Sunday, September 25, 2011
Heaven on Earth: Part II
Okay, so I left off at the "plan" of natural labor induction methods I had researched.
(Read "Heaven on Earth Part I" of my birth story if you haven't read it or need a refresher)
So, I think it is safe to say I had PREPARED for this birth. I felt very optimistic that the plan would work, IF my body was ready. My midwife and doctor had approved of me starting this plan at home 8 hours before my scheduled induction. I had the castor oil and blue cohosh purchased (and the orange juice concentrate and grape juice to hide the taste with of both), the breast pump rented and a detailed, hour-by-hour plan thought out. I would also go in the day before to check my cervix and see if it was even ripe enough to try these things at home. And the midwife would also strip my membranes.
Okay, so there's the not-so-basic background to set the stage for the actual birth. I know it's a lot of background...but trust me...it is necessary to fully appreciate this birth story.
So Monday morning I went to get checked. I was dilated to 2 1/2 cm, was about 50% effaced and the cervix was in the "mid" position (posterior means not ready, mid is almost ready, anterior is definitely ready) which made me very happy! The midwife started to strip my membranes and said, "Wow, I just stretched you to 3 cm! It might not stay a 3 though." She WENT TO TOWN stripping those membranes for about 5 minutes! Can't say it was a comfortable experience but it wasn't that big of a deal either. She got some "bloody show" from doing the stripping (HEY: if you want a birth story...you're gonna get a birth story...bloody show and all!) . The midwife offered to strip them again that evening at 6:00 pm and I accepted the offer!
I left the midwives office feeling menstrual cramp-y, which is normal, and headed to the chiropractors office for a pre-labor adjustment. I did this before Mr. SweetSweet's birth and think it was helpful in getting all the bones involved in birthing in alignment. Plus, it just feels nice! I also opted to get the 15 minute massage, which was HEAVENLY, as I was still feeling pretty crampy. The massage therapist pushed on my tail bone and hip bones and it did WONDERS in relieving the cramping!
After my adjustment I wonder if I should skip my injection of Lovenox for the morning, with all the cramping going on. My doc told me that it I felt like I might go into labor and it was near the time of one of my doses, I should just skip it. The closer the time of delivery is to your last dose of Lovenox, the higher your chance of bleeding out. So I called Jonathan to run it by him and decide to skip the injection.
I also wanted to check off a few other errands that morning: hair cut (overdue by 8 MONTHS!!), pedicure, lunch, Walmart. I hadn't made an appointment for the hair or nails so I just kept an eye out for some places on my way to the chiropractor. Low and behold, there was a hair place right next to the chiropractors office! I went in before my adjustment, asked if they took walk-ins, and scheduled a haircut for about an hour later, PERFECT! I love getting my haircut. I could fall asleep. :)
So I walk out of the hair place and am wondering where I am going to get the pedicure. I look back at the shopping center and....LOW AND BEHOLD...there is a nail place two doors down! Yahoo! So my toenails got pretty. That's a pre-baby tradition for me. :)
I walk out of the nail salon HUNGRY and....LOW AND BEHOLD....there is an authentic Mexican food resturant, right next door! Heck yes! I order a combination plate but am not able to get through much of it. My cramping is feeling more...crampy...more often. I get a to-go box and wonder if I should still stop at Walmart.
I decide, YES. Mr. Squish desperately needs Pull-ups, Miss Priss needs a present for her friends party on Friday, etc. So to Walmart I go. It is hard for me to walk, just because I feel so much pressure in my nether regions, plus I'm just tried. So I hobble my way through my Walmart trip.
When I get home, around 2:00 pm, I know I NEED a nap. So I try for a nap and listen to my "Fear Clearing" hypnosis script, which just helps you eliminate any specific fears you have surrounding your birth. I didn't get much sleep, though, during that hour of rest. I noticed I was having contractions probably 10 minutes apart. I took a shower and decided it would probably be a good idea to finish packing my hospital bag.
By the time 5:30 pm rolls around we are seriously wondering what the evening has in store for us! My contractions are getting a little more regular and stronger. We decide to go to the midwife's office, anyway, since she'd be able to check my progress, in addition to stripping the membranes again. We call our wonderful friend and neighbor, Rachel, and ask if we can drop our kids off. She is awesome and takes them for us.
I had about 3 contractions on the 15 minute drive to the midwife's office. Fairly strong. At the midwife's she is surprised to discover I am dilated to 4 1/2 cm, 70% effaced. She goes to town again with her stripping (more uncomfortable this time).
On the way home I remember thinking, as I was having quite a few strong contractions, "Oh man! I don't want to have to drive home and then drive back again if I'm feeling like this already!" But we did get home, I tried to "rest" again and started actually timing contractions using this nifty website and Jonathan picked up the kids and put them to bed (by the way, he is the MASTER of getting the kids ready for bed in record time!).
By the end of my hour long "rest" time (aka trying to focus on listening to my "Easy First Stage" birthing script, draping myself over the birthing ball, going pee, rocking on my hands and knees, etc.) I knew that my contractions were 5-7 minutes apart and IT WAS TIME to go!! Jonathan called Rachel again to come sit with our kids and I hobbled to the car and waited with my seat reclined for her to get there so we could GO! This was around 7:30 pm.
If you asked Jonathan what our car ride to the hospital was like...he would say something like, "She was making me NERVOUS!" In the car I discovered a trick that distracted me from the contractions and this distraction came in the form of a low, long and LOUD "Ahhhh" sound through the duration of each contraction. It was really helpful and I didn't care how it sounded at the time. IT WORKED. Plus, I had read in an excellent book on birthing by a world renowned midwife that whatever is happening at your top "end" (your mouth and throat) is happening at your bottom end (you don't need words to know what this means). Meaning if your jaw and throat are relaxed and open your bottom will be relaxed and open and vice versa. So I was RELAXED and OPEN!
But I understand why Jonathan was nervous, since I probably only had a minute or so break between each "Ahhhh" contraction on the 20 minute drive to the hospital. Plus, I was feeling LOTS of pressure down there and wondered if the baby's head was already in the birth canal!! (But I kept this to myself, which, when Jonathan learned this, he was grateful I had kept to myself.)
I knew I wouldn't be able to walk up to L&D so Jonathan brought the car around the front, very calmly walked in, told the front desk lady he "thought his wife was in labor" and was quickly shown where the wheelchairs were. We set off for L&D triage. I was NOT very happy at the triage lady who MADE me change into a hospital gown!! I had purposefully worn a skirt so I wouldn't have to change...but whatever...I changed uncomfortably in the bathroom and hobbled to my triage bed.
I was checked and was dilated to 6 1/2 cm. WOW! We quickly let them know I was Group B Strep positive so they could get my antibiotics going. They had to stick me three times before they could set an IV. Meanwhile, I was sitting with my legs in the "butterfly" position and "Ahhhhh-ing" my way through each contraction, while also listening to my "Easy First Stage Birthing Guide" with my headphones on my mp3 player. I told them I would like a room with a birthing tub, like I was able to have with Mr. SweetSweet's birth, but was informed that they were SUPER busy (it was a full moon and the nurses SWEAR full moon's bring out the baby's!!) and all of their tub rooms were taken. BUMMER!!! I had really looked forward to using a tub again.
It was quite apparent they were busy because we waited in triage for 1 1/2 hours before a room was ready for us! By that time I was hardly getting a break between each contraction and was DESPERATE to be able to get off the IV and monitor so I could MOVE into positions that were more comfortable!! Jonathan was my ROCK through each contraction, holding onto my forehead as I tried to lean forward and relax as much as possible into each contraction. He said he was sore from having to do that for 1 1/2 hours. Bless his heart! :)
Finally a room was ready for me! As I am being wheeled to my room I remembered another "tip" I had read from the childbirth book: if you laugh and smile through contractions it releases endorphins, which are your body's natural pain killers. So, I shamelessly started trying to laugh and smile through each contraction!
WOOHOO! Wouldn't it have been great to get that on camera?!! Me, sitting in the butterfly position, with headphones on, laughing (which probably sounded pretty creepy), while being wheeled on a bed through the halls. But I am sure L&D has SEEN IT ALL.
So we get to the room and I quickly move onto the bed and, kneeling, I drape myself over the back of the raised head of the bed. I felt soooo much relief in this position!! I was able to just let my belly relax forward and do it's work and I could relax more completely the rest of my body. It was probably after about 5 minutes that, through a contraction, I felt a tiny urge to push. The next contraction came soon after that with a POWERFUL urge to push that I could not fight! And through that contraction my water BURST open onto the bed! I hadn't realized my water hadn't broken yet! Another powerful contraction or two and.....OUR BABY GIRL WAS BORN!! I love the pushing contractions. They are so powerful and overwhelming. They don't hurt to me and they feel SO good to push through. And supposedly, when you push out the placenta, you will never feel a greater surge in your oxytocin levels, which is quite a euphoric feeling!
And now the story has come full circle, from my first post, where Jonathan discovers that we have a new DAUGHTER!
**Post labor thoughts: I still credit my Hypnobabies "training" to this being a fast, relatively easy birth. I didn't tear again, which was AWESOME! So I know that I was able to relax more than if I hadn't learned the Hypnobabies techniques.
BUT, this birth was NOT as comfortable to get through as Mr. SweetSweet's birth and I know why: I wasn't able to follow my body's natural urges to change position, in order to give myself relief!! And why was that? Because I was strapped to a monitor and an IV through all of my hard labor, things I wanted to avoid in the first place. But I don't think it could have been avoided this time, just with how all the timing worked out. I was only in active labor for 4-5 hours, and I needed to at least TRY to get those IV antibiotics in me, so it was necessary. But I made it through and it was still manageable, thanks to the relaxation I had practiced and the self educating I had done.
And I actually don't mind feeling the full power of birth. I feel it just makes my emotions AFTER the birth that much more powerful, just because of what I have gone through to get my baby there. You know, the whole "tasting the bitter to prize the sweet." Quite literal in birthing without medication. I am glad, however, that I get a couple years of a "break" before I go through it again. Because as wonderful and powerful of an experience as it is...I wouldn't want to do it every day. :)
One HUGE tender mercy I feel I was given for this labor was one I didn't realize until the next day: I had taken my last dose of Lovenox at approximately 10:00 pm the evening before she was born. I had skipped the 10:00 am dose that morning. She was born at 10:02 pm, exactly 24 hours after my last dose!! That had been the whole goal of inducing me early and...it had still happened! I feel that Heavenly Father had helped me in having an almost intervention-free birth, while still having the Lovenox safely out of my system, both things which were important to me.
Funny that my actual "birth story" could have been really short, compared to what I've just put you all through. But, like I said, I feel you can't fully appreciate and see the irony of what actually happened unless you know everything leading up to it.
So, now you know "the rest of the story."