Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Birth Story

I wish I could say I was one of those women who unexpectedly went into labor while hanging out somewhere. I wish I could say I needed to rush home to pack my bag because I just wasn't ready. Instead I can say my bag was packed and repacked 3 times before I saw the first sign of labor. We made it to my due date and then we sailed right on by it.

I felt the first contraction around 3:30 am on December 17th which was my due date. Thinking I was well on my way to laborville, I gathered my rice sock, cold packs, massagers, iPhone (with labor playlist set). I dimmed the lights then found myself a cozy spot on the futon bed downstairs. I asked Steve to get as much sleep upstairs as he could while I didn't need him because I was sure he wouldn't sleep at all once I got to the point where I did need him.

As I settled in my contractions started to settle into a pattern. 3 contractions at about 5 minutes apart, a 10 minute break then it would start all over again. I decided I should try to get some sleep while I still could so I started to nod off. I fell in and out of sleep awaking for the occassional tough contraction but usually quickly finding that sleepy place again.

Around 2:00pm that afternoon, Steve suggested that we start walking. So off to the mall we go to walk TJ into this world. After a couple of hours of squatting, swaying and breathing in public, I decided it was time to labor in private where I could reserve some dignity. On the way home my contractions started coming 3-4 minutes apart, making the ride extremely difficult. I made the first call to the on-call midwife who told me to wait until they were a solid 3 minutes for 2 hours.

Once we got home, Steve ran a tub of hot water for me to soak in. From that point I began a rotation of soaking in the tub then leaning on Steve. We did that until I met the requirements somewhere near 1am Friday morning and then off to the hospital we went. As they were checking me in they noticed my blood pressure was extremely high and tested me for pre-eclampsia. The test was negative but they were not convinced so they decided to do a 24 hour urine analysis. In the meantime they checked me and I was only 2 centimeters. So they sent us home but with a sleeping pill and a huge jug to collect urine in.

We get home and I finally get some rest, even though every contraction was strong enough to wake me up. Once the sleeping pill wore off, I was back to working through every contraction with the help of Steven. We did that through the night until I was completely exhausted. Around noon on Saturday I had enough and went to the hospital to demand either pain relief or something that would allow me to sleep so I could deal with them better.

Once I got there my water broke and they had to keep me there regardless. A few minutes into our celebration we were told I had protein in my urine and would be treated for pre-eclampsia. That meant I would be given magnesium and would have to labor in the bed. Since I was at the point where I could not handle a single contraction without standing and swaying, I knew I had to have an epidural.

So by 12:45 on Saturday I was in the hospital bed with a million and one tubes running into my body. Completely unaffected by the contractions, I slept like I never had before. After some time the doctors expressed concern about my failure to progress because of the magnesium. The decision was made to give me pitocin and then we began the attempt to find a perfect balance between contraction inducing pitocin and muscle relaxing magnesium. Of course you can't have pitocin in the mix without those troubling heartbeat fluctuations, so they dialed it down and waited out the 24 hours before the inevitable Cesarean took place.

I don't remember much of the surgery, I barely remember hearing him cry or seeing his face the in the operating room. I do remember waking up and not feeling a baby in belly for the first time in 35 weeks. A few minutes later they rolled my little angel into my room and it was all worth it.

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