Wednesday, September 25, 2013

George's Birth

Disclaimer: I'm being pretty thorough in this birthing story, so I remember everything. And I use words like dilated and stripped membranes. If that grosses you out, please don't continue reading :)

On Monday, September 9th, I was 41 weeks pregnant, and exhausted. I woke up feeling defeated, and like I just couldn't hold out anymore. I had my appointment with my midwife (Laurie) at 8am. Thankfully my mom was in town so she watched Henry while I went to my appointment. When my midwife checked me, she told me I was still a 3+ and 80/90% (I had been dilated/effaced for a month by this point). I started crying. She asked what I wanted to do, and she was very sensitive to my plan to have an unmedicated birth. I told her I still wanted to wait (vs getting induced), just to better my odds of having the natural birth that I wanted. She said ok, and scheduled an induction for Thursday. We agreed if he hadn't come by then, we'd just go ahead with the induction.

I pulled myself together and headed down to Labor & Delivery to get my stress test and ultrasound (since I was past my due date). For some reason I thought it would take about 20 minutes. lasted for over an hour in total. They had me hooked up to the monitors and I almost fell asleep in the hospital bed. Then they did the ultrasound to check to make sure there was enough fluid in there. After the ultrasound the nurse went to discuss the results with my midwife. Cue more waiting... When the nurse finally came back (I really was almost completely asleep at this point), she went over everything with me. There were variables in George's heart rate...the way they described it to me was that they knew everything was fine in the moment, but the presence of the variables could mean that something could go wrong. So my midwife recommended that we induce the same day, while we knew he was doing ok--and said there wasn't any reason to wait and we wouldn't want anything negative to happen before Thursday. I agreed and then it hit me that I was going to have a baby. Ahhhh! The phone calls and planning stages commenced.

I ran home before we started anything because I had Henry's carseat. I also grabbed my hospital bag, and stuffed my face with all the Italian bread we had left over from the previous nights dinner. I knew from experience I didn't want to be hungry going into labor, and that those meanies don't give you any food (although I really should have eaten even more than I did!!). Josh was figuring out his truck/work situation so he could leave, and my friend Natalie said she could take Henry (thank you, dear lifesaver!). I headed back to the hospital by myself, and once Henry had been picked up my mom and Josh would come join me.

First I went to my midwifes office (located in the hospital), and it was around 11AM. Laurie stripped my membranes. That was a little glimpse of how uncomfortable this whole natural birthing thing might be ;) After she did this, I had progressed to a 4+. Laurie felt great about the progress, and said that I was going into labor on my own. She said it would be an "augmented labor" vs "induced labor", which made me feel a bit more confident. She sent me down to Labor and Delivery to get all set up, with the instructions that she'd check on me a bit later. I got set up in my room and Josh and my mom joined me shortly. Then it was the waiting game. I had contractions (about 10 minutes apart), but nothing super crazy. They hooked my IV (I had Strep B so I was on antibiotics) on a rolling thingy so I could walk laps around the wing. It was a small wing, so all the nurses became pretty familiar with my beautiful face ;) I was lucky to have an amazing nurse, we'll call her K. She was funny, down to earth, supportive, and all around awesome. Which helped a lot.

off for a stroll!

After waiting around for things to happen for a couple hours, Laurie came in to check on me around 1PM. I was still a 4+ and my contractions hadn't picked up that much, so she decided to strip my membranes again and break my water. That was lovely....more discomfort, but nothing too terrible. After that I was a 5, and contractions started picking up a bit. I was using my hypnobirthing breathing, and everything was going pretty well. The contractions were uncomfortable, but manageable. Around 3PM or so (I think, but wasn't really keeping track), they checked me again and I was a 6. At 4PM they checked again and I was a 6+. I decided I wanted to try and hang out in the tub for a bit (all the labor rooms had jetted tubs in the bathroom). By 4:20 they had decided to start me on 1 milli-unit of Pitocin. Allegedly that dose is almost nothing, but they thought it might be enough to tell my body to get a move on. And let's just say my body got the message. Right after that the contractions were closer together, and getting stronger with every one. Being in the jetted tub was kind of helpful, at least in the fact that it was a tiny bit distracting. And sometimes the jets helped with the pain. Because at this point, the "discomfort" had elevated to pain. I was trying my hardest to focus on my breathing during every contraction, and occasionally remembered to tell myself I'm strong like a tiger and I can handle it.

My nurse, K, checked me one time in the tub and I was still a 6+, but she thought I was going up to an 8 during contractions. The baby would just need to move down a bit more for it to stay an 8. Right around 5PM she asked if I wanted to be checked again. Contractions were pretty intense by this point and I just shook my head and she said she'd wait for a little bit. One more contraction happened, and it was the worst yet. I kind of started hyperventilating and K talked me through it and told me to go to my happy place. In my head I was going "I'm a tiger! I was made for this! I'm a tiger!" hahaha (whatever works, right?). The next contraction came almost immediately afterwards and all of a sudden I felt the baby coming out. This is when I temporarily LOST. MY. MIND. It's a little hazy but I remember yelling and saying the baby was coming out. K was like "right now?!" and I was yelling "YES! HE'S COMING! AHHHH!!!"

Now...I was still in the tub at this point. And at this hospital it's against regulations to have water births (and to be honest, I didn't want to have one either). So that was a bit of a problem. K was telling me not to push, and was frantically trying to pull the drain while simultaneously trying to get help. I kept yelling...I just kept saying that the baby was coming, I was pushing and couldn't help it, and I couldn't get out of the tub. K sent Josh to the nurses station to get help, and soon there were two nurses telling me I needed to get out of the tub. All the while I kept yelling I couldn't get out. The nurses ended up pulling/helping me out of the tub, and somehow making it to the hospital bed. I have no idea how they did it, because I legitimately thought I would be giving birth in that tub.

In the midst of all this chaos, Laurie came running in, and asked me if I wanted to birth standing up or laying on the bed. I said (ok...I may have yelled it...oops) on the bed because there was no way I could stand up. So that was that. I was on the bed on my back, and the baby was on his way out. Laurie knew I wanted to "breath the baby down" (vs holding your breath and pushing), so she coached me along and let me do my thing. Which was a mixture of yelling and breathing. Haha. I definitely failed the hypnobirthing method in terms of how much noise I was making--in hypnobirthing they tell you that you don't need to make noise, you just need to relax and focus on your breathing, etc. I honestly tried to be quiet, and it was not happening. I even apologized a few times (in between contractions) for yelling, and finally Laurie said "If you apologize one more time I'm going to be mad at you!!!" I also still had my wet tank top and bra on from being in the tub, so while all this was going on, people were also trying to help me take them off so I wouldn't be all wet when George came out (to do skin-to-skin). This might be TMI (what about birth isn't, really? haha), but I remember Laurie telling Josh to take my bra off, because he should be able to do it easily. He was at a weird angle though and one of the clasps was giving him trouble, and it was pretty funny. I think I might have even laughed mid-contraction.

I don't think I did so great at the breathing him down technique, although Laurie and the nurses said I did. I say this because there was no way I could prevent my body from pushing. After a little bit, Laurie told me they could see his head, and to keep going. Around this time George's heart rate started to drop. Laurie calmly told me that I needed to get this baby out, because the cord was around his neck and he could be in trouble if we took too long. She said I had a minute or two if I wanted to keep doing what I was doing (breathing/yelling/sort of pushing?), but that I should just try and push my hardest so he could get out. I agreed. Someone (Laurie? K?) told me it would hurt worse than anything I've ever felt before, but to keep going and pushing harder where I felt the pain. The next contraction came and I pushed as hard as I could. They told me to look down and see my baby, to help me push harder. All I could see over my belly was a little tuft of hair and I exclaimed "he has hair!! I see it!" They laughed and said "Yes, good, now push him out!!! Push harder than you ever have, this will be the last time you need to push--just get him out!" So I pushed like a crazy person and yelled "Come on George!" and FINALLY his head came out and they unwrapped the cord from around his neck. I said "OH MY GOSH THAT FEELS SO MUCH BETTER!" because seriously, it did. I barely even felt the shoulders, the rest was easy as pie and he came right on out. I remember saying "I did it...I had a baby...!"  I had a moment where I just felt so immensely proud of myself for being able to do it [unmedicated], and was kind of in awe. George was born at 5:32PM!!! And it was amazing :)

After making sure George was alright, they put him on my chest to do skin-to-skin. I love that moment when they first put the baby on you. It just feels so magical. Then they did all the after stuff... the placenta came out easily and they pushed my abdomen and all that [not very] fun stuff. Because they knew that I hemorrhaged after Henry's delivery, they were very attentive to that and stayed on top of the bleeding.

I feel kind of obligated to say something about the pain of childbirth... Because in hypnobirthing they say you don't feel pain. You feel "pressure" and "discomfort", or some bologna like that. There was pain. To be completely honest (and graphic, sorry) it felt like everything in that region was covered in hemorrhoids, and they all exploded. That's my personal experience, but I got through it and it was totally fine. It didn't hurt like that the entire time, just when I was trying to push his head out. In hindsight I am glad I took the hypnobirthing class, because I do think it helped me to handle the contractions better.

we did it!!! and he looks just like Henry!

George and Grammy

I held him for about an hour and then they did all the stats, etc

look at all that hair!!
George Douglas was born at 5:32PM, weighed 8lbs 5oz, and was 20 inches long. He was born with lots of brown hair, and looked like Henry's twin (with darker/more hair). Josh and my mom were there the whole time, and were a wonderful support system. I am so happy they were both able to be there. ♥ Welcome to the world, George!!

Sorry that story was such a novel, but I wanted to write it all down so I can remember it. Plus I know some people are really interested in birth stories, so there you have it ;) I'll write about the rest of our stay in the hospital in another post.


Darci Gardner said...

I freaking love birth stories. And you. And that baby. And that picture of George and your mom. And epidurals. Yup I said it.

l i z said...

Wooo Hooo! that first pic of you holding him says it all! you ARE a tiger!!

so glad you went to the effort to include all the details (and you will be, too). birth isn't always painful for everyone, but i can certainly tell you that of three unmediated births, the last two were pretty freaking painful. it was hard dealing with the truth of it at first when number one was so smooth. but number two and three were either posterior or came out with a hand next to their head!

seems to me like George just needed to get into the right position...hence the whole "what the?! this baby is coming out!" freak-out moment. happened with both Maisie and Remy. there was no "breathing the baby down and out" with those two, ha ha!

Jess, i am so proud of how strong of a woman you are! and not so much because you did it naturally...i personally think most of us can do that. but b/c you BELIEVED in yourself and didn't settle for less! that's the trick; wanting it bad enough.

it takes courage to find your inner tiger.

Liv said...

This is wonderful; I'm so glad you got to have a birth experience that was so positive for you! Those two boys are so fortunate to have you as their mother.

Alison + Brandon said...

Omigosh! So I am horrible about reading people's blogs and apparently it's been longer than I thought, because I didn't even know you guys were expecting another baby...Congrats! You are awesome. I did a natural birth, and you are right, it definitely hurts!