Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Logan's Birth Story

::This is a labor and delivery story, and while there are no TMI pics I do use some birthy words, but nothing too graphic. ;) ::

Logan was born at 40 weeks and 5 days.
I remember being out shopping with my mom and strangers asking when I was due.

In today's birthing culture of elective inductions most people didn't understand how I could be that pregnant.  I just recently watched The Business of Being Born, (amazing! a must-watch for anyone expecting or planning to have children) so I am all fired up about the birth industry, but that is all I will say here for now. *climbs off her soapbox*

I never formally wrote out my birth plan, but I wanted to go as naturally as possible. I wanted to go into labor on my own, labor at home for as long as possible, my water to break on its own, and use no drugs. I delivered in a hospital with and Ob-Gyn. It wasn't until halfway-ish through my pregnancy that I decided natural was the way for me and started doing tons of research. Before then I knew very little about midwives, homebirth, natural birth, doulas, etc.

OK! On with the story!

Logan's due date was May 9. My parents arrived from out of town on May 5. A week of visiting passed, my due date came and went, and still nothing! My doctor was not a fan of me going past the due date, and as a result there was an induction scheduled for Tuesday, May 15.

We spent that whole week walking and waiting, but on Saturday the 12, with the 15 looming in my future, I got serious! Matt was at work, but I drug my parents on a two mile power walk at 40 weeks and 3 days up and down the extreme hills in our neighborhood. Then we went out for Chinese food, which is among the giant list of wive's tales said to put you in labor.

I thought my fortune was so appropriate!
I went to bed that night a little low, and with a feeling in the back of my mind that I would be induced in three days.

But, no! At 2:30 am a real contraction woke me up. I was absolutely giddy. I couldn't believe it. "We will have a baby today," I thought to myself. I entered my first contraction into the app I had downloaded weeks before and tried my hardest to go back to sleep.

The contractions continued and weren't crazy painful, but I could definitely feel them and tell that they weren't Braxton Hicks. At 4:20 and again at 7:30 my body made its first attempts at cleaning itself out. I was afraid that calling my parents (they set up there RV at a camground a few miles away since our apartment is tiny and they knew they would be staying a while) to inform them that labor had started would jinx, but contractions had been pretty consistent since 2:30 so I finally called around 9 am.
They said they would get ready for the day, pick up some lunch, then come on over.

Sure enough, after I talked to them the contractions came to a sudden halt. I was a determined woman at this point, and so ready to hold my baby, so Matt and I tried out one of the oldest wive's tales about starting labor. Plus it was nice because we knew it would be the last time for a while.

It worked! By the time my parents arrived things were moving again.

This seriously was not planned, but we thought it was so hilarious that we were all in green. I still think it is hilarious!
We had Subway for lunch and spent the afternoon laughing and playing UNO. I bounced on my ball, drank water, and popped tums like they were all going out of style.

The whole time my contractions were getting stronger and closer together.

Matt and my dad went out to get supper while my mom and I walked and walked and walked.
We had fried chicken and potato salad from Kroger, and I remember it being SO delicious.

Big Mama, eating until the bitter end. Did I mention I gained 45 lbs?

The evening progressed and so did the contractions.
(and my poor dad got more and more nervous. I really think he was afraid we were going to end up having a baby here in this apartment. Little did he know, my sister would give birth in her bathroom five months later! If you want to read a birth story way more interesting than mine, go check out hers!)

Discussions of going to the hospital (less than two miles away) started around 11pm. I wasn't ready to go. I wanted to be near 7 centimeters and close to transition when we arrived. My mom, Matt, and sister (via skype) all convinced me that I was probably closer than I thought.
So I conceded and a little before midnight we arrived at the hospital. We got a room and a nurse came in to check my progress.

2 centimeters.

What!? I had been 1.5 a week before at my appointment.
I can't begin to describe the feeling of defeat I felt.
I was completely discouraged.
I wanted to go back home and just go to bed. Not that I could sleep through the contractions I was having! I thought that if there were just the 2 centimeter contractions how could I handle 7-8-9-10!??

I did NOT want to get into that bed. I knew once I did I was strapped down. (except for the 27 trips to the potty)

The nurse said I was welcome to go home, but that my bag of waters was bulging and it would probably break soon and we would have to come right back.

"Fine. Just give me and epidural."

I shut down at that point and gave up on my natural birth plan.

Luckily Matt and my mom knew what I really wanted and they helped calm me down and rationalize our choices.

The nurse suggested Demerol, which would only last a few hours, but would help me get some sleep in the mean time. Definitely not my first choice, but I was exhausted at that point and still having pretty painful contractions. I was going to be useless without any sleep. By the time the Demerol was started it was after 2 am. Almost 24 hours in.

Unfortunately, this is the last picture taken until after Logan was born. When things got real I said no more pictures, a decision that I now regret!
***At this point I have to stop and make sure I make special note of the terrible conditions my poor mother and husband had to endure. They nearly froze to death in the Arctic hospital room even though I was sweating and had only a thing blanket each and a small bench to share to sleep on. Matt ended up sleeping on the cold hard floor by my bed, where he informs me I was moaning out from pain in my drug-induced sleep state every few minutes, but the real story here is how neither of them got any sleep and nearly suffered from hypothermia. The poor, poor souls. ;)

The nurse came back to check me at 5 am.
5 centimeters! Progress!
Then she started the Pitocin... Yay...

After that, of course, things really picked up. Owie!

Around 6 am my water broke on its own. Another small victory!
My poor wrung out self turned to my mother and told her, "I think I just peed on myself, and it is still coming." And in the sweetest voice I think she has ever used she said, "Sweetie, I think your water just broke."

Once the Pitocin was in my system the contractions were coming hard and fast. The best way I could deal with them while being strapped to the bed by iv's and and monitors was sitting up with my legs crossed and leaning forward a bit. I alternated that with leaning back against the elevated bed. Pretty much the only positions you can get in other than on your side.

During each contraction my mom would talk softly about imagining my body as soft butter and just letting it melt away. Matt later said that at the time he thought she was crazy, but it seemed to be working. And it was! By using that visualization I was able to relax my body and let each contraction take over and do its job.

A few weeks before I assembled a list of inspiring natural birth quotes. My mom printed the list and brought it to the hospital. During a contraction she began. "300,000 women will be giving birth with you today.

Relax and...." I interupted, "Talk more about butter." So she did, and it worked.

Matt and my mom were on each side of me as I labored in the hospital and almost never left, except to wet a rag for my forehead or a quick restroom break. They are the reason I was able to make it. I am so thankful for the best doulas I ever could have asked for. 

It is so crazy when you are in the trenches of labor and transition. From the outside I probably looked like I was completely out of it, but on the inside everything felt perfectly clear, and I was even still making jokes (how I deal with every situation). I just couldn't voice them!

As it turns out, Logan's head was in the wrong position and wasn't flush against my cervix. Hence the prodromal (false, my hind-end!) labor.

Once I was dilated to a 10 there was still a "lip" on my cervix as a result of that whole head turned the wrong way thing... My amazing (no, seriously, I loved her!) nurse "assisted" finishing out the dilation with a few contractions. (insert awkward face here) 

Then it was time to push.

I honestly can't say how long I pushed or how many times, but I do know that when my Dr. said I needed to get him out or he was going to need to use the vacuum, there was only one more push. (Hello hemorrhoids!)

Then suddenly, there he was, and I was in love. It was the most magical moment ever. Up until that point he had  been a stranger kicking me in the ribs and squishing my bladder, but as soon as I saw his face it was as if I had known him forever.

I love him more and more every day. I can't believe it took me 14 months to write all of this down, but I am so, so glad I did. 


Lisa said...

Just as I remember it! And it's a good thing you told the most important part--the Arctic conditions! ;) I mean, when we speak of the pain and suffering of that day, hypothermia is right up there. Don't want anyone to think this birth story is all about you and the baby!! So, when do we get to do it again?? I'll bring blankets!

Amy said...

I can't pull up enough of the right words. Beautiful story, wonderfully told. I laughed, I cried! Love all y'all!

Allison said...

I just read this!! Made me tear up. You better read it again before #2 comes. You're a rock star.