Monday, July 18, 2011

The Birth Story

Warning, this is VERY long!

I sure hope I can remember it all.  I went in Wednesday morning, the 6th, and was still only dilated to a 2.  She did rupture my membranes though, so that gave me hope.  She wanted me to make an appointment for Friday to see if anything was progressing, since I was 40 weeks to the day.  That day I had some Braxton Hicks off and on but nothing really serious or steady.  I thought for sure maybe that night I'd go into labor, but no such luck.  The stripping membrane thing didn't do much for me!

Thursday was pretty uneventful.  That evening I went upstairs in my room and just had a good cry.  I missed my husband and was thinking how much it sucked that he couldn't be here for the birth of OUR baby.  I was crying because I was so sore and so tired of being so sore and just wanted to meet our little girl.  Then it dawned on me that I couldn't remember the last time I felt her move.  I knew it was sometime in the morning but I couldn't remember much of it throughout the day.  So I laid there, poking on my belly trying to get a kick.  I drank a ton of water.  I panicked.  So, I called the doctors and told them and they said to just go in to get checked out.  When I was on hold with them I thought I felt a little kick but I couldn't be sure.  So, my friend came over to sit with the kids and my mom and I headed to the hospital (I didn't tell the kids what was going on, just that maybe it was time for the baby to come.  I didn't want to worry them).  As soon as they hooked me to the monitor there was a loud, clear, strong heartbeat!  PHEW, what a relief that was!  While there the doctor wanted to talk to me (on the phone, mind you...a little impersonal if you ask me).  I'd never seen this doctor before and she was talking about how she was looking at my records and how she saw that Dr. Drake (the perinatologist) didn't want me to go past 40 weeks and here it was past 40.  I told her how the previous week at my appt. Dr. Drake said she'd let me go to 41 as long as I had NST's during that week and they checked growth and fluid levels, but she said they never got those notes.  She began telling me how I needed to have a plan, enforcing how I should go ahead and get a c-section.  She said that when I went to my appointment the next day to have a plan in place, that I should think about my baby and that the goal should be to have my baby in my arms that day.  I was SO discouraged!!!  I didn't know or want to make a plan!  Especially if it regarded a c-section.  I'd come this far already, why cave into one now!  That night I talked to my doula and my friend and went to bed, sleeping somewhat fitfully, with my mind made up.  I was just going to go in and tell them to break my water that day (the doctor I saw on Wed. mentioned that maybe they would put me into the hospital on Friday and do this).  So, that was "my plan."

Friday I dropped the kids off at my friend's house, planning to not see them until I had a baby in my arms.  I even cried saying good-bye to them, figuring things would be quite different when I saw them next.  We went to my appointment and sat.  And sat.  And sat.  We waited for a good hour or more to get into a room.  That was such a LONG hour, knowing I had to face the doctor and not knowing what he'd say.  It was a doctor I'd seen before, though hadn't seen in awhile, and I really liked him.  He was one that was really allowing me to make my own decision regarding the VBAC, not pushing one way or another.  Anyway, finally he came in and right away began talking about due dates and how really it is 'safe' to go to 42 weeks.  I told him about my last appt. with Dr. Drake.  He told me I am smart and educated and that I could make a wise decision and that I know what I'm facing either way.  He talked about breaking the water and risks involved in that and also talked about a c-section and the risks.  He said how often doctors won't use Pitocin in a woman with a prior c-section, but that research on that isn't completely conclusive and that sometimes he could see using it.  I was so shocked at all that he was saying!  I didn't know he was SO pro-VBAC.  At the same time he was talking about not breaking my water that day and that really disappointed me.  I was ready with "my plan" and ready to meet our little girl.  When he checked me I hadn't changed at all since last time (bummer).  So, he left the room to call Dr. Drake to talk about the 41 week factor.  He was gone for quite awhile.  He came back saying they could induce me by breaking my water Monday morning.  MAN!  I'd have to go through the WHOLE weekend STILL pregnant!?!  He said to just wait and see if anything happened on its own through the weekend.  I think he must've tried to rupture my membranes more too because he was doing SOMETHING that HURT!  So, I left there crying.  I was so bummed.  I knew deep down this was the best thing to do, knowing that if they broke my water and my body wasn't ready it could lead to a c-section.  But, how did I face my kiddos with no baby yet!  They were ready and eager to meet their sister too!  Just disappointment all around.

That day and evening I did have quite a few Braxton Hicks, but they never got stronger or worth timing.  I awoke real early Saturday morning with more Braxton Hicks, but they fizzled into nothing.  I really wanted to stay busy on the weekend, not just sitting around WAITING for baby!  But I was so tired on Saturday that I just sat around and took quite a few cat naps.  I have to tell you that even though I didn't want to wait until Monday, I felt more peace about it all.  There was an end in sight at last and I felt like I could just relax about it all.  Looking back, I just chuckle to myself about it all now.  We went out to dinner that night (Sat.) at Olive Garden and I was having some really weird pains.  Not contractions, but like the baby was moving real weird- it hurt!  Josiah drank his chocolate milk so fast that he didn't feel good so after eating out we just came home (I was a bit bummed as I wanted to do SOMETHING).  Well, as soon as we got home it seemed those Braxton Hicks picked back up again.  They started to seem more steady so I thought I'd better begin timing them.  I even walked up and down the street a few times, but then it didn't seem like I was having any so I didn't give it much thought.  Once we got the kids into bed I could time them more.  My mom would time how long they were and I'd time how long between each one.  They never seemed completely steady though...some were 8 minutes apart, some 12-15.  And they were only lasting about 30 seconds.  I was in contact with Zach, my friend Angie (who was going to drive down from Minneapolis), my friend who was "on call" to watch the kids and my doula.  Eventually it seemed the contractions started to get worse and more painful.  They also were no longer the Braxton Hicks, these were the real thing.  Amazing how you always wonder if you'll know when its the real thing...but you know!  I began sometimes moaning through them.  My mom thought I should go in but I wasn't sure, being that they didn't follow the 5-1-1 'rule'.  I talked to my doula and she gave me three options- I could either walk up and down the street to see if that did anything more, have her come over and 'work' with me or call the doctor and see what he had to say.  After talking with my mom I decided to call the doctor.

I was a bit nervous about the whole doctor phone call, knowing one of the Dr's who was on call.  I'd seen him two or three times at the end of the pregnancy and he was always just real abrupt- come in, check me, check heartbeat and that's it.  No "How are you doing?" or anything.  So I really didn't care for the guy.  The other Dr. on call was the one who did my c-section with Abby and I really loved him.  I hadn't seen him at all with this pregnancy because he doesn't go to the office I mostly went to, but I did see him with my pregnancy with Nathaniel last year.  Anyway, Dr. N called me back...the not-so-friendly one.  It was the weirdest conversation and went something like this:
Me: Hello?
Him: This is Dr. N
Me: Yes, this is Jamie M.
Him; Mmm Hmm....pause...
Me: Well, I think I'm in labor and wondered if I should come in.
Him: What number pregnancy is this?
Me: Eight.
Him: Wow.
We then went on to talk about what were c-sections and what were 'miscarriages'.  He didn't ask me how far apart contractions were or anything, just said, "OK, you better come on in and get checked."  I was a little surprised.  Maybe he thought because I'd had so many pregnancies I needed to go in.  I just thought his abruptness was so 'off' and then how he didn't even ask about contractions or anything.  Just strange.  So then I got nervous.  I thought, "Is this really it?"  A little bit of fear set in.  Do I really have to go through with this?  Of course, no turning back now ;-)  So, I contacted my friend down the street who came to stay with the kiddos until my other friend who lived further away could get here to stay with the kids.  At this point it was probably about 11:30 pm if not a little later.  I emailed Zach letting him know I was going in, texted my friend in the Twin Cities and my doula and we were off.  I have to admit that when I stepped outside I began to cry a little, knowing that when I came back home life would be so different- we'd have our little girl here with us at last!!!! 

Thankfully my mom drove a lot faster to the hospital this night than she did Thursday night when I went in to get checked out!  Go figure there were a few cops out, but we got there in a fairly decent amount of time!  I had a few contractions on the way there and I remember standing at the counter, as they were going to lead me to triage, having another one.  When they checked me I was 3 cm and 70 or 80% effaced.  I didn't really care for the nurse (at first).  She just seemed so down to business as she took my information and all.  I was having contractions throughout that whole time.  My doula showed up and she'd massage my back and all when I'd have a contraction.  That sure felt good!  It took f-o-r-e-v-e-r for them to get me into a real room.  I was having flashbacks of when I was in labor with Gabe.  It was at Keesler AFB and I had to labor the whole time in the tiny 'closet' triage room because the other rooms were full.  Thankfully they had separate delivery rooms so I actually did deliver in a 'real' room!  I was hoping that wouldn't be the case here!  Apparently they were so full that it took awhile to figure out where to put me!  Wouldn't you know that my room was at the very end of the hall.  Boy, that walk did me in, I had a contraction or two on the way down!!!  When they checked me when I got there I was already 5 cm (this was a good hour to hour and a half after I arrived at the hospital).  When I was told I was a 5 I was like, "OK, I will take the epidural now."  If I went from 3-5 that fast there was no telling what would happen!!!  And thankfully I said it then because I had to wait for an hour for the fluids in the IV.  When the doctor came in to check me I was thinking, "Oh great, not him." But he was totally different than what he'd been in the office. Even when we talked to him about skyping and video taping he was totally cool with all of it! What a huge answer to prayer!!!

So, they thought they'd get me on the toilet while I could, to empty my bladder and to just sit in that position for awhile.  Wow, I had some strong contractions sitting there!  Zach had even called during at least one of them and I just had to put the phone down and couldn't even talk to him afterward!  My mom had trouble trying to connect to the internet so we couldn't get skype up and running and Zach was wondering what on earth was going on!  Once I'd gotten my epidural and could sit back a bit more comfortably I was able to connect to the web and get a connection with my hubby. 

Let me mention that it never fails that every time I'm in labor I puke!  This time was no exception.  Not only did I puke but I was peeing all over myself at the same time :/  NOT fun!  They thought maybe it was my water that had broken, but nope.  The doctor did, however, come in and break my water.  That was done either right before or right after they finally gave me the epidural.  Once the epidural took effect I decided to lay back and rest for awhile.  I think I dozed off and on for a bit.  Then I woke and decided I didn't want to just wait for things to happen, but I wanted to try to help them progress.  With my other two VBACs I'd just gotten the epidural, laid back and done nothing to help labor move along.  This time I feel I was more educated and I also had the help of my doula and I feel like I was more in control of how the labor went.  So, I sat up in bed in hte 'butterfly position' and that sitting up really must have moved baby down because at that point I started to have some pressure that I hadn't had before!  The doula was telling me other positions I could try and the nurse came in and offered a suggestion, a position called the Texas Roll or something like that.  I laid back on my left side.  They took that bedside table where the height adjusts and put some pillows on it and put that between my legs.  So one leg was on the bed and the other on the pillows and table, raised in the air.  Seriously the minute I went into that position I had such pressure!  I know I had the epidural, but after awhile I could sometimes tell when I was having a contraction, having some pain in my left side.  I'm so thankful I could tell I had that pressure because the nurse checked me and exclaimed, "You're complete!  You can start pushing!"  Well, I'm thankful now...I wasn't so thankful then! 

Relief and fear coursed through me.  I think it may have been at that point that I began holding onto the rail of the bed saying I didn't want to feel the pain anymore and didn't want to do this.  I think they also gave me another low dosage of meds to help me get through it!  It's so weird that they have you pushing before the doctor is even in the room!  I kept thinking, "Oh man, the nurse is going to deliver our little girl."  Meanwhile, Zach was on the computer able to watch it all, though I think it was blurry.  By this point everything is kind of a blur to me.  I remember them bringing all sorts of stuff and people in (lights, I think).  Gosh, who knows how many people were in there while I was pushing!  I was too busy trying to work through the pain to care, but looking back I remember the room was bustling!  It took less than 20 minutes for me to push her out!  I could feel pressure and almost a stinging down there as I was pushing.  I know without the epidural it would've been MUCH worse!  Kudos to all those who birth naturally!  I love my epidurals!  I remember just wanting to NOT push anymore.  I didn't want to feel that pain anymore.  Then I thought how I needed to hurry and push to just get this whole thing over with, so I began just pushing.  My mom says I did awesome at pushing, she was pretty proud of me and didn't think I'd do so well! 

The doctor laid the baby on me right away and I kissed her and marveled that she was finally here!  Then I realized she wasn't crying and I panicked and asked, "Why isn't she crying?"  Then they took her and she did cry a bit but then they had to put her on oxygen for awhile.  She had a hard time transitioning and thankfully wasn't on for quite a full hour or they would've had to take her to the NICU but it was really close to an hour.  Apparently she'd pooped ALL over the table they had her on!  LOL  I guess it was everywhere.  They were going to put an IV in to give her some saline (I think that's what it was) but when they tried she perked right up!  Let me tell you, even though I knew in my heart of hearts she was OK I was concerned and worried and broke down crying at one point.  We would try to move the computer over by her once in awhile so Zach could see her.  I can't imagine how he felt, being so far away.

While they were working on her the doctor was working on me.  It took forever for the placenta to come out and he told me he'd give it another minute and if it didn't come out he'd have to reach up and get it out.  I prayed then and wouldn't you know it came out on it's own, thankfully!  Another thing, they gave Pitocin after the birth (probably to help with the placenta), but how weird that they give it at all when they're so weird about it with VBAC patients.  I could then see the placenta across the room and started joking with Zach asking if he wanted to see it.  I knew he'd be grossed out, lol.  Then the doctor started joking with Zach, saying we could send it to him and that he heard the food out there is gross and he could eat the placenta!  I was shocked at how great he was!  He was trying to make conversation with Zach through the computer and even was talking to my mom and asking her questions.

Once the time was up and Naomi was fine they weighed her- 7 lb. 9 oz. and 19.5 inches long.  Zach thought she'd be huge and I thought she'd be at least 8 lbs.  Then I could hold her at last!!!  Such relief flooded through me!  I just held on to her and wept.  I felt pure joy and thankfulness for such a blessing!  It was so amazing to hold her at last!  The specialist from the NICU wanted me to be the only one to hold her throughout the day and to have lots of skin-to-skin contact with her after her ordeal after birth.  But by afternoon she was fine and hte nurse said it was OK for her to be held briefly by others and to even have her bath.  They just didn't want her overstimulated.  So everyone was able to hold her for a little while.  She was such a trooper- pretty much latched right on, like she'd been a nursing pro!!!  Come to find out, she must have been a thumb sucker in the womb because she'd found both thumbs within the next hour or two!  She has tried to get at them since then but usually isn't successful in getting them in her mouth! 

I really enjoyed our hospital stay.  I know some people don't like hospitals but it was like a little 'vacation'.  It was so quiet without the kids there, I wished I could've stayed longer!  They (the kids) sure loved coming and meeting their new sister though.  I have enjoyed every single minute of her life.  I can't believe she is now 8 days old.  I feel like time is already going by too fast and it stinks.  I just want her to stay little longer, knowing how fast time really does go.  I don't mind her dirty diapers or middle of the night feedings.  I just love her so much.  I'm so thankful for her.  It's also quite a bummer that Zach isn't here and hasn't met her yet.  I lay in bed at night and just get sad about it all.  It's so cute seeing all the kids interact with her.  Gabe just smiles down at her with his cute little smile as he holds her.  Abby is a huge helper, always wanting to bring me her diapers and wipes, and saying in a sweet little voice, "Hi dede (baby) Woe-E (Naomi)."  Hannah loves to hold and kiss her.  Josiah loves to hold her and talk to her sweetly.  It's so cute to see them all love on her!  And the noise doesn't even phase her.  You could have yelling and crying and she doesn't even budge.  She especially likes the sounds of Abby, I think!  It's amazing how they get used to all that noise in the womb!

I'm sure there are things I'm forgetting to add.  Mommy brain, you know?  I'm so thankful for such a great, successful birth.  It was by far the best one.  I totally recommend everyone having a doula.  Even though I got an epidural (and she knew I'd probably get one), she was still super helpful and helped me to take more control of the birth I wanted to have, if that makes sense.  It was nice to have a doula who was supportive either way- being supportive whatever I wanted.  I'm so glad my friend, Angie, could drive all the way down to be here for such a special time.  What a blessing her presence was, even if she did arrive 10 minutes after the birth!  She took awesome pictures too.  I'm thankful for my friend, Sadie, for being such a great support throughout my pregnancy and for watching my kiddos when I was finally in labor!  I knew I need not worry about them and it was such a relief to me!  And I'm so thankful for my mom.  She's been here for a little over a month helping out now and it's such a blessing to have her help.  I am so glad she could be there to see Naomi come into this world, to share in that time with me, especially when Zach couldn't be here in person.  God is so good and has totally blessed us!  And I see now His hand in it all.  When I was so ready to be done, wondering if I should've just had a c-section so I didn't have to endure any more pain, when I just wanted her out I'm so thankful she came when she did and not any sooner.  I look back now and see God's hand in it all, even in the timing.  It's amazing it was on the weekend, when it worked best for all those involved.  God knew.  I look back now and wish I hadn't rushed the end so bad...if only I hadn't had so much pain!  I know time will fly and she'll grow so fast, but I'll cherish each moment.  I am blessed.  I am blessed.


Kim said...

Truly Amazing how it all worked out. Its wonderful hearing different birth stories. Thanks for sharing yours. You truly are blessed w/ a precious baby girl! Your a trooper for hanging in there.

crimsoncovered said...

Praise God it all worked out well:)
God takes good care of us...

Becca said...

Thanks for sharing your birth story....I'm so glad you were able to have your VBAC...and that it went so well for you. (As for the Pitocin...I think they worry about uterine rupture during labor with VBACs but after the baby is out it's not a concern and is used to help the uterus clamp down so you won't hemorrhage).

How wonderful that your mom has been able to be there for and with you through all of this since Zach can't be.

Your Naomi is a little doll....makes wish my time were closer. :) Congratulations again!

I am OK said...

Boy it took me two days to read this post :) Seriously - it really did. LOL

And I LOVED every minute of it. What an awesome testament to read!

Anonymous said...

Love all of the details and reading the story of her birth. I am so happy that all is well w/ you and Naomi, and esp. that you were able to avoid a C/S. ♥ God was with you all of the way. Jen