Monday, January 01, 2007

Birth Stories

Samuel's Birth Story
Erik and I were really committed to a drug free childbirth. We both felt
that one way to help us with this was by hiring a doula. Even though they
are known for 'mothering the mother' we felt she'd be a great support to
both of us, especially if things got tense. We also took the childbirth
preparation class through my ob's office. The leader taught us some Lamaze
breathing techniques but in my opinion the best information we got from the
class was on basic relaxation techniques- noticing all the tense parts of
your body and learning to relax them as well as visualization of a special
place or person.

As we got closer (and then past) my due date I did get a little nervous from
time to time. What is labor really like, how will it feel? How will I even
know! Because I was a week past my due date, my ob wanted to schedule me for
induction. I really wanted to avoid that, but I was sort of stunned at that
appointment so I went ahead and let them schedule it. Had I made it to June
8th I do believe I would have tried to cancel it and see if anything
happened by 42 weeks. I will stop here and say that my ob and I do have some
basic philosophical differences as far as childbirth goes. However, I really
do trust him and we agree to disagree.

On Sunday June 6th, I woke up at about 3 am. At first I wasn't really sure
why I woke up. Then I realized I was having ??cramps?? contractions?? gas??
I didn't know so I just fell back asleep. I think I kept waking up about
every 10 minutes. After a while of this I decided that they were
contractions. I woke Erik up to let him know. Because we live over an hour
away from the hospital we decided to call the doula and tell her what I was
feeling. Although they were coming steadily at 10 minutes apart, in
retrospect they didn't last that long and I probably should have gone back
to bed. Ginny (our doula) felt that they did sound like ctx, and advised us
to wait around at home for a while and see what happened.

They did seem to be getting closer together, about every five minutes. We
decided to shower and make our way to Orlando. We left the house at 7 am,
and took one last picture of my pregnant belly. When we got to L&D the nurse
told us I was at 2 cm and that it was too soon to be admitted. Her advice
was not to come back until I couldn't smile anymore. Little did she know I
was able to smile nearly all the way through labor! We probably would have
hung around Orlando for a while to walk but we found out my inlaws had
already left their home in Sanibel, and we needed to stop them before they
got to the hospital. Unfortunately we left their cell phone number in our
house, so back home we went. Luckily we got to them just as they were west
of our home!

We all hung around our house that day. I sat on the birth ball quite a bit.
I watched Andre Agassi win the French Open and Tiger Woods win a tournament
as well. I tried to eat lightly, stay relaxed and I rested when I could.
Contractions did get more intense throughout the day, but they were nothing
I couldn't handle. At around 10:30 we decided to make our way back to
Orlando. We felt that we should at least stay overnight at a hotel near the
hospital, in case I woke up really in the thick of things.

We went to the hospital when we got to Orlando. This time I was nearly 4 cm.
Because we live so far away and because the nurse felt my blood pressure was
a little high, the ob from my practice allowed me to be admitted. They had
me get into bed, although there was no way I was going to get any sleep at
this point. Although I had done so much reading, nothing can really prepare
you for entering the hospital- I was a little 'freaked out' by the
environment, and took the nurse's advice to stay in bed. Finally another,
more proactive nurse, suggested I get on the birth ball. At around 4 am (Mon
June 7), we called Ginny and she arrived in about a half hour.

I also have to mention that it took three nurses four tries to put in my
hep-lock- or so they thought. We'd later learn even that fourth try was
unsucessful. The black-and-blue marks these nurses gave me lasted for weeks
and were the worst part of labor for me.

I spent most of my labor on the birth ball. During contractions I would lean
over one of those adjustable hospital tables. Erik and Ginny would talk with
me in between, and I was in good spirits. As the ctx got worse I
concentrated on relaxing my stomach, neck and facial muscles. At one point I
got into bed to try to rest, but the ctx were so much stronger there so I
went back on the birth ball. We had brought a portable cd player and we
listened to Natalie Merchant, Enya, and Tony Bennett too.

The doctor (my ob actually was the doc on call from my practice, he came on
Mon am) felt I still hadn't progressed enough and was going to 'give me an
hour' before giving Pitocin. I really didn't want that and Erik and I asked
Ginny what my options would be if the pain became worse once they gave the
pitocin to me. We briefly discussed walking epidurals and other options and
then Ginny suggested I sit in the shower on the birth ball. Erik sprayed the
shower nozzle on my lower back. When Dr. Lazar came back I was at 8 cm. No
pit! yeah! They also decided that my water had broken- although I never felt
it. I know that when we arrived at the hospital Sunday evening it was not
broken as the admitting nurse noted it. However the doc insisted I get some
antibiotics and it was then that they realized the hep lock didn't work. I
told Betty (our labor nurse) that she had one try to get it in, otherwise I
could care less about the antibiotics! Luckily she got it in.

At one point, after I was out of the shower, the baby's heartrate went
really low. It was a surreal moment- they got me onto the bed so I could lie
on my left side, and people and the doctor came running in and someone put
the oxygen mask on me. I thought "they're going to take my baby", but in
reality the heartrate went right back up to normal in just a moment.

Transition was tough, I really wanted to push. Ginny, Erik and Betty worked
hard talking and breathing through the ctx with me. Ginny applied counter
pressure on my lower back; this really helped relieve the urge to push.
Finally I was at 10 cm.

I was extremely tired- I hadn't really slept since I woke up on Sunday
morning. It was now Monday afternoon. I pushed for a total of 2.5 hrs. In
between ctx I was cat napping- it was probably only minutes at time, but it
seemed longer to me. Both of my parents called during this time to see what
was going on- of course I couldn't talk to them but I did have the energy to
shout "shut up! get off the phone, hang up". I just couldn't stand anyone
taking their attention away from me. Despite lots of perineal massage by
Betty and Dr. Lazar, I ended up having an episiotomy. That was not in 'the
plan', but after so long, I really just wanted to meet the baby! I recall
saying "if you're gonna cut me go ahead and do it already" but Erik doesn't
think I did.

I was also really irritated by any chit-chat they were having. At one point
Dr.Lazar said "did anyone see the alien baby on Third Rock From the Sun?" I
about hit the roof!

Finally I pushed the head out, and then the body. The doctor shouted "it's
definitely a boy" and I couldn't believe I'd done it. It was wonderful to
finally meet the baby, and to find out 'who' was inside all that time.
Samuel Henry it was! He pooped on the doctor first thing.

I did not get to nurse Sam right in the delivery room. They were concerned
that his respiratory rate was so high. I think I probably could have
insisted that I at least try to latch him on, but I was so happy to have
finally given birth, as well as soooo exhausted, that I don't even know if
the thought crossed my mind.

I delivered the placenta and I was stitched up. My inlaws came in to meet
Sam and congratulate us. Betty helped me to the toilet, and on our way back
to my bed I told her I felt funny. She said "honey, you're fatigued".
Ohhhhh, ok, I thought.

When my in-law's came in to see Sam and congratulate us, I remember saying
"a boy, I don't know anything about boys!". I was numb in my fingers from
holding my legs for so long, and my knees felt funny to finally be straight.
I asked Ginny the doula to rub them for me. Both she and my mother-in-law
(also named Ginny) laughed that I had been through this long childbirth and
the only thing I was complaining about was tired legs.

They brought me a snack which I wolfed down. Erik went with Sam to the
nursery to be observed. They brought me to my room upstairs and I tried to
rest. Mostly I made phone calls.

Erik finally came up and a while later they brought us Sam. I think I may
have tried to latch him on once myself. I realized all that reading and the
class don't compare to having a live baby in your arms. The nurse came and
helped us out. I think she helped me more than Sam! He latched on really
well once I knew what to do with him. Nursing in the hospital was fine, my
main concern or question was how often to put him to the breast. It was
confusing that they said every 2-3 hours as a guideline. Sam seemed to work
his lips or move his hand to his mouth much more often than that, starting
on his second day. One nurse finally recommended putting him to the breast
whenever he did that, even if it was 15 minutes after putting him down. I
really attribute following this advice for having a smooth beginning- I had
no engorgement and my milk came in on Thursday night.

Maya's Birth

tues night (jan 1) I was feeling ctx that were stronger and more were not just in the front. I was excited but tried not to be too optimistic (I was 42w 2d pregnant!). Sam ended up waking often that night due to a belly ache. I finally let Erik know I thought I was in labor at 3.30 am. We left the house at 5.20, and were in triage about 1.5 hrs later w/our doula. I was already 5cm.

At 10.30 I let the dr break my water even tho I was nervous it would bring the ctx on too intensely. They did get stronger and I pretty much stayed on the birth ball, w/the doula applying counter pressure on my back and Erik supporting me in the front (i was leaning forward). I moaned a lot and that was great. At one point btwn ctx I leaned back on the ball against Ginnie (doula) and nearly fell asleep. then another ctx hit, oh well, lol.

My practice had 2 docs on at the hospital that day, they told me they were going to a c/sec but that I was 7-8 and would be ok till they were done. No one told Maya that! I was having lots of pressure and said the nurse better check me. I was 10 w/slight anterior lip. She told me to hang on a few more minutes and they should be out of surgery. A few minutes later I said she'd better check again. I was complete and she had me do a practice push or two- apparently I shot her hand out of my vagina w/the practice pushes and she told them to get one doc out of the surgery! He got there pretty quickly and they were set up.While waiting for him I did some gentle pushing when I felt like it. I was so glad to see the doc, lol! I could not wait to really push. I was nervous tho, Sam took 2.5 hrs pushing. Well, I must have learned something last time as it only took 3 pushes for her head and 2 for her body! It was amazing! the doc had numbed me and I only tore a little (5 stitches) let me tell you I'd prefer a tear anyday over an episiotomy! I feel so much better there this time, and she was 2lbs bigger than Sam. We could see how chunky she was and when they finally weighed her I almost fell off the bed.

Despite her huge size, she's got a tiny mouth and seems to be sucking her tongue,so we are really working at bf right now. But my milk is already coming in so I think we'll work thru the soreness and be ok (although I was panicked last night and probably will be tonight also.)

well I'm off to get some lunch! Sam just loves her so far and is too cute around her. we're just thrilled and can't believe she's really here finally!

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