07 February 2010

The Birth Experience

Here it is. It's long, and I tried not to get too graphic. But I wouldn't suggest reading this if you're afraid of giving birth! ha ha.

My water broke at about midnight on Tuesday night (1/26). I called into labor & delivery and they told me to go ahead and come in to the hospital within the next couple of hours. I was surprisingly calm, because I don’t think it hit me that I was actually going to be having my baby within the next day! So, Philip and I both took showers and ate a little something then headed in to the hospital. On the way in I started having what I thought were contractions. When we got there, we skipped triage and went straight to a labor & delivery room. When they checked me, I was 3 cm dilated and almost completely effaced with contractions about 45 seconds long every 4 minutes. They got pretty intense, pretty fast. Since I was trying to go without drugs, I was breathing through every contraction the best I could. We even put on movies to try and distract me and we went for walks around the unit.
Six hours later, at about 8:00AM I was in pretty bad shape, breathing and talking through contractions really wasn’t working anymore. They were SO intense, I was becoming discouraged, and started to doubt my ability to go through labor naturally. Next time they checked me I was 6 cm and contractions were almost 90 seconds long, coming every 2-3 minutes. I was in horrible PAIN. I had been in labor for about 7 hours and was so exhausted with no sleep the night before. It was looking like I was going to be in labor for quite a while longer. Are you serious?? I was fighting the urge to ask for drugs for hours… battling with myself about what I wanted.
Philip let me know that no matter what I decided, I shouldn’t feel disappointed in myself. I should be proud of myself and do what I thought was best. So, against my birth plan, I broke down requested an epidural on the LOWEST dose possible. If I was going to have the drugs, I didn’t want to go totally numb. I just wanted to take the edge off a bit so I could rest between contractions. I had been having terrible chills and couldn’t calm down. I guess I was in transition, that was rough rough rough!!! They placed the epidural at 9:30AM and I felt the initial dose kick in, I could still feel the contractions pretty strongly, but it was enough medicine that I could relax a little bit between them and try to save some strength for the 2nd stage of labor (pushing). After about an hour or so, I noticed that the epidural felt like it was wearing off already because I was in SO MUCH pain again. I even pushed the button that is supposed to kick me another dose of the medicine but it never seemed to work. About 11ish I noticed that the epidural was pretty much completely non-existent, the needle administering the drug had slipped out of place. But there really wasn't time to re-administer the meds because at about at 1:00PM, I told the nurse I had the urge to push. She checked me, and sure enough I was at about 9.5cm dilated. Alas, I was going to finish out the labor without the drugs. At least a I got maybe 2 hours of a tiny bit of relief, right?
No pain meds and I was scared out of my mind. I have never felt pain like that. Holy smokes, it was the most INTENSE feeling I have ever had. I started pushing, baby was sunny side up. (which means that he was facing up, as opposed to facing down the way he should have been!). Which means the biggest part of his head was trying to come out first). After over an hour of pushing I wasn’t making a whole lot of progress. I was just exhausted – from lack of sleep and trying to manage the pain I was in.
Meanwhile, Philip was trying to keep me motivated. He was so incredible, telling me how good I was doing and that I could do it. But honestly, I didn’t believe him. I was hurting so badly and was super discouraged because after 2 hours of pushing I felt like I had no more energy left. At one point, the nurse told me to try to just relax during the next contraction - to give me a break from pushing. BAD idea. There was NO way I could just lay there during those contractions. It was harder to do that than it was to push. Its like my body was forcing me to push, I guess that's nature. At that point, I knew I had to get this baby out. The doctor was doing her best to assist the baby out but it became quite obvious that he wasn’t going to be born on is own. Every time they would see him start to emerge, he would get sucked right back in. My pelvis just wasn't going to allow him out, especially since he was posterior. (sunny side up). So my doctor started to administer a local anesthetic to numb me since obviously the epidural was completely ineffective– she gave me a dreaded episiotomy in attempt to make more room for him. Next, she proceeded to use a suction to assist him out.
The entire time, they kept offering me a mirror but I turned it down every time, I was horrified by the thought of seeing my poor baby being suctioned out. Besides, I was so scared and upset, every time I pushed I would close my eyes and just pray that ‘this would be the last push’. I remember crying, and looking up at Philip- he was crying as well. He had such a hard time seeing me struggling that much, and not being able to help me. I will be honest and say that there were times I really thought I couldn’t do it - The pain was so great, and I was so dang tired. Somehow, I mustered up enough strength, I heard the doctor say “His head is out!” ....then….. a baby was born.

After about 14 hours of labor, and 3 hours of pushing…my baby boy arrived at 3:45PM. He had severe swelling due to the suctions so they let me hold him briefly - long enough for Philip and I to pick a name. It wasn't hard, we both quickly agreed on Bennett Roy and then the nurses took him away to the special care nursery to monitor him. In the mean time (this is going to get disturbing)... I needed to birth the placenta, and just my luck.... that wasn't happening easily either. The umbilical cord had ripped off the placenta and it was staying attached to my uterine wall pretty strongly. Thus, the doctor gave me MORE local anesthetic to prepare me for what was coming next. She had to manually remove the placenta. EEEEK! I tried not to think about it. She got it out quickly and stitched me up. Believe it or not, after 4 shots of numbing medicine I could STILL FEEL THE NEEDLE. Really? Could I not get a break? Ha ha.
Luckily his scans came back looking good, no internal bleeding, so at about 7:30PM they brought him back to me. That 4 hours being away from him after delivery was SO HARD. I missed him and was so worried about him. Just grateful he's totally okay! I was so emotional seeing him, after all that, I finally got to meet my little boy.

I must mention again how AMAZING my husband was throughout the whole process. He was so supportive and encouraging. he never left my side, the entire time. I couldn't have asked for a better labor coach and partner. I look at him completely differently now, having gone through that experience with him. I love him even more!

So many of you are probably wondering if I feel bad I chose to get the epidural? Well the answer is no. I did what I felt I needed to do. Ironically, a natural birth must have been part of the bigger plan anyway, because I got what I initially had wanted. Well, besides maybe those 2 hours of time when I SORT of felt the effects from the medicine.

After all of that, I am proud of myself though. Even though I had chosen the drugs, however unsuccessful they were - I did make it through almost completely naturally. And I am strong enough.

BUT - I decided that the next time around,and yes there will be a next time. :-) I will definitely be getting the epidural and I don't feel badly about it. Maybe I could do it again, naturally, if everything went perfect - a quick delivery, with a baby facing downward. But labor is never predictable, we just have to go with the flow.

If you read all of this, I am seriously impressed!! The whole process is unlike anything I could have ever imagined, it was the hardest thing I have ever done but worth every single second of it.

AN UPDATE: Bennett is doing fantastic. The bruising and swelling from the suction is almost completely gone, just a few little scabs left. He's eating like a champ and just the best little baby anyone could ask for!!!

7 comments:

Nikki said...

I made it to the end. For some reason I find birth stories fascinating...and the best birth control ever! It's an amazing thing to give birth. I can't believe what a woman's body is capable of. Looks like it was all worth it!

Love the new header. He looks like a little acorn. Just darling!

Darren and Brandi said...

Wow. I can't believe you went through most of that without an epidural! There's no way I could have! I got one the minute I got to the hospital (it was in the plans before I was even married haha). I'm sure feeling all that pain makes you appreciate the miracle of what happened. And next time you have a baby (but with an epidural) you will still remember what your body is going through and will probably just be grateful you won't have to feel it that time around :)

Andree and Josh said...

Birth stories always make me cry! Yours did for sure! You are a champ! Seriously! Congratulations again!

Kiara Buechler said...

So glad I finally got to read the whole story. I can empathize with every part of your experience, and am proud of you for saying there will be a next time, I am just not there yet!

Luke, Leah, Owen, and Sophia said...

I'm so glad he got here safe and sound after all that. I love him already and I haven't even met him yet!!!

Karen said...

Mandy,
Your birth story bought back memories of my experience having Janean. She was sunny side up too. Back then the epidural wasn't generally available. My plans like yours was to have her completely natural. I did make it but yes it can get excruiatingly painful. My doctor managed to get her turned and when he did she popped right out. It's amazing the difference it makes when they present just right. When Jeff was born, although he weighed over 9 pounds was positioned just right and after just three hours of labor he slid right out. I felt your pain as I read this and am very very proud of your determination and fortitude. You did good, girl.
Love, Aunt Karen

PrettyThings said...

Ow, and good job.

I plan on using drugs. Thanks for the honesty! lol.