February 19, 2010

Micah's Birth Story Part 2

Okay, where was I...

Oh yes. Pain. Whole new meaning. People. Full of crap.

What is this picture? This machine is called a contractionometer.

Actually, I just made that up.

It does, however, measure the timing and intensity of my contractions. The bottom portion does. See the very end of the graph there? Let me just back up a second to say that in one of the books I read the author made the statement, "Because of the break between contractions, you spend more time pain-free than in pain." She is also full of crap.

But that was the constant refrain running through my mind: More time pain-free. More time pain-free. More time pain-free.

That picture is proof that I was not spending more time pain-free than in pain. See the mountain peaks at the end? Three in a row? See how they're best friends? All cozied up next to one another? Arms raised to the sky in a hallelujah chorus? That translates to no break in pain. And see how they're very tall? That translates to tall pain. (Tall pain is more painful than short pain, FYI.)

Okay, so back to my story. I believe we left off at 8 centimeters.

At this point, I had lost my normal mental faculties. I was in survival mode. And all I could think about was how weak and tired I was (no food for nearly 10 hours, an incredible loss of blood), and how if the nurse pressed the fetal monitor into me one more time during a contraction, I was going to break her wrists one by one by one. Because once I ran out of her wrists, I was going to start breaking the wrists of the people around me who thought it was a good idea to rub my back.

Because of the placental abruption, the baby had to be constantly monitored because things can go really badly very fast. This meant that during contractions the nurse had to press the monitor into my stomach, which was making a difficult situation a million times worse.

I couldn't imagine going the last 2 centimeters and then pushing as well. I was done in. I called the troops back and raised my white flag of surrender. I wanted pain meds. And quick.

I had no concept of time at this point, but I believe it was sometime after 10pm when I received my blessing.

(Also referred to as an epidural.)

Life took a very different turn after that. I absolutely and completely enjoyed every moment of the rest of my labor. I would even say it was downright fun. We laughed and joked about the words that came out of my mouth during the worst of it (more on that later), I rested, we turned the lights down and played some music, I ate a little bit.

It was just purely enjoyable. I was surrounded by people who loved me and were doing everything they could to support me.. I felt very at peace. I also felt very afraid. I couldn't believe after all this time, I was going to finally meet my son. In fact, I didn't feel ready. But there was no turning back and I knew I would never feel fully ready. Plus, the thought of being pregnant one more day was enough to send me screaming into the abyss.

I may have been dilated to more than 8 at the time of the epidural because shortly after I received it the nurse checked me (she finally could without fears of me breaking her wrist) and I was fully dilated. Just before I received it, I was sitting up to be prepped for it, and I felt my body transitioning. I began to shake and yell, "I have to push!" In fact I pushed with everything in me, it was an uncontrollable urge. I couldn't have not pushed if I'd wanted to. Which is why I kept asking, "Where is he? Where is he?" (He being the Archangel, Gabriel.) (Otherwise known as the anesthesiologist.) I knew that if I went much longer I would be too far gone to receive any pain meds.

I pushed for approximately two hours. Even with the epidural I strongly felt the urge to push. Towards the end I was getting extremely tired, and all I could think about was it being over and him being here. At 1:19am, I pushed and pushed and on the last push I thought, "I'm not doing this one more time, this is it!" And he came out all at once in one push. With his hand up by his head. All 8 pounds and 3 ounces of him.

The doctor immediately put him up on my chest, and I immediately began to cry. I didn't even look at him, I just held him to my chest and cried. I couldn't believe it. I had actually done it. He was really here. And he was mine. Ours.

The nurses let me hold him for as long as I wanted. I finally was curious to know how much he weighed, and that's when they took him, weighed him, cleaned him up, and gave him right back.

Side note: I could not have asked for a more fantastic experience at the hospital. Every single person I encountered, from the doctor to the janitor, was unbelievably kind and sensitive and made sure they respected my wishes.

The next hour was a blur as well. Everyone held him, Matt stayed close and kissed my head.

(I have tried for a ridiculously long time now to upload the picture that was snapped of Matt kissing my head, but Blogger is being dumb and I officially cannot. Sorry.)

So after a couple hours of loving on our son and rejoicing in his arrival, I was about to die of exhaustion. It was now probably about 4 in the morning. So they took him to get his first bath and I stood up to go to the bathroom, with some help. And almost immediately passed out. I don't remember this, but Matt says I turned pale white, my eyes became glazed over, and I just passed out. I woke up to alcohol under my nose and the next several hours are a blur. This same thing happened a couple hours later. It was probably a combination of loss of blood, lack of food, and utter exhaustion.

We spend the next couple of days in the hospital and left to begin life with our new baby boy. So that concludes my birth story. Except I must, for the sake of some humor, include some quotes of things that I may or may not have said during the heat of the contractions...

Stop touching me.

Stop opening and closing the curtain.


What is all of this crap on me?!

I think I'm going to die.

I want the rapture to happen.

Nurse: Can I check you now?
Me: No. No, no, no, NO.

Nurse: Sara, I'm sorry, but I have to check you, I haven't heard the baby's heartbeat in a few minutes.
Me: No. He's fine.

Anesthesiologist: Do you have any history of...
Me: No. No, no, no, no, no.

Baby Micah, we love you with all our hearts. You were worth every second and then some!

February 17, 2010

Micah's Birth Story Part 1

Wow, I have been away for a long time. But this sweet face is the reason why.

Micah Justice was born February 1st, 2010 at 1:19 in the morning. He weighed 8lbs., 3oz. and was 21 inches long.

The night before he was born.

Over time, and who knews in how many parts, I will tell my birth story. Hopefully fewer parts, but life with a newborn is a new kind of normal for me.

I had read a ton about birth and preparing as best as you can for birth, and had a pretty good idea of the type of birth setting I would like. As natural an environment as possible. I didn't want to feel like I was in a hospital having a medical procedure done. I wanted to be as free as possible to do what comes naturally for the healthily birthing woman.

At 3:30am on January 31st (his due date), I went to the bathroom for the umpteenth time and for some reason thought I should turn on the light (which I never do when using the restroom in the middle of the night for the umpteenth time) and make sure I didn't see any spotting. Just in case since it was officially my due date. Lo and behold there was spotting. I was officially losing my mucus plug. Thank You, Lord, it was finally beginning.

I woke Matt up to tell him and to reread information about pre-labor signs and the mucus plug, but was quite devastated to see that labor could still be days off, that celebration may not be as near as I thought. At that point Matt tried to listen to the baby's heartbeat with a stethoscope but was unable to find it. So at 4:30 in the morning he got dressed, went to work, borrowed the Doppler, came home and immediately found our baby's heartbeat. I love that man.

At that point I was experiencing mild period-like cramps, nothing major and nothing regular. So we went back to sleep. Or at least I tried to. The next morning I let Matt and my mom rest as long as possible, since I just had this feeling that today was The Day, and I wanted them to be as rested as possible. At around 11am we all started to stir, Matt made us breakfast, and I simply laid around on the couch watching HGTV, trying to time my contractions, which were becoming a little more regular at that point. I was feeling pretty moody and starting to get uncomfortable. My sweet mother constantly reassured me that she was there if I needed anything but that she didn't want to bother me. I didn't know what I needed at that point, except some answers.

WAS today the day? WAS this real labor? Was I making things up? Was I even pregnant???

At around 1pm, I decided that I needed to get out and walk to at least help the process if I truly were pregnant and this truly was labor. So we decided to drive up to our local ski area, since we'd heard the night before that significant elevation changes can expedite labor as well. So we bundled up, and drove our Jetta in snowy weather on snowy roads with no snow tires to our local ski area. Or I should say we tried to drive our Jetta in snowy weather on snowy roads with no snow tires to our local ski area. We got about halfway up and promptly got stuck on ice and snow. Three other vehicles, in their attempt to help us, also got promptly stuck.

Meanwhile, I was now having regular contractions. Halfway up to our ski area, in the snow and ice, with a vehicle that's stuck and now friends with three other stuck vehicles, and at least a half hour's drive away from our hospital. Long story short, involving lots of panic and sweat, we did eventually get unstuck. Much to Matt's near anxiety-attack-ridden relief.

We drove back into town and decided that we should get some lunch. Let me back up to say that I had talked to my midwife early that morning and explained to her the symptoms I was experiencing. I had continued to "spot" except for at that time the spotting was becoming quite regular and more period-like. That was a concern to her, but she said as long as I was not soaking pads, I should be ok.

Back to our lunch. I had officially entered the soaking pads category. And I was still having regular contractions. We decided that we'd better head to the hospital to at least have it checked out, if not more for our peace of mind. We stopped back by our house, picked up my suitcase (just in case this was the real thing) and our box of supplies and headed off to the hospital.

As soon as I checked in the nurse checked me and was immediately concerned at the amount of blood I was losing. She said it was definitely not normal. She also informed me that I was dilated 4 centimeters and 100% effaced (thank You, Lord!). She said I would definitely be staying and called in the doctor immediately to examine me and figure out the cause for the loss of blood. After an examination, he said that it definitely appeared to be a placental abruption and with that my plans for laboring as naturally as possible were shot to the ground. Rather than intermittent fetal monitoring, I was to have continuous monitoring AND have an IV due to my severely increased risk for an emergency caesarean and potential need for a blood transfusion AND was not going to be allowed food.

All giant bummers. My desire for intermittent monitoring and food were so that I could have the freedom and energy to move about while in labor and to utilize the tub as well. Which I was still able to do after all. Utilize the tub that is.

Within a very short time of arriving at the hospital, around 4pm, I had transitioned into active labor. The contractions began to get very uncomfortable. Very. But not unbearable. I stayed walking about, trying to move as much as possible. I was holding off getting into the tub until I was at least dilated 5-6 centimeters. I had read that getting in sooner could slow down the process. Once I was dilated to 6, I was definitely needing the tub. We had transitioned from uncomfortable contractions to very painful, though still not unbearable.

While in the tub, the contractions began to be excruciating. Within an hour in the tub I had dilated from a 6 to an 8. Pain had taken on a whole new meaning.

And for all those people that say that fill-in-the-blank is worse than the pain of childbirth, they're full of crap.

Part 2 to come soon.