passed my mucus plug that day, but it was not bloody as I expected, so I wasn't sure. Instead it had a transparent jelly like consistency. But, I knew something was different. I worked from home that day, took a short nap, and made dinner. I took the dogs for a 2-mile walk, talked on the phone, and felt good. Later in the evening, I couldn't sleep, so I worked a little more from home, replied back to some emails, took a warm bath, and went to bed about 2 a.m. The one way that I have read that has been medically shown to bring the onset of labor is nipple stimulation.
However, it is not recommended without clear instructions from your doctor. The study showed that women who did 15 minutes of nipple stimulation on each breast for a total of 3 hours a day brought on delivery. I wasn't that desperate, but I decided to do five minutes on each side and see if that helped. Since this isn't a controlled experiment, I'll never know. But, I'm writing that down just to record the facts.
I had been having contractions all week, but nothing that was painful. They had been very regular, though, coming about every fifteen minutes for hours at a time, then getting down to as close as four minutes apart. Since I didn't have bloody show and the contractions that were five or under minutes apart didn't last consistently for more than an hour, I didn't worry.
I woke up around eight on Friday, May 7, still feeling tired and having contractions. I decided to use the bathroom and go back to bed. I used the restroom, stood up, and my water broke. There was no doubt in my mind that was what happened since the gush was all over the floor in front of me. It was clear, so I was reassured since "they" say it may be bad if it is yellow or greenish as that might mean baby has had her first stool.
I woke Nicholas up. He was wide eyed and couldn't believe it. He had just gone to sleep maybe two hours previously. I decided to eat breakfast (Cheerios and a banana), check my email and let work know I wouldn't be working that day, fix my hair, put on my make-up, and get things ready to go. I thought the make-up and hair fixing would last through labor so I could have pictures with Olivia right away. Boy was I wrong!
Off to the hospital
Our bags and everything were packed, but I needed to write a note about how to feed the dogs, and I wanted to clean up the kitchen a little. I gathered up a few last minute things that were on my list--phone and charger, back massager, etc. My contractions were four to five minutes apart, but they felt the same as they always have--annoying, but not painful. The difference was that now, every time I had one, more fluid leaked. I also called Dr. Chwe's office. They told me to come in and he would check me.
We loaded up the van and set off. We got to the doctor's office about 9:30 and after a pH test, it was determined that I was in labor and my water had broken. Dr. Chwe said, "You seem awfully calm for this to be the biggest day of your life!" I clapped and told him I was so excited.
I was just 1.5 centimeters dilated, though. He told us that since my water had broken, I needed to deliver within 24 hours since after that time, there is too great a risk of infection for me and the baby, even though I wasn't carrying Group B Strep. So, he suggested that since my contractions weren't painful, we make them so by starting Pitocin. He said that we could wait a few hours and see if my "labor established" itself, but he sounded like that would just make for a long day. Nicholas and I discussed it and decided to go ahead with the Pitocin, even though I had been hoping for no IV's and a totally natural birth. I wasn't disappointed though, as I hoped that the Pitocin would speed up the labor and ensure that I wouldn't have a cesarean that might be necessary if I went past the 24 hour mark.
I was wheeled down to the hospital one floor below, and we commenced getting checked in. The labor and delivery ward was slammed, and I got the last room. Women with elective inductions were being turned away. We were both excited, but the next hour was just our nurse getting a bunch of paperwork for us to sign and gathering labor paraphernalia. Our nurse's name was Bethany, and she was young and sweet. I asked her how long she had been a nurse...and she said three years, which was reassuring since she looked about 20.
A very long night
Around 11:30 they got the fluid drip and the Pitocin started. We started at 4 units and slowly made our way up to 32 units, going 4 units up every 20 to 30 minutes. Each time Bethany hit the buttons to increase the dose, I could feel my contractions getting stronger. Dr. Chwe came and checked on me around 12:30. He was impressed by the regularity of my contractions and seemed surprised that they didn't hurt. I told him that they were the same ones I had been having for weeks. He said I looked too happy and instructed Bethany to increase my Pitocin dose.
I told Nicholas to go ahead and run out, get himself some lunch, let Puck out of his crate, and bring my Bomb Pops that we left at home. We did that on purpose because I figured they would have melted by the time we got to the hospital. I was right. While he was gone, Bethany asked me a million admission questions. Another nurse actually had to put in my IV because my vein rolled when Bethany did it. The bruise left by that stick annoyed me throughout delivery since they had to take my blood pressure on that arm, and the bruise flared every time. It is still annoying on day 6.
The nurse who did the IV was named Chris, and she was really positive and fun. She told me that if I was going to go natural, I better get out of bed. I knew this, but I hadn't been told that I could since we were still doing all the admission/IV stuff. So, Nicholas got my yoga ball and I started swaying on that while Bethany found the baby monitor that used telemetry so that I could walk the halls and have more movement. Apparently, they only have two that do this as most people get epidurals and can't leave the bed anyway.
I'm not sure when she found it, but at that time, Nicholas was gone and I decided to go ahead and start walking. It was slow going since I was having loads of pressure. Nicholas came back around the time I finished my first lap. After each walk, I stopped by the room to use the restroom as I was losing lots of fluid and I had lots of bloody show by then. I alternated between walking, rocking in the glider they had, swaying on the yoga ball, and standing and moving my hips. The yoga ball was my least favorite, even though that is what I had envisioned my labor involving. Nicholas hooked up his iPod to the speakers and we listened to Celtic relaxation music. That CD was the best $10 I ever spent! It was the music my yoga instructor played, and it really calmed me...and everyone else, I think.
Around 2 (maybe) I was three centimeters dilated, and I met the doctor who eventually delivered Olivia. His name is Dr. Edwards and he seemed very good. He asked me about pain management and I told him I planned to do it med-free if possible. He was encouraging and said he felt like the labor was progressing smoothly. At that time I was able to read while I rocked in the rocking chair...I brought the latest murder mystery novel I am reading. But, I couldn't read during the contractions. I had to close my eyes and start breathing through them.
Around 3:30 (maybe) I was five centimeters dilated and my contractions were coming every 90 seconds and lasting about 30 seconds. I continued to walk every half hour or so, but it got harder. When a contraction came, I leaned into Nicholas and tried to relax my body. He was great at reminding me to (1) breath, (2) focus on that breath, and (3) relax various parts of my body. If he noticed that I was tensing my hands, he pointed that out. This was increasingly important to me since I was having a tendency to focus on the pain and the pressure. My legs shook when I had contractions, so standing became difficult. At this time, I was hoping to deliver by 7 since that is when Bethany left from her shift, and I didn't want to risk getting a nurse I didn't like.
Around 6:30 (maybe) I was up to a dose of 28 of Pitocin and I was still walking. Every time a contraction came, I thought I would cry, but I didn't. I remember my last walk vividly. Nicholas was making a joke and I was laughing, and then all of a sudden I got very nauseous and I threw up in the hall. It was nothing but water and one Bomb Pop, but it was gross. Nurse Chris suggested to Nicholas to do counter pressure on my back when contractions came. We had learned about this in the Breathing and Relaxation class. It helped.
When I got back to the room after that last walk, I went to the bathroom and had a really hard time getting back out. The contractions were about a minute apart now and were pretty intense. I asked Nicholas to put the yoga ball on the labor bed, and I got on my knees in the bed and laid my head over the ball, letting my arms drop. Nicholas rubbed my back when the contractions came. I was starting to hyperventilate because I was confused about how to breath well. They knew I was hyperventilating because I told them I felt tingly in my arms and legs. They told me to breath more shallowly, and I did, but that made things worse. Nicholas told me to breath "medium" and that seemed to help. I had been taking long deep breaths. Dr. Edwards came in to check on me and I was 7 centimeters dilated. Transition was beginning.
My new nurse, Laurie, came in and Bethany briefed her on my progress. I was distracted by their talking and had to really focus on Nicholas's voice. (Bethany was getting married in a barn? I think that is what I heard.)
Soon, I had to vomit again...and again. Laurie made me lay on my side in the bed and she moved the baby monitor on my belly and poked and poked me. The baby's heart rate had dropped because of my vomiting limiting oxygen to her. They made me put on an oxygen mask. I kept asking if the baby was okay. She was. It gave me resolve to figure out my breathing so that I wouldn't hyperventilate. Laurie asked me if I thought I needed something for nausea. I thought it was over, but then I vomited again. Because I was afraid of hurting Olivia, I said that, yes, I would take something for nausea. She gave me phenergen, which didn't immediately help since I vomited again. I asked for Dr. Edwards to check me again. I was at 8 centimeters.
At some point, I stopped opening my eyes between contractions. They hurt too much and there was very little rest between them. I doubted myself. I said I didn't think I could do it. Laurie said that we could do some pain medication in the IV, but said it wouldn't take all the pain away. I said no to that, I would just keep doing it myself. She told me I was a "formidable woman" to have gotten this far without pain meds and she thought I could finish.
I kept feeling pressure. I asked for Dr. Edwards again. I was at nine centimeters. The contractions kept coming and kept getting worse. The phenergen made me a little tired, so that helped me relax between contractions. I was either on the ball in bed or sitting up in bed during contractions now.
The contractions kept coming. I felt like crying. I don't know if I did. My eyes were closed. Nicholas kept talking me through them. I asked Laurie to check me. I was 9.5 centimeters. By this point I was down to one word responses, "water", "chapstick", "ball", "vomit."
Ready for delivery
Soon I told her I felt like I needed to push. Dr. Edwards came and said I was 10 centimeters and I could start pushing. He said that I needed to refocus my efforts from relaxing to effective pushing. He said the best way was to hold my knees and bear down, trying to push for a count of 10 at least twice, but maybe 2-3 times per contraction. Hold your breath.
Push for a count of ten. Blow it out. Do it again. Do it again. Do it again. Dr. Edwards stayed for the first contraction and pushing. He said, "Now that's effective pushing!" since I apparently brought her down significantly on the first contraction. He left. Laurie massaged my perineum. (I had been doing perineum massage, not religiously, since 36 weeks in hopes of avoiding tearing or the need for an episiotomy. ) I kept pushing. It went on for a LONG time...maybe an hour. At one point, Laurie said that Olivia was stuck on my pubic bone. She leaned my bed back and I pushed from that position. Dr. Edwards came in and I asked if I was going to be able to get her out. I was worried, but he said yes.
That is where I thought I was for the rest of the time...trying to get Olivia past my pubic bone. No one ever told me she was past it, and when they brought in the mirror for me to look, I couldn't do both. I had to push or look and I chose pushing. Sometimes I was able to push through four times in one contraction. Everyone was encouraging, "Push, push, push." At one point, I remembered something from a birth story I read.
"Ring of fire, ring of fire." I thought that statement couldn't have been more accurate. When I felt that "ring of fire" I didn't want to stop pushing because it hurt so badly that I just needed it to be over.
At some point Stephanie and Mom arrived and I could hear their voices outside. It was too much. I said "not now." Finally I heard them call the baby nurses and the assistants. Everyone was there. Everyone was encouraging me. They kept saying, "One more push and you are going to have your baby." How many times did they say that? Someone said, "Look at what you are doing." I was able to open my eyes. I saw Olivia's head and part of her shoulders. I pushed again. She was out and she was on my chest. I couldn't believe she was here. Her eyes were open and she was looking at me. I think I was crying. Nicholas was touching her and me.
The nurses rubbed her. I don't remember Nicholas cutting the cord, but she did. I remember thinking that I wanted her skin-to-skin, but I still had my gown on. She was perfect and beautiful and felt so good in my arms.
They asked if we wanted to know her weight, so they took her and put her on the scales. I cried while I looked at her. She was beautiful. It was all worth it. I was tired, though, and sore. While she was on my chest, Laurie started pressing on my uterus. I didn't expect it to hurt too much. It really hurt. Really hurt. I kept saying, "Ooh. Oh! Ooh. Oh!" Eventually, Dr. Edwards had to reach up and help deliver my placenta. It really hurt, too.
I did tear a little, but not bad. Dr. Edwards put in three stiches, which I am thankful for as my mom told me she had 64 stitches with Wilson. Three is nothing. I think the perineum massage helped. (Again, not a controlled experiment, so I don't really know.)
They told us that she might have broken her clavicle. They all heard something pop when I pushed out her shoulders. They wanted to take her to the nursery. First, though, mom and Steph came in and saw her. They both were crying and I didn't know why. They said, "You're pain is our pain." I understood. My girl was born. I nursed her before they took her to the nursery. Mom and Steph left. After an hour of "recovery," I took a shower. I was shaking all over and very sore. Nicholas held Olivia when they brought her back I was too tired to sit up, but I was so happy. I am still so happy.
1. Olivia didn't break her clavicle. They did several sets of x-rays to determine this. They think the popping could have been it coming out of and back into joint.
2. My make-up and hair didn't make it through delivery. I sweat like it was my job, so my straightened hair was frizzy and my make up was all over. In fact, something I didn't know about labor and a labor with Pitocin in particular is that you swell big time. My face was unrecognizable after. Under my eyelids were puffs the size of tea bags. My face was huge. My feet were bigger. Dr. Edwards explained this the day after that a woman retains water to replace fluid loss. Since I didn't lose that much blood, it would take even longer to come down.
Perhaps two weeks. On top of the swelling, I popped blood vessels in my face, neck, and shoulder/chest area from all the pushing. It was quite a sight.)