Double post! Couldn't get my images to work!
Edited by mzminty - 12/7/10 at 7:38am
This is long! I added pictures to make it more palatable! I wanted to post it to complete my "DDC experience", and so there would be a copy somewhere in case I lost mine on my hard drive (as happened with ds's)!
On Tuesday morning, November 16th, I went for my midwife appointment. I was 40w, 2d. I had checked my cervix that morning and guessed myself to be 4 cm dilated, but still thought my cervix was high. I had been contracting a lot the whole day and evening before, but had had a quiet night. I was feeling such tremendous pressure everywhere though, and was so uncomfortable that I’d resolved to stay holed up in the house until I had the baby. On the way to the appointment, Dave and I discussed the pros and cons of any sort of intervention or induction. We both felt strongly that we should let nature take its course, however we were both nervous about getting to the hospital in time, based on my history of delivering very quickly (2 ½ hrs and 1 ¾ hrs).
At the appointment, I asked my midwife, Joy, to check me. The last time I had been checked was at my 36 wk appointment, when I was 2 cm, 80% effaced. When she checked me, she looked at me and smiled, and just said, “Oh, Julie.” I had to ask her what she meant, and she said, “This baby is about to fall out of you.” She said I was 5 cm with a bulging bag, my cervix was paper-thin and the head was “right there”. She turned to my husband and said, “Dave, someone like Julie can go from 5 to 10 centimeters in a matter of a few contractions. If you want a home birth that’s fine, but I’m just afraid that if you wait for her to go into labor on her own, you might not make it to the hospital on time.” She then offered to have me come back to the hospital that afternoon and break my water. Dave and I asked to have a minute to talk it over. We decided that it seemed like the best idea, under the circumstances. We both felt well-rested, we could arrange for child care, he wouldn’t have to worry about going back to work on Thursday with me still being pregnant, and we both liked the fact that we could experience the labor and delivery more calmly than we had in the past.
So we left the hospital and went out to lunch, but I found that I couldn’t eat. I even tried to have a glass of wine, but my stomach didn’t want anything. I ended up feeling very nauseated and took a zofran. I was so happy knowing that was my last one! When we got home, I finished packing my hospital bag, wrote a note to my daughter Gianna, who would be arriving home from school after we’d already left, and took some belly pictures. I put my birth beads on for some of the pictures and then thinking a large necklace would bother me in labor, took it off to bring with me, intending to hold it or put it in my pocket. Unfortunately, the string I had them on snapped when I took it off, and they went all over the floor! But I brought the affirmations with me in the car and read them on the way to the hospital.
At the hospital, we were shown to the birthing room with the nice, big birthing tub. His was the same room where I gave birth to Evan, less than two years before. Dave and I sat together on the bed while we waited for the nurse, talking and kissing. It was so nice! We joked about sneaking into the bathroom to be alone, under the pretense of me obtaining a urine sample. ; ) When the nurse came in she drew a type and screen and a CBC and hooked me up to the monitor while she admitted me. I was told I didn’t need a heplock, which was such a nice little perk! We also gave her a copy of our birth plan and asked her if she wouldn’t mind taking pictures for us throughout the labor and delivery. She was very nice, and the three of us laughed and talked together. Then my midwife showed up and there was more merrymaking. I felt like we were at a giving birth party! Finally, at 4:30 we decided to get down to business and my midwife broke my water.
I sat in the bed until most of the gushing stopped, and then got up to walk. We made it part way down the hall when I had a contraction that gushed a lot of fluid and made me feel like I was peeing my pants. I decided to go back to the room to get more chux and empty my bladder one more time before going walking. In the bathroom, I had two big contractions one right after the other that made me realize I was truly in labor. I stood up to wash my hands and had such another big one that it was all I could do to make it to the bed. Once in the bed, they just kept coming, probably two or three minutes apart. I told Dave that he’d better let Joy and the nurse know what was happening, and I remember saying, “Please hurry back!” I was feeling out of control because it was happening so fast, and was having such intense pressure, that sometimes I couldn’t even tell if a contraction was starting or ending or if I was just hurting beyond that.
I was feeling really out of control because it was happening so fast and was suddenly so painful. Dave was really helpful because he just kept reminding me to “breathe”. That became my focal point during each contraction – just breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. Joy had run to change into scrubs, and our nurse had come in to see how things were going and immediately called out to the front desk for a baby warmer and back-up help. She made the comment that she wasn’t prepared because we were moving way to fast for her. She also finished filling up the birth tub at this point. When Joy arrived back in the room, she started pressing on my lower back during contractions. This felt good, not because I was having “back labor”, but it helped me feel less like my body was going to just split open.
By this point, I could feel my baby’s body moving way down into my pelvis, and I knew I had to just relax as much as possible and allow it to happen. Joy asked me if I wanted to get into the water and I said, “I don’t think I can.” She said, “Well, you’re going to have to. Otherwise you’re going to have the baby right here on this bed.” I guess I needed to hear that, so after my next contraction, I got up and got into the birth tub as fast as I could. The water felt so good, as I knew it would! My next contraction brought with it the urge to push. This panicked me more than a little because I realized again how fast things were going, and it made me feel out of control again. I have an inordinate fear of tearing my cervix from something a nurse said to me when I had my first baby, so I asked Joy if I was ok to push. She said yes. Not trusting her or my body, I asked if she was sure, because I was only 5 cm at the time she broke my water. She told me to see if I could feel the baby’s head, so I reached up and felt it probably only and inch or two above my perineum. Still feeling anxious, I asked her to double-check me anyway, which she did, and said, “Jules, there’s nothing there.”
I knew at this point that I had to focus on slowing things down as much as possible, because I didn’t want to tear. My plan had been to not push at all, but these contractions were so strong, that it took all of my energy and concentration to not push. I leaned back in the tub and tried to relax and gather myself together as much as possible. Again, I was feeling so scattered and out of control, and being in the water and “in position”, and knowing what my plan was really helped. With each contraction, I would only allow myself to push in short little bursts to relieve the pressure. It was so much more difficult than I imagined it was going to be. But Joy and the nurses kept praising my “control” and telling me I was doing it perfectly. Plus I had Dave holding my hand and telling me what a great job I was doing. I really needed that encouragement.
After not very long, I felt her head against my perineum and the “ring of fire”. This is where I was struggling with not wanting to push so I wouldn’t tear, and wanting to push so I could just end the pain. I continued to only allow her to move forward a little bit at a time as Joy supported my perineum. I remember I kept talking to Joy and asking her if I was stretching okay. She just kept telling me that I was doing it perfectly and that I should keep doing what I was doing. Finally, just when I couldn’t stand it any more, I let myself give one push that was big enough to allow her head to be born. Joy told me that there was no cord around her neck or anything, and I was ok to push the rest of her out. I loved that she knew me well enough to tell me that, as it was another worry of mine, and set me at ease. I pushed her body out easily, and in the split seconds before Joy handed her to me, all I could think about was that I didn’t feel the hot, searing sensation of tearing, and I was so happy and proud of myself! My next thought was one of relief and disbelief that it was all over and I was holding my daughter! It didn’t take very long for me to deliver the placenta, and then I got out of the tub and into bed with my little Maia. She was born at 5:21 PM, weighing 7 lbs even, and 19 ½ inches long.
She cried pretty much non-stop for a couple of hours after her birth. I tried to nurse her and did skin-to-skin with her, but she would only suck for a few seconds and then start crying again. It wasn’t until she was a few hours old that she finally started nursing well. And it wasn’t until the next day the she finally had some quiet alert periods. In retrospect, I think that the birth was hard on her, because it was so fast. She had bruising above her left eye and petechiae all over her head that faded slowly over the next few days. She also was very puffy for the first day or so, and even failed her initial hearing screening, they think because she had fluid in her ear. I think her birth was so fast that she was born with a lot of excess fluid that might have worked its way out of her if it had been slower.
You're definitely not the only one! From what I've seen, it's a pretty much universal reaction to fast labors. I know fast labor is seen as ideal, but I think there's probably a happy medium in there somewhere that's emotionally easier to handle :)
Kitty, I hadn't thought of that, but do you think she'd have any issues or symptoms if it were something she needed? Or just a good thing to have checked out, in case?