Friday, July 14, 2006

Birth


last belly pic
Originally uploaded by jensenblu.
It was about 11:00 in the morning on June 25th. That night we were going to meet at my parents house and go out to dinner for my sister's birthday. Jake and I had celebrated our anniversary the day before by taking a trip to my college town and spending the day just doing fun stuff together. We walked around campus, the town, and around the lake. We ate dinner, took photos with our new digital camera and just relaxed.

*There may be some instances of TMI for some people in the following story*

So-I was sitting in our living room on the floor wrapping my sister's birthday gifts. She just got a new car so we bought her seat covers, floor mats, car wash tickets, and air freshners. As I was wrapping the last item, the floor mats, I suddenly felt very wet-as if I was peeing my pants but had no control over it. "Oh No" I thought-instantly thinking it was my water breaking. I ran to the first floor bathroom to have a lot of liquid drain out. The good news was-it was pretty clear which is a good sign. I got scared though. Jake was at my parent's house working on his truck with my dad and I was home alone. "Maybe this isn't it" I thought to myself and "Damn!" because the whole time I was pregnant Jake and I joked and said, "as long as the baby is NOT born on the 25th". My sister was upset at first when she found out we were getting married on her birthday and I didn't want her to have her birthday overshadowed by our baby.

I ran upstairs and as I headed to the other bathroom, I could feel fluid running down my leg. It was definately my water. I felt like crying and wasn't sure if I should call Jake or my Doctor first. I sat on the toilet in the bathroom and sent Jake a text message saying "I think my water broke". I waited 10 minutes and figured he didn't get it and called him. I asked if he got the message and said "Maybe, I was working, I think I heard my phone but I don't know" I told him my water broke and he was like "WHAT!?! Are you joking!?! And you sent me a text message? You need to call me for something like that." He asked if I had called the doctor and I told him no, that I would call her and call him back.

So I called my Doctor's office and told the answering service what was going on and they said they'd let her know and she'd call back. My mother called me then. She asked if I was freaking out and nervous and I told her I felt ok. I wasn't having any contractions and she tried to give me advice about the fluid leaking and what I should put on. My Doctor called back and so I hung up with her.

My Doctor confirmed what I already knew. She said to finish up what I was doing and to come into the hospital in a few hours. She said I'd just have to sit around anyway so I might as well spend the time at home. Since my water was broken I had to go in, but time wasn't an issue yet. Especially since the fluid was clear and I wasn't having any contractions. I called Jake to tell him he didn't need to rush home-but he told me he was in the driveway already. He was a nervous wreck. I told him he needed to calm down.

Jake and I both showered and then I rechecked my hospital bag which I had packed such a long time ago-pulling stuff out and putting new stuff in. Jake was running around like crazy. He was emptying the card from the digital camera, looking for his bathroom stuff, and making sure the camera batteries were charged. I got the dog's stuff ready so we could drop him at my parent's house and I made Jake eat something since he hadn't eaten anything yet.

Finally around 2 we decided to go. We dropped off gifts and the dog to my parents and headed to the hospital. It started pouring rain then. So hard you could barely see. We got to the hospital, parked in the ramp and headed to the 4th floor maternity. We were buzzed in and shown to a room. I was ecstatic that I had a room with a jacuzzi tub for labor. Jake and I had all these preconceived notions and expectations about labor. I was trying to remember all the things we learned in the Childbirth Ed class we took. I was thinking about walking and the yoga ball...and about breathing and visualization. I was starting to feel crampy which told me that contractions were starting.

A nurse came in to take my information and hook me up to the monitors. The baby's heart rate looked good. After all the paperwork and such was filled out-she went to take care of a few things which I was glad about because she wasn't a very warm or friendly person. A midwife who was on staff came in to speak to us and she was so sweet and nice. She told me they wanted to make sure my water had really broken. The nurse who had used the litmus paper strip didn't seem completely convinced even though the paper had changed colors. So-the midwife told me it would be a little painful but she wanted to check. She told me since my water had broken, they wanted to keep exams to a minimum to reduce the chances of infection. So-as soon as she started examining me, there was a big gush and water spilled everywhere. "Is that proof enough?" I asked. The exam was painful and she found me to not be dilated what so ever.

Jake and I were told we could walk around to see if that would get my labor going, otherwise they'd like to start a Pitocin drip. The midwife told me that I should really rest since things were progressing so slowly as I would need my energy later. So we walked around a bit but the space we had to walk was so limiting. We walked past the baby nursery but there were only 2 babies in there and they were far away from the window. We decided to just chill in the room and rest. We turned on the tv and read the newspaper. I was starting to feel the beginnings of contractions but on a scale of 1-10, they were like a 1-2 and equal to menstrual cramps.

At 5 the midwife came in and insisted we start Pitocin. I asked why we needed to rush things along. She explained that they weren't trying to rush me but my water broke at 11am and it was 5 now and I wasn't having any major contractions. She said, if we progressed this slowly all night and then by midnight if my labor actually got started-by the time I needed to push the kid out, I'd be exhausted and the baby would be exhausted-so it was better to move it along so I'd have the energy and strength to do it. We decided to wait one more hour and see.

By 6 I was feeling the contractions more-but they were irregular and inconsistent. The midwife called them "uterine irritations" rather than contractions, but these were hurting. I signed the paperwork to start the Pitocin while Jake argued with me if it was what I really wanted to do. The Pitocin forced me to stay in bed. I didn't want to fight with him in front of the nurse so she started the IV and left and I started crying. There would be no birthing tub, no birthing ball, and the nurse had been so unsympathetic and cold. I couldn't wait for her shift to end. I asked Jake why he had to give me a hard time and make me feel so bad. He told me he was just speaking up and making sure it was what I really wanted. He didn't understand why they wanted to do the Pitocin. He still felt they were trying to rush the baby out.

So I got over the disappointment at not having the birth I imagined. The contractions were really starting to hurt now. I was trying to breathe through them but they were so painful. Jake was so supportive and held my hand and talked to me. I think every time the nurse came in, she upped the Pitocin because they kept getting more and more painful-and finally I got a new nurse. She didn't seem very friendly either. And then the midwife had to leave, her shift was over too. I was sad to see the only nice person go. The pain was starting to get unbearable. I couldn't believe what contractions felt like. They were worse than anything I've ever felt. The nurse checked to see how far dilated I was and told me I was only 2-3cm. When she left I started crying because the pain was so terrible. It was already 7 and I couldn't imagine feeling like this for hours longer. The nurse came back and offered medication. She said she would call my Doctor and ask if it was ok for me to have Nubaine which would help take the edge off.

At 8 she came back with the needle. She injected some into my arm which stung like hell and put the rest in my IV bag. She told me that it would last about 3 hours. After a half an hour I was still in so much pain. I couldn't stand it. Breathing wasn't helping....I tried to visualize and it didn't help....I didn't know what to do. I felt terrible. I have a prety high tolerance for pain, but I just couldn't handle it. I told the nurse I wanted an epidural and she told me she would clear it with my Doctor and request an anesthesiologist.

At 9 o'clock they came back and kicked Jake out. The nurse told him to go wait in the waiting room and that the process would take about 20 minutes. The nurse examined me once again and found I was only 3-4cm dilated. The epidural guy cleaned my back and made marks with a marker and began the process. I was trying to stay still and not move during contractions. Once he finished I was starting to feel numbness in my feet. Especially in my right side over the left. The nurse instructed me to lay down on my left side and Jake came back. The nurse was jerky to him saying, "Who told you to come back?" As time progressed, I could feel less and less pain and I drifted in and out of sleep. I could feel when I had the contractions but they didn't wrack my body with pain like before. I asked Jake if he thought I was awimp for taking the epidural and he told me no-and that I should take advantage of the technology if I needed it. That made me feel better. I didn't want him to think less of me or that I was taking the easy way out.

At 10:30 my Doctor came in. She checked me and said, "Do I have great timing or what?" I was completely dilated. So she said she had some paper work to take care of and she'd be back to check on me. The nurse was suddenly acting so nice to me. I felt like I could feel the contractions a bit more but I breathed through them. At one point my Doctor and the nurse came back and told me that I should be getting the urge to push soon and I should let them know when. We debated on if the baby would be born on the 25th or the 26th. The nurse said we couldn't delay it and had to go with it. Before they had come in, I was feeling a little urge to push, but I was trying to hold out so the baby could have his own birthday-it was 11 pm already so there wasn't too much time left until a new day. By 11:15 the urge to push was too strong though and I was REALLY feeling the contractions. So-the nurse came in and we told her.

So-she got us set up for delivery and instructed me how and when to push. She and Jake pushed back on my feet and I was to grab under my thighs and pull my legs back and push. It was so hard! I was trying to push in my bottom where I needed to, but could feel myself pushing with my face. I am not sure if it was the epidural or me-but I knew I was doing it. I had to push during 3 counts of 10.

Time was passing and I was getting so tired and sweaty. Jake was so good and supportive. He gave me words of encouragement, pushed the hair out of my face, and tried to help me with the oxygen mask in between contractions. A few times though he was too much in my face and it was irritating. I felt bad after snapping at him a few times.

So-I kept pushing. The nurse asked if I wanted a mirror to see-I said no. She told me I was doing great. At one point she had me touch the baby's head. So-we kept pushing and she went to get my Doctor and some nurses. It was so much nicer with just Jake holding my legs and counting. She came back and after a few more pushes she told me to stop. My Doctor came in and so did the other nurses, waiting to clean up the baby. The whole end is a blur. I was exhausted, I barely remember my Doctor saying anything-but remember Jake staring and commenting in awe about the baby coming out. Finally his head cleared and his body just slipped out. Jake cut the cord and they layed him on my chest. His birth time was 12:28 am. He had his own birthday. He seemed so big to me. After rubbing him over, they gave him to the nurses to be suctioned and cleaned while I delivered the placenta which only took like 5 minutes. I had a tiny tear which my Doctor described as barely a "skid mark"-so she gave me a little stitch. Jake started madly snapping pictures and pretty soon they handed me my son, James Matthew.

I have to say that I am in awe of women who can do the whole birth thing naturally with no meds. I really thought I could do it but in the end couldn't handle it. Maybe next time.

I can't believe how much love I have for my son. It is amazing to me how this perfect little thing was in my belly and now in my arms. Sometimes as I gaze at him it brings tears to my eyes. Who knew Jake and I could create something so beautiful.

2 comments:

kelly said...

just reading it brought tears to my eyes. you are such a strong and beautiful woman, dear j. i love you!

Jen to da fuller said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing. I really felt like I was a part of it...such detail. You should save it and read it to James (Jamie as you seem to refer to him) when he's older on his birthday. I'm glad your sister and your son each got to have their own birthday! Don't feel bad about taking the meds. You're in the norm. I too would like to think that I could give birth without meds b/c of my high pain tolerance but only labor/contractions will tell when that time comes. Hey, maybe when we're on our first, you both will be on your 2nd. : )