March 9, 2011

James' Birth Story

Ahem. Here is my rundown of James' birth. Pictures first for those that just want to see. Then I talk about birthing things. I don't think it's too graphic, but it is detailed towards the end and there is a picture with some blood. Just a warning.

Wednesday afternoon doing housework. Hoping the strain will kick up my labor.
Here we are Thursday morning after checking in about 1 am - still able to update facebook, check emails, etc. Contractions must not have been that bad yet.
Working on a contraction. I look like my brother Zach right here. Little did I know the big ones were yet to come!
This is after my water was broken but before the big contractions started.
Those cold washcloths felt so good! Everyone else said they were freezing during the delivery because of the fan Marie brought in, but that cold breeze felt like a dream to me!
My mom, Melissa my wonderful midwife, and Marie the labor & delivery nurse. I must be pushing here, I see my leg and I didn't take that photo.
See! A baby! So thankful for a successful VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) - no pain medications.
Father - son time. James still responds more to Tyler's voice than mine.
Happy Daddy!
Happy mama and grammas!


The week leading up to James' birth I was getting anxious for my mom and Tyler's mom to arrive. I either needed to go into labor before either of them got here, or wait until after they arrived, but not in the day between when only one was here. Happily, though, my mom arrived Sunday night, all was quiet, and Tyler's mom arrived on Tuesday evening.

Tuesday March 1st was also my 33rd birthday. Yay for growing older. I felt great that day. No Braxton Hicks contractions of any kind, I wasn't tired or sore. My mom kept saying that day it was the calm before the storm. She was right!

Wednesday morning, March 2nd, about 3:30 I was rudely awakened by some serious contractions in my lower back. I laid in bed for about an hour before I woke Tyler up to tell him what was going on. Then stayed for another half hour before I finally got up, they were just uncomfortable enough to keep me awake. And being excited that today was THE DAY didn't help, either!

So here's the timeline:
7:30 a.m. - told the moms, Tyler gets ready for work, tell Maggie James is finally on his way and mommy is in labor
9:30 a.m. -drop Maggie off at Mother's Day Out, have plans with Miss Jan to take Maggie home with her since I hope to be in the hospital soon.
All day we walk around Home Depot, Green Hills Mall. Contraction frequency is still abnormal. Call the midwives office after lunch to verify what's going on, and go in for a check. 3cm dialated, 90% effaced. Sounds good! Midwife suggests I walk for a couple more hours then head to the hospital.
2:00 p.m. -still no progression but still having irregular contractions, we pick Maggie up from MDO (she is very disappointed she isn't going home with Miss Jan). All afternoon we clean house. I vacuumed, help sweep the garage, get myself moving.
5:30 p.m. -drop Maggie off at Jan's house; she will bring her to Cubbies at church and then spend the night. Surely I will have this baby before morning!
10:30 p.m. -finally seeing some regularity and increasing discomfort with my contractions. They are about 6 minutes apart for an hour and a half, then all of a sudden they are right on top of each other.
12:00 a.m. -I call the midwives office to let them know my status, and we load up and head to Vanderbilt Hospital.
12:45 a.m. -check in at the hospital. Go to the OB triage, I'm still just 3 cm dialated and 90% effaced. Those were a lot of contractions doing nothing for the past 12 hours! I am so tired by this point I just wanted to sit in the bed, no active birthing for me! I guess it's good to be flexible. I had read the book so many times and Tyler read it too, but being tired I just chucked all my plans out the window.
7 a.m. -contractions had been slowing down all night. Getting stronger, but farther apart and no longer regular. My favorite midwife, Melissa, is doing her rotation in the labor and delivery ward. Yay! And my friend from church, Marie, is working her shift as a labor and delivery nurse. Yay! Two familiar faces to join me, Tyler, my mom and his mom. I am so happy that Melissa will be delivering my baby.
Some time after 7 we discuss "Vitamin P" - pitocin. I say yes! Let's get this show on the road! They don't crank the dosage since I've had a c-section, but the contractions pick up and are stronger.
12 p.m. - still only 7 cm dialated. Really?!?! I am absolutely exhausted. They ask if I want to keep going at this rate but suggest they break my water. Yes, please!
1 p.m. - My water is broken and I have two PAINFUL contractions, stronger than all the previous ones (still manageable), and then my uterus releases the hounds of Hades. I thought those two were bad until this next round comes up. Later I learned it was really just for an hour, but the first one caught me off guard so badly I started yelling and screaming - in my OUTDOOR voice! Poor Jan! Tyler had just called her to give her an update when the first big contraction hit. She got an earful.
It was all I could do to get through each one. Gone are the imaginings of my doing this gracefully. I can barely think clearly to remind myself after each contraction that I am one contraction closer to James; that thought had gotten me all the way here just fine, but no longer! My mom had to get in my face to make me breathe through them, Tyler had to jam his fists in my back (I am not a fan of back labor!), his mom got me cold washcloths. I was a hot mess!
2 p.m. - And here it is, the urge to push!!! I was in so much pain I didn't know what to do, but Melissa was off delivering another baby right then so I couldn't push quite yet. Then she and a midwifery student, Kim (who is awesome!) arrive, check me and I'm declared ready.

Right now I will eat my hat. I have gone my WHOLE pregnancy talking about how I loved the book Active Labor, how it's better for delivery (standing or squatting as opposed to laying on a bed). How "that's how I'm going to deliver, blah blah blah." Everyone knows it, because I can't keep my opinions to myself. Please note that I pushed, and delivered semi-reclined. Ack! I know! I said I would never do it. But honestly, after 35 hours of being awake, being totally exhausted, I couldn't see how I would have enough energy to squat and endure all that was going on, let alone do anything else like move out of position for resting. So I stayed in that bed and was glad to be there. I thought I could mentally prepare myself to handle all the pain, but during transition and delivery I was completely owned by the pain. I could barely open my eyes, talk, breathe, nothing. I felt completely and utterly helpless and terrified and afraid that I would go through all of this and the end result would STILL be a repeat c-section.

3:25 p.m. - James arrives!!! I pushed for about an hour and 15 minutes. They put a mirror up for me to see the progression, but all I could think was "ew!" and "I can't do this!" and "I'm scared!" and "he's going to be stuck!" and "I'm going to have to have another c-section, he's not going to come out". I was filled with terror and helplessness. But I pushed anyway. Towards the very end when he crowned I was working so hard pushing that I stopped watching his progression, so I didn't actually see much of his birth. His shoulders did get stuck, but at that point it his head was out and it was too late to do anything but push some more while Melissa and Kim worked and worked to get his shoulders out (I only tore a little bit to boot!). And until he was all the way delivered and placed on my chest, I thought there was no way he was going to come out without a c-section. But he did!

More hat-eating: I have wanted a natural birth for as long as I can remember (can you see the rose-colored glasses?). I would not say that in the moment, especially the end bits, that it was all I hoped it would be. I think that I am to the point in my life and walk with the Lord where most things are just not as big a deal to me as I make them out to be, and once I get there I see that some things really don't matter. Does that make sense? I feel like my contentment comes more from the Lord and less from my "accomplishments". Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I was able to have a VBAC (and I would choose it again for any future children), though I sure did not enjoy the last portion filled with anxiety and fear and pain. However, I will say that the moment James was birthed 90% of the pain went away, all of the anxiety and pain vanished, and all I could think about was my beautiful boy!

1 comment:

The Harrelson Family said...

Love your story! So happy he is here!