Blogging a LABOR - recap
Filed under: Your Pregnancy
Thanks so much to my friend Larissa for reporting from the hospital for me - and for suffering with me through hours, and hours, and hours of labor. She was a great birth assistant coach and I'm looking forward to helping her in what will hopefully be an easier time for her - very soon!
Now that I'm back at my trusty laptop, I thought I'd give you all a quick recap of my labor and delivery, then come back over the next several days and impart some things I've learned that may help you in your own childbirth.
Truman's journey out of my tummy started on April 15th, when I went to the doctor for a checkup to learn that I was 1 cm dilated. As my contractions continued, sometimes frequent, sometimes infrequent, over the next 12 days, I slowly dilated from 1 cm to 3 cm. At 9:10 a.m. on Wednesday the 27th, I checked into my doctor's office for my weekly appointment. I was still only 3 cm, but contracting regularly. I was put on the office monitor and it was confirmed - I was having contractions every four or five minutes. My doctor, concerned about me laboring too far away from the hospital in the rare case my c-section scar should rupture, asked me to check in the hospital for monitoring.
A few hours later, she came up to check me again and I was 3.5 centimeters dilated - definite movement. By 6 p.m. I was all the way to 4 cm, which is considered active labor. She headed off to sleep and I settled in for the night with my fantastic sister-in-law and doula by my side. Jonathan took Everett to spend the night at my sister's and returned to snooze on the window seat/day bed.
In the morning, I hadn't had much movement and Dr. Kehoe broke my bag of waters. I didn't really expect this to have much impact, and sent Jonathan to pick up Everett and gather all my "forces." I was waiting for my mom to arrive from her home about an hour away, and my friend Larissa to arrive for moral support. Once they were all gathered, the nurse turned on the Pitocin. She started "slow," at 6, telling me she wouldn't turn it up beyond 20.
The contractions at 6 weren't much to be scared about, and I handled them easily sitting on the birth ball. The drip went up to 12 and they got a little more painful, but still nothing to require my considerable breathing techniques and positive thinking. Then she turned it up to 18 and I stopped paying attention to the drip. The pain began. I'd been having contractions for weeks and some had been quite painful - this I was prepared for. The pain now, though, was quite different, a much more focused burning sensation throughout the bottom of my uterus, from tailbone to the front of my belly. It began, and I began to move around, trying different positions. I kneeled on the floor hugging the side of the bed; I tried lying on my side (a suggestion of the nurse to make the contractions "work better" and hurt way more!); I tried hanging off my husband. By this time my pain was intense and the drip was at 27 (what happened to the 20 max???). It had been about 90 minutes since the Pitocin had been turned to 18, and I was beginning to feel like I was about to poop. It was the push urge. The doctor was summoned. I moaned through the next few, hanging off Jonathan, and endured the wow! pain of the exam. I was at 10 cm. I was ready to push.
I'd been dealing with the pain with noise - low moaning and the like. I'd been breathing in short bursts. The pushing was entirely different, I had to switch to keeping my noise inside, I had to "curl around my baby," I had to put all of my energy into this pooping motion. I pushed squatting, and lying on my side, and holding onto the push bar with a sheet, and lying over the top of the push bar. My contractions weren't regular, some would last for two minutes, some didn't give me a break between. It wasn't getting easier. It was getting harder. I pushed hanging from my husband. I pushed on my back. I pushed hanging over the back of the bed. As I hung over the back of the bed, I could here the woman in the next room. Her baby's head was appearing. I was so, so jealous.
At this point, the head could be seen. Everyone was jubilant. I was unconvinced. Dr. Kehoe was starting to talk about the baby's position - he wasn't coming out straight, was in fact almost face up. She was showing me how to push him so he might turn. I was trying so, so hard. And I was in so much pain, I was so exhausted. I kept asking her if I was really making progress. She said yes, but I wasn't always sure. I was ready to give up. I asked if the baby was ever coming out. She said, "yes, but I can't promise it will be vaginally."
My husband could tell I was "quitting." It hurt too much, it was too hard, to go any longer if it wasn't going to work. I told Dr. Kehoe that someone had to tell me what to do, I couldn't go on if I was going to need a c-section anyway. I had to decide NOW. She thought about it for a minute. She got the anesthesiologist, who talked to me in the 30-second breaks between pushing. There wasn't much choice. I was done. I was happy with myself for doing so much. And I needed the baby out of me, NOW. Everyone helped me deal with the next few contractions. I wasn't supposed to push. YOU try not pushing through those contractions, damn it! It was impossible. I pushed a little, and suffered a lot. I was wheeled into the operating room between contractions. The one right after I got there was the hardest thing I had ever done, manage the pain when I'd lost all my management tools.
The spinal was put in quickly between the impossible contraction and the next, not so impossible one. Mercifully, I began to loose my sensation. The curtain was put up. The painless, curious tugging of the operation began. My husband arrived, decked out in scrubs. And I could barely keep my eyes open. When they showed me little Truman, I was happy to see him, but not euphoric like I'd been with Everett. I watched my husband marshal him through his weighing and measuring. He was 7 pounds, 7 ounces, just like his brother had been. He was 19.5 inches long. I got to touch his vernix-covered cheek while they sewed me up. I told my husband, happy birthday.
They took me downstairs to the regular surgical recovery, the hospital was so crazy (five c-sections that night). I lay there on the table, in a hurry to leave the strange room full of all kinds of emergencies, but not so eager to see my son as I was to see my husband again. I was strangely detached, and exhausted. It wasn't until I was moved into my new room and Larissa and Destiny were gushing over the baby, and Jonathan, and their own emotional release (they'd both cried after I left the birthing room) that I was anxious to see Truman. He was brought in and took to the breast like a natural. I settled down with him for the night and began to fall in love. I probably didn't sleep more than a few hours, he nursed all night long. And slept all the next day.
He's very much like our son Everett at birth - a full head of dark, soft hair, steel-blue eyes, powerful legs. His face is a bit more like mine, I wonder if I will finally have my red-head or if this will be another curly blonde. I've gotten over my detachment, and he's gotten over his breast-feeding issues (the first night was tough). He's the calmest zen baby you can imagine. He likes to sleep curled up on my chest. I can't wait to get to know him better.
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