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Friday, May 21, 2010

Birth Stories, part 3

**If you missed the previous installments, you can click for part 1 and then read part 2

When I found out I was pregnant with baby #3, my daughter was about to turn 9 years old, and my son was 4 1/2.  I was (finally) finishing my A.A. degree that summer, and had just gotten engaged to the man of my dreams after 2 years of dating.  While this baby was every bit as much of a 'surprise' as the first two, I think I was MORE excited about being pregnant this time - now that I knew what pregnancy/birth/mommying was really like.

I had the same heavy morningsickness in the first 5 months - losing almost 20 lbs in that time period.  Of course, I started each pregnancy 20 pounds heavier than the previous one, so that didn't concern me....and I managed to put the weight right back on, plus at least 10 lbs more, by the end of the pregnancy anyway.

This pregnancy was the first one that included heartburn for me, and thankfully only at the very end.

Like #2, the final weeks of this pregnancy were marked with false labor, but this baby trumped the others.....while number 1 and number 2 finally arrived 'under threat of induction' - with natural labor starting just in time to avoid pitocin - number 3 taught me that there IS such a thing as a 'failed induction'.

First false labor trip to the hospital was 4 days before the Jan 16th due date...contractions stayed regular for two hours after I was strapped to the monitors, but my cervix would not budge - same story I had heard for a couple of weeks, 2cm and 10% to 15% effaced.  At the end of those two very convincing hours, though, the 8-minutes-apart contractions became irregular again, and I was eventually sent home with that familiar mix of disappointment and frustration.  I really honestly thought this was the real thing!

Nearly a week later, on January 18th, I went to the hospital for a scheduled induction.  Pitocin drip was started at 7AM, and some very painful contractions ensued.  Initially they were 8 or 9 minutes apart, and by 10 AM they were coming 5 minutes apart.  My OB came in to check my cervix and had some really upsetting news: 2cm dilated, 10% effaced.  REALLY?  I mean, these contractions really HURT.  A LOT.  Worse than I remembered the 'real' ones from the previous two births.  But then, I had been told that pitocin contractions could be more painful than natural ones, so I just grimaced and nodded when the dr. increased my dosage and the contractions came stronger - and by noon, they had gotten faster - barely 3 minutes apart. 

Another examination showed slight progress - still only 2cm dilated, but roughly 20% effaced.  So at least my cervix seemed to be thinning a little, even if it did not want to open up yet.  A nurse asked me if I wanted something for the pain, and I declined - I figured, if this was anything like the first two times, then I was within a few hours of giving birth, and would tough it out.  Instead, with contractions 2-3 minutes apart, and another exam showing NO further change in my cervix, my doctor made the decision to send me home.  Again.  Pitocin was stopped just after 7 PM, and by 8 PM I was at home, crying. 

There was a total lunar eclipse two days later (January 20, now four days past my due date) and we videotaped part of it - and videotaped me going into labor....or so we thought.  The contractions did not hurt as bad as the pitocin ones, but they were definitely more on the pain side than on the 'discomfort' side.  We waited until they had been regular for a couple of hours, and went in again.  This was my 3rd visit to labor and delivery in this pregnancy, and each time I was admitted to a different room; this hospital has 5 "LDR" rooms (Labor, Delivery, and Recovery) and I had now been in 3 of the 5.

I waited anxiously to be examined - and was happy to see that the pattern of my contractions was continuing after I was hooked up to the belly monitors.  And the exam this time showed......yes, you guessed it: 2cm and 20% effaced.  We went home, no longer awed by the remaining effects of the eclipse, just exhausted and disappointed. 

Over the next 8 days, I had more contractions, and  *almost* went to the hospital 3 more times that week - but by now I was feeling so stupid for not even being able to tell the difference between 'real' labor and 'false' labor, that I was reluctant to GO to the hospital.  Finally on a Thursday night, around 8 PM, I was having strong enough contractions, regular enough, that I really knew it was 'real'.  In fact, I was so convinced this was it, that I decided to eat really well before going to the hospital (knowing they would not let me eat once I was there).  I had made 'enchilada bake' for dinner that evening, so I heated up some leftovers and ate as much as I could, and put a new paperback book into my labor bag to replace the book I had started in the hospital the day of the induction - since I had finished that book already.

We left for the hospital around 10 PM, but stopped on the way to buy magazines for my fiance, and we didn't arrive at the hospital until around 10:45.  I was upset to learn that my own OB was not available for the delivery (just like with baby #2) but at least this time the nurses gave up their fight to hook me up to a useless i.v.  I may or may not have threatened to go have the baby by myself in the hospital parking lot if they did not "get that needle away from me"!

First exam upon arrival showed me at 4cm and over 60% effaced, and my bag of waters broke during this exam.  I laughed at my fiance and told him he wasn't going to have time to read any of those magazines!  He found the History Channel on the TV, so he didn't care.  He was actually awesome, helping me breathe through the contractions, rubbing my back just like they taught him in the childbirth classes.

At midnight I asked to be checked again for progress, but by the time they got around to it it was almost 1 am, and my contractions were barely 3 minutes apart.

9 cm, 100% effaced. 

The nurse who checked me asked me to try pushing against her hand, while she had it inside of me - talk about PAIN!  Ouch.  I guess the little push that I managed before I screamed in pain was enough to convince her that the baby was coming, and quick.  She called for another nurse, who summoned the on-call OB.  In moments, the now-familiar flurry of activity as the staff prepped the room for the actual birth was enough to distract me from some very painful contractions.

My first push, around 1:20 AM brought the baby's head within view, but the burning pain kept me from holding that postion, and he slipped ever-so-slightly back up the birth canal.  I caught my breath through the rest of that contraction, and when the next one hit a moment later, I pushed through the whole thing - it helped so much to hear the nurses and my fiance counting out the seconds as I pushed.  Just when I thought I could not bear the pain, his head popped out.  I screamed once, then halfway laughed at the relief from the pressure I had felt seconds before.

In another instant, a contraction gripped me and the doctor told me to push.  He guided my newborn son smoothly up onto my belly before we could even count to 3 on that push. 

1:25 AM......another PERFECT baby. 

2 1/2 hours after I arrived at the hospital.

2 pushes.

and only 12 days after his due date!

My fiance (now husband) wanted to videotape the birth, but the nurses asked him to help hold my right leg back for pushing - so he set the camera on the bedside table (still rolling) and we at least got audio of the birth. 

This child (now ten years old) is the one I affectionately call 'Knucklehead' here in blogworld - not to be confused with older brother, 'Bonehead'.   And he can't WAIT to be a big brother when baby #4 arrives in September

.....or October, if this one pulls a Knucklehead and comes way late!

1 comment:

  1. Your last one sounds an awful lot like mine were, not just popping out. The first one was 2 weeks late and induced multiple ways and came out after like 30 hrs of labor. Second was better, but still induced. It's nice that you are documenting these stories. One day I'll get up the nerve.