Monday, December 2, 2013

The First Birth Story

A little intro before the birth story itself: 

The first birth occurred in October of 2010 (and is of my daughter, who I am calling Autumn in this blog). This birth story was written long before I entered the blogging world and (although I also have a saved copy on my computer) it is printed and stored in a box with other mementos from my daughter's life. Her birth story is nestled in the box with the card with her footprints, the little knit hat they put on her right after birth and the tiniest little blood pressure cuff you can imagine from when she was hospitalized when she was only 3 days old. This birth story was written for her so that she will know the beginning of her journey into this world. As she reads it, I hope she may also look at the other items - the foot prints, the hat, the blood pressure cuff - and be able to imagine herself being that small but changing our lives in the biggest way possible. 

I decided to include the birth story here because I cannot imagine having a mommy blog without sharing this story. This version is slightly shorter - with some of the finer details removed. 

At 41 weeks I had an ultrasound that showed marginal amniotic fluid (but everything was looking good with the baby) so I was told to return for a second ultrasound in half a week for a recheck. At the second ultrasound the fluid had decreased further. After more tests and long talks with the midwives, discussing risks and benefits, we decided to start an induction. I had been having contractions for the past month (on and off) and they picked up a little more on the day of induction (maybe 3-4 every hour). I had my first “check” of my pregnancy that evening and found I was 2cm and 80% effaced at the start of the induction. The induction started at about 10 PM with the placement of a Foley bulb. This is a procedure used for induction by placing a tube in the birth canal and inflating the balloon on the catheter. Unfortunately, my water was broken by accident by my midwife while placing the Foley. 

At 2 AM  I began to have regular and more frequent contractions (every 5 minutes). When the stronger contractions started, I had been sleeping comfortably for about 3 hours. It was not the contraction that woke me though. I felt very strong kicks from my baby and then the strongest feeling of gastric reflux imaginable, followed by a contraction. This is how my labor continued for the rest of the night until about 7 AM when I was ready to get up and get moving. We walked the halls for a couple of hours. My contractions continued to be every 5 minutes apart.  We were mostly just experiencing giddy anticipation and labor was completely tolerable.

The midwife came in about 9 AM and removed the Foley. I was 4cm, no change of effacement. I walked and walked some more to try to increase my contractions. I had my ear phones in and was listening to my birthing affirmations during my hours of hallway pacing. I also spent some time standing in the shower (which felt wonderful and relieved much of the discomfort). After about 5 hours (at 2 PM) my contractions continued to be 5 minutes apart and I was checked for the 3rd time during my pregnancy. I only had a 1cm change (now 5cm). After much discussion it was then decided to start a Pitocin drip. As much as I didn't want to do so, it seemed my progression was not increasing and I was getting some pressure from the MD on-call because my water had been broken 16 hours earlier. My midwife started me on a very low dose with the plan to go up every hour, as needed, and to continue walking. 
Despite being on the Pitocin drip, I was able to continue my labor as I had planned. I ate and drank until I no longer wanted to do so (which was when I threw up on my RN's shoes in transition!). I was put on the portable monitor and allowed to walk and get in the shower for pain relief. I was checked about four and a half hours after the drip was stared (about 7 PM) and was still only about 5cm. I cried at that news because the contractions had picked up in frequency and strength so much and I was certain that I was going to be further than that. At the time of that check I had forgotten what I had learned in birthing classes - that our labor and body is often ahead and the "checks" may reveal a slower level of progression. I felt a bit defeated and I decided to get in the shower again to help ease my growing discomfort. I was in the shower for about 30 minutes and it was during the shower my contractions increased further- I didn't even truly notice because it came on so quickly.  

As soon as I got out of the shower - transition was in full force and everything does get a little blurry after that! I do remember being freezing after the shower and was distracted by getting dry and warm. As crazy as it may sound, the distraction of being cold helped me get through the new intensity of the contractions. During this time, I was only comfortable in a standing position. As a contraction started, I would grip the bed's side rails and lean over to get through each one. Thankfully, this intensity only lasted about a half hour (although at this point I had no concept of time). At some point during this I requested my midwife to come in my room and although I never articulated the reason I wanted her, she came and sat with me anyway. And an hour and a half after that check when I felt defeated - I started pushing!!

It took me about 80 minutes to give birth to my baby. I used my breathing and self-hypnosis throughout and my husband was by my side and encouraging continuously. There where times when I felt as though I was not in full relaxation and I was thinking too hard about things but then when I was told that I napped (and didn’t even realize it) I knew I really was relaxed.  There are a few special memories for me during the birth. As the baby crowned, my midwife asked me if I wanted to touch my baby. I declined at first because I was very focused and I think I must have been worried it would take me out of my concentration. A few moments later, she asked again and this time I was ready. For the very first time, I touched my baby. This must have been motivation not distraction because I got strength and pushed on. There were times that I thought to myself during both the transition and the birth that I was really tired and it was getting quite difficult. Each time, something happened that was able to motivate me through it. Another time like this was when the midwife asked me if it would help me to hear that my baby had a head full of dark hair. Very soon after learning that my sweet baby was born.