EDD: December 24
Actual Birthday: November 12, 11:30 AM
Weight: 5 lbs 13.5 oz
Length: 19.5 inches
Exactly 34 weeks (LMP)
Ingrid's Birth Story:
My pregnancy was going along perfectly, so far as I knew. I felt great- I was still working a job where I had to be on my feet all day. The day before she was born, I walked 3 miles and swam laps for 40 minutes. All of my appointments with the midwife were going well, I'd gained less than 25 pounds, though she thought the baby was pretty good sized- she guessed 4.75 pounds at 32+ weeks. I was 1.5 cm dilated at the last appointment, which she promised did not mean the baby would be early, just that labor might be easier when it did happen.
Saturday, Nov 11, I worked, and then my husband and I went to a party in the evening. We came home in time to watch Saturday Night Live, and I fell asleep on the couch. I got up to use the bathroom, and afterward, walking around the house, I noticed that I was peeing on myself. Oh great, I thought, I am going to be one of those pregnant ladies who wets herself for the next 6 weeks. I went back to the toilet. It kept coming.
The next bit is a blur- my husband called the midwife. I was sobbing, just so profoundly sad that this was happening. Somehow I knew that the baby would be okay, but I was grieving my loss of our homebirth, and feeling that I really, really was not ready for this.
We went to the hospital. My mw had called ahead, so they were ready for us and didn't have to explain too much. I was still crying. The L&D nurse was nice, but incompetent when it came to needles -- I had to have a hep-lock IV and have blood drawn, which resulted in my being jabbed with needles NINE times and another nurse having to get involved. My arms are black and blue, this time period was a real low point.
The doctor on call showed up. My water had been broken for about 3 hours at this point (it's 3 AM) and he announces that he wants to induce labor. I refuse, saying that I want to try to sleep and see if I go into labor by myself in the morning. He is a jerk about it (I am 3cm dilated and fully effaced, so it seemed unlikely to me that I would not go into labor) and says something snarky about their plan still being the same in the morning. He also said that the hardest thing for me was going to be giving up control of the situation, now that the homebirth was off.
So, we try to sleep. I was mostly awake, worrying. In the morning, I asked my husband to go home and get a bunch of stuff. Somehow, when we had left the night before, I had harbored some hope that labor could be postponed or something.
While he was gone, my contractions picked up. At first, they had felt like mild menstrual cramps, but I found myself being more comfortable sitting on the toilet (in spite of the fact that the bathroom was absolutely freezing). It was still very manageable, but I noticed I was swaying a little and even moaning a little at the peak of some of these contractions. As soon as labor really started, all of my fears went away, my mind and body focused on the task at hand.
At some point the new L&D nurse came in and wanted to check me. Before she did, she told me we would probably need to start pitocin, to which I said no. She seemed amazed that I was a stretchy 5 cm, and stopped talking about pitocin. My husband came back and my midwife arrived. I'm not sure which came first, b/c I was a bit out of it by that point.
Being in active labor felt like being on drugs in some way. I felt very focused, yet like I wasn't really there. It actually was not unpleasant. I put my head on my husband's shoulder, sitting on the bed, and moaned quietly (I think). I can't even describe what the contractions felt like, but they didn't really hurt, they just felt really intense. I put all of my focus on trying to relax and breathe deeply.
At one point, my midwife referred to me as being in transition, and I was shocked. I think I said, "THIS is transition?" I had prepared myself to be ready to fall apart during transition, and I never felt like I couldn't handle it. The idea of getting drugs never crossed my mind. During a few of the contractions, I got nauseous and wanted a bucket, but couldn't vocalize this, then it would go away with the contraction and I would forget to ask.
So then it was time to push. I have to say that this is one area in which I was not prepared. We were still in the middle of taking our birth classes, which were given my my mw's partner. It had come up in the last class that my mw was a big fan of directed pushing, which is something I had wanted to avoid. But I hadn't had a chance to talk to the mw about it (not that it would have made a lick of difference- she is very opinionated, and the outcome would have probably been either me switching to the other mw, or giving in on the pushing). But here we are, in a hospital, I'm about to deliver a preterm baby, and I just can't get it together to make my case, beyond asking to wait through a few contractions until I have the urge to push.
I did not enjoy pushing, or maybe I just didn't enjoy being told to count to 10, hold my breath, etc. The doctor (different dr delivered than the one who admitted me) and mw were seemingly not impressed with my efforts. It was not intuitive, and I had to be coached for awhile on how to do it "right". The baby was also posterior, so having a hard time coming out. A mirror was set up, so that I could see her head- she had hair! Of course, I had a fetal heart monitor, which began to tell us (after and hour of pushing) that she was not recovering well, so the dr said he wanted to use vacuum on the next contraction. The mw agreed, and so we did. She came out on the next push, screaming. When she came out, it hurt quite a bit (ring of fire is real), but only for about 30 seconds.
I reached down and touched her vernix coated body, writhing and yelling. My husband cut the cord and they whisked her away. Somewhere in there, someone said, "It's a girl!" and I realized it hadn't even crossed my mind to wonder.
They wiped her off and did her Apgar scores in the corner of the room, then wrapped her and brought her to me for what seemed like exactly 2 minutes. She was awake and quiet, and all I wanted to do was keep her with me, but she had to go to the NICU to get checked out. My husband went with her, and I stayed behind and got a couple of stitches (probably tore b/c of the vacuum), delivered the placenta, and sat around talking to my midwife while getting pitocin for bleeding.
I felt great and ate a sandwich. I tried to convince everyone who came into the room to let me go to the NICU, but apparently I was still bleeding too much. I finally got to see her for 5 minutes (b/c the NICU was closing) over 2 hours after she was born.
Ingrid's birth was not what I had hoped for or expected. If I have another baby, I hope it will be at home. I will find a midwife who will listen to me and let me try to breathe the baby out. I won't have all of the interventions that I had -- antibiotics (which I had b/c I had not had Beta Strep test yet, so they had to assume I was +), being confined to bed, vacuum, directed pushing, cutting the cord before placenta was delivered, etc. I'm still sad about the things we missed -- birth tub, welcoming her peacefully, trusting my body, and most of all having her with us for the first 6 days of her life. I have even grieved my pregnancy being over- I was not ready! But we have the most beautiful baby daughter, who is thriving. I am so very thankful for that. And an extra 6 weeks of a world with her in it is a good thing.
I will add our info and then the updated birth story (long! sorry!)
Born November 29
Due December 2
Weight: 8 lbs, 10 oz
Length: 20 in pic here!
Zoe's Birth Story - Wednesday, November 29, 2006
On Tuesday I hit the wall with this pregnancy. I was crampy, nauseous, sore, achy, and very done with being pregnant. It took a lot of strength not to have an emotional breakdown. I could feel one coming on.
Wednesday morning, I woke up at 6:30am to get ready for my morning class. When I went to the bathroom, I noticed a little blob of mucus in the toilet that had pink on the end. After my shower, I had more pink on the toilet paper. Bloody show - good sign! I was having contractions as I had been the entire pregnancy. These hurt, just a little, but they mostly felt tight like my usual Braxton Hicks contractions. Still, I called my doula to let her know what was going on. As it got closer to 8:30, the contractions were starting to come at 8-15 minute intervals or so, and they hurt more. I decided to skip class just in case.
Between 9 and 10 I had contractions anywhere from 4 to 8 minutes apart, and some of them definitely hurt. We called the women's clinic and they said to come on in for a labor check. I called our doula one more time and she agreed to meet us there. At the clinic, they determined I was almost 5cm. Even though the contractions weren't super close together, I had to focus and find a good position to stand in so I could cope with them. I liked to stand with legs apart and my head in my hands on a desk.
We went to the hospital and started the process there. Pee in a cup, put on a gown, sign the papers. They wanted to get a monitoring strip. I asked to sit on a birthing ball while they monitored… being in bed hurt too much. It took longer than 15 minutes because the monitor for the baby's heart kept finding my heartbeat during contractions. My doula could tell from the way the heart rate rose and fell abruptly that it was mine and not the baby's. The contractions were fairly strong at this point, but still not super close together. Eventually, I guess the doctor and nurse got what they wanted and I took off the monitors. I wanted to get in the tub now.
The tub relaxed me. I wonder if this is what my body needed to really jumpstart labor. The contractions built up gradually, stronger and closer together. DH and the doula were absolutely wonderful to me. One would hold my hand, one would put counterpressure on my back, and I would press my forehead into the side of the tub. Our L&D nurse was very good to us as well. She came in just intermittently to find the baby's heartbeat with a Doppler, and she brought me juice.
I stayed in the tub for about an hour. As the hour came to a close, the contractions hurt a lot very low.. like in a ring around my pelvis. I could start to feel pressure… every contraction felt like I had to have a bowel movement, and when it ended the urge went away. I was in a lot of pain. I started getting scared of pushing. I told the doula "I can't do this. I don't want to do this." She told me it was OK to say anything I felt. I did NOT want to push the baby out. I didn't see how this was going to happen. I felt the pressure and knew it had to come out somehow but I was so scared. I remembered too well how bad the pushing and crowning hurt last time.
I was restless and wanted out of the tub. I went to the bed and laid on my side. I made high pitched groans through the contractions now… DH pressed on my back and our doula held my hand. In between contractions I zoned out and went limp. I was feeling beaten down. The nurse checked me and I was at 9+ cm! She hurried to get my buff cap in my arm - standard hospital procedure. After she was done, I felt something slimy come out of me and the bag of waters broke in a huge gush.
Our nurse pressed the call button and asked for the OB and pediatric nurse. She prepped the room as quickly as she could. I couldn't even see it - my eyes had clouded over. Soon it sounded like a hundred voices were telling me to push, and I knew I had to. The nurse tried to get me to hold a leg up and try it, but I didn't want to. I was scared. I decided I would have to just bite the bullet and get this baby out, so I asked if I could squat. They brought out a squat bar and attached it to the bed.
I hooked my arms over the squat bar, and DH and the doula propped me up. I pushed. The pain was horrible, burning, stinging. I screamed and kept pushing. DH swore it only took 5 minutes, the longest 5 minutes of my life! At 1:45pm Zoe came shooting out all at once. The OB made a good catch! DH was so emotional. I heard him saying "she's here, look at her, she's beautiful!"
DH and the doula set me down gently. I couldn't hold Zoe because her cord was too short. They clamped and cut, and then I held her skin-to-skin while the nurses dried her off and gave her oxygen and put warm blankets on us.
I am really, really happy with how the birth went.
I was scared and just this side of losing control, but I did it. The labor was short , everyone around me supported me and respected my wishes, and I was allowed to experience it on my own terms… it was my birth.
Afterward, the hospital treated us very well and we decided to stay there 2 nights instead of 1. It was more restful than I thought it would be, and I got help several times from the LC. I had totally forgotten how hard it is to nurse a newborn without traumatizing my poor nipples.
We are all doing great!
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