Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nell's Big Arrival

I wrote this a while back but never published it because I wanted to shorten it and proofread it better ... but that was weeks ago and I no longer care, so enjoy!

Labor (approx 16 hours)
I did not sleep well Wednesday night. Not that my sleeping had been fabulous up until that point.  But typically I only woke up 3 times a night and I could usually fall back asleep the first two times without much trouble.

Wednesday night I kept waking up and staying up for about an hour before I'd fall asleep again for just 30 minutes, and that's how the cycle continued all night. I kept thinking the oreo brownies Reid and I made at 6pm were the culprit. I wanted to make one last treat for Ben to take to work before his paternity leave kicked in on Monday, baby girl's due date. Plus, I love putting Reid up on the counter with me and letting him pour in all the ingredients. He does such a good job, and we needed a little bonding activity while Ben was at Bishopric meetings.

Sadly, the brownies burnt a little. I still haven't quite mastered our new oven temps. They weren't burnt enough  to throw them out, just enough to not give them away. So I snacked away before throwing them in the freezer for later. Little girl has never liked my sweet tooth -- anytime I eat too much sugar I feel nauseous. You'd think that would've stopped me, but it never did. Poor girl.

Well, back to my restless night in bed. I woke up around 1:20 to potty. I thought I may have felt the mucus plug leave my body, but I was too zombie like to really care, so I never turned on the light to check things out. I just went back to bed. It took a while to fall back asleep, but once I did I was quickly awakened by some back discomfort.

Then I'd fall asleep again, and quickly be woken by back discomfort. Since I'd been having occasional Braxton Hicks all summer I didn't really think anything of it. I was just irritated that I couldn't get back to sleep. Finally, at 3:00am I thought maybe I should pay attention to how many of these back aches I was having and how far apart they were.

When I'd felt the fourth one by 3:40 I decided to wake up Ben. He wasn't thrilled. He's kind of a cranky sleeper (he's actually used the term "violent sleeper"), so he begrudgingly told me to wake him up when they were real. I tried to explain that, that was why I woke him up; they were real.

We laid in bed till about 4:30, we kind of talked about our plan of attack. I think we both thought things would happen in the morning. We wanted to wait till Reid woke on his own before we worried too much about taking him to our friend's house. But at 4:30 we started showering and packing and getting ourselves ready for what we thought would be a mid morning trip to the hospital.  At about 5:30 Ben texted his mom to tell her the big day had arrived. Luckily, both his parents were able/willing to take off work, and they were at our house by 8:00 to take care of Reid. Ben also e-mailed his boss to let her know what court hearings he had on his schedule for the day, and I messaged some friends to cancel our play date.

Reid woke at his usual 6am time. Ben and I were both out on the couch timing my contractions. Poor Reid walked into our bedroom and saw that we were both missing and burst into tears. It was sweet, and likely a rude awakening to his new life. Ben went down the hall and tried to calm him, but he wasn't about to stop crying until he got his morning snuggles with mom. Snuggled up to him I soon realized his tears were more than just "mom and dad are gone fears." He was running a fever. Go figure, what a day to have a sick little boy! We gave him some milk, juice, and meds and by the time Grandma and Grandpa arrived he seemed fine.

The other change by the time they arrived -- my contractions had slowed considerably and the pain wasn't bad at all. I was fairly certain I hadn't been tricked, but a tiny little bit of doubt settled in. I started thumbing through my Mayo Clinic book and was assured I had been experiencing early labor and not just more Braxton Hicks. Though my contractions had slowed, there was still at least one every 20 minutes and they were at least 30 seconds long. Not to mention, the bloody show. Hey! It's a birth story, what do you expect?

Ben's folks offered to take Reid down to their place for the weekend, so we packed him up and shipped him off. He didn't mind one bit. He loves Grandma and Grandpa and happily (and tiredly) waved goodbye.

Ben and I then went to Target to try and walk things into a stronger start. It didn't seem to help a whole bunch (mostly cause Ben moseyed around at window shopper pace). So we headed to the Forest Preserve by our house and walked around there. Contractions started coming more regularly, but they were still a good 10 minutes apart and not very painful at all. So we fueled up the car and bought some Chinese carry out.

And yes, those are all the EXACT same things we did while in early labor with Reid. We are creatures of habit I suppose.

Back at home we tried laying on my side again, since they seemed to be steadiest and most painful in that position earlier in the morning. Plus, it was nice to just relax for a bit. Surprisingly they did become more steady and more painful at that time. We were getting really anxious to go to my 39 week check-up at 1:00pm. But at 12:30 I listened to my voicemail and found out they'd called to reschedule.  I called them back and had a pretty funny conversation with the office personnel.

"Deb has some openings next Wednesday," she said

"I'll have my baby by then."

"Oh, are you scheduled for an induction?"

"I'm due Monday, but I'm in early labor right now. Who is on call tonight?"


"Okay, then I'll probably see her tonight anyway."

"Oh, okay." long pause "So, are you having contractions?"

"Yes, they started this morning, who is on call right now?"

"Deb, that's why she isn't here."

"Oh, okay then she'll definitely be the one to deliver this baby."

Another long pause, "Do you want to talk to one of the nurses?"

"No, I'm fine. We'll call back when the contractions are 5 minutes apart, 1 min long, for an hour."

"Oh, okay."



I was pretty bummed I wouldn't be checked.  I was really curious as to how far I'd come along through out the day. As per my personality, I was really starting to get impatient by the continued infrequency of the contractions. Ben kept reminding me that we labored at home with Reid for 14 hours before it was time to go to the hospital. But the 2nd is suppose to be faster!!! It just didn't seem fair that this was turning into another 21 hour labor.

We watched a few episodes of Bob's Burgers and I laughed hysterically through an entire contraction. I couldn't decide if it helped or made it worse. Ben was literally rolling on the floor laughing so he was of no help. I hope I'll always remember how funny we must have looked at that moment, in the middle of labor.

After Bob's Burgers I decided to get in the tub and try to relax. My impatience was really at a peak. The tub seemed to slow things down, not what I was going for. So we got out and went back to laying on my side in bed. The contractions never steadied themselves, some were still 13 minutes apart.  But they did become more intense. I figured it was just because that position isn't ideal, plus it was harder for Ben's massages to take full effect.

Completely frustrated, it was about 4:30pm, I finally called the office again. Even as I had a contraction over the phone I could talk through most of it. The nurse on the other end didn't seem too convinced, but since the office was about to close she told me to just go to admissions and get checked because Deb was already on the labor and delivery floor.

We checked into the hospital and a set of three elderly peoples were checking in before us. One was too sweet, she just kept smiling and telling me good luck and congratulations. It was weird, I was thinking about what opposite ends of life we were all on. And I loved that her perspective seemed to add appreciated value to what I was about to experience. I hope their "visit" went well.

I walked myself into our room and tried to get comfy on the bed. We kept telling the nurse that the contractions were only 6 to 7 minutes apart and she could clearly see they weren't too bothersome. She tried to check me but discovered the bag of waters was so low she couldn't really feel anything. So she went to get Deb. I'd told her I was Group B (strep) positive but she didn't want to give me the antiboidicts till she knew I was going to stay. I figured that made sense, but her final words before she left to find Deb were something like this "Who knows, maybe you are developing well. Some women just have really high levels of pain tolerance. They show up and you'd just never guess they were that far along."

That was encouraging, but I knew I wasn't one of those women. I turned to Ben and said, "if I'm at a 3 I'll cry."

He is such a good labor coach. He kept telling me to think positive, "maybe you'll be at a 5 or even a 7."

"Oh, I would be so thrilled, but they aren't even 5 minutes apart yet." My mood and everything about the experience still said "early labor."

The nurse returned with Deb. It was the first time I met Deb -- of course. We'd never met the Dr on call for Reid either. Oh, and now might be a good time to mention Deb isn't really a Dr. This time around I decided (kind of on accident) to go with a Midwife. The office I visited has 4 Drs and 4 Midwifes, I didn't realize you only saw one (4) or the other (4). I had met all the Midwives but Deb, that's what I was suppose to do at 1:00. Instead it was now 5:30 and I was about to bear it all.

An eight! Yup, I was already at an 8. Deb didn't even tell us that. She just checked me out and then turned to the nurse and said "she's going to have this baby soon, get that antibiotic started right away."

"The nurse turned to me and said "that's good news, you are staying!" Then she asked Deb, "could you tell what she was at?"

"An eight, and -1. The bag is ready to break but we'll keep it attached for as long as we can so the antibiotics work." Then she turned to me, "You should have 2 doses 4 hours apart, but that isn't going to happen. I know you want to try the waterbirth but I don't want to put you in the water until I can check the bag of waters. Who knows, by the time I pop it the baby may be coming out. I've literally had to peel the bag away from some babies faces before. Your little girl just might come like that. But if not, if we have an hour to spare before she comes and everything in the water looks clear we can move you to the birthing tub. Sound like plan?"

An eight! I was up for any plan if I still felt this fabulous at an eight! I seriously got giddy. I was still talking between each contraction -- even through some of them. I was laughing at life and super excited to be done in just a couple of hours.

Then ... the nurse poked me 4 times for that stupid IV!!! Seriously, I was acting as brave as I could but I know I was being such a baby. It was the worst I'd felt all day. I knew right then and there that natural labor really is the path for me. Getting poked 4 times for an IV was way worse than any of those contractions. Torture. Pure torture. I think the nurses were amazed I handled contractions so much better than their poking. In fact, I was excited when I could say "wait, here comes a contraction" and postpone their efforts for just 60 more seconds. Honest as can be, I preferred the excruciating stomach cramps and back pain to the tiny prick of those damn needles!

Delivery (approx 1 1/2 hours)
I got my hour of antibodies in (and two really sore hands thanks to 3 failed IVs). Deb broke my bag of waters at about 6:45 and everything looked great. So we moved into the water birth room and I crawled into the tub. It was so relaxing! I was loving it. I just chatted away with Ben, Deb and the (new) nurse. Two nurses taught our water birth class and it turns out they were both scheduled that night and going to be with me for delivery. It seemed perfect.

Then I felt the need to push -- and totally freaked out!

I remember embracing that need with Reid. I was so ready to use those contractions to my advantage. With this little girl that push feeling terrified me. Ben and I both think this is because of the memory of last time. I was just so afraid of tearing that bad again. Both Deb and another one of the Midwives told me they didn't think this baby was over 9 lbs, but the other Midwife (Jenny) also said "but who knows, tall mothers hide big babies well." And that was all she had to say. There was no way they could convince me she was going to be any smaller than her brother.

I got out of the tub and laid back in the bed and both nurses, Deb, and Ben were all reassuring me I was at the end. Just a couple of pushes and she'd be there.

If only I'd dared!

They kept telling me to bring my legs up to my chest, hold my breathe and push ... but I just couldn't. I was totally freaking out. Ben was starting to loose his patience, and rightfully so since I was yelling at him :). I think he wasn't impatient so much as he thought some reverse psychology might work. "Do you want them to have to do a c-section?"

"Yes!" I know he wasn't expecting that reaction.

I really don't know what happened to my mind-over-matter power. I really was terrified to push. Even when I'd decide to push I'd naturally keep my legs straight. They told me she was coming but that if my legs were straight she couldn't get through the pelvis. I was so mad at myself. This little girl was doing all she could to come meet me and I was doing all I could to stop her. What a great mom!

I did prefer the midwife experience, but if I were to offer one critique it would be that they are almost too hands off. The Dr just bossed me around and yelled at me when it came time to push Reid out. Deb was so calm and patient, I finally just begged her to tell me what to do. "Turn on your side and breathe like this he he he he he he," she said. In hindsight I realize she told me to do exactly what she saw me doing when we first met. I had mastered laying on my side and breathing through contractions, but once I needed to push I just couldn't remember how to handle them. Once she got me all calmed down she tried to get me to push on my side. But I refused, of course. Stubborn me.

Then she did something brilliant. She gave one nurse a big long towel and gave me the other end. "Pull on this." And the tug of war began. Ben held up my left leg, the other nurse held up my right leg and I began using all my contractions to my advantage. I still didn't seem to be giving it my all, but Deb told me this could actually be a good thing, since it gave my body time to stretch out.

The nurse on the other end of my tug of war, thinking she could help convince me how close we really were to the end asked, "do you want to feel her head?"


But Ben smiled and reassured me it was right there, just one more push.  So I prayed politely through the next two or three pushes. "Please Heavenly Father, let this be the last one."

No luck.

So I got mad. Really, really mad.

Honestly, ask Ben. I think he heard ringing in his ears for the next hour or so. Even the nurses laughed about how loudly I screamed. Apparently, there were a couple of teenagers visiting the floor and according to one nurse I scared them into celibacy. Yay me. I think Deb wished she could have bottled up that scream and shared it with every teenage girl that comes into her office. With both my deliveries I have gotten the impression from the Medical Professional in charge that teen pregnancies are the most depressing part of their job. Makes sense.

I decided a while back, that God is patient with us when we get mad at him. Not that I promote being angry with our Father in Heaven, but I think during those lulls of depression or the pain of childbirth he understands our anger and patiently waits for us to get over it; He knows we will grow and learn from whatever channeled that anger. As a parent, this approach makes complete sense. Sometimes I do things that make life more difficult for Reid, and I fully understand why he gets mad at me for doing so. I love him no less. Regardless of how we bring children into this world: c-section, epidural, natural; it is painful and Heavenly Father can't just take that away. But he'll love us regardless if we get a little mad at Him for not answering that prayer how we'd hoped.

After my first "mad-as-hell" push I remember yelling "What was that?!?!?"

And Ben smiled at me and said "She's here," while Deb answered "It's your baby. One more push."  (which is the easiest one of the whole night), and then "Want to hold her?"

"Yes," I sighed with relief and Deb placed Nell -- all slimy, bloody, and still attached to her cord -- on my belly. She squirmed around and then started crying. Then she pooped. I didn't know that, I was already all wet from her slime. Ben later told me that was her reaction to our first meeting. I suppose I understand, she'd been working so hard to join me in the real world and I'd hindered her progress. I'd have pooped on me too if I could :).

My proofreading procrastination also required a better ending, but that is what you get!


Riki Lee said...

I'm so glad you posted your story. I just found out today that I am also group B positive an since I want to do hypno birthing and had a fast labor last time, I've been stressed out all day about how my labor is going to be and how needing antibiotics might change things etc. Now I feel better about still being able to have a natural childbirth, though I don't think I'll feel as "fabulous" at 8 cm as you did! Thanks for sharing your story.

Anonymous said...

Quite the details Ms. Lizzy! I loved it. We are so happy to have little Nell in our family. She is beautiful as is her Mom, Reid and Dad! Love you guys. Have a happy Thanksgiving. Dad

Charles and Carolyn said...

I love reading birthing stories. Congrats Liz!!

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