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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Birth Story (Bobblehead)

My OB scheduled me for induction late Thursday night (September 16).  I was instructed to call the hospital one hour ahead to make sure they had a room ready for me, and when I did this I got the disappointing news that they were packed - they asked me to call back at 4 AM.

With hubby deployed, my sister in law was standing in as my coach, and had already driven almost 2 hours to get to my house, so she took me outside to walk for about an hour, hoping to get labor going on its own.  My contractions did get stronger and closer together in that hour (2 to 3 minutes apart) but they spaced apart again as soon as I sat down and put my feet up.  By 2 AM I was in bed, trying to get some sleep.

At 4 AM I called the hospital again, and was again told not to come in yet.  This time they wanted me to call back at 8 AM.  I was so disappointed because I had sincerely hoped and believed that I would be giving birth by 8 AM, but I called my Doula (who lives about half an hour away from the hospital) to let her know NOT to head over just yet, and I tried to get some more sleep.  I said TRIED.

At 8 AM I was told to call back at noon, and I finally just lost it.  Tears and everything.  I couldn't even CALL the doula with this news, as I was so upset - so I sent her a text instead.  I continued to monitor my sporadic contractions, and attempted a nap at 10 AM.  When I got up a little before noon, I figured this would FOR SURE be it.  I called the hospital again at noon, guessed it, I was put off AGAIN. 

This time they wanted me to call back at 3 PM, so my SIL & I decided to go have lunch and then walk a few laps around the mall.  More great contractions, but not staying regular, of course.  At 2:30 the hospital finally called ME and told me they had a room ready for me.  By the time I actually got to the hospital and into my room, it was about 3:15 PM.  The Doula arrived moments later, and I was READY.  So so so READY! In my mind, at least.

SIL and me - still smiling, so this must have been
in the first 8 hours somewhere :)

After checking my cervix (which was very posterior so it was hard for the nurse to find) and determining that I was dilated to 2 cm, the cranky nurse who was first assigned to me got my i.v. started, and at 5:20 PM the pitocin was FINALLY started.

Sitting on the birth ball

My OB was supposed to come in and break my water, and while we waited I used several different methods to cope with the increasingly painful contractions.  Breathing, counting, sitting on a birth ball, vocalizing/moaning, etc.  My favorite position was actually standing so I could sway and rock my hips to get through the pain.  The awesome Doula massaged my feet with scented lotion, rubbed my back, and used 'light touch massage' to help me focus on anything OTHER than the pain.  To my frustration, the contractions STILL were not staying regular, even after the Pitocin dosage was increased twice.

Squatting beside te bed for comfort
in the middle of a contraction

Shift change at 7 PM brought me an even crankier nurse.  I think that one may have had a problem with the fact that I had a Doula, a birth plan, etc. In other words, she doesn't like patients who have thoughts/feelings/ideas of their own.

Around 9:30 PM my OB finally showed up to check my progress.  I was at 3 cm (after 4 hours on pitocin I was so disappointed, as my natural labors all progressed MUCH faster than this!)   She broke my amniotic sac and instructed the nurses to call her back as soon as there was ANY change, because we all expected the next stage to go very fast - and the OB lives 15 minutes from the hospital.

multi-tasking...texting, timing contractions
on the iPad, OH AND BREATHING!  :)

laughing when the stupid annoying
automated blood pressure cuff
overinflated itself and popped off - AGAIN.

At this point, I was losing patience with the cranky nurses and my own doctor's outright bitchiness when I told her I did not want an epidural (she likes the epidural thing because it is easier to control the final stage of labor that way - so she wouldn't have to rush to the hospital or possibly not make it in time).  The thing that pissed me off about that was that I HAD told her in her office that I wanted an unmedicated delivery!  Several times.  Anyway, like I said, I started to get cranky by the time she left, and over the next hour my contractions felt a lot stronger and closer together, and I felt that tell-tale pressure in my low back (kind of an "I gotta poop" feeling). 

I asked the nurse to come in and check me - which I dreaded because she had to practially "fist" me just to find my cervix - and she told me the pressure I was feeling was just "wishful thinking" as I was barely at 4 cm and baby's head was still at a  -2 station (very high up).  I suppressed the urge to smack the rude nurse for being so condescending, and instead I tried a few more positions to relieve some of the pain and pressure in my low back.  The nurse really wanted me to lie flat on my back, but the pain was so intense that I simply couldn't.

My Doula was so awesome - she helped me find comfortable positions that would also encourage baby to descend into the birth canal.  We had already figured out that he must be in the "sunny side up" position(posterior presentation, with baby's forehead and face emerging first, rather than the back of baby's head) so we focused on positions that would open my pelvis and give him room to hopefully rotate around to face in the anterior position.

talking to hubby through a contraction

I was still very much in control at this point, and we all laughed and made jokes, and had some of my favorite 80s music playing on my iPod.  When the doctor informed the nurse that part of the difficulty in locating my cervix was due to my unusually long vaginal tract, I asked if that was the female equivalent of being 'well hung'....SIL laughed, and about 30 seconds later the Doula got my joke and laughed too.

sitting on birth ball, resting my head,
and getting a fantastic backrub from the Doula

Around 1 AM, and then again around 2 AM, I was checked for dilation and was found to be at 5cm - unbelievable to me, because previous experience had led me to expect less than an hour from 4 cm to 10 cm.  At 3 AM the exhaustion, pain, and fear finally got to me, and I begged for an epidural.  The nurse was bitchy about this, but brought me paperwork to sign consenting to the procedure.  She then checked me for dilation again, to make sure it was not already 'too late' for the epidural.  I panicked when a contraction hit WHILE her hand was inside me, because the pain & pressure had already been unbearable without that added discomfort. 

This was where I snapped, literally wanted to give up - typically I do this when I hit the stage known as transition, which is a SHORT stage for me, moments before giving birth.  But instead of being ready to push, I was told that I was at 8 cm.  Still, 8 cm was better than being stuck at 5!

PROGRESS! Finally.

The nurse asked if I still wanted the epidural, and I wavered - I knew I couldn't take much more of this painful back labor, but at the same time....if I could go from 8cm to 10cm super fast, maybe I could do it without the pain killer.....MAYBE.

I asked instead to try something intravenously that would take the edge off the contractions.  They gave me a half dose of nubain, which took the edge off the next three contractions.  Every contraction after that brought more panic, and I found myself fighting against the contractions.  Straight-up FEAR.  Thank God my Doula was there to calm me down, help me re-focus, and remind me to breathe!  Part of a song ran through my head, "this joke isn't funny anymore" (The Smiths) and I actually LAUGHED, mid-contraction.  It was a weak laugh, but for a moment I felt human again.

My OB came in and checked me again.  I was so relieved to see her there, knowing her presence must mean it was really almost OVER, but then she told the nurse that her estimate of 8 cm had been a little hasty - Dr. instead called it at "6 or 7 cm" but noted that there was a 'lip' of cervix that just was not going to retract because of the posterior position of baby's head.  She had me lie on my left side with my right leg elevated, and after a few seriously painful contractions, had me turn to my right side for more of the same.  This position was incredibly painful, to the extent that I literally thrashed my head around in pain with each contraction, but at the same time I could FEEL baby's head finally slipping under my flat pelvic bone.  My Doula had given me a little foam stress-bal to squeeze, but it was shaped like a pig.....I squeezed that thing so hard with each contraction, I thought it was going to turn into sausage. :)

Adding to the immense pressure in my low back, and that constant "I gotta poop" feeling, I had the sudden urge to urinate.  The doctor informed me that I would have to use a bedpan (which pissed me off, if you'll pardon the pun) but I was resigned to being forced to stay in the bed.  I tried to pee in the bedpan, found I couldn't, and then almost as soon as the bedpan was taken away, I suddenly peed all over myself.  Well, all over the chucks pad that was already soaked with amniotic fluid, of course. 

Apparently my full bladder was the last thing keeping baby's head from descending, because as soon as I emptied it, the persistent pressure was replaced with an overwhelming need to push.  I told the nurse this, (probably screamed it) and my doctor magically appeared to check me again.  She told me NOT to push and I yelled that I HAD to push - like NOW.

I tried to focus on the Doula who was modeling a quick breathing technique designed to help me hold back (little huffs of air like blowing out a birthday candle).  I was vaguely aware of the staff rushing around to prepare for the delivery - my bed was taken apart to convert to a delivery table, a tech wheeled in a cart with instruments on it, and another contraction gripped me - I had to PUSH. Needed to pee, to poop, but mostly needed to just push the baby out.

And suddenly it was over. 

I had pushed once, baby's head popped out, and before I knew it he was in my arms.  Hubby was on the phone with his sister, who stood next to me, and he got to hear little Bobblehead's first cries.  It was 5:50 AM my time, exactly 12 1/2 hours after the pitocin was first started through my i.v.....and where hubby is, it was 5:20 PM.

Daddy saying hello to Bobblehead
from the other side of the world

Baby's apgar scores were 9 and 10 (and the tech said she NEVER gives tens!).  He was literally absolutely PERFECT.  The back of his head - the part that would have presented first if he had been in a traditional position - was red and looked kind of scraped where it was forced under my pelvic bone, but he was 100% healthy (and still is, five days later)

SIL, Doula, me, and Baby Bobblehead,
about 15 min. after the birth
(Look how tired we all were!)

Always grinning in his sleep
I wonder what he dreams about?


  1. Aw he is adorable!!! Your labour doesnt sound ideal at alll but hes here now : )!

  2. I agree, he is absolutely adorable! I am sure your labor was worth it all to see that precious little fave!

  3. Agreed, definitely NOT an ideal labor, but at least the delivery itself went lightning fast, and he is SO PERFECT - 100% worth the waiting and the pain (and did I mention the WAITING?)
    I'm just not a patient person, so this 12 1/2 hour labor was torture for me - especially compared with my first three labors, all 5 to 6 hours each.