Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Our birth story

I am still amazed and thankful that I was ever pregnant and that I gave birth. And not only did I give birth, I gave birth to James, the sweetest and cutest son who is more than I could have even dreamed of.

His birth was full of ups and downs, but in the end I felt like we were triumphant - the underdogs who made it against the odds!

I started leaking amniotic fluid at 2:30am on Friday, June 8. I wasn't really sure if I was peeing or if it was my water, so I went back to sleep and knew it would keep happening if it were indeed my water. Looking back, I am so thankful I went to sleep, and amazed that I was able to! I woke up again at 5:30am to some wetness but no leaking, and at 7:30am with more leaking. By then I was pretty sure it was my water and told my husband.

I called the hospital and they said to come in soon, but we didn't need to rush. My husband went in to work for a couple hours to tie up loose ends, and I showered, got ready, and tidied up the house. During this time the little trickles had turned into bigger gushes, and I was convinced it was my water.

We made it to the hospital by 10:30am. A nurse checked to see if it was amniotic fluid, and when she confirmed that it was I started bawling tears of happiness - it was time!! We were going to meet our boy that day or the next!! I started at 2cm and 0% effaced.

My water had been broken for eight hours but I had not started contracting. My hospital does not have the "you must deliver in 24 hours rule," but they don't want to risk infection and let you go too long. Because my body did not go into labor on its own at this point, I essentially had to be induced. This was a little disappointing since I knew it could be a longer labor, and the likelihood of a c-section was a little higher.

They started me on cervadil, and at about 11:30am I felt my first painful contraction - which is the time I count my labor as starting. My husband and I walked all over the hospital and grounds (always taking the stairs :) and hoped my body would kick in and start laboring. We were laughing and pretty relaxed, although the pain of the contractions grew significantly pretty quickly.

They wanted to monitor my contractions and the baby's heart rate, so I was hooked up to wireless monitoring. We were still able to walk around, but we had to stay in the halls of labor and delivery. During all of this time I continued to have frequent largish gushes of fluid, so I kept having to go back to the room to get a new diaper. They mean it when they say you will be surprised how much fluid there is!

At around 4:30, my water completely broke (thankfully I was in the bathroom for that flood!), and the nurse checked to see if the cervadil was still in. It wasn't, and I was 3cm and 50% effaced. It felt like decent progress but nothing to write home about. The doctor said I had been contracting too hard and close together from the medication for this stage of labor, which can put distress on the baby. She decided not to re-insert the cervadil or start pitocin to see if my body would "kick in" on it's own. I was still contracting and in a lot of pain so I was hopeful it was.

At 8:00pm I was in a lot of pain. I asked to be checked because I wanted to wait until I was in active labor (4-5cm) before getting the epidural, and I was still only 3-4cm. I got in the tub hoping it would would ease the pain (I had heard amazing stories about the tub!), but it didn't work for me. After being in there only about 15 minutes I got out and asked for the epidural.

Around the same time the doctor decided to start the pitocin since I had only progressed maybe 1 cm in 4 hours. The anesthesiologist came really quickly and I was so ready! However, the minutes dragged on and the pokes in my back continued until he announced he couldn't find the gap in my spine and he'd "never had this problem in somebody young." He ended up making 3 different attempts, and as I sat there hunched over in pain I started to panic. Almost an hour later he gave up, did some other kind of anesthesia that would "hopefully help," and left me there... still in pain. I did feel some relief but not much.

This was the lowest point of my labor. My husband was mad and thought the the anesthesiologist was incompetent - and he had hated seeing my spinal area poked over and over. I was still in a lot of pain and shocked that I couldn't have an epidural - normally you hear about being flexible in your birth plan because you may end up wanting an epidural, but I've never heard of somebody not being able to get one! I had not prepared myself for natural labor, I didn't want to feel the pain, I was still only 4cm and felt like I had a long way to go, and they had just started the pitocin which I knew would make the labor that much worse. It depressed me just anticipating the pain ahead.

Even worse, though, was the fact that I felt like a c-section was a likely outcome for me - induction, not progressing much, water had been broken for a long time, etc. Normally women have an epidural for a c-section, but I couldn't. We had asked the anastheseologist if I could have a spinal if it came to a c-section, and he said no - it was administered the same way. So now I laid there in pain, imagining having a c-section and being put under general anesthesia - no hearing his first cry or seeing him. I laid in bed and cried. A few family members came in at this point, and I didn't even talk to them. All I could do was lay there. I felt like giving up.

My doctor came in sometime after this and I could tell she felt bad for me. She told the nurse to offer me some IV drugs to help, but I don't want those because I had heard they weren't super effective and got to the baby. I asked my doctor if she thought I would be able to deliver va.ginally, and she said she didn't know but if we had to go with plan B (c-section) we would have a healthy baby, so try not to worry about it. In my low state I felt like she was essentially telling me I'd probably need a c-section, and cried that much more.

Around midnight (4 hours after the failed epidural), another anastheseologist walked in my room. We were shocked because we had been told the other one was the only one in the hospital that night, so we jokingly call the second one the miracle doctor who just appeared out of nowhere. He said he had been called in to replace his colleague, and he had heard I had an unsuccessful epidural. He wanted to see if he could get it, and he got it on the first try!! Oh sweet relief!!

I was then able to sleep for the next 4 hours. They kept increasing/ decreasing/ stopping the pitocin at various points to find the balance of keeping the contractions from being too hard/ close together but also helping me to progress. At 3:00am they checked and I was 8cm, and at 4:00am I was 9cm! At that point I got hopeful I was going to dilate, and started thinking I might be pushing by 7:00am or so. At least I hoped.

But as the nurse kept checking, I stayed at 9cm for a really long time. She said the baby was still quite high, and that he was sunny side up based on how his head felt, which could be preventing him from being able to drop all the way and trigger my body to fully dilate. So from 4:00am-10:00am, I laid on my sides - switching every half hour - to try to get him to turn. But it felt like another point added to the c-section side, because if he didn't drop/ I didn't fully dilate/ it was dangerous to deliver him sunny side up that would be where we would end up.

Thankfully I wasn't in pain all that time. We just kept praying and I tried to rest. I did think I felt him moving, and the nurse confirmed he was on his side at one point. Later she thought he was face down, and I just had a lip of a cervix left! Almost there! We also hoped he would drop down further so I wouldn't be pushing for 3 hours. As the morning progressed, I did feel an intense and uncomfortable urge to push. I kept telling the nurse, but when she checked that lip of cervix was still there. She said I could hit the button to increase the epidural, but I thought I might need that "urge to push" feeling to effectively push, so I held off.

At 10:00am, after what felt like an eternity waiting, it was time to push. He was still pretty high, so I knew we had a ways to go. I know it must be WAY more intense without the epidural, but even with it I was shocked by how uncomfortable/ painful the urges to push were and how hard it was to push! I guess I thought it would be easy with the epidural.

Pretty early during the pushing my doctor came in and felt my contraction and push. She commented to the nurse that my contractions weren't very strong and my push was not very effective. She increased the pitocin to get the contractions stronger, but as she left I yet again felt the c-section looming. But I was determined to improve my push and do the best I could.

I pushed for 2.5 hours. It sounds so cliche, but I couldn't have done it without my husband. It was so hard, but he really stepped up as my coach and encouraged me throughout. I also had an amazing nurse who really encouraged and guided me. Even still, I didn't believe I was going to deliver him until the nurse showed my husband his head. His head was there?! I pushed him down that far?! I was in happy shock!

The last bit is a blur. The pushing urge was so strong I had to push 4-5 times per contraction, even though the nurse had said to do 3 sets. Suddenly the doctor was in the room and they were setting up for delivery, but I was hardly aware of it because all I could focus on was pushing. And then, even more suddenly, he was out and lying on my chest. It was amazing and surreal! He was born at 12:32pm after 25 hours of labor.

My husband and I cried as I held him. We thanked God over and over. I still cry thinking about that sweet time. I cried when I said good-bye to my nurse because she had been such a cheerleader for me, and cried when we left the hospital to go home. Despite a number of lows, the overall experience is one I will cherish always. I am so thankful that I have a birth story to share and that my son is here!


jeanna said...

You will be so glad you wrote this down later in life. I was cheering you on as I was reading and you are so strong to have held up! Contractions are not fun! Congrats again and thank you so much for sharing your birth story!

andreajennine said...

Love it!

RMCarter said...

Beautiful story. You are one tough mama. :)

CorinnaVN said...

What a wonderful story!!! I'm thankful that you have it to tell, and that you have your beautiful (he is SO beautiful!) boy with you now. Thanks for sharing! :)

Jessica said...

I have been reading your blog for a long time now...so very happy for you. He is beautiful!!!

mhdmom said...

Beautiful story, and such a sweet time in your life. Enjoy! Jenna

Carrie said...

Wow...just wow. I loved reading every word. That is something you will never forget. James is truly a miracle gift from God and I am so happy for you and your family!!

kdactyl said...

This was awesome. You are a rockstar!!! kd

Amber said...

Great birth story...it's amazing the highs and lows you can go through! My epidural didn't work, but they didn't know it till they were going in for a csection...I was put out and I can say I missed so much. I was sooo drugged up when they brought him to me...oh well. God is still so amazing and his miracles are worth everything!

Bunny said...

This is such a beautiful birth story! I found myself cheering (and tearing up) for you. Congratulations, again, on your very real example of God's miraculous power and love! :)

P.S. Out of curiosity (and as a mamma-to-be) What birthing method did you use? (as in Lamaze, Bradley, etc.) Did you find it helpful in such a tedious labor? Thanks!

Rach said...

Wow, what a story. I think I'm feeling exhausted just reading about all the ups and downs. So glad everything worked out in the end and everyone was happy and healthy!

Shanny said...

What a birth story, you are amazin! I'm so happy for you and your little James =)

Joyce said...

So happy for you that you were able to avoid the c-section as you hoped! Your little guy has the most precious smile :)

Melissa G said...

Aww, love this and cry tears of joy with you!

Melissa G said...

Oh, and I still think about the amazing nurses I had at my delivery. Not sure I could have had the same experience without them.