7/5/05, 1:00 a.m. 9lbs 8oz, 22.5 "
7 hours labor (3 pushing)
July 5th was due date, evening of July 3rd, I was v. uncomfortable, babe was *really* squirmy and I was worried that something was up with him. had some stronger BHs that night, but nothing day of 4th, went for another walk in a.m. we were sposed to cook out w/friends later in day, around 4 dh went grocery shopping and I opted to stay home. I'd been reading the Harry Potter books in order in anticipation of the next book arriving, and opted to stay home, read and rest instead of going w/him.
at 5:45, w/o warning there was a warm whoosh of my water breaking while I was in bed. it was greenish, so I immediately was v. worried about meconium. Called dh on cell, he was almost home. called MW, she wasn't sure it was my water (!) or meconium (!!) (I was sure.) told me to put pad on and she'd call me in 40 minutes. called doula to fill her in.
when dh got home, he threw groceries in fridge, and I started having contractions, 1 min long, and 3, 2, 1 minutes apart! was walking and walking around house, couldn't believe things starting. MW called back, and we arranged to meet at hosp. at 7:30. DH grabbed bags I’d packed ages before and couldn’t even remember what’s in them! I tried to pack up some snacks but there just wasn’t time. Got towel for front seat of new car, and really didn’t think I could sit still for the 25 minute ride to hospital.
It’s a major teaching hospital on the grounds of a university, and we ran into some traffic for the 4th of July fireworks at the stadium, but luckily it wasn’t any later and the traffic wasn’t really thick, although every red light seemed an eternity.
at 7:30, L & D nurse checked me in triage, MW and doula arrived. I was 5 cm dilated and effaced, yes it was meconium, so I would have to be irrigated, in addition to IV for strep B. got set up in room, had to labor IN bed, which sucked, all I wanted to do was stand up and walk, every bone in my body insisted on it. doula & DH were awesome getting me through, doula worked on my back which was really bothering me, nurse was wonderful, oh and MW was the one who taught our Centering class (she'd been at hospital all weekend, and had only just been home for an hour, when I paged her.) it was really nice to work with MW I knew best.
kept room dark, and kept my eyes shut most of time. early on, the baby's heart rate dipped dramatically way low (30 I think), and they quickly got me to turn over and gave me oxygen, apparently he was lying on the cord; I didn’t realize any of this at the time, thought oxygen was for me for some reason, and mask made me feel claustrophobic at times. MW put fetal scalp monitor on him, so we could clearly keep track of his hb. at one point I was thinking of drugs, because I didn't think I could do it, but DH recognized that as the 'doubt' phase right before transition and encouraged me through it. as I dealt with each individual contraction, when it ended, I could face the next one. I forget exactly when I was checked again, but I dilated quite quickly and by 10 pm (4 hours later) it was time to push. there was a pediatric team assembled to suction babe out immediately, and because things had gone so quickly earlier, they thought I'd be pushing for 15 minutes....well, no.
pushing was a relief initially, I got to turn over on my hands & knees, and they put the head of the bed up vertically and I hung off it and pushed. MW was coaching me to do 3 pushes/contraction, and I never quite could get the 3rd one to be v. productive. at one point they put a bar up over the bed, and I was sitting up, with my feet pushing on footrests and that seemed to help, mw also gave me a sheet wrapped around bar for me to pull on, but what really helped was some low handles I could pull on. got really tired pushing, and felt discouraged like I wasn't making progress.
L & D nurses kept telling me how great I was doing, and I remember thinking they probably said that to everyone. DH kept feeding me ice chips as I asked for them. reached down to feel his little head at one point. Near the end, the L & D nurse, MW and even my doula, were telling me to 'just get mad' and push him out. I thought to myself, that is NOT how I want to bring my child into the world, and just worked as hard as I could to bring him down. it seemed like forever, but finally there was this relief, BUT then I had to stop pushing so MW could suction him out. then I pushed one more time, and the ped. team cut the cord and took him to the work station.
Delivered at 1:00a.m. exactly on July 5th, 9 lbs 8 oz, 22.5 inches and a big noggin.
DH heard him take a breath, but the team was able to take care of him. His Apgar score was a 6 at first, and they did let me hold him, but then took him to NICU because of his breathing.
then, they didn't give me v. long to deliver placenta, which surprised me, and gave me 2 bags of pitocin to help uterus contract and placenta, didn't feel anything w/it, and MW went in after placenta herself, and they gave me something to help w/pain of that, which rocked, I’m such a lightweight, was totally gorked on it. I was disappointed and a bit worried about not delivering placenta naturally. then we heard that Max was coming back after only 20 minutes in NICU, with an Apgar score of 9, which was a great relief.
We got into our room at around 4:30, and the rest of that day is blurry. I didn't rest enough when Max was being checked out by docs, was wired and tired, plus the constant parade of staff in and out of room, and I was so excited and calling people. we had wanted to room in exclusively, bf exclusively, but I have flat nipples and had tremendous difficulty breastfeeding, and had nurses and lactation consultants giving all this advice, and trying to manage a nipple shield, it was very overwhelming, and we opted for nursery care, so we could try to rest, and he was doted upon by some wonderful nurses who helped us a lot.
Max had some jaundice, and the bilirubin blanket/bed was prescribed, had a great resident pediatrician. our experience at the hospital was great, the care and nurturing the nurses gave us was fantastic, we were both completely impressed. NC does a hearing test right away which we had been going to decline, but there was a misunderstanding and they tested him, his left ear didn't 'pass' and they tested him again before we left, but still no, so we have follow up audiology appt in a month, prob. just amniotic fluid or something like. fingers crossed.
because of the difficulty bf'ing, dh (and I if I could handle it) was fingerfeeding him formula w/a syringe.
we were discharged on evening of 7th, jaundice much improved, no signs of probs from meconium, he weighed 9 lbs 1 oz. continued to have probs latching him on and managing nipple shield lactation consultant had given me, and his flailing arms, so continued finger feeding, which took forever. first night he screamed for 8 hours straight, but then slept 4 hours, we had 1st visit w/ped next day and all was well, although he was down to 8 lbs 14 oz. By end of 2nd day at home, we were realizing we really needed some help, and tried to get up w/hospital lactation consultants or a postpartum doula w/o luck. He screamed again all night, and we were feeling very desolate, swaddling helped some at the end of the screaming but otherwise we were at our wits end, and all on our own.
Next day, DH called a lactation consultant listed on the LLL brochure I had, and she was up for it, and visited us that afternoon. She got Max latched on and he fed for 20 minutes. It was like this at first, others could get him latched on, while I would struggle for 20 minutes. She mentioned how much he should be eating, and we realized he’d been wailing because he was starving because we weren’t feeding him nearly enough. All the info we had was on how many times to BF him, and we didn’t know anything about formula feeding, and felt stupid and horrible about making him so miserable. So, in typical knee jerk reaction, we started bottle feeding him every time he squawked (yikes.) he was much much happier, even calm during diaper changes, but we were feeding him every hour or two, and every time I did try to breast feed, if he got the nipple in his mouth he’d fall asleep, and we’d tickle his hands and feet and try to wake him up. We got an electric breast pump and I began pumping like a fiend.
Lactation consultant also did postpartum doula work, so we signed her up for following week, even though she’d be out of town on vacation after that (which turned out to be a good thing.) the dynamic was funky with her, and I was v. susceptible to her suggestions being so tired, hormonal, and upset about bf'ing. She had a negative attitude about us bottlefeeding him, both formula & breastmilk, and focused on nipple confusion. She got us really worried about him getting enough to eat, his poor suck, and my milk supply. We ended up not discussion lactation w/her, and just using her for errands and chores.
IN the midst of all this, I called my sister in NYC, with whom I have a tentative relationship, and she completely came through, she’s been totally available and supportive and not judgemental or snotty and it’s been wonderful. She also arranged for me to speak w/a friend of hers who’s a doula in NY, and she’s also been wonderful.
Turns out Max was getting plenty to eat, we called to check because he hadn’t pooped in a while, and the ped. Had us come in, at 8 days old, he was up over his birth weight at 9lbs 9 oz, a gain of 11 oz in FIVE days!! Ped was worried about us, “*how* often are you feeding him?” and suggested we try to stretch it to 2.5 to 3 hours to give ourselves a break, and to get him used to being hungrier at feeding so he might tend to latch on better if we continued to try to breastfeed. She was able to get him to latch on bare breasted in the office too, and said his suck was GREAT.
DH and I got into a routine, where he took night bottle feedings, and I picked up first thing in morning, continuing to pump, and trying to bf occasionally when I felt up to it. I still am so surprised at how horrible I’ve felt about not being able to breastfeed my baby and I’ve heard so many stories about people overcoming much worse difficulties to do it, and it’s just been emotionally devastating, even though I knew that the most important thing is that he is fed, and it was great that we were able to eventually feed him solely breastmilk. Then it got daunting because I felt like I was constantly hooked up to the machine, or washing the pumping equipment or bottles, and then realized I was spending no time with Max himself, so added trying to bottle feed him too, to bond…
My stitches started bothering me a few days after we got home, and I hadn’t had time to do the sitz bath (had 2nd degree tear, not sure of details or how many stitches. MW prides herself on taking time, and making people look “like they did when they came in.”) Used Tucks witch hazel pads as recommended, but made it a lot worse, was v. uncomfortable and affected everything from attempting to breast feed to getting out of bed. Stopped using the Tucks and got a donut to sit on, and made a point of doing sitz baths and doing great now.
New postpartum doula came on Monday of this past week and she ROCKS, what a gem, she’s given us all sorts of pointers, and I’ve been breastfeeding all week with the nipple shield, he’s only had a few bottles, and he’s doing great. At his two week check up, he weighed 9 lbs 14 oz, up a whole pound from his lowest weight! His cord came off and navel is a bit goopy so keeping an eye on that.
His cycles have already shifted some, he’s very alert, and loves to look to his left, so we’re practicing on the right. Spitting up freaks me out, but we’re getting through. Night time is harder for all of us. It’s been harder to get him to go down in his co-sleeper, we’re shushing him and swaddling him, but I think we’re so spent by that point, and he’s used to being up at night in utero. The doula’s helped us discover that the bouncy seat is a wonderful thing, oh my goodness to have use of my hands again! He’ll sleep on us, after bf’ing, or in the bouncy seat, but try to put him down to get some sleep, and it’s WIDE AWAKE IMP TIME.
DH is awesome, I don’t know how anyone does it w/o a partner. It’s been tough for us because we don’t have family around and in the house helping us, although we have reached out to friends and neighbors, and they’ve been wonderful helping us out, but we are getting a bit stir crazy in these 4 walls. We’re having a horrible heat wave so it’s awful to go out. He goes back to work in 2 weeks, and I’m pretty scared of being on my own all day. We’re hoping to be able to afford some more doula care at that time.
Must run, there’s a little old man face looking askance at me! We’re totally in love with our little guy, and soldiering on.