labor

Doctor(s) Update(s)

Patient #1:

 

Was cleared of wearing her sling on Monday!  Doc said the bones should already be healed due to the fact that she is so young.  Crazy.  It was amazing to us how fast she bounced back to her old self following the break.  She was bearing weight on her arm within about 48 hours and her pain was next to nothing after about 24.

She will go back for a follow-up x-ray in 5 weeks just to make sure.  In the meantime, she is supposed to stay off of playgrounds and trampolines for about 2 weeks. :(.

Doctor also said because she is so young she should not have any permanent cosmetic effects from it!  She may have a bone callous that will remain for the next few months, but it will disappear in time.

The only thing that remains now is this nasty yellow bruise:

 

Patient #2:

I saw the doctor today for my 39(.5) week check-up.  All looks good!  I’ve made some good progress so we are both hopeful that I won’t have to be induced this time.  IF I do however, she is willing to follow the same plan as last time where they broke my water and avoided Pitocin as much as it is possible.  Since I’m ripe, she seems confident that this will work.

(I’m going to miss my little doctor dates with her!)

Friday I go in for an ultrasound to check fluid levels.  (and they don’t know it yet, but I’m going to be double-checking that she’s still a girl :)).

Last night I experienced my first round of Braxton Hicks!  I had regular, uncomfortable, but nonpainful contractions that lasted from about 9pm-4am.  Really hoping that’s a good sign that we don’t have too much longer.

Today through next Wednesday marks our “ideal window” for Mayby’s birth due to our schedules.  But even if she decides to come a little late, the end is in sight (2 more weeks!).

Yesterday I asked MG when Mayby’s birthday will be.  I mentally willed her to give me a divine answer, as if I was shaking a magic eight ball.  Her response, “Ethan’s birthday!”.  Ethan is a buddy from playgroup and his birthday just so happens to be this month–May 28.  Maybe it really is a sign??

 

Thoughts Lately

We met with our doula on Monday night for a little refresher course……and things are suddenly starting to feel very real.

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We mostly talked about my fears, my longings, my desires, and things I want to do differently with this birth.  She reminded me that I need to leave my feelings about MG’s birth with her birth and not carry them into this birth.  Different child, different pregnancy, different birth.  It is so obvious, but a lesson I am sure I will be learning many times over.

Many have asked me if I am considering a natural birth for this baby.  My simple  answer to that is “yes”.  But this time I think it looks just a little different.

Last time it was all about proving myself.  To others, to my doctor, to my baby, and (mostly) to myself that I could do it.  I didn’t know what I was doing, but I sure knew what I wanted.

But let’s just say “I’ve been there, done that” and don’t really care about winning the award anymore.  This time it is more about the experience.

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(have you ever seen a baby being carried so high?  I can’t even wear maternity pants because they won’t stay up.  I have to buy regular pants a few sizes too big so they will button around my lower what’s-left-of-my- waist)

I’m sure there is a book somewhere out there about this, but I definitely see myself as having a sensationalist type of personality.  In all experiences, from ordinary to uncommon, I seek to get the most out of them I possibly can. For example, I rarely eat a meal that I walk away from disappointed.  Simply because it is so important to me, I make sure to add in things (or get dessert :)) so that in the end I am satisfied; if only because I can say, “well that was an enjoyable experience”. When I run errands, I try to think of a newer, prettier route to take that will make the routine trip more enjoyable.  And I don’t just clean my house, I add in my favorite playlist + cleaning products that smell amazing + maybe a new tip or technique to try.

I often find myself manipulating experiences to make them tangible, fulfilling, and ultimately satisfactory.

Maybe that was the reason I considered a natural birth in the first place.  I want to sense all of it. I want to feel my body working as it was designed.  I want to feel all of the mamas who have gone before me and done exactly what I am doing to be whispering in my ear, “you can do this!  You were made for this moment!” I want to have an experience that satisfies all of my senses.

I’ve picked out Scriptures I want read during the transitional stage.  I’m working on a playlist that reminds me of this pregnancy.  I want the smells and feelings and emotions in the room to always stick with me.  Yes, the pain is a part of it, but at the end of the day, I want to wring every last drop out of it and know that I experienced it all.

You only get to do this a set number of times in your life, afterall, and I want to walk away with (as much as it is in my control) no regrets.

*That is my deepest desire, but I do know that birthing is just another part of life that as much as you can plan, you cannot control.  So we will plan for what we want and take what we get.  And hopefully,  we will all walk away from this experience wiser, stronger, and better people for it*

 

P.S. I wrote this post mostly to explain why I want a natural birth and to show how it aligns with my god-given inclinations and personality.  But in no way do I condone others for choosing different methods or for wanting a different experience.  One thing I think we can all agree on: no matter the method of arrival, every single birth is a beautiful and miraculous experience that requires the greatest amount of strength , beauty, and love to come to fulfillment.  XO

MG’s Birth Story: She arrives!

After the doctor left the room, Julie said that we needed to get radical.  She wanted me to walk the halls.  I thought she was crazy.  The last thing I wanted to do was go for a walk, but nothing seemed to be helping with the pain and at least this had a guarantee of getting the baby out sooner.  So we did it.  I don’t remember much of this, but N said that it was extremely slow.  All I know is that I kept my eyes closed the entire time and let N guide me.  When a contraction would hit, I would stop (just like you see in the movies) and Julie would gently direct me to keep walking.   I would put all of my weight on N and take the slowest steps possible.  Someone passed us in the halls and Julie said, “Pretty impressive, she’s walking at an 8, huh?”  The person seemed a little bewildered and all I could think was, “Grrrrr.  If you are trying to encourage me, it’s not working.”  (I later apologized for my behavior :)…through this experience I have come to realize that my default mechanism for painful/stressful situations is negative thoughts towards people….sorry, Julie!)

I was still keeping track of the time.  As promised, an hour later, the doctor came back to check on me.  9!  Still not good enough for me.  But the contractions had taken a turn.  They were still extremely intense, but there wasn’t a fiery, searing pain going up my spine during each one.  We were in the home stretch and there was no way they were going to let me have an epidural now.  I focused on managing my pain. I couldn’t talk. or communicate.  I was also a sweaty mess.  They kept turning the heat down for me until it reached the minimum 60 degrees.  I tried to wipe my forehead with my gown, but it was so soaked with sweat that it was completely ineffective.

Finally that hour passed.  It had now been 3 total since I had begged for the epidural.  The doctor came in and said  9+.   “Just give me one more hour.” Julie had me continue squats with N.  I began pushing against the contractions.

At 11:30pm, the doctor came back in to check me and said I was good to go!

I opened my eyes for the first time in a long time.  I felt like I had woken up from a dream.  I even felt like talking.  N and I looked at the clock and realized we only had 29 minutes left in November 29.  We both seemed to be thinking the same thing, “Do you think there’s any way she’ll be born today?” N verbalized for me.  The doctor had me give a practice push to see how effective I would be.  It became very clear to everyone in the room that we could rule out the 29th.

Pushing felt very awkward.  I thought I would be relieved to get to this stage and that the pain would be less intense.  Nope.  Julie and the doctor showed me how to focus my breath and work the baby out.  Convinced he had time to kill, the doctor left the room and occasionally peeked back in on me.

Julie pointed out the baby’s head to N.  He was so excited he could see it.  I asked if she had hair.  He said, “Yes!”  I asked what color.  They couldn’t tell, but said it was kind of dark.  It was the motivation I needed to continue.

After an hour, the doctor came back in and  asked the nurse if I had made any real progress.  I was so discouraged when she said, “No.”  I thought this was supposed to be the easy part!  He worked with me on my pushes for about 10 minutes.  N started to get really excited about how much of the head he could see.  Every time I said I needed to push, he would grab my leg and yell, “Yeah!”.  Julie pulled out a big mirror on a stand in an effort to show me the progress and encourage me.  I couldn’t see anything.  I was even more discouraged.  This was so hard!
In between pushes, I kept watching the time.  Another hour passed.  I was soaked in sweat, in pain, stretched to the max, and so ready to be done.  I wasn’t even feeling any excitement about the moment.    Julie convinced me to flip over on my hands and knees to push.  I pushed as hard as I knew how.
The doctor came back and said that we had made some real progress!  Finally!  He stayed with me for the entire final hour.  Now even I could start to see the head .   My contractions started slowing down to give my body the rest it needed.  At some point, there was close to an 8 minute delay between contractions.  The doctor (who is old and kind of a wise guy) said, “What the hell is going on up there, Mama?  Are you on vacation or something?”  Gradually, I started to feel myself turn the corner.  I began opening my eyes.  I told N “Something just feels different.”  My adrenaline began to kick in.

The doctor left to get his supplies and put up “the goalposts of life” (as he called them).  Julie tried to encourage me.  “Look what the doctor is doing.  This means your baby is coming soon.”  With each push, it looked like her head was going to come out…but it just wouldn’t.  The doctor encouraged me, N texted my Mom and said, “Should be soon!”.   He then said to me, “I’m going to call my parents real quick”  I emphatically said, “NO!”  In order to do this, he would have to leave the room and I was afraid he wouldn’t be there to hold my leg for the next contraction.  He texted my mom and asked her to call his parents and let them know.

Finally, I gave the push I had been waiting for the entire time.  As soon as her head was out, she began to cry.  They sucked out her mouth and the doctor ordered me to give little grunty pushes as he sneaked out her body.  Then he said, “Okay you are going to feel a big relief” and he pulled her out!
Welcome to the world, MG!

It was amazing!  They placed her on my chest and I just stared into her eyes.  She seemed mad.  Mad that we would push her out of her perfect environment into this freezing cold room.  And I was mad (okay, not really mad) but upset with her for making me wait so, so long and then putting me through the worst labor possible (not really, but I think I earned the right to be a little melodramatic with her, no? :)).  Our first mother-daughter stand-off. But, of course it didn’t take long for us to make up!

The doctor cleaned everything up and then shook my hand, “Congratulations, K, you are no longer pregnant.”  And I replied, “Praise the LORD!”  And I meant it.  This had been a long, long 48 hours.  We had finally made it and we had done it according to plan.

We were given an hour together.  Our first hour as a family of three.  MG practiced nursing and N and I marveled over her.  Later they would take her away to be cleaned and weighed.  To pass time earlier in the day, we each took a guess at her birth stats and time.  I won both as I had guessed the latest time and the largest weight.  Still, even I was surprised to hear that she was a very respectable 8 pounds, 11 ounces, 21 inches long.  And absolutely perfect.

Not too long later, the room was emptied.  N traveled with MG to receive her first bath, Julie went home, and  I was left alone.  That was when it truly sunk in that something incredible had just happened.  I was now a Mama to a beautiful, healthy baby girl.  The timing was perfect. She would never have to worry about having a Thanksgiving birthday.  My parents, who had purchased their tickets months in advance, would be there in 3 days.  We had the perfect nurses, the perfect timing of doctors and the wonderful help of a doula.  I didn’t have to use medication and save for the Cervadil and breaking my water , my birth plan had been followed perfectly.  Even though it looked much different than we had ever imagined, the LORD had answered our prayers.

To be continued and concluded tomorrow,

 

part IV

MG’s Birth Story: The Labor

We arrived at the hospital around 5:30pm.

My spirits were instantly lifted when I saw the doctor on duty happened to be the one that I had met with the most during my pregnancy (i.e. NOT Dr. Induction).  All along I had been searching for a reason why things were turning out this way and I thought, “This is it.  She’s going to deliver my baby.  That is the reason God had us wait until today.

We checked into our room and the medicine was delivered.  I was given strict orders not to eat or drink anything but ice-chips after 12am and N foraged us a little meal of chicken noodle soup, crackers and yogurt.  We watched Planet Earth and at some point I looked at him and said, “This is kinda fun!”  And it was.  We were in our little “hotel room”, gorging ourselves on hospital food and tv and the entire time in the background we could hear the beating heart of our baby. She was okay and I was going to be okay.  We were going to do this together.

We attempted to go to bed early (around 9pm).  Nate ordered me to wake him up whenever I had to use the bathroom because I was hooked up to monitors and he could help me out by carrying the cords.  I don’t think he realized what he signed up for, because at this stage in the pregnancy, I was waking up about every 2 hours.  Around 4am, I woke up for good.  He woke up around 6:30, completely exhausted.  He said, “I’m not used to being pregnant.”  All I could think was, “This is my last day to be pregnant! Hurray!”

The doctor was planning to come back around 7am to check on me.  Nate foraged up more ‘ice-chip flavored’ turkey sandwiches and I snuck into the bathroom to eat them.  All day long, Nate covertly kept me hydrated and fed, and it was a good thing too; because I was about to run a marathon.

When she came back to our room, she checked me and said the medicine had done its job.  My body was progressing!  I made a last-ditch effort to avoid the pitocin and asked her if she could instead break my water and give me time to get labor started on its own.  She said, “Sure!” which was a huge relief as Dr. Induction had already told me that was NOT an option.  So at 7:30am, she broke my water and labor officially began.

Unofficially, I still wasn’t feeling a single contraction, so we had to get moving in order for them to start.  If I did not go into labor on my own before noon, Pitocin would be administered.  I was officially on the clock.

We (N, Julie and I) started walking the hallways, which were a short (and very boring) loop.  At some point, another family was congregated in the hallway.  They were watching their newest family member receiving his first bath.  N and Julie wanted to stop and watch, but I was over it.  I was ready for it to be my turn!  We walked and we walked very quickly.  Every time we came to a bench seat, N made me do “sit-downs” (which were oddly similar to squats).  His coaching duties had begun 🙂

During this time, Julie kept asking me if I was feeling contractions; she wanted to time them.  I wasn’t sure.  Every once in a while, I would feel something, so I would tell her, but  I really had to concentrate to feel it.  This certainly wasn’t moving as fast as I had hoped.     Around noon, we went in the lounge to sit down for a minute.  I remember N and Julie started talking about the Kardashians because the tv was on and they were being featured on The View.  I didn’t hear a single word of their conversation.  As soon as we sat down, I settled into a deep, tired haze.  I asked Julie if it would be counter-productive for me to go back and nap for a little while.  All of the emotional exhaustion and lack of sleep had suddenly hit me.  She thought maybe relaxing for a little while could be helpful.

My haze quickly turned to sleep and I felt amazing.  Unfortunately, it only lasted for about 30 minutes.  At 12:30pm, the doctor came back in to see if my body was responding to the exercise. I had reached 5-6 centimeters!  She asked me if I was feeling regular contractions and I had to admit, not really.  She asked if I would like Pitocin or if I would like to continue what I was doing to see if the contractions would pick up.  I told her I would continue.  As soon as she exited the room, the three of us looked at each other.  We were running out of time, it was time to really  get this labor going.

We’d had enough of the L&D unit, so we snuck off the floor and took ourselves on a tour of the rest of the hospital.  We did stairs, we did lunges, and we did more “sit-downs”.  Finally, I started to feel something worthy of note, and they seemed to be concentrating in my back.

Around 2pm, we went back to the room to be on the monitors for a little while.  The baby seemed to be doing well.  Julie did pressure points to help stimulate stronger contractions.  I told N my pain was at about a 6 or 7…very manageable, but very there.

I started rocking on the exercise ball. Someone dimmed the lights.  N put in the mixed cd I had made.  (Yep, we were that couple).  The contractions immediately became more intense.  I leaned over, laid my head on the bed and started crying.  But these weren’t the same tears I had cried the week before, these were very happy tears.  This labor was finally going and there was no turning back.  I was going to be meeting my baby soon!

Around 6pm, my regular doctor entered the room.  He was now on call!  He checked me and said…………………… I was at 6cm.  My emotions took a nosedive.  I couldn’t believe it!  In fact, I didn’t really believe him when he told me.  I had been at 6 for the last 6 hours!  My pain had completely ratcheted up and I had no progress to show for it!  As soon as he left the room, I told N.  “I can’t do this!”.  He and Julie talked me down.  Julie explained that my body was catching up with my cervix.  She also said this baby may be in a funny position which would explain the back labor.  But they both had faith I could continue.

At this point, I could hardly feel any contractions in my stomach, they were completely in my back.  To describe back labor, it felt as though someone where taking a mallet to my tailbone.  With each blow, the pain would circulate up my spine and down to my toes.  In fact, I don’t even really remember the pain in the front. Nate was putting counter-pressure on my lower back with his fists, which would help up until a certain point.  Then his pressure would add to my pain and I would push his hand away, unable to communicate in any other way to him.  Later, he told me that when he was pushing on my back, he was pushing against what he thought to be the baby’s skull.

Julie had me try different positions in attempt to shift the baby.  I got on my hands and knees.  I rolled on the ball.  They applied heat to my back.  She had me do squats as soon as a contraction would start, putting all of my weight on N.  To say I did all of the work for this birth would be a lie.  Julie instructed and N worked right along side of me, guiding and bearing weight.  About 40 minutes into it, I remember saying, “I’m feeling a lot of pressure, like I could just push this baby out!”  Julie was concerned I had taken a sharp turn, so she called the doctor back in.  He checked me.  And….I was at a…………….

six! (still)

Mentally, I lost it.  I thought, if this is what a 6 is like, and I have been here for 6 hours, how in the world am I going to make it to 10!  As soon as the doctor left, I told them, “I want an epidural!”
N was mad (not at me).  He didn’t want to see me give up.  Julie  encouraged me.  “You haven’t tried the shower yet.”  So I got in the shower.  N tried spraying the water on my back.  I couldn’t find any comfortable position.  Ultimately, I would end up on the shower floor, writhing in pain.  I told him.  “I want an epidural!”  And I meant it.  I was emotionally spent. I was physically spent.  I thought, if I can just get the epidural in me,  I can go to bed for a few hours and then wake up and push out my baby.  N didn’t know what to do.  He called in reinforcements.  Julie said, “I’m sure you are closer than you think.  Let’s see what the doctor says.”

The doctor came back in with a sympathetic face.  He asked how I was doing and I told him I wanted an epidural.  He countered.  He told me he hated to see me give up after coming so far.  “The baby must be in an unusual position and needs to turn the corner.  Give me one more hour and we’ll see how much progress you’ve made. ”

I don’t know if it was because he was an authority figure, it was the competitor in me, or it was just my people-pleasing nature that agreed.  But I did.  And I was keeping track.  About every 15 minutes, I asked N how long it had been.  Julie dimmed the lights even more and started reading aloud from the book Psalms.  I cried out like David in a very real way for the LORD to have mercy on me.

As promised, the doctor returned an hour later.  I was 7-8.  I had turned the corner, but in my opinion, it still wasn’t enough.  N and Julie were rejoicing, I was completely stoic.  He said, “Okay, look how much progress you made in one hour…how about another one?”  I don’t know what was in me that agreed, but I did.  The sweet nurse that was with us hooked me up to an IV to get some fluids in me.  Just in case I demanded an epidural, I would already have that out of the way.
But I had reached the point of no return.  The only thing I can compare it to in my life is running a long-distance race.  You reach the point where your brain stops wandering where you are and how much further you have.  All of the training and innate instinct your body has goes into overdrive.  You turn inward and block everything out and somehow you hope you find yourself at the finish line at a decent time.

To be continued….{tomorrow}

 

part VIII