Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Felix's Birth Story {Part 1}

This is a hard, but beautiful story to write.
A story of how our beautiful baby boy made his entrance into this world.
A story of this mama being humbled low as a routine labor became an unpredictable life event.
A story of sanctification -- how God directs our steps to make Himself more fully known.

This is part 1. Sorry it's so long.
Part 2 is way more dramatic, and includes a lot more cute, squishy baby pictures.


On Saturday, December 7th, I went to the hospital for my scheduled induction.
I was 41 weeks pregnant. I could have gone to 42 weeks safely, but I was tired, emotionally drained, and in a considerable amount of back pain.

The week prior we tried lots of things to jump start labor. I went on long walks, ate pineapple, bounced on my exercise ball, took evening primrose oil, did squats, drank raspberry leaf tea..the list goes on. I desperately wanted Felix to come on his own, but the benefits of having him born sooner rather than later seemed to outweigh the costs -- especially with his large head circumference (I didn't want to give it any more opportunity to grow!).

We arrived at the hospital around 9am.  There were a few rooms ready, but not the one I wanted with the tub, so we patiently waited to have it cleaned for about 45 minutes before we got the ball rolling. There are of course lots of questions and papers to fill out when you get to the hospital, and that process seemed to drag on. In my head I was saying, "give me the drug already!".  I wanted to have the room with the tub because that was one of pain management methods we had practiced in our Bradley birth classes.

In regards to our birth plan, I had come to realize that because of the induction, there were a lot of things that were going to be thrown out the window upon arrival at the hospital. In hindsight, those things played a huge role in how tough my labor was, next time I will not opt for an induction unless absolutely medically necessary. The hospital was wonderful in respecting and making sure they understood our birth plan. They had it taped on the wall in two places, and it was discussed with each nurse and doctor as they switched shifts throughout the day.

Here are a few specifics from our birth plan:
- No offering of pain medication -- we will request it if necessary but please do not offer it.
- Intermittent monitoring
- Freedom to labor in different positions
- Immediate skin to skin contact & delayed cord cutting
- No IV saline, mom will stay hydrated by drinking fluid
- No use of catheter
- No use of pitocin in case of "stalled labor"
- No eye ointment after birth 
- No Hepatitis B vaccine

The list was longer, but these are some of the major parts. If you have any questions about why wanted things this way, please feel free to ask. 

Going into the hospital I knew that I wasn't dilated, so I wouldn't be given pitocin right away. Pitocin is only administered if the mom has some dilation already -- I was actually glad that I wasn't dilated after all of the horror stories I heard about pitocin contractions. Had I planned on getting an epidural that wouldn't have mattered but the plan all along was to avoid the epidural. 

The midwife on call that day was the sweetest old lady that reminded me of my Grandma. She had whiteish purple hair and smelled like mothballs and Chanel #5. She checked the baby on the sonogram to see what position he was in. At 36 weeks he was posterior meaning he would come out face up, which usually means agonizing back labor, tearing and a slower labor. I was happy to see he had indeed turned and that meant we may avoid back labor and any of the other complications. 

I was given my first dose of Cytotec around noon. Cytotec is meant to ripen the cervix which hopefully starts contractions as the dose increases and makes your body more ready to deliver. After 3 successive doses in 4 hour increments, my body was more than ready. While we waited for active labor to really begin we had both of our parents and family visit. We also got to meet our friends baby who had been born in the same hospital just 2 days before! These friends were from our Bradley birth classes and our due dates were very close. They were just about to check out of the hospital, it was so sweet to know that we would be in their position very soon! We also ate dinner, watched a few episodes of Tosh.0 and Mad Men on my Ipad and Seth even got a chance to eat pizza with his brother and bff in the waiting room!

The contractions started to pick up pretty heavily around 7pm, if I remember correctly. I was definitely annoyed with all the monitoring they required as I attempted to navigate the contractions in different positions. "Intermittent monitoring" means 20 minutes on, and 40 minutes off the monitors. But, if you do not get a "good" 20 minutes, they make you start over -- meaning if baby changes positions or they lose track of his heartbeat or your contractions at any point then they have to start over. The monitors would frequently lose track and I would be stuck in the bed for an extended amount of time laboring in discomfort. Also, nurses must come in every 30 minutes and check all of your vitals and readjust the monitors -- basically nullifying any attempt to labor in a different position for more than 10 minutes. 

 Also despite the nurses being very understanding of us wanting to labor naturally (and MANY moms who come to this hospital have the same wishes) it seemed that they had no regard for the mom in the middle of a painful contraction. I was sitting there eyes closed, sometimes moaning, sometimes breathing heavily, lights off in some strange position they would come in and turn the lights on and start talking to me! Seth was great at communicating that they needed to wait until I was in between contractions to try and communicate anything to me. Also, Seth was really great during this early labor time. He held my hand, rubbed my back, listened to any command I gave him, spoke to the nurses and basically did everything he needed to do to keep me as comfortable as possible. 

Here is Seth hanging out in our room. We happened to snag the biggest room with a full couch, Seth was able to rest close to me as we prepared for a long night! 

Here is a glimpse of the rest of the room. Nothing too exciting. Lots of water bottles, monitors, and blankets flung everywhere. 

My water broke at 10pm. I had been on my side for quite a while when I had the urge to pee. I had to frequently get up and go to the bathroom which was super uncomfortable but it allowed me to be off the god-forsaken monitors for a few minutes so I was happy for that. It broke right as I stood up. I was shocked. My words were "Oh my gosh I'm peeing. How is this happening? Oh my gosh thats my water. My water broke!". Seth held my hand as we called for the nurse and waited for what was next. I felt bad that it happened on the floor right next to the bed, but oh well, labor is unpredictable! After grabbing a test strip to make sure it was my water that broke, the nurse confirmed that my water had indeed broken and wrote on the care board the progress we had made. We knew that in general contractions start to get a lot more intense after the water was broken, and from 10pm-1am they definitely picked up with a vengeance. 

During the next few hours I was in definite active labor, and I was convinced I was dilating very quickly in regards to how much pain I was in. Many people will wonder how on earth one can deal with contractions without an epidural, and the key for me was concentrating the pain in one part of my body, my uterus. The one word I kept repeating to myself was "concentrate", and it actually helped me focus and clear my head of thoughts of pain and the desire to tense up and hold my breath. During this time I also realized that all of my labor was happening in my back. Oh dear, the dreaded back labor was actually coming true for me. I used a warm compress on my back -- I happened to bring my microwavable rice bag from home which helped marginally take some of the back pain away during the contractions. I also was able to take an hour long shower. After begging my nurses to let me use the shower they finally let me -- it was sweet temporary relief for my back! At this time I also realized that I didn't get a very long break in between my contractions -- maybe 30 seconds max. I naturally started to worry how much more of this I could handle if the contractions were going to be this close all night. 

At 1am the midwife came in to check my progress.
4 centimeters.
My heart sank. Seth and all of the nurses quickly tried to push the water out of my sinking ship by telling me that I had made so much progress and that I was doing so well.  I couldn't get the thought out of my head.."There is no freaking way I can do this. No freaking way" 
I may have thought something more harsh than freaking. 


There you have it.
Part 1 of the most intense experience of my life. 

Come back in a couple days for the second half!
Until then, enjoy this picture of my adorable child.
EEK. I have a child.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing Jamie! I wish I could share my birth experiences this well