28 October 2011

Baby Came In a Hospital, Part 2

Check out the previous post to orient yourself to this one...

It was D-Day and we arrived to the hospital at 5:15 am. They started the Pitocin right away, and contractions were coming full force by 7:15 am. It just so happens that our nurse on the 8a - 3p shift had worked as a doula at the birthing center for 5 years prior to going to work as a labor and delivery nurse in the hospital.  We *loved* her! She was on the exact same page as we were.  When I mentioned to the nurse how asking someone to run a marathon and telling them all they can eat is popsicles and ice chips to fuel their efforts is a little ridiculous, she agreed.  She agreed!  I went on to ask her, hypothetically of course, if a woman were to find herself in labor and were to eat a spoon of peanut butter and have some G2 for fuel if that would be a good choice. She hypothetically said yes. You know how I said at the end of this post  that despite our disappointment at not delivering baby at the birthing center that God showed up? I'm just sayin'...

Okay, back to labor... I had the best labor coaches in the world- the hubs and my sister Jules, with the occasional cameo from my mom.  The nurses were also great support, and one of the midwifes from the birthing center was in and out all day too.  I felt such support surrounding me and felt so well cared for that it was extraordinarily easy for me to be entirely focused internally on the process my body was going through.

If you've never had the experience, contractions offer a finite amount of pain as your body goes through the process of preparing to deliver a baby.  During each "rush," the whole point is to tolerate the pain until it passes. The actual pushing doesn't come until the very end.

Looking back on it, I think the hubs and I would both agree that the day existed outside of normal, linear time.  During each contraction I had my eyes closed << in anticipating labor, I thought I would want to focus on something visually, but not so much when it was go time >>, and at first they came not too hard and about 5 minutes apart. Of course they ramped up in frequency and duration as the pitocin continued to drip.  I would do a variety of things to get through each contraction: focused breathing, walking, moving around on the exercise ball, listening to the music playing, talking and laughing.  Sometimes the midwife and the nurse would offer counter pressure on the back of my hips which provided great relief, even though I didn't have back labor << thank God! >>.

So I labor, and labor, and labor some more.  Periodic checks indicate slow but fairly steady progress, and shortly after lunchtime we agreed to have my water broken.  Around mid-afternoon I had some significant nausea and even threw up a couple of times.  For a while I labored in an over-sized bathtub which was glorious. As we got further into the evening, I was showing all the signs and symptoms of a woman close to delivery.

A check at 9:15 pm indicated I was dilated to just 6 cm, and baby still hadn't descended all the way into the birth canal.  By this point I'd been laboring for 14 hours straight, and get this: I fell asleep for 15 minutes.  Fifteen minutes! The contractions didn't slow down or stop during that time- my exhaustion masked the pain in order for my body to rest... remember how I said insomnia hit hard at the end of my pregnancy?  I was in labor after 2 nights in a row of just 3 hours of sleep... I'm still amazed thinking back that I slept through 6 or 7 hard contractions.

A little while later Dr. Midwife comes in and talks to us about the sitch.  Despite hard contractions that were no more than 1 minute apart, baby wasn't making his way down << oh wait... let me guess.... could it be because he's a stubborn little fellow who likes to do things on his terms and in his time? >> .  Effectively, labor stalled and baby said, "I'm not budging."

One option was to increase the pitocin and monitor the contractions from the inside to keep a closer eye on progress and on the baby; however, because the baby hadn't descended into the canal enough, it wasn't definite whether or not this intervention would ultimately lead to a natural childbirth.  The other option was a C-Section.

If you'd asked me before I was in labor how I felt about the possibility of having my baby surgically removed from my body, you would have gotten an ear full.

After experiencing 15 1/2 hours of labor after a week and a half of trying every possible natural labor inducer, the hubs and I had total conviction that we had tried absolutely everything to get the baby out naturally. In that moment, we were both filled with peace that God had other plans, despite the plans that we had made.

In the end, little dude ignored his Final Eviction Notice and the officials had to go in and force him out, belongings and all.  At 10:35 pm we agreed to a c-section, and baby boy arrived at 10:54 pm.

Get this: in the OR, doc delivers our son and he hands the "scissors" to David to cut the umbilical cord.  Afterwards the nurses were like, "Oh my gosh, Dads never get to cut the cord in the OR!"  That's just one example of how blessed we were through the whole process- our OBGYN broke all the rules to follow our birth plan as closely as he could.

Now let me just say that when I laid eyes on our boy, I blubbered like a baby << just not like a newborn baby- did you know newborns don't cry actual tears? >>.  All of the effort, the emotion, the excitement- all of it brought me to this glorious moment when I fell in love all over again and for the first time ever, and new heart and brain matter began to form that just didn't exist before my son.

When we're coming out of the OR, I couldn't take my eyes off of our son, wrapped snugly in my arms.  I do recall hearing our dear friend's 4 year old son say to his papa, "Look! They found Joaquin!"

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