For B’s Birthday — His Birth Story

I’ve never shared it publicly before!  He is going to be 5 one week from today, holy dang.  It seems like he was just born, reading through and re-typing this story it felt like it just happened.  And now he’s all going to kindergarten in a few months, can get his own graham crackers with peanut butter, beat Sonic games, draw really awesome pictures, write his full name, read Dick and Jane books, and he’s such a smart, funny, thoughtful boy with such a good heart!  But here is the story of his arrival:

For two nights I had been kept mostly awake from prodomal labor, so figured real labor was getting close.  Then at midnight going into Tuesday, June 17th, 2008, I was woken up by the worst contraction I’d had yet.  I laid there and waited for another one, which came after 10 minutes and was just as strong.  So I got up and went to the bathroom and discovered my plug had come out.  While I was in there I remember having another contraction that was painful enough it made me break out into a cold sweat.  I knew this was it but didn’t want to wake N up yet.  So I packed the hospital bag, took a shower, wandered around the house, went on the internet, anything to waste time.  I felt very anxious and unsure, and hadn’t felt B move in those 3 hours which made me nervous.  So even though contractions were irregular, at 3am I woke N up and we went to the hospital.

I was at 3cm and 80% effaced when we got there.  They had me walk around for 40 minutes to see if I’d progress, and then I was at 4cm so I was admitted and sent to an L&D room.  B hadn’t been very responsive this whole time (heartrate not varying much like they said it should), so they sent me for an ultrasound at 7:30am.  He looked fine, although they didn’t see him doing breathing practice like they would’ve liked.  They sent me back to my room and I walked around for awhile with my mom.

Around 11pm contractions were still irregular and I was feeling very anxious.  I didn’t know what to expect both with birth and with caring for a baby, and I felt flat out afraid and unprepared!  I didn’t know what to do and no nurses told me, so my mind was racing.  The midwife said I was very tense so recommended an epidural so I could relax and hopefully labor would begin to progress more then.  I hadn’t really wanted to get an epidural and didn’t know all the risks with them, but I agreed because I hoped she was right and I was feeling pretty tired.

Getting the epidural was terrible!  It went in and took just fine, but oh it’s horrible having someone stick a needle in your spine and make your legs jerk around, all while lying curled up through contractions.  It worked, but that didn’t mean I felt relaxed or could rest because I still knew I was having a baby soon!  While the nurse was inserting the catheter my water broke, and she also said I was at 6cm and 100% effaced at that point.

Contractions stayed irregular into the afternoon, so they started pitocin.  I remember when they did it and I didn’t know what it was or that it should be avoided when possible too (another strike for not having done any research before labor–but I had no idea what I needed to research!)  It caused several big contractions in a row and B’s heartrate dropped.  I just remember a ton of nurses running into my room to the monitors and grabbing stuff out of cabinets.  They put me on oxygen and turned the pitocin down to the lowest setting.  Eventually contractions became regular, every 2 to 3 minutes and 60-90 seconds long.  Of course I couldn’t feel them, I was just chillin’ lying flat on the bed and feeling anxious still.

After awhile the midwife checked me and I hadn’t progressed at all, but my cervix had moved from posterior to anterior.  She felt around in my pelvis and decided to put an internal monitor in for contractions to determine if progress was slowed from weak contractions or because he wouldn’t fit through my pelvis–which is what she was concerned about.  After the monitor was inserted, B’s heartrate dropped again so they put the oxygen mask back on me.

I remember the evening going by surprisingly quickly, and eventually contractions became stronger and I became dilated to 8-9cm.  I began feeling pressure after awhile and nurse said I was at 9-9.5cm.  I began to be able to feel the contractions a lot more and started throwing up.  I didn’t realize that meant I was in transition finally!  Soon I felt even more pressure and was at 10cm, and they suggested I labor down to decrease pushing time.  I remember laying on my right side through contractions that were making my right thigh muscles clench painfully.  I asked N to massage it for me during the contraction, but he wouldn’t do it because my leg was all slimy from amniotic fluid and he thought it was gross!  Come on!  I yelled at him to go get a paper towel then!  Sheesh.

After about an hour B’s heartrate dropped again, so they put the oxygen back on again and started controlled pushing.  At this point I remember everything feeling very internal.  I know I was totally quiet and focused and felt like I was a tiny me inside my head where it was dark, looking out through my eyes like little windows.  I know my eyes were closed a lot of the time.  I pushed as hard as I could, over and over, and could feel B moving little by little.  His head was crowning, but he was facing up which was why everything was taking so long!  I pushed and pushed for what felt like forever, and eventually I felt too exhausted to keep up pushing as hard as I had been.  I felt immense relief when the midwife said she’d use vacuum assistance, and she gave me an episiotomy.  I didn’t know it was coming, but that was the only time I yelled when I heard and felt my skin tear!  Shudder.  With a sort of renewed hope from the vacuum I pushed as hard as I could 3 times and could feel him starting to come out, and then FINALLY on the third one, at 9:05pm after 21 hours of labor and an hour and 20 minutes of pushing, he was out!  7 lbs. 5.8 oz. and 20.5″

I felt SO relieved to know he was out, but I remember holding my breath and not moving, waiting to hear him cry.  I couldn’t see him, they’d cut the cord immediately and whisked him away to clear out his airway and check him out.  His heart rate was high, he had a fever, and meconium had come out after him.  I also had a fever of 101.3 and I felt hazy, but I remember hearing him start to cry as the nurse carried him over to the little table on the other side of the room.  At that sound I finally collapsed on the table and began crying because I knew he was ok.

After they determined he was ok the nurse brought him over to me and held him above me.  He was crying, and his little scrunched up face made him look just like N.  The nurse had me unbutton my gown so I could put him against my skin and she told me to let him root around and try to latch on his own.  He started wiggling and bouncing his head trying to find somewhere to latch and he scooted his tiny self all the way up my chest until he was trying to eat my neck!  He was very strong, all the nurses commented about what good muscle tone he had.  Since both his and my temperatures went down quickly after he was born, they decided his heartrate and fever were due to my fever rather than an infection.  No idea why I’d had a fever though, I think I read at one point not too long ago it could’ve been from the epidural.

(For a way better birth experience, see M’s birth story!)

I remember how surreal it was that that tiny person had been inside of me, and now he was here and all wiggly and adorable and sweet and a champion nurser and I “wasted” hours at a time just staring at him and loved him so much it made my heart literally ache.  I had been so afraid of taking care of a baby, I’d never done it before and had no idea what I was doing, but when I looked at him I just knew what he needed and went with my instincts.  I guess I did ok, since 5 years later he’s as normal as his genetics will allow.  Ha! 🙂

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