Thursday, March 13, 2014

Jessica vs Snomaggedon

 As promised, here is another installment in my series of Birth Stories as written by fellow members of my "mama tribe".  This birth story is of a first time mother and her labor during the worst snow storm of that winter. 

First time mom, 26 years old, 2013: 
So, William was born last year during snow storm Rocky. He was my first child.   Like most new moms, I took a birthing class and while I didn't really pay a lot of attention, I did study the mongolian birthing method like crazy. That book and CD's had me convinced that labor did not hurt. 

Well, it was the morning of 02/23/2013 when I went to the doctor and they said that I was dilated to a 2.  By then I was so sick of being pregnant and huge I just wanted it over with! I was severely anemic and had gained 70 lbs.  I looked like the pregnant Bella from Twilight. I continued working right up until I delivered as well as doing yoga and tons of walking in the snow.  The doctor asked me for the 100th time if I wanted her to rupture my membranes and I told her no, I had already had lost my muscus plug and the baby would come out when he was ready. She tells me that it could be a while. (yeah, great to hear considering I wasn't due for another 12 days and all the other women in my family were induced at 41 weeks, yay....)

I go home miserable. I told my husband "Lets do this, get this baby out! Lets have sex and make contractions!"  We start, but my husband freaks out and thinks the babies head is hitting his.. umm.. ok, so that didn't work. The next day I decide to try castor oil only because I had already eaten everything spicy in the house.  Caster oil is terrible and gross.  I took some and I waited and waited.  Then I waited some more.  Nothing.   By now its Sunday.  I am tired, its snowing and I am sick.  I threw up at random all over myself throughout my entire pregnancy and had to constantly carry spare clothes with me.  Monday comes and I decided to call into work.  I was exhausted and it was still snowing.  Fortunately they were closing due to weather anyway.  I am tired all day but still no contractions and no movement at all, so I get some coffee to "wake him up".   Nothing. 

I go to sleep but I woke up at about 11 pm and needed to take a bath because my back is hurting.  I did this regularly because my baby always sat right on my satic nerve.   My husband is so nice, he runs the bath for me.   I get in and sit down and suddenly I PEE!  A lot!   It felt weird though because I couldn't stop, but by that point who cares.  You pee all the time, right?  So I sit in the bath tub awhile, then I need to go to the bathroom (like number 2) immediately.   I jump out of the tub as fast as I could and sat on the toilet.  I tried to go to the bathroom, but nothing would happen, so I go back to bed. 

My back was killing me and the baby was moving a bunch (finally) so I think "Well, maybe these are Braxton hicks."  I got up thinking  "If these are Braxton hicks, I need to move and drink something so they'll go away."  I walked into my living room (which is maybe 6 feet from my bedroom) and BAM!  I doubled over and suddenly needed to go number 2 again really bad this time!  I couldn't stand up so I move slowly, hunched over, to the bath room in the hall and tried to go again.  I turned the lights on this time and I tried to go but nothing came out.  When I looked in the toilet all I saw was blood.  Like, a LOT of blood!  I was so scared.  I had just watched the mayor declare a state of emergency and now I was in labor!  i hd to decide what to do.  Do we chance the roads or do i deliver my own baby in the bath tub?  

William was coming out one way or another.  I could feel him pushing down, he knew what do and my body was accommodating him.  I woke my husband up and told him "Lets go"  He wanted to pack first, but I told him that this baby was coming out!  He asked if I had had time to count the contractions.  I told him "They are about 1-2 min apart, we need to go now!"  My loving husband drove me to the hospital, in that terrible snow storm, with me screaming the whole time.

We made it safely to the parking lot of the emergency room .  I didn't think I could walk because I was so scared the baby was going to fall out.  On top of all that, I felt like I was gonna poop all over myself! LOL We made it inside the emergency room and I listened to my birthing ipod mix and squeezed my pillow tightly.  It seemed like I had to wait forever.   When they finally got me up and checked me, the nurse said that I was a 4, but my water wasn't broken.  I told her what had happened in the tub and showed her how my bed was wet.  I asked her "Then what is all this goo coming out?" Thank God for the experienced nurse that came in to double check me.  She kept using these strips to check and see if I had amniotic fluid and they all showed negative.  I told her I felt like I should bear down  but she told me not to, but to wait for the doctor. I wanted an IV by this point and an epidural.

Due to the storm, the power kept going off and on, so my IV wasn't as effective as I would have liked. The anisteologist on call had a really hard time getting there and told me it may not spread in time, but he was going to give it to me anyway. By that point I just wanted it to all be over.  I got the epidural and I can tell you, 50% pain is way better than 100% pain!Unfortunately, the epidural did not spread on my left side.  I asked the nurses why my stomach was not hurting.  I had no period like cramping, in fact, I had no pain from my uterus at all.  The only pain I was experiencing was the WORST back pain of my life.  I mean the worst kind EVER!  No one said that my back would hurt.  But oh man did it hurt!   I think that's why I didn't know I was in labor.  Looking back now, my back was hurting every couple of hours and those were probably my first contractions. 

Anyway, I wanted to take a shower but they wouldn't let me with the IV. I just wanted a shower so bad.  The doctor finally came in now because I was at a 6 and progressing.  She said that the nurses told her that I was dialating but my water was intact.   I told her I didn't care, lets just do this.  Then she goes in to break my water and says "Umm ... your water is already broken!"  I said "I know that! I told them that. I think that pee in the bathtub was my water breaking and I am pretty sure this baby wants out."

She told me to wait a few min and she would be back.  I waited and felt William beginning to push down.  The mongolian method teaches you to relax and remember that the baby knows what he is doing.  Okay, so that's what I did.  I relaxed as much as I could.   The doctor came back and said  it was time to push.  I remember smelling something and thinking "Finally! Poop!" LOL  The doctor asked "Do you want to touch his head?"  Umm ... no thanks!  Lets get this over with.  

It's a little unnerving to hear your delivering doctor say  "Oh my...."  I asked if everything was okay?   Her response was "He has soooo much hair!  The most hair I have ever seen!" (whew!) She then asked me if I wanted to tear naturally or be cut. (episiotomy)  I respond "I don't know, whats it looking like down there? What do you suggest?"  I passed on the episiotomy and just pushed.  He came out and I ripped so bad I had 3rd degree tears and a lot bleeding.  It took a lot of stitches to get me sewn back up.   I was soooo cold.   I remember them handing me my son.  I started to cry and asked them to take him away and clean him up, then bring him back so I could nurse him.  They cleaned him up and I just kept saying "Holy shit, that's a baby!"  That came out of my vagina! He was living in there the whole time! I couldn't believe I had just had a baby.

I was shaking all over by that time and was still really cold.  I asked for some Iron tablets but they said they couldn't give me any, so I asked my husband to bring me some from home.   I spent the first couple of hours terrified to touch my baby, and I was scared to do anything with him except for letting him nurse.  I refused to be alone with him as severe postpartum depression runs in my family.  The first thing after having a baby is take a shower and I desperately wanted a shower so bad. (remember?) I got into the shower and was scared to touch my vagaina.  I didn't want to touch or see it.   I rinsed it with water and got out.   The nurses kept looking at the pads to see how much I was bleeding and they wanted to touch my stomach every so often and look at my sheets.  I stayed both nights in the hospital by myself and walked the halls. I hadn't eaten anything. The nurses questioned me about this and I explained I was vegetarian but they kept bringing things with meat.   I wasn't hungry anyway.  Thankfully I didn't need any meds for the postpartum depression.  I just sat at the window, in the light, everyday with my baby. 

It can be rough, but you will get through it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mary: a Late in Life mother

The first of many guest writers to submit her birth stories.  Mary is an amazing mother of 4 spectacular children.  She's given birth in 3 different decades and 2 different countries.  So, in her own words, I give you:

Mary's Birth Story

Ok. Babies births.

Baby 1: It was 1983, I was 19 years old and married living in Norfolk, VA.  At about midterm, I was told I was 1 1/2 cm dilated and to go home and go to bed for the rest of the pregnancy. Every exam they told me "It could be any day now."  Two weeks before I was due, my then hubby's ship was leaving for 6 months, so I flew back to Indy to be with family. 8 hours, with lay overs, 9 months pregnant! I had been up and active for a month. I kept calling the doctor telling him my back hurt and his only answer was to come to the hospital when the pain moves to my stomach. I never had one pain in my stomach, so we finally just went to the hospital. It's a good thing I don't listen well.  I finally went into labor ten days late.  Also only took 7 hours from first back ache to delivery, no pain medicines. Only intervention was doctor had to bust bulging water sack. (My mom freaked because "omg you could have had him on the plane" me "no mom, I would have had him in Philadelphia on my layover" lol) except for a large head & cord wrap (so i couldn't hold him immediately) that resulted in left side cut instead of a center, all was perfect. Late babies are ok. Successfully breastfed until he weaned at less then a year. When he walked he put his paci in the trash and he was done.

Baby 2: 1986 and now I was 21 years old.  My entire pregnancy went fine. I went into labor at 34 weeks though while living very rural northern Japan on an Air Force base. 13 hours of labor. Had to be put on pitocin and oxygen when babies stats dropped drastically. Once again I had a bulging water bag that the doctor ruptured and said he'd be back in a half hour to check me. I stopped him as he was going out the door and told him "Too late! Babies coming now!" At that time labor and delivery were separate and were under construction for the new style. My doctor rode on the gurney with me down the hall to delivery, with his hand in my vagina, holding onto baby. All this time a medi vac jet was on stand by to take off with my baby, to God knows where, without us, as it was a 12 bed hospital with no ICU unit. They had no idea the condition he would be in. I didn't get to hold him either until later because they wanted to examine him good. Besides feeding issues, he did great. Lungs were fully developed and he got to stay with us. He stayed for a week, home for a week, back in for a week. By the way, I was up and in the shower two hours after birth so I could go get my baby.

Baby3: 1990 and I was just shy of 26 years old.  By now I'm listed as high risk.  At 14 weeks, my doctors decided to do a cerclage and sew my cervix shut. It was supposed to be outpatient, but it carries risks and of course I hit those risks and started bleeding. My outpatient procedure became a two day inpatient. I went into labor at 26 weeks and spent the next 4 weeks in and out of the hospital in labor several times. Thankfully I was the type that my water never breaks easy.  I think that was all that saved her. On one ambulance ride from our small town to Indy, I asked the EMT if he'd ever delivered a baby. "No, but I watched once."  I told them to pull over and have my husband that was following get in, because at least he's watched twice! At 30 weeks the doctors decided baby and mommy have up had enough drugs. In 1990, the way to stop labor was morphine and seconal and tons of steroids. But for some reason she turned feet first and was in distress. That meant an emergency c section at 3:30 am on Labor Day. I've never seen so many masked people in one room. We each had a complete team. (I'm crying now!) It's a girl! After having two boys I finally have a baby girl, but ... she's totally lifeless. Nothing. They're working hard to save her. They all came rushing by me as I lay there in tears and they said "Kiss her mom, it doesn't look good" and they left with her.  I got only a half a second with her.  Artificial surfactant for preemie lungs didn't exist then. When I saw my baby later in the day she was on a ventilator in an incubator. She's had a long hard battle, she has ADHD and learning disabilities in some ways, but she is incredibly smart in other ways. She is now a flight attendant. By the way, I pumped daily and successfully breatfed my preemie. It can be done.  It's not easy at first, but it does get easier and it's very rewarding.

Fast forward 20 years to:

Baby 4: 2011 and I am 46 years old.  I'm remarried now and my hubby, who helped finish raising my first three, had said his only regret in life is he never had a child of his own. So?  We fixed that!  We are LIL (late in life) parents and we love it. I spent time in bed rest again but she still came 5 weeks early as we kind of expected.  This time though, with new technology, she had no lung issues. This time, delivery was hell. Going into labor late on a Saturday is the worst. I of course wanted to VBAC. Being a preemie I figured she'd be easy, but once again my baby's stats were dropping with every contraction. So , c section at 4 am on a Sunday by a surgeon I've never met. The epidural failed miserably, my legs were dead weights, but I could feel my insides being torn apart. I puked, I cried, it was pure torture.  They gassed me as much as they could without it getting to baby. My experience with my previous successful natural births helped me tremendously. I did my breathing and it helped. Once again, I don't get to hold baby but at least she's crying. They examined her as I'm focusing on my breathing through Every. Single. Stitch. (WTH didn't they glue me?!?). They take my baby girl to NICU for exam and observation and I make daddy go with her.  In recovery, when the nurses rolled me to change my bed pad, they busted my stitches about a fourth of the way. Like totally open. FML! Thankfully, this time they glued it. My little girl was small, 5lbs 11oz and I tried to breastfeed but she dropped to 4lbs 5oz when we left the hospital. A few days later they re admitted her for dehydration and failure to thrive. I think a better breastfeeding support and a LS tube would have worked and by the time she reached due date we would have been good. I even emailed my local LeLeche once when i was in the hospital because i wasn't getting enough BF support but I didn't get a reply. So I still hate that we missed out on that.

PS  I have Cloth Diapered all of my babies at least part time, if not full time.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Birth Story

While many new moms-to-be might spend hours walking the zoo or desperately cleaning all those nooks and crannies that suddenly appear filthy with grime, I preferred to relish in my last lonely, quiet, lazy moments before the whirlwind of motherhood rained down upon me.  I cut my hours at work to mostly part time and spent my off hours getting all the tiny details wrapped up for baby's homecoming.

The week of my due date came and I was beyond anxious to have him be "on time".  I had multiple reasons for wanting him to come on Oct 19th.  As Friday (the 19th) approached, I began trying to self induce, but as I expected, nothing I tried was successful.  When I woke up Saturday morning, still pregnant, I made an agreement with my son that I wouldn't try to force him out again.  Instead, I allowed him to live, rent free, for as long as he felt necessary.

The next seven days were filled with an endless wave of irritating yet unproductive Braxton Hicks contractions.  Back pains that pinched, grabbed and squeezed me during all hours of the day and night.  Finally, Thursday evening, Hubby and I were sitting in the living room watching TV when my contractions became real.  Very, very real!  When that first contraction hit me, it was like the difference between chocolate and vinegar.  I hate it when people tell you "oh, don't worry, you'll know"  But you know what?  YOU WILL KNOW!  Those real contractions are a Bitch!

I began timing my contractions around 8pm.  They began extremely erratic, so I sent hubby off to bed at 10pm so at least one of us could get a little sleep.  I stayed awake, timing my contractions and watching My Fair Lady on late night TV =) I tried to sleep but couldn't.  Every time I got comfy on the sofa a contraction would come crashing over me.  My only relief was to roll off the sofa and kneel in front of the sofa, burying my face in a pillow to muffle my moans of pain.  (as bad as that sentence sounds, it was actually quite bearable)  I rolled on and off the sofa for the next 5 hours.  Eventually, the contractions became so frequent, consistent and powerful that I couldn't manage them alone any longer.

Before waking hubby, I washed my face, braided my hair, changed my clothes, brushed my teeth, etc.  I knew if I woke hubby, he'd panic/freak out/worry about me doing all these "unnecessary" things.  When I finally woke him, in that classic "Honey ... Honey ... wake up!  We need to go.  We've gotta go to the hospital!"  I was shocked (and beyond irritated) at his response of  "are you okay?"

Am I okay?  Really?!? Um, NO!  I'm in freakin labor!! I'm gonna have a BABY!

We get to the hospital right at 4am and hubby drops me off at the ER entrance.  Yes, I said "dropped off" as in my hospital has NO parking close to the doors except for handicapped.  What's a woman in labor supposed to do?  Walk ALL the way across the parking lot?  No thank you.  So I walk, alone, into the ER at 4 o'clock in the morning.  I approached the front desk and told the (very elderly) lady

"I need ... (contraction! breathe ... wait for it) .... Labor and delivery!"
"Are you in labor?"
"....... (stunned silence, not to be confused with a contraction) ...... yessssssss"

Really people, is this what I need right now?  What else am I doing here?  Delivering cupcakes?!? (facepalm) geez

She grabs the nearest wheelchair and rolls me up to L&D where hubby (finally) meets me at the check in desk.  They take me into a room, give me a gown and check my cervix.  I'm still at 3cm like I have been for the past few weeks.  Since my OB had me scheduled for an induction that same morning (although I hadn't really determined if I was going to) they kept me but didn't "admit me" which meant no drugs or epidural yet.  I was fine with that because I planned on going drug free as long as possible.  I walked around the room, swayed and breathed through the contractions and basically just tried to pass the time as best I could.  I was shocked and surprised the first time I had to pee and was promptly hit with yet another contraction.  It never occurred to me that that would happen!  LOL  the worst, and I mean most unbearable, part of all this was when the nurses would ask me to lie on the bed so they could strap on the belly monitors. =( back labor while actually laying on your back is excruciating! The pain of my contractions was intensified 100 times when laying down.  Fortunately, I had wonderful nurses who figured out a way for the monitors to stay strapped on while I stood next to the bed.  

During one of these bed side contractions, hubby was across the room eating a handful of peanuts.  I called for him when the contraction started and he said 
Him: "I gotta put the lid back on"
(Excuse me?!?)
Me: "I don't fucking care about the PEANUTS!!!!!" 

Some time after this, my OB came in and asked if I wanted her to break my water.  (Shrug) I don't know ... sure?  No, no, NO! Holy cheese balls that crap hurt!!!! My cervix(?) was tilted and it took a bit of maneuvering for her
to get it popped.  The string of obscenities that came flooding out of my mouth would have made a drunk pirate blush.  I apologized immediately of course, but the look of both shock and amusement on the nurses faces was priceless ;)

By 7 am I was finally, officially, admitted (a.k.a. paper work completed) and was able to receive some IV drugs.   At this point I was exhausted (it was Friday morning and I hadn't slept since Wednesday night) and simply could not bear the pain of contractions any longer.  The IV drugs did not suppress the pains completely, but I was finally able to lay down comfortably.  It was after this that I asked hubby to go ahead and call our parents and my 2 best friends.   The anesthesiologist arrived before 8 am to administer my first round of epidural.

I passed out hard.

I finally slept.

I vaguely remember my mom, MIL and best friend coming and going, but mostly I just slept.  I was exhausted.  Before noon, I was awake and felt the epidural wearing off.  Luckily, the anesthesiologist was able to come back to my room to give me a second dose quickly.  After that, it was time to push.  I told the nurse that I felt "something" but it wasn't pain.  Not really.  I didn't know what it was.  She suggested I try pushing and lo and behold, the sensation went away.  The next hour + consisted of me dosing off, waking to push and dosing off again.  The last half hour was my only really productive time.  I stayed awake between pushes and was able to learn how to push effectively so that T man was actually making progress.  

Right before one of my pushes, I stopped, looked hubby right in the eye, and said
"I don't think I can breastfeed!"
He very calmly reminded me that I needed to actually finish having the baby first, then we would tackle that job together. (I love this guy!)

So with a few more really good pushes, I finally squeezed that beautiful, gooey, purple, cone headed baby out.  They
laid him on my tummy and I helped the nurse to rub him down and clean him up.  He cried and cried and all I could think was "I want to feed my baby!" After just a few short minutes I was able to breast feed my son for the very first time.  (Oh, and somewhere in there I also delivered my placenta and got stitched up, but with that baby in my arms, I don't even remember any of that)