At 2:12 AM on Thursday, July 14, Jasper Quiren was born! My whole Natural Child Birth plan went out the window, and I am having a really hard time accepting that, even though ultimately it is what it is and Jasper is here, safe and sound. I'm feeling very emotional in general these days and keep finding myself welling up in tears of happiness, of anxiety, of fear...his arrival is the most awesome thing, but also really scary. I feel overwhelmed and full of fear sometimes, and okay others.
We've had some breastfeeding problems that I went to see a lactation consultant about (it was pretty bad - but is getting better) and I though I finally saw my chiropractor for my seriously painful Sacro-Iliac joint strain it is still giving me a really hard time and is preventing me from walking too much. Jasper also is peeing like mad (he's been nursing like mad, thank goodness!) but hadn't passed any stool until yesterday (after we had to give him some watered down prune juice and finally a glycerine suppository per our doc's orders - incidentally she isn't that concerned about his not pooping since he's EBF - she homebirthed, breasfed and coslept with both of her kids). Anyway, I think my feelings are normal and as we figure out our routine and adjust to new family life with the THREE of us, we'll be okay.
Here is Jasper's birth story, from my point of view:
I went in for my routine Gestational Diabetes ultrasound and Non-Stress Test on Wednesday, July 13 at 9AM. They decided to do the NST first, and right in the beginning, the baby's heart rate decelerated to 60 bpm. The nurse kept trying and had me shift around and it did come right back up, but since I had also had a weird peeing experience the night before (not sure if my water had broken), she took it as a red flag that I should go up to Labor & Delivery for monitoring (shades of the previous Friday). So they do a quick ultrasound and tell me that his fluid levels looked fine, but they're all to one side (my left), while Jasper was all on the right.
So up we go to L&D and I check in (it's now around 10AM). I called William to let him know what was happening, and tell him not to come yet because it could be another false alarm. They hook me up to the monitors and all looks good, but his heart rate did appear to be a bit slower than it had in the past (again, hovering around 120 bpm, vs. 140-150 bpm). At around noon, a resident comes in and tells me that they're just not satisfied with how he looks and the attending wants to induce. Because of the GD, they're concerned that his placenta had begun to prematurely age and feel that since I was 38 weeks 4 days along, it was the best thing to do. I tell them I want to talk to the doc herself and that I need to talk to my husband and they say okay. I call William tell him the situation and that he should come, and then I call my sister for advice. They're both really supportive, and tell me that if there was a truly serious problem I wouldn't even be on the phone - I'd be getting a c-section, which did make me feel better, but nevertheless, I was really upset that our plan to have a medication-free childbirth were not looking great.
It took William about 30 minutes to get back to the city, but he did. We talk it over and decide that we don't want to risk Jasper's health and so will go ahead with the induction if they will promise me that they won't prematurely break my waters since I was only .5 cm dilated and I didn't want to risk a c-section due to failure to progress (note that I was 80% effaced). The doc finally comes in (ironically after finishing up a c-section) and we talk. I tell her my concerns and we discuss that I don't want to use any cervidil or cytotec (drugs that are used to help ripen the cervix prematurely) and that I don't want them to break my water; that if I fail to progress, we just turn the pitocin off and it's not the day for me to give birth. She agreed. William thought it was so funny that she asked me if I was a physician because of the amount of knowledge I had about the different drugs and procedures.
At 3:30PM we start the pitocin drip and so it begins. Honestly, it was totally fine, I felt some surges and they were okay, we did the hypno-breathing and I was really optimistic about being able to continue with our plans. Then, around 6PM I felt Jasper kick and a huge squelch of water burst out. I knew then that this was the day - I wasn't going home. We continued with our breathing, but now since I didn't have any water to cushion the surges I was having a really hard time staying focused. Pitocin brings on very strong labor and it also managed to kick start my body into it's own labor so I was feeling non-stop contractions. At around 9PM, they came in to check my dilation and found that I was at 4 cm and fully effaced. I was really having difficulty with the pain and since I had to be hooked up to the monitors at all times, wasn't able to move around, walk or get comfortable. I really think if they would have been able to tell me that I would be done and ready to push in 2 hours I could have muscled through, but since that is impossible and I knew there was no way I could handle everything for an unknown number of hours, William and I decided that I should get an epidural. Let me tell you, I really struggled with making that decision. I bawled my eyes out and it still makes me upset even though the ends FULLY justified the means and having Jasper arrive safe and sound is all that totally matters.
Anyway, by 9:30PM, the anethesiologist had put in the epidural, which took about 15 minutes to take effect. It really did end up helping me, I was able to calm down and relax a bit and while I could still feel my body and what was going on, it really worked wonders to make it very bearable. Apparently, my body thought so too because by midnight I was fully dilated to 10 cm, and by 12:22AM was feeling strong urges to push. And push I did. Let's talk about out of body experiences for a moment. When they told me that it was time to push, I swear part of me left my body. I was looking down at myself in the bed, with William helping me to hold one leg and Nurse M. helping me to hold the other and it was like I was watching a movie. Every time I would feel the urge to push, they would help me pull my legs back and I would push as hard as I could in intervals of three for the count of ten.
I didn't think it would take that long, but began experiencing terrible cramping in my legs - calves and hamstrings - worse than anything I ever felt while marathon training. Every time I pushed Jasper would move down the canal, but then when I relaxed, he'd slip back up. It was the hardest thing I've ever experienced. After almost two hours of me pushing and making very slow headway (though the nurse and doctor helped me out with some massage and stretching), the doctor decided to help me out by holding his head in between pushes because he was finally on the verge of crowning. I gave a couple more mighty pushes and in the blink of an eye, there he was! It was amazing! It turns out that he was sunny-side up (babies are usually born facing downward, or the floor - which makes coming through the birth canal easier as their head and shoulders can fit more easily past the pelvic bone), which is why it took so long for him to come out and why I managed to break so many blood vessels in my face and neck from the strain.
So the lesson I've learned so far on this new journey that William and I have begun is that I'm a perfect parent. In theory. I've read all of the books, I can talk the talk, I am hip to the lingo...but now that the theoretical baby is a real one, all bets are off. All three of us are infants with regard to working things out, and I bet Jasper is the one who carries the most knowledge and strength. All I can do is follow his lead.
Thanks for reading,
Jen & Jasper