Sunday, June 19, 2011

Birth Story

Possible TMI Warning!

On Saturday, June 11th, I had a watery discharge and the on-call doctor suggested I go to Labor and Delivery (L&D) to see if my water had broken.The nurse hooked me up to the monitors which was great because I got to hear the baby's heartbeat for almost an hour. And, I learned that I was having regular, non-painful contractions. But after an internal exam (dilated to 2cm and 25% effaced), the nurse confirmed my water had not broken, so home we went.

On Sunday, June 12th, I started having painful, irregular contractions. I started wondering whether I would be able to deliver naturally (our preference) as I couldn't imagine going through 24 hours or more of those.

On Sunday night and early Monday morning, I woke up almost every hour with what I thought was gas pains.  Thankfully, I was able to sleep well in between these bouts of "gas."

By the time I woke up on Monday, June 13th, I realized that I may be in early labor.  I started timing my contractions at 6am and they were 7 minutes apart and 60-90 seconds long.  My OB called at 8am to check in from Saturday's L&D visit and I let her know that I was timing contractions which were then 6 minutes apart and 60-90 seconds long.  I decided to try to eat something while Dustin got our bags in the car, just in case.  By 9:30am, my contractions were 4 minutes apart and 60-90 seconds long.  The transition from 6 minutes to 4 minutes was rough. I actually vomited they were so intense. Dustin called my OB (I couldn't talk at that point) and we left for the hospital. The contractions in the car were the worst - the 10 minute drive felt so much longer!

 We arrived at L&D at 10:10am. While changing into a gown, I felt a warm trickle down my leg and I thought I had wet myself. Nope, my water had broken. We were admitted at 10:15am and we realized that we were definitely having a baby in the next 24 hours!

For the first 30 minutes after being admitted, I had to lay in the bed, attached to monitors.  Laying in the bed was so painful - it made the contractions much more difficult to work through.  Fortunately, my OB allowed me to get out of bed after that and the nurse just checked the baby's heart rate before and after a contraction once every 30 minutes. I labored standing up and would lean on the bed (forearms supporting me) during contractions.

The contractions started getting more intense and painful. I told Dustin that if I was only at 5cm or something when the nurse checked me that I was going to ask for drugs.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to endure hours of these contractions.  My nurse noticed a change of tone (I used focused breathing and moans during labor) and I finally had my first internal exam that day at 2:15pm. I was 9cm! I had only been in L&D for 4 hours! The nurse called my OB to let her know.

I went to the bathroom and the nurse noticed I was having intense contractions while sitting on the toilet. She told me to push with them if it felt right, so I did.  Those contractions were really hard.  I had to hold on to the rails in the bathroom.

My OB arrived at 3:15pm and I got in bed for another check, but wasn't quite 10cm yet. I labored for a bit longer on the bed using a squat bar and the nurse realized the amniotic sac membrane was in front of the baby's head and blocking her progress. My OB punctured it and the rest on my water came gushing out.

My OB had another patient admitted and went to check on her (funny, we shared a due date and ultimately delivered within 7 minutes of each other). My nurse sent me back to the toilet to labor because the contractions seemed to be stalling in the bed.  By that point, the contractions were right on top of one another and I pushed through them. The nurse checked me again and had me get back in the bed - it was time to deliver.

Things aren't as clear on lengths of time then. I remember pushing, but contractions weren't as frequent as on the toilet.  I remember my OB stretching me as the baby was crowning (this was the only time I cried out in pain).  I remember Dustin and his words of encouragement. And then she was here and on my chest.

We stayed skin to skin for almost two hours - bonding, breastfeeding. Dustin and I named her then too.

I am so proud of myself and my body. I am thankful to have had the natural (and fortunately only 12 hour) birth I had hoped for.

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