Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Birth Story!

On Monday, March 31st, I was doing what I often was doing in the afternoons-napping, while my DD watched a few cartoons. Sometime around 2:30 I felt a trickle, and skipped into the bathroom as fast as I could. THAT was definitely my water breaking, though I managed to keep the bed dry. I sat on the toilet while Lizzie got the phone, and called DH to say it was "time to come home." He was quite flummoxed-somehow neither of us really thought it would occur during the day-we always imagined night time. He started the half an hour trip home and I found a diaper and switched to the birthing ball, while calling Rayelle to say we'd need her to pick up Lizzie. She of course, was at a midwife appointment, and unreachable. I proceeded to call my Mom-who absurdly wanted me to call before we left for the hospital (apparently she didn't realize how lucky she was to get THAT call!)my doula, Micole, and my midwife (who encouraged me to start the hour trip to the hospital right away-she's a smart one, she is!)

The contractions got stronger as I waited and I realized I had NO desire to leave the birthing ball. They were about 2-3 minutes apart, and totally bearable, but definitely there. For me they feel like rhythmic menstrual cramping. There were one or two I had just after Josh got home that I had to lean on him for. We decided not to spend too much time at home-I didn't want to be too much further along for the car ride. We ended up sending Liz to the neighbors and just trusted that someone would pick her up eventually and got in the car.

I had planned to labor on the ball in the back of the van, but never calculated how tall I'd be on it. We didn't fit. I ended up in the front seat-with no towel-totally soaking it. Five minutes later on the interstate, I found myself staring at Lookout Mountain and thinking... "I don't really want to do this again... Lets just cut it out..." I'm sure I was probably in transition at that point. Even without construction, or stopping to meet Micole, we had another 40 minutes to even reach Rapid City.

The trip settled into a pretty regular pattern, with contractions a minute apart and a minute long. I would have a wicked one, followed by a more mellow one. I would brace for each bridge, and mercifully, very few were in the midst of a contraction. Twenty minutes outside of Rapid, just where the interstate makes that funny jag at Blackhawk, I had my first pushing contraction. I couldn't help but roar through it-at which point I reported to DH that "um... THAT was a pushing contraction!"

I'd never had one-never had the urge to push with DD, though I waited patiently for a good 45 minutes with her after being told I was complete. From then on out, each of the wicked ones would be a "pusher" though at some point they ALL became pushers. I just roared through them, and didn't actively try to help the pushing. I could still feel feet in my ribs, and didn't think that the baby had dropped at ALL. I didn't have that feeling of a head in my cervix or anything. I figured we had PROBLEMS if I was already feeling the urge to push!

Yet, it also occurred to me we just might end up delivering in the car-which was okay, but I couldn't figure out WHERE we were gonna pull over on Mt. Rushmore Rd at five in the afternoon on a Monday! I hated to think of just parking in the middle of the street with the hazards on-but knew I'd never get my pants off without help. If she was any smaller-I'm sure we would have. As it was, we made it to the hospital, and the first place I directed DH to was the wrong one. After rushing madly about trying to find someone to help him in an empty hallway, an administrative person told him to go to the emergency entrance. We rushed BACK out into traffic and in the right parking lot/entryway.

When he ran in this time, he apparently didn't stress the urgency of the situation well enough, and the emergency people just directed him down the hall and around the corner to L and D. He asked for a wheelchair and they just said "Oh, they'll handle all that when they check you in." He just looked at them like they were on crack, grabbed a wheelchair, and ran back outside with it. I got in it, immediately arched into a contraction and we entered the building with me ROARING through it. I caught a glimpse out of the corner of one eye of a woman behind the emergency room desk, half standing from her chair as we RAN by, a silent "O" on her lips. The non-laboring part of me was LAUGHING her head off.

Our midwife met us down the hallway, with a big understated and calm "Hi! We're in room two." Another contraction hit once we got in the room, and she tried to get me to breathe through it-I didn't have the concentration to tell her I wasn't actively TRYING to push. We managed to get my pants off, I stood there while she checked me and she said "Oh, you're complete! That baby's head is only about as far in as my first knuckle! Push anytime!"

There was meconium in the water by now and an NICU person was brought in to attend to the baby. I got on the bed and held onto the back while kneeling, but my legs were just jelly, and it wasn't long before I had to get off them and push on my side. I can't believe how much more effective a push is when you have a pushing contraction to work with! I wonder how I EVER got my first child out! No wonder it took two hours! Pushing was not satisfying, and hurt the closer she got to roars became higher and higher pitched. Then her head was out... and I wasn't done! Lizzie just sorta slithered out after the head -all in one push. It took at least another minute for me to push her the rest of the way out. I remember screaming at one point- "oh just pull her OUT!" I couldn't believe how much more work it was-and those muscles were just TIRED!

Finally I mustered up a last heave and out she came. I should put "finally" in quotes-we'd been in the room all of ten minutes max. It's amazing how much better you feel-the instant that child leaves your body. I couldn't help but heave a sigh and say "Oh, that's MUCH better!" Because of the meconium, they cut the cord right away and whisked her over to a warmer for suctioning. Even after I got her back, I could hear quite a bit of "singing" as she tried to breathe, but we got a great nursing session in right away.

By the time we weighed her, she had pooped a couple of times, or I bet she would have been a full 10lbs. As it was, I was somewhat of a celebrity around the hospital as a 5 foot 1 inch person birthing a 9lb 13 oz baby in ten minutes. Someone actually said I was a once in a lifetime sort of patient. Katie was with us till I consented to allow them to bathe her and run some tests while I took a shower and grabbed some dinner. They promised not to do any of the typical things they do- like eye goop and shots, so we felt pretty comfortable with it. But we never got her back. They became concerned about her breathing and took her to NICU for observation, and there our adventure began.

In retrospect-the birth was GREAT, but I'm not doing another damn labor in the freaking car! Woman was not made to labor in the front seat! If we ever have another it will be AT HOME. If breathing issues present themselves with a third child, it's nothing that a transfer won't fix. We were never in danger of losing either of our kids in an instant, though they both had breathing troubles. Katie is doing really well-our electrocardiogram at two weeks old showed she's responding well enough to her Viagra treatments that we began weaning her down slowly. As of tomorrow she'll be on a single dose a day, and a week from now she'll be all done. We go in for another look at her heart and capilllaries in mid-May.

It took a full 5 days for Lizzie to finally meet her, but she's totally enamored, and has a really difficult time sharing her with anyone-that was one possibility we never even considered.

It's good to be a family.

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