Friday, October 15, 2010

I Interrupt My Lack of Posting

with a birth story!

I started this blog in 2008, just two weeks after the Joyful One was born. I can't believe that now I've got four kids, and now I'm sharing the birth story of Miss Radiance (name subject to change).

As a bit of history, my first three were all born after their due dates, so I was expecting an October baby. Clearly this baby had other plans, since her pregnancy was so different than all of my others.

I went to bed exhausted at 11 pm on my due date of 9/28. I couldn't sleep, which was nothing hew, but was a little bit over it by 12:45. I thought I heard a popping sound about 12:30, but couldn't tell what it was, so I didn't worry about it. However, a mere 15 minutes later, I heard a second pop and felt a big gush.

I told the Music Man that my water had broken. Unimpressed, he rolled over and went back to sleep. I got up to head to the bathroom and sat there for about 10 minutes waiting for it to stop.

When it decided to slow, I covered the bed with towels and tried to lay down again. A few minutes later I felt another big gush, soaked the bed again, and figured I may as well get up. I woke the Music Man again, and this time he was lucid enough to talk to me. :)

My water had never broken on its own before, even in late labor, so it was a surprise. I didn't feel many contractions yet, so I decided to go downstairs to sit on my ball for a while and hope to wait it out until morning.

The contractions started coming hard and fast, and I went back upstairs around 1:30. I told the Music Man that I needed to call my midwife and his parents, who were watching the big kids. Around 2:15 we'd made the calls and woke the kids.

My contractions were becoming more uncomfortable, and I was shocked at the amount of pain I was in. I'd never experienced back labor before, and man, that's no fun!

We got to the hospital after a detour to the gas station (low fuel light=poor planning on the MM's part!) around 3:15.

I deliver at a hospital that allows water birth, which is fantastic. However, it's small (six L&D rooms), and they were full. Two mamas had just given birth, and it takes a couple of hours to get them turned over for someone else.

I changed into the dreaded gown and sat on the monitors for about half an hour. I thought I was going to die near the end and told my nurse that I wasn't sure I was going to manage without drugs. I hadn't slept in more than 20 hours and that was seriously messing with my pain perception (or so I thought).

She checked me and I was a disappointing 3-4 cm dilated. With Joyful One, I was 7-8 before I got to the hospital, and these contractions felt worse than any I had with her, except those two from entering transition before pushing.

I opted to rest instead of walking because I was exhausted and knew I'd need energy to push. My nurse also gave me some juice to help with the exhaustion.

There was drama because they couldn't find my water birth certificate (you have to take a class to be eligible), and wanted to send MM home to get our copy. Did I mention that it's a 45-minute drive to our house? Yeah, he was livid and I was freaking out, but I wanted the water birth and told him to go, and quickly.

On the way out, he stopped a nurse to get the name of the person "in charge of the hospital" because he was so angry. Happens that the nurse he stopped was the one who taught the water birth class, and they had words. I don't know what they were, and I don't want to, but they got it worked out so that he didn't have to go get it.

Around 4:15 I got into a position I could handle, sitting criss-cross applesauce on the bed. I tried sitting on the ball, having MM apply counter pressure while on all fours, everything I could think of to manage the pain, but I was starting to flip out. Finally, I realized I needed to get quiet and allow the pain to do its job.

I sat in silence and let the pain wash over me. I have never experienced agony like that in my life, and seriously thought I might pass out a couple of times.

Around 5 am, my room was finally ready. I walked from triage to room six (all of 500 feet) and thought I was going to die. My nurse told me to go to the bathroom and she'd monitor me again to get a strip, then I could do whatever I needed to do. Well, that didn't exactly happen.

In the bathroom, I realized I couldn't even sit. I started "vocalizing" and my nurse called out, "No pushing in there!" I told her I wasn't and washed my hands, then walked out near the bed.

All of a sudden, everything changed. I vocalized louder, and MM knew I was pushing because I made the same tone last time. I called out my nurse's name because I couldn't reach the call button, and she came running. I steadied myself on the side of the bed, resting my hands on it, and she stood by my side.

When I told her I was pushing, all hell broke loose. About ten people were in the room in a flash, and I begged her to fill the tub. I couldn't see how I'd manage to push without getting in the tub.

In the meantime, they called my midwife from the doctor's sleep room and started filling the tub. Janet (my hero midwife) told them they didn't need to monitor me or check my cervix or even force me into the bed as they'd tried to do, because "this was my fourth baby and I knew when I needed to push."

So there I am, standing aside the bed, pushing spontaneously, with a ton of people filling the birthing tub, then abandoning it to try to fill the bathroom tub (!) in time for me to get in. I finally realized there wasn't time and knew I needed to rally and do this where I was.

Instead, she sat down on the floor with the chux pads, a bowl, scissors and clamps. And she waited. All the while my body was pushing and I was trying to catch my breath. In between making those vocal tones, I said a few swear words, which apparently lightened the mood. Everyone laughed when I let the first one fly, and I got some, um, colorful comments after the second one.

I felt the "ring of fire" for the first time with this birth, and got really serious about pushing then. I wanted that pain OVER, and NOW. I knew I'd gotten her head out, and gravity pulled her body out to follow. Upon seeing her (they passed her through my legs while we waited for the placenta), I realized she was tiny!

Long story (a bit) shorter, this little peanut was only 7 lbs, 15 oz and 19" long! Quite a change after my 9 lb, 6 oz baby #3! She was born at 5:44 am on September 29.

We got cleaned up, she spent some time under the warmer, and I got some serious fluids and a Motrin (yay for drugs)! I was in shock at how fast the birth went and wasn't dealing well with things. I was shaking and shivering and couldn't get control of my legs. They brought me some warmed blankets to help, but it took over an hour for me to regain composure.

We moved to recovery at 7 am where I nursed my little princess and ate a hearty breakfast. Our hospital time was short, because both the pediatrician and my midwife said I could be released 12 hours after birth. We were actually signed out by 5 pm, but didn't get out of there until around 6 pm.

We went home and awaited our older children with the in-laws. They brought the kids home around 7:30, stayed for half an hour to see the baby, then left our little family. We all went upstairs and piled into our bed and snuggled.

At 9, we sent the kids to bed while we watched the Reds game and slept more than 12 hours (with feedings, of course). It was a great first night for all of us, safe and comfortable and together as a family!

And that's how she was born, our cherished Radiant One, precious number four!