Saturday, August 09, 2008

My birth story

So I have a free half a second so I thought I'd finally write my birth story out since some of you wanted to hear it, the good the bad and the ugly. Just a warning, it will be full of a lot of TMI info so if you're queasy or just don't feel like hearing about my private parts then you can skip this post. For those who want to read all about my privates... carry on brave one!

At 3:00 AM on July 31st I began having contractions. They were fairly strong and coming every 7-10 minutes. Woohoo! I was in labor. I woke Marco to let him know and of course I couldn't go back to sleep although I did stay in bed to "rest" as much as possible. Well they hadn't changed in length or strength by 8 so Marco decided to go to work and I could call him should something progress. After he left I decided to get up and walk around to see if I could get things going some more and by 8:30 (and after calling my Mom to get her all excited) the contractions stopped.
I thought I should probably try to sleep since it could happen "any time" now. Well sleep just never happened. For various reasons I couldn't sleep that morning. I finally laid down at 3:30 in the afternoon and no sooner did I lay down did the contractions start again. Again they were 7-10 minutes apart so couldn't call the midwife yet. The rule here is that you can call her once your contractions are 4-5 minutes apart and lasting 40 seconds to 1 minute long for two hours. The rest of the time you must just labor at home on your own.

I laid and contracted until 8:30 when I got up and once again the contractions stopped. I called the midwife because I was so confused as to what I was supposed to do. Do I lay there and contract and never get anywhere or should I stay upright and make them stop. She said that until they were 4-5 minutes apart while up and around I wasn't considered in "real" labor. She also said that it would be getting dark any time now and my daytime hormones would subside and my evening hormones would take over and to then I would probably go it true labor. I had never in a million years ever heard of that, daytime and nighttime hormones, so I was leery to say the least.

Alas the sun set around 10-ish and right on schedule a bit before 12 on came the contractions. Real ones. They were exactly as they were supposed to be, so 40 seconds to 1 minute long (actually some were 1 minute 20 seconds long) and anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes apart. I labored standing up the entire time because when I laid on the bed the contractions were stronger but inconsistent. These contractions were already hurting by time 2 hours of them rolled around and I was having to breathe through them. When we hit the 2 hour mark Marco called the midwife and took Scooter, our dog, down to his parents house as we were on our way! I called my mom while he was gone to tell her it was the real deal this time and already on the phone I was doubting my abilities to do this. The contractions were painful and I wasn't breathing through them properly. Good ole Mom to the rescue talked me through the next 4 contractions, telling me how to breath and reminding me how we did with my sister when we coached her through two of her births. You know, there is just nothing like talking to your Mom to calm you down and give you confidence. Thank God for her. I was also thinking of my Great Grandma Francis, my Great Grandpa Doc and my Grandma De who have all passed away. I was praying for them to help me through. I knew they were there with me, which sounds kind of odd but I knew they were.

The midwife showed up about 5 minutes after calling and checked me. I was dilated to 3-4 so she called the birthing center and let them know we were on our way for our water birth.

We got to the birthing center (which is connected to a hospital) and checked in at 3am. The pool was filling up and I changed into nakedness and my swimsuit top. Yes, it was bizarre but I just didn't feel like being totally exposed even though soon enough many people would be looking at my who-ha, I just felt like being modest.

I was soooo looking forward to the nice warm bath and the relief it was going to give me from the contractions. It was also to speed up the process of dilating which means speeding up the process of holding Sadie in our arms. I climbed into the tub and prepared for my first contraction in water. I was more than disappointed when it came and it felt the same as when I was out of the water. In fact, my contractions slowed while I was in the tub. They also hurt just as bad as when I was in the bed or standing and there was no position I could get comfy in to breathe through them. Within 10 contractions I had already changed my mind and decided that the water just wasn't going to work for me.

I climbed out, took my wet clothes off and changed into my tank top. The midwife went to lay down in another room (as did the two other nurses) as Marco and I requested to be alone while I labored and dilated. They came in and checked on us periodically and brought me water and ice chips (and offered food for both of us). I tried laboring on the bed but again the contractions were too strong and slower so I stood up once again. In the end I think I stood up for at least 18-20 hours of my labor. My legs were like jello by the end. When a contraction would come I would lean on the bed and Marco would stand behind me and push down on my lower back or hips depending on where I shouted my orders.

I have no concept of how long I labored this way, Marco seems to think it was until 7a.m.. I will say that time seemed to pass quickly and by time the midwife came in again I was dilated to an 7 but my water had not broken yet. They decided to try and break my waters to see if it would help me dilate the rest of the way.

The next hours are a bit of a blur for me. After my water was broken contractions came even harder and I was literally screaming through each one of them. Everybody in that birthing center knew I was in labor. Hell, everybody in the neighborhood knew I was in labor. I also began puking... around 6 times. The midwife came back and humorously said "well by the sounds of your screams I think you're probably at a 10 or close to it." She checked me again and she was right, I was a 10 all the way around except for on one side where I didn't dilate fully and had a 2 cm lip left. The next hour of contractions were spent with her hands inside me trying to get that little bit of lip left to disappear. Let me tell you, contractions suck ass but contractions with somebody poking around inside you suck dirty ass that hasn't been cleaned in weeks. It was horrible. Again, I screamed through every contraction. I also clutched a paper type bedpan thingy and squeezed the hell out of it with every contraction. It would have been nice to have something in my hands to squeeze that would have held up better.

At this time I was begging for somebody to help me. I was in tears. I was desperate. I couldn't do it anymore. I just knew I couldn't do it. I screamed through each contraction, tried breathing, gripped Marco's arms, legs, head.. .whatever was in grabbing distance when the contraction came. I had so much water/blood/crap coming out of me that they had to change the pad on the bed or floor (depending on if I was standing or laying) every 3 or 4 minutes.

I finally pleaded with the midwife "please take me to the hospital and give me an epidural, I can't do this anymore. I'm so tired and I'm so weak. I'm not strong enough" Of course, silly, at a 10 you're too late for an epidural,she happily told me. I continued to beg and plead (loudly) through each contraction. I don't even know who I was begging to at that point... God, the midwife, the nurses, Marco, Zues... anybody just anybody to help me.

Finally the midwife said she wanted me to try and push through a contraction to see what would happen with the little lip. So I did and she was convinced that it was clear enough for me to try and push. It was between 8 and 9 a.m. on August 1st at this point. I pushed and pushed and pushed. Sadie was turned face up though so once again with each contraction the midwife had her hands in me trying to get the baby to turn. That felt GREAT! Her head was also extremely coned so much in the birthing canal that when I would push it would get stuck. It was too elongated to make the little turn it needed to get past my pelvis and out into the world. So with each push her head would come down but be unable to pass the pelvis.

I pushed standing up. I pushed laying down. I pushed my guts out on the birthing stool. Funnily enough the midwife thought that THIS was the appropriate time to tell me "You're going to have huge hemorrhoids when you're done here, they're really bad." Thanks for the uplifting note bitch, now get this baby out of me.

I pushed for an hour. In the midst of pushing I dry heaved, peed on the floor and of course, pooped, multiple times. Oh and through it all Sadie was still kicking me with every contraction, little darling.

Finally after an hour of pushing the midwife said "I will let you push for 25 more minutes and then I'm going to have to call a doctor to see what we can do. The baby isn't turning and her head can't come out the birth canal." I was actually relieved. Hearing this let me know that the end was in site. Of course I was still screaming bloody murder with every contraction as I ended each push.

25 minutes later and no further progression, she went to consult the doctor in the hospital. He was busy and had to get back to us. Perfect! At this time she actually offered me pain relief if I wanted it. She said that she knows I didn't want it but I had bee at this for a very long time and was exhausted. I looked at her. I looked at Marco. He said to me "I know you didn't want it Sarah but nobody will think less of you if you take it. You've done all you can do." I was a bit stunned but finally was able to get out (in a cry) "I don't want it". What?!?!? Who said that?!?!?! I was actually surprised that at this point I could think clearly enough to remember my sister getting Stadol at the end of one of her births and not getting any relief from the drug but reaping the benefits of all the side effects and knew I didn't want that to happen to me. I really surprised myself though as I had been begging for anything to help me for hours upon hours.

I pushed another 30 minutes with no results before the doctor said came back saying I needed to go to the hospital and they were going to see what they needed to do to help me. They wheeled me over in a wheel chair and I screamed through every contraction on the way to the hospital, which was probably only a good 20 feet away but felt like miles.

I was put on a table, up in stirrups, on a monitor, given an IV with Oxytocin (like pitocin)(so everything I DIDN'T want). While they were preparing all of this I remember my stomach growling and saying "I'm starving." I believe they laughed. The doctor told me he wanted me to push through a contraction to see what was going on. Of course he had his hands inside me to help him "see". Beautiful. That felt nice.

They decided that the vacuum was our best bet to get her our safely. They could have told me they needed to put a stick of dynamite in my ass to get her out and I would have agreed. This vacuum required an episiotomy to fit the it inside me without tearing. They numbed me and cut me which, oddly enough, hurt.

I believe I pushed through three more contractions and finally I felt "the ring of fire". I knew I was pushing out her head. I heard the doctor say "okay Sarah, the head has been born." I could see Marco's face and he said "oh there's her head!". The midwife was snapping pictures. I wanted to punch her face (but later was happy she did).

My next contraction was coming and I knew I had to do it this time. The contraction came and my mind went to my Grandma De. I pleaded with Grandma (quietly to myself) to help me please, help me and within seconds I felt the baby come the rest of the way out. Sadie was born. It was 12:16 pm on August 1st 2008. 8 pounds and 13 ounces, 22 inches (estimated) of beautiful black haired baby. They laid her on my belly and the tears were already coming down my face. She was amazing. She was large but she was just amazing.

The rest is a blur or people, pictures, tears, joy, excitement, relief. Marco cut the cord. As they were running around cleaning up or doing whatever they were doing I delivered my placenta on my own. I'm pretty sure it fell on the floor because nobody was expecting it. I remember the woman turning around and exclaiming "oh there's the placenta!". I later saw it in a sack and they commented on how huge it was. It took 45 minutes to stitch me up. I asked how many I had and she replied "too many to count." Oh goodie.

I only had to eat a meal (yeah after a labor like that I was STARVING), take a shower without passing out and pee and then we were ready to go. By 3 o'clock (yes, 2 hours and 45 minutes after delivering) we were on our way out the door to come home and begin our lives as a family.

It sucked. It was hard. I don't want to do it again but it was worth every single ounce of pain, agony, blood, sweat, tears, shouting... she was worth it all.


Erin said...

Wow! That is a LONG day! I'm sorry the birthing part didn't turn out the way you had hoped, but like you said, she's worth it! I'm sure that was just the first of many more surprise plans that Sadie will have for you in life:)

Amy said...

Oh Sarah...what an experience you had! I'm sorry it wasn't quite how you wanted to go, okay, far from quite...but the most important thing is the end result.

Hope your 'rhoids are doing better :)

lifeshouldbestereo said...

You poor thing! That's everything I've always feared about giving birth, right there in the one blog post!!
I know women always say it's worth it and they'd do it all over, but I wonder if I would.. LOL.
Glad everyone's fine and well and hopefully you're also feeling better now. :)

Karen said...

Quite an experience, wasn't it? No one could have told you how it was...but look what you and Marco now have...a beautiful daughter! After reading this blog, it reminds me how wonderful family is to us...seems like most of us were "with" you through the whole birth in one way or another! Grandma would be so proud, as I am too!

Ellen said...

OMG, wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!