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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

BIRTH STORY AND EXCUSE FOR MY LACK OF BLOGGING

On Friday, June 6, 2008, I went for a routine OB appointment for my 37 week check. By this point in my pregnancy, I was ready to be done. Although I actually had a pretty easy pregnancy and loved the fact that I could basically demand that people on the subway give me their seats, I wanted to meet my daughter and hold her in my arms. So, imagine my surprise when the doctor told me I was already 4 cm dilated (at 10 cm you give birth) and that since this was a first child, while I could go until my due date, he thought that was highly unlikely.

I love my OB and could not have asked for a provider who was more in tune with my needs and my birth plan, but at the same time, his news made me nervous. I had heard such horror stories of hospital births and I did not want to be forced into a hospital protocol. No IV, no drugs. I wanted a completely natural birth and needed to be sure that my provider would comply with my wishes. When he told me I was dilated, the list of last minute questions I had brought with me to my appointment was instantly forgotten and instead, a list of necessary products (diapers, wipes, blankets, etc) filled my head. I left the doctor and called Husband. “Are you ready to be a Daddy?” I asked. We cancelled plans for that night and agreed to meet for a last minute shopping trip for baby supplies.

The next several days where a whirlwind as I made all sorts of last minute plans for a baby who looked like she may come early. We met with the doula and signed the contracts, purchased diapers and blankets and pretty much started doing whatever we could to make the birth happen – spicy food, coffee, chocolate, etc. If there was an old wives tale about speeding up birth, we tried it.

The following Monday, I woke up in wet sheets. Convinced my water had broken during the night, I called the doctors and the doula and made an appointment to go to the hospital and get checked. My water had not broken and I was still 4 cm dialated. Apparently, I was peeing myself. Lovely. Disheartened, Husband and I headed home.

Wednesday started off normal and I was excited to leave work early and get my hair done. My colorist only works a few days a week and if I had to cancel the appointment, it would take weeks, if not more than a month, to get another appointment. As I left the hair appointment, I began to experience mild cramps.

The cramps felt like period cramps and I called Husband to let him know I would be home late and was going to a yoga class in order to try and stretch out the cramps. In the cab home, I also called Mother, who told me it sounded like I was in labor. I acknowledged that she might be right but decided to go to yoga anyway and work through what seemed like early labor.

Up in my apartment, I changed into yoga clothes and sat on the birthing ball to watch a little television until it was time to leave for yoga. It was 6:15pm. At around 6:30pm, the birthing ball became uncomfortable and I decided to forgo yoga for a relaxing bath. In the bath, the cramps became stronger and I think I realized I was actually in labor. Still, remembering that labor can take 24 hours, I tried to ignore the cramps as much as possible and time the contractions.

At approximately 6:45pm, I experienced a contraction that literally knocked the breath out of me and, in a panic, I called Husband and told him to come immediately home. He did not get the message and came home 30 minutes later with the dogs to find me (as he puts it), “flopping around in the bathtub.”

The most comfortable places were the toilet and the bathtub and after trying for a while to time to contractions, we called our doula to get her opinion. I certainly did not want her to trek out to me if labor was going to be long and drawn out, but I also did want her to reassure me that I could make it through labor without drugs. Husband and I timed the contractions and thought they were about 13 minutes apart. We called Doggie Day care and had them come and pick up the dogs for an overnight stay.

The doula came over a half hour later and took about 10 seconds to assess the situation. Contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and had been for a while. See, no one told Husband or me that you time all contractions, so we were only timing the big ones. The little ones - ones I could walk, talk or otherwise pretty much ignore – well, we ignored them.

So, we were on the way to the hospital. Parents were called, C was called (my best friend from high school, I really wanted her at my birth) and Husband called the OB to let him know we were on our way.

I wanted so badly to push. Every instinct in my body told me to bear down and push, but the doula begged me not to push and kept instructing me to “blow like you are blowing out a candle.” I pretty much crawled into the hospital on all fours.

Once in the hospital, we were waiting in triage when my water broke. It was about 9:40pm at this point and moments later, I found myself being checkout out by the doctors. I could not stay still. I wanted to rock on all fours, squat, walk and generally be in any position but lying down. But, the hospital staff wanted to monitor me and despite my protests, I was put into a supine position and hooked up to external monitors. I tolerated that for about 30 seconds before ripping off the monitors. My OB showed up at this point, asked me to lie back so that he could examine me, announced that he saw hair (not mine as I had been waxed just a couple days ago!) and moved me into a birthing room.

Husband ran out to try and secure us a private postpardum room and I got set up in a birthing room. (Basically, this is a room with a bed, an incubator and some medical equipment) The OB put a birthing bar on the foot of the bed to that I could put my feet against it to push and Husband returned as I started to push (this time with the doula and the OB’s blessing). About 30 minutes later, our daughter was born.

I watched most of it through a mirror, Husband watched live (both things neither of us though we would want to do). The OB offered to let me catch the baby myself, but at the last minute, I chickened out and had him do it, and Husband cut the cord. The baby was immediately placed onto my chest and I breastfed her and Husband and I shared some quiet time with the newest member of our family.

It was the birth experience I really wanted. No drugs, no IV, no needles and no real pain. My OB was a wonderful provider and one I would use again in a hearbeat. Even my doula wants him as her OB. Sure, it was a hospital birth, but I could have been at home I was so comfortable and I really consider myself lucky to have had such a wonderful support system. C, my parents and Husband’s parents all got to the hospital and were visiting soon after the baby was born. And now, to look at my daughter and remember how wonderful her birth was, I feel truly blessed. The only downside is that I can never guilt trip her with stories of how I suffered while she was being born, but I suppose, for such a wonderful birth experience, I can forgive that one little detail…

3 comments:

Just Margaret said...

Sara, congratulations!! As far as birth stories and guilt go, ach! You'll have plenty to guilt her with down the road, trust me! ;-)

I'm so happy for you and your husband and family! Treasure each moment!

Best,
Peg

wingin' it said...

you left of the detail of the cab driver who pleaded with you not to give birth in the cab. Haha, good times.

Grandma said...

Birth, shmirth! We're so proud of how well you and Husband managed the whole birthing process, but love how well you both are doing as new parents.

For all of you out there reading this, trust me, the baby is absolutely beautiful!