11.12.2013

My "Natural" Labor & Delivery

Disclaimer: I did not get too graphic with the story, but it may not be something you want to read. 

Where do I even begin? Five days postpartum and I am finally feeling up to writing about the day our daughter entered the world (this post has taken FOREVER to write and publish)! Hopefully I will not forget too many details - maybe that will be good if you are reading this and have no idea about child birth. I would not want to traumatize anyone!

Baby E graced us with her presence on Friday, October 25th, but I'll start at the beginning of that week. Early Sunday morning I began to lose the mucous plug. One of my due dates (the one from my second doctor) had her arriving on Monday, October 21 so it seemed like things were moving along. Monday came and went without a baby. On Tuesday I had my weekly doctor's appointment, but had not dilated anymore than the 1 cm the week before. For Wednesday and Thursday I was able to work from home because it was our staff retreat. Staff retreat is held at one of our camps and as you can imagine, I was heartbroken not to be attending since I love the outdoors (insert sarcasm). I was also convinced that I would be having the baby that Wednesday. Wednesday came and went with no sign of labor starting.

Early Thursday morning I awoke to contractions and experienced what is called "the bloody show." I started timing the contractions and tried to rest before calling the doctor's office when they opened. J went to work, but came home early morning to accompany me to the doctor where we discovered that I still had not dilated past 1 cm. We were sent home with instructions to walk and we could go to hospital when the pain was so bad that I could not walk or talk. The rest of the day was spent in pain and trying to relax (I think I was able to nap for an hour). We went to bed that evening and I tried to sleep, but with no pain relief and strong contractions it was useless. However, I was still able to talk and walk around so I did not want to go to the hospital and be sent home for not progressing. Around 2 AM I finally decided to shower and wake up J because I was tired of being in pain and thought that if I was sent home at least I could ask for an ambien so I could try to get some sleep before delivering. I was terrified of having very little sleep for two days and having to deliver a baby.

J packed up the car and we headed to the hospital. Much to my surprise, we discovered that I was dilated to 6 CM - Yup, I had labored naturally at home up to 6 CM (you push around 10). I was relieved because that meant we could stay at the hospital and I was totally impressed because I have little tolerance for pain. We completed some paperwork and headed to our labor and deliver room. In the room I was hooked up to some machine to monitor the contractions/baby activity. The first nurse had me wear an oxygen mask - the baby was okay, but "not as active as she would like to see". The on call doctor (she happened to be the only doctor in my OB/GYN practice who I did not meet) arrived and I had dilated to 8 CM. Keep in mind, I still had not received any pain medication. The doctor started feeling on my stomach for the baby and announced that she thought the baby could be around 9 lbs. HA! Excellent news to hear before delivery. Especially since I had yet to get any pain relief! Around 35 weeks our baby was predicted to be around 7 lbs, but no ultra sound or doctor can give you an exact weight until the baby arrives. The doctor began to play out different scenarios about if the baby was that big and if her shoulders get stuck on the way out....Basically thinking of the worst case scenarios which freaked out J, but as the doctor said, it was "her job to be prepared for the worst case scenarios."Yes it is. I do not need the doctor freaking out during labor.

The anesthesiologist arrived and I finally received my epidural at 8 CM dilated. It somewhat helped relieve the back pain and the pain of contractions around my stomach. At this point we were told to prepare to deliver (if everything progressed) in the next hour. It was around 5 AM so J called my parents who needed to board the dog before heading our way. A midwife came in to break my water and that is when we discovered that I needed more pain medication. Apparently for the dilation checks and the water breaking I was told that I would feel pressure, but should not feel anything else. Low and behold I could feel it all. I had such bad pain in my hips, side and back. The doctor had the nurse call the anesthesiologist back to check the epidural and administer more medicine. 

During this whole process, there was a natural childbirth going on next door. Talk about traumatizing. The screaming and noises that J, myself, nurse and doctor could hear were unnerving. There was also some crazy screaming in the hallway going on. We think a poor nurse was getting yelled at by one of the ladies in labor. 

After getting more medicine for the epidural my dilation stalled and I was stuck at 8 CM. Anyone who knows me is aware that I did not want pitocin unless absolutely necessary. After two hours and zero progress, we agreed to start some pitocin. Sigh. I hated the thought of trying to "jump start" a natural process, but it worked. Finally, I we were able to push. It took me a few attempts before I actually got the hang of a successful push. I'd push 3 times each for 10 seconds. My adorable husband could not watch (we knew this going into it - I also did not want him down in that area) so he sat by my head feeding me ice chips and apparently managing the text messages that were coming in from the lucky few who knew we were at the hospital. I pushed for about an hour and a half. Miserable. Aside from being able to feel it all, the worst part was that my legs were cramping from the position I was in so between pushes I had to bring my legs down.

Baby E arrived on October 25, 2013 at 11:57 AM weighing 8 lbs 3 oz and was 20.5" long. She had a large head (so we were told - 34.5 cm) with some lovely brown hair. They placed her on my chest and I remember saying "Hi baby! I don't know what to do with her.....Why is she blue?" Still a magical moment for us, but that's definitely when I thought "I have no idea what I am doing." They got her to cry and starting sucking out all the things that needed to be cleared out. I was able to have her on my chest for a few minutes before they took her to clean and warm up her little body. Her first APGAR score was an 8 and the second one was a 9. We are so blessed that she is a healthy baby!

They put her on my chest briefly then took her to be cleaned up and checked over. Daddy J did watch the doctor pull her out, cut the cord and did not faint. While Baby E was being attended to, I was still being worked on. My feet were in the stirrups and I wanted to die. Actually, I am not sure what I wanted to do. I think my body was going through shock over the trauma of labor and delivery. I felt SO weird. After trying to hold Baby E for a few minutes I had J take her because my body felt so unreliable (weird description I know). My legs were still cramping from being in the stirrups, but I had to hold the pose while the midwife and doctor stitched me up. Cheers for stitches from a natural second degree tear! I asked if they could numb the area because I could feel them working on me which is when the doctor realized the nurses had moved my "push button" for the epidural and it had not been given it back to me. J started pushing that button like crazy, but I'm pretty sure it was too late or maybe that is why my body started feeling all weird. I felt like I had zero control over my movements and that my body would start twitching or shaking if I moved - not sure if this actually happened, but this is what I felt was happening.

The nurses and doctors finally finished and we were left with a baby. Thankfully I was given percocets that worked fantastically - finally some pain relief! J went to grab my parents so they could meet the baby and discover her name. From the hospital we were able to facetime with my sister and BIL in Germany and J went to call his family. I also called and facetimed with a few of our friends and my DJ came by to see us and bring a lovely gift of whiskey and champagne. The hospital was quite busy with deliveries so we had to stay in our labor and delivery room for a while until a postpartum room was available. 

We had hardly told anyone that we were in labor and I am SO glad that we were able to have that time to ourselves. I have no idea if my epidural worked because someone asked me how long it took to get the feeling back in my legs and my response was "um I always had feeling in my legs." Are you only supposed to feel pressure with an epidural or do you feel the pain? Did I get it too late? Maybe I had the "natural" delivery I never wanted! I was super impressed that I lasted as long as I did without medication and no sleep, but next time I may try to get to the hospital a bit earlier. Looking back I have decided that my labor was like 80% natural and lasted 32 hours - it makes me sound tough. 

On Sunday we were discharged and sent home with our gorgeous little girl. It still does not feel real to me. Like I have a baby. I am a mom. But don't you worry your pretty little head Baby E - because I'm not a regular mom. I'm a cool mom!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your story, Adrienne!! Awesome to read about somebody else's experience. It is pretty surreal going through it, isn't it? Mine was similar to yours in some ways, though I didn't get to labor at home at all because I had to be induced (I was a week late and still not starting labor!)... But about the epidural, yeah, you're not supposed to feel much of anything. I definitely could not feel my legs. I started being able to feel more pain and pressure once I was pushing because they backed off the medicine a little (I think they do that to help you push), but up until then I was blissfully numb :) I made it 14 hours or so of labor at the hospital before asking for an epidural, although I was dilating so slowly I think I was only at 6 at that point. Anyway, thanks again for sharing, and I am so glad you have your beautiful baby girl!! I love birth stories-- they're all so unique :)

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