Thursday, September 30, 2010

The stuff I always want to remember.

This is long and full of details, so if you're just here for the pictures, skip to the end. :)

On Monday September 20th Paul and I went to bed around 11:00 PM, I felt normal and good, still just ready for baby to get here. At 12:30 AM I woke up with a lot of lower abdominal discomfort. 10 minutes later it happened again. I couldn't sleep through it. Which lead to watching the clock for the next 6 hours and having the same thing happen every 10 minutes. I woke Paul up around 4:00 AM for the "just in-case" wake up talk but I told him to try and sleep for a while longer. By 7:00 AM we were both up, he was getting ready for work and the contractions had stopped.

Tuesday was full of wishing it would start up again, but no such luck. Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 PM I had a doctor appointment. (a couple days before we'd scheduled this appointment, as well as a non-stress test at the hospital for Friday the 24th, and if that went well, an induction for Monday night, the 27th.) I could hear the clock ticking and I was praying that I wouldn't have to be induced. Tuesday everything looked fine and the doc asked if I wanted her to strip my membranes. I'd gone back and forth on this one, but decided to have her do it because it's known to sometimes help just move things along, a little pain, very low risk, and at this point to me, better than pitocin to do the trick. She did it, told me I was about 3.5cm dilated, and I was on my way home. By the time I got home contractions had started and it was about 5:30 PM. We still went on with our evening plans, I was up all night watching the clock, Paul went to work the next day, I did stuff around the house, but all the while being very aware that I was in early labor with contractions coming about every 7 minutes. By Wednesday evening, things were progressing quite nicely. (So I thought.) By 6:30 PM my contractions were 3 minutes apart and pretty strong so we decided it was time to go to the hospital. Its a strange feeling leaving your house knowing the next time you came home you'd have an extra person with you. Very exciting!

We got to the hospital at 7:00 PM, got checked in, got to a room, got on a monitor, saw and felt the contractions coming every 3 minutes, had an exam (hoping in my heart I was well on my way), and learned that I was 3.5cm. What?!? 27 hours of contractions and no progress?!? After some talking with the nurse and Paul, we decided to go home, with assurance from the nurse that we'd be back within 12-24 hours. We went to Burger King and then back home. Paul went to bed and I laid there and timed contractions. By 3:00 AM on Thursday morning they were much stronger and consistently 2 minutes apart. We were still all loaded in the car and we were on our way again. I was crying when we checked in this time. By the way, they say, (not sure who "they" all are) but they say you'll know when you're in labor and its really amazing how right "they" are. Got to our room, got on the monitor. Watched and felt the much bigger, much closer together contractions. I had an exam, feeling much more confident this time, only the hear that I had gone from a 3.5 to a "tight 4". Tight 4 to me means, "I know you've been in labor for 35 hours, so to make you feel a little better I'll say you're a "tight 4" even though you're still a 3.5." They let me off the monitor after 20 minutes and I walked the halls for 40 minutes. Monitor, halls, monitor, halls, from 3:00 AM til 6:00 AM. Still 2 minutes apart, still no progress. I told the nurse we wanted to leave. She was a little surprised and she told me that if I left I would be right back within a couple hours, thinking that would make us stay. When she saw that Paul and I were pretty set on leaving she reminded me that I'm leaving at the time in labor when they tell people if they're not already at the hospital, they really should be. She let us talk for a few minutes and we went back and forth on leaving or staying, and finally decided to go home for a while. We got home just after 7:00 AM. Paul took a nap, I took a bath. At 9:00 AM I started walking around our neighborhood. Contractions got strong enough that I couldn't walk through them. I had to stop and bend over on each one and it was getting really hard to breathe through them. I bet I looked awesome to all my neighbors. Between 10:30 and 11:00 AM I had a couple runs of back to back contractions for 5 or 6 minutes at a time, it felt like what I thought transition would feel like, but I still wasn't freaking out. At 11:30 Paul came out of the bathroom after a shower and I was sitting on a chair sobbing. I couldn't talk and I couldn't stop crying. He got me to focus and talk for a second, I don't know what I said, but a couple minutes later we were back in the car. We got to Labor & Delivery just after noon. I was crying and they tried to put me in a wheel chair but I was determined to be on my feet as much as possible. (Paul asked if he could ride in the wheel chair.)

Ok, so, noon on September 23rd. I'd been in labor now for 43 hours. At this point all the pain and the frequency had me convinced once again that I was minutes, well... at the most an hour or two from having a baby. I laid on the bed, got hooked up to the monitor, watched and felt my much bigger and close together contractions, and got an exam. A new nurse was on and apparently the last nurse forgot to tell the new one about the "1/2 centimeter act of service," because she gave me the good news that I was 3.5cm. I kind of thought I might die. But instead I did the same routine again, monitor, halls, monitor, halls. Around 2:00 PM the nurse talked to us about some possibilities that we needed to consider. They were worried about meconium from the baby in my water, as well as being one of those pregnant women who just don't progress (I guess it happens) and either needing medical intervention to try and move things along, or a c-section. Another option she gave us was having my doctor come in and break my water. The risks of that are infection, baby being stressed, and being on the clock. Once the water is broken you have to have the baby within 24 hours or they make you have a c-section. Paul and I discussed our options and at about 2:15 my doctor came in and broke my water. We'd also been told to plan on 10x the pain when you have your water broken. I didn't believe her. She wasn't lying. There was no meconium in the water so that was good, but my contractions instantly became almost too hard to handle. My only comfort was that my doctor said breaking the water always helps with progress. I spent the next two hours trying to walk. Trying to talk. Trying to not scream and cry. And when I failed at all of those things, I screamed and cried and sat in a chair doubled over shaking and sobbing in pain. The contractions had changed from a lot of pain in a very central spot of my lower abdomen, to starting in my ribs, slowing working there way down and ending with what I can only describe as electric shock sensations all the way to my knees. Paul was by my side every second, and let me say he earned a gold metal in husband coached child birth.

At 4:00 PM our nurse came in with some info. She was doing well at respecting our birth plan in every way. But one thing in the plan was 'Please don't offer Andrea any medication for pain, if she needs it, we'll ask for it.' The nurse acknowledged that request but then told us that the anesthesiologist was going into a c-section at 4:30 and would be unavailable for 2 hours. She said if we thought we needed some help with the pain we needed to decide in the next 15 minutes, or we'd have to wait for at least 2 and a half hours. I hated that pressure, but I appreciated her telling us. She said she'd be back in 10 minutes to see what we'd decided. I was sobbing and shaking and looking at Paul hoping he'd come up with a great way to get this baby out of me before the nurse came back. We decided after 10 long minutes of contractions and of me beating myself up, that I needed an epidural. One thing the nurse had said was that if I wasn't progressing fast enough, like 1cm an hour, I would need to have some pitocin. Once again I just knew I'd progressed, mainly because everyone said that everyone progresses when the water breaks because the baby drops down and it just makes you dilate a little more, and also because its just something that makes things move forward, or whatever. We'd decided on an epi, but I had this tiny moment of hope that I'd be complete if I asked for an exam and then I could push. She came in and I told her I think I wanted an epi but I asked her to check me before calling the anesthesiologist. She agreed and did an exam, I was 3.5cm. I cried and cried and cried. Paul told her to call the anesthesiologist. He came in at 4:25 and gave me the epidural. I'd been in labor for 47 hours. I had a little button to control the amount of pain meds I got and I didn't ever push the button. (That's how I made myself feel a little better about my change of plans.) Once I calmed down, (I think I was scaring the nurse) the nurse came back to discuss what things were looking like. She was concerned that breaking my water did nothing and she said she needed to call my doctor and get her input. She came back a few minutes later and said my doctor thinks I need some pitocin because nothing was working and the more time went by the closer I got to having no other option but a c-section. So she gave me the pit. I could still feel the pressure of the contractions and I was still in quite a bit of pain, but it was manageable so I didn't use any more medication. I was started on the pit at about 5:00 PM and around 6:00 PM I was calm enough that I was able to sleep for about an hour. At 7:00 PM the pressure of contractions woke me up. Those contraction monitors are really cool. And you wouldn't believe the size of the water break/pitocin contractions compared to the size of the unbearable pain contractions before pitocin. I probably would have given myself a c-section if it wasn't for the epi.

At about 7:30 PM was when all the awesome stuff started. To back up a tiny bit, on one exam from a nurse, and then a confirmation from the doc when she broke my water, we learned that the baby was posterior. Meaning face up instead of face down. Face up usually means longer pushing, more chance of tearing, and sometimes baby not fitting though at all. Its not impossible to do though, so I was just hoping he would fit. Ok, so 7:30ish, I start feeling really high pressure contractions and then major pressure on my pelvis. With each contraction I'd feel the pressure lift from my pelvis, I'd then feel what I would describe as my stomach twisting or being rung out and then the pressure settle back on my pelvis. Next contraction, same thing- lift, twist, settle. 15 minutes of that and I told Paul, "The baby is turning!" I've learned a lot about how smart babies are and how they help so much in birthing themselves. I knew he was in there trying over and over to get into the right position to come out, and it was amazing. The nurse came in a couple minutes later and said my doc had called and that she wanted me checked at 9:00 PM. Each contraction I felt the baby settle a little lower and I didn't know if I could make it til 9:00, but I did. Nurse came in a few minutes past 9:00 and did an exam. And guess what? I was complete!!! I had a tiny lip of cervix that needed to be gone so she said she'd give it 20-25 minutes and then see if I could push. She left the room close to 9:30 and I couldn't imagine doing what I was doing for 20 more minutes. But I was so close that I knew I had to. But 15 minutes later I knew I was ready. I said to Paul, "You better run and get the nurse because I am pushing this baby out RIGHT NOW!" He ran out the door and 30 seconds later was back with the nurse. She did a quick check and said, "yep, you're ready!" The next minute happened so fast, she told Paul how to hold one leg and she held the other, she gave me a quick rundown on how to push, and seconds later a contraction started and I was pushing. Pushing was amazing. I described it to a couple friends and taking everything you have in you and just releasing the last 9 months of your life. I loved pushing. After the first set of pushes the nurse told me that first time moms often take 3 hours or so to push the baby out. She told me that even though it was go time, he was still pretty far up there so she thought it would be about 2 hours before she called my doctor. And also, she thought he was posterior which usually takes longer. I pushed through 3 more contractions, so like, 9 minutes, and the nurse said, "You have to stop pushing! I need you to breathe through the next few contractions and I have to go call your doctor!" She ran out of the room and I held the baby in for about 10 minutes. She came back in the room and told us the doctor was on her way in and I still needed to not push. I thought I might explode! She said I could "grunt push" to relieve pressure, whatever that means. Paul totally coached me though the next couple because the nurse was getting the delivery table and all the stuff set up for the doctor. 12 minutes later my doctor got there. She threw on a jacket/scrub thing and came up to the bed right as a contraction was starting, nurse and Paul grabbed my legs and doc said "push!" Babies head came out. I felt it come out and I yelled, "What do I do!?! Do I keep pushing?!?" Doctor said, "yes, push!" I pushed once more and baby was out. Seconds later I heard that incredible first cry and the doctor lifted him up and put him on my chest. It was heaven. Maybe better than heaven. I won't try to explain how I felt, because I don't think I can. And he came out anterior. He turned! I knew it, and I was such a proud mama. My doc was impressed and surprised. The not so beautiful side of giving birth was that the cord was wrapped around the babies neck and chest and as the doctor grabbed it to unwrap it, it snapped. Blood shot right in her face and Paul got a nice amount splashed on his clothes as well. Now that its over its kinda funny. I had one tiny 'cut' that required no stitches so I was happy about that.

So that's the story. Almost 54 hours of labor. Almost nothing going how I thought it would. And my beautiful son is here. I love him so much and cant imagine life without him. I have a pretty great little family.

Garrett Philip White
Born on September 23rd at 10:24 PM
6 lbs. 14 oz.
20 inches long
Brown hair, beautiful baby blues.

If you made it this far, good job! or, I'm sorry. But here's the good stuff. (Click on the pictures to make them bigger.)


Heidi said...

Way to go, Andrea! (And Paul - I know how hard it must be to coach us and feel helpless at the same time.)

I'm amazed you went for so long. I can only imagine how frustrated and defeated you must have felt when they kept coming back telling you that you were at 3.5 cm.

But you did it, and he's here and healthy! Yay!

Kylee Jane said... I'm glad to hear you weren't screaming after the epi. I hope you guys are all doing well!

The Letterman's said...

congrats Andrea that's awesome, I thought for sure it was gonna end with a c-section-so glad you were able to have him naturally! congrats, enjoy motherhood!

megantonesforever said...

Oooo.... I love me a good birth story. I'm so sorry you were in labor for that long. I can't even imagine the pain, well I can, but not for that many hours. Seriously, you are superwoman. So glad he is here and healthy, and his name is the best!

Jord and Jenn said...

Congrats Andrea!! He is such a cutie. I have never had to be in labor that long and I think it is just amazing that people like you can do it. I think I may have gone crazy.