So I had some bloody show this morning, along with some kind of intense menstrual-type cramping. I went off to work at eight, but then the cramps started to organize themselves into a pattern, so I went back home. Right now they are about 3.5 minutes apart and maybe 30-40 seconds long. They're still on the wimpy side, though--I mean, I have to pay attention to them, but I don't have to completely stop what I'm doing. I called my husband to let him know, but told him he doesn't need to come home from work yet. I will probably call my doula soon, but I don't think I am ready for her to come over yet.
Wish me luck--I think this may take a while. Luckily I had a good night's sleep last night!
I just went to the OB and got checked--4 cm dilated and about 75% effaced! They told me to go straight to L&D, but I don't feel like I am ready just yet--I'm going to call my doula, have something to eat, and labor a bit more at home I think. Contractions have gotten slightly more intense, but still very very manageable, so I still think it'll be awhile.
After a very difficult and long labor (but a truly awesome pushing stage!), Johannes Kenzo finally arrived at about 4:30 on December 14! He is a big boy at 9 pounds and 8 ounces! He was breathing very fast and had trouble feeding at first, so he is currently in the special care nursery getting antibiotics and I am pumping colostrum. A lot of things about the birth and Baby J's post-birth care did not go according to plan, but that is parenthood I guess! We are so in love with him already... Full story later, once I finally get some sleep!
What a beautiful baby! Congratualtions. Have a wonderful babymoon, and a delightful journey into motherhood!!
Oh my gosh, he is sooooo gorgeous. Well done mama! Congratulations.
I hope you get some rest and feel great really soon and that Johannes will do super well and be nursing and going home real soon.
Congratulations! He is adorable - those cheeks :) I had to pump for the first three days of my daughter's life and we were still able to establish a very strong nursing relationship. I'm sure it will work out for you, too!
Congratulations, Nora, from April 2010!!! He is beautiful, and I hope he is out of the NICU as soon as possible.
Congratulations! Sprout was in the NICU for rapid breathing, too. Three days of precautionary antibiotics until the blood cultures came back negative for sepsis. It can be pretty rough to deal with NICU stuff.... I hope he's out and healthy as soon as possible! Hope you're doing well!
What a gorgeous baby. Congratulations!
Yay! It takes a lot to get me to post anymore... but CONGRATS!!!!! I hope to get to meet that beautiful boy someday (maybe in michael's? )!
Pet-mom to Squirt with FLUTD & Maya the deaf wonder dog .
So, like I posted before, on Monday morning the 13th I woke up at 5:30 am with a small amount of bloody show and cramping, which was continuous and felt like bad menstrual cramps. This was after a kind of uncomfortable weekend, during which I had a LOT of Braxton Hicks and general crampiness. By about 7:00 am I was pretty sure that I was beginning labor, as the cramps had started to form a pattern. From the outset they were close together, about 3.5 minutes. I went to work that morning anyway, because I figured it was best to keep busy, but one of my coworkers kicked me out around 10:00 and told me I needed to rest. I wish I had taken her advice, in retrospect. I called my OB/Gyn office and went in for a quick check at about 11:30, and was told that I was 4 cm dilated, 75% effaced, and officially in active labor. I was absolutely thrilled, because I still felt like the contractions were very manageable and I was surprised to have made so much progress without too much pain! I was super excited at that point and felt like things were going to go really well.
I went back home, called my doula to let her know what was going on, and called my husband to come home and bring me something to eat. I had half a burrito and kept myself busy for a few hours watching movies with my husband as the contractions became more intense. My doula came over around 4 pm I think, helped me get moving a little, as by that point I really really preferred to just sit on the birthing ball all the time. She then left briefly to get some dinner, and we called her back at about 8 when I felt like I needed her support. We went ahead to the hospital shortly thereafter, because things were getting very painful and I was no longer talking very much between contractions.
When I got to the hospital, I was checked and they said I was at 5-6 centimeters, which I was pretty happy with. My contractions slowed down a bit when we first got there, but soon picked back up a lot and I had to really work through them. I spent the entire night moving mostly between the birthing ball and on my knees on the bed. The ball at the hospital was bigger than the one I had at home and not as firm--I wish I had brought my own, as it was much more comfortable. In the morning, after many hours of work, I was checked again and found to be 7-8 cm. My water still had not broken and I felt like I was ready to have things move along, as I was getting very tired. So I had the doctor break my water (which felt awesome! the mess didn't bother me at all!). For a while, this intervention seemed to have a paradoxical effect of actually slowing my contractions down. Eventually they picked back up and became way more intense.
After a few more hours, the doctor checked me and told me I was 8-9. By this time I was in very, very serious pain and was becoming a little more agitated and high-pitched with every contraction. I was also starting to have the definite feeling that I was not going to be able to do this much longer, as I was exhausted to the point that I was nodding off and slipping off the birth ball between contractions, as well as talking general nonsense. However, I was encouraged by being so close to 10. The doctor said it was fine to get in the bathtub, even though my water had been broken, so I did that. It felt good, but the water would get cold too quickly and the jacuzzi jets were temperamental and would shut off randomly. It didn't help nearly as much as I thought it would, honestly, but I was in there for probably an hour or two, working through things, with my husband periodically draining some of the water and putting hotter water back in.
I finally got sick of the tub and got out, thinking that by now I was probably at 10 centimeters or very close to it. After all, I had been in active labor for about 20 hours and what I would consider to be hard labor for at least 10-12 hours at this point. I was not feeling pushy though, although I kept trying to convince myself that I was. I wanted to be checked, because I was beyond exhausted and really wanted to hear some encouraging news (even though I think I knew deep down that I was not going to hear what I wanted to). The nurse checked me and said, "Oh sweetie, they told you that you were 8-9? You're only a 7." I was absolutely devastated. By this time it had probably been about 4 hours since I had been told that I was 8-9, I was delirious with fatigue, and my contractions were unbelievably intense and lasting for what seemed like forever. The nurse tried to be encouraging, and I tried to tell myself that 7 was still good, that I was still in transition, that I could do this. But honestly, at that point the disappointment in the room was almost palpable. Even my doula did not have much to say. I wish that I had listened to my body, and the fact that I did not feel like pushing, and not gotten checked at that point, because the fact that I had apparently gone backwards in terms of progress, after so many hours, was just more than I could deal with emotionally.
At that time, probably around 10 in the morning on the 14th, I decided that I needed some pain relief. I really did not want to bother with Stadol, because I didn't need to just "take the edge off," I felt like I needed to get some real rest and that an epidural was the best way to make that happen. However, my doula seemed to be kind of wanting me to try the Stadol first, and I was too tired to really talk about it, so I agreed to Stadol. It worked miraculously well in that I immediately conked out for about an hour, much to my surprise as I had always heard that Stadol was kind of a wimpy drug as far as narcotics go. While I was in my Stadol-induced stupor, something came up with another client of my doula's, who had a scheduled C-section for a breech baby. I think my doula had not expected my labor to last as long as it did, but it had become clear that she was going to have to leave my birth to provide emotional support for her other client. One of her backups came in, but she didn't have a whole lot to do initially while I was under the influence of the Stadol, and I was barely conscious and sort of didn't really understand what was even going on.
Pretty much exactly an hour after getting the Stadol, I discovered its big drawback--when it wears off, it wears off HARD. I went from feeling essentially no pain to full-blown transition-level contractions almost instantly and it was agonizing. It only took about 15 minutes before I said that I definitely wanted either the epidural or another dose of Stadol. The new doula suggested some massage and a relaxation MP3, which I was game for, but I was pretty firm that I wanted to get the ball rolling on an epidural anyway. I felt instinctively at that point that I had not made any more progress in the last couple of hours, and I was still completely exhausted. It only took about a half hour for the anesthesiologist to come in and place the epidural, at I think around 11:00 AM. The process was not particularly uncomfortable, and at that point I actually welcomed being confined to the bed, believe it or not, because I was so desperate for rest.
When the epidural took effect, I laid on my side in the dark and attempted to sleep. I wasn't able to do that, as I had become somewhat anxious about my earlier lack of progress, and had also begun ruminating about the cascade of interventions. At the same time, I knew that I was not able to do unmedicated labor any longer at that time, and that I had made the right decision for me. I was still afraid that I would end up with a C section, particularly after they checked me, found that I had still not made any progress, and started Pitocin. You know what though? For me, the epidural and the Pitocin worked exactly as they should. After an hour or two, I started to feel strong downward pressure, which eventually got bad enough that I had to moan through it. I started to feel confident again at that point, and had them check me again. I was 10 centimeters, FINALLY!
Pushing was AWESOME and I loved it! After my first few pushes, I had them roll in a mirror and I think it helped my progress enormously to be able to see exactly what was happening. The mirror was really cool--I highly recommend it to anyone who is on the fence. I didn't have to push long at all--I am not 100% certain, but I would say it was probably only half an hour in all. My 9 pound, 8 ounce baby came shooting out in practically no time and I felt like Superwoman! I only had a second-degree tear, which I thought was pretty good considering how fast he came out, and the fact that his head showed essentially no molding! He was born at 4:26 PM after about 29 hours of active labor.
They put him right on my belly and let his cord pulse for a bit, although not too long because we had decided to donate his cord blood to a public bank. His Apgars were 8 and 9, but they noticed after a brief attempt at nursing that his respiratory rate was fast, and then had to take him across the room for assessment. Unfortunately, his respiratory rate never improved, and his lab results were worrisome for possible sepsis, so he had to be admitted to the special care nursery for antibiotics. I have honestly dealt with that pretty well, because aside from the fast breathing (which has been intermittent), he never got extremely sick. I never had any doubt that he would be fine healthwise. However, learning to take care of a baby in this kind of situation is really difficult, and I wish now that I hadn't consistently skipped over the "Special Situations" chapters in all those breastfeeding books I read. When there are wires and tubes everywhere, you can't really position the baby as freely as you could otherwise. Because I wasn't allowed to hold him and he wasn't allowed to have anything by mouth for a big chunk of his first 24 hours, I think we missed out on a critical learning period. Nursing is not going well right now. I have been pumping colostrum for him, and I am pretty sure my milk is about to come in, so that aspect has been fine. He really, really doesn't want to latch on though, and we are struggling to get him to learn how to feed before he is discharged. I just keep reminding myself that he's only 2 days old and it is normal for some babies to take longer to figure it out. I think maybe it will get better when I have him with me and when we're able to do skin-to-skin all day without a bunch of stuff in the way.
Wow, you went through so much during that birth, Nora! My labour with DD was similar in terms of progressing well early on and then not, I totally remember the feeling of devastation when I wasn't where I wanted to be and wasn't feeling pushy but kidding myself that I was there. Good for you for doing what you had to do to get that rest, I know firsthand how demoralizing that exhaustion can be, I felt so hopeless near the end, I didn't believe the midwives when they told me I was progressing, being so tired made it so much harder to keep going. The pushing sounds amazing (I was too chicken to look)! Congratulations again, enjoy that boy!!
wow! what a labor! doesn't always go as you planned, but it sounds like you did exactly what you needed to for yourself in those moments. :) be proud!
congrats! your babe is a real cutie.
Mama to two girls, born 5/08 and 11/10.