A fellow blogger of mine has made her topic of the month "Birth" and I thought I would share my birth stories. One was fairly traumatic, stressed, and horrible. The other peaceful, relaxed, and perfect. I'm sad it took me going through what I did to make better choices for the future, but they do say you must learn from your past right?
When I was pregnant with X-man I had told my OB I wanted a drug free birth, I didn't want to even be offered an epidural. It all went wrong when I finally went into labor at 40 weeks 6 days. I spent the evening thinking I just had an upset stomach but when the pains finally became consistent it went from nothing to contractions every 3-5 minutes. I woke my grandparents whom I was living with at the time, and told them it was time. Big Daddy sat there with me on the bed as my Grandma called the hospital as it was pretty late at night.
We left home for the five minute drive to the hospital where they plopped me in a wheel chair and nearly ran me from the E.R. to Labor and Delivery. When I got there the results were somewhat disappointing, I was only around 3-4 cm dilated. The nurse left me to do my thing, climb in the tub or shower and went to call the on call doctor who told them to just let me stay, they weren't busy anyways. I later learned this was my first mistake. Going to the hospital so early in labor, and then staying even though I didn't need to.
In the early morning I felt sick after sitting in the hot bath tub for so long and threw up. Instantly the nurse put me in bed and took my temperature. I had a low fever apparently which meant I now I had to stay in bed and have IV abx. Again I did what they said because I didn't know any better. By nine am my O.B. came in to check me and I hadn't progressed much, maybe to 6cm I don't really remember but she ordered pitocin. By mid afternoon my family was all there, the room was packed with people and I was shaking from the pain, the pitocin had been raised numerous times and without even asking me an epidural was ordered. I was so ready for relief, I probably would have asked for it anyways. My doctor came in before the epidural and tried to break my water, a few times being unsuccessful each time she finally declared X-mans head must have been 'sealing' off the exit.
I had my epidural and they raised the pit a few more times. My epidural wore off and I started shaking again, they came in and replaced my epidural after raising the dosage a few times. My family slowly started trickling out, going home or to the waiting room and finally it was nearly time to push. Left in the room were my grandmothers, my mom, Big Daddy, and one of my best friends Sarah. A doctor I hadn't actually met though I'd seen most at my ob's practice came in to deliver. She was far from friendly and as I was pushing more than once a nurse would rush in and state "The patient in room XXX is ready to push how much longer in here?" I wasn't pushing fast enough so they decided to use the vacuum assist. We later learned it caused a huge pool of blood between the skin and the skull. How did we learn this? When our doctor thoguht X-mans skull had fused shut and sent us immediately to Childrens Hospital in Seattle for skull X-rays at his 6 wk check-up. After a few minutes of pushing the NICU staff arrived, apparently because my water never broke it as hospital policy to have the NICU staff present. The moment my beautiful boy was born he was whisked away to the warming table because he was covered in merconium.
Then everything went wrong, so very very wrong. He wasn't crying anymore. What had happened? Why couldn't I hold him? It was mere minutes but it felt like a life time and next thing I knew the NICU doctor was giving orders and they were preparing to take my baby away, I hadn't even touched him yet and they were going to take him away. I told Big Daddy to stay with him, everyone filed out of my room, doctors, nurses, family, going to see what was wrong. Sarah ran to take a picture with her cell phone then came back to stay with me. Suddenly it was so quiet, the room empty and I had no idea what was going on. I couldn't feel my legs I couldn't see, hear, or feel my baby and everyone had gone, as I asked, to be with him. Sarah stayed with me thankfully holding my hand, fielding phone calls as they came as we waited. I don't know how long it had been when my father and step mother had come in to see how I was and shortly after the NICU doctor appeared not coming any further than the doorway to tell me that the wall suction unit hadn't been turned on as it should have been and he'd caused my son to have a pneumothorax (hole in the lung) by attempting to suction with the unit off. Say what? Who did what to my baby? Where was he? Why couldn't I see him? It seemed like hours before Big Daddy came back and the rest of my family, maybe it was hours I don't really know. I knew I wanted my baby, I was hungry, and I was exhausted. I saw pictures and cried pictures of my baby struggling to breathe, and hooked up to wires, monitors, and ivs.
Big Daddy and I soon found ourselves alone, new parents to a baby we couldn't hold or touch. When the nurses changed at midnight the new nurse came in to introduce herself and found that they'd never cleaned me up after delivery. I was still laying on the same chux pad I gave birth on. They'd removed my catheter but they had never taken me to the bathroom. And then she announced "the rule" the rule that I couldn't go to the NICU until I peed. UHM hello I hadn't had anything to eat or drink for nearly 36 hours, and I'd had a catheter for hours on end as well. Not to mention I still had no feeling in my legs, I had pins and needles in my left but no feeling whatsoever in my right. The nurse had Big Daddy help carry me to the bathroom and put me on the toilet while she cleaned up and went in search of food. Yeah well that was a bust she returned with a carton of milk, some ib proferin, crackers, and jello. The kitchen closed at 7pm it was now after midnight. A family down the hall decided to feed their entire (large) extended family out of the L&D fridge leaving it empty. As if it weren't bad enough they tired to give me penicillin because of the fever, which by the way I'm extremely allergic too, they were now trying to force me to drink milk to "coat my stomach". I'm lactose intolerant, but thanks. All I need is to be having stomach pain when I can't get myself to the bathroom. I wasn't able to pee, so I couldn't go to the NICU. "We'll try again in the morning" she said "You should get some sleep".
The next morning I was ready to go, nine am rolled around and they put me in a wheel chair and pushed me down there so I could see my son. Escorted by my Mom, Grandma, Great-Grandma, and Big Daddy, we stormed the NICU. When I got there I was allowed to touch him but I couldn't pick him up yet. They had him on abx now too and he was still full of IV's.
His nurse was wonderful, I'll never forget her kindness. She sent us back to my room to get something to eat, and said they were going to move him to his own room and she'd call a lactation consultant to meet with me when we came back.
When we returned the nurse asked if I had pumped at all. Pumped? No how was I supposed to do that? The only pump I had was at home...the next thing I know she was on the phone giving L&D the what for, for not getting me a pump as soon as they took X to the NICU. I was scared I wanted to breastfeed so badly but it wasn't easy and it wasn't going well even with the help of the lactation consultant. With the aid of nipple shields we were finally able to get a latch and then the night nursing staff told me to not come back at night just to sleep. And then they started supplementing him with formula. He never dropped below his birth weight, had no reason to be supplememtned and yet three days later when we were FINALLY released, they told me if I didn't conscent to supplementing at home they weren't going to release him. Of course I said yes and I did it. It took me 4 months to wean him off the shields and the supplements neither of which were necessary.
I don't know how we did it but we did. He nursed until he weaned on his own when I as pregnant again with Bug 2 1/2 years later.
X-man was born at 8:51pm on January 19, 2007. He was 7lbs 3.9oz and 19 3/4 in long. He was the biggest baby in the NICU.
When I found out I was pregnant again I knew this pregnancy, and delivery was going to be different. I was NOT going to a hospital unless I had to. They almost killed my son why would I want to go that route again? While my first pregnancy was fairly uneventful my second was far from easy. The morning sickness and puking took hold early on and lasted for 24 weeks. Even taking the 1/2 of a unisom my wonderful midwife suggested I still had problems keeping food down. I lost a lot of weight, when I went into labor I was only 8lbs above my pre-pregnancy weight but Bug was growing good, and so we didn't have cause to worry.
At 40wks3days I posted on facebook "Yes I'm still pregnant so don't ask". My grandparents picked X-man and I up to go out to lunch. But I had an odd pain across the top of my stomach and I couldn't keep anything down as it was, but damn I was HUNGRY. On our way there Nancy (my midwife) called and asked if I wanted to come in and see if she could help me along, or just to check where things were at. I told her we'd come by after Big Daddy got home from work but half way through lunch I knew something was wrong. My belly was hard but it wasn't like contractions it was constant pain. I convinced my grandparents I was fine and they could drop X-man and I off at home, I'd call after I met with Nancy that evening.
Within an hour I was in pain, I called Nancy and left messages, I called Big Daddy and told him to come home as I moved between the shower and bath tub and bed. My trooper big guy X played in his room contentedly the whole time. I called Big Daddy more than once telling him to come home something was wrong, he got home and I showered a few more times. Talked to Nancy and told her we'd be on our way. When we got there she checked me and told us we would be having a baby that night but that we should go get some dinner. We left and called family, I started puking...again, something that lasted all through labor this time. My usual stomach calming agent... Dr.Pepper didn't even help. X-man and Big Daddy ate and we got back to Nancys house, bringing the birth kit and X-mans overnight bag inside.
This time around we asked that ONLY my two sets of grandparents be present. I needed it calmer this time and it wasn't a huge space like the hospital either. I had planned on letting x-man stay as long as he wanted but it got to the point he was overtired and running in circles and I needed him to go get some sleep. He was only a month shy of 3 he couldn't be expected to be quiet. He knew his baby brother was going to come soon. So we called my Father and had him come pick X up and take him for a sleep over.
I labored most of the time on my side in bed, sleeping off and on between contractions, and humming through each one. Around 9:30 when X-man had left Nancy ushered my grandparents to the waiting room and broke my water. It broke and it was clear this time. No worries there! Cleaning me up and plopping a baby diaper in my underwear she led me out to the waiting room where we put on a movie to watch. A Few Good Men in fact, I still haven't finished it yet either! And it's one of my favorites!
Another gush of fluids and my contractions were stronger and closer together I went back to the room and took up the offer to get in the tub. Oh it was nice it helped a ton too! I labored in there for quite a while. Listening to my grandparents chatter softly and laugh on the other side of the wall, holding Big Daddys hand and humming through my contractions. At some point I remember saying "I can't do this anymore I just can't do it." and "I don't wanna do this anymore" but I knew, deep down I knew it was too late to transfer, and I'd already come so far it would be stupid to quit now. I got out of the tub and Nancy checked me again, proclaiming I was close.
I had to pee. Crap. I didn't want to get up off the bed though but I had to. As I sat on the toilet Nancy leaned against the counter in front of me, quiet, strong, but there. "Let's just do these next few contractions here then we'll go push." Push?! Wait no...nuh uh I'm not pushing!! Nancy helped me back to the bed where I had been the most comfortable and called her assistant for the evening over. A woman who'd just graduated from midwifery school I think the day before, a woman who had NEVER seen a home birth, a former L&D nurse. Nancy showed her how to hold my legs to help me push, and can I just say pushing felt GOOD. So very different from my experience with X-man which I couldn't feel anything, I could FEEL L coming down I could FEEL him crowning (helloooo burning ring of fire!), I could FEEL everything and I loved it. The pain eased for the most part as I pushed, (well okay all except for the burning) and before I knew it my baby was in my arms. I got to hold him as soon as he was born. He was on my chest crying that cry I longed to hear after X was born.
I remember leaning back against Big Daddy and crying, saying over and over "I did it. I did it. We did it." I was healed. That probably sounds corny but it's the truth. L's birth was the healing experience I needed. I now know I can give birth to a child naturally. I don't need pitocin, or an epidural. I don't need a doctor attaching a huge suction cup to my childs head and pulling him out. I.CAN.DO.IT.
As Nancy cleaned me up Big Daddy took L to meet his Great-Grandparents, and then everyone came back in with us. It was late so they didn't stay long, truthfully we didn't either. We were back home within 2 hours of his birth
L was born on 12/12/2009 at 12:53 am. He weighed 8lbs 6oz and was 20in long.
X-man met his baby brother the next morning and has been in love with him ever since...at least for the most part.
And here they are Easter 2011:
I hope to have another journey through pregnancy and childbirth again one day...but we'll see these two boys do keep me on my toes as it is!