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<p>I hope this comes across as coherent, it was written in blocks whenever I could get the time.</p>
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<p>Contractions actually started on my due date.  I think I just got lucky there.  They were more uncomfortable than the contractions I’d been having and although I was trying not to get my hopes up I kind of had a feeling that it might be the real thing.  They even started pretty close together (2-5 minutes apart).  I don’t remember ever seeing any other obvious labor symptoms (like my plug) but my appetite had been pretty low for two days.  I was still eating but mostly just for the sake of eating.  Andrew had heated up some sausage and pepperoni pizza and I wanted to lose my breakfast… which by now I don’t even remember what I ate.<br>
Anyway, I went to bed that night still having contractions.  I think I only had 3 hours of sleep.  Everyone else seems to recall a few hours less.  I woke around 1:30 AM and was rocking around on my birth ball.  Nothing serious but it was getting uncomfortable.  I think most of it was just me picking up on how nervous my husband was.  I asked him to call my doula at one point and since my contractions were only like 2 minutes apart she suggested we meet at the hospital.  I knew walking out the door that we shouldn’t be leaving yet.  The ride there was pretty manageable too so that should have given me the biggest clue.  We got into triage, went on the monitor (on my back at first so that really sucked), and they confirmed I was having contractions every 2 minutes.  After the nurse came back in she said I could sit up as long as they could still get his heart rate on the monitor.  They could so I spent the rest of the time sitting while waiting for the doctor to do the cervical check (they require 4+ cm for admission unless your membranes have ruptured).  Turns out his heart rate did better while I was sitting anyway but I was only 3.5 cm so it wasn’t enough to be admitted.  I was given discharge instructions to go walk and come back in 2 hours.<br>
Instead of walking the hospital we went home.  It was only like 3 or 4 in the morning anyway.  Got home, had a grilled cheese with bacon, and tried to sleep again.  Contractions were hitting harder while I was in bed so I probably only slept another half hour.  Things are a bit fuzzy but I remember rocking around and taking a shower.  My mom kept bugging me to listen to the doctor and go take a walk but it didn’t feel right to me so I kept putting it off.  Finally I climbed back into the tub and sat in there while holding my husband’s hands.  It was starting to get more intense and I was hoping the water could help me relax.  I’m not sure how long I was in there but it was probably about 10 contractions worth before I had one that I nearly threw myself out of the water for.  My logical mind kept telling me the water might help but my instinctive mind wanted OUT.  Then I felt like I needed to vomit.  My husband had my footrest in front of the bathtub so I couldn’t get out very quickly (our bathroom is TINY) so he hurriedly pulled the liner out of our diaper pail and pushed it toward me.  I dry heaved a few times but nothing actually made its way out.  I knew then that we had to get moving because I might be in transition and the hospital was a 30 minute drive.  It felt like it took forever to get the car loaded back up and ready but I kneeled and bent over the arm of the couch trying to get through the contractions.  My sweet husband even put my shoes on for me while I was on my knees.  I told my mom I wanted to sit in the back so I could move around more so they pulled my towel into the back (I was paranoid about getting my water all over our new car for the past two weeks).  The car ride was horrible.  It felt like I would only have a contraction when the road got rough.  On-ramps, off-ramps, big curved parts at 65 mph, I probably could have closed my eyes and told you when the g-forces were going to change because a contraction would start just a few seconds before.  Getting into the hospital is also kind of fuzzy.  I know my mom grabbed a wheelchair and I saw someone I recognized in the L&D waiting room but I don’t remember who she was.  I spent those approximately 10 minutes with my eyes closed focusing through the contractions.  When we got back to triage I’m pretty glad they didn’t hook me back up those crazy monitors right away.  Someone did come in pretty quickly to re-check my cervix again… I was already 8 cm (this was about 2 PM)!  All the rooms at the time were full so I spent what my husband thinks was 45 minutes in triage.  <br>
Finally when a room was cleaned out they wheeled me in and hooked the monitors belts up to the monitoring machine thingy.  Someone asked me if I wanted to get up on the bed but I didn’t want to leave the wheelchair for a while.  When I did get out of the wheelchair I squatted next to the corner of the bed and hung my upper body off of it.  I’m not sure exactly when I started chanting to myself but it really helped me get through to remind myself ‘I am strong, I am tough’.  This was the only time I wanted something to get rid of the pain but knowing I was already an 8 (looking back I think I was more like 9 or 9 and a half) I couldn’t get anything through my IV and I still didn’t want a needle in my back.  My husband tried to help me by rubbing my back and I really appreciate his effort but it didn’t help as much as he hoped it would.  After a few contractions I signaled that I wanted my doula to help.  It was about the second contraction she used a hip squeeze through (amazing relief btw, everyone’s labor support should know this one) when my water broke.  It was a pretty awesome feeling, warm and gushing.  The only downside was that it got on my socks.  I swear not even a full 5 minutes later the urge to push when from a mild pressure to me roaring out that I wanted to push.  Someone convinced me to get into the bed finally (between contractions) but it only lasted a minute before I had to climb onto my hands and knees.  Sitting or laying was not an option.  My doula had already paged them that my water had broken but no one had come yet so she paged them again telling them I felt like I had to push.  Felt like was an understatement.  I had to push and I did, although only moderately enough to go with the urge.  I don’t remember who all came into the room because it didn’t seem important at the time but some time between my water breaking and this point someone offered me a new hospital gown but I declined it so all these people were pouring into the room and I was on my hands and knees in only my bra.  It didn’t really matter at the time anyway.  A doctor went to check that I was 10 cm but instead of finding a cervix (or lack of cervix) found the baby’s head was already +4 station.  Then I think more people came into the room but I’m not sure.  A nurse told me I had to lay down but I responded that I couldn’t and one of the doctors (it’s a teaching hospital so there were a few) told her I was fine the way I was.  I wonder now if the nurse turned red or not…  I did have to turn my head toward the head of the bed though and did when that contraction stopped.<br>
Pushing was pretty awesome.  It was an extremely weird feeling.  The first half of pushing I could only hold each one for about the count of 3 before I would roar out the rest of my energy.  I didn’t even know I could make those noises but I did feel really strong.  My husband made his way to sit on the head of the bed so I leaned on him and his shoulders.  My mom said that I was so strong I was pulling him down the bed (and he’s in the army so he’s not wimpy).  He was so awesome, whispering encouragement to me on how amazing I was and how proud he was of me.  I remember my mom saying how she could see his hair.  I tried to reach down once but I was too timid to get my hand all the way down there.  After about a half hour of pushing I could feel the burn.  By the next contraction I pushed with everything I had for as long as I could and he was (finally) born.  As soon as he was out he screeched.  I wanted his cord to stay intact for a while but he had meconium on him when he came out so they cut it and took him over to the warmer to suction him and check him out.  Someone told me after a minute that if I got into a better position they could bring him back to me.  I don’t even remember how that hurt because I wanted my baby like no other.  As soon as I was reclining on the bed I stripped my bra off.  I wanted to try the breast crawl and hoped he’d be up for it.  At that point they were bringing him back and I was surprised that I didn’t already recognize him.  I’m not sure why I would have.  I held him for a while and he hadn’t yet attempted the breast crawl so I let them get his measurements.  8 lbs 10 oz and 20 inches long!  He was a lot bigger than I thought he’d be and yet I didn’t tear.  There was a bit of a ‘skid mark’ that stings a little but nothing needed stitches or extra attention.<br>
The days since have been painful but wonderful.  He didn’t latch almost at all the first 24 hours and we were syringe feeding him but once my milk started coming in his appetite really picked up.  Now I just have to get through engorgement!  I had and have so much milk I was shocking the hospital lactation consultants.  Even my colostrum would just pour down my front.</p>
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<p><a class="H-lightbox-open" href="http://www.mothering.com/content/type/61/id/463215/width/1000/height/800/flags/" target="_blank">  <img alt="IMG_1289.JPG" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="17137" data-type="61" src="http://www.mothering.com/content/type/61/id/17137/width/299/height/399" style="width:299px;height:399px;"></a><a class="H-lightbox-open" href="http://www.mothering.com/content/type/61/id/463221/width/1000/height/800/flags/" target="_blank"><img alt="IMG_1295.JPG" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="17138" data-type="61" src="http://www.mothering.com/content/type/61/id/17138/width/1000/height/500" style="; width: 1000px; height: 500px"></a></p>
 

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<p>Congrads, mama....he's adorable!</p>
 

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<p>Oh my goodness, he is adorable! So plump and juicy! Makes me want to just kiss all over those cheeks - don't you just love chubby babies? Enjoy him!</p>
 

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<p>Congrats mama! You are incredibly strong! Such a beautiful baby, congrats!</p>
 

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<p>What a cutie! Congrats!</p>
 

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Just read your blog posts and wanted to congratulate you. So much of what you wrote resonated with me, your fears and hope and ultimate joy.<br>
We are due to be induced this Thursday at 36 weeks after a full term loss of our daughter in march.<br>
Ibam so glad everything turned out well after a bit of a scary turn (understatement of the year!).<br>
Thanks for sharing
 

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Iam so sorry. I posted this reply to wrong place! Very pregnancy brain obviously.<br>
Congrats though! Great birth story,
 
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