Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Spencer's Birth Story: Part I

I've thought about and tried to write this in my head about a hundred times.  Writer's block is a real thing folks.  Even if it means you are being blocked by other (seemingly) pressing things going on in your life.  Blocked by a baby and 3 wildly entertaining and needy toddlers is the most recent thing that comes to mind.

So I'm just going to start telling the story of how my 4th baby was born.  I'm just going to put it out there.  I may not even proofread or speel check. I'm not even going to blog about my three wildly entertaining and needy toddlers turning three.  Their birthday is always something to write about and celebrate. However, if I go one more blog post without talking about child #4, he might begin to feel like a footnote.  Which he's not.

So, without further ado or spilling of my subconscious mind, the story of when Spencer as born...

"So what did you decide?"

My doctor asks me this on a Wednesday afternoon.  I'm 39 weeks pregnant and it's the first appointment that Chris has come with me.

I look at my handsome partner and he smiles, we both know we're going to have a baby that day.  At least that's what we thought.  After all, my body had actually labored before with the triplets, so the second time around is speedy and quick, right?  Baby comes out like it's got somewhere to be? Plus, with ALL my hypnobirthing training I had done over the past 4 months, surely this would be the most beautiful and most perfect birth in the history of all births.   That's what we had anticipated.  At least I had.  I never would have predicted that nearly 24 hours later I would be in a surgical room, with a team prepped in masks and gloves hovering around me.

"Yes."  I answer confidently.  "We want to have this baby today."

A week prior, my doctor had given me the option of induction.  The baby was measuring big and had even earned the term macrosomia.  

{neonatal macrosomia (n) : a baby that is measuring large for its gestational age.}

And he was big.  I had a handful of doctors and nurses after they saw him ask me if I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. (I wasn't.)

So the baby was measuring big, and I had stressed with my doctor that I did NOT want a c-section this time around.  I wanted as close to natural as I could get within the confines of being comfortably safe in one of the best hospitals in the state.  In my laser focus of not wanting a c-section, I focused on the macro-thingy and worried the baby would be too big and not come the way I planned and all that planning and hoping about channeling mother nature herself in the birthing room would be a pipe dream.  So focused on NOT having a c-section that I didn't look too deeply into the effects of pitocin and what exactly an induction meant for me.    

I think part of the reason I have been so reluctant to share the entire birth story is because I feel responsible for how things turned out.  I naively thought I would be given something to "get me started" then my body would just do it's thing and I'd pop that little critter right out!  

Also, my older kids have been on a routine and schedule since the day all three of them were home from the hospital.  We live and die by a routine around here.  So the lure and temptation of being able to plan when the help was going to be with them was too much.  Too much I tell you!

So I decided to go ahead with the induction.  And I can't even type the phrase "against my better judgement" after that.  Because I really did think I was doing the right thing.  It felt right.

So we were shown to a room in the delivery unit and the nurse began my check in process.  I had brought along my birth plan and told her I wanted to go over it with her.  I look back and wonder what she was thinking, right before I was to be induced, when I told her I wanted NO talk of pain, or pain scales or asking me if I was in pain etc, etc.  Because, after all, this was part of my master plan.

So around 5:30, I gowned up and was given the drip.  This was it.  I would surely have a baby that night.  I was dilated to a two and 75% effaced.  I made a big deal about wanting the "big" delivery room that was shown to me on a tour a few weeks back.  It was unavailable when they checked me in, but on one of my hallway strolls, I noticed it was clean and ready for a new momma, so the nurse was nice to let me switch rooms.

I decided to walk and walk and walk during the first few hours to help things along.  I wish the unit was bigger because at around 9pm or so, I think I just looked crazy.  There's that insane woman who is hooked up to a pitocin drip and thinks she's going to have a pain-free birth. Is what I now imagine the entire staff was thinking every time I walked by the front desk with my rolling IV stand.

Around 8pm the anesthesiologist came in to see when I wanted my epidural.  He wanted to go over the side effects and risks at that moment so we wouldn't have to waste time later when I needed it.  I assured him I would not need an epidural and hence, no explanation of side effects or the like.  I told him I had been planning this drug-free birth and I felt fine so far and was completely confident I would never need to see him again.

He smiled, told me that was great, but wanted to do it anyway.  I sent him away with a smile.  NO talking about pain, and he was the representative of pain.  He was of course professional, told me he would be there until midnight and to call if I changed my mind.  I told him I would (which I definitely wasn't) and thanked him for coming by.

Three hours later, I was checked and to my surprise and disappointment, I was only at a 4.  Do you know how much walking I did?  Remember I had that flipping drug pumping through my veins?  My doc wanted to break my water, he felt like the baby needed some encouragement.  It had been too long.  Ok, how bad could that be?  I felt like I was doing an ACE job with my hypnobirthing training, because every contraction up to that point was manageable.  I successfully breathed through every one and they were strong and regular, regular, regular.  I felt like I was laboring how I envisioned.

Then my doctor broke my water.

Something happened that I don't know how to adequately put into words, but I'll try.

Before my water broke I was a whole, competent, strong, laboring woman.

After my water broke, my contractions went from manageable (after all, I was a competent, strong, laboring woman) to I think it would've been better if I was born a man.

With my hypnobirthing training, I was taught how to breath through each contraction.  The breath starts with a big belly breath as you visualize the breath traveling from the top of your head all the way down through your toes.

The very next contraction I had after my water broke, I started to inhale for that big belly breath.  I coughed and sputtered.  I couldn't even take breath in, the pain (THE PAIN!  I WASN'T SUPPOSED TO TALK OR THINK ABOUT PAIN, BUT IT WAS PAAAAAAAAAAAIN!)  was so intense.

All I could do is double over and wait for the contraction to end.  The breathing, the visualization, my happy place, all went out the window.  I was a little shocked and tried to recover for the next one.  Ok, I told myself, that was bad, but I guess I wasn't ready.  Focus Kara, here comes the next one.  You got this...

Two minutes later it hit again.  Another contraction.

And I was ready and focused.  And I ended up on the floor, doubled over with pain, gasping at what was happening to my body.

The nurse was there, as was my husband (he was looking alarmed) and she asked what I wanted to do.  (Bless her heart, she remember my blasted birth plan and request to not talk about pain.)

I said I wanted to see what the next one felt like and wait it out.  I couldn't throw months of planning out the window!  Between these immense surges of absolute agony, I would gear up and prep myself to breath and visualize--I can do this.  

I think I went through five or six of these.   I automatically doubled over and squeaked incoherent syllable every single time. Chris kindly suggested it would be ok to take something.  He told me there was no shame in abandoning my plan and calling the anesthesiologist.  (He would have the best secret eye roll ever, huh?)

I was beginning to be absolutely terrified for the next contraction instead of welcoming and embracing it as I had prepared to do.  I mean I was mortified that I would need many more of these to get this baby here.  I physically couldn't do it.  A girl has her limits.  So, 15 minutes before he told me he would be leaving the hospital, they called the man, whom I told I wouldn't need his services, thank you very much.

He came, and with a hint of annoyance, told me he had to go over the side effects and possible complications of having an epidural.  I nodded, assented, agreed, whatever I needed to do to make the pain stop.

Between contractions, I was able to joke with him about our conversation earlier.  He then gave me a staggering statistic.  I'm sure it was just something he pulled from the air as a generalization, not an actual statistic, but still.  He told me he wasn't surprised he was back in my room because 99% of women that are induced with pitocin end up needing an epidural.  He had seen very few women be able to labor on pitocin without pain medication.

Are you *bleeping* kidding me?  What?  How did I not know this?  Do you know how much stinking reading and research and classes I participated in?  How did this not come up?  How did I not know this or overlook it or NOT know this was the case?  I'm sure a large percentage of you are reading this, shaking your head and thinking, duh!  What did you expect?  But this is my story.  It's all truth.

As I felt the cold medication enter my back, I felt relieved, and stupid and comforted and disappointed.  It was a weird moment.  But here we were.  The only thing that had gone as planned was my initial refusal of pain medication and the room I requested.

But since these contractions felt so strong, surely the baby would be here soon.   Right?  Right?!

Next time....

You do remember you're here to have a baby, right?  Or, here, go ahead and grab this gymnastics bar we found and give us a few pushes.  


Tina said...

Noooo! You can't stop there! How will I ever fall asleep tonight!? Oh the suspense....

Unknown said...

I am anxiously waiting the next part. Kepp up the good work. Your L & D nurse... Sue

Shauna said...

Spencer! Even his getting here story is full of surprises, can't wait to read the rest...

Carrie said...

seriously loving part one... as i love all of your writing. i, too, am in disbelief that you were unaware of the pitocin epidural stats. when i found out my due date was dec 27th and i went 6 days over with abigail, i was sure i was going to have a january baby and chris and i decided i would ask to be induced so we could get the tax deduction and only pay the deductible once and save ourselves thousands of dollars. but by mid pregnancy i'd changed my tune and decided i might not want an epidural. and so i told chris that i wasn't going to ask to be induced after all because it would be impossible for me to go drug free if i was induced. he wasn't thrilled about that decision but luckily brady came in december and it was a non issue! i'm glad i'm not the only researchaholic out there.

Carrie said...

sorry, the thing i really wanted to tell you about was that you were the first person (that i've known personally) that talked about hypnobirthing and that is the reason i looked into it when i was pregnant. all you! and i was like you, thinking "oh, i've totally got this, contractions are manageable because i practiced so much and am doing so well!" and then once things got more difficult it was like i was completely blindsided every single time. i NEVER remembered to breath with them and would end up panting instead. and by the very end the nurse said i couldn't feel my arms/hands because i was breathing too fast and basically hyperventilating. sooo, i'm already calling my next labor and delivery "hypnobirthing take two." are you going to try hypnobirthing again next time? and sorry this is so long. i should have just left you a link to my birth story instead. whoops.

Jody said...

Love your writing, love your posts. Sorry it didn't work out as planned, though I am convinced it hardly ever does. Way to go for even being brave enough to attempt drug free childbirth and for all your preparations. If you try again one day, you should chat with Suni Woolstenhulme (Jay's wife). I don't know how she does it, but she's had 5 drug free births, and I know at least one was an induced birth. You have an adorable family! Looking forward to part 2.

Kelsey said...

Your L&D nurse follows your blog? You make friends everywhere, don't you? :) Does this mean that I shouldn't say that SOMEONE should have told you??????
I can't wait to hear the next part!