Birth Stories: Brittany
To help fill in posts while I recover and adjust to life with a newborn AND a toddler I have some friends who have agreed to share their birth stories. Today is Brittany who blogs (not nearly often enough) at Germama – although she’s been doing so well the last few days! My Google Reader rejoices! Fair warning: it’s a birth story so it’s rated at least PG-13.
Birth Story – Two Weeks Later
Originally posted on August 12, 2009 by Brittany
Much to my surprise, baby decided to evacuate the womb two weeks early. At 3:45 am on July 29, during my 37th week of pregnancy, I woke up and felt… moist. I had the foresight to jump out of bed before the deluge hit. As soon as I was on my feet, my water gushed out, soaking my shorts and running down my legs. I scurried into the bathroom to try to drain into the toilet, which seemed like the proper thing to do, and was really shocked at there being blood in the water. I know now that it’s normal, but it kind of freaked me out at the time. Once I got reasonably cleaned up, I woke up Ralf and told him my water had broken. I’ve never seen the man wake up so fast!
I called Labor and Delivery to ask about the bleeding. They said it was normal, and that if my water had broken we were welcome to come in anytime to get checked out. Because of our plan to go natural, I had originally wanted to stay home as long as possible to labor in a familiar place. But because this was my first baby, I started feeling really nervous and just felt like I needed to be at the hospital where I could know everything was ok. I was only having mild contractions at that point, so Ralf and I both took showers and he started gathering up everything we still needed to pack and get ready for the hospital. I scarfed down a cereal bar because I knew they weren’t going to let me eat once we got there. At this point I was under the impression that today was the day and I’d be able to eat more once she was born. Ugh.
At the hospital, they took us to a room where a nurse ran a test to make sure my water had actually broken. The Niagara Falls from my vag that happened earlier really left me with little doubt, but they wanted to check. Remarkably, that test was positive. Then she attempted to check my cervix and couldn’t even find it. Not cool. She called in reinforcements – another nurse came to check me and found that I was 1 cm. Basically, I was nowhere yet. However, since my water was broken they would not let us go home. Damn. So, we got moved into our actual room and got settled in. I would be in this room for a long, long time.
I was having mild contractions that were around 5-7 minutes apart. They needed to be 2-3 minutes apart to really be considered progress. Since we were going natural, the doctor was going to give us 24 hours to get to that point before augmenting labor with Pitocin. I was trying different positions, rocking around on a birth ball, and nipple stimulation. Yes, I was sitting in a hospital room while my husband tweaked my nipples for hours. Amazingly, this actually did make the contractions come stronger and closer. Unfortunately, it didn’t sustain anything and wasn’t really creating any progress. Around 11:00 pm or so, after about 20 hours, I had my cervix checked for the first time since we got to the hospital. 2 cm. TWO. After 20 hours. Balls. I decided to go ahead and start the Pitocin. I knew it would make the contractions more intense, but I was going to be in labor FOREVER if I didn’t help things along.
I had an IV port in my left wrist so the nurse connected up the Pitocin. Right after that, I started getting this huge bulge in my wrist. I asked her if that was supposed to happen. Uhhh, nope! My port had clotted off. So, she had to start a new IV on my right hand. Thankfully that one worked fine. The Pitocin definitely made the contractions stronger. I was using my Hypnobabies techniques to relax through them, and Ralf was right there by my side using the relaxation words and helping me through each one. Unfortunately, they had to keep upping the dosage to get the contractions to the 2-3 minutes apart point. With that much Pitocin in me, by the middle of the night the contractions were so intensely strong that I was becoming unable to relax through them. I was having horribly painful back labor and was having to whine and moan through the contractions instead of relaxing. A few times the pain was so immense that I was throwing up. Everything I’d read said that throwing up was a good sign because it meant you were in transition – around 7 cm and the baby was starting to move down. So I assumed I was in transition.
By 6:00 am or so, I was exhausted and in so much pain. I asked to have my progress checked so I could assess the situation. The nurse checked me and told me I was 4.5 cm. ARE YOU SHITTING ME?! 27 hours of labor, 7 hours on Pitocin, and I was still only 4.5 cm. That was really the last straw for me. I knew I needed to get some rest if I was ever going to have enough energy to push the baby out, if I ever got to 10 freaking centimeters. I knew I needed an epidural. Going natural was my goal, but at this point it was just not in the cards. I would have rather gotten the epidural than suffered through more hours of intense pain, because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to push her out and I would end up needing a C Section. On the other hand, Ralf was terrified of the epidural and was worried that it would cause me to need a C Section. We discussed it and ultimately decided on the epidural.
I had to wait almost an hour and a half for the anesthesiologist to show up and put in the epidural. I was never so happy to see a small bald man (well, except for when I met Michael Stipe). He got everything put in and set up. I honestly didn’t feel a thing he was doing, despite knowing he was inserting a huge needle in my spine. I was just so happy to be receiving relief. It kicked in after maybe half an hour, and I was mercifully able to sleep for about two hours. A little while after I woke up, I was checked and found to be 7 cm. I visited with my mom and sister for a while. I was STARVED by that point since I had only eaten a cereal bar about 30 hours earlier. I remember eating some red and orange Jello, and had attempted to drink some of the hospital’s chicken broth, but it was super nasty.
At 3:00 pm I was finally 10 cm and was allowed to start pushing. At first they just let me do it on my own time, but I wasn’t really feeling the contractions so it was slow going. After a while, the epidural started wearing off so I was able to feel the pressure of her coming out, and the doctor came in and told me how to push more effectively, so things started speeding up. Eventually he came back in with a bunch of nurses, but I wasn’t really aware of what was going on because I had my eyes closed and was focusing on the pressure and getting her out. Soon, the doctor was down in my business with his hands, moving her head around and helping her to come out. Let me just say, that was incredibly unpleasant. Then he was telling me to push and breathe and push some more. At one point he said breathe and I assumed I should push again, but he ended up saying, “No, no, just breathe!” and I think that may have contributed to the sizable tear I ended up with. Ouch. But anyway, he soon said the head was out. I had to push some more to get her shoulders out, and at that point I was seriously growling like a demon. My sister was filming so I have evidence of this! Then, the doctor told me to look down and see my baby coming out.
That… that was crazy. There was this little person coming out of me; this slimy, writhing little thing was being extracted from my loins! It was bizarre and amazing and crazy. Then the doctor pulled her out and put her on my belly. I was DONE! Or so I thought… While Ralf and I marveled at this little creature we created, the doctor was down there extracting the placenta and repairing the damage. Ohh, was he ever not gentle. I was trying to just focus on my new baby, but all my feeling was back down there and he was stitching and blotting and OUCH. It hurt. On top of that, I was going into convulsions. Yeah, apparently that happens after you give birth. But eventually, finally, the doctor finished up, I was cleaned up and given my diaper-sized absorbent pad (oh, the glamorous aftermath of giving birth) and that was it. They had her weighed and measured and poked and whatever else, and
then we were alone. We had a BABY! Oh dear Jeebus.
SO… after 38 hours of labor… Rory Michelle was born at 5:26 pm on July 30. She was 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and 20 inches long. Her Apgar scores were 9 and 9, and she was a perfect little baby with all her parts. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to have her naturally, but it was ultimately the best decision for us. Luckily, I didn’t have any of the side-effects of the epidural and everything went smoothly. All of the doctors that came to see her told us how round her head was for being born vaginally, and how pink she was. One doctor called her a Gerber baby. Hooray, my baby has a round head and isn’t ugly and wrinkly like most newborns!
We have been at home for 11 days and are starting to get into the swing of things. Sometimes it hits me that we are responsible for this thing and have to raise her and keep her alive and the weight of that is sometimes immense. But hey, every day is another day we’ve kept her alive, so that’s a success to me. I hope you enjoyed this epic length story. I’m sure there will be many stories to come, most likely about how we’ve been pooped on.