Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Natalie's Birth

We went in to the hospital early on Monday, February 23, getting there at 7:15 to start the induction. I had been assigned Beth as my L&D nurse; she’s a friend of ours from our town and has been at our previous births. It was wonderful having a friend like her with us through the labor and delivery.

By 7:30, Beth had the pitocin going and, 15 minutes later, the contractions started. They weren’t any stronger than what we’d had the day before, but instead of 10 minutes apart, they started 3-4 minutes apart. I was hopeful to go without pain medicine, but was worried about if I could handle it. But, if this was as tough as it got, I thought I’d be fine.

Around 9, Doc came in and broke my water…and there was a lot of it. I really wanted things to get moving, so as soon as he was done, I stood up to let gravity do its part. Not only did baby start moving down, but lots and lots of fluid. It looked like I was peeing myself nonstop, which made us all laugh, which made me leak more and more and more. Once I could stop laughing enough to walk, I moved into the bathroom to let the rest of the fluid leak out. The contractions weren’t much more intense, even at that point.

The next 2 hours were spent changing positions, trying to stay off the bed as much as possible. I felt like baby’s head was still not turned completely, like a shoulder was stuck in my left pelvis, so I did lots of position changes. I stood up, knelt on the bed, rocked on the birthing ball, knelt on the floor, swayed on Jay and just kept moving.

Around 11 or so – I’m not sure on the time – things started getting a bit more serious. I could feel the baby’s head making its way into my pelvis. By then I had found the best position for me. I would sit on the birthing ball and Jay was on the rolling stool behind me, supporting my back. As the contraction would intensify, I would roll back on the ball and lean into Jay. With that movement and lots of deep breathing and what I would call humming, I made it through the next hour.

Doc came in during that time and asked how we were doing, and said “good” when Beth told him I was getting pretty uncomfortable. My response, after the contraction ended, was “good, my ass. Only an OB would be happy that the patient is in pain.”

I was surprised and grateful through all the labor that I had such good breaks between contractions. It would feel like plenty of recovery time before the next one came on. Right before things got serious; the break was double the length. Then, from then on, they came regularly.

Sometime after noon, I asked to be checked and was at 7. The worst part was getting back on the bed, because I didn’t want to get back up, but it hurt worse on the bed. Then things really got serious. I don’t know if it was because I thought I had a long way to go, being only at 7, or because things started moving fast. I had about 2 contractions that I could get through but were really intense. It wasn’t pain so much as the pressure of “an elephant on my pelvis.”

I didn’t think I could handle much more on the bed and was starting to holler more than hum and was really nauseous, so we moved back to the birthing ball. I think I had one contraction on the birthing ball and was really getting overwhelmed. I had another standing up and could feel so much pressure and was losing it. The next contraction, Jay was standing behind me, holding me up and as the contraction got stronger, I moved into a squat on the side of the bed. I asked for meds, and they told me it was too late, this is what I wanted, I can do it…all the things I needed to hear. The next contraction, I started in a squat, I think, and was hollering. I remember Beth telling me she needed me to get control, to breathe. Then, I felt that pressure they talk about it and hollered “baby’s coming!” Beth checked, and sure enough, here came the head. Jay and Beth told me I needed to get on the bed, but there was no doing it. So, Jay scooped me under my arms and Beth grabbed my feet and put me in the bed. Then that contraction stopped. I know there was a lot going on, people running in the room, Doc throwing on his gear. The next contraction, I got to push through it. I spent so long worrying about that ring of fire, and it was so quick and such a relief to push, that it should have been the least of worries.

And, one more contraction, and out came Natalie Grace. She had the cord wrapped around her neck and took a pretty big gulp on her way out, but was perfect! They put her on my chest. Jay cut the cord, and then grabbed the camera for a picture. I don’t look blissful in the picture, but I was still reeling from the delivery, just sort of in shock that this baby was really here, really ours. I don’t think it even registered whether she was a boy or girl for awhile; it just wasn’t concerning me.

She was a bit blue and wasn’t really crying, so after a short time, they took her to the warmer to be suctioned and stimulated. Meanwhile, we started the wait for the placenta. I’m not sure on timeframe again, but it was somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes after she was born that I asked for some pain medicine if they were going to keep working on me. I’d liken it to getting dental work done without painkiller; I suppose it’s possible to endure, but not something I was willing to do. They pulled, pushed, poked, scraped, trying to get it to detach. Before I passed out from the medicine, I knew the doctor and everyone was getting really concerned. I was scared, too, so we quickly named Natalie (instead of Abigail), in my mind, in case I didn’t wake back up. Now, it seems all pretty dramatic, but it seemed valid at the time.

I thought I fell asleep from the stadol and other drug they gave me, but Jay says I stayed awake and said all sorts of crazy funny things to everyone in the room. Think rambling like a drunk. It took about an hour and a half to get the placenta detached and the bleeding stopped, and then I came coherent again. I was worn out but happy and still running on a natural high from her birth.

The next day, my blood count dropped even more, too low, and they gave me two units of blood. An hour after they started the transfusion, I was better enough to sit up and eat, to hold her and really start feeling normal. Now, I’m just a little wore down, but who wouldn’t be with a newborn! J

I really had the best hospital, best doctor, and best nurses. I sort of wonder if, because we’re a frequent flyer at the hospital, I got the best nurses on staff. They say you can’t get rest in the hospital, but my nurse on shift skipped my vitals and delayed my medicine, because I needed sleep more than I needed the antibiotics right then. The first night, we sent Natalie to the nursery and requested no bottles. She’d cry whenever they’d lay her down, so the nurse spent two hours filling out paperwork with Natalie in her arms.

Natalie did get one bottle while she was in the hospital. She was nursing literally 50 minutes of every hour and she and I needed a break. Her cry even sounded dry, and I was afraid that I was too drained, too dehydrated to give her enough. After that one bottle, resulting in a 90 minute break for me, we were both ready to get back to it and she’s been a super-nurser since. She ate 15 minutes of every hour, with a few exceptions, for the first week. Last night, we got two 2-hour stretches and two 90-minute stretches, which felt like heaven.

I love the nighttime bonding with her. She is a super-mama’s girl and is happy as long as I’m near. She smiles every time she detaches from nursing, and she’s very alert. She can already lift her head and support her neck. Natalie is a compact little baby with these skinny little chicken legs. She’s got blue eyes that may actually stay blue, they are so light. And her hair looks to turn blonde and straight. She is perfect in every way and couldn’t be loved more.


Tara said...

That sounds really awesome (except for the placenta part). Any theories on why it didn't detach? I am always trying to learn more...

Which of the other girls does she look like most? I bet she is such a cutie!

Linda S said...

In Doc's words, "I just don't know why it didn't detach. There doesn't seem to be any reason that I can see." We had some trouble with Lainie's placenta not detaching completely, so maybe it's just me? My joking theory is that we prayed so hard for Maggie's placenta to stay put that the other two were extra stubborn about it. :)

She looks most like Jay. I see some resemblance to Lainie's picture, but it might just be because they are closest to the same birth weight. She has Jay's nose, in my opinion, and just looks a lot like his side of the family.

Thanks for all your help, Tara. I read Homebirth in the Hospital, which pretty much spells out my hopeful birth experience. I even wrote quotes from that and some other sources to read during labor, to give to Jay so he had the words I needed to hear. I'm still proud of doing it, a pitocin induction without pain meds. I couldn't have done it without your help and support!