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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Birth Stories - part 2

A couple days ago I posted about my first childbirth experience - if you missed it, you can click here to read it.

This post is the birth story of my son, "Bonehead", now 15 years old.

I had a pretty fantastic second pregnancy - lots of morningsickness for the first 5 months, but everything else was awesome!  I was thrilled to learn that I was having a boy, and my 4 1/2 year old daughter was SO excited to become a big sister.  She even wanted to be there, in the delivery room to be among the first to welcome him.

One of my closest friends was studying to become a midwife, and really wanted to be there when my son was born - not as a birth attendant, but as a 'witness' and to support me in any way I might need.  Since my due date was Thanksgiving Day, we were hoping for an early delivery, allowing my friend to still travel to be with her family for Thanksgiving, without missing my son's birth.  She dragged me around to walk for what seemed like HOURS in the days leading up to the due date.

I had three separate 'false alarms' with this one - all false labor, but very convincing.  Each time I felt so STUPID for not being able to tell the difference between Braxton-Hicks contractions and the real thing.  But even more, each time I was so incredibly disappointed to be heading home STILL PREGNANT, carrying my baby in my belly, instead of in my arms.

Finally, the morning before the due date, I awoke early to go to the bathroom and felt a SMALL trickle of fluid running down my thigh.  I didn't think my water had broken - but surely I could not have peed on myself without knowing, could I?  I called my doctor's office and left a message with the answering service, and got a call back almost immediately, telling me to go to the hospital.  I called ahead to let them know I was on my way, and was in a hospital bed less than 20 minutes later, being strapped to monitors.  The nurses used some kind of pH test strip to determine if the fluid leaking out of me was, indeed, amniotic fluid. AFFIRMATIVE.  But it was only a tiny bit, a 'high leak', as my OB later told me.

I had a few contractions while on the monitors, but they weren't regular AT ALL, so I was sent home a fourth time to WAIT.  My friend was leaving late that night for the holiday weekend, so she was desperate to get me INTO active labor immediately.  I had already been warned at the hospital that I needed to deliver the baby within 24 hours, as the risk of infection was going up exponentially with each hour that passed since my water 'broke'.  So I didn't argue when she wanted me to walk AGAIN.  We went window-shopping, and grocery shopping, and had lunch (she agreed with me that I needed to have a FULL stomach before leaving for the hospital, sine they would not let me eat once I arrived in full labor)

We walked.  And walked, and walked.  And nothing happened! She finally had to leave for her trip, and I went to bed early, knowing that I would be going in for a pitocin induction early in the morning.  I barely slept, and when my alarm went off at 6 AM, I was already dressed and heading out the door, but wasnt feeling fantastic. I was having some pretty good contractions, about 8 minutes apart - but they were all in my low back, so it felt very different from the labor contractions I had had with my daughter almost 5 years earlier. 

When I arrived at the hospital, I told the labor and delivery nurses that I was scheduled for induction, but was already having contractions.One of the nurses there had been on duty the night of my most recent false alarm, and she looked at me with a "yeah, right!" expression. 

I was examined, and found that I was, indeed, progressing with active labor - 3 cm dilated, and at least 40% effaced!  So, no pitocin.  :)  Unfortunately my own OB was sick, so one of her partners was on-call for her patients that day.

My doctor had promised me that I would not have to deal with the dreaded i.v. (have I mentioned that I HATE needles?) but of course the on-call doctor did not back me up when I tried to tell the nurses that I did NOT need an i.v.  Procedure, blah blah blah.  The main thing I hated about this was that my mobility was severely limited once I was hooked up, so I didn't walk as much as I could have/should have.

I also could not have the bathtub therapy that worked so well my first time around (even if this hospital offered, it which it did NOT) since my water had already broken.

My sister was my labor coach for this birth.  She arrived around 9 AM with my daughter, so we talked, did some puzzles to pass the time, and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV.  As the contractions worsened, my daughter seemed to get more and more worried/upset, but she was SO sweet about everything. 

At about 10:30, I was checked again - 4 cm dilated, 90% effaced.  After the exam my contractions seemed to intensify, and by 11:30 I felt the urge to push.  I was moaning through the contractions again, and my daughter became frightened - my sister took her to the waiting room where thankfully she was able to leave her with other family members who had gathered in anticipation.  I had my 'labor coach' back by my side by 11:45, when the nurses and other staff were busily prepping the room, converting the bed to a delivery table, and summoning the OB.

I could not hold back much longer, as the pressure to push became SO intense. The doctor walked into the room as I was in the middle of a seriously painful contraction, and I was kind of freaking out at this point.  He pulled on his gloves and instructed me to push, and I was SO relieved!

With the next contraction I pushed for a count of ten, then took a breath and pushed to another count of ten (my sister was AMAZING helping me, especially considering she had never seen a birth before).

The nurses told me what I good job I was doing, and with the next contraction I was told to push REALLY hard.  About 3 seconds into pushing, I felt a burning, tearing sensation, and someone (a nurse?  the OB?  my sister?  not sure) said ,"I can see the head!" so I pushed through - with a loud scream, and out popped my son's head.

Yes, on the second push.  The doctor barely had time to angle his little shoulder before his whole body slipped out - WITHOUT any pushing from me!

12:03 PM, perfect little boy. 

My daughter missed the actual birth, but in the end that was probably a good thing.  It really was more than she could handle, seeing me in so much pain. 

The phone beside my bed rang just minutes after the birth - it was the hospital cafeteria calling to ask which dessert I wanted with my 'Thanksgiving Lunch".....pumpkin pie, or chocolate cake?  (I was STARVING by this point!) Of course I asked for BOTH, but they made me choose, and pumpkin pie sounded pretty darned good. 

It was.

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